negation in Hebrew.

why not (1)


Hebrew teacher by trade. An Unemployed philosopher & a frustrated artist. Come learn Hebrew with me.

negation in Hebrew.

In this Hebrew lesson, we will learn about negation in the Hebrew language.
In Hebrew, there are 4 dominate ways to negate a word or a sentence.

which are: לא,אל,אי,בלתי
The first and the most popular is the word “לא” which simply means “NO“.

This is the word you will use to say “NO”, and the word you will use to deny questions and requests. we can negate nouns, verbs, and complete sentences with it.
Here are some examples of how to use “no” in Hebrew.

No, I can’t come today – לא, אני לא יכול לבוא היום
I don’t care – לא אכפת לי
I don’t know – אני לא יודע
It’s not it – זה לא זה
why not – למה לא
It’s not mine – זה לא שלי
No more – לא עוד
Not yet – עוד לא
It’s not possible – זה לא אפשרי

The second most popular word we use to negate in Hebrew is “אל“.
which will normally use as an equivalent to the function of the word “Don’t” in English.
the way we use in Hebrew the word “אל” is to negate verbs that suggest imperative or request. There are rare occasions that the word “אל” will appears before a noun but 99% of the time it will appear before a verb at the beginning of the sentence. And since it appears in a form of Imperative or request it will appear before a verb in the future tense in the second person.

Pro-Tip; Since all second person future tenses in Hebrew start with the letter “ת”. The structure will be- “…אל ת”.

Here are some examples of how to use “Don’t” in Hebrew.
(because in Hebrew there are differences in conjugating the second person masculine feminine and plural there is more than one option to translate “you” )

Don’t speak – אל תדבר, אל תדברי, אל תדברו
Don’t be scared – אל תפחד, אל תפחדי, אל תפחדו
Don’t come – אל תבוא, אל תבואי, אל תבואו
Don’t forget – אל תשכח, אל תשכחי, אל תשכחו
Don’t cry – אל תבכה, אל תבכי,אל תבכו

pay attention: in the Bible, the word can be used more loosely and can appear before nouns like in this famous phrase
which is:” Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew nor rain upon you -:הָרֵי בַגִּלְבֹּעַ, אַל-טַל וְאַל-מָטָר עֲלֵיכֶם”
(This passage was taken from David’s Lamentation. He is cursing the mountain that upon them Saul and Jonathan has fallen)

The third word we use to negate is “אי
The usage of this word is rarer than the first two words on this list and fit only a small specific list of words in the Hebrew language.
Here is a short list of the most popular ones.

Not possible – אי אפשר
Discomfort – אי-נוחות
Lack of Self-consciousness – אי מודעות עצמית
Injustice – אי -צדק
Uncertainty – אי-ודאות
Uneven – אי זוגי
Lack of knowledge – אי ידיעה
Unpleasantness אי נעימות
Inequality- אי שוויון
Irrational – אי רציונלי

Here are some examples of how to use this words in a sentence.
It’s not possible to do it now – אי אפשר לעשות את זה עכשיו.
It’s an uneven number – זה מספר לא זוגי
The lack of Self-consciousness about the injustice in our world is part of the reason that inequality and injustice still exist –
חוסר מודעות עצמית על אי הצדק בעולמנו הוא חלק מהסיבה שאי שיוויון ואי צדק עדיין קיימים

Pay Attention: The word “אי” by itself means “an island” in Hebrew

The fourth and the most strongest word we use to negate is “בלתי“. This word like the previous one also comes only with specific words and is rarely.
and when we use it normally we mean that something “cannot be” in any circumstances

Here is a short list of the most popular ones.
Invisible – בלתי נראה
Unreasonable – בלתי סביר
Impossible – בלתי אפשרי
Ilegal – בלתי חוקי
Unforgettable – בלתי נשכח
irreversible – בלתי הפיך

Here are some examples of how to use this words in a sentence.
Yesterday we saw the movie Misson Impossible – אתמול ראינו את הסרט משימה בלתי אפשרית
It’s Unreasonable to learn Hebrew in one month – זה בלתי סביר ללמוד עברית בחודש
It’s not impossible to learn Hebrew – זה לא בלתי אפשרי ללמוד עברית

Here is a nice song in Hebrew that starts and repeats the lines.

