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Lesson Transcript

Sherah:Hello and welcome back to hebrewpod101.com. This is Lower Intermediate Season 1, Lesson 11 - Talking About Your Roots in Hebrew. I’m your host, Sherah!
Amir:And I’m Amir.
Sherah:In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use hypothetical conditional sentences in Hebrew
Amir:The conversation takes place in a cafe in the morning.
Sherah:It’s between Gadi and his wife Ma'ayan.
Amir:The speakers are married so they’ll be using informal Hebrew.
Sherah:So unfortunately, many Israelis find it easier to make a living outside of Israel.
Amir:This is particularly true of academics, science professionals and engineers.
Sherah:Because of this, this exodus has earned the name, “the brain drain”, because many of the brains of Israel leave for better opportunities.
Amir:Right, there are two reasons why people choose to leave. One is the lower wages that people make in Israel.
Sherah:The other reason is that there are not so many jobs available in these careers.
Amir:Many of Israel’s smartest head overseas when they finish university, and there is really not much that can entice them to come back.
Sherah:And in the past few years, around 17% of people who have received doctorate degrees have left the country to seek jobs elsewhere.
Amir:The government now has a program to try to bring some of these Israelis and their families back home.
Sherah:Let’s hope it works.
Sherah:Let’s take a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson. The first word that we want to talk about is שורש.
Amir:שורש means “source” or “root” in Hebrew.
Sherah:There are several different things this can refer to. It can refer to the root of a tree or the source of a river.
Amir:Right, and you can also use it when talking about the roots of your family genealogy.
Sherah:At some point in school kids have to trace their “shoreshim” to see where they come from, because Israelis have come from all over the world.
Amir:Interestingly, the wrist is called “the root of the hand” or שורש היד in Hebrew.
Sherah:Yes and if you are going to get a thorough treatment for something, it’s called טיפול שורש or “root treatment”.
Amir:The next word we want to talk about is ממשלה or “government”.
Sherah:There is so much talk in Israel about the ממשלה. Israel’s government is a democracy made up of many different parties.
Amir:There are so many parties that different parties need to unite to make a coalition. They call this a ממשלת אחדות or a “unity government.”
Sherah:so the last phrase we are talking about in this lesson is יושב על כוס קפה
Amir:This is what you say when you have a coffee date with someone.
Sherah:Technically, it is translated as “to sit over a cup of coffee.” Or you could also translate this as “to sit on a cup of coffee, but that’s not what it means. This is something that Israelis love to do. Okay, now onto the grammar.
Sherah:In this lesson, you’ll learn about hypothetical conditional sentences in Hebrew.
Amir:Can you explain what that is a little more?
Sherah:Okay… This is a special case that you have in Hebrew. In this lesson, we are talking about “what if” situations that couldn’t possibly happen in reality.
Amir:I think that explains it a little better. In Hebrew, we use אם, meaning “if”, for conditional sentences
Sherah:Right, but with these sentences you can’t use אם. You use a different word for “if”, and that is אילו.
Amir:You can also use לו but this is more of a biblical form.
Sherah:Amir, let’s start with the example sentence from the dialogue. Can you give us a sentence?
Amir:Sure. Ma’ayan says אילו סבי לא עלה לארץ, הייתי גודלת ברומניה
Sherah:She says, “If my grandfather hadn’t come to Israel, I would have grown up in Romania.” The sentence opens with אילו or if.
Amir:Then you have your first clause with a verb in the past tense. סבי לא עלה לארץ
Sherah:Here the situation doesn’t exist because her grandfather couldn’t have stayed in Romania at the time, he had to immigrate. So the second clause has the verb להיות in the past tense and then another verb conjugated in the present tense.
Amir:The second clause of that sentence was הייתי גודלת ברומניה
Sherah:Right, the first word הייתי is in the past tense and גודלת is in the present tense.
Amir:So, this is the basic structure of these sentences, what did you call them again?
Sherah:Hypothetical conditional sentences.
Amir:Right, how about we look at some examples.
Sherah:Sounds good, let’s start with another sentence from the dialogue.
Amir:Later in the dialogue, Gadi says אילו סבי לא עלה לארץ, הייתי שותה כוס קפה בפריז עכשיו
Sherah:He says, “If my grandfather didn't come to Israel, I would have been drinking a cup of coffee in Paris right now.”
Amir:Here we have אילו and then the verb עלה in the past and in the second clause הייתי שותה which is להיות in the past tense and לשתות in the present.
Sherah:We should tell you that the order of the clauses really doesn’t matter - you can put either clause first.
Amir:So, if we reversed the clauses in the last example sentence, it would be .הייתי שותה כוס קפה בפריז עכשיו, אילו סבי לא עלה לארץ
Sherah:I would be drinking a cup of coffee in Paris right now, if my grandfather had not immigrated to Israel.
Amir:Now for another example - this one is not from the dialogue - what is it Sherah? אילו היה לי כנפיים, הייתי עפה כמו ציפור
Sherah:That was “if I had wings, I would fly like a bird”. Good one.
Amir:And this one אילו אמרתם לנו על המסיבה, היינו מגיעים.
Sherah:If you had told us about the party, we would have come.
Amir:So, just remember, if it is something that could be possible, use אם and if it’s something that isn’t plausible, use אילו.
Sherah:And that’s it for this lesson on hypotheticals!


