Introduction to Biblical Hebrew

Welcome to our Introduction to Biblical Hebrew! This course is designed with high school students in mind, but can also be used by their parents or by younger students. Most lessons will have a short video done by me (David Giles, husband of EP creator Lee Giles) and often a worksheet as well. We will pause and review often. Hebrew is not an easy language, but I try to make it fun and get you reading actual Bible passages as soon as possible. If you put in a little bit of time regularly, preferably every day, you will make good progress.

I would love to hear from you! If you have any feedback/suggestions, please email me at eplanguagelive@gmail.com.

NOTE: This page is still under construction!

List of Handwritten Letters

Lesson 1

  1. Listen to Mr. G’s introductory video.
  2. Watch this short video on how the ancient Phoenician alphabet evolved into the Hebrew alphabet, and later into the Greek and Latin alphabets.
  3. Please note that we will NOT be introducing the Hebrew letters in their proper order. We will have a lesson later on the order of the Hebrew letters, the “alef-bet” or alphabet.

Lesson 2* (Note that an asterisk * indicates that there is a worksheet to print for this lesson)

  1. Listen to the video on the first two letters we are learning: alef and lamed.
  2. *Practice writing the alef with this worksheet. Note that a list of the handwritten forms of all the letters is available in the course introduction and again in Lesson 29 (#3).
  3. If you are interested in more detailed information on the alef, look at hebrew4christians.
  4. *Practice writing the lamed with this worksheet. Then, look at the Hebrew writing below the lamed and circle any alefs and lameds you see.
  5. If you are interested in more detailed information on the lamed, you can look at hebrew4christians.
  6. *If you would like, you can go now to Lesson 6 and print the list of vocabulary we’ll be learning over this first week. You can use it as a reference to practice the words that you are introduced to each day in the video. This is optional; if you don’t do it now, you will print it on Lesson 6. If you do choose to print now, do not work ahead; just stick with the two words you have been introduced to that day.

Lesson 3*

  1. Listen to the video on the next two letters we’ll be learning: hey and resh.
  2. *Practice writing hey with this worksheet.
  3. If you are interested in more detailed information on hey, look at hebrew4christians.
  4. *Practice writing resh with this worksheet.
  5. If you are interested in more detailed information on the resh, you can look at hebrew4christians.

Lesson 4*

  1. Listen to the video on our next letter: mem.
  2. *Practice writing mem with this worksheet. And don’t forget to practice the version of mem that comes at the end of the word; here it is again (mem sofit):
  3. If you are interested in more detailed information on mem, look at hebrew4christians.

Lesson 5*

  1. Listen to the video on the next letter: nun.
  2. *Practice writing nun with this worksheet. And don’t forget to practice the form of nun that comes at the end of a word; here it is again (nun sofit):
  3. If you are interested in more detailed information on nun, look at hebrew4christians.

Lesson 6*

  1. Today is Review Day! Watch the video to review letters and vocabulary we’ve covered so far.
  2. *If you have not done so already, you can print this list of vocabulary from Lessons 2-5 (List 1). Use it for reference, and I would suggest you continue to review a few words every day, even as you continue with new lessons. Copy the words several times (using Hebrew letters, not English) and pronounce them as you do so. You can refer to past worksheets to remind you how to handwrite the letters.
  3. Here are flashcards for Vocabulary List 1 to help you review and practice. Note that you can click the little speaker icon to hear the words, but the computer will pronounce them with an American accent that may not always be correct.

Lesson 7*

  1. Listen to the video on our next letter: Ḥet (also sometimes spelled Chet). Don’t confuse this letter with hei!
  2. *Practice writing Ḥet with this worksheet.
  3. If you are interested in more detailed information about Ḥet, look at hebrew4christians.
  4. *Remember that you may want to print the list of vocabulary for week 2 at this time.

Lesson 8*

  1. Listen to the video on our next letter: ayin.
  2. *Practice writing ayin with this worksheet.
  3. If you are interested in more detailed information about ayin, look at hebrew4christians.

Lesson 9*

  1. Listen to the video on our next group of letters: bet and vet. Note that these are actually considered to be a single letter. With a dot, it has a “b” sound, but without a dot, it has a “v” sound.
  2. *Practice writing bet/vet with this worksheet.
  3. If you are interested in more detailed information about bet/vet, look at hebrew4christians.

Lesson 10*

  1. Watch the video on the next letter, dalet.
  2. *Practice writing dalet with this worksheet.
  3. If you are interested in more detailed information about dalet, look at hebrew4christians.