אל תלכי מכאן. לא, לא, אל תלכי מכאן”
“יש לי רק אותך, יש לי רק אותך
“Don’t go from here. no, no, don’t go away from here
I have only you, all I have is you”

Plagues of Egypt – עשר המכות

in this post, we will review the ten plagues that God inflicted on Egypt.
But before we start with the plagues let’s clarify something, in Hebrew, it’s not ‘plagues’. it is – ‘מכות’ – which are hits or blows which is the plural form of the Hebrew word: blow, strike, hit – מכה.
so, back to the plagues that are called in Hebrew “עשר המכות” or “עשר מכות מצרים” or “מכות מצרים”
Ten – עשר
Hits, strike – מכות
Egypt – מצרים

1) blood – דם
2) Frog – צפרדע
3) Lice – כינים
4) a mix Wild malicious animals – ערוב – (This word has the same root like the word mix in Hebrew, for example, the phrase ‘mix crowd ‘ is ‘קהל מעורב’ in Hebrew 

5)Diseased livestock – דבר – ( originally in the Bible this was a disease that struck the cattle, can be used in modern Hebrew on certain occasions as a synonym for the word ‘plague’ )
6) Boils – שחין – (a skin diseased)
7)Hail – ברד (which function not only as hail in Hebrew but can be used as the word for ‘slurpee’ as well)
8) Locusts – ארבה
9) Darkness – חושך
10)Death of firstborn – מכת בכורות – (in this one God strike – הכה/מכה all the elder’s son of Egypt.(בכור means in Hebrew ‘elder’ )

All the variations of the Hebrew root ב.ט.ח

the root connections of the root ב.ט.ח

today we will learn what is the connection between Avigdor Liberman and the company that insures your car.
Today we will talk about an institution that you all hate and root that all of you should know: ב.ט.ח
which is connected to words
that means: safe, security, sure, trust, and more
Most of you know ‘Bituh Leumi’
(ביטוח לאומי)
if you read my previous posts you know that
National – לאומי.
But what is ביטוח׳׳”?
ביטוח- insurance
So (ביטוח לאומי) actually means national insurance. (The person how named it had a really black sense of humor)
As you can see even in English the word ‘sure’ is surely connected to insure. So the word ‘sure’ in Hebrew is for sure.
בטח- sure, surely.
By the way, “For sure” or “secure” means (בטוח) with an ‘u’ sound in the ‘t’.
So how ביטוח (which is insurance) is connected to secure
Well.. People make insurance to feel secure and safe.
שר הבטחון – minister of defense
the minister of defense is Liberman – mystery solved
We also use the word ‘׳ביטחון with connections to word that implies confidence or self -assurance.
For example: self assurance/ confidence = ביטחון עצמי.
I am not sure (לא בטוח) that we covered everything. Acutely, sure enough (די בטוח) that we didn’t.
So stay tuned for the next lesson I promise (מבטיח) to continue.
P.s: I promise is מבטיח same root ב.ט.ח.

sayings and quotes in the Hebrew language

In this Hebrew tutorial, we will learn about Hebrew sayings that have words in them that refer to body parts in Hebrew. therefor the objective of this Hebrew lesson is to teach you popular sayings in Hebrew and review the names of body parts in Hebrew. So let’s start


An eye for an eye - עין תחת עין

In Hebrew the word ‘עין‘ means eye but the word ‘תחת‘ means ‘under’ or ‘bottom’ (In Hebrew the word ‘תחתונים’ means ‘underwear’).So actually there are two words that signify body parts. but in this case, the meaning of the word  ‘תחת’ actually means ‘instead’ or ‘in place of’ 


A tooth for a tooth - שן תחת שן

In this saying, we get the same structure but instead of the word ‘eye’ there is the word ‘tooth’ which is ‘שן’ in Hebrew

