hebrew text

So I saw this video a few days ago where this lady was teaching a bit how to read Hebrew and get method was really cool and is actually pretty helpful! I now easily recognize the letters she used as an example in her video so once get on my computer I’m going to link the video but until ten I’ll explain her method.

For each letter she made up a short story to help the boy remember the sound the letter makes, for example she said the letter “ד” looked like an open door from a bird’s eye view and guess what sound “ד"makes? D as in door so I’m using this method and I’m now slowly but surely making progress in reading!

Gender in this week’s Haftorah Portion

In addition to reading Parshat Berisheet, the Creation Account, Jews around the world will be reading Isaiah 42:5-43:10 this beautiful Shabbat morning.

In the text, we find praises to God because of the Divine’s handiwork in creating the world.  Throughout the entire Hebrew of the Tanakh, God is usually given masculine pronouns but on this first Shabbat of our Torah cycle, we encounter maternal imagery for God.

“יְהוָה֙ כַּגִּבּ֣וֹר יֵצֵ֔א“ [”Adonai kagiboryetzeh”] “Adonai goes forth like a warrior…” (Is. 42:13), and God said that “כַּיּוֹלֵדָ֣ה אֶפְעֶ֔ה אֶשֹּׁ֥ם וְאֶשְׁאַ֖ף יָֽחַד׃" [”kayvoleydahefeheshomv’eshafyachad”] “Now I will shriek like a woman in labor, I will pant and I will gasp” (42:14)

God’s essence is attributed to a warrior that becomes as powerful as a woman in labor.  Imagine how revolutionary that statement was when our ancestors developed this and other texts, and how revolutionary it was when it was canonized in the Tanakh within the book of Isaiah, and how revolutionary that we as Jews have been reading it right alongside our Creation narrative for … God knows how long!

May the start of the Torah bring you all strength, love, and joy!

Shabbat Shalom

Hebrew Basics #1: All about the Hebrew Alphabet

In order to learn a language, the very first thing you need to know is reading it. This is a basic step in all language studies. Hopefully you’ll start conquering that by the end of this lesson :)

The Hebrew alphabet… isn’t an alphabet. Technically speaking, it’s an “‘abjad” (an acronym of the first four letters of the Arabic ‘abjad), although it is commonly called an alphabet (as I’ll continue calling it for simplicity’s sake). Characteristic of Semitic languages (to which Hebrew belongs, among Arabic and many others, extinct and alive), the ‘abjad’s main characteristic is (almost) complete lack of vowels. Every letter stands for a consonant, and vowels are simply omitted. It’s equivalent to writing English “lk ths.”

While using an ‘abjad-like system with English is quite hellish, the case for Hebrew is quite different. Due to its relatively simple vowel system and unique Semitic grammar and morphology (how words are formed and act in a sentence), using an ‘abjad is actually quite a reasonable choice for Hebrew. Oversimplifying, Hebrew words are comprised of a root and a template, each contribute meaning to the final word. The root is comprised of (usually three) consonants, and the template describes the vowels, prefixes and suffixes you insert between and around the consonants.

The Letters

The Hebrew alphabet, called הָאַלֶף־בֵּית/אָלֶפְבֵּית הָעִבְרִי ha’álef-bét ha’ivrí, is comprised of 22 letters.

The first, most important fact is that Hebrew is read from right to left.

Note: the names aren’t all that important to learning the letters. Simply learning their pronunciation is enough at this point.

Five of the letters, for historical reasons, have two different forms - a word-initial and -medial form, and a separate final form. These are marked with a 1 on the table.

As you might have noticed, some letters have multiple pronunciations, and some of these overlap with one another. This was caused by many changes that happened to the language’s phonology over the years since the alphabet was created (some 3,000 years ago in its earliest forms).

The most notable of these letters are the בֶּגֶ״ד כֶּפֶ״ת* béged kéfet letters, marked with a 2. These days, for historical reasons**, only three letters actually change their pronunciation depending on their position in a word–ב bet, כ kaf, פ pe–and they are the only ones marked on the list, pronounced as /b~v/, /k~kh/, /p~f/, respectively. Generally speaking, for native words, at the beginning of a word and directly after a consonant (with no vowel in-between), they are pronounced with their ‘hard’ pronunciation (/b/ /k/ /p/), and in all other positions with their ‘soft’ pronunciation (/v/ /kh/ /f/). Loanwords do not follow these rules, and are pronounced as they are in the original language.

*Acronyms and initialisms, as well as Hebrew letter names and numerals, are marked by the Hebrew punctuation mark ״, called גֵּרְשַׁיִם gershayim, and placed before the last letter of the phrase. It is similar looking to the Latin quotation mark, and is often confused with it even by native speakers, but nonetheless different.

**You might have noticed that ‘historically’, ‘for historical reasons’, etc. are somewhat a trend in this lesson. Hebrew is an incredibly old language, about 5,000 years old in fact, riddled with old tales and tradition. During that period it changed a lot, it even died for 2,000 years and came back to haunt us in the last 150. Despite this, the Hebrew writing system as we know it today was tailored (albeit not perfectly) for Hebrew as it was spoken some 2,500 years ago, and remained relatively unchanged during that whole period. Therefore, there are a lot of peculiarities in the Hebrew alphabet that we simply do not have time to cover, stemming from the complicated history of the language.