Sherah:Be sure to visit us at HebrewPod101.com and leave us a comment tellin us what you’ve learned here. And make sure you check the lesson notes too.
Amir:Thanks for being with us, everyone,


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Hello Listeners! Can you write a Hypothetical Conditional Sentence in Hebrew?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Monday at 05:10 PM
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Hi Donny,

Thanks for commenting and sharing your Hebrew phrase!

Well done - this is a perfectly written hypothetical phrase 👍👍

Keep up the good work 😎



Team HebrewPod101.com

Saturday at 11:41 PM
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אילו הייתי גדל בארץ, הייתי מדבר עברית כמו ישראלי.

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 09:08 PM
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Hi Allan Tanzman and Gaetan

Thanks for posting and sharing your work and feedback!

@Allan thanks for bringing this issue to our attention!

You are correct, the translation of "There aren't many Jews that stayed in Romania." is lacking the full sentence. Instead, the Hebrew phrase is simply saying "Not many Jews remained there".

I will forward this to our editing team 👍

@Gaetan -

Excellent work! (and great phrases 😄😄)

Please note a few little errors -

- In Hebrew, we thank "on" something (i.e. תודה על השיעור הזה)

- You missed an "את" in "לדעת הדברים האלה" - the correct phrase would be "לדעת את הדברים האלה"

- missing preposition "to" in "הייתי הולך שם" - the correct phrase would be "הייתי הולך לשם"

Please let us know may you have further questions and enjoy learning Hebrew!



Team HebrewPod101.com

Tuesday at 05:41 PM
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תודה לשיער הזה

חשוב מואד לדעת הדברים האלה.

הינה משפתיים שלי

1. לו ידעתי עברית מצויין הייתי כותב ספרים.

2. אילו היה עולם אחר הייתי הולך שם עד אחרי הכורונה (covid19)


Allan Tanzman
Monday at 04:40 AM
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One of the above English sentences above is "There aren't many Jews that stayed in Romania.There aren't many Jews that stayed in Romania." It seems to me that the translation into hebrew is wrong. It is missing the "רומנ יה". Would the following be the correct translation "לא היו הרבה יהודים שנשארו ברומניה."

גמר חתימה טובה

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 06:39 PM
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Hi Paola Messori פאולה מיסורי,

Thanks for posting your comments!

I agree, the verb "גודלת" is wrong in Hebrew. (audio 1:09 - 1:15) It is a common mistake that children or new learners might make and shouldn't be taught. I will forward this issue for updating.

Excellent work on your phrases! well done 👍👍

Keep up the good work 😄



Team HebrewPod101.com

Paola Messori פאולה מיסורי
Friday at 05:49 PM
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אילו נולדתי חתולה, הייתי ישנה כמעט כל היום

אילו דיברתי עברית בצורה זורמת, הייתי מאושרת

Paola Messori פאולה מיסורי
Friday at 05:35 PM
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במשפט שני כתוב: הייתי גדלה

אבל שומעים: הייתי גודלת, שלא בעברית טובה....

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:44 PM
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Hi Yitzchak,

Thanks for posting!

The word "אילו" is not used for "impossible" situations, but for "hypothetical" situations. Therefore, "אילו הייתם אומרים לנו על המסיבה, היינו באים" is a correct sentence.

One note for your translation of "If I wouldn't have signed up for this program, my Hebrew would have been much worse." - since "Hebrew" is feminine, the ending of the sentence should be "גרועה"

העברית שלי היתה הרבה יותר גרועה."

Keep up the great work!



Team HebrewPod101.com

Monday at 11:44 AM
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They said in the lesson that אילו is used for impossible situations. If that is so, why would 'אילו אמרתם לנו על המסובה, היינו מגיעים' be a sample sentence? It is theoretically possible that they could have invited the subjects of the sentence to the party.

(On that note, I just realized that my own sentence might have needed to start with 'אם'?)