Learn Hebrew

Why it's worth putting in the effort.

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Comments (33)

(27) Daniel, November 16, 2014 4:37 PM

website where we can study Hebrew and Prayers

Shalom. I have searched this web side and could not find the Hebrew lessons!?
Just about over year ago I learned how to read Hebrew, now I want to learn how to read and understand the meaning of the words of Torah. Unfortunately we are not close by to Jewish community where we can go and study the Holy Language. Do you know any website where we can study Hebrew and Prayers on line? Thank you and Shalom.

(26) Anonymous, August 27, 2013 1:22 PM

Modern Hebrew vs. Biblical Hebrew

It is amazing how many people believe that Modern Hebrew and Biblical Hebrew "are totally different languages." If one can say that American English and British English are totally different languages, I will agree with them. Sure there are differences in both accounts. In modern Hebrew, you will not find a vav conversive. There are differences in words and in the way you say things, but I would not say the two are totally different. One who knows modern Hebrew and has never studied biblical Hebrew could understand the Torah when read aloud. You can swallow a physic in England, but not in the US. You may find that the chips you order in England is not what you get in the US. A bobby in the States is not always a bobby in England. But one would not say that the two languages are "totally different." Those who think Biblical and Modern Hebrew are totally different are expressing their own knowledge level of the languages.

(25) Anonymous, February 19, 2013 9:36 PM

Well, dear, it won't get easier any later...

Hubby and I just really began in earnest this year. We are 60 and 63...and it is OH SO HARD!! But we have to always consider that today we know a bit more than we did last year!! DO IT before you get any older!! We wanted to read the TORAH for ourselves!!

(24) Mati, August 19, 2011 8:11 PM

A commandment to learn Hebrew

It is written in the Torah something to the affect that, "You shall not add to nor subtract from these words which I command you..." Guess what? When you translate, you always loose something and you always gain something...even when the translation is one word.

(23) Elaine, August 19, 2011 1:56 AM

tips for learning lashon hakodosh

For several years now my passion has been lashon kosesh with a focus on davening and chumach with Rashi and mevorchim. Here are some resources and techniques that have worked for me: -read parsha and the Rashis every week - starting in English then Hebrew using The Metsudah Chumach/Rashi -Following the reading of the Torah each week in shul -Davening with the Artscroll Interlinear Siddur -using one of the excellent texts from EKS Publishing p 1. Prayerbook Hebrew the Easy Way 2. The First Hebrew Primer - taking an online class from WebYeshiva. They offer a class "Learning Tanach /Text Starting from Square One -Jacob Richman has serveral sites - Learning Hebrew with Pictures and Audio and Learning Hebrew Verbs -a program like Quizlet offers free flashcards on Hebrew verbs -Aish offers one-on one learning on the subject of your choice -Daily review -It is well worth the effort! Good luck!

(22) Sunbeam, August 18, 2011 3:11 PM

Aleph-to learn. Learning Biblical Hebrew

Modern Hebrew wouldn't be of use to me living outside of Israel, Biblical Hebrew is part of my devotional Bible studies. To understand the Bible language, is helpful to accurately translate, for my own personal use, beliefs, faith, and communion with God. Helpful, to not be moved when it's spoken of, contrary to the nature of God. We can have a "knowing" however, our "knowing" we can't find documented. I have found in learning the holy language, the "knowing" is documented in the Sacred language. You don't have to be an expert in the language to start finding the treasures, word by word, at a time. The deeper you dig, the more treasures of Gold you find. Our "knowing" is known as faith, turns into substance we find, within the holy language.