There are also a handful of letters which, for historical reasons, are still pronounced the same.

  • א alef + ע áyin (+ ה he) = ‘ (glottal stop) or none (ה he only as none)
  • soft ב bet + ו vav = /v/
  • ח chet + soft כ kaf = /ch/*
  • ט tet + ת tav = /t/
  • hard כ kaf + ק qof = /k/*
  • ס sámekh + שׂ sin = /s/

*I still transcribe hard כ kaf and ק qof, as well as ח chet and soft כ kaf differently (/k/ vs /q/, /ch/ vs /kh/) because, well, it’s easier than the other homophones.

To form a word, simply string together letters - the vowels magically appear in your head!

ספר (séfer) - book

ספר (sapár) - barber, hairdresser

ספר (sipér) - (he) told, (he) cut hair

ספר (supár) - (passive of above verb)

ספר (sper) - spare (English loanword)

…Yeah, that’s easier said than done.

See, in general with the ‘abjad system, all words pronounced with the same consonants are written exactly the same, which can create a heck of a lot of homographs, words written the same but pronounced differently. This problem has been cleverly solved using אִמּוֹת קְרִיאָה - ‘imót kri’á (literally mothers of reading). These are letters in Hebrew that serve a double function as a consonant and a vowel, marked with a 3 on the table. Noticed the letters ו vav and י yod have multiple pronunciations?

In many words, vowels (especially /i/, /o/ and /u/) are marked using one of these letters to reduce the number of homographs. For example, the words listed earlier are usually written:

ספר (séfer) - book

ספר (sapár) - barber, hairdresser

סיפר (sipér) - (he) told, (he) cut hair

סופר (supár) - (passive of above verb) 

ספייר (sper) - spare (English loanword)

These letters can be conveniently memorized using the acronym אֶהֶוִ״י ‘eheví.

Interestingly enough, Yiddish, written with the same 22 letters, uses these letters (and some more) to create a full alphabet, where each and every vowel in a word is written, as well as the consonants. But we aren’t learning Yiddish here.

Learning when and where to put ‘imót kri’á comes with time, as it is often up to the reader where to put them. The style of writing I’ll be teaching with is called כְּתִיב חֲסֵר ktiv chasér, or ‘lacking spelling,’ where the bare minimum of ‘imót kri’á are used, and all vowels are indicated using vowel points, נִקּוּד niqúd, explained in the next section. This style is often used in children’s books and Biblical inscriptions; ktiv chasér is historically the only way Hebrew was written. This is in opposition to כְּתִיב מָלֵא ktiv malé, ‘full spelling,’ where ‘imót kri’á are used and vowel points aren’t; this is the style of writing virtually every modern Hebrew text is written in.

This might seem all confusing at this point, but let me assure you it isn’t. Once you wrap your head around it and start reading more and more of the language, you just instinctively know how a word is read off the bat. Context is usually more than enough to settle any ambiguities in how to read a word.

Vowel Points

Vowel points, נִקּוּד niqúd, are the diacritics used in Hebrew to indicate the vowels of a word, to complement the ambiguous ‘abjad system. These are the little dots and lines around each letter in previous examples.

Hebrew has five vowels: /a/ /e/ /i/ /o/ /u/ - pronounced almost identically to those in Spanish and Greek, to name a few. However, it has 13 different vowel points. Historically, and still in some traditional readings of the Bible, each mark had a different pronunciation, but in Modern Hebrew a lot of them merged with one another.

The final form of מ mem, ם, is used as a placeholder here.

Make no mistake, the two vowels marked with an asterisk are in fact the same vowel. For now, know that in most cases it is pronounces as /a/. The /o/ pronunciation is rare, only in certain templates of words, and distinguishing between them is out of the scope of this lesson. For now, the only common word that uses the /o/ pronunciation is כָּל kol, meaning ‘all’.

Short and long vowels are only traditional nomenclature - in practice, all vowels in each row are pronounced with the same length. תְּנוּעוֹת חֲטוּפוֹת tnu’ót chatufót are stlightly different, but nonetheless pronounced the same. Note that the some long vowels use ‘imót kri’á intrinsically.

דָּגֶשׁ Dagésh:

The point on the bottom left, the דָּגֶשׁ dagésh, is an interesting topic. However, the only relevant point to this lesson is that it distinguishes between hard (with dagesh) and soft (without) pronunciations of בֶּגֶ״ד כֶּפֶ״ת béged kéfet letters.

שְׁוָא Shva:

There are two types of shva: נַע na’ ‘moving’ - indicating an /e/, and נַח nach ‘still’ - indicating no vowel. Distinguishing between them is way out of the scope of this lesson, so for now the only way to tell them apart is through experience and transliterations.

שִׁי״ן Shin Points:

You might have noticed the rogue ש shin at the bottom of the table there. ש shin is different to other letters with double pronunciations, as it had always had two different pronunciations. Therefore, it got a different point to distinguish between the two: a dot on the right spoke of the ש shin indicates the common /sh/ pronunciation - שׁ, and a dot on the left spoke indicates the rarer /s/ pronunciation - שׂ. Each pronunciation is subsequently called שִׁי״ן יְמַנִית shin yemanít ‘right שִׁי״ן’ and שִׁי״ן שְֹמָאלִית shin smalít ‘left שִׁי״ן’.

