Shlomo’s Hebrew Page

Here you will find resources to learn Biblical and Prayerbook Hebrew. I’m not into Modern Hebrew, So if you want to learn how to order a falafel in Tel Aviv, you might want to check a different source.

Absolute Beginner Prayerbook Hebrew

Stuff You Know by Heart – A Self Study Course

This self learning class is to help those with little or no Hebrew experience to read and pronounce the prayers found in the Erev
Shabbat Siddur. Using chants and one-line prayers most people who have regularly attended services know by heart, students will learn the Hebrew letters and the pronunciation of Hebrew words. Even if you haven’t heard this liturgy before, there is transliteration to help you learn how to read Hebrew and feel comfortable with the prayers.

Time:

The more practice the better!
One suggestion for those with little time is to give yourself fifteen to thirty minutes in length
to do the lesson. The audio is running about ten to fifteen minutes at this point, so use that as a guide.

Course Content:

Students will learn to read the commonly used liturgical phrases, with the goal of independently reading any Hebrew text. Click on the title of the unit to go to that unit in Adobe Acrobat format. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, click here to go to the acrobat reader web page. We suggest you do them in sequence, and learn one very well before going on to the next one. Each unit consists of a passage from the Siddur, the new letters and vowels, and any notes about reading this passage in Hebrew correctly. We’ll end with a few notes about this piece of liturgy.

Lesson # Lesson title Lesson Description
a Aleph-Bet Summary Sheet Complete listing of Consonants and letters
b Calligraphy How to write the letters in the square script, just like the Torah
1 Ayl Na Letters, 1 and 2 syllables, healing Prayer
2 Shema 3 and 4 syllables, tetragrammaton, plene vowels
3 3. Baruch Shem Sofit and Dageshed letters
4 Ufros Aleinu Sofit and Dageshed letters
5 Mi Chamocha Longer phrases
6 Barchu Longer phrases, holem
7 Ps. 150 Phei Sofit, Longer phrase
8 Blessings Blessing formula, blessing for wine, bread
9 More Blessings Blessings for Candle Lighting and Handwashing
10 S’he-che-yanu Longer blessing formula, confusing vav’s

Materials Needed:

None, but if you are going to print these out, we suggest a loose-leaf binder or folder  to keep all your handouts in. I am using the exact text of the prayers, thus God names are used. Tradition says not to throw out papers with God names on them, but to treat them with respect.Therefore,it is best to store them in your binder both for
future reference and to avoid this transgression.

Suggestions:

Practice. These are both prayers and chants. Reading them repetitively is prayer and meditation, so you get merit for learning and for praying. Try as least twice a day.

Sing. Most people who go to services regularly know at least one melody to these phrases. Sing and point at the words as you sing them to get visual reference. Find CD’s with the melody and follow along.

Apply. Bring your stuff to synagogue, read the phrases in the Siddur or handouts during services.

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