(21) Beverly Kurtin, August 18, 2011 6:09 AM

You can learn faster

I don't know if this would be considered proper, but there is a series of CDs that the FBI and diplomats use to get a basic understanding of Hebrew and other languages. Instead of going through the all the grammar; instead, you just listen and speak exactly the same way we learned our mother language. Can you imagine a toddler parsing what he or she is hearing? Google learn new language in 10 days and it will show you the programs I'm referring to. You won't be an expert by any means, but I learned enough Spanish to be able to have a basic conversation with people I meet. Also, I will be able to help folks who get lost around here. I had learned the language several years ago when I worked in East LA. They were really patient with me when I'd say dispacio, por favor. Yo premaro aprendar espanol. Please talk slower, I'm first learning Spanish. They really appreciated this gringa who was trying to learn. I was invited to customer's homes to learn more of the language and I got pretty good. Then...all it took was 1/10th of a second and it was all gone along with English, the Hebrew I knew, in short, I had a massive stroke and lost everything. I am NOT complaining, thanks to Hashem I SURVIVED and relearned what I needed to learn but, sadly, my languages, with the exception of English, never came back. You might think that having to learn a lot of things over again would be a real drag, but I had a blast. I even had to relearn how to touch type, it came back quickly. As I tell folks, it is all a thing of mind over matter; if I don't mind, it don't matter.

(20) kollel wife, August 17, 2011 10:15 PM

Same boat

Lori, I too should know Hebrew. On top of that I should really know Tanach-but I was raised conservodox and Hebrew never caught on. Today I'm a frum kollel wife living in a Torah community and I always feel a little behind or different than my friends who know Hebrew and went to seminaries where there learned Rashi etc. I feel sort of hopeless and I'm also not so good at learning new languages. I love reading hashkafa books and listening to shiurim but when it comes to in depth text- my brain almost turns off. It's nice to know I'm not alone.

(19) Learn L'shon HaKodesh, August 17, 2011 10:01 PM

Biblical Hebrew, YES! Modern Hebrew, it's not Kodesh

Learn Modern Hebrew like it is any other foreign language, because it is not kodesh. Better to learn and toil in Biblical Hebrew, which is KODESH (HOLY), and you can certainly get by in IVRIT, which is an invented language full of Aramaic with reversed meanings and modern languages mixed in, as part of Zionism. Watch this video, http://www.divineinformation.com/videos-english/zionism-and-the-history-of-israel-2/ Zionism and the History of Israel

(18) Anonymous, August 17, 2011 5:58 PM

With all due respect to Mrs. Palatnik, the modern hebrew spoken today is not holy. The language that has depth and is useful for learning is biblical hebrew, which really isn't spoken today.

(17) Anonymous, August 17, 2011 2:45 PM

I think learning Hebrew is GREAT!!

Just go to Google Translate! I have alot of Facebook friends in Israel and talk to them all the time through Google Translate.

(16) geefers, August 17, 2011 5:38 AM

Cultural hebrew

I believe that the hebrew spoken ourdays is not the holy language you talk about. It is just the cultural street talk that happens to have a lot of hebrew. Most words are just made up or reinterpreded. It is just good to know inorder to get by or to make friends.

Mikey, August 17, 2011 11:35 PM

To Geefers re: Lashon ha qodesh (Holy Language) versus Ivrit

A lot of haredim habitually say that modern Israeli Hebrew, Ivrit, is not a holy language. In the case of some, like Satmars and Neturei Karta, they object to using it because they say it desecrates the holy tongue by using it for secular purposes. When Ben Yehuda worked on the revival of spoken Hebrew he faced a lot of opposition from "frum" Jews for that reason. Yes, it's true that modern Hebrew can be a street language and has many vulgar words, and it can be used to discuss all kinds of non-G-dly things too. So in that sense, you are right, and that is what some religious people objected to in the past and many continue to do so in the present, taking the holy language of Torah and tefila and bringing it to a lower level. My attitude though is you have your mind in the right place you will not use vulgar words whether you speak Ivrit, Yiddish, Ivrit or any language, and modern Hebrew can still be a holy language. Moreover, although, yes, it's true that Torah and mitzvot should also unite all Jews (whatever language they speak), it's good that we also should have a common language--and Hebrew is the common linguistic heritage to ALL Jews everywhere. I find it's a common attitude in many "Anglo" Orthodox circles, from MO to Haredi, in N. America and even amongst Anglos living in Israel who have made aliyah (as Lori mentions in her video) to be indifferent to Hebrew as something "belonging to the Israelis," and sometimes there is even a derogatory attitude to spoken Hebrew. Lori refers to Orthodox English-speaking Jews living in their own "Anglo" communities in Jerusalem for decades who can't speak Hebrew, and I know exactly what she's talking about.That attitude is a real shame because Hebrew belongs to ALL Jews--Ashkenazi, Sefaradi, Mizrahi, religious, secular, Israelis and Jews in the USA, UK, France, Argentina, etc. I always get enormous pleasure when I meet a Latin American Jew or a French Jew and we use Hebrew as our common language.

