Learning Languages with Legos: Hebrew

E-Vreet has finally rolled out its fourth course in Biblical Hebrew: Learn Hebrew with LEGOS. It seems that Legos are the perfect tools to demonstrate how Biblical Hebrew works. Although this is our fourth course, it will be the introductory course for students new to Biblical Hebrew. It’s got to be the only course that doesn’t actually teach you Biblical Hebrew but teaches you about Biblical Hebrew. It’s hard enough learning about an ancient language without having to learn the language itself at the same time. This course gives students insight into how Biblical Hebrew is structured using Psalm 23 in English. They also get insight into Psalm 23.

After this course, students will be ready for E-Vreet’s “Meet the Hebrew Alphabet.” Then they can learn about Hebrew roots through Biblical names in the Hebrew Roots course. Finally, they can actually learn how to read and make their own sentences in “Learn how to Read Hebrew through the Bible.”

We tried using the Lego method to teach Greek, but so far, it just doesn’t work as easily as it does for Hebrew. Hebrew really isn’t such a difficult language. It’s just that many who want to learn Hebrew have English as their mother tongue and were never forced to learn another language as many others need to do.

This course was designed for busy people who have jobs, growing families, and are legos logointimidated by the traditional Biblical Hebrew courses. E-Vreet is not trying to replace the traditional courses but E-Vreet hopes to guide and prepare students for these courses.


Let us reason together

quote-come-now-let-us-reason-together-lyndon-b-johnson-67-54-60During the Vietnam war crisis, LBJ used part of Isaiah 1:8 with the protestors who were against the USA’s involvement.  With the division among the people of faith, I thought I could use the same verse now.  But that’s the problem when using just a half a verse–you don’t have the right context. It’s not talking about about listening to each others’ viewpoint, as a kindly arbitrator, trying to be objective and compromising.  It’s talking about sin and how the LORD can settle the legal matter of our sins through cleansing.  As you read past the verse and even past the chapter, you’ll see the theme.

And then when I went into the Hebrew verb for “reason”, I found that God wasn’t trying to reason with anyone. The verb is yakakh.  It is used in the niphal form which means to correct or rebuke. In everyday parlance, that means God is telling people that they are plain wrong.  It’s not up for discussion.


To see what the verb means, let’s see how Isaiah uses this verb.


And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Isaiah 2:4


And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

Isaiah 11:3,4


Perhaps the LORD your God will hear the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, sent to mock the living God, and perhaps he will rebuke the words that the LORD your God has heard. So lift up a prayer for the remnant that still survives in this city.”

Isaiah 37:4


Who cause a person to be indicted by a word, And ensnare him who adjudicates at the gate, And defraud the one in the right with meaningless arguments.

Isaiah 29:21

I think that the psalmist in Psalm 141:5 gives us the best way to use this verb, but it may be lost in the KJV:

Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.

Let’s look at another translation to get the sense of it in modern thought:

Let the godly strike me! It will be a kindness! If they correct me, it is soothing medicine. Don’t let me refuse it. But I pray constantly against the wicked and their deeds.

Psalm 103:13 Looking at it in Hebrew

״Like as a father hath compassion upon his children,
So hath the LORD compassion upon them that fear Him.״
  JPS version
I thought it would be fun to break down this verse in Hebrew; because it’s only in the Hebrew will you see that the word for compassion mentioned in this verse is very special.

כרחם אב על־בנים

like compassion of the father for his children

רחם יהוה על־יראיו׃

so is the compassion of the LORD for those who fear (respect) Him.


Remember to read Hebrew from right to left.  See if you can find the word for father (AV):

AV אב

The word for compassion here comes from the word “womb.”

ReHeM רחם

This word rehem (with a hard H) means that the compassion that the LORD has for us is like a mother with a new-born child.  There is another Hebrew word that is translated as compassion, but the writer of this psalm chose this word, reHem.

Find the word רחם in the verse. It appears twice.

Hebrew expresses “like or as” with a sticky letter


So that is why we have


Now let’s look at the Hebrew word for “children.”  The Hebrew word means sons here, but it includes both sons and daughters. The word for son in Hebrew is

BEN בן.

In this verse, it is in the plural as


Hebrew uses the sticky letters


on masculine plural nouns; so that is why we have


literally means “sons.”

Remember that the LORD loves you not just like a father, but like a mother.  As mighty and powerful as the LORD is, He can be a tender and gentle as a mother with a frail new-born.   He can subdue armies, move mountains, cause the sea to part, but His strength and authority does not mean that He can’t be delicate and deal with intimate details of life. Jewish fathers have a special love for their babies and will care for them and hold them. They don’t think they are too macho to take care of their babies.

To learn more Hebrew, come to UDEMY at https://www.udemy.com/aleph-bait-soup-read-biblical-hebre…/…

To learn more about the soldier in the photo, click here.

