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The Israeli National Anthem: Ha-Tikvah, “The Hope”

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One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with a culture is to learn its national anthem. In Israel’s case, the anthem is called התקווה (Ha-Tikvah), which means “The Hope.” Not only will this earn you some street cred next time you’re at a sporting event in Tel Aviv or celebrating יום העצמאות (Yom ha-’Atzma’ut) in Jerusalem, it is a wonderful lens through which to examine modern Israel’s history and dig deep into issues of identity, politics, and ethnolinguistics.

In today’s fascinating lesson, we’re going to take you on a journey through the rise and development of Zionism as a movement, the adoption of Ha-Tikvah as the unofficial hymn of the nascent nation project that was eventually to become the State of Israel, and much more along the way. We’ll talk about the key figures involved in its composition and adoption and, of course, take a look at the actual lyrics and their meaning, both semantically and culturally.

Sheet Music
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Lyrics to Ha-Tikvah, the Israeli National Anthem
  2. Ha-Tikvah’s Beginnings
  3. The Language of Ha-Tikvah
  4. Competition and Controversy Surrounding Ha-Tikvah
  5. How Ha-Tikvah Came to Be Adopted as Israel’s De Facto National Anthem
  6. When Is Ha-Tikvah Sung?
  7. Interesting Trivia about Ha-Tikvah
  8. We at HebrewPod101 Hope You Enjoyed Today’s Lesson!

1. Lyrics to Ha-Tikvah, the Israeli National Anthem

Wailing Wall

First things first! Let’s have a look at the lyrics of Israel’s national anthem, along with transliteration and translation. It is worth noting that the lyrics are part of a longer poem entitled תקוותנו (Tikvateinu), or “Our Hope,” written by the Galician Jew Naftali Herz Imber in response to the establishment of פתח תקווה (Petakh Tikvah, literally “The Gateway to Hope”), the first modern Jewish agricultural settlement in the Holy Land.

Herz Imber originally wrote his nine-stanza poem around 1878, though it was not published until 1886, when it was included in a compilation of Imber Herz’s poems titled ברקאי (Barkai, “Morning Star”) printed in Jerusalem. (Herz Imber had emigrated to Israel in 1882). The poem went through various iterations as it was circulated throughout different communities in the ארץ ישראל (Eretz Yisra’eil). It was ultimately truncated to its first two stanzas, which were set to music by Romanian immigrant to Israel Shmuel Cohen. You can hear the anthem sung below while you look over the lyrics.


עברית (‘Ivrit, “Hebrew”)TransliterationEnglish
כל עוד בלבב פנימה
נפש יהודי הומייה
ולפאתי מזרח קדימה
עין לציון צופיה.

עוד לא אבדה תקוותינו
התקווה בת שנות אלפיים
להיות עם חופשי בארצנו
ארץ ציון וירושלים
Kol od ba’levav penima
Nefesh yehudi homiyah
U’lefa’atei mizrakh kadimah
‘Ayin le-Tziyyon tzofiyah

‘Od lo avda tikvateinu
Ha-tikvah bat shenot alpayim
Lihyot ‘am khofshi be-artzenu
Eretz Tziyyon ve-Yerushalayim
As long as within our hearts
The Jewish soul sings
As long as forward to the East
To Zion, looks the eye

Our hope is not yet lost
It is two thousand years old
To be a free people in our land
The land of Zion and Jerusalem

2. Ha-Tikvah’s Beginnings

Ancient Map of Israel

As mentioned, the original poem from which Ha-Tikvah emerged was penned by Naftali Herz Imber. Herz Imber started writing poetry at a young age, even winning an award for one from Emperor Franz Josef. An adventurous youth, he set forth from his native Galicia, then under the Austro-Hungarian Empire (and now a part of Ukraine), at age 19, traveling across Europe and the Middle East.

In Turkey, Imber Herz fatefully encountered Sir Laurence Oliphant, a British Member of Parliament who was an ardent supporter of the Zionist movement’s aim to resettle Jews in the Holy Land. Imber Herz accompanied Oliphant and his family to the Holy Land in 1882, living with him in Haifa and the Druze village of Daliyat al-Carmel. Oliphant sent Imber Herz to train as a watchmaker in Beirut, Lebanon, subsequently helping him to open a watch shop in Haifa, but Herz Imber was apparently not one to settle.

He moved to Jerusalem in 1884, where, as mentioned, he published his first collection of poems. This publication gave his poem Tikvateinu wide circulation, as did Imber Herz’s own readings when he visited settlements throughout the Holy Land.

3. The Language of Ha-Tikvah

Biblical Scene

While you may certainly learn or even recognize some words from the lyrics of Ha-Tikvah, it is important to note that its composition predates the true revival of Modern Hebrew as a spoken language. In fact, the first organization dedicated to promoting the use of Hebrew as a lingua franca in the Holy Land, the שפה ברורה (Safah Berurah, “Clear Language”) society, was not founded until 1889, three years subsequent to Tikvateinu’s publication and over a decade after it was originally written.

For this reason, the language employed in the poem from which the anthem’s lyrics are derived is fairly archaic. In fact, most of it is Biblical. Beyond simply emulating the Bible’s style, the original poem actually made numerous references to Biblical passages on themes like hope, salvation, and God. However, revisions and emendations through the years removed most of these, following a secularizing trend that aligned the text with Zionism’s largely secular character.

4. Competition and Controversy Surrounding Ha-Tikvah

Torah Scroll

It is worth mentioning that Ha-Tikvah was not the only text vying for the status of national anthem in Israel’s pre-state years. Apart from Psalm 126, there were some dozen texts in competition as a national anthem for a state still in the making.

Another poem of Imber Herz’s was even among the contenders, as was Chaim Nachman Bialik’s תחזקנה (Tekhezaknah, “Be Strengthened”). Israeli newspapers even weighed in on the respective merits of the two poems! Bialik’s song was widely used as the hymn of Labor Zionism. The marchlike character of the latter, though invigorating in a vein reminiscent of Communist revolutionary hymns, ultimately could not overtake Ha-Tikvah’s emotional impact.

Apart from mere competition, Ha-Tikvah had real detractors. As mentioned previously, the Biblical and specifically religious tone of the original poem did not strike a harmonious chord with Israel’s secular founders. On the opposite side of the spectrum, many religious Zionists felt that only a text taken from the Bible itself was worthy of serving as a national anthem to the fledgling state. Furthermore, the overt Jewishness of Imber Herz’s text found opponents among the hard left, as well as Israel’s non-Jewish communities, such as Muslim and Christian Arabs. Indeed, as late as 1967 (following the Six Day War), leftist Member of Knesset Uri Avnery introduced a bill to replace Ha-Tikvah with Naomi Shemer’s ירושלים של זהב (Yerushalayim shel Zahav, “Jerusalem of Gold”), though the bill never even made it to a vote.

Lastly, in terms of the music itself, Ha-Tikvah saw push back on a number of levels. Firstly, some objected that its music was neither original nor Jewish. The opening melody of the anthem, in fact, is almost identical to Czech composer Bedřich Smetana’s movement Vltava or Die Moldau from his tone poem Má Vlast.

It is, of course, entirely possible that rather than representing piracy, Shmuel Cohen’s tune simply may share a common Central European source with Smetana’s, a phenomenon ethnomusicologists sometimes referred to as a “tune family.” Along these lines, Israel’s first preeminent musicologist, Abraham Zvi Idelsohn, considered the tune to be an ancient “wandering tune” that he identified in various songs from places as far flung as Basque, Poland, and England.

Beyond arguments over Ha-Tikvah’s originality, there were also those who objected the mere fact that the text had been set in a minor key. Such objections seemed to center around the notion that a national anthem, in particular that of a country as hard fought for as Israel, should be uplifting and inspirational rather than gloomy or pained.

5. How Ha-Tikvah Came to Be Adopted as Israel’s De Facto National Anthem

Declaration of Israeli Statehood

Amazingly, Ha-Tikvah was not officially recognized as the anthem of the State of Israel until 2004, though perhaps this is no great surprise coming from a country still without any written constitution. However, Ha-Tikvah has been sung as a Zionist national hymn at least from the Fifth Zionist Congress held in Basel, Switzerland, in 1901. It was subsequently sung at the Sixth Zionist Congress two years later, when, with its clear celebration of Jews’ ties to Israel and Jerusalem specifically, it made the perfect reply of rejection to the British offer of Uganda as an alternative national homeland for the Jewish people.

By the Seventh Zionist Congress of 1905, it was confirmed as the unofficial national anthem of the worldwide Zionist movement. It was sung at every subsequent Zionist Congress, as well as at other Zionist functions and functions gatherings across the globe. However, the song did not attain official recognition by the Congress until the 18th Zionist Congress, which also adopted the blue and white banner we know today as Israel’s flag. It was famously sung years later, when statehood was finally declared on May 13, 1948.

The song continually gained popularity, solidifying its singular status as the Zionist rallying song throughout pre-state Israel and the Diaspora in particular during the interwar years. Beyond the beauty of its lyrics, one might attribute this to the sense of solidarity it expresses, linking world Jewry by their ties, however far removed, to a common place and history – and today, to a common present and future.

6. When Is Ha-Tikvah Sung?

Israeli Flag

Ha-Tikvah may be sung at just about any official occasion, such as national holidays, political events, memorial services, graduation ceremonies, and even sports events – much like The Star Spangled Banner. It is not typically sung as part of synagogue prayer services, though it is played at the beginning of classical concerts and other cultural events. Outside, Ha-Tikvah is commonly sung at Zionist events, its lyrics representing so powerfully the eternal connection of Jews the world over to the Land of Israel and its capital, Jerusalem.

7. Interesting Trivia about Ha-Tikvah

Israeli Flag in Speech Bubble

Now that you know all the history surrounding Ha-Tikvah (and, of course, all the words by heart), let’s end on a fun note by taking a look at some trivia related to Israel’s national anthem.

  • Naftali Herz Imber, like so many other luminaries in history, ended up in abject poverty. Having left the Holy Land in 1889 following a dispute with Sir Oliphant, he stayed for periods in England, France, Germany, and even India before arriving in the United States. Never able to achieve stability, Imber Herz died broke in New York City, in 1909, from complications arising from chronic alcoholism. Though buried in Queens, he was ultimately reinterred in Jerusalem in 1953.
  • Some historians credit not Shmuel Cohen but Nissan Belzer with penning the melody for Ha-Tikvah. Then again, as mentioned, many highly similar melodies can be found throughout Europe. Some key examples are the 17th century Italian folksong La Mantovana by Giovanni Del Biado and the Sephardi prayer תפילת טל (Tefillat Tal, “Prayer for Dew”). In any case, Cohen never received a shekel of royalties!
  • The British Mandate government banned the singing of Ha-Tikvah in 1919 in the wake of Arab anti-Zionist riots.
  • Ha-Tikvah was so meaningful to Jews prior to the establishment of the State of Israel that it was sung on numerous occasions by Holocaust inmates even as they marched to the gas chambers. It was also sung in celebration at the liberation of camps like Bergen-Belsen, a song of an eternal dream that did not die even when so many of its dreamers had. You can hear a recording of the latter example here.
  • A 2012 Peace Index poll conducted by Tel Aviv University found that 90% of Israel’s Arab citizens consider Ha-Tikvah “unsuitable” as a national anthem.
  • Some synagogues conclude their יום כיפור (Yom Kippur, “Day of Atonement”) services with Ha-Tikvah. Additionally, some Jews include it at the conclusion of the סדר פסח (Seider Pesach, “Passover Seder”).

8. We at HebrewPod101 Hope You Enjoyed Today’s Lesson!

That’s all for today’s lesson. We surely hope you found it informative and interesting. And even if you already knew something about Ha-Tikvah, we’re betting you found at least one or two new facts to take away with you. More than anything, it is our wish that you find our resources useful and enriching, which is why we make sure to mix cultural and historical lessons with our grammar and vocabulary lessons.

Was there anything else you wanted to know about Ha-Tikvah or any of its related history? Would you like a lesson on some other Israeli song or any other aspect of Israeli culture? Let us know! We love hearing from our learners, and we always strive to ensure you stay interested, because an interested student is a motivated one! Reach out today. We’d love to hear from you! Until next time, shalom!

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HebrewPod101’s Top 30 Classroom Phrases in Hebrew

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Many people find themselves in Israel for educational reasons, whether it is to learn Hebrew or anything else. Beyond the fact that it’s home to a number of top-ranking universities on a global scale, Israel is a true melting pot of cultures, drawing visitors, including students, from the four corners of the Earth. Not only does Israel boast a robust choice of study abroad programs, many foreigners studying, working, or living in Israel find that teaching their own native language or some other skill they may know is a great way to make a little spending money.

Whatever the case is as far as you’re concerned, you’re likely here because you expect to find yourself in some sort of classroom setting while in Israel. If that’s true, you’re definitely in the right place. In today’s lesson, we’re going to cover the top 30 Hebrew classroom phrases for teachers and students, regardless of whether they are in the context of Hebrew language learning or any other subject. We’ll talk about classroom greetings, teacher’s instructions, how to ask for clarification from the teacher or fellow students, and explaining tardiness or absences. We will also cover subjects of study as well as common school supplies.

Empty Classroom

Now get your pencils sharpened and your apples polished, and let’s head to class for today’s lesson on useful Hebrew classroom phrases.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Hebrew Classroom Greetings
  2. Common Hebrew Teachers’ Instructions
  3. Asking Teachers and Classmates for Clarification in Hebrew
  4. Explaining Absences and Tardiness in Hebrew
  5. Talking about Academic Subjects in Hebrew
  6. Talking about Common School Supplies in Hebrew
  7. Let HebrewPod101 School You!

1. Hebrew Classroom Greetings

Student Speaking to Teacher

It’s well known that the classroom is one of the best places to make good friends, whether you are taking a Hebrew Ulpan class or an elective at university in a subject near and dear to your heart. These greetings, largely, are the same as the Hebrew words in general Israeli greetings, which you can read more about here. However, to make this context appropriate, we’ve included some examples where one might be greeting a teacher or classmate specifically. Note that in modern Hebrew, there really is no distinction between these two in terms of formality.

1. בוקר טוב / צהריים טובים / ערב טוב
Boker tov / Tzohorayim tovim / ‘Erev tov
“Good morning / Good afternoon / Good evening”

*This first group of greetings is obviously time specific, so choose accordingly. Note that in modern Hebrew, we would only use לילה טוב (laylah tov, “good night”) as a farewell, not as a greeting. ערב טוב (‘erev tov, “good evening”) can be used as a greeting any time after dark, or after about 5 PM.

  • בוקר טוב, המורה. מה שלומך?
    Boker tov, ha-moreh/ha-morah. Mah shlomekh?
    Good morning, teacher. How are you?”
  • צהריים טובים, רועי. מה נשמע?
    Tzohorayim tovim, Ro’i. Mah nishmah?
    Good afternoon, Roi. What’s new”
  • ערב טוב, קסניה. עד מחר.
    ‘Erev tov, Kseniyah. ‘Ad makhar.
    “Good evening, Ksenia. Until tomorrow.”

2. שלום
Shalom
“Hello / Goodbye”

*This highly useful Hebrew word can be used for either hello or goodbye. It simply depends on when you use it which defines if it is a greeting or farewell.

  • שלום, רוני. מה המצב?
    Shalom, Roni. Mah ha-matzav?
    Hello, Roni. What’s up?”
  • שלום, המורה שני. טוב לראות אותך.
    Shalom, ha-Morah Shani. Tov lirot otakh.
    Hello, Teacher/Miss Shani. Good to see you.”

3. להתראות
Lehitra’ot
“Goodbye” (Literally, “See you.”)

  • להתראות, מור. עד השיעור הבא!
  • Lehitra’ot, Mor. ‘Ad ha-shi’ur ha-ba!
  • Goodbye, Mor. Until the next class!”

4. נתראה מחר.
Nitra’eh makhar.
“See you tomorrow”

5. המשך יום נעים.
Hemshekh yom na’im.
“Have a pleasant rest of the day.”

2. Common Hebrew Teachers’ Instructions

Teacher Writing on Board

Now that we’re set greeting teachers and students and bidding them farewell, let’s take a look at another important area of language related to the classroom. Specifically, we’re now going to address the issue of teachers’ instructions. Note that these typically involve basic Hebrew phrases useful in other contexts as well. In the classroom, they may or may not be couched in polite terms, with or without words like “please” or “would you please.” Don’t take the lack of such politeness as intentional rudeness. Remember that Israeli culture is a direct one!

6. בבקשה לפתוח את עמוד … בספרים שלכם.
Bevakashah lifto’akh et ‘amud … ba-sfarim shelakhem.
“Please open to page … in your books.”

  • בבקשה לפתוח את עמוד 187 בספרים שלכם.
    Bevakashah lifto’akh et amud me’ah shemonim ve-shmoneh ba-sfarim shelakhem.
    Please open to page 187 in your books.

7. שימו לב.
Simu lev.
“Listen carefully.” (Literally, “Take heart.”)

  • שימו לב. הקטע הזה חשוב מאוד.
  • Simu lev. Ha-keta’ ha-zeh khashuv me’od.
  • Listen carefully. This part is very important.”

8. שקט בבקשה.
Sheket bevakashah.
“Please be quiet.”

  • שקט בבקשה. אני לא מצליח לשמוע את השאלה.
  • Sheket bevakashah. Ani lo matzli’akh lishmo’a et ha-she’elah.
  • Please be quiet. I can’t hear the question.”

9. יש שאלות?
Yesh she’elot?
“Any questions?”

  • יש שאלות? בכל מקרה תהיה חזרה לפני המבחן.
  • Yesh she’elot? Be-khol mikreh, tihiyeh khazarah lifney ha-mivkhan.
  • Any questions? In any case, there will be a review before the exam.”