Lesson 11*

  1. Watch the second week review video to review letters and new words we’ve learned over the past week.
  2. *Once again, if you have not done so already, you can print this list of vocabulary from Lessons 7-10 (List 2). Use it for reference, and I would suggest you continue to review a few words every day, even as you continue with new lessons. Copy the words several times (using Hebrew letters, not English) and pronounce them as you do so. You can refer to past worksheets to remind you how to handwrite the letters.
  3. Here are flashcards for Vocabulary List 2 for review.
  4. *If you wish you can print this page containing the three verses (or portions of verses) given in the video, to practice finding familiar words.

Lesson 12*

  1. Watch the video for our next letter, yod.
  2. *Practice writing yod with this worksheet.
  3. If you’d like more detailed information on yod, you can refer to hebrew4christians.
  4. *Remember that you may want to print the list of vocabulary for week 3 at this time.

Lesson 13*

  1. Watch the video for our next letter, gimel.
  2. *Practice writing gimel with this worksheet.
  3. If you’d like more detailed information on gimel, you can refer to hebrew4christians.

Lesson 14*

  1. Watch the video for our next letter, tsade, which has regular and sofit forms.
  2. *Practice writing tsade with this worksheet. And don’t forget to practice the sofit (word end) form. Here it is again (tsade sofit):
  3. If you’d like more detailed information on tsade, you can refer to hebrew4christians.

Lesson 15*

  1. Watch the video for our next letter, kaf, which is also called khaf in its non-dagesh (non-dotted) form. This letter also has regular and sofit forms.
  2. *Practice writing kaf/khaf with this worksheet. And don’t forget to practice the sofit (word end) form. Here it is again:
  3. If you’d like more detailed information on kaf/khaf, you can refer to hebrew4christians.

Lesson 16*

  1. Watch the third week review video to review letters and words we’ve learned this week.
  2. *Once again, if you have not done so already, you can print this list of vocabulary from Lessons 12-15 (List 3). Use it for reference, and I would suggest you continue to review a few words every day, even as you continue with new lessons. Copy the words several times (using Hebrew letters, not English) and pronounce them as you do so. You can refer to past worksheets to remind you how to handwrite the letters.
  3. Here are flashcards for Vocabulary List 3 for review.

Lesson 17*

  1. Watch the video for our next letter, tav.
  2. *Practice writing tav with this worksheet.
  3. If you’d like more detailed information on tav, you can refer to hebrew4christians.

Lesson 18*

  1. Watch the video for our next letter, qof.
  2. *Practice writing qof with this worksheet.
  3. If you’d like more detailed information on qof, you can refer to hebrew4christians.

Lesson 19*

  1. Watch the video for our next letter(s), shin and sin.
  2. *Practice writing shin/sin with this worksheet.
  3. If you’d like more detailed information on shin/sin, you can refer to hebrew4christians.

Lesson 20*

  1. Watch the video for our next letter(s), pey and fey.
  2. *Practice writing pey/fey with this worksheet. And don’t forget to practice the sofit (word end) form. Here it is again:
  3. If you’d like more detailed information on pey/fey, you can refer to hebrew4christians.

Lesson 21*

  1. Watch the fourth week review video to review letters and words we’ve learned this week.
  2. *Once again, if you have not done so already, you can print this list of vocabulary from Lessons 17 – 20 (List 4). Use it for reference, and I would suggest you continue to review a few words every day, even as you continue with new lessons. Copy the words several times (using Hebrew letters, not English) and pronounce them as you do so. You can refer to past worksheets to remind you how to handwrite the letters.
  3. Here are flashcards for Vocabulary List 4 for review.

Lesson 22*

  1. Watch the video for our next letter, vav.
  2. *Practice writing vav with this worksheet.
  3. If you’d like more detailed information on vav, you can refer to hebrew4christians.

Lesson 23*

  1. Watch the video for our next letter, samekh.
  2. *Practice writing samekh with this worksheet.
  3. If you’d like more detailed information on samekh, you can refer to hebrew4christians.

Lesson 24*

  1. Watch the video for our next letter, tet.
  2. *Practice writing tet with this worksheet.
  3. If you’d like more detailed information on tet, you can refer to hebrew4christians.

Lesson 25*

  1. Watch the video for our next letter, zayin.
  2. *Practice writing zayin with this worksheet.
  3. If you’d like more detailed information on zayin, you can refer to hebrew4christians.

Lesson 26*

  1. Watch the fifth week review video for a quick review of the last week’s new letters and vocabulary.
  2. *If you have not done so already, you can print this list of vocabulary from Lessons 22-25 (List 5). Use it for reference, and I would suggest you continue to review a few words every day, even as you continue with new lessons. Copy the words several times (using Hebrew letters, not English) and pronounce them as you do so. You can refer to past worksheets to remind you how to handwrite the letters.
  3. Here are flashcards for Vocabulary List 5 for review.

