Emerging from the Canaanite milieu of Semitic languages, Hebrew has been around for a very long time. It isn’t clear how old the language is, but most place its emergence in the early second millennium before the Common Era (just before 1,000 bce). The language was actually called at one point in the Bible “the language of Canaan” (שְׂפַת כְּנַ֫עַן; cf. Isaiah 19:18), and we see from inscriptions from the early period of the language that several other Canaanite languages (such as Moabite, Ammonite, and Edomite) were very close to Hebrew in orthography (the alphabet that they used), in lexical stock (the words themselves), and in accidence (grammar, morphology, and syntax). Anyone who is trained to read the Siloam Inscription in Hebrew will be equally equipped to read the Mesha Stele in Moabite, even though these are technically different dialects of Canaanite language. These languages were certainly mutually intelligible by native speakers of each from that period.

If we draw a line between Moabite and Hebrew as distinct languages, though they were so very similar, what do we make of modern and biblical Hebrew? Are they essentially the same language? Should they be classified as distinct languages? Can learning modern Hebrew be at all advantageous to a student of the biblical language? Or, should those who aspire to master the language of the Bible avoid contaminating their thinking by adopting modern Hebrew?

These are the concepts that I would like to explore a bit in this blog post.


Continue reading “Are Modern and Biblical Hebrew Distinct Languages?”

Hello, fellow language learners! My name is Wesley Wood. A few days ago Jason messaged me asking if I would be willing to discuss the internet resources I have found and have been using to learn modern Hebrew. I quickly agreed to do so. In my experience, it is much more difficult to find comprehensible input for Hebrew than for other languages, and I hope that this information will be beneficial to others. In this post I have assumed that you have learned the alphabet and are to the point in your studies where you are looking for this type of material. Let’s get started!

Continue reading “Hebrew Resources For Beginners”


The second בִּנְיָן we are going to study in this series about Hebrew verbs is the פִּיעֶל. This category usually include verbs whose meaning is somehow more intense than the “simple” פָּעַל verb.

For example:

לִכְתֹּב – to write 

לְכַתֵּב – to address 

This way, we can see that לִכְתֹּב refers to writing in a broader sense, whereas לְכַתֵּב refers to writing a specific thing, “an address”, thus being more intense.

Continue reading “Hebrew verbs – Pi’el”

Today we are going to talk about two special cases of the בִּנְיָן פָּעַל.

  1. The case of the פָּעַל with a ו OR י as the SECOND LETTER  of the root. 
  • Infinitive: the infinitive of this group consists of the ל that usually indicates the infinitive followed by the 3 letters of the root (where the second letter MUST BE a י OR ו)


לָשִׁיר – to sing

לָגוּר – to live

  • Present:  here we are going to use the example of לָגוּר but the characteristics are the same no matter if the second letter of the root is a ו or a י.

When my oldest daughter was 5 years old she was supposed to start learning how to read in Hebrew in her preschool, but we were about to move to a different city so it didn’t work out. That’s how I ended up teaching her how to read in Hebrew. Our primary language is Hebrew, but we also speak in English.

From my experience, it is best to start with memorizing the letters (including the ending letters like Nun Sofit – נון סופית) again and again, until you know them 90% at least. 

Continue reading “The best way to learn to read in Hebrew”

Verbs are certainly one of the hardest parts of modern Hebrew. This article starts a series of articles on the פְּעָלִים that are the nightmare of any Hebrew learner, not only for beginners. This introductory post will discuss the basic characteristics of Hebrew verbs; while in the following articles, we will dig deeper into each one of the בִּנְיָינִים.

All verbs in Hebrew consist of two things:

  1. Pattern (בִּנְיָין): this is the “body” or the “structure” of the verb, what gives each פֹּ֫עַל (verb) its form. 
  2. Root (שׁ֫וֹרֶשׁ): this is the three- or four-letter system that gives meaning to each פֹּ֫עַל.

Continue reading “Verbs in Modern Hebrew (Introduction)”

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”