10. לא לשכוח את שיעורי הבית.
Lo lishko’akh et shi’urei ha-bayit.
“Don’t forget the homework.”

3. Asking Teachers and Classmates for Clarification in Hebrew

Confused Student

Another important category of classroom phrases for your Hebrew vocabulary is those you might use when asking for clarification. You might ask the teacher to repeat or elaborate on something s/he has just shared with the class. Alternatively, you may be asking a fellow classmate to help you understand some point, lesson, or reading you may be struggling with. Or maybe you just need help with the Hebrew! Whatever the case may be, here is some highly useful language to aid you.

11. לא הבנתי.
Lo hevanti.
“I don’t understand.” (Literally, “I didn’t understand,” or, “I haven’t understood.”)

12. תוכל/י לחזור על זה?
Tukhal/Tukhli lakhazor ‘al zeh?
“Can you repeat that?”

13. יש לי שאלה. / יש לי כמה שאלות.
Yesh li she’elah. / Yesh li kamah she’elot.
“I have a question. / I have a few questions.”

14. מה אמר/ה המורה?
Mah amar ha-moreh/amrah ha-morah?
“What did the teacher say?”

15. אפשר לראות את הסיכומים שלך?
Efshar lirot et ha-sikumim shelkha/shelakh?
“Can I see your class notes?”

4. Explaining Absences and Tardiness in Hebrew

Man Rushing

Let’s face it. We all show up late to class sometimes. And at times, we may not show up at all! Whether due to traffic, an illness, or a conflicting commitment, it is bound to happen sometimes. And when it does, you’ll want to be well-prepared with some handy language to offer an explanation or justification. You probably don’t want to interrupt the class to do so, however. As in most of the world, comments to explain tardiness are best made to the teacher one on one and after class has ended. And explanations as to an absence – or an expected tardiness, for that matter – are best made before they happen, in an email if necessary.

16. אני לא מרגיש/ה טוב. לא אוכל להגיע לשיעור היום.
Ani lo margish/ah tov. Lo uchal lehagi’a la-shi’ur hayom.
“I’m not feeling well. I won’t be able to attend class today.”

17. סליחה על האיחור. היו פקקים
Slikha ‘al ha-ikhur. Hayu pekakim.
“Sorry I’m late. There was traffic.”

18. לא עשיתי את שיעורי הבית. ברח לי מהראש.
Lo ‘asiti et shi’urei ha-bayit. Barakh li me-ha-rosh.
“I didn’t do the homework. It slipped my mind.”

19. אפשר להשלים את החומר?
Efshar lehashlim et ha-khomer?
“Can I make up the work?”

20. תהיה חזרה לפני המבחן?
Tihiyeh khazarah lifnei ha-mivkhan?
“Will there be a review before the exam?”

5. Talking about Academic Subjects in Hebrew

Books of Different School Subjects

Now let’s have some useful Hebrew classroom phrases to talk about subjects you like and dislike. To help you refer to the specific subjects relevant to you, we’ve included a list of the most common school subjects. Just be sure to not the grammatical gender of whatever language you use in case you are adding any adjectives, numbers, etc. You can review the issue of grammatical gender in Hebrew here.

EnglishRomanizationעברית
“math”matematikahמתמטיקה
“history”historiyahהיסטוריה
“writing”ketivahכתיבה
“foreign language”safah zarahשפה זרה
“English”Anglitאנגלית
“art”omanutאמנות
“sciences”mada’imמדעים
“biology”biyologiyahביולוגיה
“chemistry”kimiyahכימיה
“physics”fizikahפיזיקה
“reading”keri’ahקריאה
“geography”ge’ografiyahגיאוגרפיה
“citizenship” (cf. social studies)ezrakhutאזרחות
BibleTaNa”KHתנ”ך
physical educationkhinukh gufaniחינוך גופני
literaturesifrutספרות

21. המקצוע האהוב עליי זה …
Ha-miktzo’a ha-ahuv ‘alai zeh …
“… is my favorite subject.”

  • המקצוע האהוב עליי זה תנ”ך.
    Ha-miktzo’a ha-ahuv ‘alai zeh TaNa”KH.
    “Bible is my favorite subject.

22. … הוא/היא החוזקה שלי.
… hu/hi ha-khozka sheli
“… is my forte.”

  • ספרות זה החוזק שלי.
    Sifrut hi ha-khozka sheli.
    “Literature is my forte.

23. אני לא חזק/ה ב…
Ani lo khazak/ah be…
“I’m not too good at…”

  • אני לא חזק במתמטיקה.
    Ani lo khazak be-matematikah.
    I’m not too good at math.”

24. אני קצת חלש/ה ב…
Ani ketzat khalash/ah be…
“I’m a bit weak in / at …”

  • אני קצת חלשה בהיסטוריה.
    Ani ktzat khalasha be-historiyah.
    I’m a bit weak at history.”

25. אני מנסה להשתפר ב…
Ani menaseh/menasah lehishtaper be…
“I’m trying to improve in …”

  • אני מנסה להשתפר בגיאוגרפיה.
    Ani menasah lehishtaper be-ge’ografiyah.
    I’m trying to improve in geography.”

6. Talking about Common School Supplies in Hebrew

School Supplies

Lastly, let’s examine some useful Hebrew phrases for talking about school supplies. Just as in the previous category, we’ve provided a table with a list of common supplies you might find or need in the classroom. Again, be sure to watch the gender of the word or words you use, making sure you conjugate correctly.

EnglishRomanizationעברית
“pencil / supply case”kalmarקלמר
“notebook”makhberetמחברת
“spiral notebook”spiralahספירלה
“pen”‘etעט
“pencil”‘iparonעפרון
“sharpener”mekhadedמחדד
“eraser”makhakמחק
“binder”klaserקלסר
“plastic mini-folder”nailonitניילונית
“highlighter”lordלורד
“ruler”sargelסרגל
“scissors”misparayimמספריים
“glue”devekדבק
“tape”seloteypסלוטייפ
“agenda”yomanיומן
“board”lu’akhלוח
“marker”tushטוש
“chalk”girגיר
“light”orאור
“fan”me’avrerמאוורר

26. האם תוכל/י להשאיל לי …?
Ha’im tukhal/tukhli lehash’il li …?
“”Could you lend me a/some …?”

  • האם תוכל/י להשאיל לי עפרון?
    Ha’im tukhal/tukhli lehash’il li ‘iparon?
    Could you lend me a pencil?”

27. איבדתי את ה… שלי.
Ibadeti et ha… sheli.
“I lost my…”

  • איבדתי את המחק שלי.
    Ibadeti et ha-makhak sheli.
    I lost my eraser.”

28. אני חייב/ת לקנות …
Ani khayav/khayevet liknot …
“I need to buy …”

  • אני חייבת לקנות מספריים.
    Ani khayav/khayevet liknot misparayim.
    I need to buy scissors.

29. יש לך במקרה …?
Yesh lekha/lakh be-mikreh …?
“Do you by any chance have a/some …?”

  • יש לך במקרה ניילונית?
    Yesh lekha/lakh be-mikreh nailonit?
    Do you by any chance have a plastic mini-folder?

30. הנה … 
Hine …
“Here’s a/some …”

  • הנה סרגל. 
    Hine sargel.
    Here’s a ruler.”

7. Let HebrewPod101 School You!

We hope you found this lesson on Hebrew classroom language edifying, interesting, and fun. We do our best to think about the sorts of phrases, words, and situations likely to be most helpful to our students. That said, there are always things of a personal nature that you may wish to explore. And that’s what we’re here for!

So if there is any language we didn’t cover or anything we did cover, but which you’re still somewhat unclear about or want more information on, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our team of native-speaking Hebrew teachers is always standing by for any questions or comments our students may have, and we’d love to hear from you! Until next time, shalom!

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An Essential Guide to Hebrew Restaurant Phrases

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If you’ve ever been to a typical Israeli restaurant (i.e., not one run by Yotam Ottolenghi), you likely already know that the service is liable to be slow, the waiters brusque, and the ambiance bare bones. However, with the symphony of exotic and seemingly eclectic flavors, you’ll also have learned they more than make up for the wait or your server’s attitude. And, of course, it doesn’t get any more authentic than an Israeli restaurant in Israel! After all, that is where the inspiration for what we now call Israeli cuisine was born. Mix a magical meld of culinary styles brought into the country by so many different immigration waves along with the exquisite, vibrantly colored, incredibly fresh produce, and you’ve got a recipe for something truly special.

Street Food Vendor

This is as true about street food as it is about haute cuisine, if not more so. Indeed, one of the most common topics for discussion (which in Israel means argument) among Israelis is where to get the best hummus or falafel in any given city or region of the country. Such debates seem to spark up at every gathering you attend, but you won’t be able to understand, much less partake in, them unless you know the right phrases in Hebrew! So if you’re a foodie or just a regular old human with a hunger in your belly, you are bound to love what Israeli food has to offer. And since we know you want the full authentic experience, today’s lesson is dedicated to common Hebrew restaurant phrases so you can read and order off a menu, request for the check, ask for change, and more.

But first, what is Israeli food, anyway?

Israeli Salad

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. A Quick Introduction to Israeli Food
  2. Hebrew Restaurant Phrases to Use before You Dine
  3. Hebrew Restaurant Phrases to Use during Your Meal
  4. Hebrew Restaurant Phrases to Use after Dining
  5. At HebrewPod101, There’s Always Something Cooking

1. A Quick Introduction to Israeli Food

Just like everything else in the country, Israeli food is the product of cultural fusion that is part indigenous, part hodgepodge, and part invention. Obviously, the Levant region of which Israel is a part plays a major role in the types of foods typical to Israeli cuisine today. Common dishes include חומוס (khumus, “hummus”), פלאפל (falafel, “falafel”), and קוסקוס (kuskus, “couscous”). Basic ingredients like olive oil and olives, chickpeas, lentils, grains (including wheat, barley, and bulgur), grapes and grape leaves, dates, eggplants, and plenty of other fresh and cooked vegetables are staples of the Israeli kitchen today, not to mention a unique diversity of seeds and spices like nigella and zaatar.

Falafel

Coinciding with ever increasing immigrant waves from, the palette of ingredients and dishes began to expand in a range of directions along the diverse national and cultural lines of these immigrants.

Among Sephardi Jews, the Iraqis brought with them עמבה (amba), a sauce of pickled green mangoes, vinegar, salt, turmeric, chili, and fenugreek; Turkish and Balkan Jews contributed בורקס (burekas), a puff pastry or filo dough delicacy that can be filled and topped with a broad range of options; while North African Jews imported dishes like שקשוקה (shakshukah), a poached egg stew in a tomato sauce seasoned with olive oil, peppers, onion, garlic, cumin, and paprika.

The contribution of Ashkenazi Jews includes קוגל ירושלמי (kugel yerushalmi), a caramelized noodle pudding; קניידלעך (kneidelakh), what Americans called “matzah (or matzo) ball soup”; and a range of breads and baked goods, most famously חלה (khallah, “challah”), a braided and often eggy loaf or roll that is typically served on שבת (Shabbat) and חגים (khagim, “festivals / holidays”). Jews from Slavic countries brough a whole slew of fish dishes, pickled goods, and soups, while German and Hungarian Jews contributed a range of meat dishes and desserts.

Challah

The list could go on and on, especially considering that Israel’s immigrants hail from some 80 countries! And that’s not counting all the modern innovations and fusions. So whether you want a steaming bowl of חמין (khamin, “cholent”), a crunchy סלט ירקות ישראלי (salat yerakot yisra’eli, “Israeli vegetable salad,” or a savory שווארמה (shawarmah), you’re in good hands. The lesson that follows will give you all the Hebrew restaurant vocabulary phrases you need to order and enjoy a meal, schmooze with your mouth full, and complain about the check before leaving a measly tip for the poor service you got.

2. Hebrew Restaurant Phrases to Use before You Dine

Restaurant Booths

It’s always best to start at the beginning when learning Hebrew vocabulary. In this case, let’s begin by looking at some key Hebrew words and phrases in the restaurant for before you dine, such as language for making reservations, specifying the number of people in your party, or asking general questions about a restaurant before you decide to plop down for a nosh.

  1. אפשר להזמין מקום…
    Efshar lehazmin makom…
    “Can I make a reservation…”
  • אפשר להזמין מקום לשניים לשבת, -7 למאי ב-5 בצהריים?
    Efshar lehazmin makom le-shnayim le-Shabat, ha-shvi’i le-Mai be-khamesh ba-tzohorayim?
    Can I make a reservation for two on Saturday, May 7th, at 5pm?”
  1. שולחן ל…, בבקשה.
    Shulkhan le-…, bevakashah.
    “A table for …, please.”
  • שולחן לארבעה, בבקשה.
    Shulkhan le-arba’ah, bevakashah.
    A table for 4, please.”
  1. יש לכם …?
    Yesh lakhem …?
    “Do you have …?”
  • יש לכם שולחן בחוץ?
    Yesh lakhem shulkhan bakhutz?
    Do you have a table outside?”
  • יש לכם תפריט באנגלית?
    Yesh lakhem tafrit be-Anglit?
    Do you have an English menu?”
  1. יש …?
    Yesh …?
    “Is / are there …?”
  • יש פינת עישון?
    Yeish pinat ishun?
    Is there a smoking area?”
  • יש חנייה?
    Yesh khanayah?
    Is there parking?”
  1. כמה זמן נצטרך להמתין?
    Kamah z’man nitztarekh lekhakot?
    “How long of a wait is there?”

3. Hebrew Restaurant Phrases to Use during Your Meal

Waiter with Dishes

Now that you’ve taken your seat, let’s keep out our Hebrew dictionary out and have a look at some of the most useful language for ordering, making requests of the waiter or host/ess, and engaging in Israel’s national sport – complaining! Before we dive in, just note that you would be wise to adjust your expectations a bit as a foreigner.

Chiefly, many restaurants will adhere to the laws of כשרות (kashrut), or Jewish dietary laws, by default, even if they do not cater exclusively to religious customers. This means no mixing of meat or poultry with dairy – not just in a particular dish but in terms of what the restaurant offers as a whole. So, with some exceptions (especially in Tel Aviv), you’re not terribly likely to encounter cheeseburgers, pork, or shellfish on the menu. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s jump in.

  1. מה המנה הכי …?
    Mah ha-manah ha-khi …?
    “What’s your most … dish?”
  • מה המנה הכי פופולארית?
    Mah ha-manah hakhi popularit?
    What’s your most popular dish?”
  • מה המנה הכי משביעה?
    Mah ha-manah hakhi masbi’ah?
    What’s your most filling dish?”
  • מה המנה הכי דלה בקלוריות?
    Mah ha-manah hakhi dalah be-kaloriyot?
    What’s your most low calorie dish?”
  1. אני אלרגי/ת ל… אפשר לקבל …?
    Ani alergi/t l… Efshar lekabel …?
    “I’m allergic to … Can I get …?”
  • אני אלרגי לאגוזים. אפשר לקבל את סלט הבית בלי אגוזים?
    Ani alergi le-egozim. Efshar lekabel et salat ha-bayit bli egozim?
    I’m allergic to tree nuts. Can I get a house salad without nuts?”
  • אני אלרגית לתותים. אפשר לקבל פרי אחר?
    Ani alergit le-tutim. Efshar lekabel pri akher?
    I’m allergic to strawberries. Can I get some other fruit?”
  1. אפשר עוד …?
    Efshar ‘od …?
    “Can I get some more …?”
  • אפשר עוד כמה מפיות?
    Efshar ‘od kamah mapiyot?
    Can I get some more napkins?”
  • אפשר עוד סלט?
    Efshar ‘od salat?
    Can I get some more salad?”
  • אפשר עוד סט סכו”ם?
    Efshar ‘od set saku”m?
    Can I get some more silverware?”
  1. נתחיל עם …
    Natkhil ‘im…
    “We’ll start with …”
  • נתחיל עם משהו לשתות.
    Natkhil ‘im mashehu lishtot.
    We’ll start with drinks.”
  • נתחיל עם מבחר המנות הראשונות.
    Natkhil ‘im mivkhar ha-manot ha-rishonot.
    We’ll start with the appetizer spread.”
  1. יש לכם …?
    Yesh lachem …?
    “Do you have …?”
  • יש לכם תפריט יינות?
    Yesh lakhem tafrit yeiynot?
    Do you have a wine list?”
  • יש לכם מנות צמחוניות?
    Yesh lakhem manot tzimkhoniyot?
    Do you have any vegetarian options?”
  1. ה… קצת …
    Ha-… ktzat …
    “The … is/are a bit …”
  • המרק קצת מלוח.
    Ha-marak ktzat malu’akh.
    The soup is a bit salty.”
  • הפשטידה קצת קרה.
    Ha-pashtidah ktzat karah.
    The quiche is a bit cold.”

4. Hebrew Restaurant Phrases to Use after Dining

Man Signaling for Check

Your belly is full and your palate delighted. You’ve tasted some incredible flavors that you never even dreamed were possible. Now it’s time for the painful part: paying the check. While we can’t offer you any discounts, we can at least comfort you with the knowledge that the average tip percentages are 12% for decent service, 15% for great service, and 10% for when it’s only so-so.

Tipping is the social norm, though, so unless your server spilled hot soup on your lap or hurled pejoratives at you for mispronouncing ג’חנון (jakhnun, “Jachnun”), היה בנאדם (heyeh benadam, “be a decent person”) and pay up. Here are some highly useful Hebrew phrases for ordering and paying the bill in an Israeli restaurant.