Lesson 27*

  1. We’re going to take a few days to make sure we’re completely familiar with ALL of the letters we’ve learned.
  2. *You will refer to this worksheet. Starting on the right (where you would normally start reading a Hebrew text), look at each Hebrew letter in each word. As you get to each letter, pronounce it ALOUD. You are NOT pronouncing the words; you will just ignore the vowel markings. And you are NOT pronouncing the names of the letters (we’ll do that in the next lesson), but rather the SOUND that they make. If you do this well, it will help you increase your speed and comfort in reading the Hebrew alphabet.  Refer to the video in section 3 below for an example.
  3. Here’s the video in which I do a few example words to get you started; then I will go through all the verses from the worksheet and you can do it along with me.  Please make sure you try it by yourself BEFORE doing it with the video.
  4. If you struggled with any letters, underline those and practice writing them and saying the sound they make aloud as you write.

Lesson 28

  1. Today we will use the same worksheet from Lesson 27, but this time I want you to SAY THE NAME OF EACH LETTER as you get to it. You should practice this until you can say the names of the Hebrew letters without thinking.
  2. Here’s the video; if you have already tried it yourself, then you can watch and do it along with me and check yourself.
  3. If you struggled or hesitated with any letters, make a note of them and practice them!

Lesson 29*

  1. Today we’ll practice writing the letters and recognizing their Hebrew names.
  2. *Print this worksheet and write the letters next to their names.
  3. You can check your answers on the list of handwritten letters.  If you got any wrong, or find that you are not writing a particular letter correctly, practice those letters more.

Lesson 30

  1. Today we’re focusing on the ORDER of the letters in Hebrew. The alphabet in Hebrew is known (of course) as the Alef-Bet. You can refer to your list of handwritten letters from Lesson 29; they are given in their Alef-Bet order.
  2. Hebrew is considered to have 22 letters; dagesh/non-dagesh and sofit/non-sofit variants are all considered to be variants of the same letter, just as is the case with shin/sin. You can see this on the list of letters mentioned above. For example, Kaf, Khaf, Kaf Sofit, and Khaf Sofit are all considered to be the same letter, falling under the name “Kaf.”
  3. Listen to this catchy song reciting the alef-bet and try to start getting familiar with the order. You can ignore the funky English-letter transcription in the video. It uses specialized symbols used by scholars. We’ll practice the alef-bet order more in the next few lessons to make sure you have it memorized.

Lesson 31

  1. Today we’re going to memorize the letters in order from Alef – Zayin. We’re also going to review some of our past vocabulary. Watch the video to practice along with me.
  2. Listen to the alphabet song again. Ideally it should get stuck in your head so you’re humming it to yourself all day. If you like, you can search for other alef-bet songs. There are tons of them of varying quality and levels of annoying-ness.

Lesson 32

  1. Today we’re going to memorize the letters in order from Ḥet – Nun. We’re also going to review more of our past vocabulary. Watch the video to practice along with me.
  2. Listen to the alphabet song again.

Lesson 33

  1. Today we’re going to memorize the letters in order from Samekh – Tav. We’re also going to review the rest of our past vocabulary. Watch the video to practice along with me.
  2. Listen to the alphabet song again.

Lesson 34

  1. Watch the video for a quick introduction to the Hebrew Niqqud (pronounced nee-KOOD), which is the system of marking vowel sounds in Hebrew.
  2. With today’s lesson we begin learning new vocabulary again. If you would like to print out a vocabulary list for lessons 34 – 42 to refer to, you can find it on Lesson 43.
  3. Next we’ll learn a few vowel symbols each lesson.

Lesson 35

  1. Today we’ll learn the vowels which make the “A” sound. Watch the video.
  2. Start your VOWEL CHART today to help you keep track of the vowel symbols. Make columns for the vowel sign (what it looks like), the name of the vowel, the pronunciation, and an example word. Add the two vowels learned today.

Lesson 36

  1. Refer to your vocabulary lists (all of them) and write a list of each word you’ve learned which uses the pataḥ. Then make a list of each word which uses qamats. Make sure you know which is which!

Lesson 37

  1. Today we’ll learn the vowels which make the “E” sound. Watch the video.
  2. Don’t forget to add today’s vowels to your VOWEL CHART!

Lesson 38

  1. Refer to your vocabulary lists (all of them) and write a list of each word you’ve learned which uses the segol. Then make a list of words which use the tsere. Make sure you know which is which!

Lesson 39

  1. Today we’ll learn the “I” vowel (making the “EE” sound). Watch the video.
  2. Don’t forget to add today’s vowel to your vowel chart!

