Fun with Hebrew

How to Enjoy Learning a Biblical Language.

2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled on a collection of entertaining videos that teach how to speak and read Biblical Hebrew. At first, I found them cute and amusing.

But they are much, much more than that. They are changing me, and they will change anyone to takes the time to watch them.

And the marvelous thing is that watching them isn't work. They may not be as exciting as a great movie, but compared to most educational videos they are a dream. All you have to do is sit there an repeat what they say. The videos even have some comedic moments.

They are called “Aleph with Beth” and are made by Beth and Andrew Case. They have an obvious gift for teaching. Here’s a link to a four-minute introduction in English, where Beth explains their method.

After that, there’s no more English. The lessons are all in Hebrew — here:

If you’re interested, below are some useful clues that should keep you from getting stuck in the first video. If you want to pursue it more, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I’ll send you the “crib sheets” for lessons two through four. After that, you won’t need my help.

Here are a few short words that will help you follow lesson 1. Please note that you should only glance at this list as needed to help you follow what Beth is saying. That way you won’t get frustrated. Don’t memorize the translations here; just use them to get unstuck. Let the video do the teaching.

Sound in         English
Hebrew           Translation
Ma                   What
Ah-yeh             Where
Zeh                  This (m)
Zot                  This (f)
Tove                Good
Low                 No
Ya-feh              Fair, beautiful

Also, be aware that the verb “to be” is usually omitted from a Hebrew sentence. You’ll get used to this.

So, “Ma Zeh,” ("what this") means, “What is this?” for a masculine noun.

The word “a” is also left out in Hebrew, so, “Zeh …,” means, “This is a …” No verb and no “a.”


Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.