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The Top 300 Intermediate Hebrew Vocabulary Words

Girl Studying Vocab Words

There are so many elements involved in learning a language, and all of them are important. Grammar, pronunciation, listening and reading comprehension, and even slang are all essential if you want to bring your Hebrew level up to speed. But there is no question that the number-one element in learning Hebrew is vocabulary. After all, without the words to describe what you want to say, no amount of grammar will save your skin. At this point in your learning journey, it makes sense to pick up some of the most useful intermediate Hebrew vocabulary words.

As you transition from a beginner level to an intermediate one, you’ll find yourself opening up new doors. Suddenly, for instance, you won’t sweat it when ordering a coffee at a café or a meal at a restaurant. And you may find yourself starting to understand bits and pieces of the conversations you hear while waiting for the bus or standing in line at the supermarket.

These are all signs that you’re truly progressing. But don’t get complacent about it! Now is the time to expand your vocabulary so you can continue to grow. A more extensive knowledge of intermediate Hebrew words and phrases will give that extra boost so you can start having longer and deeper conversations. It will also allow you to understand more of the Hebrew you hear and see around you.

Without further ado, let’s have a look at the top 300 intermediate Hebrew words. We’ll cover numbers all the way up to a billion (don’t worry—one at a time!), verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and more. Definitely don’t overwhelm yourself by attempting to tackle all of these in one go. It’s best to pick a category, letter, or some other aspect of the words listed below and study them in installments. This will keep you motivated as you dominate manageable chunks of language, rather than frustrated by taking on too much at once. 

Here we go!

Dictionary and Magnifying Glass

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Larger Cardinal Numbers
  2. Ordinal Numbers
  3. Nouns
  4. Verbs
  5. Adjectives
  6. Adverbs
  7. Prepositions
  8. Conjunctions
  9. Auxiliary Words and Particles
  10. HebrewPod101 is your one-stop destination for all your Hebrew needs.

1. Larger Cardinal Numbers

Stock Ticker

You should be comfortable with Hebrew numbers 1-10 by now, in both masculine and feminine forms. If you’re still a bit shaky or maybe in need of a refresher, check out this lesson for review. 

We’ll be looking at the numbers in their masculine form today, which is the form you would use for regular counting. Just remember that when describing a countable noun, Hebrew requires that numbers agree in gender with whatever they are counting.

Also note that a mix of masculine and feminine items will always be counted using the masculine form of numbers, as follows.

1.        עשר

2.        אחת-עשרה

3.        שתים-עשרה

4.        שלוש-עשרה

5.        ארבע-עשרה

6.        חמש-עשרה

7.        שש-עשרה

8.        שבע-עשרה

9.        שמונה-עשרה

10.        תשע-עשרה

11.        עשרים

12.        שלושים

13.        ארבעים

14.        חמישים

15.        שישים

16.        שבעים

17.        שמונים

18.        תשעים

19.        מאה

20.        אלף

21.        אלפיים

22.        שלושת-אלפים

23.        ארבעת-אלפים

24.        חמשת-אלפים

25.        ששת-אלפים

26. שבעת-אלפים

27.        שמונת-אלפים

28.        תשעת-אלפים

29.        עשרת-אלפים

30.        עשרים אלף
‘esrim elef

31.        שלושים אלף
shloshim elef

32.        ארבעים אלף
arba’im elef

33.        חמישים אלף
khamishim elef

34.        שישים אלף
shishim elef

35.        שבעים אלף
shiv’im elef

36.        שמונים אלף
shmonim elef

37.        תשעים אלף
tish’im elef

38.        מאה אלף
me’ah elef

39.        מיליון

2. Ordinal Numbers

Colored Numbers

Apart from knowing your cardinal numbers down pat, you’ll also want to know your ordinal numbers. Don’t be scared off by the name. These are simply the numbers we use to describe the order of things, like “first,” “second,” and “third” in English. Here they are in Hebrew. Keep in mind that, as with cardinal numbers, you need to make sure ordinal numbers match what they’re counting in terms of gender.

40.        ראשון

41.        שני

42.        שלישי

43.        רביעי

44.        חמישי

45.        שישי

46.        שביעי

47. שמיני

48.        תשיעי

49.        עשירי

3. Nouns

Full Car Trunk

Now that we’ve got our numbers straight, let’s have a look at some of the things you may wish to attach them to, namely nouns. These are a rather mixed bag, without any common theme. They are simply some of the most common Hebrew nouns suited for the intermediate level. Note that when nouns describe a person or animal (for instance, names of occupations), these nouns will often have both masculine and feminine forms.

50.        אזעקה

51.        מעשה
“action” / “tale”

52.        אלף-בית

53.        מזג אוויר
mezeg avir

54.        קבלה

55.        פרסומת

56.        יכולת

57.        מטרה
“goal” / “objective”

58.        חשבון
“check” / “bill” / “account”

59.        יתרון

60.        מבטא

61.        דחף
“drive” / “impulse”

62.        כמות

63.        גיל

64.        כאב
“pain” / “ache”

65.        עידן
“age” / “epoch”

66.        מבצע
“operation” / “sale”

67.        הישג
“accomplishment” / “achievement”

68.        שדה תעופה
sdeh te’ufah

69.        רואה חשבון
ro’eh kheshbon

70.        סוכנות

71.        התנצלות

72.        צבא
“army” / “military”

73.        ויכוח
“argument” / “dispute”

74.        אזור
“area” / “zone”

75.        הגעה

76.        כתבה

77.        ספורט

78.        הרשמה
“registration” / “application”

79.        גישה

80.        תגובה

81.        נמלה

82.        סידור

83.        הודעה

84.        מלאך

85.        מראה

86.        טיול
“trip” / “outing”

87.        רקע

88.        מרפסת
“porch” / “balcony”

89.        פאב

90.        אופה

91.        אמבטיה

92.        עמדה
“stance” / “attitude”

93.        קהל

94.        ספר

95.        תחבושת

96.        מזוודה
“luggage” / “suitcase”

97.        ממוצע

98.        תשומת לב
tsumet lev

99.        תקיפה
“attack” / “strike”

100.        סביבה

4. Verbs

Figure Skaters

Now let’s have a look at some of the most common verbs in Modern Hebrew for intermediate students. Remember that verbs are words that describe an action or state of being, such as “to do” or “to be.” Also remember that verb conjugation in Hebrew necessitates subject-verb agreement in terms of gender and number. For more information on this, check out our lesson on Hebrew verbs here. Note that all of the verbs listed below are provided in their infinitive form (in other words, without conjugation).

101.        לבטל
“to cancel”

102.        להתנגש
“to collide” / “to crash”

103.        לאסור
“to prohibit”

104.        לקפוץ
“to jump”

105.        להתאפק
“to bear” / “to hold on”

106.        להתחנן
“to beg”

107.        להצטרף
“to join”

108.        להנות
“to enjoy”

109.        להאשים
“to accuse” / “to blame”

110.        להכות
“to hit” / “to strike”

111.        להפריע
“to bother”

112.        לנדנד
“to swing” / “to pester”

113.        לשכנע
“to convince”

114.        לתפוס
“to catch”

115.        לחגוג
“to celebrate”

116.        לרדוף
“to chase”

117.        לנהוג
“to drive”

118.        להתבלבל
“to get confused”

119.        לכבוש
“to conquer”

120.        לשקול
“to weigh” / “to consider”

121.        להשקיע
“to invest”

122.        להביע
“to express”

123.        להתכתב
“to correspond”

124.        להשחית
“to corrupt”

125.        להשתעל
“to cough”

126.        להבדיל
“to distinguish”

127.        להיעלם
“to disappear”

128.        לשחרר
“to free” / “to dismiss”

129.        לחלק
“to divide”

130.        להתחתן
“to beg”

131.        להתעטש
“to sneeze”

132.        לגרור
“to drag” / “to tow”

133.        להסיע
“to transport” / “to give a ride to”

134.        לטבוע
“to drown”

135.        למחוק
“to erase”

136.        לשער
“to estimate”

137.        להגזים
“to exaggerate”

138.        להתפוצץ
“to explode”

139.        לנצל
“to exploit”

140.        להיכשל
“to fail”

141.        לסלוח
“to forgive”

142.        לפעול
“to act” / “to work”

143.        להזיע
“to sweat”

144.        לרעוד
“to tremble” / “to shake”

145.        להתבונן
“to ponder” / “to meditate”

146.        להזדרז
“to hurry up”

147.        לזלזל
“to belittle”

148.        להשוויץ
“to brag” / “to show off”

149.        לשגע
“to drive crazy”

150.        להתחבר
“to connect”

5. Adjectives

Big Man and Small Man

Now let’s see some essential adjectives for intermediate-level Hebrew. Adjectives, you’ll recall, are used to describe nouns. Think of words like “big” or “red.” As we’ve seen, Hebrew is big on gendering words, and adjectives are no exception. Make sure your adjectives agree with the noun they describe in terms of gender and number. If you need help with this, we invite you to refresh your memory with this lesson on how to properly use adjectives in Modern Hebrew. The adjectives listed below are in masculine form.

151.        נטוש

152.        אקדמי

153.        מוצלח

154.        חומצי

155.        נוכחי

156.        מהולל
“praiseworthy” / “admired”

157.        חביב

158.        מעצבן

159.        צבעוני

160.        מיושן

161.        אומנותי

162.        מרשים

163.        מרתק

164.        אותנטי

165.        חמדן

166.        נהדר

167.        מסוגל

168.        מקובל
“acceptable” / “accepted”

169.        מדויק
“precise” / “accurate”

170.        גמיש

171.        מתקדם

172.        פחדן

173.        אגרסיבי

174.        מייסר

175.        מופתע
“taken aback” / “surprised”

176.        מנותק
“detached” / “disconnected”

177.        הוגן
“fair” / “just”

178.        חרד

179.        הולם

180.        מבויש

181.        אתלטי

182.        מושך

183.        מורשה

184.        ממוצע

185.        נורא

186.        מוחלט

187.        משובח

188.        כואב

189.        פעיל

190.        הרפתקן

191.        ידני
“handheld” / “manual”

192.        מבושם

193.        אוטומטי

194.        מודע

195.        ממורמר

196.        תפל

197.        אקזוטי

198.        נועז

199.        מבריק

200.        שתלטני

6. Adverbs

Car Shifter

While adjectives describe nouns, adverbs describe verbs. Think of words like “fast,” “well,” or “honestly” in English. Essentially, these words give us additional information about how, why, when, etc. an action is performed or a state occurs. The good news about adverbs in Hebrew is that they do not need to be modified for agreement with the nouns or verbs they accompany. Rather, adverbs have only one form—that means less for you to memorize! For more on adverbs in Hebrew and how to use them, check out this lesson.

201.        היטב

202.        נפלא

203.        נורא

204.        בשקט

205.        בקול רם
be-kol ram
“out loud”

206.        באהבה

207.        בעדינות

208.        בשמחה
“happily” / “gladly”

211.        באדיבות

212.        בכנות
“honestly” / “sincerely”

213.        בטבעיות

214.        נקי

215.        באופן מוזר
be-ofen muzar

216.        מהר

217.        לאט

218.        חזק

219.        חלש

220.        ברעב

221.        ביחד

222.        לבד

223.        בפנים
“indoors” / “inside”

224.        בחוץ
“outdoors” / “outside”

225.        בבית
“at home”

226.        ברחוב
“in/on the street”

227.        בפומבי
“in public”

228.        בפרטיות
“privately” / “in private”

229.        לפנים

230.        לאחור

231.        למעלה

232.        למטה

233.        הצידה
“laterally” / “sideways”

234.        תמיד

235.        אף פעם
af pa’am

236.        לעיתים קרובות
le-‘itim krovot

237.        לעיתים רחוקות
le-‘itim rekhokot

238.        מיד

239.        מדי פעם
midey pa’am
“once in a while”

240.        כמעט

241.        די

242.        בהחלט

243.        לגמרי

244.        לכל עבר
le-khol ‘ever

245.        נקודתית
“point by point” / “surgically”

246.        באופן פרטני
be-ofen partani
“one-on-one” / “one-by-one”

247.        באופן ספונטני
be-ofen spontani

248.        מרוכז

249.        מפוזר
“in a scattered way”

250.        בקלות

251.        בקושי
“with difficulty”

252.        בחופשיות

7. Prepositions

Boy Giving Book to Girl

The next set of intermediate Hebrew vocabulary words we’ll look at are prepositions, which you won’t get far without in any language. These are the small words we use to describe the relationships between other words, connecting them and giving them nuance, especially in terms of verbs and adjectives. Think of words like “through,” “for,” or “after.” 

English happens to be one of the languages that relies most heavily on prepositions, while Hebrew’s use of them is relatively more limited. Nevertheless, they are still crucial to greasing the wheels of language, so don’t skip them over! You should have learned the basic prepositions by now, but if not or in case you forgot, see more about Hebrew prepositions here.

253.        אחרי

254.        מאחורי

255.        אצל
“at” / “by”

256.        באמצעות

257.        בגלל
“because of”

258.        בזכות
“thanks to”

259.        בין
“between” / “among”

260.        בלי

261.        במקום
“instead of”

262.        בעד
“for” / “in favor of”

263.        בקרב

264.        בשביל

265.        בתוך

266.        כלפי

267.        כמו

268.        לאורך

269.        לגבי

270.        ליד
“next to”

271.        למען
“for the sake of”

272.        לפי
“according to”

273.        לפני
“before” / “in front of”

274.        לקראת

275.        מול

276.        מעל

277.        מפני
“because of”

278.        מתחת

279.        עבור

280.        לעומת
“in comparison with” / “versus”

8. Conjunctions

Two Girls Reading Book

Now let’s see some of the most common conjunctions that you should start learning as an intermediate student of Hebrew. Conjunctions are similar to prepositions, but we use them to connect clauses or sentences as well as to coordinate words within the same clause. Think of words like “and,” “or,” or “but” in English.

281.        אבל

282.        עדיין

283.        בזמן ש…
bi-zman she…

284.        …כש

285.        …אף על פי ש
af ‘al pi she…
“even though”

286.        בגלל
“due to”

287.        למרות

288.        אך

289.        אפילו

290.        אלא אם כן
ela im ken

9. Auxiliary Words and Particles

Woman with Question Marks above Head

Last but not least, let’s look at some of the essential auxiliary words and particles for intermediate-level Hebrew. Particles are essentially words with a distinct grammatical function that, despite this, do not comfortably fit into the main parts of speech (nouns, verbs, etc.). Note that Hebrew has some words that have no parallel in English, such as the ubiquitous את (et – see more here). It’s best not to try to translate these—or language in general—and rather to pay attention to their function and how natives seem to use them.

291.        יש+
“there is” / “there are”

292.        אין
“there is not” / “there are not”

*Note that Hebrew has no verb for “to have.” Instead, it uses יש and אין followed by a preposition-personal pronoun word such as לי (li, “to/for me”) or לך (lekha, “to/for you”) to express ownership or possession.

293.        הלוואי
“if only”

294.        הן

*This word almost always appears twice in a sentence and is somewhat akin to “both… and” in English.

295.        יא

*This word means “you” when you’re calling or referring to someone with an additional descriptor or moniker. Here’s an example:

  • למה אתה לא עוזר לי, יא עצלן?
    Lamah atah lo ‘ozer li, ya ‘atzlan?
    “Why don’t you help me, you lazybones?”

296.        זהו
“that’s it” / “this is”

297.        מיהו
“who is”

298.        כלום

299.        כזה
“such as this”

300.        הינה
“here is” / “here are”

*Note the difference between יש (yeish, “there is” / “there are”) and הינה (hinei, “here is” / “here are”).

10. HebrewPod101 is your one-stop destination for all your Hebrew needs.

We hope you found today’s lesson helpful. Did you know any of these intermediate Hebrew words already, or were they all new to you? 

Obviously, with some estimates placing Hebrew’s total lexis at 60,000 words, studying vocabulary should be an ongoing pursuit for any Hebrew student. That said, you can get pretty far if you focus on the most common and useful words first, as you can often figure out more esoteric words from context.

We hand-picked the words in this lesson based on their frequency and utility in Modern Hebrew, so you can be sure that they’ll help you with everyday conversations and even things like understanding Hebrew movies or music. As always, our mission at HebrewPod101 is to encourage and support you throughout your language learning journey. We want you not only to succeed in your Hebrew goals, but also to enjoy your studies every step of the way.

To that end, we’re always delighted to hear from our students. Were there any words you’re still unsure of? Any words that you’ve encountered before, but couldn’t decipher on your own? Or maybe there’s a topic you’d like us to cover in a future vocabulary lesson. Whatever it may be, please don’t hesitate to reach out and get in touch with us. Our team of Hebrew experts is happy to help. In the meantime, shalom!

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Learn the Names of Animals in Hebrew


Does a whole lesson on animals in Hebrew seem like a bunch of monkey business to you? Well, we’re not horsing around today! As any schoolchild knows, animal names are a basic component of any language. And in Hebrew, there are some particular reasons this is true. First, as a country that engages heavily in agriculture, Israel is full of domesticated animals (particularly in the country, as well as in kibbutzim and moshavim). Secondly, Israel’s natural fauna abounds, including some animals that are indigenous to Israel. And finally, the Bible itself mentions over 120 species of animals, so many of the Hebrew animal names go back thousands of years.

An additional reason to learn Hebrew words for animals is that Israelis are big pet lovers. Around a third of Israelis have some sort of pet, with dogs and cats taking the lead. Still, there is no shortage of other animals, like birds, reptiles, and rodents, to be found in Israeli homes. 

Whatever the case may be, it’s always good to rest the brain from grammar and other serious linguistic endeavors once in a while and to just have fun!