All word-final letters have no vowel, unless marked otherwise. Most letters cannot even take a vowel mark at the end of a word. Exceptionally, ה he, ח chet, final ך kaf, ע áyin, ת tav, in certain circumstances do take vowel marks. ש shin must always have either a left or a right point, but no other vowel mark.


Try reading these basic Hebrew words, then look at the answer key at the end to see if you were right.

1. אֲנִי
2. כֶּלֶב
3. בְּתוֹךְ
4. שֻׁלְחָן
5. פְּרִי
6. כָּל
7. יַם
8. עֵץ
9. אֲדָמָה
10. שְׂמֹאל

Answer Key

  1. ‘aní – I (me)
  2. kélev – dog
  3. betókh – inside
  4. shulchán – table
  5. pri – fruit
  6. kol – all
  7. yam – sea
  8. ‘ets – tree
  9. ‘adamá – ground, earth
  10. smol – left (vs. right)

Alright then, that’s it for today! Follow me for more Hebrew lessons, hopefully they won’t all be as long as this one :D

לְהִתְרַאוֹת בַּפַּעַם הַבָּאָה! (lehitraót bapá’am haba’á)

See you next time!

A Girl Called Mike - Part 7

Pairing: Dean × Reader

Word Count: Around 3500

Summary: The reader disguises herself during hunting jobs as a man named Mike and has met up with the Winchesters several times. They are unaware of her true identity. Feeling they know and trust Mike, they agree to invite the reader to the bunker.

Click Here for Part 1 Part 2 Part Three Part Four Part Five Part Six

Warnings: (Potentially Triggering) Implication of rape/sexual abuse, Violence, Death, Language, Implied smut

Writer’s Note: This chapter took a dark turn. It is something I’ve always had in mind for this story and her character I just didn’t know how, when or even if I should include it. But when I wrote this chapter it just naturally flowed out so I stuck with it. Out of all my posted fics, it has been the one I have personally read and reviewed the most before deciding to post it. That being said, I do not want to exclude anyone. If someone wants to read this chapter but is afraid of being triggered, please anon message me and I will work to create, edit and post a less intense version. I also would just like to add this helpline page in case you just want someone to talk to about difficult stuff. 

@misguidedconqueress Thank you so much especially on this one. We spent a ton of time talking it over and processing. You’ve been such a great support and friend to me over these past couple of months. 

Sam was focused on translating as much as he could. However, one problem he ran into was the word-for-word interpretations. Sam wrote down what he could, writing multiple options if a word had various meanings or if it did not directly translate into English. He would hand you sentences at a time. You typed them up and chose the best option based on the context of the entire document. Dean was searching through each scroll, highlighting passages where he saw the written Hebrew version of “Corson” or “King of the West”.

Sam and Dean took a lunch break as you continued to power through only with a cup of coffee.

Dean entered back into the library. “Y/N, you gotta eat something.” He instructed. You ignored him continuing to type. “You can’t survive on coffee alone.” He tried to joke.

“Watch me.” You snapped harsher than you meant to.

“Would you at least drink on of these then?” He threw a protein-packed Ensure your way. You caught it one-handed and set it down by the laptop. When he realized you weren’t going to touch it he walked over and sat down on the desk. “I know how important this is to you but you are going to burn yourself out if you don’t take a break. So how about you go take a nap, shower, and eat something.” You continued typing. “That’s not a request.” He ordered and slammed your laptop shut.

“That better have saved.” You warned before walking away to shower.

When you walked back in, the boys were discussing over the laptop.

Sam noticed you first. “Hey, I think we got something.”

“See, this is why I don’t take breaks.” You huffed. “I miss the good stuff.”

“What we have gone through so far tells us Corson is one of four kings. Each king being assigned a cardinal direction. Corson, as pointed out by Crowley, is King of the West. Each king has the power to summon and control an army of 72 demons. And although I haven’t found another title for Corson, the other kings have been described as Princes of Hell.” Sam summarized.

“Okay. So if we are expecting a fight with 72 demons, we have the three of us, maybe Cas can get some angel buddies on board, and as much as I hate Crowley, our goal is common so…” Dean muttered while scratching numbers onto a napkin.

“Stop.” Sam ordered. “Another issue we run into with Hebrew, especially ancient texts is the overwhelming amount of symbolism…”

Dean shrugged his shoulders.

“What you’re saying is, 72 might not actually be the number of demons we have to fight.” You clarified.

“Exactly. What it most likely symbolizes is that these kings have the power to summon exactly the perfect number of demons, in a united army, to completely destroy whatever opponent they face.” Sam explained.

“Peachy.” Dean snarked.

“It gets better.” Sam added. “West also is a symbol. In different parts of ancient Jewish culture, the sea represented evil and death and it was to the west of their land. West is also a place of darkness, it’s where the sun goes to set.” Dean rubbed the stubble on his jawline and you wrapped your arms tight around yourself, trying to counteract the growing nausea. “Essentially, we are hunting the worst and most deadliest of the kings.”