  1. חשבון, בבקשה.
    Kheshbon, bevakashah.
    “Bill, please.”
    *Note that you can also make the international sign for the check by airsigning. Just make sure the waiter is looking your way when you do so, which may require some waiting and possibly some loud coughing or scraping of your chair on the floor to get his/her attention.
  1. אתם מקבלים כרטיסי אשראי?
    Atem mekablim kartisei ashrai?
    “Do you take credit cards?”
  1. אפשר חשבונות נפרדים?
    Efshar kheshbonot nifradim?
    “Can we pay separately?”
  1. מה יש לכם לקינוח?
    Mah yesh lakhem le-kinu’akh?
    “What do you have for dessert?”
  1. אפשר לקבל עודף?
    Efshar lekabel ‘odef?
    “Can I get some change?”
  1. אפשר לקבל קופסא?
    Efshar lekabel kufsah?
    “Can I get a container?”

5. At HebrewPod101, There’s Always Something Cooking

Boiling Pot

Well, that’s all for today, חברים (khaveirim, “friends”). We hope you found this lesson useful for your next culinary outing in the Holy Land, whether it’s a simple falafel joint, a fancy steak house, or any of the bazillion cafés you can find on seemingly every street in the country. If it’s the latter, by the way, we highly recommend ordering ארוחת הבוקר הישראלית (arukhat ha-bokeir ha-yisra’eilit, “the Israeli breakfast”), a veritable smorgasbord that typically comes with some sort of egg dish, a selection of fresh salads, an assortment of hard and soft cheeses, fresh bread or granola with yogurt, and coffee and/or freshly squeezed juice.

Whatever the case, you’re now armed with the language you need to navigate the ins and outs of eating out in Israel. Did we miss anything phrases in English to Hebrew about food, restaurants, or anything else? Let us know! We are always delighted to hear from our ever-growing community of Hebrew language learners, so don’t hesitate to reach out. Until next time, shalom!

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The Top 35 Hebrew Conversation Starters for Any Occasion

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Newton’s First Law of Motion states that a body at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by another force. This would seem to apply to conversations, especially with strangers or new acquaintances, and particularly when you are trying to strike up a conversation in a language other than your mother tongue. But fear not! We here at HebrewPod101 have curated the top 35 conversation starters in Hebrew to help you get things rolling.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. First Impressions Count – So Make Your Conversation Count!
  2. Conversation Starters for Mingling and Socializing
  3. Conversation Starters for Your First Day at School or Work
  4. Conversation Starters for a First Date
  5. Bonus: Helpful Language for Starting Up a Text or Email Conversation
  6. HebrewPod101 Is Here to Help You Get Things Rolling…and Keep Them Rolling!

1. First Impressions Count – So Make Your Conversation Count!

Group Conversation with Friends

Whether you’ve just met someone at a party, are trying to make small talk with the passenger seated beside you on a long bus ride, or are trying to leave a good impression on your first day of school or work, you always want to leave as positive an impression as possible (unless, perhaps, you’re trying to blow someone off!). Therefore, it’s a great idea to be comfortable greasing the wheels, so to speak, with some easy Hebrew conversation starters that will be sure to get things flowing.

No matter what situation you may find yourself in, we’ve got you covered. Below you’ll find a compilation of basic Hebrew conversation starters, including both for conversing the old-fashioned way as well as for texts and emails. We’ve included language that will help you deal with new social scenes, such as parties or other events involving mingling, helpful language for first days in a new school or work setting, romantic conversation starters for a first date, and even some starters for emails and texts.

It may go without saying, but we can’t emphasize enough that to really be sure your Hebrew flows, you’ll need to be well equipped for whatever direction these conversations may take. As essential as it is to know how to get the ball rolling, it isn’t of much use knowing how to start a conversation if you can’t sustain it. With this in mind, apart from practicing the language presented in this lesson, it’s also a great idea to spend time on the grammar points and vocabulary relevant to the setting you’ll be in.

Make use of HebrewPod101’s vast library of lessons to find exactly what you need so you’re ready to face any conversational challenges that come your way!

2. Conversation Starters for Mingling and Socializing

Party with Friends

One of the most outstanding features of Israeli culture is that Israelis are quite gregarious. Indeed, don’t be surprised if you find yourself invited to social events frequently, even if you’ve only just met someone for the first time. Every society obviously has some general rules for making a good first impression when you find yourself in a new social milieu, and Israel is no different.

Obviously, you want to converse, meaning you should try to talk in a way that invites the other party to engage. You can do this by asking questions to get to know the other people around you and follow-up questions to keep the conversation going. This helps to show you are interested and paying attention.

So why not show up to your next Israeli meet-and-greet with some well turned phrases and questions honed and ready to go, so that you can be the one to impress everyone and get the conversation flowing? Here are our top conversation starters for mingling and socializing. Note how the words change depending on whether you are addressing a male or female.

1. איך הכרתם? / איך אתם מכירים?
Eikh hikartem? / Eikh atem makirim?
“How did you meet? / How do you know each other?”

2. מה אתה אוכל/שותה / את אוכלת/שותה?
Mah atah okheil/shoteh? / Mah at okhelet/shotah?
“What are you eating/drinking?”

3. כמה זמן לקח לך להגיע?
Kamah zman lakakh lekha/lakh lehagi’a?
“How long did it take you to get here?”

4. במה אתה עובד / את עובדת?
Be-mah atah oved / at ovedet?
“What do you do for a living?”

5. בא לך משהו לאכול/לשתות?
Ba lekha/lakh mashehu le’ekhol/lishtot?
“Would you like something to eat/drink?”

Colleagues Having Lunch

6. אתה גר / את גרה קרוב?
Atah gar / at garah karov?
“Do you live nearby?”

7. יש לך חיות מחמד?
Yesh lekha / lakh khayot makhmad?
“Do you have any pets?”

8. מה למדת באוניברסיטה?
Mah lamadeta / lamadet ba-universitah?
“What did you study at university?”

9. יש לך תחביבים?
Yesh lekha / lakh takhbivim?
“Do you have any hobbies?”

10. איפה שירתת בצבא?
Eifoh shirateta / shiratet ba-tzava?
“Where did you serve in the army?”

*Note that this last one is common in Israel, as military service is obligatory for males and females.

3. Conversation Starters for Your First Day at School or Work

Paperwork

Just as important as your first impressions in social settings is getting things started on the right foot when you begin a new job or enroll in school. It is immensely important to put your best foot forward in these situations, so once again, you’ll want to be armed with some solid go-to phrases and questions you can draw on to strike up a conversation with your new work- or classmates, and to keep the conversation going.

Something to note is that even Israeli culture has somewhat less of a range in terms of register. This means that Israelis tend to be less formal than their counterparts from other countries in situations where formality may be expected. That having been said, gauge your surroundings and the people with you, and make every effort to adjust your register accordingly. Now, without further ado, here are the top conversation starters for school and work.

11. שלום, קוראים לי … איך קוראים לך?
Shalom, korim li … Eikh korim lekha / lakh?
“Hi, I’m … What’s your name?”

  • שלום, קוראים לי ריקי. איך קוראים לך?
    Shalom, korim li Riki. Eikh korim lakh?
    “Hi, I’m Ricky. What’s your name?”

12. סליחה, אני חדש / חדשה כאן ולא ממש מתמצא / מתמצאת. האם תוכל / תוכלי להגיד לי איפה ה…?
Slikhah, ani khadash / khadashah kan ve-lo mamash mitmatze / mitmatzet. Ha’im tukhal / tukhli lehagid li eifoh ha…?
“Sorry, I’m new here and don’t really know my way around. Could you tell me where the … is/are?”

  •  סליחה, אני חדשה כאן ולא ממש מתמצאת. האם תוכל להגיד לי איפה המדפסת?
    Slikhah, ani khadashah kan ve-lo mamash mitmatzet. Ha’im tukhal lehagid li eifoh ha-madpeset?
    “Sorry, I’m new here and don’t really know my way around. Could you tell me where the printer is?”

13. אפשר להצטרף אליך לארוחת צהריים?
Efshar lehitztaref elekha / elaikh le-arukhat tzohorayim?
“Can I join you for lunch?”

14. כמה זמן אתה לומד/עובד / את לומדת/עובדת כאן?
Kamah zman atah lomed/’oved / at lomedet/ovedet kan?
“How long have you been working/studying here?”

15. אהבתי את ה… שלך. איפה קנית אותו?
Ahavti et ha… shelkha / shelakh. Eifoh kanita / kanit oto?
“I like your … Where did you buy it?”

Group of Friends Studying
  •  אהבתי את הצעיף שלך. איפה קנית אותו?
    Ahavti et ha-tza’if shelakh. Eifoh kanit oto?
    “I like your scarf. Where did you buy it?”

16. בא לך להיפגש אחרי העבודה/השיעור?
Bah lekha / lakh lehipagesh akharei ha-‘avodah/ha-shi’ur?
“Would you like to get together after work/class?”

17. אתה יכול / את יכולה אולי לעזור לי עם …?
Atah yakhol / At yekholah ulai la’azor li ‘im…
“Might you be able to help me with…?”

  • אתה יכול אולי לעזור לי עם הפקס הזה?
    Atah yakhol ulai la’azor li ‘im ha-faks ha-zeh.
    “Might you be able to help me with this fax?”

18. אמרו לי שאתה יודע / שאת יודעת איך …
Amru li she-atah yode’a / she-at yoda’at eikh …
“I was told you know how to …”

  • אמרו לי שאת יודעת איך לחייג לחו”ל.
    Amru li she-atah yode’a eikh lekhai’eg le-khu”l.
    “I was told you know how to place an international call.”

19. אני הולך להכין לי … בא לך גם?
Ani holekh lehakin li … Ba lekha / lakh gam?
“I’m going to make myself … Would you like some, as well?”

  • אני הולך להכין לי כוס תה. בא לך גם?
    Ani holekh lehakin li kos teh. Ba lekha gam?
    “I’m going to make myself a cup of tea. Would you like some, as well?”

20. איפה אני מוצא / מוצאת את ה…?
Eifoh ani motze / motzet et ha…?
“Where might I find the …?”

  • איפה אני מוצאת את השירותים?
    Eifoh ani motzet et ha-sherutim?
    “Where might I find the bathroom?”

4. Conversation Starters for a First Date

Couple Having Dinner Date

While we at HebrewPod101 can’t claim to be world experts on romance, we do know that there’s nothing quite like burgeoning love to put butterflies in your heart and a lump in your throat. And one thing is for sure. As nervous as you may be on a first date, or even at the prospect of mustering up the courage to ask for one, practicing the right language for the moment can give you a bit of a confidence boost just where you need one.

Of course, each of us is different, and what may strike one person as a compliment can give offense to another. Therefore, use the language below with discretion, as matters of the heart are the trickiest of them all! And don’t be afraid to mention that you are still learning Hebrew, although we don’t recommend repeating it over and over, either. Just do your best, and that’s what will shine through. Don’t forget that many a couple has been forged around language learning, and much language learning seems to center around romance! Indeed, we think romance is one of the greatest motivators for learning language you’re likely to find!

21. אתה נראה / את נראית מדהימה!
Atah nir’eh / At nir’et madhimah!
“You look great!”

22. טוב לראות אותך.
Tov lir’ot otkha / otakh.
“It’s good to see you.”

23. איפה גדלת?
Eifoh gadalta / gadalt?
“Where did you grow up?”

24. יש לך אחים?
Yesh lekha / lakh akhim?
“Do you have any siblings?”

25. איזה סוג של מוסיקה אתה שומע / את שומעת?
Eizeh sug shel muzikah atah shome’a / at shoma’at?
“What kind of music do you listen to?”

26. מה הסרט האהוב עליך?
Mah ha-seret ha-ahuv ‘alekha ‘alayikh?
“What’s your favorite movie?”

27. מה האוכל שאתה הכי אוהב / שאת הכי אוהבת?
Mah ha-okhel she-atah ha-khi ohev / she-at ha-khi ohevet?
“What’s your favorite food?”

Man and Woman Having Coffee

28. מה אתה אוהב / את אוהבת לעשות בשעות הפנאי שלך?
Mah atah ohev / at ohevet la’asot be-she’ot ha-pnai shelkha / shelakh?
“What do you like to do in your free time?”

29. אתה אוהב / את אוהבת לטייל?
Atah ohev / At ohevet letayel?
“Do you like to travel?”

30. אפשר להזמין אותך ל …?
Efshar lehazmin otkha / otakh le…?
“Can I invite you (out) for a …?”

  • אפשר להזמין אותך לבירה?
    Efshar lehazmin otkha le-birah?
    “Can I invite you out for a beer?”

5. Bonus: Helpful Language for Starting Up a Text or Email Conversation

Email

Lastly, let’s take a look at some language you can use to send off a text or email. These are obviously a bit different, as you will have neither the benefit nor the potential challenge of immediate feedback from your co-conversationalist. In any case, many language learners do find it somewhat more comfortable to write a message, as they have time to draft, revise, and rethink it before it reaches the intended person.

We recommend practicing your Hebrew via both productive skills, spoken and written, as they are complementary skills. This means that when you strengthen one, you will also find you come out stronger in the other. So go ahead and text that colleague from work or that guy or girl you met at the party last weekend. Here are the top five conversation starters for emails and texts.

31. מה התוכניות לסופ”ש?
Mah ha-tokhniyot la-sofa”sh?
“What are your plans for the weekend?”

32. מזמן לא דיברנו. שלח / שלחי הודעה כשתוכל/כשתוכלי.
Mizman lo dibarnu. Shlakh / Shilkhi hoda’ah keshe-tukhal/tukhli.
“Long time no speak. Send me a message when you can.”

Text Messages

33. אני חייב / חייבת לספר לך על משהו הזוי שקרה לי. מתי נפגשים?
Ani khayav / khayevet lesaper lekha ‘al mashehu hazui she-karah li. Matai nifgashim?
“I have to tell you something crazy that happened to me. When can we get together?”

34. אני חייב / חייבת את העזרה שלך! איזה אחד נראה לך יותר טוב?
Ani khayav /khayevet et ha-‘ezrah shelkha / shelakh! Eizeh ekhad nireh lekha / lakh yoter tov?
“I need help! Which of these looks better to you?”

35. בא לך לשמוע בדיחה?
Ba lekha / lakh lishmo’a b’dikhah?
“Want to hear a joke?”

6. HebrewPod101 Is Here to Help You Get Things Rolling…and Keep Them Rolling!

Well, there you have it. We hope you’ve found today’s lesson stimulating and useful. As you surely know, there is, in fact, no perfect formula for starting up a great conversation, nor are there any guarantees that the person you’re talking to will follow your lead. However, when you come to a situation equipped with the relevant language and can apply it with fluency, you are far more likely to find a willing conversation partner on the other side of the table.

As always, our recommendation is not to try to soak up every single phrase here all at once but rather to focus on digestible chunks of language, a bit at a time. And it’s crucial you go over these not just once but rather periodically revisit them and practice them at intervals so you can be sure they get stored in your deep memory.

If you have any questions about the language presented in today’s lesson or want to know more about how to strike up a nice Hebrew conversation, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our professional staff of Hebrew teachers would be happy to hear from you and to help you however we can. Until next time, shalom!

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The Top 40 Advanced Hebrew Phrases

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In the pursuit of vocabulary, it’s easy to get caught up in individual words while looking past phrases. The reality, however, is that phrases are just as important in terms of fluency and flexibility of expression. This is true of any language you may wish to learn, but in the case of Hebrew, old as it is, even phrases used today may date back thousands of years! Indeed, Hebrew draws not only on the Bible but on the Rabbinic writings, as well, for some of the choicest and most common phrases you’ll encounter.

Notebook

Beyond the fact that many advanced Hebrew phrases are used ubiquitously, such that you’ll want to know them for comprehension’s sake, being able to use the right phrase at the right moment is one of the best ways to truly inhabit a language from within. The correct use of phrases, particularly idiomatic ones, is one of the clearest signs that you’re approaching mastery.

In today’s article, we aim to present you with a broad cross-section of the many phrases that tend to pepper modern Israelis’ speech, including academic, professional, and conversational phrases. As always, we suggest that you approach these by chunking them by category rather than by attempting to memorize them all at once. Pick a few, study and practice them, then move on to the next category and repeat. Just make sure to review them cumulatively as you move through each successive category so that you won’t forget the previous phrases you learned.

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Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Useful Phrases for Academic Writing
  2. Power Phrases for Your Proposal, Resume, Etc.
  3. Smart Phrases for Business Meetings
  4. Phrases for Everyday Use
  5. Level Up with HebrewPod101

1. Useful Phrases for Academic Writing

Woman with Head Buried in Book

Are you considering studying in Israel? If so, you’d be in good company! Israel is home to 61 higher education institutions (50 of which are government-funded) and hosts somewhere around 12,000 foreign students each year. Some of these universities, such as Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Technion in Haifa, are counted among the world’s best. If you do plan on any academic pursuits in Israel, you’ll surely want to arm yourself with these advanced Hebrew phrases for academic writing. Let’s check them out.

1. נוסף על כך
nosaf ‘al kakh
“moreover”

  • תושבי השכונה התלוננו על הזנחה, נוסף על כך בחודשים האחרונים הולכת וגוברת תופעה של נטישת מכוניות ברחבי השכונה.
    Toshavei ha-sh’khunah hitlonenu ‘al haznakhah, nosaf ‘al kakh ba-khodashim ha-akharonim holekhet ve-goveret tofa’ah shel netishat mekhoniyot be-rakhavei ha-shekhunah.
    “Residents of the neighborhood have complained of neglect. Moreover, in recent months, a growing number of vehicles have been abandoned throughout the neighborhood.”

2. ואילו
ve-ilu
“while” / “whereas”

  • הדולר נחלש, ואילו השקל שומר על יציבות.
    Ha-dolar nekhlash, ve-ilu ha-shekel shomir ‘al yetzivut.
    “The dollar has weakened, while the shekel has remained stable.”