Today’s lesson will cover the top 80 Hebrew animal names and words related to animals, including some key animal body parts and a few common expressions related to animals. Don’t chicken out now! You don’t have to learn all 80 at once. Just pick a handful at a time, and stay focused on those. The lion’s share of these words are easy enough to pronounce and remember, so let’s jump in and grab this bull by the horns!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Pets (חיות מחמד, khayot makhmad)
  2. Farm Animals (חיות משק, khayot meshek)
  3. Wild Animals (חיות בר, khayot bar)
  4. Marine Life (החיים הימיים, Ha-Khayim ha-yamiyim)
  5. Insects (חרקים, kharakim)
  6. Birds (ציפורים, tziporim), Reptiles (זוחלים, zokhalim) & Amphibians (דו-חיים, du-khayim)
  7. Animal Body Parts (חלקי גוף של בעלי חיים, khelkey guf shel ba’aley khayim)
  8. Animal-Related Idioms & Slang
  9. No need to go lone wolf with your Hebrew! Let HebrewPod101 get you to the head of the pack.

1. Pets (חיות מחמד, khayot makhmad)


The most obvious place to start is with pets. After all, these are the animals most of us are likely to encounter on a daily basis. Israel is very much a pet-friendly society, with Tel Aviv even hosting a festival just for dogs! Israelis’ top choices for pets won’t strike you as much of a surprise, as they’re pretty much in line with Western pets. 

Now, let’s have a look at the most common pets in Hebrew. Note that in many cases, these words are gendered, so you want to try to use the correct form—either masculine or feminine—depending on the gender of the animal.

1. כלב/ה

2. חתול/חתולה

3. דג

4. אוגר

5. עכבר

6. ציפור
* Note that this word is always feminine.

7. תוכי

8. יונה

9. צב

10. נחש

2. Farm Animals (חיות משק, khayot meshek)

Man Plowing with Oxen

Are you interested in singing Israel’s equivalent of Old MacDonald (לדוד משה היתה חווה – Le-Dod Mosheh haytah khavah – “Uncle Moshe Had a Farm”)? Or are you considering spending some time in a kibbutz? In either case, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the more common domesticated animals you’re likely to find in a farm setting. 

Israel is a heavily agricultural country, so you can expect to see little farms anywhere outside of the big cities. Here are the top farm animals in Hebrew. Note that in some cases, the masculine and feminine words are completely different (like “cow” and “bull” in English).

11. פרה

12. שור
* Note that the word for livestock in Hebrew is בקר (bakar).

13. חזיר/חזירה

14. חמור/אתון

15. תרנגול/תרנגולת

16. ברווז

17. סוס/סוסה

18. תיש/עז
tayish/ ‘ez

19. כבש/כבשה
* Note that the word for “flock(s)” of sheep or goats in Hebrew is צאן (tzon).

20. תרנגול הודו
tarnegol Hodu
“turkey” (literally: “Indian chicken” – There would seem to be some disagreement over the geographical origins of this bird!)

3. Wild Animals (חיות בר, khayot bar)

Lion hunting zebras

Now let’s have a look at some of the most popular wild animals. You can see some of these at Israel’s various nature reserves (such as Ein Gedi) or at the singular Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. Unfortunately, due to the density of its population, many species indigenous to Israel—such as mountain gazelles and ibexes—are less common a sight than in times past. Hopefully, conservation efforts will manage to preserve these species not only in zoos and safaris but also in the wild. 

Here are the names of common wild animals in Hebrew:

21. נמר/ה

22. פיל/ה

23. דוב/ה

24. שועל

25. תן

26. היפופוטם

27. ג’ירפה

28. אריה/לביאה

29. צבי/איילה

30. יעל

4. Marine Life (החיים הימיים, Ha-Khayim ha-yamiyim)

Sea Shells

As you probably know, Israel enjoys access to two different coastlines—the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Eilat (a.k.a. the Gulf of Aqaba)—as well as the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, both of which are actually large lakes. Going to the beach is a huge part of Israeli culture, so it’s a good idea to brush up on some of the top words for marine animals. Let’s have a look!

31. כריש

32. לוויתן
* Note that this Hebrew word is the root of English’s leviathan.

33. דולפין

34. תמנון

35. חסילון

36. סוסון ים
suson yam

37. סרטן
* Note that this word also means cancer.

38. אלמוג

39. מדוזה

40. אצות

5. Insects (חרקים, kharakim)


No examination of Hebrew animal words would be complete without a discussion of insects and other creepy-crawlies. Israel is no stranger to bugs, whether in terms of the locusts and lice mentioned in the Bible, the malarial mosquitoes that plagued modern settlers in the pre-state years, or the ticks that our dogs and cats bring home from the woods. Here are the top words you need to know for naming insects in Hebrew.

41. מקק
* Note that the word ג’וק (juk) can also be used to refer to cockroaches.

42. עכביש

43. זבוב

44. יתוש

45. קרציה

46. שפירית

47. גחלילית

48. עקרב

49. דבורה

50. צרעה

6. Birds (ציפורים, tziporim), Reptiles (זוחלים, zokhalim) & Amphibians (דו-חיים, du-khayim)

For our last category of animal names in Hebrew, let’s take a glance at the most common birds, reptiles, and amphibians you’re likely to encounter in the Holy Land. 

Because of Israel’s location smack-dab in the middle of where Europe, Asia, and Africa meet, countless birds fly through the country each year on their migration paths—apart from the many native bird species living in Israel. In fact, Israeli aircraft are even forbidden from interfering with the flight paths of migratory birds!

Israel is also no stranger to reptiles, with 97 distinct species represented in the country. Though extinction rates have been relatively low for reptiles, crocodiles, which are mentioned in the Bible as being indigenous to Israel, are today no longer among Israel’s wild species—for better or worse!

A- Birds

Birds Silhouetted in Sky

51. שחף

52. ינשוף

53. נשר

54. נקר

55. עיט

B- Reptiles & Amphibians


56. צפרדע

57. לטאה

58. שממית

59. צב יבשה
tzav yabashah

60. סלמנדרה

7. Animal Body Parts (חלקי גוף של בעלי חיים, khelkey guf shel ba’aley khayim)

Vet Examining Dog

Now that we’ve covered the more common animal species to be found in Israel, let’s have a look at some words for describing animal anatomy. As in English and most other languages, Hebrew has unique words to refer to the body parts of fauna, distinct from those used to describe the human body. Here are the ones you are most likely to use:

61. כנף
* Note that the plural for this word uses the dual form suffix -יים, and is כנפיים (kenafayim).

62. זנב

63. טופר

64. קרן
* Note that the plural for this word uses the dual form suffix -יים, and is קרניים (karnayim).

65. נוצה

66. פרסה

67. חוטם

68. מקור

69. קשקש

70. צדף

Want more? See our word list Sounds That Animals Make

8. Animal-Related Idioms & Slang

Black and White Sheep

Last but not least, let’s see some idioms, slang words, and other expressions that use animal names in Hebrew. Like English, the Hebrew language has a slew of such words and phrases. This should come as no surprise, considering the Jewish people’s ancient roots in farming and husbandry. In fact, animal-related language is probably one of the most colorful categories of Hebrew. Let’s see some choice examples.

71. כבשה שחורה
kivsah sh’khorah
“black sheep”

  • כולנו במשפחה למדנו באוניברסיטה חוץ מאחותי, הכבשה השחורה, אשר עובדת בבסטות בחו”ל כבר חמש שנים.
    Kulanu ba-mishpakhah lamadnu ba-universitah khutz me-akhoti, ha-kivsah ha-sh’khorah, asher ‘ovedet be-bastot be-khul kvar khamesh shanim.
    “All of us in the family studied at university except for my sister, the black sheep, who has been working in market stalls abroad for five years now.”

72. כמו דג במים
k’mo dag ba-mayim
“like a fish in water”

  • כל פעם שאני חוזר לקיבוץ, אני מרגיש כמו דג במים.
    Kol pa’am she-ani khozer la-kibbutz, ani margish k’mo dag ba-mayim.
    “Every time I go back to the kibbutz, I feel just like a fish in water.”

73. להשתפן
“to chicken out” (literally: “to act like a rabbit”)

  • אל תשתפן! קפוץ כבר! המים עמוקים.
    Al tishtafen! Kfotz kvar! Ha-mayim ‘amukim.
    “Don’t chicken out! Jump already! The water is deep.”

74. דיר חזירים
dir khazirim

  • אמרתי לכם לנקות כבר את דיר החזירים הזה!
    Amarti lakhem lenakot kvar et dir ha-khazirim ha-zeh!
    “I told you to clean up this pigsty already!”

75. מבט ממעוף ציפור
mabat mi-me’of tzipor
“bird’s eye view”

  • איזה נוף! יש לנו מבט ממעוף הציפור על כל העיר.
    Eyzeh nof! Yeish lanu mabat mi-ma’of ha-tzipor al kol ha-’ir.
    “What a view! We’ve got a bird’s eye view of the entire city.”

76. כמעוף הדבורה
ke-ma’of ha-devorah

  • מתחיל כבר להחשיך. רוצי הביתה כמעוף הדבורה!
    Matkhil kvar le-hakhshikh. Rutzi ha-baytah ke-ma’of ha-devorah!
    “It’s getting dark already. Run and make a beeline for home!”

77. חזק כשור
khazak kmo shor
“strong as an ox”

  • ראית את העובד החדש במחסן? הוא חזר כשור!
    Ra’it et ha-’oved ha-khadash ba-makhsan? Hu khazak kmo shor!
    “Have you seen the new employee in the warehouse? He’s strong as an ox!”

78. שעיר לעזאזל
sa’ir la-’Azazel

  • אל תנסו לעשות ממני שעיר לעזאזל. מה שקרה זה לא באשמתי.
    Al tenasu la’asot mimeni sa’ir la-’Azazel. Mah she-karah zeh lo be-ashmati.
    “Don’t try to make a scapegoat out of me. What happened isn’t my fault.”

79. נחש בעשב
nakhash ba-‘esev
“snake in the grass”

  • אני לא סומך עליו בכלל. הוא סתם עוד נחש בעשב.
    Ani lo somekh ‘alav bikhlal. Hu stam ‘od nakhash ba-’esev.
    “I don’t trust him at all. He’s just another snake in the grass.”

80. החלק הארי
ha-khelek ha-ari
“the lion’s share”

  • בואו נודה בכך שדפנה עשתה את החלק הארי של העבודה.
    Bo’u nodeh be-khakh she-Dafnah ‘astah et ha-khelek ha-ari shel ha-’avodah.
    “Let’s just admit that Dafna did the lion’s share of the work.”

9. No need to go lone wolf with your Hebrew! Let HebrewPod101 get you to the head of the pack.

We hope you enjoyed today’s lesson on animals in the Hebrew language. We here at HebrewPod101 know that sometimes studying a new language can make you feel like you’re a fish out of water, but that’s why we’re here: to make sure you’ve got a school to swim with. Our lessons are carefully crafted to cover all the topics you’ll need to master on your language learning journey while having a whale of a time.

So don’t sweat it! Just remember that mastering a language, like any large and long-term project, is best done a bit at a time. Whether it’s vocabulary, grammar, or pronunciation, we always encourage our students not to bite off more than they can chew in one sitting. Just pick a reasonable amount of language and, once you’ve gone through it, make sure to review everything! 

Have fun checking out our thousands of other written and audiovisual lessons, where we cover a broad range of topics and situations, from ordering at a restaurant to the top Hebrew-language music artists and TV shows.

Before you go: What’s your favorite animal? Do you remember its name in Hebrew?

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A Guide to Hebrew Phone Words and Phrases


Does the thought of having a phone conversation in a foreign language put you on edge?

Making and receiving phone calls in one’s mother tongue can be stressful enough, but doing so in a foreign language represents a particular brand of challenge. In fact, it’s rather common to feel comfortable having an in-person conversation in a foreign language but to become shaky when it comes to handling phone calls in that language. If you give it a bit of thought, it’s easy to see why a Hebrew phone conversation may be a taller order for language learners than a face-to-face conversation.

For starters, experts claim that much of our communication is non-verbal. In the context of a traditional phone call, you can see just how tricky things can get when we’re confined to abstract spoken language, without the ability to reference non-verbal cues such as facial expressions or hand gestures. This is particularly true in the Middle East, where locals tend to use their hands as moving punctuation marks. While the increasing availability of video call technology means you might be lucky enough to see your interlocutor, there’s no indication that the old-fashioned phone call is going anywhere soon. It’s a good idea to learn phone call phrases and to practice phone conversations in Hebrew so you’re well-prepared when the moment comes.

Phone calls also tend to be more difficult as they introduce added potential for external communication obstacles. Depending on the devices being used for the call, any existing background or ambient noise, the speakers’ voices and volume level, and the quality of the connection itself, you may well be straining to hear or understand your interlocutor. Of course, you’ll want to ensure you can have a clear connection when you do conduct Hebrew phone calls, but practicing phone call-related language can help you “fill in the blanks,” even when the connection isn’t great or the speaker is a low talker.

In today’s lesson, we’ll take a look at the top 30 phrases for having a telephone conversation in Hebrew, including how to introduce yourself, how to ask to speak with someone, how to ask for clarification or repetition, and, of course, how to wrap things up at the end of a call. By the time you finish reading, you’ll have all the tools you need to effectively communicate over the phone in Hebrew!

Woman at Computer on Phone
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Picking up the Phone
  2. Saying Who You Are
  3. Stating/Asking the Reason for the Call
  4. Asking to Speak to Someone
  5. Asking Someone to Wait
  6. Leaving a Message
  7. Asking for Clarification
  8. Ending the Phone Call
  9. Sample Phone Conversations
  10. Phone a friend: You can call on HebrewPod101 to help you learn all the Hebrew you’ll ever need.

1. Picking up the Phone

Close Up of Woman Answering Phone

The first set of Hebrew phone call phrases you ought to study are the greetings. 

When the phone rings, you want to feel totally comfortable picking it up, regardless of who may be at the other end of the line or what time of day it is. 

While there are numerous ways to answer the phone or begin a conversation when someone else picks up, the following is a solid list of common words and phrases for picking up the phone in Hebrew. You can use the first two at any time, while the following three are time-specific. 

Note the particular way Israelis pronounce the first word, with a short “a” sound like that in “car.”

1. הלו?
Halo? (*can often sound more like “alo”)

2. שלום
“Hello” (literally: “Peace”)

3. בוקר טוב
Boker tov
“Good morning”

4. צהריים טובים
Tzohorayim tovim
“Good afternoon”

5. ערב טוב
Erev tov
“Good evening”

2. Saying Who You Are

Man Activating Headset

Now that you know how to answer the phone in Hebrew, the next step is learning to introduce yourself properly. As in English-speaking and other cultures, it is customary for the caller to identify themselves after using one of the greetings above. 

Once again, there are multiple ways to do this. For the purposes of today’s lesson, we’ll just look at the more common and basic forms used for self-introductions over the phone. Obviously, you would fill in the blank in any of these options with your own name. 

It’s worth noting that there is nothing wrong with identifying yourself first and then using one of the above greetings as an alternative way of answering the phone. Note that Hebrew syntax can be quite different from what we’re used to in English, as you’ll see in some of the examples below where the subject comes after the verb or adverb.

6. כאן ____.
Kan ____.
“____ here.”

  • כאן רות.
    Kan Rut.
    “Ruth here.”

7. מדבר/ת _____.
Medaber/et _____.
“This is _____ speaking.”

  • מדבר שי.
    Medaber Shai.
    “This is Shai speaking.”
  • מדברת ליאת.
    Medaberet Li’at.
    “This is Liat speaking.”

8. זה/זו _____.
Zeh/zo ___.
“This is ____.”

  • זה חנן.
    Zeh Khanan.
    “This is Chanan.”
  • זו שלומית.
    Zo Shlomit.
    “This is Shlomit.”

9. שמי ____.
Shemi _____.
“My name is _____.”

  • שמי דנה.
    Shemi Danah.
    “My name is Dana.”

3. Stating/Asking the Reason for the Call

Man on Phone Writing on Notepad

Next, we’ll typically indicate the reason for our call if we’re the one who initiated contact, or else we may ask the caller what they need or how we can help. This is true whether we’re calling a government agency for public information or if we’re dialing a friend to see if they feel like going to the park to play soccer. 

There are a multitude of possibilities here, but let’s have a look at the top ways to state or ask the reason for a phone call in Hebrew.

10. הגעתי ל_____?
Higa’ti l_____?
“Is this _____?”

  • הגעתי לשרות לקוחות?
    Higa’ti le-sherut lekokhot?
    “Is this customer service?”

11. רציתי לדעת אם _____.
Ratziti lada’at im ____.
“I’d like to know if ____.”

  • רציתי לדעת אם יש לכם תוכנית תשלומים.
    Ratziti lada’at im yeish lakhem tokhnit tashlumim.
    “I’d like to know if you offer a payment plan.”

12. אני מתקשר/ת אל ____ בחזרה.
Ani mitkasher/et el _____ be-khazarah.
“I’m returning ______’s call.”

  • אני מתקשר אל רון בחזרה.
    Ani mitkasher el Ron be-khazarah.
    “I’m returning Ron’s call.”

13. במה אוכל לעזור לך?
Be-mah ukhal la’azor lekha/lakh?
“How can I help you?”

4. Asking to Speak to Someone

Man Pointing to Cell Phone

Oftentimes, we place a call intending to reach someone in particular. However, we may or may not reach that person directly. If someone else picks up the phone, we want to be equipped with the proper language to ask for the person we’re calling. Here are some of the more common ways of doing so in Hebrew. Note that the final option is a good one when we’re looking for a specific department or office rather than a specific person.

14. אפשר לדבר עם _____?
Efshar ledaber ‘im ____?
“Could I speak to ____?”