Keep reading

heres more monster high name meanings that aren’t included in [this gifset] bc im that bitch

  • andy (english) - “manly, masculine”
  • ari (hebrew) - “lion”
  • avea/ava (english/hebrew) - “to breathe”
  • bonita (spanish) - “beautiful”
  • bram (hebrew) - “father of many”
  • catrine (swedish) - “pure, innocent”
  • chad (english) - battle”
  • clair (french) - “clear, bright, famous”
  • clawdeen, clawd, clawdia/claudine, claude, claudia (roman) - patrician roman family name
  • dayna/dana (hebrew) - “god is my judge”
  • finnegan (irish) - “fair”
  • gigi (french) - either “farmer, earthworker” or “maid,virgin”
  • gilda (italian) - “sacrifice, value”
  • gil (english) - “bright pledge”
  • gooliope/calliope (greek) - “beautiful voice”
  • heath (english) - one who lives on a heath
  • holt (dutch) - “wood, grove”
  • honey (english) - a sweet person
  • billy (english) - “will, protection”
  • elissabat/elizabeth (hebrew) - “god is my oath”
  • iris (greek) - “rainbow”
  • jackson (english) - “man”
  • jane (hebrew) - “god is gracious”
  • johnny (hebrew) - “god is gracious” (same hat)
  • kala (tamil) - “art form, virtue”
  • kieran (irish) - “black”
  • lilith (assyrian) - “of the night”
  • lorna (scottish) - “laurel tree, victory”
  • luna (latin) - “moon”
  • nefera (egyptian) - “beautiful”
  • manny (hebrew) - “god is with us”
  • marisol (spanish) - “bitter sun”
  • meowlody/melody (english) - “song, to sing”
  • moanica/monica (latin) - “adviser, counselor”
  • mouscedes/mercedes (spanish) - “mercies”
  • neighthan/nathan (hebrew) - “gift from god”
  • operetta (french) - a light/short opera
  • purrsephone/persephone (greek) - “to destroy”, or the goddess of spring
  • raythe/ray (english) - “advice, protector”
  • robecca/rebecca (hebrew) - “captivating, beautiful”
  • romulus (roman) - “of rome”
  • seth (egyptian) - god of the desert and storms
  • silvi/silvia (roman) - “wood, forest”
  • skelita (spanish) - “little skeleton”
  • venus (roman) - “love, desire”
  • wydowna/winona (native american, dakota) - “firstborn daughter”

anonymous asked:

do you have any meta or anything at all om finn and killing stormtroopers? someone pointed out to me recently that while he was against killing for the first order, he was willing to kill stormtroopers. i couldn't think of a solid explanation as to why, was wondering if you had something on it?

I’m sure there’s something in my Finn meta tag, though it might be a way back. This discussion got old over a year ago.

The thing is that Finn is not as such against killing. Remember what he says to Rey during his confession? “In my first battle, I made a choice. I wasn’t gonna kill for them.”

People tend to forget those last two words, which puts all of Finn’s actions and words into context. 

Because the First Order isn’t asking him to kill to protect someone who can’t defend themselves, or to protect himself, but to commit cold blooded murder. That’s what they’re asking of him at Tuanul - and if we include BtA at the mining colony - and that is the kind of killing Finn refuses.

But even in combat with armed opponents Finn will still try to minimize the casualties of the enemy when he can do so without putting himself or people he wishes to protect at undue risk. If you want an example I recommend @lj-writes brilliant meta on Finn’s and Poe’s escape from the Finalizer and Finn’s brilliant tactical decisions during that.

But we are, once again, back to the fact that TFA is a very Jewish story and Finn is a very Jewish hero.

Now even people who have never touched a Bible or Torah in their lives will likely know of the ten commandment and that the sixth says “thou shall not kill”. Except that’s not quite what it says.

In the original Hebrew text the word  “ratsakh” is used. This word means “unlawful killings”, what in modern day judicial terms would be covered by murder and manslaughter.

So the line should read in English “thou shall not commit murder or manslaughter”. (Sidenote, it is my understanding that more recent English translation does indeed have the line as “you shall not commit murder”, which as said is far more in line with the intent of the command.)

Note that it says nothing about killing an armed opponent in war - it was never meant to cover that - nor about killing in self defense.

In fact, one of the 613 other mitzvot (commands) not only permits, but commands self defense. So while all human life is seen as sacred and taking another person’s life should be prevented if at all possible, if we are attacked Jews are not only allowed, but commanded by G-d to defend ourselves. With lethal force if that is the only way.

So to recap, Finn’s problem with killing lies in the sixth command “you shall not commit murder or manslaughter”. (And we could say by extension massacres on civilians, which certainly falls under the heading murder.) Not with taking a life in self defense or the defense of someone else, such as on Takodana.

Vegetarianism, Veganism, and Sant Mat, by James Bean, Plus a Compilation of Veg Quotes of the East & West

It’s hard to reach more subtle states of tranquility in meditation on an animal flesh diet based on the suffering of other beings.

