I am getting ready for the Shabbat which doesn’t come in the UK until about 9pm. So let’s look at a Shabbat psalm 92. When designing E-vreet course, I thought one way to learn the alef-bait was to pair up a word that we already knew with the letter. I had trouble with the ט. I couldn’t think of a word. Then I hit on Mazel-tov! Almost everyone knows that term. They just need to know what it means. Although we use it to congratulate people, it actually means “good luck.” In Hebrew, it’s luck-good. That means tov טוב means good.
And if you know tov טוב, then you know a very important word in conversational Hebrew and Biblical Hebrew. It means more than just good, but you’ll get the feeling of a word the more you see it in context in the verses.
Let’s just look at one full thought: Tov l’hodot l’Adonai. טוב להדוב ליהוה. in Tehillim/Psalm 92:1
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord.”
Hebrew English: It-is-good to-give-thanks to-the-Lord.
The Hebrew English shows you why there are only three Hebrew words in this sentence. Hebrew English helps you understand how Hebrew expresses itself.
Hebrew is concrete. You can usually draw a picture from the words. In this sentence, Hebrew isn’t giving anything–there is no verb to give. So what’s going on here? Hebrew thanking is actually throwing or shooting thanks to God, like shooting a basket ball. You know you scored with the Lord. Or throwing confetti at a wedding. You’re happy; you’re excited. This is not a boring verb. The verb by the way is ידה. YADAH To learn what it means, take a look how it is used in all the verses in the bible. It will stretch your mind in new ways. It’s like spiritual palates. But the Shabbat is coming, so go rest until next week.
Shabbat Shalom שבת שלום