3. חרף
kheref
“despite”

  • חרף העלייה במחירי הפירות צריכתם לא פחתה.
    Kheref ha-’aliyah be-mekhirei ha-peirot tzrikhatam lo pakhata.
    Despite the increase in the price of fruit, its consumption has not decreased.”

4. לעומת זאת
le’umat zot
“on the other hand”

  • המנהל החדש צנוע. לעומת זאת, קודמיו היו די יהירים.
    Ha-menahil he-khadash tzanu’a. Le’umat zot, kodmav hayu dei yehirim.
    “The new manager is modest. His predecessors, on the other hand, were fairly cocky.”

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

  • אנשים לא מפסיקים לעשן, אף על פי שהם ערים לנזקי העישון.
    Anashim lo mafsikim le’ashen, af ‘al pi she-hem ‘eirim le-nizkei ha-’ishun.
    “People keep smoking even though they are aware of the dangers of smoking.”

6. בניגוד לכך
be-nigud le-khakh
“in contrast”

  • ברור שכל אדם יכול להתנהג בניגוד לחוקי המדינה. בניגוד לכך, שום אדם אינו יכול להתנהג בניגוד לחוקי המשיכה.
    Barur she-kol adam yakhol lehitnaheig be-nigud le-khukei ha-medinah. Be-nigud le-khakh, shum adam eino yakhol lehitnaheig be-nigud le-khukei ha-meshikhah.
    “Obviously, anyone can defy the laws of the state. In contrast, no one can defy the laws of gravity.”

7. מפאת
mip’at
“due to”

  •  פסק הדין נדחה מפאת מחלתו של השופט.
    Psak ha-din nidkhah mip’at makhalato shel ha-shofet.
    “The ruling was postponed due to the judge’s illness.”

8. שמא
shema
“lest”

  • למדתי לא לתייג אחרים שמא יתייגו אותי.
    Lamadeti lo letayeg akheirim shema yetaygu oti.
    “I’ve learned not to label others lest they label me.”

9. בתנאי ש…
bi-tnai she…
“as long as” / “on the condition that”

  • נקנה מכונית חדשה בתנאי שהמחירים לא יעלו.
    Nikneh mekhonit khadashah bi-tnai she-ha-mekhirim lo ya’alu.
    “We’ll buy a new car as long as prices don’t go up.”

10. דהיינו
dehaynu
“i.e.”

  • אלה חומרי הריאקציה המהירים ביותר, דהיינו חומרי נפץ.
    Eleh khomrei ha-re’aktziyah ha-mehirim beyoter, dehaynu khomrei nefetz.
    “These are the fastest reactive materials, i.e., explosives.”

2. Power Phrases for Your Proposal, Resume, Etc.

Resume and Pencil

Moving from the classroom to the boardroom, let’s now have a look at some key phrases to use in the world of business. Well known as the Start-Up Nation, Israel is a prime player in the world of international business, and you may well have business dealings with Israelis. You’ll find below several advanced phrases in Hebrew that will help you leave a strong impression, whether in a business email or on your resume

11. כושר מנהיגות
kosher manhigut
“leadership ability”

  • בלי כושר מנהיגות, אף אחד לא יכול להוביל צוות בטווח הרחוק.
    Bli kosher manhigut, af ekhad lo yakhol lehovil tzevet ba-tvakh ha-rakhok.
    “Without leadership ability, no one can lead a team for the long term.”

12. תושיה
tushiyah
“wisdom”

  • תושיה היא תוצאה של שנים בעסק.
    Tushiyah hi totza’ah shel shanim ba-’esek.
    Wisdom is the result of years in the business.”

13. משמעת עצמית
mishma’at ‘atzmit
“self-discipline”

  • מצופה מכל עובד יעיל להפגין משמעת עצמית.
    Metzupeh mi-kol ‘oved ya’il lehafgin mishma’at ‘atzmit.
    “An efficient worker is expected to demonstrate self-discipline.”

14. חריצות
kharitzut
“diligence”

  • עבודה קשה וחריצות זה מתכון מושלם להצלחה.
    ‘Avodah kashah ve-kharitzut zeh matkon mushlam le-hatzlakha.
    “Hard work and diligence is the perfect recipe for success.”

15. דייקנות
daykanut
“precision” / “punctuality”

  • במשרד הזה, דייקנות, ניקיון, וסדר הם הכלל.
    Ba-misrad ha-zeh, daykanut, niykayon ve-seder hem ha-klal.
    “In this office, punctuality, cleanliness, and order are the rules.”

16. מסירות
mesirut
“commitment”

  • אנחנו מחפשים מישהו שמבין מהי מסירות למשימה אפילו למול מכשולים רבים.
    Anakhnu mekhapsim mishehu she-mevin mahi mesirut la-mesimah afilu le-mul mikhsholim rabim.
    “We’re looking for someone who understands what commitment means, even when facing many challenges.”

17. מהימנות
meheimanut
“credibility” / “reliability”

  • אל תשכח ששקר אחד קטן יכול להרוס את המהימנות שלך.
    Al tishkakh she-sheker ekhad katan yakhol laharos et ha-meheimanut shelkha.
    “Don’t forget that one little lie can ruin your credibility.”

18. אסרטיביות
aseritviyut
“assertiveness”

  • היא הצטיינה בלימודים ויודעת לעבוד, אבל חסרה לה אסרטיביות.
    Hi hitztainah ba-limudim ve-yoda’at la’avod, aval khaserah la asertivityut.
    “She graduated with honors and is a good worker, but she lacks assertiveness.”

19. סבלנות
savlanut
“patience”

  • אי אפשר לפתור בעיות קשות בלי קצת סבלנות.
    Iy efshar liftor ba’ayot kashot beli ktzat savlanut.
    “It’s impossible to solve difficult problems without a bit of patience.”

20. סובלנות
sovlanut
tolerance

  • לבעלים אין סובלנות לאלו שמאכזבים אותה.
    La-be’alim ein sovlanut le-elu she-me’akhzevim otah.
    “The owner has no tolerance for those who disappoint her.”

3. Smart Phrases for Business Meetings

Business Meeting

Assuming your business correspondence or proposal went well with your Israeli employer, clients, or partners, you’re likely to find yourself in a meeting with businesspeople chattering away in Hebrew. But fear not! The following phrases are just what you’ll need to impress those around you with your elegant handling of business Hebrew. Let’s have a look.

21. איך העסקים?
Eikh ha-‘asakim?
“How’s business?”

  • היי, גיורא. מה שלומך? איך העסקים?
    Hai, Giorah. Mah shlomkha? Eikh ha-’asakim?
    “Hi, Giora. How are you? How’s business?

 22. משא ומתן
masa u-matan
negotiations

  • בשבוע הבא אני טסה לפריז למשא ומתן מול הלקוח השוויצרי שלנו.
    Ba-shavu’a ha-ba ani tasah le-Pariz le-masa u-matan mul ha-lako’akh ha-Shveytzari shelanu.
    “Next week, I’m flying to Paris for negotiations with our Swiss client.”

 23. קומבינה
kombinah
“workaround”

  • אני יודע שהתוכנה עדיין נתקלת בשגיאות מסויימות, אבל יש לי קומבינה.
    Ani yode’a she-ha-tokhnah nitkelet be-shgi’ot mesuyamot, aval yesh li kombinah.
    “I know the program is still producing some errors, but I have a workaround.”

24. חוצפה
khutzpah
“nerve” / “gall”

  • איזה חוצפה! איך אתה מעיז להטיף לי על נימוסים?
    Eizeh khutzpah! Eikh atah mei’iz lehatif li ‘al nimusim?
    “What nerve! How dare you preach to me about manners?”

25. שפיץ
shpitz
“expert” / “whiz”

  • המהנדס שלהם פשוט שפיץ בכל מה שקשור לחשמל.
    Ha-mehandeis shelahem pashut shpitz be-khol mah she-kashur le-khashmal.
    “Their engineer is simply a whiz in all things electrical.”

26. פרוטקציה
protektziyah
“help from the inside”

  • בחיים לא נוכל להיכנס לשוק בסין בלי איזושהי פרוטקציה.
    Ba-khayim lo nukhal lehikanes la-shuk be-Sin beli eizoshehi protektziyah.
    “We’ll never be able to penetrate the Chinese market without some sort of help from the inside.”

27. מה נסגר?
Mah nisgar?
“What’s the deal?”

  • מה נסגר? אנחנו מחכים לך במשרד כבר שעתיים.
    Mah nisgar? Anakhnu mekhakim lakh ba-misrad kvar sha’atayim.
    What’s the deal? We’ve been waiting for you at the office for two hours already.”

28. סדר יום
seder yom
“agenda”

  • זהירות עם הלקוח, יש לו סדר יום משלו.
    Zehirut ‘im ha-lako’ak. Yeish lo seder yom mishelo.
    “Watch out with the client. He’s got his own agenda.”

29. כל הכבוד
kol ha-kavod
“kudos”

  • הרבעון הזה היה הטוב ביותר שלנו מאז ומתמיד. כל הכבוד לכם!
    Ha-riv’on ha-zeh hayah ha-tov beyoter shelanu mei-az u-mi-tamid. Kol ha-kavod lakhem!”
    “This quarter was our best yet. Kudos to all of you!”

30. נראה לי
nir’ah li
“it seems to me…”

  • נראה לי שכבר ראינו את הדו”ח הזה בשנה שעברה.
    Nir’ah li she-kvar ra’inu et ha-do”kh ha-zeh ba-shanah she-’avrah.
    It seems to me that we already saw this report last year.”

4. Phrases for Everyday Use

Word Magnets

Last but not least, let’s look at some advanced-level Hebrew phrases you can draw on during your everyday interactions. While there is no specific category for these, they are all common idioms that are guaranteed to lend your Hebrew that extra edge of authenticity for some street cred. A word to the wise, though: Use these expressions with caution. While a well-chosen idiom can garner admiration from even the toughest edge of Israelis, a poorly timed one—or, worse yet, one that isn’t appropriate for the situation—can easily backfire.

31. חבל על הזמן
khaval ‘al ha-zman
“it would be a waste of time talking about it (it’s so good/bad)”

  • ניסית פעם את הפלאפל שם בפינה? חבל על הזמן!
    Nisita pa’am et ha-falafel sham ba-pinah? Khaval ‘al ha-zman!
    “Have you ever tried the falafel on the corner there? (It’s so good) it would be a waste of time talking about it.

32. כואב לי הלב
ko’ev li ha-lev
“it breaks my heart”

  • כואב לי הלב אבל אני חייב לזוז.
    Ko’ev li ha-lev aval ani khayav lazuz.
    It breaks my heart, but I’ve got to get going.”

33. לך על זה
lekh ‘al zeh
“go for it”

  • מישהו רצה את המשולש האחרון?
    Mishehu ratzah et ha-meshulash ha-akharon?
    “Did anyone want the last slice?”
  • לך עז זה!
    Lekh ‘al zeh!
    Go for it!

34. אין לי מושג
ein li musag
“I have no clue”

  • אין לי מושג איך להפעיל את המכשיר הזה.
    Ein li musag eikh lehaf’il et ha-makhshir ha-zeh.
    I have no clue how to use this device.”

35. בשיא לשון הבקשה
be-si leshon ha-bakashah
“I’m begging you”

  • בשיא לשון הבקשה, הנמך את המוסיקה ותן לישון.
    Be-si leshon ha-bakashah, hanmekh et ha-musikah ve-ten lishon.
    I’m begging you, turn down the music and let me sleep.”

36. לא דובים ולא יער
lo dubim ve-lo ya’ar
“nothing of the sort”

  • אמרו לי בבנק שאקבל זיכוי תוך שבוע ימים. לא דובים ולא יער!
    Amru li ba-bank she-akabeil zikui tokh shavu’a yamim. Lo dubim ve-lo ya’ar!
    “They told me at the bank that I’d receive the credit within a week. Nothing of the sort!”

37. מה, אתה עובד עלי?
Mah, atah ‘oved ‘alai?
“What, are you kidding me?”

  • אתה אומר שאנחנו עוד פעם הולכים לקלפי? מה, אתה עובד עליי?
    Atah omer she-anakhnu ’od pa’am holkhim la-kalfi? Mah, atah oved ‘alai?
    “You’re saying we’re headed to elections yet again? What, are you kidding me?

38. נראה לך הגיוני?
Nireh lekha hegyoni?
“What were you thinking?”

  • נראה לך הגיוני לחנות מאחורי הכניסה לחנייה שלי?
    Nir’ah lekha hegyoni lakhanot me’akhorei ha-knisah la-khanayah sheli?
    What were you thinking, parking in front of the entrance to my driveway?”

39. מי אמר אני ולא קיבל?
Mi amar ani ve-lo kibel?
“Who did I miss?”

  • יש לי עוד כמה שוברים לחלק. מי אמר אני ולא קיבל?
    Yesh li ‘od kamah shovarim lekhalek. Mi amar ani ve-lo kibel?
    “I have a few more coupons to give out. Who did I miss?

40. כפרה עליך
kaparah ‘aleikha
“my darling/dear”

  • כפרה עליך, איך התגעגעתי אליך!
    Kaparah ‘aleikha, eikh hitga’aga’ti elekha!
    My dear, how I missed you!”

    *Note that this can be used for either a male or a female, and it does not typically bear any romantic connotation.

5. Level Up with HebrewPod101

That’s it for today’s lesson. We hope you’ve enjoyed these advanced Hebrew phrases for taking your Hebrew into the next phase. Remember that learning a language is a lifelong endeavor, and there is always room for improvement and growth. While these phrases are just the tip of the iceberg as far as Hebrew idioms go, they are definitely a solid start.

Have you come across any phrases that you didn’t see here but would like help understanding? Or are you still scratching your head over how to use one of the phrases included in today’s article? Don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know! We at HebrewPod101 are always happy to help. Our team of experts will get back to you with feedback. And who knows? You might just inspire our next lesson.

Until then, shalom!

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The Top 40 Intermediate Hebrew Phrases

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As you progress from a beginner to an intermediate level of Hebrew, you’ll no doubt want to expand your vocabulary so you can both understand and express more language. While anything that adds words to your repertoire is welcome, studying contextualized language based on its function or the circumstances in which it’s generally used can be greatly helpful to language students.

Rather than randomly choosing words out of the dictionary or from the pages of a newspaper or book, we here at HebrewPod101.com have put together a handy list of the top forty intermediate Hebrew phrases, grouped together by category: phrases for speaking about the past, phrases for making recommendations and complaints, phrases for reacting during a conversation, and more. We’ve also included examples of how to use these phrases in realistic contexts.

While forty may not sound like a huge number, we do recommend studying these phrases in chunks. The simplest way to do so is by category, but you could organize them differently if you feel so inclined. The key is not to overwhelm yourself and to commit to periodic reviews of the new words and phrases you acquire; this will ensure long-term retention and rapid recall.

Keeping this in mind, let’s have a look at the top forty Hebrew phrases at the intermediate level.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Talking About Past Events
  2. Making and Changing Plans
  3. Giving Reasons
  4. Making Recommendations and Complaints
  5. Everyday Reactions
  6. General Etiquette
  7. Up Your Game with HebrewPod101

1. Talking About Past Events

Cave Paintings

Did you know that human language contains a unique feature not found in animal communication systems? This feature is called “displacement,” and it refers to the ability to talk about things that aren’t concrete objects in front of our eyes. This includes not only abstract concepts like love and honor, but also points in time outside of the present. 

Hebrew is a bit simpler than many European languages in that it only really has one past tense (the simple past). That said, one could argue that Hebrew makes up for its lack of variety in tenses with its great flexibility in how the past can be discussed. For example, as you’ll see below, Hebrew has a special word that means “last night”—אמש (emesh). Let’s have a look at some other words and phrases for discussing the past.

1. היה … אתמול/אמש.
Hayah… etmol/emesh.
“It was … yesterday/last night.” / “Yesterday/last night was…” / “I had … yesterday/last night.”

  • היה כיף אמש במסיבה.
    Hayah keif emesh ba-mesibah.
    It was fun last night at the party.”
  • היה לי יום נפלא אתמול בעיר העתיקה.
    Hayah li yom nifla etmol ba-’ir ha-’atikah.
    I had a great day yesterday in the old city.”

2. לפני … ימים/שבועות/חודשים/שנים
Lifnei … yamim/shavu’ot/khodashim/shanim
“… days/weeks/months/years ago”

  • הגעתי לארץ לפני שלושה שבועות.
    Higa’ti la-Aretz lifnei shloshah shavu’ot.
    “I got to Israel three weeks ago.”
  • לפני עשרה ימים, התחלתי תוכנית אימונים חדשה בחדר הכושר.
    Lifnei ‘asarah yamim, hitkhalti tokhnit imunim khadashah be-khadar ha-kosher.
    Ten days ago, I started a new workout plan at the gym.”

3. מעולם/בחיים לא
Me’olam/Ba-khayim sheli lo
“Never” [*note the double negative in Hebrew]

  • מעולם לא עשיתי צניחה חופשית.
    Le’olam lo ‘asiti tzenikhah khofshit.
    “I have never skydived.”
  • בחיים לא הכרתי מישהו כל כך מעניין כמו המורה שלנו לעברית.
    Ba-khayim lo hikarti mishehu kol kakh me’anyein kemo ha-moreh shelanu le-’Ivrit.
    “I’ve never met anyone as interesting as our Hebrew teacher.”

4. פעם
Pa’am
“Once”

  • פעם האמנתי לך, אבל היום כבר לא.
    Pa’am he’emanti lakh, aval hayom kvar lo.
    Once I would have believed you, but no longer.”
  • פעם חלמתי להיות עורכת דין, אבל אז גיליתי את הבלשנות.
    Pa’am khalamti lihiyot ‘orekhet din, aval az giliti et ha-balshanut.
    “I once dreamt of being a lawyer, but then I discovered linguistics.”