“I must point out that animal food, even if a single particle is eaten, is detrimental to spiritual progress.” (Huzur Baba Sawan Singh)

The Way of the Saints and Mystics, Getting Back to Eden: “And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.’” (Hebrew Bible, Genesis 1:29, New International Version)

Master Kirpal Singh speaking about Rumi and the other most advanced Murshids (spiritual masters) of Sufi mysticism once said: “Those who take up the practices concerning the lower centers in the body, do take meat – the Mohammedans and people of other religions also. But those who are anxious to rise above body consciousness and go into the Beyond have of necessity to eschew all that. This is the Path I have put before you. Liberation or salvation is something which starts only when you rise above body consciousness. For that reason, vegetarianism is the first essential.” (The Night is a Jungle, published by Ruhani Satsang)

The harshest words that Guru Kabir ever spoke were directed against the slaughter or consumption of innocent animals: “The man who eats meat is a demon in human form. Keep away from him – his company will ruin your meditation.”

Ahimsa (Non-Violence) and Diet

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” (Albert Einstein)

The following, on the reason why we in Santmat advocate following the vegetarian diet, is by Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj from the book, The Harmony of All Religions (Sarvadharma Samanvy), published by Maharshi Mehi Ashram:

“The saints have addressed the sin of violence with particular attention to the foods which are eaten. Foods which are produced by killing living beings, as well as foods which are not pure and fresh, are considered tamasic. Consumption of these is prohibited by the teachings of the saints. This includes animal products such as meat, fish, and eggs. These foods inhibit the clarity of the mind and the health of the body. There is an old saying: 'Whatever kind of food we take in, its properties will also fill our mind.’ A parallel saying is, 'Whatever we eat, just so will our breath smell [indicates the visible effect of food].’

Further, Kabir Sahab says: 'The kind of food and drink which we consume directly influences how our mind will become. Even the quality of water which we drink will influence our speech.’ These words of Kabir Sahib are not merely rhetorical conjecture, but represent direct experience…

"A great yogi named Bhupendranath Ji Sanyal has said: 'It is preferable to always avoid the consumption of flesh and fish. This is because in the very cells of these animals there might be bad diseases. But even more significantly, the natural vibration of these creatures is absorbed into the blood. This can create agitation and even sickness, and will destroy the natural calmness of the mind. Also, one must not take intoxicants, as this is a great breach of the spiritual path and natural duty (dharma). [Under the influence of intoxicants people are unable to discern the right path of action].’

"Therefore, we must be disciplined in what we eat and drink, and by being disciplined, our wealth and spiritual path are protected. This world becomes agreeable, and so does the next world, since we won’t be incurring the karmas from killing other living beings.” (Beloved Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj, Sant Mat, the Path of the Masters)

All past and present Masters of Sant Mat, the most advanced Saints of Inner Light and Sound, advocate following the vegetarian diet. In fact, being vegetarian is a requirement in order to be initiated into the meditation practice of Sant Mat, Surat Shabd Yoga, Meditation upon the inner Light and Sound of God.

Sant Mat is a vegetarian Path for mystical, spiritual, ethical and theological reasons. The Masters teach that foods are of three kinds: Satvik, Rajsik, and Tamsik. This last category of foods, which includes all flesh foods, is to be completely avoided. Satvik (pure foods), the first category, includes: grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts. Satvik foods are considered by Mystics to promote relaxation, meditation, and spiritual experience.

The bad karma and other negative effects of flesh-eating darkens one’s vision of inner Light, interfering with concentration and meditation. It’s interesting to notice that the Satvik diet of Sant Mat, of Hinduism and the Yoga Philosophy of India is also: the life-extension diet, the anti-cancer diet, the diet for antioxidants and most of the other plant-based nutrients, AND the diet of the Light & Sound mystics, East and West.

A Young Kirpal Singh Meditating at an Early Age

“Kirpal began meditating at the age of four. When other boys and girls of his age were busy playing, he would be busy meditating. He never wasted his time with sports. He would sit quiet with eyes closed. He would see spiritual sights within and would traverse on spiritual planes. He would remain lost in ecstasy. But whenever this absorption in meditation would break after intervals of 2 to 3 months, he would feel very restless. His spiritual flights would, however, start again shortly afterwards.

Abstinence from Meat

"His family was non-vegetarian But he was averse to taking meat even as a child. While his brothers and sisters would ask for more, he would have none at all. He was content with bread and vegetables. His father asked, 'Pal, why don’t you take meat? It will do you good.’ He sweetly replied, 'It is very well, father, but is not meat dead flesh, and would you have me make a burial ground of my body?’ The father could only smile and the child had his own way.” (The Beloved Master – Some Glimpses from the Life of Sant Kirpal Singh, by Bhadra Sena)

The notion that vegetarianism is “cultural” and confined mostly to India is the inaccurate assumption of some new age or esoteric teachers in the West. It is true that many conventional world religions condone flesh-eating, but if you do some comparative mysticism you’ll soon discover that the serious esoteric traditions which have practiced Light mysticism, Sound mysticism, and Ascension mysticism through higher planes of heavens are all in agreement about the need for contemplative mystics to abstain from the flesh. The list of Western vegetarian paths includes: Pythagoreans, followers of the Hermetic philosophy of Egypt, the Sethian Gnostics, Theraputae, Essenes (and other Light-mystics within Judaism), the original Jewish Christians called Ebionites (see The Gospel of Jesus – In Search of His Original Teachings, by John Davidson), the Gnostic religions, Manichaeans, some Catholic monasteries, monasteries of the Orthodox Church – including the great mystery school atop Mount Athos in Greece, and the Sufi mystics of Islam who practice Zikhr of the Spirit, Light, and Sound. Most every path that advocates a present-tense spirituality about reentering Paradise or going Back to Eden during this life teaches vegetarianism.