All the sections of Psalm (Tehillim) 119 on Video

Yes, some day I will get over this flu.  Thought I was over it and it came back.  So I’ve been working on an additional feature for the Learn Hebrew through the Bible course:  I’m almost finished uploaded 22 videos of Psalm 119–one video for each letter.  So now you can listen and look at the Hebrew words.  For instance, you can listen to Psalm 119’s section of the Gimel, where each verse begins with a Gimel.  Your mission in this exercise is simple, just identify the Gimel sound at the beginning of each verse.  That’s the G sound.  Sounds simple, but it’s exercises your brain and your ear.

What’s really cool about Psalm 119 is that each verse is a couplet.  It’s almost as if the writer was designing this psalm for learners of Hebrew.  Each verse has two thoughts.  Each thought is usually about three or four words, so it makes it easier for you to follow along with the Hebrew.

The video uses the “yad” which is the long stick with a hand that traditionally Rabbis use in teaching and reading.  By following the yad, you know what verse the speaker is reading.  You might be able to pick out a few words here and there, depending on your level of Hebrew.  Even if you don’t know any Hebrew, this exercise is really important: it helps you develop an ear for the language of Hebrew.  Just relax and get into the rhythm of Hebrew.  This exercise will speed up your learning down the road.

Here is an example with the letter Samekh.

Psalm 119 teaches you the Hebrew alphabet

Psalm 119 aleph

This is a picture of the first section of Psalm 119 in Hebrew.  Psalm 119 has 22 sections: one for each letter of the alphabet.  Notice how each verse begins with the same letter.  That letter is the Aleph: the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  Its name is similar to the Greek letter, Alpha.  So the Hebrew alphabet is called the aleph-bet or aleph-bait.  Notice how we read Hebrew from right to left.  This is a type of Hebrew poetry called acrostics.  It helps you remember the verses too.  Listen to this psalm in Hebrew and learn the sounds of each letter of the Hebrew alphabet as the sound changes after eight verses.  http://www.mechon-mamre.org/mp3/t26b9.mp3

To learn more, check out the course “Learn Hebrew through the Bible” while it is still free at Udemy.

Are you tired of those Facebook verses with the pretty pictures?

In the KJV, Psalm 55:17-Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

I saw this verse as you do on Facebook on a nice picture of a sunrise and a figure in the background. If you just read the verse, you think, that’s nice–we pray to God three times a day and He will hear us. But when I looked at the Hebrew verbs for pray and cry aloud, I got a different story.

There was no “pray” there. The verb means to muse, complain, talk. Job used the verb for complaining. But he also used it when communing with God. I felt like there was a lot more to this verb. See for yourself: http://biblehub.com/hebrew/strongs_7878.htm

Then what about crying aloud. Sometimes we say, “for crying outloud!” Now I know where it comes from. The verb means to murmur, growl, roar. Mmmm…this is not quite what the picture in Facebook was showing. No quiet scene here. Check it out here: http://biblehub.com/hebrew/1993.htm

Ok, so I could study these verbs for hours and check what all the Hebrew scholars say. Get the rabbis, etc. Or I could do it the easy way. I could read the Psalm!

That’s where I got my answer. The psalmist here is not happy. He’s pretty distressed and anxious due to the enemy. Sounds like he could have written it for today. He is also upset because one of his close friends went against him. Now that puts verse 17 in context. See for yourself in the NET version:

1Listen, O God, to my prayer!

Do not ignore my appeal for mercy!

2Pay attention to me and answer me!

I am so upset and distressed, I am beside myself,

3because of what the enemy says,

and because of how the wicked pressure me,

for they hurl trouble down upon me

and angrily attack me.

4My heart beats violently within me;

the horrors of death overcome me.

5Fear and panic overpower me;

terror overwhelms me.

6I say, “I wish I had wings like a dove!

I would fly away and settle in a safe place!

7Look, I will escape to a distant place;

I will stay in the wilderness. (Selah)

8I will hurry off to a place that is safe

from the strong wind and the gale.”

9Confuse them, O Lord!

Frustrate their plans!

For I see violence and conflict in the city.

10Day and night they walk around on its walls,

while wickedness and destruction are within it.

11Disaster is within it;

violence and deceit do not depart from its public square.

12Indeed, it is not an enemy who insults me,

or else I could bear it;

it is not one who hates me who arrogantly taunts me,

or else I could hide from him.

13But it is you, a man like me,

my close friend in whom I confided.

14We would share personal thoughts with each other;

in God’s temple we would walk together among the crowd.

15May death destroy them!

May they go down alive into Sheol!

For evil is in their dwelling place and in their midst.

16As for me, I will call out to God,

and the Lord will deliver me.

17During the evening, morning, and noontime

I will lament and moan,

and he will hear me.

18He will rescue me and protect me from those who attack me,

even though they greatly outnumber me.

19God, the one who has reigned as king from long ago,

will hear and humiliate them. (Selah)

They refuse to change,

and do not fear God.

20He attacks his friends;

he breaks his solemn promises to them.

21His words are as smooth as butter,

but he harbors animosity in his heart.

His words seem softer than oil,

but they are really like sharp swords.

22Throw your burden upon the Lord,

and he will sustain you.

He will never allow the godly to be upended.

23But you, O God, will bring them down to the deep Pit.

Violent and deceitful people will not live even half a normal lifespan.