5. בעבר
Be’avar
“In the past” / “… used to”

  • קראתי המון ספרים בעבר, אבל עכשיו כבר אין לי זמן.
    Karati hamon sefarim be’avar, aval ‘akhshav kvar ein li zman.
    “I used to read a lot of books, but I don’t have the time anymore.”
  • היינו שם בעבר אבל אני לא זוכר מתי.
    Hayinu sham ba’avar aval ani lo zokheir matai.
    “We’ve been there in the past, but I don’t remember when.”

2. Making and Changing Plans

Man Looking at Schedule

Now that we’ve looked at the past a bit, let’s turn our attention to the future. Below, you’ll find some highly useful phrases for discussing plans, including changing them. Remember that Hebrew, unlike English, does not use tense to indicate intended or expected actions. For this reason, it’s important to pay attention to which phrases you can use to express future plans with different connotations and in different contexts. The following intermediate phrases in Hebrew should be a great place to start. 

6. בא לך ל…
Ba lekha/lakh/lakhem/lakhen l…
“Do you feel like…” / “Are you up for…”

  • בא לך לצאת למסעדה?
    Ba lekha latzet le-mis’adah?
    Do you feel like going out to a restaurant?”
  • בא לך לראות סרט אצלי בבית?
    Ba lakh lirot seret eitzli ba-bayit?
    Are you up for watching a movie at my house?”

7. אתה מצטרף/את מצטרפת אליי ל…?
Atah mitztareif/At mitztarefet elai l…?
“Will you join me for/at…?”

  • את מצטרפת אליי למסעדה איטלקית לארוחת ערב?
    At metztarefet elai le-mis’adah Italkit le-arukhat ‘erev?
    Will you join me at an Italian restaurant for dinner?”
  • אתה מצטרף אליי להרצאה על הגשמה עצמית?
    Atah mitztareif elai lehartza’ah ‘al hagshamah ‘atzmit?
    Will you join me for a lecture on self-realization?”

8. … אתה יכול/את יכולה לבוא…?
Atah yakhol/at yekholah lavo…?
“Can … come (along)?”

  • את יכולה לבוא איתי למרכז העיר?
    At yekholah lavo iti le-merkaz ha’ir?
    Can you come downtown with me?”
  • אתה יכול לבוא לקפה עכשיו?
    Atah yakhol lavo la-kafeh ‘akhshav?
    Can you come to the café now?”

9. האם נוכל לדחות…?
Ha’im nukhal lidkhot…?
“Can we postpone…?

  • האם נוכל לדחות את הפגישה לשבוע הבא?
    Ha’im nukhal lidkhot et ha-pgishah le-shavu’a haba?
    Can we postpone the meeting till next week?”

10. בוא/י נקבע ל…
Bo/Bo’i nikba’ le…
“Let’s schedule/set a time for…”

  • בואי נקבע ליום שלישי ב-16:00.
    Bo’i nikba’ le-Yom Shlishi be-’arba ba-tzohorayim.
    Let’s schedule for Wednesday at four p.m.”

3. Giving Reasons

Woman Making Questioning Gesture

Another useful category of phrases for intermediate Hebrew learners consists of those used for giving reasons. Once you’ve gotten comfortable explaining yourself in a more basic way, you’ll want to be able to give people your reason(s) for doing or saying something—especially with such inquisitive conversation mates as Israelis! You can expect us to ask “why” about pretty much everything, in fact! Here are some of the top phrases you can use to explain your reasons or reasoning.

11. …בגלל ש…
…biglal she…
“…because…”

  • פניתי אליך בגלל שאת נראית לי סימפטית וקשובה.
    Paniti elaiyikh biglal she-at nir’et li simpatit ve-kashuvah.
    “I came to you because you seem agreeable and attentive.”
  • הגענו באיחור בגלל שהנהג הלך לאיבוד ולא רצה לבקש הכוונה.
    Higa’nu be-ikhur biglal she-ha-nahag halakh le-ibud ve-lo ratzah levakesh hakhvanah.
    “We arrived late because the driver got lost and didn’t want to ask for directions.”

12. התכוונתי…
Hitkavanti…
“I meant/intended to…”

  • התכוונתי להגיע לתערוכה אבל האוטו שלי התקלקל.
    Hitkavanti lehagi’a la-ta’arukhah aval ha-oto sheli hitkalkeil.
    I meant to go to the exhibition, but my car broke down.”

13. חשבתי ש…
Khashavti she…
“I thought that…”

  • חשבתי שתהיה עייף אז קניתי לך קפה בדרך.
    Khashavti she-tihiyeh ‘ayef az kaniti lekha kafeh ba-derekh.
    I thought that you would be tired, so I bought you a coffee on the way.”

14. אתה חייב/את חייבת להבין ש…
Atah khayav/At khayevet lehavin she…
“You must understand that…”

  • את חייבת להבין שניסיתי להתקשר, אבל הקו היה כל הזמן תפוס.
    At khayevet lehavin she-nisiti lehitkasher, aval ha-kav hayah kol ha-zman tafus.
    You must understand that I tried calling, but the line was constantly busy.”
  • אני מבין שאתה כועס אבל אתה חייב להבין שזה לא היה בכוונה.
    Ani mevin she-atah co’es, aval atah khayav lehavin she-zeh lo hayah be-khavanah.
    “I understand that you’re upset, but you must understand that it was unintentional.”

15. לא סתם…
Lo stam…
“… for nothing” / “It’s no coincidence that…”

  • לא סתם קוראים לו דוקטור. הוא יודע על מה הוא מדבר.
    Lo stam kor’im lo doktor. Hu yode’a ‘al mah hu medaber.
    “They don’t call him ‘doctor’ for nothing. He knows what he’s talking about.”

4. Making Recommendations and Complaints

Man Talking to Waiter at Restaurant

Another key category of intermediate Hebrew phrases consists of those related to making recommendations or complaints. There is no end to the situations in Israeli life where you’ll find yourself wishing to complain. And it goes without saying that part of the Israeli way is offering advice—including recommendations—whether invited to do so or not!

16. ניסית פעם…?
Nisita’/nisit pa’am…?
“Have you ever tried…?”

  • ניסית פעם אוכל קוריאני? זה טעים ממש!
    Nisita pa’am okhel Kore’ani? Ze ta’im mamash!
    Have you ever tried Korean food? It’s really tasty!”

17. אני מציע/ה…
Ani metzi’a/metzi’ah…
“I recommend/suggest…”

  • בהתחשב במזג האוויר, אני מציעה שנשאר בבית ונבשל משהו.
    Behitkhasheiv be-mezeg ha-avir, ani metzi’ah she-nisha’er ba-bayit ve-nevashel mashehu.
    “In light of the weather, I suggest that we stay at home and cook something.”

18. כדאי לך לנסות…
Kedai lekha/lakh lenasot…
“You ought to try…”

  • אם את אוהבת אתגרים, כדאי לך לנסות טיפוס הרים.
    Im at ohevet etgarim, kedai lakh lenasot tipus harim.
    “If you like challenges, you ought to try mountain climbing.”

19.לצערי / צר לי לומר ש…
Le’tsa’ari…. / tsar li lomar she-…
“I’m sorry to say that…” / “Unfortunately…”

  • לצערי הטיול שלנו לא היה מי יודע מה.
    Le’tsa’ari ha-tiyul shelanu lo hayah mi yodei’a mah.
    I’m sorry to say that our trip wasn’t that great.”
  • צר לי לומר שאתה לא הטיפוס שלי.
    Tzar li lomar she-atah lo ha-tipus sheli.
    Unfortunately, you’re not my type.”

20. אני לא ממליץ/ממליצה על …
Ani lo mamlitz/mamlitzah ‘al…
“I don’t recommend…”

  • אני לא ממליץ על כביש החוף. הוא תמיד עמוס בשעות האלה.
    Ani lo mamlitz ‘al kvish ha-khof. Hu tamid ‘amus ba-sha’ot ha-eleh.
    I don’t recommend the coastal road. It’s always backed up at this hour.”

5. Everyday Reactions

Dancer in Bewildering Pose

This category differs somewhat to the previous ones in that it’s a grab bag of reactions that you could use in everyday conversations. They are quite versatile and can take on different connotations depending on how and when you use them. But that’s all the more reason to experiment with them and see how your conversation partners respond.

21. נהדר
Nehedar
“Great”

  • -קיבלתי 10 במבחן הסופי!
    נהדר! כל הכבוד!
    Kibalti ‘eser ba-mivkhan ha-sofi!
    Nehedar! Kol ha-kavod!
    -“I got an A on the final exam.”
    -“Great! Way to go!”

22. מעולה
Me’uleh
“Wonderful”

  • -איך תה הצמחים שלך?
    -מעולה! טעים מאוד.
    -“How’s your herbal tea?”
    -“Wonderful! Really tasty.”

23. חבל
Khaval
“What a shame”

  • -יובל אמר שבסוף הוא לא בא לאסוף אותנו.
    חבל. אז נצטרך להזמין מונית.
    -Yuval amar she-ba’sof hu lo ba le’esof otanu.
    Khaval! Az nitztareikh lehazmin monit.
    -“Yuval said that in the end, he isn’t coming to pick us up.”
    -“What a shame. Now we’ll need to order a taxi.”

24. איזה כיף
Eizeh kef
“Cool” / “What fun”

  • -אתה מוזמן לבלות את הסופ”ש אצלנו בקיבוץ.
    איזה כיף. להביא בגדי ים?
    -Atah muzman levalot et ha-sofash etzleinu ba-kibbutz.
    Eizeih kef. Lehavi beged yam?
    -“You’re invited to spend the weekend with us on the kibbutz.”
    -“What fun. Should I bring a bathing suit?”

25. איזה באסה
Eizeh ba’asah
“What a bummer”

  • -שמעת שביטלו את ההופעה בגלל המגיפה?
    -כן, איזה באסה. דווקא רציתי ללכת.
    -Shama’t she-bitlu et ha-hofa’ah biglal ha-magefah?
    -Kein, eizeh ba’asah. Davkah ratziti lalekhet.
    -“Did you hear that they canceled the show due to the pandemic?”
    -“Yes, what a bummer. I really wanted to go.”

26. מה אתה אומר/את אומרת?
Mah atah omer/at omeret?
“You don’t say.”

  • -ידעת שיש לי אח תאום?
    מה אתה אומר? אתם זהים?
    -Yada’t she-yesh li akh te’om?
    Mah atah omer? Atem zehim?
    -“Did you know that I have a twin brother?”
    -“You don’t say. Are you identical?”

27. וואלה?
Wallah?
“Really?” / “Is that so?”

  • -השבוע קיבלתי הצעת עבודה מחברה בלונדון.
    וואלה? מגניב.
    -Hashavu’a kibalti hatza’at ‘avodah mi-khevrah be-London.
    Wallah? Magniv.
    -“This week, I got a job offer from a company in London.”
    -“Is that so? That’s great.”

28. נו?
Nu?
“So?” / “What of it?”

  • -שמעת את החדשות הבוקר?
    -כן, נו?
    -שוב הולכים לבחירות!
    -Shama’ta et ha-khadashot ha-boker?
    -Ken, nu?
    -Shuv holkhim le-b’khirot!
    -“Did you hear the news this morning?”
    -“Yeah, so?
    -“We’re having yet another round of elections.”

29. מה זה קשור?
Mah zeh kashur?
“What has that got to do with it/anything?”

  • -אתה צמחוני, נכון? אז הבאתי לך ספר על צמחים.
    מה זה קשור? אני צמחוני, לא גנן.
    -Atah tzimkhoni, nakhon? Az heveiti lekha sefer ‘al tzmakhim.
    Mah zeh kashur. Ani tzimkhoni, lo ganan.
    -“You’re a vegetarian, right? So I brought you a book on plants.”
    -“What has that got to do with anything? I’m a vegetarian, not a gardener.”

30. ומה אתה רוצה/את שאני אעשה?
Ve-mah atah rotzeh/at rotzah she-ani e’eseh?
“What do you want me to do?”

  • -שוטר, הבחור שם מפצח גרעינים ברחוב.
    -נו? מה את רוצה שאני אעשה?
    -Shoter, ha-bakhur sham mefatze’akh gar’inim ba-rekhov.
    -Nu? Mah at rotzah she-ani e’eseh?
    -“Officer, that guy there is spitting seeds onto the street.”
    -“So? What do you want me to do?

6. General Etiquette

Last but not least, let’s look at some intermediate Hebrew phrases that can help you with your etiquette. Granted, as anyone who knows anything about Israel is sure to be aware of, Israelis are not world-famous for being polite. But that doesn’t mean you can’t earn some brownie (or halva) points for displaying a basic degree of etiquette and manners. In fact, maybe you’ll get lucky and rub it off on some Sabras! Here are some phrases you can use to add a bit of politeness to any conversation.

35. בתיאבון!
Be-te’avon!
“Bon appetit!”

36. ברוך הבא/ברוכה הבאה/ברוכים הבאים!
Barukh ha-ba/Brukhah ha-ba’ah/Brukhim ha-ba’im!
“Welcome!”

37. הרגש/י בבית.
Targish/Targishi ba-bayit.
“Make yourself at home.”

38. בשמחה.
Be-simkhah.
“Gladly.”

39. נהיה בקשר.
Nihiyeh be-kesher.
“We’ll be in touch.”

40. נסיעה טובה.
Nesi’ah tova.
“Have a good trip.”

7. Up Your Game with HebrewPod101

We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s lesson on intermediate Hebrew phrases. Remember to practice and review them to ensure they “stick.” By the same token, don’t overwhelm yourself. Just focus on a few phrases at a time, and soon enough, you’ll have them all under your belt.

Are you finding yourself perplexed over one of the phrases or examples we’ve provided? Are there any phrases you know that aren’t here but which you think should be? We love to hear from our learners, so please don’t hesitate to contact us; someone on our team of Hebrew pros will do his or her best to help address your concern.

Until next time, shalom!

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The Top 10 Hebrew Podcasts to Improve Your Language Skills

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Most people know that the best recipe for mastering a foreign language is immersion. This means exposing yourself to the language as much as possible, and it’s typically associated with living in a country where that language is spoken so you can really live it: listening to it on the radio, reading it in the news, speaking and hearing it in cafés, etc.

But even if you don’t have the resources to move abroad, Hebrew podcasts can be particularly helpful for you. Israel is the only country where Hebrew is an official language, even though you can find Hebrew-speaking Israelis all over the world. The reality is that it’s not always feasible for Hebrew learners to travel to Israel due to its geographic distance and/or travel costs. But don’t worry! Listening to a Hebrew podcast or two can simulate language immersion by enveloping you in the Hebrew language—without you ever needing to leave home.

In Hebrew, a podcast is sometimes just called a פודקאסט (podcast), but the proper Hebrew word for it is הסכת (hesket). Not only are podcasts real, live examples of Hebrew being used in its natural habitat, but they can also be a refreshing change of pace from grammar lessons and vocabulary lists. Indeed, listening to podcasts can be a surprisingly effective method for improving your Hebrew—not in spite of their low-pressure, non-academic nature but rather because of it. As you lend your ear to the grammar, vocabulary, and speech patterns of native Hebrew speakers, you’ll find that elements of language usage just seem to seep in.

Woman with Headphones On

All that being said, there are some important considerations to bear in mind when approaching Hebrew podcasts as learning aids. Let’s have a look at some general information on how podcasts can help language learners and some tips on how best to use them to your advantage. Then, we’ll check out the top 10 Hebrew podcasts, complete with an overview of the level and focus of each one.

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  1. How can podcasts help you learn Hebrew?
  2. What can you do to get the most out of podcasts?
  3. The Top 10 Hebrew Podcasts for Language Learners
  4. It’s called HebrewPod101 for a reason!

1. How can podcasts help you learn Hebrew?

Audio Waves

As mentioned, the most effective way to acquire a foreign language is through immersion. We can define immersion in both a positive sense and a negative sense: positive in terms of exposing yourself to as much Hebrew as possible, and negative in terms of limiting how much you use your native language or any other language but Hebrew.

The best way to achieve this is simply by spending time in Israel, where Hebrew is the language of everyday life. In fact, other than particular expat enclaves, Arab neighborhoods, and other specific contexts, you would be hard-pressed not to get a vast amount of exposure to Hebrew by just placing yourself within the borders of Israel.

There’s no arguing that this is the most effective and authentic way to study Hebrew in earnest, but for many, it is simply not a possibility. Whether you cannot afford to travel or to take time off, or you simply wish to work on your Hebrew before taking a trip to Israel, you’re lucky to live in an age where, thanks to the proliferation of Hebrew media, Israel can come to you.

Elsewhere on HebrewPod101.com, we’ve talked about using music, movies, and TV shows to garner more exposure to genuine Hebrew. But now, let’s see how podcasts specifically can contribute to achieving your language learning goals.

Woman in radio studio with microphone
  1. Tuning in to Hebrew podcasts is a great way to passively boost your listening skills. While it may not feel like you’re really learning in the traditional sense, as you will not be given homework or exams, trust us when we say that just listening to authentic Hebrew will go a long way toward honing your listening comprehension. And the more you listen, the more you’ll learn—much of the time without even noticing that any learning is going on! You’ll just suddenly realize that you comprehend that much more of what a speaker is saying, or that you can understand a word you thought you’d never seen before.
  1. Your vocabulary will grow by leaps and bounds. Because you’ll be listening to native speakers in a more natural context (rather than teachers in a classroom), you’ll benefit from exposure to the full range of vocabulary a native Israeli would use to express themself: slang, jargon, and other linguistic elements that you may not find in academic resources for language learners.
  1. You will get contextualized grammar to model real-life usage. While textbooks typically have examples to model the grammar points being taught, listening to podcasts means you’ll hear how Hebrew grammar works as a matter of course, but without being bashed over the head with grammar rules and repetitive drills. In other words, you’ll naturally reinforce grammar points you’ve already learned and may very well extrapolate new grammar features just by hearing them used multiple times.
  1. Your pronunciation will flourish. This one is a bit more personal, as some people struggle more than others in this regard. Depending on your native language and your own ability to mimic foreign phoneme production, you may find it more or less difficult to produce the proper pronunciation of Hebrew words. Even if you don’t consider yourself particularly strong in terms of reproducing natural-sounding pronunciation, you’ll at the very least come to comprehend it far better simply by exposing yourself to natural Hebrew speech.