Life and death in the hand of the tongue - חיים ומוות ביד הלשון

This saying means that your word and what you say carries serious consequences that can end up to matters of life and death.your life or death to be exact.There is no parallel example in English (at least as far as I know. If you know of one please write it in the comments below)life or death to be exact.        Life and Death – חיים ומוות ,At the hand, By the hand, In the hand – ביד. (In this case, it means that the tongue holds in its hand the power of life and death), The tongue – הלשון                                                                  

p;s: In this saying there are 3 prepositions (ו-and,ב-at/in,ה-the) if you are a beginner and want to learn more about prepositions in Hebrew go to this link.





a hand washing a hand - יד רוחצת יד

This saying is the Hebrew equivalent to the English “you scratch my back and I will scratch yours” but in Hebrew we use the word ‘hand’ – יד , and since in Hebrew the word hand is feminine we get the verb “to wash” – “לרחוץ“conjugated in his present feminine form – “רוחצת”

To go with your head in the wall -
ללכת עם הראש בקיר

This saying refers to someone that act to resolve a problem or to get something with brute force with unlikely chances  of success .(sometimes out of stupidity or from no other good chooses) In English, this is the closest parallel that I managed to find – “to go/up against the wall“.  (to go – ללכת, with – עם, the wall- הקיר, head – ראש)


from mouth to ear - מפה לאוזן

In the Hebrew language, this means information (rumors, the location of a good restaurant,.. ) that has been delivered and spread by informal manners by the people. The equivalent in English is “a word of mouth“. (mouth –פה , ear – אוזן)


(from) under your nose - מתחת לאף

Like in English this phrase means that something is in a place that you can see it clearly. Think of someone who is looking for his glasses while wearing them. In Hebrew can be referred to situations that you should be aware of but fail to see.           (bottom / under – תחת,nose – אף)

Bhind the back - מאחורי הגב

Unlike “under your nose” (מתחת לאף) in which you should be utterly stupid or gullible to not know what’s going on. In this saying “it’s o.k” not to know because it going on “behind your back“. (from behind – מאחור, back – גב)

straight to someone's face - ישר בפנים

A key phrase for understanding 50% of how people in Israel conduct themselves (in the other 50% we are just rude for no  apparent reason). like in English, the meaning of the saying is – To be honest with someone even if it seems rude. (straight – ישר, face – פנים)


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Hebrew teacher, unemployed philosopher & a frustrated artist. love to cook and hate lose, especially in chess



שמות של משחקים בעברית

in this post, we will learn some Hebrew words that we use to describe games especially board games. And a short explanation about their origin  

But before, I am sure you would like to know how to write “game” in Hebrew.      Game – משחק  /// Games – משחקים  

The word ‘chess’ -‘שחמט” came to from Persian and is the equivalent to the “cheekmate” in English. Only we used it as the name of the game.                                                                                          The term checkmate is an alteration of the Persian phrase “shāh māt”  which means, literally, “the King is helpless”. 


chess -שחמט

tic tak to game

tic tak to - איקס מיקס דריקס

tik tak toאיקס מיקס דריקס is borrowed from the English language, not the exact words, but the spirit nonsense that comes with the term. x  -איקס, mix – מיקס, driks – דריקס

The game also called

  איקס עיגול = x, circle                                                                                     

Rubik’s cube – קובייה הונגרית

why cube is self explanatory.

why Hungarian?

simple, the inventor of the cube is an Hungarian named Erno Rubik 

rubik's cube/קובייה הונגרית


Backgammon – שש-בש

six – שש

five – בש (In Turkish)

Backgammon is dice game (we use the same word for cube and dice in Hebrew).And the name is basically the combination of this numbers in the dice.                                    p.s: you can’t use the word בש as five. 

checkers – דמקה                                       The word “דמקה”  came from Russian (they stole it from the Persian) and what it means is “queen” 




Taki - טאקי

An advance version of crazy eight

An israeli game - the name has no meaning

The root meaning of the words: ראש & שנה

happy new year in Hebrew

Hebrew lesson: ראש השנה - the new year

Today we will review the holiday term, the root and the true meaning of the word – ראש & שנה

Let’s start with “שנה טובה” which means ‘happy new year’
The word
טובה׳‘ is an adjective that means ‘good’ in feminine form.                                                                                                  The word שנה׳‘ (which is in feminine form. All Hebrew nouns have a gender!)
Comes from the root
ש.נ.ה which is the root for the word ‘change’. The connection is clear. The word ‘שנה‘ which symbolizes a change of years share the same root as the word ‘change’. With words like:, (to change) לשנות,

You might know the term “זה לא משנה” (“it doesn’t change a thing”, or “it doesn’t matter”). And the reason “it doesn’t matter” because nothing has changed! 

