Alef (also spelled Aleph) is the first letter of the Alefbet, the Hebrew alphabet.
For this letter, imagine a headless man. Ok, a little gruesome, but imagine it anyways. Here's what he'd look like:
So, what does sound like?
Alef on its own? It has no sound at all! Hence the headless guy. Like a man without a head, Alef can't make a sound, without a vowel attached.
So why is he lifting weights?
That's because when does have a vowel, it sounds a bit like the grunting sound you make when you're working hard, like:
Actually, right now — try saying "UH-OH!"
That sound you make in the middle? Almost like a catch in your throat? Like a kind of hiccup? Right as you say OH?
That's how sounds. It's the same as how in some kinds of English, like Cockney, the letter T in bottle is pronounced. Like "boh'ull."
That bit in the middle, that's Alef again. We use that sound all the time in English, usually at the beginning of words, like the E in elephant or... the A in Aleph!
Still, the letter doesn't make a sound by itself. It doesn't sound like anything, in fact, unless it has a vowel attached.
So now you're thinking, "What about the vowels already? Show me the vowels!"
Right. So on to your first vowel, called Patach.