A Western Master of Sound & Light by the name of Pythagoras once said, “Our Earth has abundance of such pure and harmless foods and there is no need for us to partake of meals for which blood has to be shed and innocent life sacrificed.”

Pythagoras also said: “As long as Man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”

Just like the Pythagoreas gathered together at sunrise, so did members of a Jewish sect of antiquity known as the Therapeutae, and like the Essene branch of Judaism, they were vegetarians. Josephus and Philo wrote about the Essenes and Therapeutae. Philo of Alexandria describes meals at a Therapeutae monastic community in Alexandria: “…And the table, too, is kept clear of animal flesh, nothing which has blood, but there is placed upon it bread for food and salt for seasoning, to which also hyssop is sometimes added…”

John the Baptist Ate Locust (Carob) BEANS, NOT BUGS

“John the Baptist belonged to a group of ascetics who believed in repentance and in leading an austere lifestyle. The carob bean was seen as the diet of the lower class who normally endured hardship and exploitation from the priestly class. So we can conclude that JTB ate (locust plant) seed from the carob tree.” (Wiki Answers Website) Also according to the Gospel of the Ebionites, John the Baptist ate carob beans, bread or cakes made from carob bean (locust bean) flour.

In recent years some of us have noticed the vegetarianism and even veganism present in the original teachings of Jesus and Original Jesus Movement or Hebrew Christians (Ebionites, Nasoreans) found in the Gospel of the Hebrews, Aramaic texts, and other scriptures once used during the early centuries.  

Vegetarian Sayings of the Historic Jesus and His Spiritual Successors (Apostles) in the Original Jesus Movement (Ebionites of Israel)

“Be on guard, so that your hearts do not become heavy with the eating of flesh and with the intoxication of wine and with the anxiety of the world, and that day come upon you suddenly; for as a snare it will come upon all who dwell upon the surface of the earth.” (Jesus, Luke 21:34, Evangelion Da-Mepharreshe — Old Syriac-Aramaic Manuscript of the Gospel of Luke)

Like the Essenes, Jesus, his family, and the original followers were also vegetarians and opposed to all sacrifice of animals in the Jewish temple.

“I am come to do away with sacrifices, and if you cease not sacrificing, the wrath of God will not cease from you.” (saying of Jesus in the Gospel of the Hebrews)

Stopping Animal Sacrifice in the Temple of Jerusalem

During the First Century AD, the Essenes were one of the three main branches of Judaism. They were opposed to animal sacrifices being made in the Jewish temple and they were also known to be vegetarians. The Essenes were the group that Jesus and the first Christians, the Ebionites, were closest to, sharing with them many of the same values and sacred texts. Unlike the Sadducees and Pharisees, the Essenes are never criticized in the New Testament.

“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the Temple, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said: 'Get out of here.’ (John 2:13-16)

According to the Gospel of the Ebionites, Jesus also rejected the Passover meal:

"Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover?”

To which he replied:

“I have no desire to eat the flesh of this Paschal Lamb with you.”

The first followers of Jesus, also known as Ebionites or Nasoreans, were not only kosher, but also strictly adhered to a vegetarian diet. The largest surviving collection of Ebionite scriptures is the Clementine Homilies and the Recognitions of Clement, which are vegetarian gospels that condemn animal sacrifice in any form. For example, the Book of Homilies states that God does not want animals killed at all (3.45), and condemns those who eat meat (7.4, 7.8). And the passages below also show that the diet of the Original Jesus Movement was vegan – plant-based (no eggs, no dairy, and no animal products), as plants are the only foods mentioned in all the texts!

Peter said, “I live on olives and bread, to which I rarely only add vegetables.” (Clementine Homilies 12,6; also see, Recognitions 7,6)

“And happiness is found in the practice of virtue. Accordingly, the Apostle Matthew partook of seeds, and nuts, hard-shelled fruits, and vegetables, without flesh.” (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Book 2, Chapter 1)

“John never ate meat.” (Church historian Hegesipp according to Eusebius, History of the Church II 2:3)

“James, the brother of the Lord, lived on seeds and plants and touched neither meat nor wine.” (Epistulae ad Faustum XXII, 3)

“James, the brother of the Lord was holy from his mothers womb; and he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat flesh.” (Hegesippus, quoted in The Church History of Eusebius, book 2, chapter 23)

“James was a vegetarian.” (Biblical scholar Dr. Robert Eisenman, author of, “James, the Brother of Jesus”)

The following passage is from the Recognitions of Clement, another “Book of Acts”, an important scripture of early Christianity. This Ebionite Christian author has very nice things to say about those in India who worship One God, follow peaceful customs and laws, and are vegetarian or vegan, seeing parallels between his own religion and that of his brothers and sisters “in the Indian countries” of two thousand years ago:

“There are likewise amongst the Bactrians,
in the Indian countries,
immense multitudes of Brahmans,
who also themselves,
from the tradition of their ancestors,
and peaceful customs and laws,
neither commit murder nor adultery,
nor worship idols,
nor have the practice of eating animal food,
are never drunk,
never do anything maliciously,
but always revere God.”

