Articles Written By: Yaron

Heblish – Hebrew lessons: Day 15

WH Questions
Free Hebrew lessons – March 2010 – Training – Day 15:


Day 15 of the Heblish Challenge and we’re going to have an easy day.

In our previous lesson we talked about abstract numbers, the three Hebrew tenses and also learned six new words in the past tense: I wanted (ratsiti), I saw (raiti), I understood (hevanti), I said (amarti), I took (laka^ti), I was (haiti) and I bought (kaniti).  We also heard how to pronounce these words by using my video on YouTube.(video for lesson 14) Finally I asked you to solve a small crossword-puzzle, and I have to say that I received many responses and all of them were perfect!
Hats off to you, ブラボー (burabo in Japanese) and chapeau for my French students! 😉


Today we have a WWW lesson… which is very cool… Well, it won’t be exactly “www,” so let’s start and see what’s cooking today…

Today’s menu: Who, what, when & why

Attention: The underlined letters represent the accent.

I talked about “www” but there are 5 Ws (who, what, where, when and way), and we are going to cover the WH Questions today.

You should know one of them from lesson 3, “where” – eifo.  Now let’s look at the other four WH Questions.

The Hebrew word for “who” is “mi.” It sounds exactly like the word “me” in English.

Who wants pasta?  – Mi rotse pasta?
– Who understands? – Mi mevin?
– Who bought three dresses? – Mi bought shalosh smalot


The word “what” is important, especially if your hearing is not very good, like mine…
In Hebrew we say “ma,” and sometimes “eize” or “eizo” depending on the meaning of the sentence, but today we’ll talk about the common usage of the question “what,” which is “ma.”

What’s new?
The exact translation for “what’s new” is ma ^adash, and you will probably hear Israelis (especially young Israelis) ask “ma ^adash?”   But the most common form of this question is ma nishma. I can promise you that you’ll also hear “ma ko
, ma hole^, ma ha’matsav” and “ma ha’inyanim…” but use “ma nishma” and everything will be alright. 😉

Examples for “ma“:

   – What‘s new? – Ma nishma?
   – Fine, thank you – Tov, toda
     In lesson 1 we learned that “good” is “tov” and now you see that “tov” can also be used to say “fine.”  

   – What time is it / what’s the time? – Ma ha’shaa (sha-a)
   – It is 10:00 a.m. – Ha’shaa eser

   – What is this?  – Ma ze?
   – It is a book – Ze sefer. (Notice that our examples are giving you more words to learn.)

   – What did you say? – Ma amarta?
   – I said that it’s a book – Amarti that ze sefer.

   – What’s your name? – Ma shme^ (when asking in the feminine)   
   – My name is Elizabeth – Shmi Elizabeth.

   – What’s your name? –  ma shim^a (when asking in the masculine).
   – My name is Yaron – Shmi Yaron.

Notice that in Hebrew, even though we have a word for “is,” we don’t use it.


The Hebrew word for “when” is “matay” or “matai.”


   – When it’s my turn – Matay tori (“turn” is tor and “my turn” is tori)

  Talking to a woman Talking to a man
When were you in Israel? Matay hait be’Israel? Matay haita be’Israel?
When do you want the coffee? Matay at rotsa et ha’café? Matay ata rotse et ha’ca
When did you buy the cake? Matay kanit et ha’uga? Matay kanita et ha’uga?



The Hebrew word for “why” is “lama.”
   – Why did I buy only one ring? – Lama kaniti rak tabaat a^at?
   – Why is the cake so sweet? – Lama ha’uga so sweet?
   – Why is the hotel so far away? – Lama ha’malon so far away?
   – Why is the sea blue?  – Because the fish always say: bloo, bloo, bloo… ha ha; sorry, but I couldn’t resist… 😉

That was our lesson for today.  Short and fast – but very important for everyday conversation in Hebrew.

Lehitraot in lesson 16…


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Heblish – Hebrew lessons: Day 14

Free Hebrew lessons – March 2010 – Training – Day 14:

Shalom le’kulam – Hi everyone,

Day 14 of the Heblish Challenge and we’re going to have an exciting day.

In our previous lessons we talked about “numbers” and the special use of the numbers e^ad and shtaim (one and two).

You might ask yourself why I used e^ad which is masculine, and shtaim which is feminine, when I spoke of the abstract numbers in the above sentence.  (An abstract number is a number that does not count nouns.)

The answer is: solecism (a solecism is a common error).

The rule in Hebrew is – unless we are counting nouns, we use feminine numbers when we are simply counting or calculating, and also for telephone numbers, paragraphs, houses, buses, pages, or section numbers. We can (but we don’t have to) add the word “mispar” (number) before the number, as in “amud mispar shtaim” (page no. two). 

But, as I said before, there is a solecism for the number one, and most Israelis use the masculine number one, e^ad, even when all the other numbers are feminine.


