"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen


Hebrew: the Language of My People

This post is part of Patty Wysong's
   A to Z meme. This week's letter is "H."
A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Many of you know that I was raised in a Jewish home. That my parents and most of my family are Jewish. You might even know that I was Bat Mitzvahed at 13 (and some of you might even know what that means ;) ). That I didn't come to Christ until I was in my 30s.
The Hebrew Alphabet

What you may not know is that part of my Jewish education included learning to read Hebrew, the language of my people.

Hebrew without vowels (photo source)
Perhaps I should clarify a bit. When I say I learned to read Hebrew, I don't mean it the same way you might have learned Spanish or French or German, for instance, in school. While I did learn, on a limited basis, the meaning of some Hebrew words, the main goal of reading Hebrew was being able to look at the "weird" letters and be able to pronounce them correctly. And I could do that fairly well (stress on could, as opposed to can).

I'm sure many of you have seen Hebrew - and some of you may even know how to read it. But did you know THESE facts?
  • Hebrew is written backward - from right to left (actually, as my hubby will remind you, it's actually ENGLISH that is backward, as the Hebrew alphabet predates ours by a good margin).
  • The traditional Hebrew alphabet (as written, for instance, in the Torah - the first five books of the Old Testament) has no vowels. They were added later for clarity in some texts, and are generally indicated by dots and small lines below the "regular" letters.
  • There are five different Hebrew letters that are written differently if they are the final letter of a word (called "sophit."). They're on the chart above - check them out :)
  • Hebrew has twenty-two letters (plus those five "final letter" forms mentioned above).
  • There are two letters pairs (the Bet/Vet and Shin/Sin) where the location, or existence, of a dot with the letter determines how it is pronounced. - check the chart above to see what I mean.
    Hebrew with vowels (photo source)
I'm sure you know at least a few words  in Hebrew - Abba (Father/Daddy), Amen (so be it - or something like that), and maybe even Shalom (peace). But how about I teach you a few more?

Ima (EE-maw) - Mother
Shecket (SHECK-et) - Be quiet
Bevakashah (be-VA-ka-shaw) - Please

Forgive me for using the English alphabet - figuring you wouldn't be able to read the Hebrew anyway (and not sure I could either anymore LOL).

Did you learn anything new?

Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths
 Read more "H" posts here, and/or add your own!



  1. Interesting! I'd like to know more. (Maybe you could have a weekly lesson on your blog.*smile*)

    1. Thanks, Vonnie. Um - maybe. Maybe not ;)

  2. Hi Joanne! I minored (for a while) in Biblical languages. Loved Greek. Made it through about a month of Hebrew and could not have been more lost. Now, I don't remember any Greek and struggle with English. :)

    1. Languages weren't my specialty either, Tom. I struggled BIGTIME with Spanish in high school (and college!) - Hebrew too. You know, it's entirely possible that I DID learn the meaning of a bunch of words, but no longer remember them (or didn't even remember them then LOL).

      Thanks for stopping by! Looking forward to checking out YOUR H :D

  3. That's awesome, Jo. I'm so glad you had a run-in with Jesus too! <3

  4. I had no idea you were raised Jewish. I love seeing people take the time to learn their heritage and keep it special.

    1. Thanks, J'nell - my heritage is a very special part of me - and I LOVE sharing it with "the masses" :)

  5. Very cool. I knew most of those things. I wish I could read Hebrew. I think you can learn so much when you know what the orginal words are and what they mean.

    1. I agree - and I wish I could read/understand Hebrew too LOL.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. That was fascinating! Thanks for the little lesson.

    I dated a boy in high school and college who was studying linguistics and I was always intrigued by what he shared of his learning. I am in awe of anyone who knows more than one language- it would be tough to learn English!

    1. Linguistics was always interesting to me too, Barb. And languages (besides English LOL) are tough for me as well!

      Thanks for stopping by, my friend!

  7. In seminary, I had to take a course called, "Intro to Greek and Hebrew." We learned the alphabets and how to read the words then we were introduced to Bible helps such as Lexicon, Grammars and Dictionaries. I about panicked over the Hebrew alphabet - those vowel points drove me crazy!! My husband as an MDiv major had to take 3 semesters of Hebrew - only class he ever got a C in. Of course, he was dating me at the same time and he said he was distracted. :) Fun memories but oh, it gave me such an appreciation for the languages our Lord spoike.

    1. The vowels ARE annoying LOL - and funny about your "distraction" tendencie. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Well, I checked the chart above...but it was all...er, Hebrew to me. LoL. No vowels? Wow. Scary. THANKS!! Very very interesting!! =]

    1. Giggle - yeah - hard stuff. Glad you enjoyed the post, sweetie!

  9. www.hebrewidentity.org

    your religious beliefs are irrelevant. You are still an ethnic Hebrew (if you identify as such).

    20% of Israel's population is not Jewish.

    The Israel Defense Force has published SEVERAL printings of the New Testament IN HEBREW for use in swearing in Christian draftees). Yes, they serve alongside everyone else.

    In 2013, there are MORE people who routinely take the Roman Catholic Mass in Modern Israeli Hebrew..... than do in Latin. See


    Our Hebrew folkloric heros (King David and King Solomon) each had gentile wives living in the Palace alongside their dat-Moshe wives. Both of those gentlemen did NOT suppress gentile worship outside of Mount Moriah.

    Mount Moriah was reserved for the YHWH cult. But that's only a few acres of land (it's bigger today because of the earthworks that King Herod sponsored). Today's "Western Wall" was in fact merely a retaining wall for Herod's landfill earthworks.

  10. I had no idea you were Jewish! I had my DNA done and learned I've Ashkenazim somewhere in the family tree. I love Hebrew and would love to learn it. I have always been drawn to the Hebrew heritage even before I learned my family tree. We always put out a Menorrah for Hanukkah and we have a Passover Seder and observe other Hebrew Holy Days. I loved this post!

    1. VERY cool, Karla!! I'm Sephardic by nationality. The Hebrew Holy Days have so much significance this side of the cross. I'm newly amazed just about every time I read about them. So glad you enjoyed the post. Blessings to you!


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