2. What can you do to get the most out of podcasts?

Woman Playing Record in Studio

Now that we’ve seen how Hebrew podcasts can aid you in your language learning endeavors, let’s see some of the ways you can ensure you reap all the benefits they have to offer. Obviously, any Hebrew exposure is better than none. But there are certainly some tips that can help you pick the right podcasts for you, as well as some guidelines on how to use them effectively in the context of studying Hebrew as a foreign language.

  1. Pick the right level. This is, admittedly, somewhat trickier than choosing a study course or textbook, as most podcasts tend not to be graded by level. That said, simple common sense is your friend. For example, a podcast on general-knowledge topics or on subject matter you’re already familiar with will be easier to follow than podcasts on highly specialized topics full of jargon and esoteric information.

    Additionally, the host can have a huge impact on how easy or difficult the podcast is to follow. How fast do they speak? How clearly do they enunciate? What register are they using (e.g., formal vs. informal, academic vs. street talk, etc.)? The same is true for podcasts with guests. While multiple guests will mean more exposure to more speakers, it’s also likely to represent an additional challenge.

    You want to pick a level that feels challenging, but not overly so. Even if you can only get the gist of what’s being talked about, you’re doing fine as long as you feel you’re more or less keeping up. Don’t listen to anything that’s too easy, but also steer away from podcasts that leave you dumbfounded.

  1. Choose podcasts on topics that interest you. Podcasts should be an enjoyable learning aid rather than a frustrating one. For that reason, it’s best to seek out podcasts on themes you enjoy and maybe even know a bit about. This will help connect to top-down knowledge you already have, empowering you to focus chiefly on language acquisition without having to scratch your head over the subject matter itself. Whatever you do, don’t listen to anything that bores you!

  1. Mix it up. Whether you listen to a mix of podcasts or simply find one that’s a variety show, the important thing is to ensure you’re getting varied exposure. The reasons are obvious. The more you listen to Hebrew speakers talking about a range of topics, the more your vocabulary specifically and language knowledge in general will grow.

    Radio Tower
    1. Have a notepad handy. Just because you’re not in a classroom where you’ll be getting a grade doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the most of every chance to learn. Jotting down a few new words from each podcast to review and quiz yourself on later is a great way to ensure you’ll ultimately retain them. If you’re unsure of a word’s spelling, don’t fret. Just write it down the way you think it sounds, and ask a teacher or an Israeli friend for help later.

    1. Set a schedule, more or less. While it isn’t essential to tune in to every episode of a podcast, it’s a good idea to have some sort of regimen to go with your Hebrew podcast listening. If you can fit in a daily podcast during your commute or over breakfast, that’s great. But even three or four times a week can go a long way toward boosting your language abilities.

    3. The Top 10 Hebrew Podcasts for Language Learners

    Boy with Headphones and Radio

    Now that we’ve seen how podcasts can help you learn Hebrew and discussed some of the best ways to use them, let’s check out this carefully curated list of the top 10 Hebrew podcasts for learners. Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive; quite the contrary. There is a wealth of podcasts in the Hebrew language on just about every topic under the sun, so consider this a springboard to discovery.

    1. HebrewPod101
      HebrewPod101 Logo with Woman Wearing Headphones

      While we don’t mean to toot our own horn, we at HebrewPod101 diligently work to produce a broad range of podcasts on many different topics. And in our case specifically, we record every podcast episode with Hebrew learners in mind! For this reason, HebrewPod101 can be a great place to start. Our podcasts cover all levels, and they touch on everything from grammar points and vocabulary to general tips for effective learning, Israeli and Jewish culture, and much more.

    1. KAN Hesketim
    Stack of Textbooks

    This is actually not one podcast but a whole range of podcasts put out by KAN, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation. Topics span the gamut from popular culture and current events to the Bible and Jewish history, while individual episodes can be as short as 10 minutes and as long as an hour and a half. This is a great plus, as you can choose a podcast to fit whatever time you have available.

    KAN Hesketim podcasts tend to be somewhat “newsy”: hosts speak in the flowery, clearly enunciated, and rather old-fashioned style typical of mainstream Israeli newscasters. This can be helpful in terms of your comprehension, but, on the other hand, it’s not always representative of how most Israelis actually speak. For this reason, it’s hard to recommend it for a specific level. Rather, try listening to a bunch of different podcasts until you find one that feels comfortable for you.

  1. Mayeshbeze

    Mayeshbeze, or ?מה יש בזה (Mah yesh be-zeh?) in Hebrew, literally means “What’s in it?” but is something more akin to, “What’s this all about?” Described as an “historic-comic podcast series,” it’s hosted by Kobi Melamed and Elad Itzhakian. Each week, they discuss a random true event from history that is in some way comical, strange, and/or hard to believe. For example, one episode deals with the infamous case of Liebeck vs. McDonald’s Restaurants, in which Stella Liebeck sued McDonald’s after burning her pelvic region with a cup of its coffee.

    While they use the informal register, the hosts do tend to speak at a fast clip, so this can be challenging for beginner-level Hebrew learners. On the other hand, an extra plus to the podcast is that the hosts typically schmooze about random things for a few minutes before plunging into the historical case on tap for the day—something of a lightweight pregame before the show starts in earnest.

  1. Israel Story
    Israeli Flag

    Israel Story, or סיפור ישראלי (Sipur Yisra’eli) in Hebrew, has been self-described as an Israeli counterweight to This American Life. It focuses on “extraordinary tales about ordinary Israelis” while shying away from divisive issues like politics, making this podcast all about the human angle. Indeed, it strives to portray Israeli life and Israelis with all of the diversity and color that goes with them.

    Stories are told in a fairly casual manner, so as long as you’re comfortable with the host, you don’t have to worry about sesquipedalians or arcana. Just like This American Life, the episodes in this podcast comprise multiple stories linked by a common theme. While the podcast has also been available in English since 2014, in collaboration with Tablet magazine, we recommend you challenge yourself to try it out in Hebrew before you check it out in English!

  1. Reshet Osim Historia
    Open Book

    Reshet Osim Historia, or רשת עושים היסטוריה in Hebrew, means “Making History Network” but it comprises much more than just historically minded podcasts. Like KAN Hesketim, Reshet Osim Historia is a large—according to its own website, the largest—podcast network. You can find an immense range of podcasts in Hebrew on various topics, at different difficulty levels, and of varying durations.

    The offerings are so broad that the website even includes a מדריך הפודקאסטים (Madrikh ha-Podkastim) or “Podcast Guide.” This can help you find just the right podcast for you by providing the name, link, RSS, and category for each podcast it hosts, as well as a brief description. With such a wide selection, you’re sure to find a podcast (or five) that suits you.

  1. Hebrew Podcasts

    This is one of the few Hebrew podcast websites directly aimed at language learners. As such, it offers themed lessons based on things like vocabulary categories or specific grammar points. The site labels each podcast by level, and each podcast comes with additional resources such as flashcards and quizzes. However, unlike the other sites we’ve listed so far, this one is not free but subscription-based.

  1. Hebrew Survival Phrases

    Just as its name suggests, this one is similar to those thin-spined phrasebooks printed for travelers. It offers podcast-style lessons that cover essential words and phrases for use in specific situations and contexts, such as greeting strangers or ordering at a restaurant. Though the Hebrew Survival Phrases podcast does not rank its content by level, the episodes are ordered, meaning you’ll probably get the most out of them if you follow them sequentially. You can either listen to the podcasts right on the website or download them for later.

  1. LearnHebrewPod

    Another educational site, LearnHebrewPod focuses on helping Hebrew language learners with their listening and speaking skills. All the lessons are in podcast format and cover everyday topics like family, travel, hobbies, food, and more. There’s also a separate section focused on teaching Jewish prayers, as well as guides on the Hebrew alphabet.

    The main part of the website centers on podcast episodes that follow an Israeli, Jonathan, around in his daily life, which it uses as an entrée to various learning opportunities in real-life contexts. Note that this is another subscription-based option.

  1. Streetwise Hebrew
    Israeli Shekel

    This Hebrew learning podcast, hosted by Guy Sharett, is a great option if you’re pressed for time and just want to squeeze in a quick Hebrew fix. Episodes are about five to 15 minutes long and focus on one topic, such as a specific word or expression. The podcast centers on idiomatic Hebrew, often illustrated via an interesting or funny anecdote.

  1. Criminal Record Podcast
    Man in Handcuffs

    Last but not least, let’s face it: We all love crime stories. The Criminal Record Podcast, or עבר פלילי (‘Avar Plili) “Criminal Record” in Hebrew, is a series of episodes presented by Israeli criminologist Dana Hilman. Lasting half an hour to an hour, each episode delves into the lurid details of some dark crime past or present, some in Israel and others elsewhere in the world.

    A nice advantage is that the speech used tends to be slow and clearly enunciated for dramatic effect, making it easier to follow along. An additional bonus is that episodes include interviews with people involved in investigating the crimes under discussion.


4. It’s called HebrewPod101 for a reason!

As you can see, podcasts are a fantastic learning aid that can simulate immersion from anywhere. Podcasts cover diverse topics, offer access to real native speakers, and span a broad array of difficulty levels, lengths, and registers. But what all podcasts have in common is that they are on-demand, meaning you can use them whenever and as often as you wish, at your own pace.

HebrewPod101 is called that precisely because we aim to maintain a similar attitude with the materials we offer our learners, most of which are audio-based. We know that learning a language can be a challenge, but that doesn’t mean it has to be stressful. Because we offer a range of materials on demand, you can study at your leisure and in the order you see fit. Additionally, you can take the reins as you progress with your own Hebrew learning trajectory, focusing on what you want and skipping whatever is irrelevant or not of interest to you.

And even as you study independently, know that our team of experts is always happy to field your questions and hear your comments. If you have any questions about podcasts or any other aspect of Hebrew learning, please reach out to us. We would love to hear from you.

Until next time, shalom!

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The Top 40 Simple Hebrew Phrases for Beginners

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Learning a new language is no small task. Between grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and even different social norms and body language, it’s easy to feel at a loss as to where to start. Today, we’ll arm you with the top 40 Hebrew phrases for beginners—simple but highly practical expressions and structures for a variety of situations.

We’ll be covering: 

  • Basic greetings and salutations
  • Courtesy phrases for making polite conversation
  • Language to use when shopping or dining out
  • Some phrases you can use to ask for help when you really need it
Woman Ordering in Shop

If you’re entirely new to Hebrew, it’s worth noting a few key features of the language that will help you along as you study the phrases below. First off, Hebrew is an abjad, meaning that, like Arabic and Farsi, vowels are not actual letters but rather diacritics; think of them as dots and dashes that adorn a consonant and tell you which vowel sound goes with it.

To make matters more complicated, these diacritics are typically omitted from written and printed Hebrew, meaning you’re often looking at only consonants. This may sound daunting, but you’ll get used to it! Plus, we’ve added a pronunciation guide for each phrase and example sentence to ease things a bit.

Another key fact you should know about Hebrew is that it’s big on gender. Not only does Hebrew apply gender to living creatures based on biological gender, but all nouns and pronouns are gendered as either male or female (often without any apparent logic). In addition, all adjectives and verbs have to take into account the gender and number of the nouns they modify. Again, don’t sweat it for now! Just be aware of this as you study these Hebrew beginner phrases and their example sentences.

Last but not least, if you speak English or another European language, it’s more than likely that some of Hebrew’s sounds will be hard for you to pronounce. Don’t stress over this! It gets easier over time, especially if you practice on a regular basis. We recommend using the many resources HebrewPod101 offers, such as video lessons with pronunciation modeling from native speakers.

With all that in mind, let’s have a look at the top 40 basic Hebrew phrases for beginners!

Woman Reading Book

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Greetings & Self-introductions
  2. Courtesy Phrases & Social Expressions
  3. Dining & Shopping Phrases
  4. Asking for Help
  5. Let HebrewPod101 get you set with all the basics.

1. Greetings & Self-introductions

Woman Waving

Obviously, it always makes sense to start at the beginning. While some Israelis can be somewhat abrupt at times, skipping the niceties of introductions and cutting right to the chase, you’ll still want to mind your manners, right? The following phrases should give you a solid place to start as you work on meeting and greeting native Hebrew speakers.

1. מה שלומך?
Mah shlomkha/shlomekh?
“How are you?”

  • מה שלומך, דן?
    Mah shlomkha, Dan?
    How are you, Dan?”
  • מה שלומך, דנה?
    Mah shlomekh, Danah?
    How are you, Dana?”

2. איך הולך?
Eikh holekh?
“How’s it going?”

  • איך הולך? מה שלום המשפחה?
    Eikh holekh? Mah shlom ha-mishpakhah?
    How’s it going? How’s the family?”

3. מה חדש?
Mah khadash?
“What’s new?”

  • מה חדש, אחי? מזמן לא דיברנו.
    Mah khadash, akhi? Mi-zman lo dibarnu.
    What’s new, brother? We haven’t spoken for a long time.”

4. בוקר טוב.
Boker tov.
“Good morning.”

  • בוקר טוב. כבר אכלתם ארוחת בוקר?
    Boker tov. Kvar akhaltem arukhat boker?
    Good morning. Have you already had breakfast?”

5. צהריים טובים.
Tzohorayim tovim.
“Good afternoon.”

  • צהריים טובים. בא לך ללכת לים?
    Tzohorayim tovim. Ba lakh lalekhet la-yam?
    Good afternoon. Do you want to go to the beach?”
Cartoon of Man with Sun

6. ערב טוב.
‘Erev tov.
“Good evening.”

  • ערב טוב. כרטיס אחד, בבקשה.
    ‘Erev tov. Kartis ekhad bevakashah.
    Good evening. One ticket, please.”

7. לילה טוב.
Laylah tov.
“Goodnight.”

  • לילה טוב. חלומות פז!
    Laylah tov. Khalomot paz!
    Goodnight. Sweet dreams!”

8. נעים להכיר.
Na’im lehakir.
“Nice to meet you.”

  • היי, טל. אני רוברט. נעים להכיר.
    Hai, Tal. Ani Robert. Na’im lehakir.
    “Hi, Tal. I’m Robert. Nice to meet you.”

9. שמי…
Shmi…
“My name is…” / “I’m…”

  • שמי רונן. איך קוראים לך?
    Shmi Ronen. Eikh korim lekha?
    I’m Ronen. What’s your name?”

10. אני מ…
Ani mi/mei…
“I’m from..”

  • שלום. שמי רונדה. אני משיקגו.
    Shalom. Shmi Rondah. Ani mi-Shikago.
    “Hi. My name is Ronda. I’m from Chicago.”

2. Courtesy Phrases & Social Expressions

Handshake

Now let’s take a look at some useful Hebrew phrases for courteous and polite conversation. Think of this as an emergency kit for most social interactions you’ll have in Israel. It is worth noting that Israelis are typically rather informal compared to people of some other cultures, but don’t mistake that for lack of courtesy—we just show it in our own special way, of course!

To make things easier, we’ve chosen only phrases that do not require any modification based on the gender of the speaker or the addressee. Basically, these are stock phrases, so feel free to use them liberally, wherever appropriate.

11. תודה.
Todah.
“Thank you.” / “Thanks.”

  • תודה על הפרחים!
    Todah ‘al ha-prakhim.
    Thank you for the flowers.”

12. בבקשה.
Bevakashah.
“You’re welcome.” / “Please.”
*Note that this one can mean either “you’re welcome” or “please,” depending on the context, as illustrated by the example below.

  • אפשר כוס תה בבקשה?
    -Efshar kos teh bevakashah?
    -“Could I have a cup of tea, please?”
  • -בטח. הנה, קחי.
    -Betakh. Hineh, k’khi.
    -“Of course. Here you go.”
  • -תודה.
    -Todah.
    -“Thank you.”
  • בבקשה.
    Bevakashah.
    -“You’re welcome.”

13. סליחה.
Slikhah.
“Sorry.” / “Pardon.”

  • סליחה, איפה השירותים?
    Slikhah, eifoh ha-sherutim?
    “Pardon, where is the bathroom?”

14. אין בעיה.
Ein ba’ayah.
“No problem.”

  • -תודה שאספת אותי מהתחנה המרכזית.
    -Todah she-asafta oti me-ha-takhanah ha-merkazit.
    -“Thanks for picking me up from the bus station.”
  • אין בעיה.
    Ein be’ayah.
    -“No problem.”

15. ברשותך
Bi-rshutkha / Bi-rshuteikh
“If you wouldn’t mind”

  • ברשותך, הייתי רוצה לחנות כאן.
    Bi-rshutkha, hayiti rotzeh lakhanot kan.
    If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to park here.”

Silhouette of People Waving

16. להתראות.
Lehitra’ot.
“Goodbye.” / “See you later.”

  • תודה שבאתם. להתראות!
    Todah she-batem. Lehitra’ot!
    “Thanks for coming. Goodbye!”

17. עד מחר.
‘Ad makhar.
“See you tomorrow.”

  • עד מחר. שיהיה לך ערב נעים.
    ‘Ad makhar. She-yehiyeh lakh ‘erev na’im.
    “See you tomorrow. Have a pleasant evening.”

