Learn Hebrew online - Author Archives

Your Blog to learn Hebrew

Author Archives: rachael

ברא Creation in Genesis – Chapter 1 of the Bible

March 9th, 2014 | Posted by rachael in Biblical Hebrew - (Comments Off on ברא Creation in Genesis – Chapter 1 of the Bible)
Bible_Illustrations_01_Genesis_01_02_Sweet_Publishing (1)

The story of Creation in the Bible has captivated us for generations. Nothing can match the poetry and meaning in these 34 verses. The story doesn’t really end at the end of Chapter 1, but continues until the next three verses of Chapter 2. G-d included the 7th day in the creation. The Word creation ברא occurs a total of 5 times here.

Genesis Creation Chapter 1

ברא is a word that only G-d can do. It means creation of something from nothing. Man can transform one material to another, by adding or subtracting, but only G-d can really create. This verb therefore only belongs to G-d. The first instance of ברא is in the first verse, and here it signifies the Creation of Heaven and Earth. This is a general statement, because during the first day, the only things that were created were light and darkness, so the word ברא here introduces what is going to follow.

The second time that ברא occurs is in verse 21. This verse the תנינים  which mean large lizards.  In the Midrash these refer to the Leviathan. This was a big creature, that the female was killed so its skin could be used as a tent at the times of the Messiah. This ברא also refers to the creation of fish and birds.

The next 3 instances of ברא  are all in one verse, 27. The first ברא is a general statement, that humans were created, then in the likeness of G-d. ברא and then male and female ברא they were created. The number of ברא in this verse is amazing. It is as if the Bible is concentrating all the creative power here in this one verse. The creation of האדם the Man is the top of Creation.  This has a responsibility, as well. If Man is boastful, then we are reminded of the second ברא that the lizards, fish and birds were created before. But if Man uses his likeness of G-d for good, then he can use all the potential of the three ברא for good.

Everyday Hebrew words and the Bible

February 18th, 2014 | Posted by rachael in Biblical Hebrew | Hebrew-English - (Comments Off on Everyday Hebrew words and the Bible)

There are many words that are used everyday in modern Hebrew that actually come from the Bible in a more spiritual meaning. To illustrate this idea, we have picked three very mundane Hebrew words that people living in Israel say or read about everyday without even realizing how deep the meaning of these words are.

חשמל  Electricity

This is a very rare word in the Bible, only occurring in the book of יחזקאל  (Ezekiel chapters one and 8). This word is used to describe part of Ezekiel’s vision of the Chariot of G-d. We are not even sure what is meant by the word. But Eliezer Ben Yehuda when he was compiling his new dictionary of Hebrew, decided to use this word for this new type of energy. He had no idea that it would become so commonplace and we would not be able to live without it.

שקל  Shekel

Another everyday Hebrew word is the word that we now use for the currency of Israel.  שקל  Shekel.  We are now using the New Israeli Shekel. This word is used in the Bible to fix weights and measures, and for the Communal contribution to the Temple to buy the morning and afternoon animals used in for the sacrifices. In שמות (Exodus Chapter 30) we are told that every man over the age of 20 has to give a half a shekel. This was a significant amount of money at the time, and everyone no matter rich or poor had to give the same amount. This signifies the responsibility of  each person to the other.  We can only make up a whole when two give to make up a whole shekel.
shekel in the Bible

שביתה  Strike

This is a very common modern word, used all the time in labor disputes. The first time we see the root שבת is in Genesis, Chapter 2. But did you know that Pharaoh also used this word? The meaning of the root שבת means to stop work. Pharaoh, when speaking to Moses about whether to let the Children of Israel go or not, actually uses the הפעיל form of the word, השבית  – to cause to stop.  שמות  (Exodus chapter 23), “Shall I let the Children of Israel go and cause them to stop their work? ” Pharaoh is prophesying, because that is what really happened for all time! Jews are caused to stop work every week for the 7th day for all time!