(15) Anonymous, August 16, 2011 10:50 PM

Hebrew Online

I am 11 years old and take Hebrew classes once a week via Hebrew Online eteacher. I've been taking classes this way for about three years and I feel that I'm really making progress. The teachers are highly skilled and very professional and the classes are fun. Courses are available in both modern Hebrew and Biblical Hebrew. I highly recommend this program.

Barry, August 17, 2011 7:53 PM

eleven years old

You do not write like many eleven year olds I know!

(14) Robert M. Miller, August 16, 2011 6:30 PM

And let's pronounce it as it is spoken today.

It simply is the language of the Jewish people. As much as I love yiddish, and Ashkenazik culture and history, Hebrew today needs to be pronounced not as it was in eastern europe 100 years ago, but as it is pronounced in Israel today. And I am referring especially to when it is read from a siddur or torah etc. Let's get with it folks we have returned to our home, and I mean Israel not eastern Europe which was really never our home-merely an interim residence.

Anonymous, August 17, 2011 11:52 PM

@Robert Miller Re:Hebrew as it's spoken today and Easten Europeaon accents

As much as I love Israeli Hebrew and its accent, you should be aware that the standard Israeli accent is not necessarily more authentic or "correct", it's kind of a compromise between the Sephardi and Ashkenazi accent. Probably the Teimoni (Yemenite) accent is the closest way to the way Hebrew sounded when spoken by our forefathers 2,000 years ago, or the Samaritan accent. There's nothing wrong with praying from the siddur with an Ashkenazi accent per se, in my opinion, and in some respects the Ashkenazi accent is more accurate then the Sepharadi accent, for example the kamatz preserves a vowel sound that traditional Sepharadi accents as well as the modern Israeli accent don't preserve. (Yemenite Jews do differentiate between kamatz and pataḥ. ) Don't get me started on the fact that modern Israeli Hebrew has no difference between alef and ayin, het and khaf, quf and kaf, but I think nobody should stress too much about it. If an American Jews davens with an Americanized Ashkenazi accent in Hebrew, and says "shabbos" instead of "shabbat" so be it. Again, by saying the "sav" that way (i.e., "Tav" without a dagesh, as an "s" sound,) one can distinguish between the 2 letters. Ancient Hebrew pronounced ת as a "th" sound, so the Ashkenazi way of saying it is "s" like "sam", the Sephardi and Israeli way is "T" like "Tony", the Yemenite way keeps the "th" like "thank". But whatever, the main thing is he is davening in Hebrew. And if he doesn't pronounce the resh the way Israelis do when he has a conversation in modern Hebrew, so what? The main thing is he is speaking Hebrew!

(13) Peter Froehlic, August 16, 2011 4:08 PM

somthing in me said: learn Hebrew

i m learning hebrew by prolog and via internet. It goes slow, but it works.

(12) Neria Moye, August 16, 2011 3:37 PM

Thank you for the motivation

Dear Lori, thanks for the motivation to learn more Hebrew, especially now in this time before the New Year. To me, its amazing to be in the year of 5771 and continue this language. I think that everytime we speak Hebrew, the vowels and consanants resonate in Heaven. When we read and write it, we are continuing an incredible Story. Yes folks, let's open up more to Hebrew. Thanks Lori.

(11) דוד, August 16, 2011 3:20 PM

כל הכבוד!