18. עד הפעם הבאה
‘Ad ha-pa’am ha-ba’ah
“Till next time”

  • היה אחלה אימון! עד הפעם הבאה, גבר.
    Hayah akhlah imun! ‘Ad ha-pa’am ha-ba’ah, gever.
    “That was a great training session. Till next time, buddy.”

19. כל טוב.
Kol tuv.
“Be well.”

  • נסיעה טובה! כל טוב.
    Nesi’ah tovah! Kol tuv.
    “Have a good trip! Be well.”

20. ד”ש ל…
Dash le…
“Regards to…”
*ד”ש is an acronym for דרישת שלום (drishat shalom), literally “demanding/seeking peace.” It is equivalent to “regards” in English.

  • ד”ש לכל המשפחה.
    Dash le-khol ha-mishpakhah.
    Regards to the whole family.”

3. Dining & Shopping Phrases

Chef Seasoning Dish

Our next set of beginner phrases in Hebrew consists of expressions and sentence patterns you’ll need when you’re at the store, the market, or a restaurant. Obviously, this is just a crash course in shopping and dining out in Israel. After all, the art of negotiation is so powerful and omnipresent in Israeli culture that many restaurants don’t even display prices for the dishes on the menu. This leaves room for them to work you up on the price, or—if you know how—for you to work them down.

21. אדוני? / גברתי?
Adoni? / Gvirti?
“Sir?” / “Miss?”

  • אדוני, אני רוצה להזמין שולחן לשלוש.
    Adoni, ani rotzah lehazmin shulkhan le-shalosh.
    Sir, I’d like to reserve a table for three.”

22. האם אפשר…?
Ha’im efshar…?
“Could I have…?”

  • גברתי, האם אפשר לקבל תפריט באנגלית?
    Gvirti, ha’im efshar lekabel tafrit be-Anglit?
    “Miss, could I have an English menu?”

23. יש לכם…?
Yeish lakhem…?
“Do you have…?”

  • יש לכם תפריט יינות?
    Yesh lakhem tafrit yeinot?
    Do you have a wine list?”

24. אשמח…
Esmakh…
“I’d love…”

  • אשמח לקבל אספרסו כפול.
    Esmakh lekabel espreso kaful.
    I’d love a double espresso.”

25. כמה זה עולה?
Kamah zeh oleh?
“How much is it?”

  • הכובע הזה ממש יפה. כמה זה עולה?
    Ha-kova’ ha-zeh mamash yafeh. Kamah zeh oleh?
    “This hat is really nice. How much is it?”

Woman Checking Out at Bookstore

26. אפשר עודף, בבקשה?
Efshar ‘odef, bevakashah?
“Could I get some change, please?”

יש לי רק שטר של מאה. אפשר עודף, בבקשה?
Yesh li rak shtar shel me’ah. Efshar ‘odef, bevakashah?“I only have a one-hundred shekel bill. Could I get some change, please?”

27. אתם מקבלים כרטיסי אשראי?
Atem mekablim kartisei ashrai?
“Do you accept credit cards?”

אין עליי מזומן. אתם מקבלים כרטיסי אשראי?
Ein alai mezuman. Atem mekablim kartisei ashrai?
“I don’t have any cash on me. Do you accept credit cards?”

28. אפשר למדוד?
Efshar limdod?
“Can I try this/it on?”

אהבתי את השמלה הזאת. אפשר למדוד?
Ahavti et ha-simlah ha-zot. Efshar limdod?
“I like this dress. Can I try it on?”

29. יש לכם את זה בצבע אחר?
Yeish lakhem et zeh be-tzeva’ akher?
“Do you have this/it in another color?”

הארנק הזה הוא בדיוק מה שחיפשתי אבל יש לכם את זה בצבע אחר?
Ha-arnak ha-zeh hu bidiyuk mah she-khipasti aval yesh lakhem et zeh be-tzeva’ akher?
“This wallet is just what I was looking for, but do you have it in another color?”

30. אני אקח את זה.
Ani ekhakh et zeh.
“I’ll take it.”

אני אקח את זה. כמה זה ביחד?
Ani ekhakh et zeh. Kamah zeh be-yakhad?
I’ll take it. How much is that altogether?”

4. Asking for Help

People Holding Out Puzzle Pieces

Finally, here are some absolutely essential basic Hebrew phrases for beginners, namely phrases you can use when you’re in need of assistance. While Israelis can sometimes come across as a bit hard-edged, most of us are quite happy to help someone in need. Especially if you make the effort to learn how to ask for help in Hebrew, you should expect someone to come to your aid.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask police officers, border patrol, soldiers, and the like for help, especially if your situation is urgent. Just be sensitive to the reality of Israel, where real and present danger does often exist. Therefore, be sure not to exaggerate!

31. איפה…?
Eiyfoh…?
“Where is/are…?”

  • איפה תחנת הרכבת?
    Eifoh takhanat ha-rakevet?
    Where is the train station?”

32. איך מגיעים ל…?
Eiykh megi’im le/la…?
“How do I get to…?”

  • איך מגיעים לקניון?
    Eiykh megi’im la-kanyon?
    How do I get to the mall?”

33. אתה מדבר/את מדברת אנגלית?
Atah medabeir/At medaberet Anglit?
“Do you speak English?”

  • סליחה, את מדברת אנגלית?
    Slikhah, at medaberet Anglit?
    “Pardon, do you speak English?”

34. איך אומרים … בעברית?
Eiykh omrim … be-Ivrit?
“How do you say … in Hebrew?”

  • איך אומרים cell phone בעברית?
    Eiykh omrim cell phone be-Ivrit?
    How do you say cell phone in Hebrew?”

35. תוכל/תוכלי לחזור על זה?
Tukhal/Tukhli lakhazor ‘al zeh?
“Could you repeat that?”

  • איך? תוכל לחזור על זה?
    Eikh? Tukhal lakhazor ‘al zeh?
    “Come again. Could you repeat that?”

Man Helping Other Man Rock Climb

36. סליחה. שוב?
Slikhah. Shuv?
“Sorry. Once more?”

  • סליחה. פלאפון? שוב?
    Slikhah. Pelefon? Shuv?
    Sorry. Pelefon? Once more?”

37. לא הבנתי.
Lo hevanti.
“I don’t understand.”
*Literally: “I haven’t understood.”

  • ישר ישר ואז ימינה? לא הבנתי.
    Yashar yashar ve-az yeminah? Lo hevanti.
    “Just go straight and then left? I don’t understand.”

38. אני צריך/צריכה לראות רופא.
Ani tsarikh/tsrikha lir’ot rofeih.
“I need a doctor.”

  • אני צריכה לראות רופא. כואב לי הבטן ממש.
    Ani tsrikha lir’ot rofeh. Ko’evet li ha-beten mamash.
    I need a doctor. My stomach really hurts.”

39. האם תוכל/תוכלי לעזור לי?
Ha’im tukhal/tukhli la’azor li?
“Could you help me?”

  • האם תוכל לעזור לי? אני אבוד.
    Ha’im tukhal/tukhli la’azor li? Ani avud.
    Could you help me? I’m lost.”

40. הצילו!
Hatzilu!
“Help!”
*This one is pretty much a standalone expression. Don’t use it unless you really need it, as Israelis will come rushing to your aid. No crying wolf!

5. Let HebrewPod101 get you set with all the basics.

We hope you found today’s lesson useful. While these are the top 40 simple Hebrew phrases for beginners, there is much, much more to learn. And that’s exactly why we’re here! HebrewPod101 is proud to offer content covering a variety of topics and designed for every difficulty level. 

If you’ve been reading this lesson, chances are you’re at a beginner level. Be sure to check out all the beginner materials we offer, such as practice conversations, grammar and pronunciation guides, and plenty more words and phrases to bolster your beginner Hebrew vocabulary.

While taking on a new language is definitely a challenge, we believe that there is no reason to suffer while you do so. That’s why we strive for lessons that are not only useful and informative, but also fun. Is there any topic you’d like us to cover? Feel free to get in touch and let us know. We’re always happy to hear from you.

Until next time, shalom!

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Level Up with the Top 150 Advanced Hebrew Words

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American writer and lexicographer Wilfred Funk, of the publishing house Funk & Wagnalls, once said: “The more words you know, the more clearly and powerfully you will think…and the more ideas you will invite into your mind.” This is just as true when acquiring a second (or third or fourth) language as it is in your mother tongue.

As you progress in your language studies, learning more advanced Hebrew words is a logical—albeit unavoidable—next step. The more words you can acquire and use in Hebrew, the better you will be able to express yourself with precision and eloquence. A wider vocabulary will also allow you to understand written and spoken language with greater ease. 

Of course, advanced words are not the most monosyllabic in the dictionary. Rather, think of them as secondary and tertiary colors that expand your palette, allowing you greater expressivity and imagination. These can be literary or poetic words, idioms, colloquialisms, or specialized terminology.

In today’s lesson, we’ll look at the top 150 advanced Hebrew vocabulary words to help you expand your linguistic repertoire. We will draw from the academic and business worlds, the field of medicine, and legal language, concluding with some essential words to help you with academic and other formal writing.

Table of Contents
  1. מילים אקדמיות (Milim Akademiyot, “Academic Words”)
  2. מילים מעולם העסקים (Milim me-‘Olam ha-‘Asakim, “Business Words”)
  3. מילים מתחום הרפואה (Milim mi-Tekhum ha-Refu’ah, “Medical Words”)
  4. מילים מעולם המשפטים (Milim me-‘Olam ha-Mishpatim, “Legal Terminology”)
  5. מילים מתקדמות לכתיבה אקדמית (Milim Mitkadmot le-Ktivah Akadeimit, “Advanced Words for Academic Writing””)
  6. Level up with HebrewPod101!

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מילים אקדמיות (“Milim Akademiyot, “Academic Words)


Student in Library

Let’s begin our list of advanced Hebrew words with some academic vocabulary. These are words you’re likely to encounter and use in the context of academic studies or in written and spoken material from the world of research, philosophy, the arts, etc. This language can be particularly useful if you plan on studying at an Israeli academic institution or if you’re interested in reading the wealth of Hebrew-language research that exists in just about every field of study.

1.     אלטרנטיבה
alternativa
“alternative”

2.     הערכה
ha’arakhah
“estimate”

3.     תועלת
to’elet
“benefit”

4.     מורכב
murkav
“complex”

5.     קונספט
konsept
“concept”

6.     מסקנה
maskanah
“conclusion”

7.     התנהלות
hitnahalut
“conduct”

8.     עקבי
‘ikvi
“consistent”

9.     הקשר
heksher
“context”

10.  תיאום
te’um
“coordination”

11.  סביבה
svivah
“environment” / “surroundings”

12.  לשער
lesha’er
“to estimate”

13.  גורם
gorem
“factor”

14.  תפקוד
tifkud
“function”

15.  זיהוי
zihuy
“identification”

16.  רושם
roshem
“impression”

17.  להצביע
lehatzbi’a
“to indicate”

18.  השקעה
hashka’ah
“investment”

19.  חוג
khug
“academic department/major”

20.  שיטה
shitah
“method”

21.  להתרחש
lehitrakhesh
“to occur”

22.  פוטנציאל
potentzi’al
“potential”

23.  חיוני
khi’yuni
“essential”

24.  טווח
tvakh
“range”

25.  משמעותי
mashma’uti
“significant”

מילים מעולם העסקים (“Milim me-‘Olam ha-‘Asakim, “Business Words)

Coworkers Looking at Laptop

Now let’s have a look at some business vocabulary. These words can be very helpful if you have to deal with any finances in Hebrew. This includes things like banking, investments, and even the stock market. As an economic powerhouse, Israel is home to plenty of business dealings—especially startups—so these words will definitely be an essential part of your advanced Hebrew toolkit!

26.     לארגן
le’argen
“to organize”

27.     הנהגה
hanhagah
“administration”

28.     להרחיב
leharkhiv
“to expand”

29.     סעיף
sei’if
“clause”

30.     בטל ומבוטל
batel u-mevutal
“null and void”

31.     מתחרה
mitkhareh
“competitor”

32.     חשבונית
kheshbonit
“invoice”

33.     הצעת נגד
hatza’at neged
“counteroffer”

34.     סימן מסחרי
siman miskhari
“trademark”

35.  קונצנזוס
kontzenzus
“consensus”

36.  יחסי ציבור (יח”צ)
yakhasei tzibur (yakhats)
“public relations”
*Note that the abbreviation יח”ץ is pronounced “yakhatz.”

37.  סדר יום
seder yom
“agenda” (literally “order of the day”)

38.  עזר חזותי
‘ezer khazuti
“visual aid”

39.  שירות לקוחות
sherut lekokhot
“customer service”

40.  אסטרטגיה
astrategiyah
“strategy”

41.  ציוד
tziyud
“equipment”

42.  חומר גלם
khomer gelem
“raw material”

43.  סניף
snif
“branch” (as in the branch of a business, bank, etc.)

44.  קוד לבוש
kod levush
“dress code”

45.  אחריות
akhrayut
“warranty”

46.  חקר שוק
kheiker shuk
“market research”

47.  אישור
ishur
“authorization”

48.  קנס
knas
“penalty”

49.  מטה
mateh
“headquarters”

50.  מסחרי
miskhari
“commercial” (adj.)

מילים מתחום הרפואה (“Milim mi-Tekhum ha-Refu’ah, “Medical Words)

Surgeon Performing Operation

In this section, we’ll cover some advanced vocabulary in Hebrew from the medical realm. These words can be useful whether you plan to study medicine or simply want to be prepared for any medical emergencies that may come up. You’ll notice that our list features a mix of unique Hebrew words and cognates, or words that share a common root with their English equivalents. These cognates should be more familiar to you, even if the pronunciation throws you for a loop.

51.     רופא מנתח/רופאה מנתחת
rofe menate’akh/rof’ah menatakhat
“surgeon”

52.     אשפוז
ishpuz
“inpatient treatment”

53.     חדר מיון
khadar miyun
“ER” / “triage”

54.     טיפול נמרץ
tipul nimratz
“intensive care”

55.     כירורגיה
khirurgiyah
“surgery”

56.     בית מרקחת
beit mirkakhat
“pharmacy”

57.     מרשם
mirsham
“prescription”

58.     זריקה
zrikah
“injection”

59.     בדיקה רפואית
b’dikah refu’it
“medical test”

60.  גבס
geves
“cast”

61.  אבחנה
avkhanah
“diagnosis”

62.  שפעת
shapa’at
“flu”

63.  פצע
petza
“wound”

64.  שבר
shever
“break” / “fracture”

65.  תסמונת
tismonet
“syndrome”

66.  שבץ
shavatz
“stroke”

67.  התקף לב
hetkef lev
“heart attack”

68.  להתעלף
lehit’alef
“to faint”

69.  פרכוס
pirkus
“seizure”

70.  שיתוק
shituk
“paralysis”

71.  נמק
nemek
“necrosis”

72.  זיהום
zihum
“infection”

73.  עורק
‘orek
“artery”

74.  וריד
vrid
“vein”

75.  מטופל/ת
metupal/metupelet
“patient”

מילים מעולם המשפטים (“Milim me-‘Olam ha-Mishpatim, “Legal Terminology)

Scales of Justice and Law Books

Next up, let’s review some legalese. As in any language, there is a lot of legal terminology in Hebrew designed only for lawyers to understand. That said, you definitely want to arm yourself with some basic knowledge so that you can understand things like rental and other contracts. Knowing these words will also help you follow any legal stories you may see on the news, such as the perennial trials of Israeli politicians—even the prime minister himself!

76.     להאשים
leha’ashim
“to accuse”

77.     לתבוע
litbo’a
“to sue”

78.     לטעון
lit’on
“to charge” / “to claim”

79.     ערעור
‘ir’ur
“appeal”

80.     לעצור
la’atzor
“to arrest”

81.     תיק
tik
“case”

82.     בית משפט
beit mishpat
“court”

83.     להרשיע
leharshi’a
“to convict”

84.     עונש מוות
‘onesh mavet
“death penalty”

85.  פשע
pesha’
“crime”

86.  זיוף
ziyuf
“forgery”

87.  בית כלא
beit kele
“prison”

88.  עבריין צעיר/עבריינית צעירה
‘avaryan tza’ir/’avaryanit tze’irah
“juvenile delinquent”

89.  עוון
‘avon
“misdemeanor”

90.  שבועת שקר
shvu’at sheker
“perjury”

91.  פסק דין
pesek din
“ruling”

92.  הברחה
havrakhah
“smuggling”

93.  עד
‘ed
“witness”

94.  הסגת גבול
hasagat gvul
“trespassing”

95.  תקופת מבחן
tkufat mivkhan
“probation”

96.  מאסר בית
ma’asar bayit
“house arrest”

97.  רצח
retzakh
“murder”

98.  רשלנות
rashlanut
“negligence”

99.  עורך/עורכת דין
‘orekh/’orekhet din
“lawyer”

100.  הונאה
hona’ah
“fraud”

מילים מתקדמות לכתיבה אקדמית (Milim Mitkadmot le-Ktivah Akadeimit, Advanced Words for Academic Writing””)

Students Writing in Classroom

Finally, let’s take a look at some of the most useful words for academic writing. Most of these words are considered linkers (in Hebrew מילות חיבור, milot khibur), which you can think of as the mortar that holds the bricks—the main words of your writing—together in a solid structure. We have included here a broad array of linkers, including linkers of time, comparison, addition, causality, and more. You’ll definitely want to learn these advanced-level Hebrew words if you plan on studying at any Hebrew institution of higher learning, but they are just as useful for writing emails and even longer texts.