  • אפשר לדבר עם חגית?
    Efshar ledaber ‘im Khagit?
    “Could I speak to Chagit?”

15. אני מחפש/ת את ____.
Ani mekhapes/et et ____.
“I’m looking for ____.”

  • אני מחפשת את שירלי.
    Ani mekhapeset et Shirli.
    “I’m looking for Shirli.”

16. האם ____ נמצא/ת?
Ha’im ______ nimtza/nimtzeit?
“Is _____ there?”

  • האם יגאל נמצא?
    Ha’im Yig’al nimtza?
    “Is Yigal there?”

17. תוכל/י להעביר אותי ל____?
Tukhal/Tukhli leha’avir oti le-_____?
“Could you transfer me to _____?”

  • תוכלי להעביר אותי למחלקת התלונות שלכם?
    Tukhli leha’avir oti le-makhleket ha-telunot shelakhem?
    “Could you transfer me to your complaints department?

5. Asking Someone to Wait

Woman with Phone Checking Watch

If we pick up the phone and the caller is seeking a specific department or person, we may need to ask them to wait while we transfer them to the right place. Alternatively, we may be asked to wait for the person, department, or office we’re trying to reach. In either case, we’d be wise to have a strong grasp of the relevant language for such a situation. Here are some common ways to handle it.

18. רק רגע, בבקשה.
Rak rega’, bevakashah.
“Just a moment, please.”

19. המתן/המתיני על הקו בבקשה.
Hamten/Hamtini ‘al ha-kav bevakashah.
“Please hold the line.”

20. אל תנתק/תנתקי בבקשה.
Al tenatek/tenatki bevakashah.
“Don’t hang up, please.”

6. Leaving a Message

Finger Pressing Keypad on Phone

Another key skill for good Hebrew phone conversations is asking to leave a message, which more often than not entails asking the person we were looking for to call us back. Here are some of the top ways to do this in Hebrew.

21. אפשר להשאיר לו/לה הודעה?
Efshar lehashir lo/lah hoda’ah?
“Can I leave him/her a message?”

22. תוכל/י לומר לו/לה שיחזור/שתחזור אליי?
Tukhal/Tukhli lomar lo/lah she-yakhzor/she-takhzor elay?
“Could you have him/her call me back?”

23. אנא התקשר/י אליי מאוחר יותר.
Ana hitkasher/hitkashri elay me’ukhar yoter.
“Please call me back later.”

7. Asking for Clarification

Woman on Phone with Palm against Forehead

Now that we’ve seen some essential language for Hebrew phone calls, let’s look at a crucial element of any conversation: asking for clarification. 

Whether due to a lack of experience making phone calls in Hebrew, the technical nature of our phone call, or even a bad connection, we may find ourselves unable to understand what was just said on the phone. In any event, it’s always good to know how to ask the other person to repeat or clarify what they’ve said. 

Here are the more common ways of asking for clarification during Hebrew phone conversations.

24. תוכל/תוכלי לחזור על זה שוב?
Tukhal/Tukhli lakhzor ‘al zeh shuv?
“Could you repeat that?”

25. לא שומעים טוב. עוד פעם?
Lo shom’im tov. ‘Od pa’am?
“I can’t hear you well. What was that?”

26. סליחה. שוב?
Slikhah. Shuv?
“Sorry. Come again?”

8. Ending the Phone Call

Phone being Hung Up

Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to know how to wrap up a phone call in Hebrew. The best way to do so will vary depending on the circumstances of the call in question, so here are four phrases you can draw on when you’re winding down a phone call.

27. תודה. עזרת לי מאוד.
Todah. Azarta/Azart li me’od.
“Thanks. You’ve been a great help.”

28. אז נדבר ____.
Az nedaber ____.
“So let’s speak ____.”

29. שיהיה לך יום נעים/ערב טוב.
She-yehiyeh lekha/lakh yom na’im/’erev tov.
“Have a nice day/good night.”

30. להתראות.
“Goodbye.” / “See you later.”

9. Sample Phone Conversations

Cell Phone with Different Icons Hovering above It

Now let’s piece it all together and have a look at a couple of brief sample Hebrew phone conversations, one informal and the other formal. Even though Hebrew does not use different grammar to distinguish between higher and lower registers (like Spanish and French do, for instance), it’s possible to adopt a more or less formal tone based on word choice, much the way English works.

The first conversation is between two friends, so the tone is familiar and friendly. The second call simulates making a reservation at a restaurant, so you’ll note that the tone is slightly more formal. That said, most spoken Modern Hebrew is relatively informal compared to other languages, even in exchanges between strangers.

1. Shai makes plans to get together with a friend

Man Holding Schedule


-שלום, רון. זה שי.
Shalom, Ron. Zeh Shai.
“Hi, Ron. This is Shai.”

-היי, שי. מה נשמע?
Hay, Shai. Mah nishmah?
“Hi, Shai. What’s up?”

-הכל טוב. מה איתך?
Ha-kol tov. Mah itkha?
“Everything’s good. What’s up with you?”

-אצלי הכל בסדר. תודה. מה קורה?
Etzli ha-kol beseder. Todah. Mah koreh?
“Everything’s good with me. Thanks. What’s going on?”

-רציתי לדעת אם בא לך לצאת לאכול בסופ”ש.
Ratziti lada’at im ba lekha latzeit le’ekhol ba-sofash.
“I wanted to know if you feel like going out for brunch this weekend.”

-וואלה. אשמח. אל תנתק, אני רק בודק את היומן שלי.
Wallah. Esmakh. Al tenatek. Ani rak bodek et ha-yoman sheli.
“Yeah. I’d be happy to. Don’t hang up. I’m just checking my schedule.”


-אז אני פנוי בשבת בבוקר מ-11:00 והלאה.
Az ani panuy be-Shabbat ba-boker me-akhat-esreh ve-hal’ah.
“So, I’m free Saturday morning from 11:00 onwards.”

-אחלה, בא נקבע ל-11:30 במקום הקבוע שלנו.
Akhlah, bo nikba’ le-akhat-esreh-va-khetzi ba-makom ha-kavu’a shelanu.
“Great, let’s set it for 11:30 in our usual place.”

-בסדר גמור. רשמתי.
Be-seder gamur. Rashamti.
“Absolutely. I wrote it down.”

-יופי. אז נדבר בסופ”ש.
Yofi. Az nedaber ba-sofash.
“Nice. So let’s talk this weekend.”

-נשמע טוב, חבר. שיהיה לך ערב טוב.
Nishma’ tov, khaver. She-yihiyeh lekha ‘erev tov.
“Sounds good, buddy. Have a good evening.”

-גם לך. להתראות.
Gam lekha. Lehitra’ot.
“You too. See you.”

2. Shai reserves a table at Lavan Restaurant

Waiter Holding Plates

-שלום. הגעתי למסעדת לבן?
Shalom. Higa’ti le-mis’edet Lavan?
“Hello. Is this the Lavan Restaurant?”

-צהריים טובים. כן, כאן לירון במסעדת לבן. במה אוכל לעזור לך?
Tzohorayim tovim. Ken, kan Liron mi-mis’edet Lavan- Be-mah ukhal la’azor lekha?
“Good afternoon. Yes, this is Liron at Lavan. How can I help you?”

-אני רוצה להזמין שולחן לשניים בבקשה.
Ani rotzeh lehazmin shulkhan le-shnayim bevakashah.
“I’d like to reserve a table for two, please.”

-אין בעיה. יום ושעה, בבקשה?
Ein ba’ayah. Yom ve-sha’ah bevakashah?
“No problem. Day and time, please?”

-יום שבת ב-11:30. על שם שי בבקשה.
Yom Shabbat be-akhat-esreh va-khetzi. ‘Al shem Shai bevakashah.
“Saturday at 11:30. Under Shai, please.”

-אוקיי, אני רושמת. זהו, רשום. עוד משהו?
Okay, ani roshemet. Zehu, rashum. ‘Od mashehu?
“Okay, I’m entering it in. That’s it, you’re registered. Anything else?”

-כן, רק הייתי רוצה לבקש את השולחן בפינה, עם נוף לעמק.
Ken, rak hayiti rotzeh levakesh et ha-shulkhan ba-pinah, ‘im nof la-’emek.
“Yes, I’d just like to ask for the table in the corner, with a view of the valley.”

-אוקיי, הוספתי הערה.
Okay, hosafti he’arah.
“Okay, I’ve added a note.”

-אחלה. תודה, עזרת לי מאוד.
Akhlah. Todah, azart li me’od.
“Great. Thanks, you’ve been very helpful.”

-אין על מה. תודה ונכחה לכם בשבת ב-11:30.
Ein ‘al mah. Todah ve-nekhakeh lakhem be-Shabbat be-akhat-esreh-va-khetzi.
“No problem. Thanks, and we’ll be looking forward to seeing you on Saturday at 11:30.”



10. Phone a friend: You can call on HebrewPod101 to help you learn all the Hebrew you’ll ever need.

We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s lesson on how to have a Hebrew phone conversation. Obviously, the more you improve your Hebrew, the more comfortable you’ll be both speaking by phone and understanding the person on the other end of the line. That said, it’s always great to practice specific situations with the right vocabulary, particularly ones you tend to get stressed over.

HebrewPod101 is here to offer you a wealth of resources to prepare you for speaking and understanding Hebrew in any situation you may face, whether it’s related to work, school, travel, family, friends, or even romance. Check out our site, and you’ll find an endless variety of lessons hand-crafted to equip you with all the language you’ll need to speak with fluency and confidence. 

As always, we’re happy to hear from you if you feel we’ve missed anything or if you’d like us to clarify something we covered.

Until next time, shalom!

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The Top 220 Hebrew Words for Beginners


Compared to languages like English and French, Hebrew has relatively fewer words. According to the Hebrew Language Academy, Hebrew has an estimated 75,000-85,000 lexemes, or abstract lexical units roughly corresponding to the entries you’d expect to find in a dictionary. 

But where does one start? 

Fear not! Today, HebrewPod101 is going to introduce you to the top 220 basic Hebrew words for beginners. We’ve included everything from pronouns to conjunctions and categorized our lists to cover various everyday topics. By the time you reach the end, you’ll be well-equipped to manage yourself in any situation!

To make it easier for you to learn these Hebrew words for beginners, we suggest that you don’t attempt to learn all of them in one go. Rather, pick a category or two, and start practicing them. If you need tips on some good and creative ways to practice your Hebrew, check out this article and this one for some ideas.

Before we plunge right in, don’t forget that no matter how you choose to practice the Hebrew vocabulary you pick up, the key is exposure and repetition. The more you read, hear, speak, and write a word, the easier it will be for you to retain it and to recall it on demand in a real-life situation. Make sure you review the new words you learn! 

Now, without further ado, let’s have a look at the top Hebrew beginner words.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Pronouns
  2. Numbers
  3. Nouns
  4. Verbs
  5. Adjectives
  6. Words for Describing the Weather
  7. Conjunctions
  8. Bonus: Words That Only Exist in the Hebrew Language
  9. Let HebrewPod101 Help You with the Basics

1. Pronouns

Arrow Made of People Figurines

A solid place to start (if admittedly not the most glamorous) is with the pronouns. These are words that we use to substitute for a noun, like when we replace “the boy” with “he.” Pronouns should be part of any beginner’s toolkit, as they enable you to refer to all sorts of people, places, and things, even if you don’t know or remember the precise word. After all, sometimes the only words you need are “this” and “that”!

Note that in Hebrew, nouns, pronouns, verb conjugations, and adjectives are both gendered and numbered. So try to keep your male and female pronouns—and any other words you use to go with them—in the correct gender and count!

For more information on Hebrew pronouns, have a look at this lesson.

A. Personal Pronouns

Well-dressed People

Personal pronouns refer to people, specifically, so this is a great place to start. Let’s have a look.

1. אני

2. אתה
“you” (m.)

3. את
“you” (f.)

4. הוא

5. היא

6. אנחנו

7. אתם
“you” (m. pl.)

8. אתן
“you” (f. pl.)

9. הם
“they” (m.)

10. הן
“they” (f.)

B. Demonstrative Pronouns

Student Pointing to Post-its on Blackboard

We use demonstrative pronouns to “point” to things or to distinguish which noun, in particular, we’re referencing. Here are the top demonstrative pronouns in Hebrew:

11. זה
“this” (m.)

12. זאת
“this” (f.)

13. זו
“this” (f.)

14. אלה

15. אלו

C. Interrogative Pronouns

Blocks with Question Marks

Interrogative pronouns are the ones we use for questions. Here are the most common ones in Hebrew:

16. מה

17. מי

18. איפה

19. איך

20. מתי

21. למה

22. למי
“for whom”

23. לאן
“to where”

2. Numbers

Young Girl Counting

Next up, we have a critical category for any new language learner: numbers. In Hebrew specifically, this is a bit of a tricky topic, as there are both masculine and feminine number forms—and the first three numbers in each category look deceptively like the opposite gender! 

But don’t get worked up just yet. 

Even if you just start out by acquiring the masculine form of the numbers 1-10, you’ll definitely be able to get around; people will understand you even if you mistakenly use masculine numbers for feminine nouns. In fact, many native Hebrew speakers make this very mistake themselves!

24. אחת

25. שתיים

26. שלוש

27. ארבע

28. חמש

29. שש


31. שמונה

32. תשע

33. עשר

3. Nouns

Apple and Orange

Most of us remember our middle school teacher telling us at some point that nouns refer to “people, places, things, and ideas.” That covers a whole lot of ground, but you won’t get very far in Hebrew (or any language for that matter) without some basic nouns under your belt. Here are some of the most common nouns used in the Hebrew language:

A. Time

Egg Timer

Let’s first look at nouns related both to telling time and to identifying the different times of day. Here we go!

34. שעה

35. דקה

36. שנייה

37. רגע

38. בוקר

39. צהריים

40. אחר הצהריים
akhar ha-tzohorayim

41. ערב

42. לילה

43. חצות

44. זריחה

45. שקיעה

B. Family


Now let’s have a look at another essential noun category for beginner Hebrew, namely nouns that we use to refer to family members.

46. אבא

47. אמא

48. סבא

49. סבתא

50. אח

51. אחות

52. בן

53. בת

54. נכד

55. נכדה

56. דוד

57. דודה

58. בן דוד
ben dod
“cousin” (m.)

59. בת דודה
bat dodah
“cousin” (f.)

60. אחיין

61. אחיינית

62. אבא חורג
abba khoreg
abba khoreg

63. אמא חורגת
imma khoreget

64. אח חורג
akh khoreg

65. אחות חורגת
akhot khoreget

C. Jobs and Professions

Kids Dressed Up as Professionals

Note that both the masculine and the feminine forms, in that order, are shown here. These are typically the same word with slight morphological changes to indicate gender, though there are cases where the word changes completely depending on whether we’re talking about a male or female professional. For example, think of the English word “seamstress,” which is the female counterpart of the male word “tailor.” 

Also note that while English has shifted away from gendered professional titles (think “wait staff” instead of “waiter”/”waitress”), the grammatically gendered nature of the Hebrew language is such that professions remain gendered in almost all cases.

66. חקלאי/ת

67. מהנדס/ת

68. עורך דין/עורכת דין
orekh din/orekhet din

69. רופא/ה

70. סופר/ת

71. חייל/ת

72. מוֹרֶה/מוֹרָה

73. מוכר/מוכרת

74. פקיד/פקידה
“clerk”/”public servant”

75. צייר/ת

76. שופט/ת

77. כבאי/ית

78. חשמלאי/ת

79. שרברב/ית

80. מלצר/ית

81. חייט/תופרת

82. אח/אחות

83. אוֹפֶה/אוֹפָה

84. שף/שפית

85. מזכיר/ה

86. ספר/ית

87. רופא/ת שניים
rofeh/rof’at shinayim

88. בנאי/ת
“builder”/”construction worker”

89. פועל/ת
“laborer”/”factory worker”

90. טייס/ת

D. Parts of the Body

Hand Touching Neck

Another key group of nouns in Hebrew for beginners are the parts of the body. One thing to note here is that, like Arabic, Hebrew has not only the singular and plural forms, but also a pair form. This form is made by using the suffix -יים (-ayim) and it’s used, among other things, for most body parts that come in pairs (like eyes, ears, and knees).

91. ראש

92. גוף

93. שיער

94. עיניים

95. אוזניים

96. פה

97. שניים

98. שפתיים

99. אף

100. צוואר

101. כתפיים

102. חזה

103. גב

104. בטן

105. מתניים

106. ידיים

107. מרפקים

108. פרק יד
perek yad

109. אצבעות

110. רגליים

111. ירכיים

112. ברכיים

113. שוקיים

114. קרסוליים

115. אצבעות הרגליים
etzba’ot ha-raglayiml

116. עקבים

4. Verbs

Track Runners in Race

Now that we’ve seen a fair share of nouns, let’s check out some of the more common verbs you’ll want to know as a beginner Hebrew learner. Remember that verbs are words that describe actions and states of being. We’ve handpicked the most useful verbs for daily activities and situations so that you can easily get by as you start conversing in Hebrew.

As verb conjugation is one of the more challenging aspects of learning Hebrew, one simple trick you can try is to use a simple verb, such as הולך/הולכת (holekh/holeket, “go”) or רוֹצֶה/רוֹצָה (rotzeh/rotzah, “want”), followed by a verb in its infinitive (unconjugated) form to make simple sentences. Note the examples provided with the first two verbs.

For more information on Hebrew verbs, see this lesson.

117. להתעורר
“to wake up”

  • אני לא רוצה להתעורר.
    Ani lo rotzeh lehit’orer.
    “I don’t want to wake up.”

