Table of Contents Aleph

Table of Contents Bet

Table of Contents Tool Box

Table of Contents of New E-Tool Box in COLOR


Sample Lessons

Sample Tools

How to Learn/Teach with Hinneh

Feedback and Reviews

Compare ‘Hinneh’ with Four Other Biblical Hebrew Textbooks

My Articles Concerning the Teaching Biblical Hebrew


לקריאה בעברית הקליקו כאן

Hinneh is a text and workbook which may also serve as an easy to access reference book.

Hinneh offers an innovative curriculum that balances two major demands of an introductory language program: the presentation of the most frequently occurring lexical and grammatical examples, and the sequencing of the material in a way that allows for easier teaching and learning. The הִנֵּה approach creates, encourages and ensures a rigorous, but non-intimidating and meaningful learning experience. To that end, students are provided with what is deemed necessary information for the introductory stage, postponing minute linguistic details for later, should they wish to continue beyond the introductory level. Attention is given to presentation of the broad picture of how Biblical Hebrew behaves, as well as to imparting the most efficient and effective skills and tools that will allow students to access much of the Biblical text early on.

Competence is expected regarding the most frequently occurring vocabulary[1] and the understanding of basic grammatical rules. Proficiency is gradually built through the wide exposure to, and translation exercises of, a large number of actual Biblical verses, prose, and poetry. All of the above is supported with a Tool Box containing: frequently occurring vocabulary lists in different categories (nouns, prepositions etc.); frequently occurring verb lists organized by form and stems, with color coding instructions for easier recognition of root groups; a variety of paradigms; and different parsing charts. This Tool Box, together with a lexicon for the less common vocabulary, serves as a scaffolding to support the students on their way to more independent reading and better appreciation of authentic Biblical texts.

The Hinneh  program opens with a presentation of the verbless clause and the basics of pronominal suffixes, gender, number, prepositions, the construct chain, etc. The presentation of the verb, a major player in the Biblical text, is delayed until all the basics, not conditioned by it, are learned. By the time the verb is presented, important vocabulary and basic grammar have already become familiar, allowing for the demonstration of the verb within richer and more interesting passages.

Throughout the Hinneh program, common vocabulary and basic grammar are presented and experienced as exercises through actual Biblical passages. Throughout the program, and as much as such a graded curriculum allows, I have attempted to include  passages from formative narrative and prophetic texts that are level-appropriate, as well as meaningful, for each grammatical subject presented. Students find encouragement at every stage through being able to read and understand the original Hebrew text; something they may have only encountered through reading the Hebrew Bible in English translation, their general exposure to English literature, or while listening to the weekly Torah portion, reading the prayer book and singing the liturgy.

There is no perfect translation for any literary text, certainly not for a text so richly layered and theologically loaded as the Hebrew Bible: an important objective of this course is to shake students from their confidence in only one favored translation by offering selections from among several of those currently available. The translations provided are meant to show the many styles and different possible interpretations of the Biblical text. My hope is that by the end of the course, students will have acquired enough basic skills so they can begin independent critical examination and evaluation of Biblical translations.

A considerable part of the Hinneh program is dedicated to the qal stem[2]. Much of what is thoroughly learned through the qal is transferable to the other stems[3], thus allowing for their faster and easier learning.

The most unique feature of the  Hinneh  program is the way the Biblical verb, its tenses and moods, are imparted. The prefix form[4] is the first verb form to be presented, with its wide array of possible translations into English tenses. Students’ attention is then drawn to the clear-cut cases of the prefix preceded by the  Vav  Past [5]; only then,  less common tenses and moods in the prefix form (not preceded by the  Vav  Past), are more thoroughly discussed, with their varied possible interpretations. Students are offered a simplified model for interpreting the prefix form, while always considering context. The suffix form and other verb forms are presented in a similar fashion[6].

Grammar is certainly important in learning a new language, and this program revolves mostly around grammar rules. Still, the importance of retaining a child-like openness to a language cannot be stressed enough. At every stage, even beyond the introductory level, much insight can be drawn from the context. Therefore, students are encouraged to integrate the results of their lexical and grammatical findings with information extracted from context in order to reach a sound understanding.

It is recommended that teaching and learning proceed at a fairly fast pace, not aiming at perfect competence and proficiency at every stage. Progressing at a pace of ‘three steps forward and one step back’ is recommended, as every additional step allows for the reading of more complex passages, practicing the current as well as reinforcing subjects previously learned. This way, both new beginners as well as students with some familiarity with Classical or Modern Hebrew will maintain their interest and find challenges throughout the course.

The development of the Hinneh program through the last 14 years is derived in large part from my experience as a teacher of Modern Hebrew and program developer[7]; my study of language acquisition and learning[8]; as well as my work as a literary translator[9]. Insights from these experiences have contributed to my choices of objectives, approaches, priorities, and methodologies.

The articles referenced below[10] explain the rationale behind the Hinneh program, which has been successfully tested in both academic and non-academic settings.

Students and instructors will find working with Hinneh efficient, effective, and rewarding. The Hinneh text and workbook offers a solid first round of Biblical Hebrew learning spiral. Students who complete only this introductory course will find that much of the Biblical text, prose and poetry, has already opened up to them. The fewer who chose to continue their study, will be able to do so on a wide lexical and grammatical basis which will facilitate their delving into deeper linguistically oriented deliberation.


Rahel Halabe

Jerusalem, September 2011


[1]  e.g. about 100 nouns and 50 qal verbs in Vol. I, as well as about 120 verbs of the remaining stems in

   Vol. II.

[2]  Vol. I: Lessons 24-44, Vol. II: Lessons 1-10

[3]  Vol. II, Lessons 11-23

[4]  Imperfect, יקטל

[5]  Vav Past is a new term coined here, to avoid the confusing array of commonly used terminology such

    as:  ו’ ההפוך, consecutive, conversive, reversing, etc.

[6]  qal prefix and suffix forms in Vol. I, infinitives, imperative and participle in Vol. II

[7]  e.g.

    – three levels (Aleph, Aleph Plus & Bet) of Modern Hebrew Mini Ulpan – week long intensive


    – Hebrew component of the Melton Mini School Shivim Panim program (Genesis).

[8]  M.Ed. Modern Language Education, Department of Language and Literacy -University ofBritish


[9]  Nine books translated from the Modern Arabic literature into Hebrew


 –  ר. חלבה, (2010). הוראת ה’זמנים’ במקרא לתלמידים שאינם דוברי עברית. הד האולפן. גליון 97. עמ’ 26-32.


– Halabe, R. (2008). Ancient Languages are still Around, but do We Really Know how to Teach  

Them? SBL Forum, March 2008.

– Halabe, R. (2007). The Introduction to Biblical Hebrew the Practical Way. Hebrew Higher

Education. 12, 101-119.



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