Lesson 40

  1. Today we’ll learn the “O” vowel. Watch the video.
  2. Don’t forget to add today’s vowel to your vowel chart!

Lesson 41

  1. Review your vocabulary lists and make two separate lists: one of each word you’ve learned which uses the ḥiriq, and one of each word you’ve learned which uses the ḥolem Make sure you can distinguish the two!

Lesson 42

  1. Today we’ll learn the “U” vowels. Watch the video.
  2. Don’t forget to add today’s vowels to your vowel chart!

Lesson 43*

  1. Watch the video to help you review all the Niqqud (vowel pointing) and related vocabulary we’ve learned so far.
  2. *Here is your vocabulary list covering lessons 34 – 42 (List 6).
  3. Here are flashcards for Vocabulary List 6 for review.

Lesson 44*

  1. Watch the video to learn about writing vowels with “Matres Lectionis”! (By the way, the singular of that word is “Mater Lectionis.” It’s Latin.)
  2. *Print out this page of Genesis 1:1-5 in Hebrew. You’ll be using this for Lessons 44-46. Today, find and circle each instance of the mater lectionis vowels you learned about today (using VAV).
  3. With today’s lesson we begin learning new vocabulary again. If you would like to print out a vocabulary list for lessons 44 – 46 to refer to, you can find it on Lesson 47.

Lesson 45

  1. Watch the second video on the “mater lectionis” vowels.
  2. Using the sheet you printed on Lesson 44, circle (in a different color) each instance of the mater lectionis vowels you learned about today (using HEI).

Lesson 46

  1. Watch the third video on the “mater lectionis” vowels.
  2. Using the sheet you printed on Lesson 44, circle (in a different color) each instance of the mater lectionis vowels you learned about today (using YOD).

Lession 47*

  1. *Print out another copy of Genesis 1:1-5 in Hebrew. Go through carefully from beginning to end and name each vowel you see (call it by its name), and tell whether or not it is used along with a mater lectionis (VAV, HEI, or YOD).
  2. Watch the video to go through the vowels together for verses 1 and 2.
  3. Here is your vocabulary list covering lessons 44-46 (List 7).
  4. Here are flashcards for vocabulary list 7 for you to review. Don’t forget that the computer’s pronunciation of these words is not accurate 🙂  Pronounce them the way we learned in the video lessons.

Lesson 48

  1. Listen to Genesis 1:1-5 read aloud in Hebrew by a professional (not Mr. G!). Just listen to it two times.
  2. Now listen to it again and pause it every few seconds and try to repeat as best you can what you are hearing. It’s OK if you don’t know what you are saying. This will help your pronunciation and familiarity with the rhythm of the language. After you’ve done this once, do it again!
  3. Are you hearing any words you recognize? Hold that thought – we’ll come back to this in the next lesson!

Lesson 49

  1. Now listen to Genesis 1:1-5 again, and this time listen carefully for any words you recognize.
  2. Listen to it again, this time following along with your Genesis 1:1-5 verses that you printed earlier. Are you seeing any words you recognize? Underline them. HINT: some words may look slightly different than the way we learned them. Also, some words may have the Hebrew word for “and” tacked on to the beginning of them. Remember that is just the letter VAV.  Note that the word אֱלהִים (Elohim) means God.
  3. Tomorrow we’ll go through the verses together and I’ll point out all the words you know already.

Lesson 50 

  1. Watch the video where we go through Genesis 1:1-5 together and I point out the words you know.

Lesson 51

  1. Today we’ll review some vocabulary. Watch the video where we review vocabulary with pictures.

Lesson 52

  1. Watch today’s video on Hebrew syllables. Be sure to memorize the new word at the end!
  2. With today’s lesson we begin learning new vocabulary again. If you would like to print out a vocabulary list for lessons 52 – 56 to refer to, you can find it on Lesson 57.

Lesson 53

  1. Watch today’s video on the Dagesh. This is Part 1.

Lesson 54

  1. Watch today’s video on the Dagesh. This is Part 2.

Lesson 55

  1. Watch today’s video to practice more with weak and strong dageshes.

Lesson 56

  1. Watch the video on stress accent.

Lesson 57*

  1. *Print and complete this worksheet to help you review syllables, dageshes, and stress accent.
  2. After you’ve done your best to complete the worksheet, you can check your answers here.
  3. Here is a vocabulary list (List 8) for vocabulary from Lessons 52 – 56.
  4. Here are flashcards for vocabulary list 8 for you to review. Don’t forget that the computer’s pronunciation of these words is not accurate.  Pronounce them the way we learned in the video lessons.

Lesson 58

  1. Watch the video to help you review the recent vocabulary.
  2. Go back and do the flashcards again for Vocabulary List 7. It’s important to keep reviewing!

To be continued…