But what about the word “ראש”  that is the first of “ראש השנה”.     The word “ראש” means “head”. And if we want to dive head on  to  the Hebrew language we will discover that the word “ראש” (“head”) is in use to refers to being first  in words like: “בראשית”- the beginning, Genesis/ ראשון – first/ ראש חודש – the first day of the month/                                                                    Which is the date of  “ראש השנה”

 By the way, the word חודש׳‘ which means ‘a month’ derives from the root ח.ד.ש which is also the root for the word ‘new’ (חדש). which also connected to the news (חדשות)



happy new year in Hebrew

PREPOSITIONS IN HEBREW “משה וכלב” letters

 ” Moshe and Kalev”  letters — אותיות: משה וכלב

Today we will learn about the letters we use as prefixes before a word to indicate; FROM, THAT, THE, AND, AS, TO, IN.

In English, they function in a sentence as words for themselves.
Pay attention: this is not the case in Hebrew. In Hebrew, we put one of this letters [מ,ש,ה,ו,כ,ל,ב] in front of the word we want to indicate the desired preposition. Don’t worry examples coming soon below 😉
In order to remember them easily. we normally call them “משה וכלב” — Moshe & Kalev ” letters. Which literally means ‘Moshe and a dog’. (many Hebrew books and teachers call them Moshe & Kaleb the two biblical characters. But I prefer to refer to them as Moshe & dog )

So let’s start:

מ – this letter added before a word means: from

for example: –from where—מאיפה/ from there– משם/ from here— מפה / from here and there — מפה ומשם.
Pay attention: the letter must be connected to the noun.
A single letter that stands on its own in a sentence is rare action. To learn about this more check this link

ש – this letter added before a word means: that

for example: – the one that comes – מי שבא/ what (ever) comes-
—- מה שבא / a student that learns Hebrew —- תלמיד שלומד עברית
pay attention: some times the ש can appear as “shall” in a form of suggestion. Normally before a verb.
for example: shall we go? — ?שנלך? שנזוז,
shall we come– – שנבוא

ה– this letter added before a word means: the

for example: the boy— הילד/ the book – הספר/ the student that learns Hebrew — התלמיד שלומד עברית/ today (“THE day”)— היום / from today — מהיום
PRO TIP: The words that have the “מ.ש.ה” letters as a prefix get a strong emphasis on the letter that comes after the prefix. This rule can help you read the right sound with letters that can have two different sound. So if there is a “ב” it will be with a “b” sound and not a “vha” sound, the letter “פ” will get a “p” and not a “ph” and the letter “כ”  will get a “k” sound.

preposition words in Hebrew
preposition words in Hebrew

ו – this letter added before a word means: and

for example: from here and from there — מפה ומשם/ salt and paper—מלח ופלפל/  you and me — אתה ואני
pay attention: you can put more than one prefix letter before a word.

כ– this letter added before a word means: like,as

for example: like this, such as this —– כזה/ like these, such as those—- כאלו, כאלה/ apparently (which it’s literal trans’: as  seen, like it appears) — כנראה


ל– this letter added before a word means: to

for example: to the beach — לים/ to there– לשם/ from here to there— מפה לשם/ to where— לאן, לאיפה/  from New York  to  Israel — מניו יורק לישראל
Pay attention: all infinitives in Hebrew start with the letter – ל
for example: to eat– לאכול, to drink – לשתות, to learn – ללמוד. although in both cases the ל indicates “to”. in one the letter ל comes before a noun and on the other, it’s a part of a grammatical structure of a verb.

ב– this letter added before a word means: in, at

for example: at home– בבית, out side– בחוץ, inside—בפנים, in/at order, o.k — בסדר —
pay attention: There is a combination of two letters “כש” that function as a prefix for the word when. When – כש
P.S: To get free electronic worksheet and flashcards in Hebrew just ask me in the form below  

How to read the working/business hours signs in Hebrew

In this article, we will learn about letters in Hebrew that can appear by themselves as words in a sentence.