Israel’s Prime Ministers

May 12th, 2013 | Posted by rachael in Hebrew-English | Israeli culture - (Comments Off on Israel’s Prime Ministers)
512px-Benjamin_Netanyahu_portrait (1)

Israel has had 12 Prime Ministers (ראש ממשלה) so far as of April 2013.  Israel has a Parliamentary system of government, which means that terms of office are often shorter, or longer than the standard four years that exists in the United States.

David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister served over 13 years and Yigal Allon only 19 days.  Elections (בחירות) are called when the government falls, from a no-confidence vote (הצבעה אי אמון).   The same Prime Minister may be re-elected for a consecutive term, and a person can served non-consecutive terms in office. David Ben Gurion had two non consecutive terms as well as  Yitzchak Rabin, Shimon Peres  and  Benjamin Netanyahu.

Two Prime Ministers have died in office, Levi Eshkol and Yitzchak Rabin, who was assassinated (נרצח).  When the Prime Minister is unable to conduct his duties, the Acting Prime Minister takes over.  This happened when Ariel Sharon suffered a stroke and then a brain hemorrhage, Ehud Olmort took over and called new elections, which he won.

Golda Meir was the only woman so far to serve as Prime Minister, she served a long term of five years, the most notable event during her term was the Yom Kippur War (מלחמת יום כיפורים).

In 1977, after being in the opposition for 29 years, the Likud (ליכוד) with Menachem Begin as Prime Minister was elected. This was a big revolution because the Mapai and the Labor (עבודה)  party had ruled Israel.   Yitzchak Shamir was elected after Begin, which helped the minorities have a voice in the government.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s first term in office ended with a no-confidence vote about the Wye Plantation accords, but now in his second term, he has continued as Prime Minister, after a no-confidence vote  but with a different Knesset (כנסת) composition.

Benyamin Netanyahu

Israel as a young country has had it’s share of memorable Prime Ministers. Each puts a unique stamp on the country.  The goal (מטרה) of every Prime Minister is to make Israel a better place to live.


Vocabulary about Israel’s Prime Ministers

ראש ממשלה


הצבעה אי אמון


מלחמת יום כיפורים




Studying in an Israeli university

May 2nd, 2013 | Posted by rachael in Hebrew-English | Israeli culture - (Comments Off on Studying in an Israeli university)

Congratulations on making the decision to study at an Israeli University (אוניברסיטה). In Israel, you can study in many academic fields and be better prepared to enter into the Israeli job market. There are nine universities in Israel, the  Hebrew University and the Technion ranking in the top 100 in the world.

Entrance requirements to study in an Israeli university

The entrance requirements (דרישות) of Israeli universities are that you need to have a Matriculation certificate (Bagrut – בגרות)  from your high school, pass the  psychometric test (מבחן פסיכומטרי) and if your English level is not high enough,  pass the “Amir” English screening exam (מבחן  אמיר). Your Bagrut grades are very important, getting a good grade can determine whether you get into the university.

The psychometric tests mathematics, higher reasoning and English. If you have passed high school math, you will do well on the math section. The higher reasoning section, is a bit more difficult and you should do all the practice that you can. You will do well on the English section if you have passed 4 points high school English.

BA studies (תואר ראשון)

In Israel, as compared to the United States, most students finish their BA degree in three years. Some students also study for a B.ed that i,s a teaching credential, at the same time, studying for an extra year.

For the most part, the language of instruction is in Hebrew (עברית). Most university professors also speak English, and much of the reading material is in English. Most of the projects need to be handed in, typed in Hebrew.

When you graduate with an Israeli BA you are more employable (תעסוקה) and Israeli companies, especially IT companies are more willing to hire you. Good luck in your educational goals.


