It is traditional today, on Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, to read the book of Ruth. What is Ruth, a … More Shavuot: Musings on Law and Spirit and Reading the Book of Ruth
Is the written Torah a set of ideal laws or a constitution for a people? Is it a collection of … More How Can Torah Permit Slavery?
There’s a famous/infamous website called “Bad Hebrew Tattoos.” But sometimes people get it right (like when they consult with someone … More Good Hebrew Tattoos
The Nerd started a private Facebook community and trust him when he says you will want to join it. It’s … More Announcement: Hebrew Insights Facebook Group
The Nerd did not grow up keeping Shabbat (the Sabbath) and learned to love the ritual, decoration, and unity the … More Audio Liturgy: Shabbat (the Sabbath)
Rather than, “You shall obey Adonai with all your being,” we find instead “you shall love.” v’ahavta et-Adonai Eloheicha bechōl-levavcha … More Words of Torah: Love
The difference between staring at a page of the Bible and becoming engaged by its content generally comes down to … More Proverbs 10:1-6
On their first night of freedom, the Israelites saw a cloud from the ground up that was between them and … More Words of Torah: But It Lit the Night
“Your maxims are proverbs of ashes,” said a man being unjustly judged by his friends. “Your arguments are clay pots.” … More IHBPOM: How Not to Use Wisdom
We’re discussing wisdom literature and specifically Proverbs 10:1-6 this month in our new “Interesting Hebrew Bible Passage of the Month” … More IHBPOM February: Getting Started with Proverbs 10:1-6
Occasionally something as mundane as a verb tense brings a surprise with it. It can even open a door for … More Words of Torah: How Long Has Pharaoh Refused?
Rabbi Sacks tells the story of Jews in the Kovno ghetto during WWII who realized they were bound to die. … More Words of Torah: Moses Hears the Triple Name
The Nerd loves to provide Hebrew learners fun ways to see the rules of Hebrew grammar in action. Many readers … More Unit 4, Nouns in Isaiah 2:2-4
Something is wrong with Elimelech. He doesn’t sense it. The rabbis grasp the logic of Torah in a way that … More Ruth 1:2-7
The Nerd needs to teach you how syllables work in Hebrew. He plans to keep it simple and skip over … More 3 Syllables and Schwa
From our tiny corner the vastness looks incomprehensible and tragic. Cruel events pass before our eyes. But moments of good … More Words of Torah: Joseph Sees the Scheme of Things
Students of Hebrew will be delighted to know that the rabbis felt their pain in advance. Hebrew is an ambiguous … More Ambiguity and Translation: The “Judging of the Judges” in Ruth 1:1
Ruth 1:1 וַיְהִי בִּימֵי שְׁפֹט הַשֹּׁפְטִים וַיְהִי רָעָב בָּאָרֶץ וַיֵּלֶךְ אִישׁ מִבֵּית לֶחֶם יְהוּדָה לָגוּר בִּשְׂדֵי מוֹאָב הוּא וְאִשְׁתּוֹ וּשְׁנֵי … More Ruth 1:1
The Nerd has known many students who studied Hebrew in other programs and did not learn the names of the … More 2 Vowels
The Nerd congratulates you on your decision to start learning the rules of Hebrew, beginning with the consonants of the … More 1 Consonants
Most of the time we are blind to the grandeur, unaware of the mystery, dumb to the glory which has … More Words of Torah: Jacob Feels Small
When the Israelites found themselves a forgotten people, making bricks in Egypt, they had long ago lost the light. Enslaved, … More Words of Torah: God in Exile with Us
The book of Ruth seems to be a nice tale, perhaps a love story. But why is it included in … More Introduction to Ruth as a Book of Chesed
The Hebrew text surprises us with unusual, sometimes deeply meaningful, phrases. Consider the story of Joseph. His brothers did not … More Words of Torah: Joseph Feels Deeply
The Nerd doesn’t mean to be critical. But it’s technically true that Hebrew vowels are “diacritical marks” (Google it). You see, Hebrew originally had no vowels (and modern Hebrew doesn’t use them either). Rabbinic scribes (Masoretes) in the early Middle Ages worried people would forget how to pronounce Hebrew. But they did not want to add letters to the sacred text. So they used markings below and above the letters instead. Now, here are some flashcards and the Nerd will try and make it easy for you.
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People tell the Nerd they wish Hebrew didn’t have unusual letters. Why can’t the Hebrew alphabet be simple, they ask? The Nerd reminds students all the time that English is one of the most difficult languages on earth and Hebrew is simple by comparison. This video covers the consonants that make some students cringe. Watch how easy it is and don’t be worried. You’ll get it.
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A student, to whom I am much indebted and who has been a friend now for years, asked me for … More SHALOM, WHOLENESS, WELL-BEING, PEACE, WELFARE, RECOMPENSE, REWARD