(Recognitions of Clement, Book 9, Chapter 22, Brahmans, Volume Eight, in a New Testament Apocrypha Section of, “The Ante-Nicene Fathers”)

“The consumption of animal flesh was unknown up until the great flood. But since the great flood, we have had animal flesh stuffed into our mouths. Jesus, the Christ, who appeared when the time was fulfilled, again joined the end to the beginning, so that we are now no longer allowed to eat animal flesh.” (pro-vegetarian early church father Hieronymus)

Gnostic Vegetarianism and the Vegetarian Prayer of Thanksgiving in the Nag Hammadi Library (Gnostic Gospels)

The ethics of Jewish and Christian Gnostic sects of antiquity included vegetarianism. The Prayer of Thanksgiving, one of the Nag Hammadi scriptures unearthed in Egypt, describes a vegetarian communal meal as being part of Gnostic worship. The Manichaean Gnostics were known to be vegetarians. The Prophet Mani’s parents were followers of the Elkasites, which was a Jewish-Christian sect related to the Ebionites and Essenes. They were veg. Mani was the founder of Manichaean Gnosis and was vegetarian, and his inner circle of followers or initiates were as well. A group in China known as the Church of the Light , related to the Manichaeans and Syriac-Aramaic branch of Eastern Christianity, were vegetarians. Their beautiful scriptures are known as the Jesus Sutras.

The Gnostic and Hermetic Prayer of Thanksgiving in the Nag Hammadi Library, also a text found in the Corpus Hermetica of Egypt, describes a vegetarian communal meal or Gnostic love feast. At the end of the prayer the final verse reads:

“When they had said these things in the prayer, they embraced each other and they went to eat their holy food, which has no blood in it.”*

* “Vegetarian food” — footnote from the Marvin Meyer’s translation of this in, “The Gnostic Scriptures”.

* A vegetarian meal. This passage is also found in the Epilogue of Asclepius, in “HERMETICA,” translated by Sir Walter Scott: “Having prayed thus, let us betake ourselves to a meal unpolluted by flesh [animalia] of living things.”

* The G.R.S. Mead translation of the same passage: “With this desire we now betake us to our pure and fleshless meal.”

* “With such hopes we turn to a pure meal that includes no living thing.” (Asclepius, translated in “Hermetica”, Brian Copenhaver, Cambridge University Press)

The Vegan Evolution of Humanity: Vegetarianism is Going Vegan

Traditionally, Santmat and the yoga philosophy have advocated the lacto-vegetarian diet: abstinence from meat, fish, fowl, and eggs, but allowed dairy. Vegan means complete abstinence from all animal products and strictly adhering to a plant-based diet: no dairy, eggs, or meat of any kind, or products made from animals. Based on the current cruel practices of the dairy industry in India and around the world that violate the principle of ahimsa or non-violence, plus all the scores of medical studies showing that dairy consumption adversely affects our health and well-being, I believe if they were here today, the classic Saints such as Mahavira, Guru Kabir, Guru Nanak, Tukarama, Ravidas, Tulsi Das, Namdev, Dariya Sahib, etc…  would not only be advocating a vegetarian diet, but a vegan diet. These days, many are making this transition to vegan, including a growing percentage of those following Sant Mat. This is the compassionate direction that the vegetarian movement is headed in. Vegetarianism is going vegan.

For the medical, human health aspects of veganism, see the research of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of, “The China Study”, and Dr. Michael Greger, author of, “How Not To Die”, and creator of the NutritionFacts dot ORG website, a great online resource.

The Reality of Dairy Cruelty – the Final Destination of Dairy Cows is the Slaughterhouse

The following is excerpted from a document called, “My Visit to a Dairy Farm”, published by Pravin K. Shah of the Jaina Education Committee of Jainism (the vegan Jain movement), Jain e-Library, and the Jain Study Center:

“I visited a dairy farm located on Route 2 north of Burlington, Vermont (USA) in May of 1995. The dairy owns approximately 150 cows. All of its milk production is used to make ice cream.

"Here is the summary of what I saw and learnt:

"It was milking time (5:00 PM) and the cows were being milked in 3.5 minutes each by a machine. This is done without regard to how hard it is on the cow. It was extremely difficult to watch the cows’ sufferings during the milking. The machine has no feeling. To extract the last drop of milk sometimes traces of blood get mixed with the milk.

"Since cows produce the most milk after pregnancy, they are kept pregnant for their entire fertile life through artificial insemination.

"Every morning hormones or drugs are injected into the cows. They are also fed a diet geared toward high production of milk. The dairy cow produces about 8 times the amount of milk a cow on the traditional family farm produces.

"The gestation period of cow is 9 months same as human does. If a male calf, of no use to the dairy industry, is born, he is shipped to the veal industry within two or three days of birth. The evening I was there, the farm was shipping three baby calves in a truck to a veal factory. The mother cows were crying when their babies were separated from them. I cannot forget the scene and can still hear the cries of the mother cows.

"The veal industry is the most cruel meat industry in the world. It produces very tender meat that is considered a delicacy. The baby calves are raised in darkness in a very confining crate, which allows practically no movements. They are fed an iron-deficient diet. This way the meat gets very tender and properly textured. They slaughter the baby calves after six months. There is much literature available about cruelty in the veal industry.