Vocabulary about Israeli universities



מבחן פסיכומטרי

מבחן  אמיר


תואר ראשון



Retire in Israel

April 27th, 2013 | Posted by rachael in Hebrew language | Hebrew-English | Israeli culture - (Comments Off on Retire in Israel)

Congratulations (מזל טוב) on your decision to retire in Israel!  Here are some factors that you have to take into account when you move to Israel. The first is that you have to be able to live within a budget. In Israel there are some items that are less expensive, and some that are the same as in a major city in the United States. Make up your monthly budget (תקציב) now and learn to live within it.

Expenses to take into account when you retire in Israel

Rent (השכרת דירה) is about the same. Take this into account when making up your monthly budget. Many people buy (קניה) their own apartment, find an English speaking Realtor(מתווך) who will help you through the process. Other people rent an apartment directly from the owner.

Food: processed foods are more expensive especially if they are imported. Fresh food, especially if you shop in an open air market such as the Ben Yehuda market in Jerusalem is much cheaper( זול ) and fresher than in the United States.

Transportation: a big part of everyone’s budget is transportation. (תחבורה) You can bring your car (מכונית) for personal use, but it is very complicated (מסובך) and there are lots of rules about the model and year of the car. So it is best to use a car importer, which could be expensive. The best, in my opinion is to buy one here. You might find out that traveling by bus or taxi is more cost efficient because of the high cost of car insurance (בטוח)

Learning Hebrew as a retiree

It is best to have a working knowledge of Hebrew before you come to live in Israel. If you can already speak the language, then when you go to Ulpan, a school to learn Hebrew, you can then get the finishing touches on your language acquisition. When you finish, you will feel that you can really interact with Israeli society. You will learn vocabulary that will help you in finding a part time job or a volunteering opportunity, instead of still tripping over your tongue when you want to find out where the bus goes.  I once had a bus driver give me a 10 minute grammar lesson when I asked ” Where does this bus go?”  ( “איפה האוטובוס הולך”) Well, the problem word was “go or travel” (נוסע) I used the word for walk. (הולך)  So he told me how to rephrase the question. Where does this bus line travel? ( איפה הקו הזה נוסע)

Good luck in your new home in Israel!

Vocabulary about retiring in Israel

מזל טוב


השכרת דירה










איפה הקו הזה נוסע

The advantages of learning Hebrew online

March 17th, 2013 | Posted by rachael in Hebrew Lessons | Hebrew Ulpan | Hebrew-English - (Comments Off on The advantages of learning Hebrew online)

Congratulations on your decision to learn Hebrew (עברית).  It is a very interesting language with a history (היסטוריה) of 3000 years, as well as a new vibrant, growing modern language(שפה). Hebrew is for the most part, a what you see, is what you get language. That is once you learn the rules, and the basic grammar(דקדוק), you can be sure that most words will “fit” into a category and you will know how to say it. Of course there are some exceptions, like any growing, modern language, but there are not as many exceptions as with English.

Learning Hebrew online is rather new (חדש), and it is exciting. There are many advantages (יתרנות) to learning Hebrew online. There are different ways of learning Hebrew online, either through elearning or with a live Hebrew teacher online by Skype. One of the most important is that you can learn Hebrew in the comfort of your own home (בבית).  When I wanted to learn Hebrew, I was in a big city in the United States, and even so, there were not so many places to learn Hebrew. Most of them offered only beginning Hebrew, which was fine when I was first learning how to read and pronounce basic words. When I wanted to learn more, I had to make the big decision to come to Israel. A long time has passed from that time, about twenty years, but the same situation still occurs in many places in the world.

When you learn Hebrew online however, you are not limited by geography. You can learn Hebrew on the computer or with an private Israeli teacher via Skype from where ever you live.

Another problem that I found was when I was learning Hebrew in a class, was that there was a range of ability even in a beginning class. I was just learning how to read (לקרא), and there were other students who were far ahead of me! I was very embarrassed (מבוכה) when I was called upon to read from the book, because I knew that I was not on the same level. This held me back in my progress because I didn’t want to draw attention to my lack of reading ability. In an online environment however this is not a problem.

