Dear Aleph-Bet student,
Studying the Hebrew language can be a rewarding experience for a Christian. Even a limited knowledge of Hebrew opens wide the door to greater understanding of the Bible. Learning to read Hebrew can be the beginning of your road to independent Bible study. This knowledge will allow you to read the Hebrew Scriptures, the Jewish Prayer Book, a Hebrew dictionary, as well as Israeli street signs when on a tour of the Holy Land.
Because of the New Testament’s profoundly Hebraic background, Hebrew can be important for study of the New Testament, especially study of the teachings of Jesus. For example, a single Hebrew letter, the yod or jot, is the key to understanding Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:18: “Until heaven and earth pass away, not one yod…will pass from the Torah.” New Testament names come to life. It is exciting to learn, for instance, that Capernaum is a transliteration of two words—Kephar (village) and Nahum (a personal name)— and means “the village of Nahum.” Jesus’ name itself, Yeshua, is a Hebrew name.
This course will teach you how to write the letters of the Hebrew language, and help you acquire facility in reading Hebrew. In this course, you can go at your own pace, completing as much of the course as you wish in each study period. (The class that was filmed completed the course in five consecutive evenings.) You can also devote a study period to review, remaining right where you are in the course until you feel confident with the material already introduced.
As you view the video clips, participate with the 20 students who took part in the filming. (The “Aleph-bet” course was filmed in Dayton, Ohio in 1994). Learn by doing everything that I ask the Dayton students to do. Have a pencil and pad ready so you can write when they are asked to write. Repeat the sounds of the letters and vowels with them. It is important to use your pencil and repeat when asked to do so. Write each letter until it becomes natural and comfortable before you go on.
It’s more enjoyable to study with others. Studying Hebrew with others encourages you to accomplish your goals. Studying the holy language with others provides you with encouragement to learn and a structure to establish regularity in your studies. If others are involved, you cannot procrastinate. A time has been set for the class, and you must be there. Procrastination is the worst enemy of self-study. So, try to organize a class of family and/or friends. Set regular meeting times and encourage each other as you proceed.
I wish you success (b’hatslahah) as you begin your study.