In European languages, a letter can stand on its own, a letter can appear alone in a sentence. Like the letter ”A”  in the sentence  “This is a dog”  in English. there are some examples in French as well like “je viens a paris”

As you all should already know, this is not the case in Hebrew. But there are some special exceptions.

The first and most important exception is the letter “ה“.

The letter –ה– when appears alone in a sentence normally is been used as a substitute for the word God.

So the sentence – בעזרת ה – means: in/with the help of God

So if you see a- ‘ה you can almost always replace it with the word God.

The reason for this strange phenomena is the reluctant of religious people to write the full name of God.

So they use the letter ‘ה instead of writing the name of God. as you can see in the image above.

Another way that we use single letters as words is when we refer to ‘the days of the week’.

working hours sign in Hebrew

So Sunday which is the first day of the week. Is in Hebrew ‘יום א the word יום means a day in Hebrew and normally it will appear before the letter.

(To learn more about ‘the days of the week’ check this post link.

And if you don’t know the Hebrew alphabet.This link to a video tutorial is a good place to start)

Sunday: ‘יום א

Monday is: ‘יום ב

Before we go on please note that the order of the days from the beginning of the week until Friday is with perfect correlation with the order of the Hebrew alphabet. So Sunday which is the first day of the week get the letter א to represent it. The letter א is the letter that starts the Hebrew alphabet.

In the same manner, Monday get the letter ב which is the second letter of the alphabet.

Tuesday will be ‘יום ג which is the third letter of the alphabet.

Wednesday will be ‘יום ד which is the fourth letter of the alphabet.

Thursday will be ‘יום ה which is the fifth letter of the alphabet.

Friday will be ‘יום ו which is the six letter of the alphabet.

Saturday is the only exception I which we use for short the letter ש which is the letter that starts the word שבת – “Shabat” which is Saturday.

So Saturday will be ‘יום ש

In Hebrew, you can see these phenomena especially in signs that announce the opening/working hours of establishments like, banks, government institutes, private businesses and more.

See the images above to get the idea. and see if you can understand them now!

Those examples are the ones that you most likely to encounter in Hebrew.

But there are some other examples of writing the date according to the Jewish calendar which combines from letters and not numbers.

FYI: besides really religious, people in Israel use numbers to mark a date like the rest of the world. But we do use them to mark the dates of our holidays. And sometimes you can see the Hebrew date along side the Gregorian calendar.

As you can see from the image below where the Hebrew date is written in small under the Gregorian date. the screenshot was taken from the popular Israeli news site YNT. (I circled it in red for you)

L0ST IN TRANSLATION-Why is it impossible to translate Hebrew or any other language.