Online, at Live-Hebrew.net, the classes are private (פרטי) Skype Hebrew lessons, and you get your own private teacher who helps you at your own level. The teacher teaches you at your pace, and you might progress much faster than if you were in a class.

The last factor is cost(מחיר). Most in-person Hebrew schools are very expensive (יקר), they have to pay administrators, rent, upkeep, utilities and of course the teachers. When you learn Hebrew online, it is much less expensive.

Go ahead and sign up for Hebrew class on-line and start learning Hebrew!

Vocabulary about learning Hebrew online













Learning about Pesach

March 11th, 2013 | Posted by rachael in Hebrew-English | Israeli culture - (Comments Off on Learning about Pesach)

Pesach (פסח) is the Jewish holiday that falls in the spring, usually in late March or early April. It is the holiday that celebrates the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. The Jews were slaves in Egypt for 210 years. They were forced to build cities for the Egyptian Pharoh (פרעה). The holiday lasts for 7 days in Israel, and 8 outside of Israel. One of the hallmarks of Passover as it is called in English is that bread and other products that are made with yeast are not eaten the whole week.

The events leading up to the actual Exodus are described in the Bible, in the book of Exodus (שמות). Moses (משה) lead the people out of Egypt and they received the Torah on Mt. Sinai  (הר סיני).

Cleaning for Pesach

We celebrate Pesach by first cleaning out our houses from all forms of breads (לחם), cakes and cookies. This often takes some time especially for families with many children, because you never know where all the hiding places may be.

Search for the Bread

Next we do a search for the bread. This is lots of fun for the children because they take a piece of bread, wrap it up in a piece of paper, and then hide 10 small pieces around the  house.  When all the pieces are found by the father, it is put aside for burning the next day.

The Seder (הסדר)

The most important part of Pesach is the Seder. The family gathers around the table, which has been set fit for a king, with special table settings, four cups of wine (יין), the seder plate with the different symbolic foods. The service is read from a special book called the Hagadda (הגדה), that tells the story of the Exodus. At certain places in the seder, a symbolic food is eaten. First is the parsley, then bitter herbs (מרור) and then the Matza (מצה), the special unleavened bread, that is made without yeast and is not allowed to rise. The seder can take a long time, and it is not uncommon for families to stay up very late. The festive meal is then served with many traditional foods such as chicken soup, kugels and very tasty Pesach desserts.

In Israel the children are on vacation from the week before Pesach until the 8th day. It is a time for families to spend time together.

Pesach is a great time to visit Israel, the weather is very pleasant, lots of cultural activities are organized and the atmosphere is great, you can even enjoy a kosher lepesach pizza or pasta! Get ready for your trip to Israel with Hebrew conversation lessons via Skype.

Vocabulary about Pesach





הר סיני







Common Hebrew Expressions to begin with Hebrew

March 3rd, 2013 | Posted by rachael in Hebrew language | Hebrew-English - (Comments Off on Common Hebrew Expressions to begin with Hebrew)

When you start to speak Hebrew, there are some phrases that you just have to learn. These phrases will help you whether you are a tourist, or a new immigrant to Israel.

Here is a simple conversation in Hebrew

Good morning  Boker Tov (בוקר טוב)

How are you?  Ma Shlomcha?  (מה שלומך)

I’m fine, thanks,  Tov, toda   (טוב, תודה)

What’s new?   Ma Nishma? (מה נישמה)

Nothing much Meeat meod (מאט מאוד)

See you later  Nitra’e bekarov!  ( נתראה בקרוב)

Goodbye          Shalom (שלום)

Common Hebrew Expressions, explanations

In the simple conversation above seven expressions were used. Most conversations begin and end with Shalom ( שלום). This word can mean hello, goodbye and peace, depending upon the context.  

In Hebrew the adjective comes after the noun, such as in Boker Tov  (בוקר טוב)  Good Morning. In Hebrew we say “Morning, Good”

In literal translation these phrases actually mean:

How are you?  Ma Shlomcha?  (מה שלומך) actually means “What is your condition?” but in Hebrew we mean it to say, “How are you?”

