In Hebrew orthography the rafe, or more commonly spelt raphe (Hebrew: רָפֵה pronounced [ʁaˈfe]), is a diacritic (⟨ ֿ ⟩), a subtle horizontal overbar placed above certain letters to indicate that they are to be pronounced as fricatives.
It originated with the Tiberian Masoretes as part of the extended system of niqqud (vowel points), and has the opposite meaning to dagesh qal, showing that one of the letters בגדכפת is to be pronounced as a fricative and not as a plosive, or (sometimes) that a consonant is single and not double; or, as the opposite to a mappiq, to show that the letters ה or א are silent (mater lectionis).
The rafe generally fell out of use for Hebrew with the coming of printing, although according to Gesenius (1813) at that time it could still be found in a few places in printed Hebrew Bibles, where the absence of a dagesh or a mappiq was particularly to be noted. (e.g. Exodus 20:13,14,15; Deuteronomy 5:13,17,18,19; 2 Samuel 11:1; Isaiah 22:10; Jeremiah 20:17; Psalm 119:99; Zechariah 5:11)
In Yiddish the rafe distinguish פּ (p) from פֿ (f) and in Hebrew or Aramaic words also to distinguish ב (b) and בֿ (v, in Yiddish words you use װ for that sound) and תּ (t) from תֿ (s, in Yiddish words you use ס for that sound). In Ladino the rafe looks more like this (◌ﬞ) or (◌ׄ), and in the square form is usually replaces by a geresh (׳). In Ladino, the rafe is used differently, it changes ב (b) into בﬞ (v), ג (g) into גﬞ (j), ד (d) into דﬞ (like the th in this) and ז (z) into זﬞ (ž, like the s in pleasure).