L0ST IN TRANSLATION-Why is it impossible to translate Hebrew or any other language.
In this article, I will show and demonstrate why it is inherently impossible to translate the full meaning of a language from one language to the next.
I will demonstrate it using an example taken from the Hebrew language and after that, I will show why this example (mutatis mutandis ) is applicable to any language.
The example that I chose is the title of the book that is called ”בשבילה גיבורים עפים” by the Israeli author Amir Gutfreund. But before we dive in let’s review together some basic ways in which Hebrew is different than English
As some of you know, in Hebrew and most other languages there is a gender that accompanies every noun. Which simply means that every noun has masculine or feminine attribution (just like people do)
for example the Hebrew for word ‘chair’ (כיסא), is in masculine form, On the other hand, the word ‘box'(קופסה) is feminine. .so we will say ‘a good chair’ in Hebrew as ‘כיסא טוב’ but we will say ‘a good box’ in Hebrew as ‘קופסה טובה‘.
Pay Attention, there is a letter that has been added to the adjective. In this case the letter – ה
(F.Y.I: All feminine adjectives in Hebrew end with the letters – ה – or – ת-  No exceptions).
This approach is not limited to nouns that signify material objects but to all nouns. So, words like: problem – בעיה, solution – פתרון, happiness – אושר, …. all have a gender attributed to them
Let’s take the sentence:
״בשבילה גיבורים עפים״                                                                                                                                  
Which means ” for her heroes fly”
For her- בשבילה
Heroes – גיבורים
Fly – עפים
In English, it could only mean one thing. If it is ‘for her’ then it can only be for a female,(a real one), but in Hebrew, half of the nouns in the Hebrew language are feminine as well. So ‘for her’
can substitute many words in Hebrew.
The word ‘love’ (אהבה) for example, is one of them…
so this is the part that the people who came here for a quick Hebrew lesson thinking about leaving and the people who came here for the linguistic are waiting for me to get it on already.
but don’t go yet.
because, here is the thing, to know the mechanism behind the language gives you a better understanding of what you can do with the language but even more importantly what you can not do with it. not all the time you can find solutions that correlate with your own language. for example, the hardest part for me in writing this paragraph was to treat the feminine Hebrew word ‘שפה’ – ‘language’ as ‘it’.
Another peculiarity of the Hebrew language (Ancient Greek & Hindi share this quality as well) is that it does not possess the verb “to have” in her arsenal. So how would you translate a phrase that contains  “have been”  in it?
As for my original claim that “you can’t translate anything from one language to the other in full” my bet is that the crowd is divided in two. The first part can see already from the examples above that I am right and the second part (suspicious bagger’s that you are) thinking that I cheated because my comparison was from Hebrew to English which is a strange language that does not possess a gender attribute for nouns like most languages.
To find out how strange is the English language: read this article or see this video.
So let me emphasize even if I will compare it to French. a language that has a gender specification for nouns, things will not improve. because the word “amour” which is ‘love’ in French is masculine. unlike like the word ‘אהבה’ (which is love in Hebrew) and it is a feminine word. And to make it even more complicated in plural the word love ןמ French is in feminine form.
So if we would like to translate the Hebrew sentence “בשבילה גיבורים עפים” to English we will lose the double meaning that refers to a real woman and the word love itself in the same sentence. And as you can see the problem is not limited to English. In French, we can have a double meaning that will refer to the man because there the word love is mescaline.
In conclusion: not all the time you can get the same meaning if you translate a sentence from one language to the other. Understanding and applying it when you learn a new language can help you reduce your frustration and maybe will help to try to understand a language from its own perspective system and not to import the rules and habits of your own mother tongue

How to say: first ,second and third person in Hebrew

And today some grammatical terms.

Just in case, you will decide to open a study book or actually come to my class.

*גוף ראשון – First person

A ‘first person’ as a grammatical term refers to the one who speaks. Which can be: me or us (in Hebrew: אני,אנחנו)    It doesn’t matter if it’s in singular or in the plural.

*גוף שני – Second person                                                                                                                                                                 

A ‘second person’ as a grammatical term refers to the one who is present, the one that has been spoken to. Which  is/are –  you!                                                                                                                                                                                   (please note, that in Hebrew there is a different word for the masculine, the feminine, and the plural form  of the word: you  (you = אתה,את,אתם,אתן)

*גוף שלישי – Third person

A ‘third person’ as a grammatical term refers to the one who is not present in the conversation. basically every one or everything who is not me or you.  He, she, they,    (הוא,היא,הם,הן)

note that, in Hebrew, all nouns have a gender so when refers to them we use the third person as well. For example:

For example: when referring to let’s say to a broken computer we will say in English “it is broken”. But in Hebrew, we will say “הוא שבור”. Substituting the computer with the word– “הוא” = he — instead of using the word “it”

** pay attention: the word ”גוף” in Hebrew means ‘body’ for all purposes except in grammar.

פועל – verb
שם הפועל – infinitive
שורש – root
זמן עבר – past tense
הווה – present tense
זמן עתיד – future tense
Past* – עבר
Present* – הווה
Future* – עתיד

Pay attention: the word ‘זמן’ in Hebrew means ‘time’ and has nothing to do with the word ‘tense’

זכר – masculine form
נקבה – feminine form
יחיד – singular form
רבים – plural form

Pay attention: the words ‘ ‘זכר& נקבה are also used to say male and female. And note that the word ‘יחיד’ has a root connection to the word ‘אחד’. Which means ‘one’. and the word ‘רבים’ which has a root connection to ‘הרבה’. Which means ‘many’ or ‘a lot’