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Hallelu Hebrew

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Essorant
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since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


0 posted 04-26-2008 03:50 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I would like to recommend the grammarbook The First Hebrew Primer. I was amazed to find out how somewhat simple Hebrew is for an ancient language, and this book makes the grammar easy by not being cluttered with awkward terminologies.

In the nouns for example there are only two groups, the "feminine" that have the plural ending -ot, and the "masculine" with the plural ending -im.  (The "-ot" is pronounced "-ot" but English speakers usually transliterate it as "-oth"):

Feminine:

behemah "beast"
behemoth "beasts"

Masculine:

adon "lord"
adonim "lords"


Now you know whence the ending in elohim, seraphim, and cherubim come.  

The word for "the" in Hebrew is ha.  It is added right on to the beginning of the word:

ha-behema "the beast"
ha-behemoth "the beasts"

ha-adon "the lord"
ha-adonim "the lords"


When you wish to indicate the meaning of being "of", you simply put one noun after another.  The word beth means "house" and the word lehem means "bread".  When put together as beth lehem they mean "house of bread, Bethlehem".  If put together as lehem beth they would mean "bread of a house".

As well the verbs in Hebrew have only two tenses, perfect (complete) and imperfect (incomplete) that are translated in English as our past tense (I did) and future tense (I will do).  There is no present tense in verbs.  But when you wish to express present tense, it is implied by a "Noun Sentence", a sentence without a verb.   Hu "he" and melech "king"  as hu melech (with no verb) mean "he king", but imply the meaning "he is king" and thus a complete sentence in Hebrew.  The words yesh "there (is, are)" and en "there (is, are) not" are also used to imply the present tense.  

The book gave me enough confidence that I encourage others to take it in hand and learn the Hebrew of the bible for themselves.  

ilsm
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since 04-13-2008
Posts 62
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1 posted 04-26-2008 07:48 PM       View Profile for ilsm   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for ilsm

Interesting.  Maybe I'll look into Hebrew one day.  But simplicity isn't the motivation I need to learn a language.  If it were, I'd probably go for Esperanto.

But I learned a few interesting things from that post and it does intrigue me how diferent cultures say things so differently, in order to convey a simlar meanings.
Essorant
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since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


2 posted 05-10-2008 12:08 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

English-speakers don't encounter Hebrew words in English all that often.  I thought I would transliterate some Hebrew to give English-speakers some insight into important vocabulary, and words that show up often in the bible as well.  

I believe only two words below may be related to words we use in English.  The word ayin "eye" (that even sounds a bit like "eye") and abh "father" that written backwards with the b turned to p came to be pa)

When the hebrew b is spelt as bh below it means that it is pronounced as "v":  Abh =av, lebh =lev etc.  And any ch and any q has a hard k-sound: melech = melek, qol = kol.  

abh "father"
em "mother"
ben "son"
bat "daughter"
mishpahah "family"
ish "man"
ishah "woman"
am "people"
adam "human, mankind, Adam"
havah "living, Eve"
hayim "life"
mavet "death"
behemah "animal, beast"
yom "day"
lailah "night"
boqer "morning"
erebh "evening"
ir "city"
erets "land"
shamayim "heavens, heaven"
lebh "heart"
nephesh "soul"
olam "eternity"
adon "lord"
melech "king"
malach "angel"
shalom "peace"
milhamah "war"
dabhar "word"
mispar "number"
sepher "book"
lehem "bread"
mishpat "judgement"
qol "voice"
shem "name, character"
yad "hand"
derek "road, way"
shar "chief"
cohen "priest"
zahabh "gold"
midbar "wilderness"
ohel "tent"
ayin "eye"
panim "face"
rosh "head"
berit "covenant"
dam "blood"
ets "tree"
zera "seed, descendants"
mitsvah "commandment"
nabhi "prophet"

Note: the "h" in hayim and a few other words stands for that is actually a "ch"-( as in Bach )-sound in Hebrew.  Sometimes this letter is transliterated as h or as ch.  Therefore hayim "life" may sometimes be spelt as chayim and lehem "bread" sometimes as lechem.

Bob K
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since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


3 posted 05-11-2008 02:09 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Essorant,

          Once again, a fascinating topic.  I never learned Hebrew, but I grew up around both Hebrew and Yiddish.
Nephesh, which you translate correctly (I believe) as soul,
is one of those words that don't quite fit well into other languages.  I was told that the word included not only the same things we thing of when we speak of as soul, but also a man's (I believe it was specifically "a man's" but it's been so long I can't remember.  I'm also told that there are Hebrew words for God that fit into a genderless  category and which are used in some of the creation stories.) property, his sheep, his tents, his rugs, his gold, crops, his wives and concubines, and his children were all considered part of his Nephesh.

     Mitsvah is used in Yiddish as "a blessing" or "a good deed."

     "Panim," or "face," in Hebrew is used still in Yiddish.  The phrase where you would hear it used most often is a classic Yiddish mix of Hebrew and German when somebody talks about a child as having a "shayne punam," or a beautiful face.  Shayne (two syllables) is from the German "schoene," if my spelling isn't too far off.

     Just a few thoughts and memories stirred up.  Boker tov!  Yours, BobK.
Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


4 posted 05-11-2008 12:18 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Shalom Bob!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.  It sounds like you did learn Hebrew to some extent.  

Not sure about "genderless" terms.  Even verbs  indicate the masculine and feminine genders.  In the first line of the bible for example the word bara "fattened, filled" (that the Western mind translates as "created"), is a masculine singular form.  The masculine singular form of the verb is used because it goes along with the word Elohim that is a masculine noun.  The form of Elohim though is literally a plural form since it ends in -im, but in Hebrew, plurals were some times used collectively or intensively to express a singular being or thing that stands out from the ordinary.  In any case, the Hebrew is very clear, using a singular verb when elohim means "God", and a plural verb when elohim means "gods".  

There is an interesting comment about mitsvah by Jeff A. Benner in his book, His Name is One:

"The word "command" usually brings to mind a meaning similar to "the orders of a general to his troops which are to be carried out without question or understanding." This is another case where our Western culture has given an interpretation outside of its Hebraic context.  Two related Hebrew words are translated as "command": tsav and mitsvah, both derived from the parent root tsah.

Several other words derived from this parent word will provide the actual Hebraic context that will help us understand the meaning of "command" as understood by the Hebrews.  The word tsiyiy is a "nomad".  The shepherds were desert dwellers who traveled through the wilderness in search of water and pastures for the flocks.  The Hebrew word tsiyon can mean a "desert" or "landmark".  This word is also used as a place name and transliterated as Zion, the holy mountain of God.  The nomad uses the various landmarks of the desert much like we use road signs to guide us to our destination.  Another word yatsa while usually translated as "to come out" is the "migration" or the journeys of the nomad.

The words tsav and mitsvah are literally the landmarks that point out the road to green pastures or figuratively the commands that point out the road to life.  "

From that perspective, it becomes understandable how a "command" might also be seen as a "blessing".  

 
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