Double down and learn Hebrew easily making you happy

The words ‘learn Hebrew easily’ are not words that some people would necessarily string together. People have the impression that Hebrew is a very difficult language to learn, and quite rightly so. The characters are entirely foreign to the Latin languages, such as English, French, Spanish, or Italian. People think, ‘How hard is this?’ 

Furthermore, a person reads Hebrew from right to left. Not left to right, as most other languages are read. Not only that, but some letters in Hebrew are not used in the English language. When you start to learn Hebrew, approach it with a positive attitude. Like any other task that a person perceives to be difficult, if you say it is hard, then it will be hard. If you say it is easy, then it will be easy.

Learn Hebrew easily – it can be done

The barriers that we set up for ourselves are often in our heads. As I said earlier, our attitude determines so much. When I was in high school, I found math challenging to learn. If I had commenced my math journey by saying math is easy, it would have been an entirely different story. I chose to say it was difficult; therefore, it was difficult.

We can apply the same concept to learning Hebrew. I will always remember teaching Hebrew to a group of eleven-year-old boys who were very disruptive in class. I worked out why they were having difficulty with the lessons. They did not believe that they could learn Hebrew easily. At the beginning of every lesson, I had them repeat after me, ‘Hebrew is easy’; their behaviour soon improved!

Double down and learn the alef bet

Before you can even start to learn to read Hebrew, you need to learn the Hebrew alphabet, also known as the alef-bet. However, to achieve your goal, you need to be persistent and firm in your commitment. Without a strong commitment, it is impossible to achieve your goal of learning to read Hebrew.  

Mastering the biblical Hebrew alphabet is the same as learning the modern Hebrew alphabet. Yes, both ancient and modern Hebrew have the exact same Hebrew letters. The difference is that if a person chooses to write in Hebrew script, then the shapes of the letters are completely different. However, people usually on use Hebrew script in modern-day Israel in the written form, such as notes to a friend.

Do you want to speak, read or write Hebrew?

People start to learn Hebrew for different reasons. Some want to learn to speak Hebrew so they can converse with native Israelis, others want to learn to read ancient texts, and some want to learn to write the Hebrew language. Oops, I meant to say write the Hebrew language. Others like to learn all three. I like to call this the ‘Hebrew bundle’: speaking, reading and writing. 

I firmly believe that a person should learn the Hebrew alef bet and read Hebrew before they tackle speaking and writing. Reading provides the basis for the sounds of all the letters. A great program to use to learn to read Hebrew quickly and easily is It has seven lessons and teaches the student to read fluently. 

Depending on a student’s goal for learning Hebrew, learning to read is sufficient for some people. So many of the pupils who have utilized the Easy Learn Hebrew program to learn to read Hebrew have been grateful to have had access to a program such as this. It allows them to read the Hebrew in the siddur and follow along with the prayers in other texts, such as the Haggadah and the Torah.

How do you eat an elephant?

I love this question! It makes people stop and pay attention. Of course, a person needs to ask this question in relation to a relevant topic; let’s be honest, eating an elephant is an extremely rare activity. In this case, it is about learning Hebrew easily. Learning Hebrew can be overwhelming, but that is where this cute saying comes in…’ how do you eat an elephant?’ One bite at a time! 

That is correct—one bite at a time. I tell my pupils not to tackle everything all at once but to start at the beginning and work through it one step at a time. Or, in the case of eating an elephant, it can only be eaten one bite at a time because it is so enormous! 

Having a SMART goal

Sometimes, getting started is the most difficult part of all. To kick-start your journey and keep your motivation going, you need to have a strong reason why you want to learn Hebrew. One reason might be a new hobby in retirement or learning Hebrew to prepare for your bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. Regardless, your goal needs to be a SMART goal; otherwise, you might lose interest. 

What is a SMART goal? SMART stands for Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. For example, a person studying for his Bar Mitzvah has the following parameters: the Rabbi or teacher can measure the boy’s progress. The goal is achievable, as the Bar Mitzvah boy will be given work that can be achieved in the time allowed. 

The boy’s goals are realistic; he will not be asked to learn the entire Torah in one year, and his goal has a time limit. He has 12 months to learn the required Hebrew reading and chanting to prepare for his Bar Mitzvah. If you do not have a SMART goal, consider reconsidering your approach to learning Hebrew to avoid losing interest and burning out.

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