101.     במרוצת
bi-merutzat
“during” / “throughout”

102.     בשלהי
be-shilhei
“at the end of”

103.     טרם
terem
“prior to” / “before”

104.     על מנת
‘al menat
“in order to”

105.     מפני ש…
mipnei she…
“due to the fact that”

106.     לאור
le-or
“in light of”

107.     היות ש…
heyot she…
“considering that”

108.     בעקבות
be-‘ikvot
“due to”

109.     עקב
‘ekev
“following”

110.  במילים אחרות
be-milim akherot
“in other words”

111.  בניסוח אחר
be-nisu’akh akher
“to put it another way”

112.  כלומר
klomar
“which is to say”

113.  יתרה מזאת
yeterah mi-zot
“in addition”

114. בנוסף לכך
be-nosaf le-khakh
“moreover”

115.  כמו כן
kmo khen
“likewise”

116.  בדומה לכך
be-domeh le-khakh
“similarly”

117.  מעבר לכך
mei-‘ever le-khakh
“what is more”

118.  כפי ש…
k’fi she…
“just as”

119.  אולם
ulam
“however”

120.  בניגוד לכך
be-nigud le-khakh
“in contrast”

121.  במקרה ש…
be-mikreh she…
“in the case of”

122.  אלמלא
ilmale
“were it not for”

123.  אילו
ilu
“if (only)”

124.  בתנאי ש…
bi-tnai she…
“as long as”

125.  אלא אם כן
ela im ken
“unless”

126.  כידוע
ka-yadu’a
“as is known”

127.  כאמור
ka-amur
“as stated”

128.  כנזכר לעיל
ka-nizkar le-‘eil
“as mentioned previously”

129.  כלומר
klomar
“which is to say”

130.  משמע
mashma’
“that is” / “meaning”

131.  דהיינו
dehainu
“i.e.”

132.  למשל
le-mashal
“for example”

133.  כגון
kegon
“such as”

134.  פירושו של דבר
perusho shel davar
“which means that”

135.  אכן
akhen
“indeed”

136.  אומנם
omnam
“while” / “although”

137.  בייחוד
be-yikhud
“especially”

138.  יש להדגיש
yesh lehadgish
“it should be emphasized”

139.  ללא ספק
lelo safek
“undoubtedly”

140.  ראשית
reshit
“firstly”

141.  שנית
shenit
“secondly”

142.  תחילה
tekhilah
“first of all”

143.  לבסוף
levasof
“finally”

144.  לאור כל זאת
le-or kol zot
“in light of all the above”

145.  לסיכום
le-sikum
“in conclusion”

146.  נראה אפוא ש…
nir’eh eifo she…
“it would seem that indeed”

147.  משתמע מכך
mishtame’a mi-kakh
“as such”

148.  על אחת כמה וכמה
‘al akhat kamah ve-khamah
“all the more so”

149.  כל שכן
kol she-ken
“much less”

150.  קל וחומר
kal va-khomer
“let alone”

Level up with HebrewPod101!

We hope you’ve found our list of advanced Hebrew vocabulary words helpful and interesting. While 150 words is a lot to digest, as long as you take it a morsel at a time and make sure to practice and review, you’ll find yourself retaining quite a lot. As we always suggest, it is best to focus on a single set of words rather than attempting to tackle the whole list at once. You can do this by category, by starting letter, by part of speech, or by any other method that feels comfortable. As long as it works for you, go for it!

Just don’t forget to practice the vocabulary frequently, whether you do this using flashcards, lists, or other means. Practice makes perfect, and nowhere is that truer than when expanding your vocabulary in a foreign language. For some expert tips on building and retaining vocabulary, check out this article. You can also continue learning by heading over to our curated collection of advanced Hebrew lessons

Are there any other advanced Hebrew word categories you’d like for us to add? Any words you’ve come across that you’re unsure how to use? Feel free to get in touch with us, and our friendly team of Hebrew experts will be happy to help you out. 

Until next time, shalom!

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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
‘eser
“10”

2.        אחת-עשרה
akhat-‘esreh
“11”

3.        שתים-עשרה
shteim-‘esreh
“12”

4.        שלוש-עשרה
shlosh-‘esreh
“13”

5.        ארבע-עשרה
arba’-‘esreh
“14”

6.        חמש-עשרה
khameish-‘esreh
“15”

7.        שש-עשרה
shesh-‘esreh
“16”

8.        שבע-עשרה
shva’-‘esreh
“17”

9.        שמונה-עשרה
shmonah-‘esreh
“18”

10.        תשע-עשרה
tsha’-‘esreh
“19”

11.        עשרים
‘esrim
“20”

12.        שלושים
shloshim
“30”

13.        ארבעים
arba’im
“40”

14.        חמישים
khamishim
“50”

15.        שישים
shishim
“60”

16.        שבעים
shiv’im
“70”

17.        שמונים
shmonim
“80”

18.        תשעים
tish’im
“90”

19.        מאה
me’ah
“100”

20.        אלף
elef
“1,000”

21.        אלפיים
alpayim
“2,000”

22.        שלושת-אלפים
shloshet-alafim
“3,000”

23.        ארבעת-אלפים
arba’at-alafim
“4,000”

24.        חמשת-אלפים
khameshet-alafim
“5,000”

25.        ששת-אלפים
sheshet-alafim
“6,000”

26. שבעת-אלפים
shiv’at-alafim
“7,000”

27.        שמונת-אלפים
shmonat-alafim
“8,000”

28.        תשעת-אלפים
tsha’at-alafim
“9,000”

29.        עשרת-אלפים
‘aseret-alafim
“10,000”

30.        עשרים אלף
‘esrim elef
“20,000”

31.        שלושים אלף
shloshim elef
“30,000”

32.        ארבעים אלף
arba’im elef
“40,000”

33.        חמישים אלף
khamishim elef
“50,000”

34.        שישים אלף
shishim elef
“60,000”

35.        שבעים אלף
shiv’im elef
“70,000”

36.        שמונים אלף
shmonim elef
“80,000”

37.        תשעים אלף
tish’im elef
“90,000”

38.        מאה אלף
me’ah elef
“100,000”

39.        מיליון
milyon
“1,000,000”

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
rishon
“1st”

41.        שני
sheni
“2nd”

42.        שלישי
shlishi
“3rd”

43.        רביעי
revi’i
“4th”

44.        חמישי
khamishi
“5th”

45.        שישי
shishi
“6th”

46.        שביעי
shvi’i
“7th”

47. שמיני
shmini
“8th”

48.        תשיעי
tshi’i
“9th”

49.        עשירי
‘asiri
“10th”

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
az’akah
“alarm”

51.        מעשה
ma’aseh
“action” / “tale”

52.        אלף-בית
alef-beit
“alphabet”

53.        מזג אוויר
mezeg avir
“weather”

54.        קבלה
kabalah
“receipt”

55.        פרסומת
pirsomet
“advertisement”

56.        יכולת
yekholet
“ability”

57.        מטרה
matarah
“goal” / “objective”

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

59.        יתרון
yitaron
“advantage”

60.        מבטא
mivta
“accent”

61.        דחף
dakhaf
“drive” / “impulse”

62.        כמות
kamut
“amount”

63.        גיל
gil
“age”

64.        כאב
ke’ev
“pain” / “ache”

65.        עידן
‘idan
“age” / “epoch”

66.        מבצע
mivtza’
“operation” / “sale”

67.        הישג
heseg
“accomplishment” / “achievement”

68.        שדה תעופה
sdeh te’ufah
“airport”

69.        רואה חשבון
ro’eh kheshbon
“accountant”

70.        סוכנות
sokhnut
“agency”

71.        התנצלות
hitnatzlut
“apology”

72.        צבא
tzava
“army” / “military”

73.        ויכוח
viku’akh
“argument” / “dispute”

74.        אזור
ezor
“area” / “zone”

75.        הגעה
haga’ah
“arrival”

76.        כתבה
katavah
“article”

77.        ספורט
sport
“sport”

78.        הרשמה
harshamah
“registration” / “application”

79.        גישה
gishah
“access”

80.        תגובה
tguvah
“response”

81.        נמלה
nemalah
“ant”

82.        סידור
sidur
“arrangement”

83.        הודעה
hoda’ah
“announcement”

84.        מלאך
mal’akh
“angel”

85.        מראה
mar’eh
“appearance”

86.        טיול
tiyul
“trip” / “outing”

87.        רקע
reka’
“background”

88.        מרפסת
mirpeset
“porch” / “balcony”

89.        פאב
pab
“bar”

90.        אופה
ofeh
“baker”

91.        אמבטיה
ambatyah
“bath”

92.        עמדה
‘emdah
“stance” / “attitude”

93.        קהל
kahal
“audience”

94.        ספר
sapar
“barber”

95.        תחבושת
takhboshet
“bandage”

96.        מזוודה
mizvadah
“luggage” / “suitcase”

97.        ממוצע
memutza’
“average”

98.        תשומת לב
tsumet lev
“attention”

99.        תקיפה
tkifah
“attack” / “strike”

100.        סביבה
svivah
“surroundings”

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
levatel
“to cancel”

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

103.        לאסור
la’asor
“to prohibit”

104.        לקפוץ
likfotz
“to jump”

105.        להתאפק
lehit’apek
“to bear” / “to hold on”

106.        להתחנן
lehitkhanen
“to beg”

107.        להצטרף
lehitztaref
“to join”

108.        להנות
lehenot
“to enjoy”

109.        להאשים
leha’ashim
“to accuse” / “to blame”

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

111.        להפריע
lehafri’a
“to bother”

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

113.        לשכנע
leshakhne’a
“to convince”

114.        לתפוס
litpos
“to catch”

115.        לחגוג
lakhgog
“to celebrate”

116.        לרדוף
lirdof
“to chase”

117.        לנהוג
linhog
“to drive”

118.        להתבלבל
lehitbalbel
“to get confused”

119.        לכבוש
likhbosh
“to conquer”

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

121.        להשקיע
lehashki’a
“to invest”

122.        להביע
lehabi’a
“to express”

123.        להתכתב
lehitkatev
“to correspond”

124.        להשחית
lehashkhit
“to corrupt”

125.        להשתעל
lehishta’el
“to cough”

126.        להבדיל
lehavdil
“to distinguish”

127.        להיעלם
lehe’alem
“to disappear”

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

129.        לחלק
lekhalek
“to divide”

130.        להתחתן
lehitkhanen
“to beg”

131.        להתעטש
lehit’atesh
“to sneeze”

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

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

134.        לטבוע
litbo’a
“to drown”

135.        למחוק
limkhok
“to erase”

136.        לשער
lesha’er
“to estimate”

137.        להגזים
lehagzim
“to exaggerate”

138.        להתפוצץ
lehitpotzetz
“to explode”

139.        לנצל
lenatzel
“to exploit”

140.        להיכשל
lehikashel
“to fail”

141.        לסלוח
lislo’akh
“to forgive”

142.        לפעול
lif’ol
“to act” / “to work”

143.        להזיע
lehazi’a
“to sweat”

144.        לרעוד
lir’od
“to tremble” / “to shake”

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

146.        להזדרז
lehizdarez
“to hurry up”

147.        לזלזל
lezalzel
“to belittle”

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

149.        לשגע
leshage’a
“to drive crazy”

150.        להתחבר
lehitkhaber
“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
natush
“abandoned”

152.        אקדמי
akademi
“academic”

153.        מוצלח
mutzlakh
“successful”

154.        חומצי
khumtzi
“acidic”

155.        נוכחי
nokhekhi
“present”

156.        מהולל
mehulal
“praiseworthy” / “admired”

157.        חביב
khaviv
“lovable”

158.        מעצבן
me’atzben
“annoying”

159.        צבעוני
tziv’oni
“colorful”

160.        מיושן
meyushan
“aged”

161.        אומנותי
omanuti
“artistic”

162.        מרשים
marshim
“impressive”

163.        מרתק
meratek
“fascinating”

164.        אותנטי
otenti
“authentic”

165.        חמדן
khamdan
“greedy”

166.        נהדר
nehedar
“fantastic”

167.        מסוגל
mesugal
“capable”

168.        מקובל
mekubal
“acceptable” / “accepted”

169.        מדויק
meduyak
“precise” / “accurate”

170.        גמיש
gamish
“flexible”

171.        מתקדם
mitkadem
“advanced”

172.        פחדן
pakhdan
“fearful”

173.        אגרסיבי
agresivi
“aggressive”

174.        מייסר
meyaser
“agonizing”

175.        מופתע
mufta’
“taken aback” / “surprised”

176.        מנותק
menutak
“detached” / “disconnected”

177.        הוגן
hogen
“fair” / “just”

178.        חרד
khared
“anxious”

179.        הולם
holem
“befitting”

180.        מבויש
mevuyash
“embarrassed”

181.        אתלטי
atleti
“athletic”

182.        מושך
moshekh
“attractive”

183.        מורשה
mursheh
“authorized”

184.        ממוצע
memutzah
“average”

185.        נורא
nora
“awful”

186.        מוחלט
mukhlat
“absolute”

187.        משובח
meshubakh
“deluxe”

188.        כואב
ko’ev
“painful”

189.        פעיל
pa’il
“active”

190.        הרפתקן
harpatkan
“adventurous”

191.        ידני
yadani
“handheld” / “manual”

192.        מבושם
mevusam
“perfumed”

193.        אוטומטי
otomati
“automatic”

194.        מודע
muda’
“aware”

195.        ממורמר
memurmar
“bitter”

196.        תפל
tafel
“insipid”

197.        אקזוטי
ekzoti
“exotic”

198.        נועז
no’az
“bold”

199.        מבריק
mavrik
“brilliant”

200.        שתלטני
shtaltani
“overbearing”

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
heitev
“well”

202.        נפלא
nifla
“amazingly”

203.        נורא
nora
“terribly”

204.        בשקט
be-sheket
“quietly”

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

206.        באהבה
be-ahavah
“lovingly”

207.        בעדינות
be-‘adinut
“gently”

208.        בשמחה
be-simkhah
“happily” / “gladly”

211.        באדיבות
be-adivut
“generously”

212.        בכנות
be-kenut
“honestly” / “sincerely”

213.        בטבעיות
be-tiv’i’yut
“naturally”

214.        נקי
naki
“cleanly”

215.        באופן מוזר
be-ofen muzar
“strangely”

216.        מהר
maher
“quick”

217.        לאט
le’at
“slow”

218.        חזק
khazak
“strongly”

219.        חלש
khalash
“weakly”

220.        ברעב
be-ra’av
“hungrily”

221.        ביחד
be-yakhad
“together”

222.        לבד
levad
“alone”

223.        בפנים
bi-fnim
“indoors” / “inside”

224.        בחוץ
ba-khutz
“outdoors” / “outside”

225.        בבית
ba-bayit
“at home”

226.        ברחוב
ba-rekhov
“in/on the street”

227.        בפומבי
be-fumbi
“in public”

228.        בפרטיות
bi-fratiyut
“privately” / “in private”

229.        לפנים
le’fanim
“forward”

230.        לאחור
le’akhor
“backward”

231.        למעלה
lema’alah
“up”

232.        למטה
lematah
“down”

233.        הצידה
hatzidah
“laterally” / “sideways”

234.        תמיד
tamid
“always”

235.        אף פעם
af pa’am
“never”

236.        לעיתים קרובות
le-‘itim krovot
“frequently”

237.        לעיתים רחוקות
le-‘itim rekhokot
“seldom”

238.        מיד
miyad
“immediately”

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

240.        כמעט
kim’at
“almost”

241.        די
dey
“quite”

242.        בהחלט
be-hekhlet
“absolutely”

243.        לגמרי
le-gamrei
“totally”

244.        לכל עבר
le-khol ‘ever
“everywhere”

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

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

247.        באופן ספונטני
be-ofen spontani
“spontaneously”

248.        מרוכז
merukaz
“concentratedly”

249.        מפוזר
mefuzar
“in a scattered way”

250.        בקלות
be-kalut
“easily”

251.        בקושי
be-koshi
“with difficulty”

252.        בחופשיות
be-khofshi’yut
“freely”

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
akharey
“after”

254.        מאחורי
me-akhorei
“behind”

255.        אצל
etzel
“at” / “by”

256.        באמצעות
be-emtza’ut
“via”

257.        בגלל
biglal
“because of”

258.        בזכות
bi-zkhut
“thanks to”

259.        בין
bein
“between” / “among”

260.        בלי
bli
“without”

261.        במקום
bi-mkom
“instead of”

262.        בעד
be-‘ad
“for” / “in favor of”

263.        בקרב
be-kerev
“among”

264.        בשביל
bishvil
“for”

265.        בתוך
be-tokh
“inside”

266.        כלפי
klapei
“toward”

267.        כמו
k’mo
“like”

268.        לאורך
le-orekh
“along”

269.        לגבי
legabei
“regarding”

270.        ליד
leyad
“next to”

271.        למען
lema’an
“for the sake of”

272.        לפי
lefi
“according to”

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

274.        לקראת
likrat
“toward”

275.        מול
mul
“opposite”

276.        מעל
me-‘al
“atop”

277.        מפני
mipnei
“because of”

278.        מתחת
mitakhat
“beneath”

279.        עבור
‘avur
“for”

280.        לעומת
le‘umat
“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
aval
“however”

282.        עדיין
‘adayin
“still”

283.        בזמן ש…
bi-zman she…
“while”

284.        …כש
ke’she…
“when”

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

286.        בגלל
biglal
“due to”

287.        למרות
lamrot
“despite”

288.        אך
akh
“however”

289.        אפילו
afilu
“even”

290.        אלא אם כן
ela im ken
“unless”

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+
yesh
“there is” / “there are”

292.        אין
ein
“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
halevai
“if only”

294.        הן
hen
“both”

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

295.        יא
ya
“you”

*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
zehu
“that’s it” / “this is”

297.        מיהו
mihu
“who is”

298.        כלום
klum
“nothing”

299.        כזה
kazeh
“such as this”

300.        הינה
hine
“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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