118. לקום
“to get up”

  • אני הולכת לקום עכשיו.
    Ani holekhet lakum ‘akhshav.
    “I’m going to get up now.”

119. לאכול
“to eat”

120. לשתות
“to drink”

121. לישון
“to sleep”

122. ללמוד
“to learn” / “to study”

123. לנסוע
“to travel”

124. ללכת
“to go” / “to walk”

125. לרוץ
“to run”

126. לדבר
“to talk” / “to speak”

127. לשאול
“to ask”

128. לענות
“to answer”

129. לכתוב
“to write”

130. לקרוא
“to read”

131. לחייך
“to smile”

132. לבכות
“to cry”

133. לצחוק
“to laugh”

134. לצעוק
“to yell”

135. להתלונן
“to complain”

136. לשאת ולתת
laset ve-latet
“to negotiate”

137. לקנות
“to buy”

138. לשאול
“to borrow”

*Note that this is the same verb as “to ask,” which we saw above.

139. להשאיל
“to lend”

140. לקחת
“to take”

141. לתת
“to give”

142. לעשות
“to do”

143. לחפש
“to look for” / “to seek”

144. למצוא
“to find”

145. לשחות
“to swim”

146. לשחק
“to play”

147. לשקר
“to lie”

148. לעזור
“to help”

149. להפריע
“to bother” / “to disturb”

150. לבקר
“to visit”

5. Adjectives

Man Describing Something

While it’s true that you can make simple sentences with just nouns/pronouns and verbs, adjectives are what allow us to start making more complex, specific, and interesting statements and questions. Let’s have a look at some of the most commonly used Hebrew adjectives for beginners.

A. Adjectives for Describing Objects

Sporting Goods

First off, let’s look at some common adjectives we might use to describe everyday objects. Of course, many of these adjectives can be used to describe people as well, just make sure to use the right gender form!

151. גדול/ה

152. קטן/קטנה

153. ארוך/ארוכה

154. קצר/ה

155. כבד/ה

156. קל/ה

157. חדש/ה

158. ישן/ישנה

159. מעניין/מעניינת

160. משעמם/משעממת

161. מיוחד/ת

162. רגיל/ה
“regular” / “ordinary”

163. יקר/ה
“expensive” / “valuable”

164. זול/ה

165. נדיר/ה

166. נפוץ/נפוצה

B. Adjectives for Describing People

People Standing in Line

Now, let’s see some adjectives that are generally used for describing people and their characteristics. As before, some of these can certainly be used for non-people nouns, too. Just pay attention to the proper gender for whom or what you’re describing.

167. יָפֶה/יָפָה
“handsome” / “pretty”

168. גבוה/גבוהה

169. נמוך/נמוכה

170. רָזֶה/רָזָה

171. שמן/שמנה

172. חכם/חכמה

173. טיפש/טיפשה

174. אינטליגנטי/ת

175. חרוץ/חרוצה
“hard-working” / “industrious”

176. עצלן/עצלנית

177. רציני/ת

178. נינוח/ה
“easy-going” / “laid back”

179. משכיל/ה
“educated” / “sage”

180. בור/ה

C. Adjectives for Describing Emotions

Woman with Flowers Over Eyes

Now, let’s see some adjectives that can help us describe emotions. Some people find it helpful to study these with emoticons or emojis to help them remember which word goes with which emotion.

181. שמח/ה

182. עצוב/ה

183. מפחד/ת

184. כועס/כועסת
“angry” / “upset”

185. בודד/בודדה

186. קנאי/ת

187. אופטימי/ת
“optimistic” / “hopeful”

188. פסימי/ת

189. מופתע/ת

190. בטוח/ה
“confident” / “certain”

191. בספק

6. Words for Describing the Weather

Weather Forecast

What is it that we all know strangers tend to talk about? The weather, of course! 

Whether it’s to be able to chit-chat with the person sitting next to you on the bus or to understand tomorrow’s forecast, knowing basic weather words is a key part of beginner Hebrew. Here are the top words for describing the weather. Note that these are all nouns.

192. שמש

193. ענן

194. גשם

195. שלג

196. ברד

197. ברק

198. רעם

199. כפור

200. קרח

201. טל

202. רוח

203. סערה

7. Conjunctions

Boy Dressed Up as College Graduate

While these words might be considered slightly more advanced, conjunctions are sort of like the glue that holds together the rest of the words in a sentence. Considering their importance, then, it’s a good idea to pick up the more commonly used ones. Let’s check them out.

204. ו-

205. או

206. אבל

207. אך

208. לכן

209. אם

210. גם

211. כי

212. אכן

213. אלא

8. Bonus: Words That Only Exist in the Hebrew Language

Speech Bubble Containing Israeli Flag

Finally, here are some words that have no parallel in English. This is a mixed bag, but these are all words that have a special flavor that really only works in Hebrew. We’ve provided sample sentences to help illustrate the meaning and usage of each word.

214. את
(no English equivalent – linker to direct objects)

*This word is one that will only start to make sense once you’ve seen it being used a number of times. Essentially, it’s a linker between a verb and a direct object, with no semantic meaning of its own.

  • אני אוהב את השיר הזה.
    Ani ohev et ha-shir ha-zeh.
    “I like this song.”

215. דווקא
(no English equivalent – similar to “on purpose” or “of all things”)

  • את רוצה לאכול דווקא את מה שאכלת בדיוק לפני שעה?
    At rotzah le’ekhol davka et mah she-akhalt lifney sha’ah?
    “You want to eat exactly what you ate an hour ago, of all things?”

216. סתם
“for no reason”

  • לפעמים היא שרה סתם כי בא לה.
    Lifamim hi sharah stam ki ba lah.
    “Sometimes she sings for no reason just because she feels like it.”

217. תכלס

  • תכלס, אני לא ממש אוהב כדורסל.
    Takhles, ani lo mamash ohev kadursal.
    Honestly, I don’t really care for basketball.”

218. דוגרי
“straight” / “to the point”

  • אני אגיד לך דוגרי. אתה לא הטיפוס שלי.
    Ani agid lekha dugri. Atah lo ha-tipus sheli.
    “I’ll give it to you straight. You’re not my type.”

219. חוצפה
“gall” / “nerve”

  • איזה חוצפה! אכלת את ארוחת הצהריים שלי אפילו בלי לשאול!
    Eyzeh khutzpah! Akhalt et arukhat ha-tzohorayim sheli afilu bli lish’ol!
    “What nerve! You ate my lunch without so much as asking!”

220. להתחדש
(no English equivalent – literally “to renew oneself”)

  • התחדשי על השמלה. ממש יפה לך!
    Hitkhadshi ‘al ha-simlah. Mamash yafah lakh!
    “Enjoy that new dress. It’s really nice on you.”

9. Let HebrewPod101 Help You with the Basics

As experts in language education, we know how overwhelming it can be to begin studying a new language. That is all the more true in the case of a language so different from English as Hebrew, with an entirely new alphabet and sound system, not to mention the grammar. But not to worry! That’s exactly why we at are here to offer you all of the resources you need to successfully progress from beginner all the way to advanced and beyond.

We believe that the key to successful language learning is to take things a bit at a time. Few of us (if any) could possibly learn more than 200 words without a significant amount of repetition. So take it slow and stay focused. Apart from today’s lesson on the top 220 beginner words in Hebrew, we have specific lessons on a broad array of topics. Using our resources, you can build up your vocabulary, work on grammar points, or even practice your pronunciation—all at your own pace and on your own schedule.

    → Not sure where to start? Why not explore our series of Hebrew beginner lessons? This course is specially designed to help you level up in no time!

Anything unclear about today’s words? Any words we skipped that you’d like to know? Questions about pronunciation or grammar? Whatever it may be, we’re always happy to hear from our students, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions or doubts you may have.

Until next time, shalom!

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The Top 10 Hebrew Filler Words


As with any other language, spoken Hebrew can be quite different from written Hebrew. While there’s a wealth of grammar and other rules that dictate what is “correct” Hebrew, what Israelis actually speak on the street follows rules of its own, separate from what the Academy of the Hebrew Language may deem kosher. Aside from slang, elisions, and pronunciation variants, Hebrew filler words are just a part of natural speech.

Filler words are typically short words or sounds that we employ while thinking of what to say, or perhaps even when we get nervous. Most people use filler words to some extent, although your middle school grammar teacher may have criticized their use. While it’s true that using such words too often can definitely make you sound unsure of yourself or—let’s face it—just get annoying, peppering your speech with some authentic filler words in Hebrew will make you sound that much more natural. Plus, sometimes, you really just need a moment to gather your thoughts or to remember that new vocabulary word that’s stuck on the tip of your tongue.

In today’s lesson, we’re going to look at the top fillers in the Hebrew language. We’ll discuss why we use filler words, when to use each one, and how to pronounce them idiomatically. Just keep in mind that you really don’t want to overuse them, as they will degrade the quality of your speech. Even if you hear some Israelis using a whole lot of filler words (and you will hear this!), we still advise using them sparingly. In other words, like, you know: don’t overdo it!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. What are filler words and why do we use them?
  2. Filler words with no real semantic meaning
  3. Filler words to show you’re still thinking
  4. Filler words that signal to the other person
  5. Let HebrewPod101 Fill in the Blanks for You

1. What are filler words and why do we use them?

As we mentioned previously, filler words are words, phrases, or even just utterances that we use to stitch our speech together. Most of the time, we employ fillers to buy time when we’re still thinking of what to say. Take the English fillers “uh” and “well” for example; you might hear people use them when they’re still processing their thoughts or thinking about what someone has just said. Obviously, there are other functions we may associate with filler words, as well. Here are the top five reasons we tend to use filler words in Hebrew:

  1. We’re still thinking of what to say

    As mentioned, fillers are most often used to buy time so you can think of what to say next. This is particularly relevant to language learners, as using a filler word can indicate to the other party that you’re still actively engaged in the conversation, even if you need a moment to formulate a response in Hebrew.
  1. We’re nervous

    In a similar vein, being nervous can often cause us to get confused or to have memory lapses. Clearly, as a Hebrew learner, it’s perfectly normal for you to feel some amount of nervousness in situations where you feel on the spot (such as asking someone out or talking to a person of authority like a police officer). While a bit of hemming and hawing is understandable, try not to allow your nerves to unleash an unchecked flow of fillers!
  1. It’s a tic or bad habit

    This is one you really want to be careful of. Many native speakers of a language exhibit the bad habit of overusing filler words (just imagine a teenager who says “like” after every other word). It’s pretty intuitive that watering down your speech with a bunch of meaningless words or utterances is not going to do any favors for your fluency or eloquence. Language learners in particular can easily fall into this trap. You may begin using fillers casually whenever you’re planning what to say next, but if you’re not careful, this may soon turn into a habit. This is why it’s important to be conscious of your use of fillers and not to allow them to get out of hand.
  1. We want to show we’re following along with someone as they speak
Attentive Listeners
    Sometimes, we use fillers just to show the person we’re talking with that we’re actively engaged in the conversation. You can think of affirmatives (e.g. “uh-huh” or “sure”) or expressions of surprise (“wow” or “no way”) that we commonly offer so the other person knows we’re following along with interest. Again, this is perfectly fine in moderation, but be careful not to exaggerate it.
  1. We can’t think of the right word

    As a non-native speaker, you may find yourself fumbling to retrieve a word you know you’ve learned but can’t recall, or maybe even a word you haven’t yet encountered in your studies. Whatever the case may be, filler words are a great way to indicate that we need a moment or two to access our memory banks, or perhaps to ask for help with expressing our thoughts.

2. Filler words with no real semantic meaning

To start, let’s have a look at some Hebrew filler words that don’t really convey any meaning. These are equivalent to English fillers such as “um,” “like,” “you know,” and “I mean,” to name just a few. Essentially, we’re talking about words, phrases, or utterances whose removal from a sentence would not have any impact on its semantic meaning. Conversely, then, their addition to these sentences is not a matter of adding or modifying information, but rather one of performing the functions we mentioned above.

Man Holding Rope in Shape of Question Mark
  1. אממ…

This one is just the Israeli parallel to English’s “um,” which is to say it’s as filler as it gets.

  • – אתה זוכר איפה חנינו את האוטו?
    – Atah zokher eyfoh khaninu et ha-oto?
    – “Do you remember where we parked the car?”
  • אממ…, אני חושב שאנחנו ליד בית הספר.
    Emm…, ani khoshev she-anakhnu leyad beyt ha-sefer.
    – “Um, I think we’re next to the school.”
  • – כמה אתה שוקל?
    – Kamah atah shokel?
    – “How much do you weigh?”
  • – תן לי להיזכר. אממ… 80 קילו אם אני לא טועה.
    – Ten li lehizakher. Emm… shmonim kilo im ani lo to’eh.
    – “Let me think. Um… 80 kilos, if I’m not mistaken.”

  1. כאילו
  • – דנה, נרדמת לי, כאילו, או מה?
    – Danah, nirdamt li, ke’ilu, o mah?
    – “Dana, did you, like, fall asleep on me?”
  • – לא, סליחה. פשוט לא ישנתי טוב.
    – Lo, selikhah. Pashut lo yashanti tov.
    – “No, sorry. I just didn’t sleep well.”
  • – נשמע ממש מעניין, כאילו, הרעיון שלך.
    – Nishma’ mamash me’anyen, ke’ilu, ha-ra’ayon shelakh.
    – “Your idea sounds, like, really interesting.”
  • – תודה. כאילו, זה לא ממש מקורי, אבל תודה.
    – Todah.  Ke’ilu, zeh lo mamash mekori, aval todah.
    – “Thanks. Like, it’s not very original, but thanks.”

  1. יעני
    “I mean”

*Note that this is actually an Arabic word that is used as a loanword in Hebrew (as are many other Arabic words, particularly slang).

  • – נסענו העירה, יעני לתל אביב.
    Nasa’anu ha-ira, ya’ani le-Tel Aviv.
    – “We drove downtown. I mean, to Tel Aviv.”
  • – וואו, לך לישון!
    – Wau, lekh lishon.
    – “Wow, go to sleep.”
  • – אתם חברים יעני?
    – Atem khaverim ya’ani,?
    – “Are you, I mean, an item?”
  • – האמת שכבר יצאנו פעמיים!
    – Ha-emet she-kvar yatzanu pa’amayim!
    – “The truth is we’ve already gone out twice!”

Conversation among friends
  1. נכון
  • – שלום, האם תוכל לעזור לי? אין לי חשמל בכל הבית.
    – Shalom, ha’im tukhal la’azor li? Eyn li khashmal be-khol ha-bayit.
    – “Hi, could you help me? I have no electricity anywhere in the house.”
  • – דבר ראשון, אתה רוצה לבדוק את לוח החשמל, נכון?
    – Davar rishon, atah rotzeh livdok et lu’akh ha-khasmal, nakhon?
    – “First thing, you’d wanna check the panel, right?”
  • – ראית את אורן בזמן האחרון?
    – Ra’it et Oren ba-zman ha-akharon?
    – “Have you seen Oren lately?”
  • – אתה עובד איתו, נכון? אז תגיד לי אתה.
    – Atah oved ito, nakhon? Az tagid li atah.
    – “You work with him, right? So why don’t you tell me?”

  1. אז
  • אז איך נשמע לך הרעיון של שותפות מלאה?
    Az eykh nishma’ lakh ha-ra’ayon shel shutafut mele’ah?
    – “So what do you think about a full partnership?”
  • – תני לי לחשוב על זה כמה ימים.
    – Teni li lakha’shov ‘al zeh kamah yamim.
    – “Let me think about it for a couple of days.”
  • – אתה בא למסיבה של רון?
    – Atah ba la-mesibah shel Ron?
    – “Are you coming to Ron’s party?”
  • – הוא לא ממש הזמין אותי, אז
    – Hu lo mamash hizmin oti, az
    – “He didn’t really invite me, so…”

3. Filler words to show you’re still thinking

As we said previously, filler words are a great way to buy some time when you’re in the process of thinking. This can be because you’re still processing what the other person said or because you’re mining your memory for that perfect word or phrase you learned just last week. Either way, the following fillers are particularly useful in situations where you just need a moment to gather your thoughts before continuing with the conversation.

Woman with question marks above head
  1. לדעתי
    “I think” / “To my mind”
  • – נראה לך שנוכל לנסוע בקרוב?
    – Nireh lekha she-nukhal linso’a be-karov?
    – “Do you think we can head out soon?”
  • – ייקח לי עוד כשעתיים לסיים כאן, לדעתי.
    – Yikakh li ‘od ke-sha’atayim lesayem kan, le-da’ati.
    – “It’ll take me another couple of hours or so to finish up here, I think.”
  • – כמה הוצאנו על המסיבה?
    – Kamah hotzenu ‘al ha-mesibah?
    – “How much did we spend on the party?”
  • לדעתי, זה יצא סביב ה-600 שקל.
    Le-da’ati, ze yatzah seviv ha-shesh-me’ot shekel.
    – “I think it came to around 600 shekels.”

  1. כנראה
    “Apparently” / “It would seem”
  • – למה אתה לבוש ככה?
    – Lamah atah lavush kakhah?
    – “Why are you dressed like that?”
  • כנראה שנדבקתי במשהו.
    Kanireh she-nidbakti be-mashehu.
    – “It would seem that I’m coming down with something.”
  • – בא לך לצאת לבירה הערב?
    Ba lakh latzet le-birah ha-’erev?
    – “Do you feel like going out for a beer tonight?”
  • – בא לי אבל אני כנראה שאצטרך לעבוד עד מאוחר.
    – Ba li aval kanireh she-etztarekh la’avod ‘ad me’ukhar.
    – “I’d like to, but apparently I’m going to have to work late.”