כל הכבוד! אם את רוצה ללמוד עברית אין שום דבר למנוע את זה. פעם הייתי חושב שאני מתקשה ללמוד שפות זרות. אבל כשעליתי ארצה למדתי עברית באולפן והשתמשתי בעברית בכל מקום שהייתי יכול. (רק לא עם דוברי אנגלית אחרים.) אחרי שהייתי בארץ שנה אחת, התגייסתי לצה"ל. ממש טבילה באש בכל המובנים. שם למדתי עברית כי פשוט לא הייתה לי ברירה. אני לא מציע לך להתגייס לצבא, אבל אם את רוצה ללמוד את שפה באמת תצטרכי להשתמש בה מחוץ לכיתת הלימוד שלך. את יכולה לקרוא עיתונים באינטרנט. את יכולה לשמוע תכוניות רדיו בהזרמה דרך הרשת. את יכולה להתכתב עם ידידים דוברי עברית. (אני בטוח שיש לך קשרים כאלה אבל אם לא, אני מתנדב לכתוב לך בעברית.) המפתח הוא לתת לזה שימוש מעשי ולא להגביל את השימוש לסביבת לימוד. אני מאחל לך הצלחה ומברך אותך על היוזמה.

(10) Leah, August 16, 2011 2:41 PM

Hebrew in Brooklyn..

I want to learn Hebrew with a teacher. Where?

Mikey, August 16, 2011 11:36 PM

To Leah:Re: Hebrew in Brooklyn

If you can afford classes, there is an Ulpan (Hebrew intensive course) in Manhattan. Check their website at http://www.ha-ulpan.org--or google "ulpan manhattan" The phone number is (917) 446-6266. But there are numerous other options available, if you don't have the funds. Go to amazon.com and buy Hebrew teaching books--you can buy "Ha yesod" an excellent textbook, for about $12 used on Amazon. Buy Barrons books of how to conjugate Hebrew verbs...if you can't afford it, the Brooklyn Public Library and New York Public Library has copies. You can buy or borrow Rosetta Stone software. There are online classes. It's easier than ever to learn Hebrew. In the USSR in the 1970s, dedicated Jews learned Hebrew in secret by passing around around blurry mimeographed sheets and worn-out scraps of papers with handwritten vocabulary and grammar lessons to learn Hebrew! Some of them, when they were finally allowed to make aliyah spoke near perfect Hebrew upon arrival. Be inspired by their example, you have it easy in Brooklyn in 2011!

Leslee, August 17, 2011 3:38 AM


eTeacherHebrew.com has a weekly newsletter and online courses. The BEST thing to start with is the AlephBet... Debbie Friedman did a song, I learned it until I could sing the AlphBet like I can sing the ABCs... try this youtube video: http://youtu.be/UiCzoTs1AdE I've been working at this slowly for 20 years and I get better all the time... practice, practice. practice :)

(9) kibbitzer, August 16, 2011 11:37 AM

Hebrew for Dummies

My wife and I made aliyah from the UK in March 2010, attended a five month ulpan course and continue with a self-help Hebrew learning circle and we're still struggling with the language. You come out the classroom able to translate the simple Hebrew sentences in the text book and so feel confident. Then an Israeli stops you in the street and fires rapid questions at you and you can't understand a word and your confidence nose-dives. We're not giving up though!

(8) ruth housman, August 16, 2011 11:21 AM

a heady brew: He BREW

Hi, I think it's certainly worth the effort. I am not quite there right now, but I did study Hebrew like many of us, in Hebrew School and I am now very glad. My problem is different than most in learning languages, because I am stopped by their inner beauty, seeing something deep within the words, and that I think might drive some teachers a bit insane. For example I see the OM in Shalom. I do a very unorthodox walk across languages, and it is constant for me, and deep. I see the Hebrew letters as building blocks for the entire universe. I see not only the SHIN in SHINE, our English word, but the SHIN as a menorah, and present in the branchings everywhere of the world, in tress, our veins, wherever I look. So do I have trouble learning Hebrew, or relearning. You bet. Because I am stopped by this constant eternal wonder.