I’m fine, thanks,  Tov, toda   (טוב, תודה)  This phrase means, Good, thank you,

See you later  Nitra’e bekarov!  ( נתראה בקרוב) – This phrase means I’ll see you soon!

Bevakasha  ( בבקשה) is a very important expression.  It actually means “Please”

Please give me the change  Bevakasha, ten li et haodef  (בבקשה תן לי הכדוף)

Have fun with learning Hebrew expressions for beginners.


Expressions to begin with Hebrew

בוקר טוב

מה שלומך

טוב, תודה

מה נישמה

מאט מאוד

נתראה בקרוב


בבקשה תן לי הכדוף

The Jerusalem Marathon 2013

February 27th, 2013 | Posted by rachael in Hebrew-English | Israeli culture | Tourism in Israel - (Comments Off on The Jerusalem Marathon 2013)

The International Jerusalem Winner Marathon is now in its third year. The race includes three categories, a full marathon, half marathon and a 10 kilometers. The route takes the runners through the history of Jerusalem, each time they go to a different place they see the beauty of Jerusalem.

The Marathon will take place on March 1st 2013, and the deadline to enter all three races was on Feb 16th, so now if you want to participate, you can cheer your favorite runner.  March 1st was chosen as the date, because usually the weather has warmed up a bit and it hopefully won’t rain!

The cost of entering the Marathon

The cost is from $36 – $72, for non Israelis and 60 NIs to 240 NIS. In the public race, you can walk or run, and everyone gets a T-shirt for entering.

If you are already registered for the Marathon, be sure that you are in the final phase of your training. There will be a pre-run EXPO fair between February 26-28 at the International Conference Center, Jerusalem.  The subjects will be on sports and health.


David Ben Gurion

February 17th, 2013 | Posted by rachael in Hebrew-English | Israeli culture - (Comments Off on David Ben Gurion)

David Ben Gurion was the first Prime Minister (ראש ממשלה) of Israel.  Before that he was a mover and a shaker in the movement to establish the State of Israel. He was born in 1886 in Czarist Russia, with the name David Gruen which he brought into Hebrew as Ben Gurion. He was an early leader of the Zionist Movement whose aim was the establishment of a Jewish State.

Ben Gurion first came to Israel, then known as Palestine in 1906. He worked as a common laborer (פועל), joining the Poelai Zion (פועלי ציון) Party, and because of his personality was soon elected chairman.   The British were very suspicious( חשדו ) of him when World War I broke out and deported him.  He went to the United States (ארצות הברית) where he met his future wife, a nursing student, Paula Munweiss. They got married (התחתנו) , and in 1918, he joined the British Army, going to Egypt to fight. The war (מלחמה) was over by then,  and the British received Palestine as a Mandate to enforce the Balfour Declaration.  He went to Palestine with his wife and became the leader of the Labor Zionism movement.

In 1948, as The British Mandate was finishing, Ben Gurion started to prepare the country for the upcoming struggle with the surrounding Arab countries who he knew were going to invade as soon as the British left. He consolidated the army, with the Palmach, on the left with the Lechi on the right to make the Israeli Defense Forces (צה”ל). On May 14th 1948, the State of Israel was born, and plunged immediately into a war for its right to be the homeland for the Jews. Ben Gurion was the first Prime Minister.

As Prime Minister, he organized the IDF , the Israel Defense Forces, helped unify the country, sometimes through controversial means.  He negotiated agreements (הסכמות) after the war with Germany and France.   He helped settle hundreds of thousands refugees, Jews from Arab countries who fled to Israel when the gates of immigration were opened.

During his second stint as Prime Minister he was plagued by the Lavon Affair, which split the Mapai Party and in 1963, resigned (התפטר) from office. He died in 1973, after the Yom Kippur War. He was a great statesman and leader.

Vocabulary about David Ben Gurion

ראש ממשלה


פועלי ציון


ארצות הברית