4. Filler words that signal to the other person

Two Men Conversing

Lastly, let’s have a look at some filler words that represent a sort of “nod” at the person you’re speaking to, by way of talking to and not at someone. These can be thought of as a way of holding the person’s attention, or making sure (s)he is following along with you. You can also throw in one of these Hebrew filler words if you feel like you may not have explained yourself clearly, in order to make sure the other person did, in fact, understand you. 

  1. אתה יודע/את יודעת&
    Atah yode’a / At yoda’at
    “You know”
  • – החיים במדינה שלי לא קלים, ממש כמו בישראל, את יודעת.
    – Ha-khayim ba-medinah sheli lo kalim, mamash kemo be-Yisrael, at yoda’at.
    – “Life in my country is hard, just like in Israel, you know.”
  • – כן, ברור לי.
    – Ken, barur li.
    – “Yes, of course I know that.”
  • – נו, אז מה את אומרת? יוצאים לפאב עוד מעט?
    – Nu, az mah at omeret? Yotzim la-pab ‘od me’at?
    – “So, what do you say? Should we head to the bar in a bit?”
  • – אני ממש צריכה לשבת וללמוד לקראת המבחן הגדול, אתה יודע.
    – Ani mamash tzrikhah lashevet ve-lilmod likrat ha-mivkhan ha-gadol, atah yode’a.
    – “I really need to sit and study for the big exam coming up, you know.”

  1. אתה מבין/את מבינה
    Atah mevin / At mevinah
    “You know”
  • – מה קרה? למה את כל כך עצובה היום?
    – Mah karah? Lamah at kol kakh ‘atzuvah ha-yom?
    – “What’s up? Why are you so sad today?”
  • – חבר שלי התקבל ללימודים בחו”ל, את מבינה?
    – Khaver sheli hitkabel le-limudim be-khu”l, at mevinah?
    – “My boyfriend got accepted to study abroad, you know?”
  • – איך אתה מצליח לעבוד כל כך הרבה שעות ועוד לחייך?
    – Eykh atah matzli’akh la’avod kol kakh harbeh sha’ot ve-’od lekhayekh?
    – “How do you manage to work so many hours and still keep a smile on your face?”
  • – הכל בראש, אתה מבין? צריך לשמור על מורל גבוה!
    – Ha-kol ba-rosh, atah mevin? Tzarikh lishmor ‘al moral gavoha.
    – “It’s all in your head, you know? One has to keep morale high!”

  1. אתה יודע/ את יודעת?
    Hevanta? / Hevant?
    “Do you know what I mean?” (Lit.: “Did you understand?”)
  • – שירלי, למה את לא עונה לי לטלפון?
    – Shirli, lamah at lo ‘onah li la-telefon?
    – “Shirli, why aren’t you taking my calls?”
  • – סליחה, אני פשוט עסוקה מאוד בימים אלה, את יודעת?
    – Selikha, ani pashut ‘asukah me’od be-yamim eleh, at yoda’at?
    – “Sorry, I’m just very busy these days, you know?”
  • – איזה כיף שאתם יוצאים לחופשה סוף סוף!
    – Eyzeh keif she-atem yotzim le-khufshah sof sof!
    – “It’s great that you’re finally going on vacation!”
  • – טוב, אנו חוסכים כבר שנתיים. זה לא בדיוק זול, אתה יודע?
    – Tov, anu khoskhim kvar shnatayim. Zeh lo bediyuk zol, ata yode’a?
    – “Well, we’ve been saving up for two years. It’s not exactly cheap, you know?

5. Let HebrewPod101 Fill in the Blanks for You

We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s lesson on Hebrew filler words. Obviously, as you’ve seen, a well-placed filler in Hebrew can help you get a moment to think or remember a word. Plus, when used in moderation, they add an extra measure of authenticity to your speech. After all, sounding too perfect isn’t idiomatic either, and Israelis themselves use these fillers plenty.

That being said, we here at HebrewPod101 are always here to ensure that you have all the vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and even cultural knowledge that you need to hold your own in Hebrew. Check out our thousands of other lessons covering endless topics and language points. And if we’re missing anything you’d like more information on, please let us know. We’re always happy to fill in the blanks!

Until next time, shalom!

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How to Say “I Love You,” in Hebrew


It’s a well-known fact that when studying a foreign language, there’s no better tutor or motivator than a romantic partner who happens to speak the language you’re interested in acquiring. Hebrew, of course, is no exception. Whether you’ve already fallen in love with a Hebrew speaker or are hoping to find romance in the Holy Land, today’s lesson is designed to equip you with all the language you’ll need to pursue your love interest and express your love in Hebrew. Once you find that partner, he or she should be motivation enough to keep up your Hebrew studies!

Today, we’ll be looking at phrases you can use to…

  • …start up a conversation with someone who sparks your interest.
  • …deepen your connection with him or her. 
  • …take things a step further, whether in terms of moving in together, getting married, or starting a family.

In addition, we’ll go over some general terms of endearment that you can use at any stage of a relationship. We’ll also see some beautiful quotes about love in Hebrew culled from the best of Israeli poetry and song.

One caveat before we plunge right in: Romance is a peculiarly sensitive thing, and one that changes from one culture and individual to another. If you’re unfamiliar with Israeli culture, expect for it to take you a while to understand how romance works in Hebrew, what is appropriate or welcome to say in a given situation, and how to properly pick up on cues from the object of your interest. While eagerness to use your new language skills will certainly be commended, you definitely want to proceed with caution when foraying in the world of romance. So choose your words wisely!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Budding Love: Conversation Starters and Pick-up Lines
  2. Deepening Love: Expressing More Profound Emotions
  3. Taking Things to the Next Level: Meeting the Folks, Moving in, and Starting a Family Together
  4. Terms of Endearment for Any Occasion
  5. Love Quotes to Impress, to Move, and to Inspire
  6. Let HebrewPod101 Help You Fall in Love with Hebrew

1. Budding Love: Conversation Starters and Pick-up Lines

Man Whispering in Woman's Ear

While some romantic relationships develop organically from friendships or other already-established relationships, sometimes your heart just stops when you see someone from the other end of the bar. Whatever the case may be, this section is designed to give you the linguistic tools you need to (at least try to) endear yourself to someone who catches your interest, whether you’ve been introduced or not.

It bears mentioning that, particularly if you’re approaching someone you’ve never met, it’s always wise to measure your words and to be fully prepared for rejection (or worse) if you choose to go all out with a pick-up line. It’s probably a safe bet that most people—at least Israelis—will respond more warmly to an attempt at genuine conversation than a cheesy pick-up line. That being said, each of us has our own style, and the world is full of all types. Just keep in mind that Israelis tend to be a little harder-edged than, say, their American counterparts. So if you’re going to drop a bomb, you’d better brace for impact!

1. אני X. איך קוראים לך?
Ani X. Eykh korim lekha/lakh?
“I’m X. What’s your name?”

2. אפשר להזמין אותך ל…?
Efshar lehazmin otkha/otakh le…?
“Can I buy you a…?”

*Note that you can use this for any object, though typically it would be a drink, such as a beer (בירה, birah) or a cup of wine (כוס יין, kos yayin).

3. בא לך…?
Ba lekha/lakh…?
“Do you feel like…?”

*This one can be used either to invite someone to partake in drinking or eating something, or to engage in any other activity. Here are a couple of examples:

  • בא לך פיצה?
    Ba lekha/lakh pitzah?
    “Do you feel like pizza?”
  • בא לך לרקוד?
    Ba lekha/lakh lirkod?
    “Do you feel like dancing?”
  • בא לך לצאת החוצה?
    Ba lekha/lakh latzeit hakhutzah?
    “Do you feel like going outside?”

4. אתה בא/את באה לפה הרבה?
Atah ba/At ba’ah lepoh harbeh?
“Do you come here often?”

5. היי מותק.
Hay, motek.
“Hi, sweetheart/honey.”

*Be careful with this one, as being called מותק may not always be welcome. It’s similar to calling someone you don’t know sweetheart, honey, or sugar, which may go well or poorly depending on who says it to whom, as well as how smoothly it was delivered!

6. את/ה מאמינה/מאמין באהבה ממבט ראשון?
At/ah ma’amin/ah be-ahavah mi-mabat rishon?
“Do you believe in love at first sight?”

*A warning should be unnecessary here, as the cheesiness of this line requires that you both choose the right addressee and deliver it with suavity.

2. Deepening Love: Expressing More Profound Emotions

Man and Woman Touching Heads

Assuming you’ve gotten over the first hurdle of striking up a conversation with someone, and have now been seeing someone romantically for a while, you’ll probably be looking for ways to express all those butterflies in your stomach with eloquence and style. Below, you’ll find a few ways of talking about your deepening feelings and expressing your love in Hebrew. It bears noting that the Hebrew word for love—לאהוב (le’ehov)—is used to express both “love” and “like,” with the degree of intensity being inferred from the speaker, context, intonation, etc. With that in mind, be careful about jumping the gun and using this word too soon! You don’t want to spook the man or woman of your dreams before they’ve had a chance to get to know you.

7. אני אוהב/ת אותך.
Ani ohev/et otakh/otkha.
“I love you.”

8. אתה/את יקר/ה לי.
Atah/At yakar/yekarah li.
“You’re dear to me.”

9. אני מאוהב/ת בך.
Ani me’ohav/me’ohevet bakh/bekha.
“I’m in love with you.”

10. אני חולה עליך.
Ani kholeh/kholah alayikh/alekha.
“I’m crazy about you.”

11. אני לא יכול להפסיק לחשוב עליך.
Ani lo yakhol/yekholah lehafsik lakhsov alayikh/alekha.
“I can’t stop thinking about you.”

12. אני מתגעגע/ת אליך.
Ani mitga’age’a/mitga’aga’at elayikh/elekha.
“I miss you.”

3. Taking Things to the Next Level: Meeting the Folks, Moving in, and Starting a Family Together

Family's Feet at Foot of Bed

Hopefully, your relationship has continued to grow and strengthen, and you’re now ready to take things to the next level. Whether you just want to introduce your partner to your folks or you’re ready to get down on one knee and propose, these are the top love phrases in Hebrew you’ll need to take things a step further. As in any culture, you should make sure you—and your significant other—are ready for these milestones before you try any of these phrases out!

13. הייתי רוצה להכיר אותך למשפחה שלי.
Hayiti rotzeh/rotzah lehakir otakh/otkha la-mishpakhah sheli.
“I’d like to introduce you to my family.”

14. אני רוצה לעבור לגור יחד.
Ani rotzeh/rotzah la’avor lagur yakhad.
“I want to move in together.”

15. התחתן/התחתני איתי!
Hitkhaten/Hitkhatni iti!
“Marry me!”

16. התינשא/י לי?
Ha-tinase/tinas’ii li?
“Will you marry me?”

17. אני רוצה לעשות איתך ילדים.
Ani rotzeh la’asot itkha/itakh yeladim.
“I want to have children with you.”

18. בוא/י נקנה בית יחד.
Bo/Bo’i nikneh bayit yakhad.
“Let’s buy a house together.”

4. Terms of Endearment for Any Occasion

Heart on Envelope

Now that we’ve seen a lot of scenario-specific language, let’s have a look at terms of endearment that you can use at any time. After all, when is it a bad time to make the apple of your eye feel as special as he or she is to you? Obviously, you do want to keep in mind that not everyone likes being called by something other than their name, and there are some nicknames that simply won’t work for certain people. However, using terms of endearment is very common in Hebrew, and it may well earn you some extra brownie points—particularly if your partner is feeling down or if, say, you forgot to bring them flowers on their birthday. A final note: Pay attention to which of these terms change based on the gender of the person you’re talking to and which don’t!

19. מותק

  • התספורת ההיא ממש הולמת אותך, מותק.
    Ha-tisporet ha-hi mamash holemet otakh, motek.
    “That haircut really suits you, sweetheart.”

20. יפה שלי
Yafeh/Yafah sheli
“(My) pretty/handsome”

  • מה בא לך לאכול הערב, יפה שלי?
    Mah ba lekha le’ekhol ha-erev, yafeh sheli?
    “What do you feel like eating tonight, handsome?”

21. נשמה שלי
Neshamah sheli
“My soul”

  • נשמה שלי, איך התגעגעתי אליך!
    Neshamah sheli, eykh hitga’aga’ti elayikh!
    My soul, how I missed you!”

22. עיניים שלי
Eynayim sheli
“My eyes”

  • איך אני מאוהב בך, עיניים שלי!
    Eykh ani me’ohav bakh, eynayim sheli!
    “I’m so in love with you, my eyes!”

23. אהובי
“My love”

  • אהובי, אתה לא רוצה לצאת לשתות משהו?
    Ahuvi, atah lo rotzeh latzet lishtot mashehu?
    My love, you don’t want to go out for a drink?”

24. חיים שלי
Khayim sheli
“My life”

  • אל תהיי עצובה, חיים שלי. אני איתך.
    Al tihiyi atzuvah, khayim sheli. Ani itakh.
    “Don’t be sad, my life. I’m with you.”

5. Love Quotes to Impress, to Move, and to Inspire

Book pages in shape of heart

Last but not least, sometimes you just want to leave a good impression or change the mood by using a properly turned phrase coined by someone else. Fear not! We’ve got you covered. Now that we’ve looked at Hebrew phrases for the various stages of romance, let’s have a look at some carefully culled love quotes in the Hebrew language that will be sure to move even a heart of stone. Keep in mind that this is just a short selection, but Hebrew has absolutely no shortage of beautiful poetry and song lyrics that are ripe with amorous quotations for any occasion.

1. אביא לך אבנים מהירח, אתן לך אוצרות מלב הים, מה שתבקשי, מה שרק תרצי, אם את עודך שלי.
-בועז שרעבי
Avi lakh avanim me-ha-yare’akh, eten lakh otzarot mi-lev ha-yam, mah she-tevakshi, mah she-rak tirtzi, im at odekh sheli.
-Bo’az Shar’abi
“I’ll bring you rocks from the moon; I’ll give you treasures from the heart of the sea; whatever you ask, whatever you ask, as long as you’ll still be mine.”
-Boaz Sharabi

2. בין האפל לנסתר, בעולמנו המר, אומרים שיש עוד תקווה, קוראים לזה אהבה.
-ארקדי דוכין
Beyn ha-afel la-nistar, be-olameinu ha-mar, omrim she-yeish ‘od tikvah, korim le-zeh ahavah.
-Arkadi Dukhin
“Between the obscure and the hidden, in our bitter world, it’s said there’s still hope. It’s called love.”
-Arkadi Duchin

3. כל אהבה שתלויה בדבר – בטל דבר, בטלה אהבה. ושאינה תלויה בדבר – אינה בטלה לעולם.
-פרקי אבות
Kol ahavah she-t’luyah be-davar – batel davar, betelah ahavah. Ve-she-eynah t’luyah be-davar – eynah betelah le-’olam.
-Pirkei Avot
“Any love which is dependent on something, when the ‘something’ ceases, the love ceases. Any love which is not dependent on anything will never cease.”
-Pirkei Avot

4. יש האומרים שאהבה טובה ומתוקה, ויש אומרים קשה היא, ויש אומרים רכה. יש האומרים שהיא איננה, שמזמן אבדה, ויש האומרים שהיא הכל ואין עוד מלבדה.
-אהוד מנור
Yesh ha-omrim she-ha-ahavah tovah u-metukah, ve-yesh omrim kashah hi, ve-yesh omrim rakah. Yesh ha-omrim she-hi eynenah, she-mi-zman avdah, ve-yesh ha-omrim she-hi ha-kol ve-eyn ‘od milvadah.
-Ehud Manor
“There are those who say that love is good and sweet; there are those who say it’s tough and those who say it’s soft. There are those who say it doesn’t exist, that it was lost a long time ago, and those who say it’s all there is, and there’s nothing else.”
-Ehud Manor

5. שדות ביקשו אל הגשם, הגלים ביקשו אל החוף ואני ביקשתי את לבך לקטוף.
-אביב גפן
Sadot bikshu el ha-geshem, ha-galim bikshu el ha-khof, va-ani bikashti et libekh liktof.
-Aviv Geffen
“Fields asked for the rain, the waves asked for the shore, and I asked your heart to pluck.”
-Aviv Geffen

6. כמו כלים שלובים, אני ואת ביחד מתמלאים עד קו הלב.
-יוני רכטר
Kemo kelim shluvim, ani ve-at beyakhad mit’mal’iim ‘ad kav ha-lev.
-Yoni Rekhter
“Like communicating vessels, you and I together fill ourselves to the heartline.”
-Yoni Rechter

6. Let HebrewPod101 Help You Fall in Love with Hebrew

HebrewPod101 Logo with Girl Wearing Headphones

We hope that you found today’s lesson helpful, though on this one in particular, we can’t guarantee the results. After all, the heart is fickle, and courtship and love are an art, not a science. Just keep in mind that expressing love in another language is not as simple as translating your “game” word for word. Rather, you need to immerse yourself in the culture—linguistic and otherwise—of Hebrew to really get a feel for what works and what doesn’t.

We invite you to explore our vast resources covering all aspects of the Hebrew language and Israeli culture, including romance but also general conversation vocabulary and tips. You’ll find a wealth of written and audiovisual lessons to help you grow your Hebrew lexicon, practice your pronunciation, and hear how real Israelis converse. In closing, we wish you luck in romance, and hope you fall in love with Hebrew…and maybe even with a Hebrew speaker, too!

If you enjoyed our lesson, make sure to continue exploring all that has to offer!

Are there any love phrases we didn’t mention in this article that you want the Hebrew translation for? Let us know in the comments and we’ll get back to you!