   – One, two, three, four… ten. –  E^ad, shtaim, shalosh, arba, ^amesh, shesh, sheva, shmone, tesha, eser (all feminine numbers since we are simply counting, except for the masculine number one – e^ad)

   – Hey, this is bus number 7… – Hey, ze otobus mispar sheva…

   – Please, open the book to page 9 – Bevakasha, open the sefer to amud tesha.

Today is going to be a cool lesson, because we’re going to talk about the simple tenses in the Hebrew language and play a little game.

Today’s menu: Tenses, some new words (number, page, bus, only, in) and a game

Attention: The underlined letters represent the accent.

We know that English has 7 tenses, such as: Past simple, past progressive, present perfect, future tense, etc…

In the Bible there are only two tenses… yes, only two (ken, rak shnaim,) past and future. There is no (ein) present tense in the Bible!

But modern Hebrew has shlosha (three) tenses: Past, present and future.
For those who asked me, Japanese also has 3 main tenses: past (過去), present (現在) and future (未来).

In lesson 9 we learned how to say “I want, I see” and “I understand” which are in the Present Tense.

   Feminine Masculine
I want Ani rotsa Ani rotse
I see Ani roa Ani roe
I understand Ani mevina Ani mevin


When we speak in the first person past tense, it becomes simpler because there is no gender.

First person – Past tense Past tense
I wanted Ratsiti
I saw Raiti
I understood Hevanti


Let’s learn some more words…

First person – Past tense Past tense
I said Amarti
I took Laka^ti
I was Haiti (please, don’t pronounce it like the name of Haiti!)
I bought Kaniti



   – I wanted one dress but I actually bought two – Ratsiti simla a^at but actually kaniti shtaim… 😉

   – I was in Japan, but now I’m in
Israel – Haiti be‘Yapan, but now ani be’Israel.*

   – I said (that) I took two dresses but I also wanted a ring, so I bought two dresses and one ring – Amarti that laka^ti shtey smalot, but ratsiti gam tabaat, so kaniti shtey smalot ve’tabaat a^at.

*) Japan – Yapan
   Israel  – You pronounce it “Izrel” and “Izrael”, but we say… Israel (iss-ra-el).

Listen to the pronunciations of the sentences above (27 seconds on YouTube)

And now you have a small crossword-puzzle…

1. Also
4. Where

2. I / I am
3. No

We learned a lot today and I hope you enjoyed the lesson.

Lehitraot in lesson 15…

You are welcome to join our group on Facebook: 

Heblish Lesson: Day 13

Numbers – Part II
Free Heblish Challenge – March 2010 – Training – Day 13:


Day 13 – unlucky for some, but not for us! 😉


In our previous lesson we went shopping and bought a few smalot (dresses), tabaot (rings), ugot (cakes) and other things we like.  We also learned how to use the Hebrew numbers one through twelve, except for the number two and some exceptions, which we are going to talk about today in our Hebrew lesson.

We will also do a short refresher by watching some videos from our past lessons. It’s going to be short and easy, but if you would like to work harder, go back and read lesson 11 and lesson 12 again.

Today’s menu: Number 2, some exceptions & a short refresher

Attention: The underlined letters represent the accent.

In our previous lesson I showed you that when counting nouns in Hebrew, except for the number one (e^ad  / a^at), the numbers come before the noun, just as they do in English.

Here is a short table of the numbers one, two and three:

The number Feminine Masculine
One A^at E^ad
Two Shtaim Shnaim
Three Shalosh Shlosha


Feminine objects Feminine objects Masculine objects Masculine objects
One ring Tabaat a^at One book Sefer e^ad
Two rings Shtey tabaot Two books Shney sfarim
Three rings Shalosh tabaot Three books Shlosha sfarim

Comparing the tables above, you will see that the number two is the only number which changes.

   – Shtaim is the feminine number two, but when we are counting objects we say “shtey tabaot” for two rings.
  – Shnaim is the masculine number two, but when we are counting objects we say “shney sfarim” for two books.

In lesson 11 I placed asterisks by the numbers 4, 8 and 12.

The number Feminine Masculine
Four Arba   * Arbaa  (ar-ba-a)
Eight Shmone * Shmona
Twelve Shteim-esre  ** Shneim-asar  **

In formal Hebrew we read the following numbers as shown below – Pay attention to the accent!

   * The correct accent for the feminine number “four” is arba, but most Israelis say arba.
   * The correct accent for the feminine number “eight” is shmone, but most Israelis say shmone.

Arba and shmone are the common pronunciations f
or these numbers, so don’t try to be different – remember, when in Rome behave like a Roman…

   ** As a point of information, another name for twelve (both feminine and masculine) is treisar, but it is not commonly used.

In lieu of repeating tables from Lesson 12, please listen again and review the videos from our previous lessons. You can click the “Videos” tab on the menu bar, or click here on “Videos” and go through the previous videos one by one. They are very short and will help you sharpen your accent as well as remind you of some rules before we go on to lesson 14.

Lehitraot then, in Lesson 14.


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