Star*, August 17, 2011 4:55 PM

That's the beauty and delight in learning the Heavenly Language. A spiritual walk where each letter and forms of letters have meaning and a message within them. Your not being stopped, your reaching into the Heavenly Glories! The purpose of the Heavenly language, is to take us there. Your flight has not been canceled, your off the ground, traveling in the endless heavens. Magnificent delightful flight it is!

(7) Mikey, August 16, 2011 7:04 AM

Speak the Language of the Hebrewman!

As Ehud Banai would say. A very good basic textbook for learning good functional Ivrit (reading and writing) with easy-to-understand exercises in grammar and vocabulary is " Ha-yesod: Fundamentals of Hebrew" by Luba Uveeler and Norman M. Bronznick Be inspired by the Soviet refuseniks who taught themselves Hebrew with "samizdat" (underground) literature from blurry mimeographed sheets that were exchanged hand to hand! Look how easy you have it! Good luck, be hatzlakha!

(6) smb, August 15, 2011 4:01 AM

Baruch Hashem I have a hebrew tutor I find it fasinating to be able to talk to someone in another language

(5) SusanE, August 14, 2011 10:20 PM

I Started to learn.

It was fun. Our Rabbi Stephanie Wolfe was wonderful and was a teacher of children, so she was very patient with us. She would come up from Pittsburgh once a month for Friday services and classes on Saturday mornings. We learned the alphabet and some words. We could read and understand sentences. We also knew what the sentences meant. We began to understand the numerical values. I said several prayers and I learned songs from here on Aish.com. they are under Shabbat/Songs. Also Blessings. They have words in Hebrew and English. --------------Then I stopped going. I don't know why. Once a month for 2 hours is not intensive, and I'm not Jewish. I could read on the English level of... See Spot Run. Run Spot run. If you know even a few words it helps and knowing how the Hebrew alphabet works also helps. When I read Chumash and recognized several of the words I was reading I had a feeling of connecting. We were all adults in the class and The Rabbi made us feel we were all terribly brilliant. Do it Lori, You already know more Hebrew than you think you do.

(4) Anonymous, August 14, 2011 6:11 PM

never give up... :)

hatzlacha, Lori! You can do it. This was a beautiful and inspiring video. Please keep us posted. Which courses are you taking? I started learning Ivrit in midlife w/ my severe hearing loss.. I didn't know I was Jewish when younger and there is much of Judaism to absorb. I think of learning Ivrit like learning Torah... I'll learn it until I die, B"H. :D

(3) Ellen Jensen, August 14, 2011 4:47 PM

kol hakavod!

Good for you, Lori! I wish you lots of fun learning Hebrew, and that your effort may be richly rewarded!

(2) Anonymous, August 14, 2011 1:19 PM

Follow Student of Hebrew

Way to go Lori, don't give up! Watching TV and listening to the radio in Hebrew are good way to help you.

(1) Eric, August 14, 2011 1:00 PM


Yom tov! A funny little story: I recently bought a cdrom online wanting to learn Hebrew. Full of excitement and anticipation at finally having taken this step, I popped it in my laptop and spent a few days learning the Aleph-Bet. Feeling confident, I clicked on the next level. The polite voice said: "Find the Chataf Patach, please." "Find the WHAT?!," I replied out loud and clicked on the funny looking symbols I knew were vowel sounds. The voice said "Find the Chataf Patach, please." This went on for some time as I clicked and clicked, unable to find the Chataf Patach. Then, finally, he said: "Find the Segol, please." I was felt elated and triumphant, until I thought: "Hey! Wait a minute! Which one was the Chataf Patach??" But the more I kept clicking, the less I had to click! I think you're right. It does matter and it is worth the effort. All we need is a little effort, and reaching inwards and finding the staying power in this, I hope, will spread to other needed areas I have to work on in my life. L'hitraot, Lori. And thanks for your effort here at Aish. Always a likeable and thoughful experience to hear you. Your friend, Eric. Stavanger, Norway


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