But as for me, I trust in you.

What does the name Jared and the name for the Jordan river have in common?

Do you know that you know how to say “He descended” in Hebrew? Well, if you know the name Jared, then you do. Ya-RED (Jared in Hebrew–there are no J’s in Hebrew–so what does that tell you about the name of Jesus?)

So anyway, Ya-RED means “He descended”.

So if you wanted to say that “Avraham descended” in Hebrew, you say, “Avraham yared.”  You never know when you might want to say that in Hebrew.

It’s also the verb used in Psalm 133 when talking about the oil dripping down Aaron’s beard.  So you won’t be surprised to know that yaRED is used for rain coming down.

It is also how the Jordan river got its name. The river goes down from the sea of Galilee which is in the north of Israel and travels south to the Dead Sea, which is really called the Salt Sea.


Hebrew Meditation is Noisy

When you think of the word meditation, the stereo-type image that comes to mind is perhaps transcendental meditation, or a guru in India in a lotus position clearing out his mind, or monks in a seminary praying in silence.  In my exploration of Biblical Hebrew, it seems to me that the psalmist in Psalm 1 might have been a bit noisy. As opposed to the Hindu who is told to empty his mind, the psalmist is instructed to interact with the Torah until it is his, his Torah.  He reads it out loud. Today’s psalmist might sound like this, “Wow!”  or “Mmmmm…..”  or even “”What?” showing incomprehension or even mourning while reading the Torah.  What is he doing? He is having a dialogue with the scriptures.  He is talking back to them.  He is so into his studies that he is no longer self-conscious about making noises.

The Hebrew root word for meditation is הגה

In Modern Hebrew, it means sound, steering wheel, rudder.

In Job, the Lord is the Actor of this verb.  In this verse, it’s talking about thunder going out of his mouth.  (BTW, I love the double Shema, Shema for “Hear attentively.”  It reminds me of the British Parliment, declaring, “Hear, hear!”)

Job 37:2 Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goes out of his mouth.
Job 37:2 שמעו שמוע ברגז קלו והגה מפיו יצא׃

The best way to learn the meaning of a Hebrew word it to see it in context in the scriptures.  Let’s have a look at some English verses using  הגה .  When you see the different English words used for this Hebrew word, you may be doing some hegehing yourself:  muttering, talking to yourself…

Ps 35:28 ​​​​​​​Then I will tell others about your justice, ​​​​​​and praise you all day long.
Ps 35:28 ולשוני תהגה צדקך כל היום תהלתך׃

Ps 63:6 ​​​​​​​whenever I remember you on my bed, ​​​​​​and think about you during the nighttime hours.
Ps 63:6 אם זכרתיך על יצועי באשמרות אהגה בך׃

Ps 90:9 For, all our days, decline in thy wrath,––We end our years like a sigh.
Ps 90:9  ט   כי כל-ימינו פנו בעברתך    כלינו שנינו כמו-הגה

Prov 15:28 The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.
Prov 15:28  כח   לב צדיק יהגה לענות    ופי רשעים יביע רעות

Prov 24:2 For, violence, their heart muttereth, and, mischief, their lips do speak.
Prov 24:2  ב   כי-שד יהגה לבם    ועמל שפתיהם תדברנה

Isa 31:4 For, Thus, hath Yahweh said unto me––Like as a lion or a young lion growleth, over his prey. Who––though there be called out against him a multitude of shepherds––Will not, at their voice, be dismayed, Nor, at their noise, be daunted, So, will the Lord of hosts come down, to make war over Mount Zion, and over the hill thereof.
Isa 31:4  ד כי כה אמר יהוה אלי כאשר יהגה האריה והכפיר על טרפו אשר יקרא עליו מלא רעים מקולם לא יחת ומהמונם לא יענה כן ירד יהוה צבאות לצבא על הר ציון ועל גבעתה

Isa 38:14 Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me.
Isa 38:14  יד כסוס עגור כן אצפצף אהגה כיונה דלו עיני למרום אדני עשקה לי ערבני

Jer 48:31 Therefore will I howl for Moab, and I will cry out for all Moab; mine heart shall mourn for the men of Kirheres.
Jer 48:31  לא על כן על מואב איליל ולמואב כלה אזעק  אל אנשי קיר חרש יהגה

She’s got Moxie! Tehillim/Psalm 91:1

You have probably heard the expression, “She’s got moxie!” Someone who has moxie is bold, energetic, and doesn’t take no for an answer. But what can really give us moxie is the moxie in Psalm 91. In Hebrew, moxie means my refuge.  מ ח ס י 

In Hebrew-English, that is refuge-my or mox-ie. The ie at the end means my. The X in Hebrew is that hard h sound in Bach. You sort of clear your throat to make this sound.

Now you have heard of Omar Sharif who was in Doctor Zhivago? Well Omar is going to help you with the next word which means I will say. Omar means I will say.   א מ ר

אמר ליהוה מחסי


I will say to the Lord that He is my refuge.

That’s how you can get moxie-you can be confident, bold, and even sassy when you have declared that the Lord is your refuge, your shelter, your protection, your haven.