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Negation in Hebrew: How to Say No Like a Pro


Expressing negation is a crucial skill in any language. Not only do we need to know the right word(s) to say in order to make logical negative sentences, but we also need to understand which forms are appropriate in which cases. Unlike some cultures, which seemingly struggle with saying no, Israelis are (as in all other spheres of communication) quite direct when expressing things like disinterest, the lack of something, or the inability to do something. While Hebrew negation may sound abrasive to the untrained ear, the fact is that there’s an art to it all, and a nuanced one at that. Today’s lesson will prime you to say no like a pro as we look at all facets of Hebrew negation.

The first thing to understand is that Israelis tend to be more frank than what Westerners may be accustomed to, with fewer niceties of conversation, less small talk, and less beating around the bush. When a situation arises in which someone wishes to express a negative, they’ll typically do so in the most direct and efficient way possible. The other person will generally not take any offense at such directness, as this is simply the nature of Hebrew.

That being said, you also don’t want to find yourself inadvertently exaggerating your directness. That’s why we’re going to look at different ways to express negation in Hebrew—including more formal ones—along with contextual examples to demonstrate their correct usage. Finally, we’ll look at some of the top words and phrases that you can use to say no in Hebrew.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Negative Statements
  2. Negative Imperatives
  3. Answering Questions with Negation
  4. Other Words and Phrases for Negation
  5. Don’t Be Afraid to Learn Hebrew – HebrewPod101 Has Always Got Your Back!

1. Negative Statements

The most basic thing we need to know is how to formulate simple negative statements. The great thing is that, by and large, you’ll only need to know one word: לא (lo). This word, meaning “no,” is your go-to for all things negative, though it can also take the function of other negative English words and phrases, such as “don’t” or “won’t.” 

Let’s begin by having a look at how לא works in context by comparing positive and negative statements, with לא being the only distinction between them. Note that the word לא comes after the subject and before the word or phrase it negates.

A- Use of the word לא (lo) – “no” /Japan road sign 302.svg

No Sign with Guy Holding Up Hand
  1. אני סטודנטית.
    Ani studentit.
    “I’m a student.”
  1. אני לא סטודנטית.
    Ani lo studentit.
    “I’m not a student.”
  1. אני רעב.
    Ani ra’ev.
    “I’m hungry.”
  1. אני לא רעב.
    Ani lo ra’ev.
    “I’m not hungry.”
  1. אני רוצה לראות סרט.
    Ani rotzeh lir’ot seret.
    “I want to see a movie.”
  1. אני לא רוצה לראות סרט.
    Ani lo rotzeh lir’ot seret.
    “I don’t want to see a movie.”
  1. ההורים שלי גרים בישראל.
    Ha-horim sheli garim be-Yisrael.
    “My parents live in Israel.”
  1. ההורים שלי לא גרים בישראל.
    Ha-horim sheli lo garim be-Yisrael.
    “My parents don’t live in Israel.”

B- Use of the word אין (eyn) – “no” / “there is no” / “there are no”

Woman Holding Hands Palms Up

The word אין (eyn) can also be used for simple negation. It means the opposite of יש (yesh), meaning “there is” or “there are,” which can also take the place of the English verb “have,” for which there’s no Hebrew equivalent. אין (eyn) is chiefly used to describe the lack of something. Here are some examples:

  1. יש מבחן מחר.
    Yesh mivkhan makhar.
    “There’s a test tomorrow.”

    אין מבחן מחר.
    Eyn mivkhan makhar.
    There’s no test tomorrow.”

  1. יש לי אחים.
    Yesh li akhim.
    “I have siblings.”

    אין לי אחים.
    Eyn li akhim.
    “I don’t have siblings.”

  1. יש לי זמן לדבר מחר.
    Yesh li zman ledaber makhar.
    “I have time to speak tomorrow.”
  1. אין לי זמן לדבר מחר.
    Eyn li zman ledaber makhar.
    “I do not have time to speak tomorrow.”

אין can also be used as an alternative to לא in negating nouns/nominal phrases or verbs/verbal phrases. However, unlike לא, which is used without any morphological changes (i.e. changes to the form of the word itself), אין must be conjugated to fit the subject’s gender and number, as demonstrated in the examples below.

Additionally, אין is generally considered a bit more formal. For example, you may encounter this word on signs warning of things not to be done in a given place, or in instruction manuals advising users on improper use of a product. 

  1. אבא שלי דתי.
    Abba sheli dati.
    “My father is religious.”
  1. אבא שלי אינו דתי.
    Abba sheli eyno dati.
    “My father is not religious.”
  1. אמא שלי אוהבת אוכל חריף.
    Imma sheli ohevet okhel kharif.
    “My mother likes spicy food.”
  1. אמא שלי אינה אוהבת אוכל חריף.
    Imma sheli eynah ohevet okhel kharif.
    “My mother does not like spicy food.”
  1. אני רעב.
    Ani ra’ev.
    “I am hungry.”
  1. אינני רעב.
    Eyneni ra’ev.
    “I am not hungry.”
  1. אתה מורשה להשתמש בציוד משרדי לשימוש עצמי.
    Atah mursheh lehishtamesh be-tziyud misradi le-shimush atzmi.
    “You are authorized to use office supplies for personal use.”
  1. אינך מורשה להשתמש בציוד משרדי לשימוש עצמי.
    Eynkha mursheh lehishtamesh be-tziyud misradi le-shimush atzmi.
    “You are not authorized to use office supplies for personal use.”
  1. את מוסמכת להפעיל את כלי הרכב הזה.
    At musmekhet lehaf’il et kli ha-rekhev ha-zeh.
    “You are authorized to operate this vehicle.”
  1. אינך מוסמכת להפעיל את כלי הרכב הזה.
    Eynekh musmekhet lehaf’il et kli ha-rekhev ha-zeh.
    “You are not authorized to operate this vehicle.”
  1. הרופא נמצא כעת.
    Ha-rofe nimtza ka-’et.
    “The doctor is currently in.”
  1. הרופא אינו/איננו נמצא כעת.
    Ha-rofe eyno/eynenu nimtza ka-’et.
    “The doctor is not currently in.”
  1. אחותי מעוניינת בפוליטיקה.
    Akhoti me’unyenet ba-politikah.
    “My sister is interested in politics.”
  1. אחותי אינה/איננה מעוניינת בפוליטיקה.
    Akhoti eynah/eynenah me’unyenet ba-politikah.
    “My sister is not interested in politics.”
  1. אתם רצויים כאן.
    Atem retzuyim kan.
    “You are wanted here.”
  1. אינכם רצויים כאן.
    Eynkhem retzuyim kan.
    “You are not wanted here.”
  1. אתן נמצאות ברשימת המוזמנים.
    Aten nimtza’ot bi-r’shimat ha-muzmanim.
    “You are on the guest list.”
  1. אינכן נמצאות ברשימת המוזמנים.
    Eynkhen nimtza’ot bi-r’shimat ha-muzmanim.
    “You are not on the guest list.”
  1. קרובי המשפחה רשאים להיכנס לחדר בלי ציוד מגן אישי.
    Krovey ha-mishpakhah rasha’im lehikanes la-kheder bli tziyud magel ishi.
    “Relatives are allowed to enter the room without PPE.”
  1. קרובי המשפחה אינם רשאים להיכנס לחדר בלי ציוד מגן אישי.
    Krovey ha-mishpakhah eynam rasha’im lehikanes la-kheder bli tziyud magel ishi.
    “Relatives are not allowed to enter the room without PPE.”
  1. העובדות יודעות איך התחילה השריפה.
    Ha-ovdot yod’ot eykh hitkhilah ha-s’reyfah.
    “The employees know how the fire started.”
  1. העובדות אינן יודעות איך התחילה השריפה.
    Ha-ovdot eynan yod’ot eykh hitkhilah ha-s’reyfah.
    “The employees do not know how the fire started.”

2. Negative Imperatives

No Written on Hand

Sometimes we want to tell people what they should or must do, and sometimes we want to tell them what not to do. This is when negative imperatives come in handy. In Hebrew, negative imperatives are formed with just one word: אל (al) – “do not.” Just be aware that, as in English, speaking to someone in the imperative voice should be reserved for situations of urgency, as it’s a highly direct form of speech, particularly when you’re essentially ordering someone not to do something. 

Here are some examples of negative imperatives in Hebrew:

  1. אל תרוץ בתוך הבית.
    Al tarutz betokh ha-bayit.
    Don’t run inside the house.”
  1. אל תאכלו באוטובוס.
    Al tokhlu ba-otobus.
    Don’t eat on the bus.”
  1. אל תסעי לשם לבד.
    Al tis’i le-sham levad.
    Don’t go there alone.”
  1. אל תפחדו, זה לא נחש ארסי.
    Al tifkhadu, zeh lo nakhash arsi.
    Don’t worry, that’s not a poisonous snake.”
  1. אל תסתכל בקנקן אלא במה שיש בו.
    Al tistakel ba-kankan ela mah she-yesh bo.
    Don’t look at the jug, but at its contents.” (This is a saying equivalent to English’s, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”)

3. Answering Questions with Negation

Woman Making Iffy Face

Now let’s have a look at how we can answer questions with negative answers. As in most languages, there are a number of ways to do this in Hebrew, including with לא and אין. For the purposes of this lesson, we’ll look at the most common forms to answer questions with negation, though there are obviously others. We’ll illustrate these through a few short exchanges demonstrating negative answers to various questions.

  1. -יש לך 20 שקל במקרה?
    -Yesh lekha esrim shekel be-mikreh?
    -“Do you have 20 shekels by any chance?”

    אין עליי כלום.
    -Eyn alay klum.
    -“I don’t have a thing on me.”

*Note that Hebrew uses double negatives, so the above sentence literally translates to: “I don’t have nothing on me.”

  1. -את רוצה לנסוע לצפון בחגים?
    -At rotzah linso’a la-Tzafon ba-khagim?
    -“Do you want to travel to the North over the holidays?”

    לא, אני לא רוצה.
    Lo, ani lo rotzah.
    -“No, I don’t.”

  1. -אתה מעוניין להצטרף אלינו למסיבה?
    -Atah me’unyan lehitztaref eleynu la-mesibah?
    -“Are you interested in joining us at the party?”

    -אני מעדיף שלא.
    -Ani ma’adif she-lo.
    -“I’d prefer not to.”

  1. -את חושבת שתסיימי את הפרוייקט השבוע?
    -At khoshevet she-tisaymi et ha-proyect ha-shavu’a?
    -“Do you think you’ll finish the project this week?”

    לא נראה לי.
    Lo nir’ah li.
    -“I don’t think so.”

  1. -לדעתך ירד גשם היום?
    -Le-da’atekh yered geshem ha-yom?
    -“Do you think it will rain today?”

    לא חושבת.
    Lo khoshevet.
    -“I don’t think so.”

4. Other Words and Phrases for Negation

Man with Tape Over Mouth

Finally, let’s take a look at some of the more common words and phrases used in the context of negation. There are obviously many more ways of making a sentence or statement negative in Hebrew than what’s provided here, but this list covers the top 10 most commonly used negative expressions.

*Note the use of double negatives in many of the examples below. Though we saw this previously, it bears clarifying that Hebrew uses double negatives, with negative verbs or verbal phrases taking negative objects. This can be confusing for English speakers, as double negatives are not used in correct English, so make sure to pay attention!

  1. כמעט ולא
    Kim’at ve-lo

    אני כמעט ולא רואה טלוויזיה.
    Ani kim’at ve-lo ro’eh televiziyah.
    “I hardly watch TV.”

  1. בכלל לא
    Bikhlal lo
    “Not at all”

    הוא בכלל לא רואה משחקי כדורגל.
    Hu bikhlal lo ro’eh miskhakey kaduregel.
    “He doesn’t watch soccer games at all.”

  1. לעולם לא
    Le-’olam lo

    היא לעולם לא יצאה מישראל.
    Hi le-’olam lo yatzah me-Yisrael.
    “She has never been outside of Israel.”

  1. בחיים לא
    Ba-khayim lo
    “Never ever”

    -היית אוכל כריש?
    -Hayita okhel karish?
    -“Would you eat shark?”

    בחיים לא!
    Ba-khayim lo!
    -“Never ever!”

  1. גם לא
    Gam lo
    “Neither” / “Either” / “Nor” / “Or”

    מה שעשיתם זה לא הוגן וגם לא יפה.
    Mah she-’asitem zeh lo hogen ve-gam lo yafeh.
    “What you did was not fair, nor was it nice.”

  1. אין מצב
    Eyn matzav
    “No way”

    אין מצב שאתם עושים מסיבה בלי להזמין אותי.
    Eyn matzav she-atem ‘osim mesibah b’li lehazmin oti.
    “There’s no way you guys are having a party without inviting me.”

  1. אף אחד
    Af ekhad
    “No one”

    אף אחד לא שאל אותך!
    Af ekhad lo sha’al otkha!
    No one asked you!”

  1. אף פעם
    Af pa’am
    “Never” / “Not once”

    אף פעם לא מאוחר להתפייס.
    Af pa’am lo me’ukhar lehitpayes.
    “It’s never too late to make up.”

  1. כלום
    “Nothing” / “Anything”

    מחר אנחנו לא עושים כלום.
    Makhar anakhnu lo ‘osim klum.
    “We’re not doing anything tomorrow.”

  1. שום דבר
    Shum davar
    “Nothing at all” / “Not a thing”

    שום דבר לא יכול לעצור בן אדם בעל רצון.
    Shum davar lo yakhol la’atzor ben adam ba’al ratzon.
    “There’s not a thing that can stop a motivated person.”

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Learn Hebrew – HebrewPod101 Has Always Got Your Back!

We hope you found today’s lesson useful. Even though our focus was on negation, we truly hope you had a positive learning experience. Our goal at HebrewPod101 is always to make sure you receive quality lessons that are informative, interesting, and clear. If there’s anything else you’d like to know about Hebrew negation, please get in touch with us, and one of our expert Hebrew teachers will be happy to respond!

Remember that with broad topics like negation, it’s best not to bite off more than you can chew and digest at any one time. For that reason, we recommend learning and practicing a few small language chunks at a time, rather than attempting to assimilate an entire lesson in one sitting. Practice these words and phrases a little bit at a time, and you’ll see that they’ll start to sink in before you know it!

Until next time, shalom!

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Why learn Hebrew? 10 reasons to start learning today.


With all the languages you could possibly study, you may be wondering, “Why learn Hebrew?” 

And that’s a fair question. 

As you probably already know, Hebrew doesn’t even come close to being one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, nor is it spoken as an official language in anyplace other than Israel. Nevertheless, Hebrew is unique among the languages, and there’s no shortage of solid reasons to study it.

Whether you’re interested in one of the world’s oldest languages (and cultures), want to become involved in one of the world’s most vibrant economies, wish to visit a country where numerous events crucial to Western culture took place, or simply want to partake in what is likely the most miraculous linguistic experiment the world has ever seen, Hebrew is the language for you! 

In today’s lesson, we’ll have a look at the top 10 reasons to study Hebrew.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Hebrew and the Land of Israel
  2. Personal Benefits of Learning Hebrew
  3. Additional Benefits of Learning Hebrew
  4. Now that you have so many reasons to learn Hebrew, let HebrewPod101 help you achieve your goals.

1. Hebrew and the Land of Israel

Map of Israel with Flag

Hebrew is directly linked to the Jewish People—often referred to, in fact, as Hebrews—and likewise to the land of Israel. In fact, the word originates as a descriptor for Abram’s (later Abraham) lineage, as his family is described as coming from the East, over the Jordan River. The word לעבור (la’avor) means “to cross (over),” and Abram is described as עברי (‘Ivri), derived from this same root apparently by way of describing him as being from “across” the river. This same word gives us our English word “Hebrew.” 

Now, let’s have a look at some of the unique cultural and historical elements of Hebrew that make it a compelling choice when picking a language to study.

1- Hebrew is over 3,000 years old.

Western Wall

Hebrew is no spring chicken. The earliest records of Paleo-Hebrew—the earliest known form of the language—date back to the tenth century BCE, making Hebrew over 3,000 years old! 

Belonging to the Canaanite language group, a branch of the Northwest Semitic language family, Hebrew is the traditional language of the Hebrew people who share its name, most notably the Jews, who are descendants of the Hebrew Kingdom of Judah (as opposed to the so-called Lost Tribes of the Kingdom of Israel, though both kingdoms spoke Hebrew). In ancient times, the peak of Hebrew use lasted from around 1200 to the Babylonian Exile of 586 BCE, though the language continued in use for some time later, alongside Aramaic.

By Late antiquity, Hebrew was extinct as a spoken language, but continued to be used by Jews mostly for liturgical, exegetical, and holy literary purposes. It was not widely spoken again until the late nineteenth century, when Zionist efforts to revive the language miraculously succeeded even after almost two millenia of disuse as a spoken tongue. It’s now Israel’s official language, and spoken by over 9 million people worldwide. By learning Hebrew, then, you’re taking part in an ongoing three-millennia linguistic journey!

2- Hebrew is the language of the Bible.

Torah Scroll

Hebrew is the language of the entire Hebrew Bible (known by Christians as the Old Testament), with the sole exceptions of the Books of Daniel and Ezra, which are in Aramaic. Unarguably considered cornerstones of Western culture, the Hebrew Bible offers endless riches of poetry, philosophy, and history. Of course, the Hebrew found in the Bible differs vastly from Modern Hebrew, the dialect of the language spoken today. Nevertheless, just as anyone with knowledge of Modern English can at least get the gist of much of Shakespeare, anyone with basic Modern Hebrew knowledge will be able to understand a surprising amount of Hebrew Scripture.

What’s more, the Hebrew Bible has lent quite a lot of material to English, as well as to many other languages. This includes names like Jonathan (יונתן, Yonatan) and Rebecca (רבקה, Rivkah) and words like “jubilee” (from יובל, yovel, “fallow year”) and “behemoth” (from בהמה, behemah, “beast”). You can find more about these words here. 

