In recent years, there has been lively discussions concerning word order in Biblical Hebrew.  For last century, and until  very recently, the consensus among most scholars has been that Hebrew exhibits VERB-SUBJECT word order.  For example:

בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֲלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָעָרֶץ׃
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.¹

At the head of the clause, we have an infinitive followed by the perfect verb ברא, followed by the subject אֲלֹהִים. The verb is first, followed by the subject.  While this is the most common word order, I argue (following John A. Cook and Robert D. Holmstedt) that it is not the “default” word order. Instead, the default word order is SUBJECT-VERB, as in English.

Continue reading “Word Order in Biblical Hebrew, Pt. 1”

I have learned many things over the course of my years teaching and tutoring Biblical Hebrew.  For most people, the process of learning a new language is an intimidating one. This feeling of intimidation is compounded when you learn an ancient language, especially a Semitic one. The letters are foreign, apparently consisting of symbols rather than letters. It sounds strange to the ear. OK, more than strange – downright foreign. So, when it comes to learning a language like Biblical Hebrew, what is there to be done?

The answer is “plenty.” But there’s one thing in particular that “must” be done: you need to learn how to READ it.

Continue reading “The key(s) to success in Biblical Hebrew”

This is the recording of Encounter 17, covering the seventeenth chapter of Learning Biblical Hebrew by Kutz & Josberger. In this encounter, we wrapped up the first course in this two-course program. This week we are doing our final exam before giving out certificates, and then we’ll take a couple of weeks just to read from the workbook (hopefully, two sessions per week).

The new course (HE102) will begin after those couple of weeks of reading. Keep your eyes peeled for the beginning of the new course!

The Israeli version of a cappuccino (or latte) is called הָפוּךְ hafuch. This is the word used in the tagline of this website, since we use the idea of a coffee house as the basis for our online learning environment. הָפוּךְ literally means “turned over” or “upside down,” perhaps due to the way that it was originally made in Israel, by adding the espresso on top of the milk in an upside down fashion (though the meaning of הָפוּךְ in this context is debated). Either way, this is the most popular way to serve coffee in Israel.

I know that not everyone drinks coffee, and it took me a while to get used to it. It is, after all, an acquired taste. Either way, as we await the end of the Coronavirus, or at least an improvement in our ability to deal with it, many of us have a lot of time on our hands. It’s my hope that you will take what time you have to sit down with a nice cup o’ Joe and pick up some Hebrew in your spare time!

Let’s consider some words and phrases that are relevant to coffee houses in Hebrew and things you might order or eat there.

Continue reading “Hafuch and Social Distancing”

For those who have completed a year in biblical Hebrew and are looking for a challenge, we are currently working with the B-Hebrew online community to work through the English-to-Hebrew translation exercises from chapter 30 to the end of the Weingreen’s Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew. You will find our discussions under the Hebrew Composition subforum on B-Hebrew.

If you would like to join the discussion and face this challenge with us, you will need to fill out this forum, and we’ll get you an account set up and get you access to the forum.

As mentioned in our opening blog post, we are currently running a biblical Hebrew course with the textbook Learning Biblical Hebrew by Karl Kutz and Rebekah Josberger (here are the grammar and workbook on Amazon). The students will be taking their final exam on Thursday, which will bring this course to its conclusion.

Over the next couple of weeks, I plan to read with students from HE101 as a review before beginning the second section of the course—HE102, which will consist of chapters 18 to 33 of the textbook and cover all of the grammar that remains for biblical Hebrew.

Continue reading “Learning Biblical Hebrew Free Video Course”

יָצָ֫אנוּ לַדֶּ֫רֶךְ!‏

Jonathan and I sat down this morning to begin to lay out a new site for the Hebrew Café. It’s been a while since the last major site update, and with the COVID-19 pandemic having put me out of work and having some extra time on my hands, I figured it was as good a time as any to build a new site and to have Jonathan work with me so that it isn’t a solo project.

Continue reading “About this Blog”