By learning Hebrew, you can deepen your connection to the Bible and everything that has come out of it.

3- Hebrew is the language of Judaism.


Just as Hebrew itself is a link to the ancient world, the Jewish people whose language it is are one of the world’s oldest and most interesting ethnoreligious groups. Originally from Israel and the Levant in general, Jews traced one of human history’s most extensive migrations over the course of some two millennia. Reaching all corners of the earth, from Shanghai to Sydney, Los Angeles to Lima, and Odessa to Capetown, Jews have contributed to and participated in world culture to an extent highly disproportionate to their numbers.

Thanks to a culture that stresses family ties, education, hard work, social justice, and other positive values, Judaism has managed not only to survive endless instances of persecution, oppression, and genocide, but to thrive in any society where they’ve lived. 

By learning Hebrew, then, you’re tapping into one of the world’s great cultural success stories, right down to the miracle of the modern State of Israel, founded in 1948 by Jews returned to their historical homeland after almost 2,000 years of wandering in the Diaspora. By learning Hebrew, you can strengthen your understanding of Judaism, one of the world’s great cultures.

4- Hebrew is the only language to have been successfully revived after almost two millennia of disuse as a spoken language.

Israeli Flag in Speech Bubble

As mentioned, Hebrew fell into disuse as a spoken language beginning after the Babylonian Exile of 586 BCE. As Aramaic rose to prominence in the Middle East and Jews elsewhere adopted local languages for their daily communication, Hebrew was eventually relegated to use only as a written language. Specifically, it was used for writing either prayers or liturgical poetry, or for exegesis of Biblical and other religious works. This situation prevailed until the nineteenth century, when Zionists revived Hebrew as a spoken language.

This revival of Hebrew was spearheaded by Eliezer ben Yehuda, who went so far as to move his family to Israel and force his children to speak only Hebrew—even though no other children at the time did. Ben Yehuda would go on to compile the first Hebrew dictionary and coin a profusion of words, many of which are still in use today.

In order to comprehend the significance of the efforts by Ben Yehuda and his fellow Zionists, it’s important to realize that due to its disue over such an extended period of time, Hebrew lacked a vast amount of vocabulary for describing the various aspects of modern life. Through a concerted scholarly and linguistic effort, the Zionists would devise new words, generally based on Hebrew or other Semitic languages (such as Aramaic and Arabic), though they also drew on Latin, English, Russian, French, German, and other sources, as well.

Within a relatively short span of time, Hebrew schools were established, as well as the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Hebrew jargon was established for every field imaginable. Today, less than 200 years after the first attempts to revive it, Hebrew is spoken by over 9 million people! So, by learning Hebrew, you’re also taking part in perhaps the world’s greatest and most successful literary experiment!

2. Personal Benefits of Learning Hebrew

Apart from the cultural and historical elements that make Hebrew so unique, there are also great personal benefits to studying Hebrew. As the modern State of Israel represents one of the world’s most vibrant economies and one of its cultural powerhouses, Hebrew gives you a direct “in” to one of the most interesting and productive societies in the modern world. Within this context, here are a few more specific reasons why you should learn Hebrew. 

5- Hebrew gives you access to some of the best music, movies, and TV in the world.

Girl with Headphones On

Jews the world over are associated with the media, whether in terms of big-name producers and directors, or the many talented actors, musicians, and other entertainers who pertain to the Hebrew race. While Jews are quite prominent in English-language film, TV, stage, and music productions, Israel has its own highly productive media scene.

In fact, especially in the Netflix age, many Israeli productions have infiltrated the international scene, with Fauda and Unorthodox being just a couple of the more recent examples. In terms of music, Israel has produced prominent figures in just about every genre, from popstars David Broza and Dana International to classical legends like Itzhak Perlman and Gil Shaham—there’s even a vibrant electronic music scene represented by the likes of Infected Mushroom and Astral Projection.

By learning Hebrew, you can enjoy great Hebrew-language movies, TV shows, and music, not to mention the vast expanse of Hebrew literature stretching from antiquity to modern times. In fact, Israel has the world’s second highest per capita of new books published.

6- Hebrew is rare enough to be used as a secret code.

Passing Note Under Desk

As noted, Hebrew is spoken by around 9 million people, 7 million of whom speak it as their native tongue. Compared with English’s 1.5 billion speakers worldwide (350 million of whom are native speakers) or even, say, German’s roughly 200 million speakers worldwide (90-95 million of whom are native speakers), Hebrew’s numbers are miniscule. 

That being the case, learning it is something akin to joining an exclusive club. Since you can be fairly certain that just about anyone who isn’t Israeli or Jewish is unlikely to understand Hebrew, it makes for a good language when attempting to keep conversations secret. Just make sure there aren’t any inconspicuous Israelis around—Israelis can be found all across the globe!

7- Learning Hebrew means you get to acquire an entirely new alphabet, and one that’s written from right to left.

Man Writing on Chalkboard

As an extension of the previous point, Hebrew even uses its very own alphabet. Because it’s so old that it developed before paper, Hebrew (like Arabic and Farsi) is written from right to left. This is because it was originally chiselled into stone, and, most people being right-handed, it was easier to hold the hammer with the right hand and the chisel with the left. Thus, it was easier to maneuver the writing from right to left. 

Moreover, Hebrew uses a stylized Aramaic script, sometimes known as Assyrian script, entirely different from the Latinate alphabet. Originally, Hebrew was a pictographic language, later becoming abstract while still roughly maintaining the representative shapes of earlier alphabets. At the time of the Babylonian exile, however, Jews adopted the block script they encountered in use throughout the Babylonian empire, with its fancy block letters.

By learning Hebrew, you’re learning not only a new language but also an entirely new writing system. To make things even more interesting, Hebrew employs one script for print and another for handwriting, so you’re really in for a challenge. But that’s all part of the fun!

3. Additional Benefits of Learning Hebrew

Israel is unique in many ways, which means that Hebrew has no small number of unique advantages compared to other languages. For example, as an international mover and shaker in terms of both economics and academics, Israel is a great place for doing business or furthering your studies. Israel is also the only nation in the world that drafts its entire population, men and women, into the military for service, so you can expect to meet interesting people with rich life experiences.

Though plenty of dealings get done in Israel in English and other international languages, there’s no doubt that diving in and learning Hebrew will afford you a huge advantage if you have any educational, business, or other dealings with Israel or Israelis. 

Let’s take a look at three additional benefits of learning Hebrew.

8- Hebrew allows you to tap into one of the most vibrant economies and business climates in the world.


By learning Hebrew, you’re opening yourself up to a world of opportunities. In fact, Israel was ranked third for innovation out of 137 countries in the 2017-2018 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report, and it consistently ranks high in the annual Bloomberg Global Innovation Index. 

Israel also has more companies listed on the NASDAQ than any country other than the United States and China, and it’s ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds. As if that fails to impress you, there are over 300 multinational companies with research and development centers in Israel, including Coca-Cola, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Intel—a clear sign of the unparalleled research and development prowess of Israeli society. 

With all this in mind, learning Hebrew surely has the potential to open up countless doors for business opportunities.

9- Israel is a country of immigrants, so Hebrew education for non-native speakers is highly developed.

Immigrants disembarking ship

Relative to its size, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on Earth. In fact, it has absorbed some 350% of its overall population in the span of 60 years! Because Israel has so much experience with immigrants needing to integrate into Israeli society, it also has a highly developed system for teaching Hebrew to non-native speakers. Throughout Israel, there are אולפנים (ulpanim), or special learning centers where functional Hebrew is taught to immigrants wishing to study, work, and live in the country.

Apart from a wealth of educational materials to this end, including a Hebrew-language newspaper that uses simplified language to encourage immigrants to read the news in Hebrew, Israelis are also great at helping non-native speakers improve their Hebrew. They’re generally both aware of the common difficulties non-native speakers face and eager to help them overcome these challenges. And in general, you’ll find that Israelis are likely to meet you halfway even if you can’t find exactly the Hebrew word you’re looking for. 

10- Israelis make wonderful friends.

Friends Giving High Five

On the same note, Israelis represent a unique cultural community, and one that you won’t be disappointed with should you choose to foray into it. With mandatory military service, a country that’s only 77 years old but a nation that’s over 3,000 years old, and a culture that’s unique while also comprising elements from all across the globe, Israelis are quite unlike any other people. By learning Hebrew, you’ll be able to get to know and befriend some of the most interesting folks around. Moreover, Israelis are highly gregarious, so befriending one often leads to meeting more. Don’t be surprised if Israelis readily invite you to a party or even to their home, as this happens often.

In short, by learning Hebrew, you’ll open yourself up to a new and special social circle!

4. Now that you have so many reasons to learn Hebrew, let HebrewPod101 help you achieve your goals.

In this article, we discussed why to learn Hebrew when there are so many other options. We hope you’ve found today’s lesson interesting, and that at least some of the reasons we provided were compelling enough for you to follow through with your plans to study Hebrew. 

HebrewPod101 is committed to offering high-quality lessons in both audiovisual and print format, covering both the mechanics of the Hebrew language and the culture surrounding it.

We invite you to take a look at our broad pool of learning resources that will help you with every step along the way as you study the Hebrew language. You’ll find general lessons on grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, as well as lessons categorized by topic or situation (such as Hebrew for expressing anger and Hebrew for talking about food).

As always, if there’s any topic you don’t find covered on our website, or if you find yourself with questions that a particular lesson didn’t address, we’re always looking for feedback from our users. So don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’re always improving to ensure that you have a fun, rewarding, and enriching experience studying Hebrew.

Until next time, Shalom!

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Learn About Hebrew Verb Tenses without the Tension


Grammar seems to be one of the least inviting parts of language learning, but it’s like stretching after exercise or checking the air in your tires before a trip: it’s something essential you have to give your attention to if you want to ensure success. 

As you learn about Hebrew verb tenses in particular, you’ll find that Hebrew grammar is actually easier than many other languages. In fact, though other linguistic means can be used to express things like conditionals, the Hebrew language has only three real tenses: simple past, simple present, and simple future. That’s right! No progressives, no perfect tenses, and no compound tenses to trip you up.

Hebrew is known for its economy, in the sense that it gets a lot of mileage out of limited language elements. The case of tenses is no exception. Although there are only three main tenses, Hebrew makes use of extra descriptors (such as time cues) for nuance; these help distinguish between a past event that just happened versus one that occurred some time ago, for instance.

In the following article, we’ll be looking at how to form the three Hebrew tenses, along with helpful examples that illustrate their use. Note that many Hebrew learners like to start learning the tenses by first mastering one tense (typically the present), and only then moving on to the rest. 

Let’s jump right in!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. The Hebrew Present Tense
  2. The Hebrew Past Tense
  3. The Hebrew Future Tense
  4. The Top 5 Things You Need to Know About Using the Tenses in Hebrew
  5. Verb Conjugation Overview
  6. Let HebrewPod101 Make Your Future Plans for Hebrew Happen in the Present!

1. The Hebrew Present Tense


In modern Hebrew, the present tense is used for anything that is happening right now, as well as for generally repeated actions or states such as habits. Unlike in English, there are no progressive or perfect present forms in Hebrew; these are expressed using context and time cues. It’s also important to note that there’s no form of the verb “to be,” or להיות (lehiyot), in present tense; it’s simply omitted. 

Without further ado, let’s have a look at which words and phrases are commonly used with the present tense, along with examples of how it’s used.

    1. עכשיו

    אני אוכל עכשיו.
    Ani okhel ‘akhshav.
    “I’m eating now.”

    2. בדיוק
    “Right now”

    *Note that this same word can be used to say “exactly.”

    אני בדיוק עולה לרכבת.
    Ani bediyuk ‘oleh la-rakevet.
    “I’m getting on the train right now.”

    3. כרגע
    “At present”

    אני לא עובד כרגע.
    Ani lo ‘oved karega’.
    “I’m not working at present.”

    4. תמיד

    אני תמיד קורא לפני השינה.
    Ani tamid kore lifney ha-sheynah.
    “I always read before bed.”

    5. כל יום/שבוע/חודש/שנה
    Kol yom/shavu’a/khodesh/shanah
    “Every day/week/month/year”

    אני עושה כושר כל יום.
    Ani ‘oseh kosher kol yom.
    “I do exercise every day.”

    *Note the difference between כל יום (kol yom), meaning “every day,” and כל היום (kol ha-yom), meaning “all day.”

2. The Hebrew Past Tense

Old Photos

In Hebrew, the past tense is used to express any completed action or state. There are no progressive or perfect past forms in Hebrew, so these are expressed using context and time cues. Below is a list of the most common words and phrases used with the past tense, along with sample sentences.

    1. אתמול

    אתמול אכלתי במסעדה.
    Etmol akhalti be-mis’adah.
    Yesterday, I ate at a restaurant.”

    2. בדיוק
    “Right now”

    בדיוק עלית לרכבת.
    Bediyuk ‘aliti la-rakevet.
    “I just got on the train.”

    3. לא מזמן
    Lo mizman
    “Not long ago”

    לא מזמן ראיתי אותך בתל אביב.
    Lo mizman ra’iti otakh be-Tel Aviv.
    Not long ago, I saw you in Tel Aviv.”


    כבר קראתי את העיתון היום.
    Kvar karati et ha-‘iton hayom.
    “I already read the newspaper today.”

    5.לפני שעה/יומיים/חודש/שנה
    Lifney sha’ah/yomayim/khodesh/shanah
    “An hour/two days/a month/a year ago”

    טסתי להודו לפני שנה.
    Tasti le-Hodu lifney shanah.
    “I flew to India a year ago.”

3. The Hebrew Future Tense

Road to the Future

In Hebrew, the future tense is used for any planned or projected action or state. There are no progressive or perfect future forms in Hebrew, so these are expressed using context and time cues. Note that many times, in Hebrew, we simply use one of these time or context cues with the present tense rather than the future, especially to express plans. This is akin to the use of the present progressive in English, which is used to express plans. Below is a list of the words and phrases most commonly used with the Hebrew future tense, as well as examples illustrating their use.

    1. מחר

    מחר אסע לצפון.
    Makhar esa’ la-Tzafon.
    Tomorrow, I’m going to the North.”

    *Note that, as mentioned, this same plan could be expressed using the present tense with the same time cue, as follows:

    מחר אני נוסע לצפון.
    Makhar ani nose’a la-Tzafon.
    Tomorrow, I’m going to the North.”

    2. בקרוב

    אנחנו נתחתן בקרוב.
    Anakhnu nitkhaten bekarov.
    “We’ll be getting married soon.”

    3. עוד מעט
    ‘Od me’at
    “In a while”

    עוד מעט נגיע הביתה.
    ‘Od me’at nagi’a habaytah.
    “We’ll get home in a while.”

    4. כבר
    “Already” / “In no time”

    כבר תהיה ילד גדול.
    Kvar tihiyeh yeled gadol.
    “You’ll be a big boy in no time.”

    5. בעוד שעה/יומיים/חודש/שנה
    Be-‘od sha’ah/yomayim/khodesh/shanah
    “In an hour/two days/a month/a year”

    בעוד חודש אהיה בחופש.
    Be-‘od khodesh eheyeh be-khofesh.
    In a month, I’ll be on vacation.”

4. The Top 5 Things You Need to Know About Using the Tenses in Hebrew

Infinity Clock

Now that you’ve seen some of the most common words and phrases to use with the three main tenses in Hebrew, let’s sum up by looking at the top five things you need to know in order to use the Hebrew verb tenses correctly.

1. The verb “to be” is omitted in the present tense.

As mentioned earlier, there’s no form of the Hebrew verb להיות (lehiyot), or “to be,” in the present tense. But don’t worry! All you need to do is omit it (marked in the example with [-]). Here’s an example to illustrate:

    המרק הזה חם מאוד.
    Ha-marak ha-zeh [-] kham me’od.
    “This soup is very hot.”

2. There are no progressive, perfect, or compound tenses in Hebrew.

Unlike English, which has a whopping 12 tenses, Hebrew relies almost entirely on just three. For instance, the Hebrew equivalent of the English sentence “I am going to go” would be either “I go” or “I will go.” The same is true for the past tense: “I have been wondering” in Hebrew would just be “I wondered” or “I wonder.” 

Remember that to clarify and express finer nuances of time, we rely on time and context cues like the words and phrases outlined above.

3. The present tense can be used to express future plans or projections, approximating English’s -ing structure.

Just as English will often make use of the present tense to express future plans or expectations, Hebrew also makes frequent use of the present tense to express the future. For example, if you plan to rest tomorrow, you can say it in either future or present tense:

    מחר אנוח.
    Makhar anu’akh.
    “Tomorrow, I’m going to rest.”


    מחר אני נח.
    Makhar ani nakh.
    “Tomorrow, I’m going to rest.” (Literally: “Tomorrow, I rest.”)

4. The verb ללכת (lalekhet), or “to go/walk,” can be used to talk about future plans in the same way that English uses “going to.”

Hebrew often uses the verb ללכת (lalekhet), which literally means “to go” or “to walk,” as an auxiliary that has the same meaning it does in English when used to talk about future plans. Here’s an example:

    אני הולך לראות סרט עם חברים הערב.
    Ani holekh lirot seret ‘im khaverim ha-erev.
    “I’m going to see a movie with friends this evening.”

5. The subjunctive mood can be expressed by combining a past tense form of the verb להיות (lehiyot), or “to be,” with another verb in the present tense.

The subjunctive mood is used when talking about hypothetical situations or things we would like to happen. Where English uses modal verbs like “could” and “would” or verbs of desire like “wish” and “like,” Hebrew combines the past and present tenses, with the verb להיות (lehiyot), or “to be,” in the past and another main verb in the present. Here are a couple of examples:

    הייתי רוצה אוטו יותר חדש.
    Hayiti rotzeh oto yoter khadash.
    “I wish I had a newer car.” (Literally: “I would like a newer car.”)

    היית אוכלת בשר כריש?
    Hayit okhelet basar karish?
    “Would you eat shark meat?”

5. Verb Conjugation Overview

Verb Conjugation List

Finally, although we’ve covered Hebrew verb forms and conjugations in depth in other lessons, such as this one, let’s just take a quick look at the following verb conjugation table as a reminder of how this looks across the tenses. For the purposes of this lesson, let’s use the verb לאכול (le’ekhol), or “to eat.”

1st per. sing. m./f.אני (ani)אוכל (okhel)אכלתי (akhalti)אוכל (okhal)
2nd per. sing. m.אתה (atah)אוכל (okhel)אכלת (akhalta)תאכל (tokhal)
2nd per. sing. f.את (at)אוכלת (okhelet)אכלת (akhalt)תאכלי (tokhli)
3rd per. sing. m.הוא (hu)אוכל (okhel)אכל (akhal)יאכל (yokhal)
3rd per. sing. f.היא (hi)אוכלת (okhelet)אכלה (akhlah)תאכל (tokhal)
1st per. pl.אנחנו (anakhnu)אוכלים (okhlim)אכלנו (akhalnu)נאכל (nokhal)
2nd per. pl. m.אתם (atem)אוכלים (okhlim)אכלתם (akhaltem)תאכלו (tokhlu)
2nd per. pl. f.אתן (aten)אוכלות (okhlot)אכלתן (akhalten)תאכלו (tokhlu) /
תאכלנה (tokhalnah)
3rd per. pl. m.הם (hem)אוכלים (okhlim)אכלו (akhlu)יאכלו (yokhlu)
3rd per. pl. f.הן (hen)אוכלות (okhlot)אכלו (akhlu)יאכלו (yokhlu) /
תאכלנה (tokhalnah)

6. Let HebrewPod101 Make Your Future Plans for Hebrew Happen in the Present!

We hope you enjoyed today’s lesson on the Hebrew verb tenses, and that you agree that they’re not too tricky in the scheme of things. Our goal at HebrewPod101 is to make sure your learning experience is a smooth process, and that you have fun along the way. Was there anything we missed in our discussion of the tenses? Any tense structures you’ve seen that we didn’t cover? Feel free to get in touch and let us know.

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, we invite you to peruse the wealth of resources we have available on our website for your benefit. Whether you need to work on some sticky grammar points or are just looking to build up your Hebrew vocabulary, we’ve got it covered in our text and audiovisual lessons. 

We hope to see you next time, and until then, shalom!

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Hebrew?


How long does it take to learn Hebrew? This is an altogether common question for people interested in picking up this ancient, vibrant, and wholly unique language. 

No two students are alike, so the answer to this question will vary based on who you are and how you go about studying. For example, if you already know how to read the Hebrew alphabet, you’ll surely progress much faster than someone starting from scratch. Or if you’re able to do immersion learning in Israel, you’ll likely progress more quickly than someone learning in a place where they can’t engage with Hebrew day and night.

Of course, motivation is one of the most central factors in determining how fast you progress with a language. For instance, if you’re learning Hebrew in order to land a new business contract—or better yet, to impress a girl or guy you met at a party—you’ll likely find yourself progressing at a faster clip than someone who, say, has to learn Hebrew because their parents think it’s important for them to be able to read prayers or the Torah.

In any case, today we’ll be looking at:

  • Factors that can influence your learning speed
  • The essential skills you’ll need to reach the beginner, intermediate, and advanced Hebrew proficiency levels
  • Some helpful tips on how to learn Hebrew fast

We’ll also talk about how long you can expect it to take you to reach each of these levels, though the numbers can vary quite a bit from one language learner to the next. Without further ado, let’s have a look at how long it takes to learn Hebrew.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Factors That Can Influence Your Learning Speed
  2. Beginner Level
  3. Intermediate Level
  4. Advanced Level
  5. Top 10 Tips to Help You Learn Hebrew Faster
  6. Let HebrewPod101 Get You on the Fast Track to Hebrew Learning

Factors That Can Influence Your Learning Speed

Car Going Over Speed Bump

Before we look at each level and what it entails, let’s look at some more general factors that are likely to influence your learning speed.


As mentioned previously, your motivation level is going to be reflected in the speed at which you progress with your Hebrew studies. Generally speaking, an intrinsically motivated student, meaning someone who is learning Hebrew out of his or her own personal choice, is going to find it much easier to advance. This is because there’s a lot of satisfaction to be found in achieving something you set your mind to. Plus, you’re typically going to be able to use Hebrew for a specific goal, which can be very gratifying, indeed.

Chances are, if you’re reading this lesson, you already have some reason for wanting to improve your Hebrew. But even if that isn’t the case, try to set your eyes on smaller goals that you can keep at the front of your mind as you study. This will help keep you motivated as you progress through your stated goals and feel that sense of accomplishment. For example, you may want to be able to sing along with a Hebrew song you like or to read Hebrew without nikkud. Keep your goals realistic for your current level, rather than overshooting it!

Your language(s) going in

Language Books

One thing that’s going to make a huge difference in terms of how fast you progress with Hebrew is the language(s) you speak going in. Because Hebrew is a member of the Semitic language family, you’ll be more comfortable with the way Hebrew works if you speak any Arabic or Farsi, for example. This is because these languages share common traits (such as being read and written right to left) and comparable grammar logic. 

English speakers are unlikely to find any foothold here, as they would with Germanic or Romance languages. Hebrew is altogether distinct from these language families and really bears no resemblance to English (other than all the loanwords it has from English, Latin, and other international languages). You may well recognize individual words, but don’t expect this to get you too far. At the end of the day, you just have to accept that the Hebrew language has its own separate character, rules, and approach to expressing the world.

Your linguistic abilities and experience in general

Another key factor is any prior experience you have with languages. For example, if you grew up bilingual or polyglot, you’ll likely have a leg up on someone who is monolingual—even if none of the languages you know are Semitic! This is partly due to something known as “tolerance for ambiguity,” a term that refers to a language learner’s willingness to accept and assimilate language features that differ from what s/he knows from her/his native tongue(s).

Moreover, if you’ve ever studied a language before, whether Hebrew or any other language foreign to you, your prior experience is likely to have some bearing on how you approach your Hebrew learning. For example, if you had good language teachers in school who inculcated healthy learning habits and gave you an overall positive language learning experience, you’re likely to have an easier time taking up a new language. On the other hand, if you had lousy teachers, you may be somewhat traumatized from these experiences and need to develop new habits and a new attitude toward language learning.

How and where you’re studying

Woman Studying from Books

As we said in the introduction, immersion studying is always going to be ideal, but it may not be a possibility for everyone who wants to learn Hebrew. If you can find a way to spend time in Israel, you’ll be able to benefit from constant exposure to the Hebrew language through interactions with other people, listening to the news, watching TV, etc., all in Hebrew. However, if you can’t physically go to Israel, try your best to boost your exposure to Hebrew by taking advantage of the wealth of media available online. For example, you can check out Hebrew-language Netflix series, Hebrew songs on YouTube, and even Hebrew-language forums.

Apart from location, it will be beneficial to have some sort of structure to your learning. This will help to ensure that you progress in a linear fashion, building your knowledge successively and acquiring all the skills you need in one level before running ahead to a more advanced one. It will also prevent you from feeling like you’re drowning in an overwhelming sea of information, without knowing how to progress.

It’s always a good idea to vary your learning, as well. We recommend using a mix of serious and fun learning materials (for example, grammar lessons vs. lessons on slang), as well as giving all four language skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) equal attention. Of course, there are some situations where you may need to hone only one or two skills. For example, in an academic setting, you may only need to be able to read Hebrew (and not produce it). Or maybe you simply want to learn conversational Hebrew and have little interest in learning to read it. In such cases, you may want to focus only on the necessities.

Beginner Level

The beginner level is just what it sounds like. This level describes someone who is in the initial phases of acquiring the Hebrew language. 

The US Foreign Service Institute (FSI) groups world languages into four different categories, with Category I languages being the most similar to English and Category IV languages being the least similar. They have ranked Hebrew as a Category III language, meaning it has significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English. Languages in this category are estimated to require 44 weeks (or 1100 hours) in order to reach “General Professional Proficiency” in speaking and reading. This would be equivalent to Intermediate Level on

Extrapolating based on this projection, the average time it takes to reach the beginner level might be something like 22 weeks (or 550 hours), if we assume that the beginner level is halfway to the intermediate level. 

At the beginner level, the assumption is that you’re building up a lot of passive knowledge, but obviously with the goal of being able to apply it and produce language (i.e. speak or write) more and more as you progress.

Wondering how to learn Hebrew from scratch? Here’s a list of skills and abilities you’ll want to master as a beginner:

The alphabet – אלפבית (alefbeyt)

Hebrew Book

As Hebrew does not use the Latin alphabet, you’ll need to learn to read the 22 characters of the Hebrew alphabet. To make things more complicated, Hebrew is an abjad, meaning that vowels are not letters but diacritical marks placed above, below, or within the letters, which are all consonants or vowel-bearing placeholders. To make it just a bit more complicated, these diacritical marks, called ניקוד (nikkud), are almost universally omitted from written and printed Hebrew and therefore need to be deduced from context. However, many learning materials include them for the benefit of the student reader. One last complication is that Hebrew uses one script for print and another for handwriting, so you’ll probably want to learn both of these.

Basic verbs

Verbs are action words, so you won’t see much action without them! The good news about Hebrew verbs is that there are only three main tenses—simple past, simple present, and simple future—and there’s no verb “to be” in present tense. The bad news is that there are a whopping seven conjugation patterns to learn.

Male and female forms

One of the aspects of Hebrew that tends to be particularly tricky for speakers of non-gendered languages, such as English, is the fact that Hebrew uses male and female forms for nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and verb conjugations.

Talking about yourself

Two women talking

At the beginner level, you’ll learn how to introduce yourself and how to say basic things about yourself, such as where you’re from and what you do.

Saying hello and goodbye

You won’t get very far without these essential skills.

Countries, nationalities, and languages of the world

The beginner level is a great place to learn these, starting with your own country of origin, nationality, and language(s). Once you have those down, you can progress to other countries, nationalities, and languages so that you can also talk about other people in this regard.

Likes and dislikes

Woman Making Face of Displeasure

As a beginner, you should learn to express basic likes and dislikes, as well as things like your hobbies and pastimes.

Food and drink

In Israel, we love food! So, no basic Hebrew-language education would be complete without learning how to discuss food. This includes verbs, nouns, and adjectives for eating, drinking, ordering at a restaurant, etc.

Work and school

You’ll also want to know how to talk about work and school, including the vocabulary for different professions and careers.

Numbers and time

Numbers on Check

Finally, numbers and the related topic of telling time are also essential for the beginner level. Note that Hebrew also has male and female forms for numbers, so you’ll want to master this, as well.

Intermediate Level

As you progress, you’ll move on to the intermediate level, which is where many students feel comfortable staying. At this level, which, as mentioned, might take around 44 weeks (1100 hours), you’ll already be getting much more comfortable holding a basic conversation and generally defending yourself in Hebrew.

Here’s a list of skills and abilities you’ll want to acquire at the intermediate level of Hebrew:

Dealing with travel situations

Because this is an essential skill set that draws on various abilities, you should get to a certain level of comfort when handling travel situations. This includes things like taking a taxi and buying bus tickets, as well as asking for and even giving directions.

Writing simple texts

Icon of Envelope

At this level, you should be able to produce simple texts, such as short text messages and emails or brief descriptions.

Describing things with some detail

Man Talking

At this point, you should also be acquiring sufficient vocabulary. This includes not only nouns and verbs, but also adjectives and adverbs which will permit you to describe experiences, plans, and opinions with some level of detail and precision.

Reading and understanding more complex texts


You should be able to read and comprehend more complex texts such as news items or technical articles in fields you’re familiar with, such as those related to your profession. Much of this, of course, will have to do with vocabulary acquisition.

Have lengthier, more complex conversations

Again, as you progress in your ability to understand speech spoken at native speeds, and as you build up your own ability to speak with fluency, you should be able to engage in more interesting and drawn-out conversations.

Advanced Level

First of all, it should be noted that there really isn’t a limit to the advanced level. While there is a distinction in terms of skills and abilities when compared to the intermediate and beginner levels, you can take the advanced level just about as far as you wish—even to the point of achieving what’s known as near fluency. 

So, how long does it take to learn Hebrew fluently? A conservative estimate might be something like 2 years, though a really motivated and talented student might get there as soon as, say, 18 months.

Here’s a list of skills and abilities that pertain to the advanced level of Hebrew-language study:

Understanding longer and more demanding texts or conversations

As you grow your vocabulary and improve your grasp of things like grammar and syntax, you should be able to fend for yourself even when reading complex texts such as full-length books, opinion pieces, and even poems and song lyrics. You should also be able to engage in lengthy and complex conversations, such as discussing your opinions on politics or talking about technical matters.

Expressing ideas comfortably and in a fluid manner

Woman with Lots of Thought Bubbles

By now, you should feel comfortable expressing most of your thoughts and ideas with fluency, which in the literal sense means that your speech flows, without much stuttering, hesitation, or searching for words.

Effectively using language in social, academic, and professional situations

Your broad vocabulary, improved grammar, and stronger rhetorical abilities should enable you to feel comfortable using language in functional settings, such as at work or school, or in making and getting to know friends…or even that special someone.

Writing well-structured, detailed texts on complex topics

Woman Working on a Written Project

Assuming you’re focusing on writing and not just speaking, you should now be able to write more complex texts, such as essays and full-length letters or emails. You should have a solid grasp of different registers (e.g. formal vs. informal) and when to employ them.

Top 10 Tips to Help You Learn Hebrew Faster

Regardless of your current level or your language learning goals, there are several things you can do to make the most of your study time. Here are our top ten tips for how to learn Hebrew faster!

1. Read both with and without vowels to practice word recognition.

This is obviously going to be more important at the beginner level (and perhaps the intermediate level, to some extent), as the expectation is that by the time you reach the intermediate level, you’ll have become comfortable reading without vowels. That’s why it’s important to start practicing this ability as early as possible.

2. Keep track of vocabulary.

Record new words as you go, using a notebook or even your phone. Also, quiz yourself regularly to make sure you’re retaining this vocabulary.

3. Make sure to talk to native speakers, and ask them to correct you.

Two men in conversation

This is obviously much easier to do if you’re physically in Israel, but even if you’re not, you should do whatever it takes to find some native speakers in your town or online. This way, you can practice speaking Hebrew with someone who can offer you helpful feedback on your use of the language.

4. Watch and listen to plenty of media in Hebrew.

One of the best and most enjoyable ways to improve your Hebrew is to take advantage of the wealth of media available, particularly online, in the Hebrew language. Watch Hebrew TV shows and movies, and listen to Hebrew music as much as you can, especially with subtitles in Hebrew (see below).

5. Study with a partner.


This may not be for everyone, but many people find that a study partner can be a great way to get mutual encouragement. It can also help with any anxiety when it comes to speaking. Obviously, it’s always best to try to find someone who is more or less at the same level of proficiency as you are.

6. Be willing to make mistakes.

Numerous studies have shown that the most successful language learners are those who go easy on themselves. Making mistakes is part and parcel of learning languages, so don’t just allow for this—expect it. Learn to laugh at yourself when you make a silly mistake, rather than getting caught up on it.

7. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions.

Question Marks and Light Bulb

According to a Hebrew proverb, a bashful person makes for a poor student, and a strict person makes for a bad teacher. Part of any successful learning endeavor is a sense of comfort about asking questions whenever you’re in doubt. So when in doubt, ask someone for help!

8. Practice pronunciation in front of the mirror.

Woman in front of mirror

This will probably feel funny at first, but by actually watching what your mouth is doing when you speak, you have a better chance of honing in on the mechanics of producing the right sounds to approximate native-sounding Hebrew. In the same vein, pay attention to what you see Israelis’ mouths doing when they make any sounds you’re having difficulty with, and do your best to mimic them when you practice.

9. Do karaoke in Hebrew.

This one’s a no-brainer. Not only is it fun to let loose in front of the karaoke screen, but actually singing a song to beat is a great way of drumming language into your head—literally.

10. Use subtitles to help connect words to sound.

Popcorn and Remote

Subtitles are your friend. They’re a fantastic tool for working on anything, from expanding your vocabulary to recognizing words without vowels to picking up on grammar and syntax structures. 

As a beginner, you’ll likely need subtitles in your native language, but as you progress, you can use subtitles in a more challenging way. An intermediate student, for example, can pick up a lot of new words by watching TV or movies in his/her native tongue, with Hebrew subtitles to accompany it. As you advance, however, challenge yourself to watch Hebrew-language TV shows and movies with Hebrew subtitles. This can go a long way toward helping you connect the physical appearance of words with the sounds they make.

Let HebrewPod101 Get You on the Fast Track to Hebrew Learning

As you can see, there are many components to tackle in mastering the Hebrew language. We at HebrewPod101 are proud to offer you a broad array of learning materials to ensure that you learn comfortably and at as fast a pace as you desire.

Whether you prefer audio lessons or written ones like this one, our library of materials is diverse and designed with the optimal student experience in mind. In addition to our learning materials, we also offer numerous lessons addressing tips and techniques to make your learning more efficient and more enjoyable. 

Is there anything else you’d like to know about the process of learning Hebrew? Feel free to get in touch and let us know.

Until next lesson, shalom!

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