"Within two months of delivery, the cows are impregnated again. I did not have the stamina to watch the process of artificial insemination that the farm was showing off.

"About four to five times a year, this farm would take the cows outside for a walk. Otherwise, the cows are tied in one place and they have no choice but to defecate where they are confined. It badly stunk when I was there; the farm would wash the confinement areas once or twice a day, and the remaining times the cows would live in their own waste.

"The life expectancy of cows is about 15 to 20 years. However, after about 4 to 5 years, their milk production capacity drops significantly so these cows are sent to the slaughterhouse for cheap meat which is used in fast food restaurants, hot dog filler, dog & cat food and a variety of other 'foodstuffs’. The rest of the body material (by products) turns up in the products like floor wax, pet-food, medicines, insulin, gelatin, footwear, upholstery, taco filling, cosmetics, candles, and soaps.”

“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” (Jiddu Krishnamurti)

Compassionate Vegan and Vegetarian Quotes From Supreme Master Ching Hai, and Buddhism

“A true vegetarian diet is vegan: Most of the milk production causes suffering, first of all because the babies of the mother cows are taken away at birth. Deprived from mother’s milk and mother’s love, they’ll be killed as soon as they’re taken away. Then, the mother is forcefully hooked up to a machine that can cause tormenting pain along with illness, just so that humans can take her milk.”

“This killing of other beings must be stopped for humanity to evolve as a civilization.”

“Making a vegan choice is thus a true advancement in the evolution and goodness of our humanity. And then we also know that like attracts like, goodness attracts more goodness. As we share this compassionate truth with others, not only will our own humanity be further uplifted, so will the world’s.”

“It’s the high time that the human race should rise to a higher level of consciousness. They should be noble, kind and compassionate. Go veg, be green, do good, is not just for the planet, it’s for the whole human race ennobling, spiritual merit and quality. They should do it, just for the sake of being noble.”

“We have to turn back to our caring and compassionate nature inside our heart. That’s very simple. We are that. We are compassion. We are merciful; we are caring.”

“If we truly wish to see real harmony born between humans and animals and nature and Heaven, we must be the harmony, we must live in harmony and act also in harmony, which includes the act of eating harmoniously each time we come to the table.”

“Even if the world reduces greenhouse gas emissions, the planet will take time to recover from the gases already in the atmosphere. This is why it is necessary to focus on short-lived gases, namely methane. Organic vegan will produce a beneficial, cooling effect as it will cut down methane and other greenhouse gases which are fatal to our survival.”

Change the World by Changing Ourselves: “It begins with us. Since time immemorial, evolution always begins with the individual. If we want to change the world, we change ourselves first. Now, even if the government forbids smoking or drinking or drugs, but if people individually continue, then we have not made much difference. So now, we have to change.“

“The more people who eliminate meat and, indeed, all animal products from their lives, the more we have a chance to save the planet and not only that, to actually restore our earthly home to her original grace and beauty and even more so, more than what we have known, more beautiful, more abundant, more peace, more gladness than what we have known up to now.”

– Quotes above are from Supreme Master Ching Hai, SMCH Association, from the online book: “From Crisis To Peace: The Organic Vegan Way is the Answer”

“The eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion.” (The Buddha, “Mahaparinirvana Sutra”)

“Veganism is simply letting compassion guide our choice of food. As such, it is a basic Buddhist practice that ought to be expected of everyone who takes refuge vows.” (Norm Phelps, “The Great Compassion: Buddhism & Animal Rights”)

“The Buddha’s teaching leads us to the realization that we must always strive to harm no sentient being, human or nonhuman, whether or not it is in our selfish interest to do so.” (Norm Phelps, “The Great Compassion: Buddhism & Animal Rights”)

“Meat eating and a compassionate religion do not go hand in hand.” (Bodo Balsys, “Ahimsa: Buddhism and the Vegetarian Ideal”)

Vegetarian Diet, Guru Nanak, Guru Kabir, Other Sikh Gurus and Scriptures

Nanak abstained from animal food and enjoined against cruelty to animals: “Having prohibited his disciples to drink wine and eat pork, he (Nanak) himself abstained from eating flesh and ordered not to hurt any living being.” (the Persian historian Mohsin Fani, DABISTAN-E-MAZAHIB)

“To take what rightfully belongs to another, is like a Muslim eating pork, or a Hindu eating beef. Our Guru, our Spiritual Guide, stands by us if we do not eat those carcasses. By mere talk, people do not earn Liberation. Salvation only comes from the practice of truth. By adding spices to forbidden foods, they are not made acceptable. O Nanak, from false talk, only falsehood is obtained”. (Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 141)

“Countless are the cutthroats who trade in violence. Countless are sinners who keep on sinning. Countless are liars, wandering lost in their lies. Countless are the impious who live on unwholesome food.” (Guru Nanak, Jap Ji, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 4)

“Living by neglect and greed, the world eats dead carcasses. Like a goblin or a beast, they kill and eat the forbidden carcasses of meat. Control your urges, or else you will be thrown into the tortures of hell.” (Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 723).

“Kabeer says, the dinner of beans and rice is excellent when flavored with salt. Who would cut throats to have meat with his bread?” (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1374)

“Kabeer: for those who consume marijuana, fish and wine, no matter what pilgrimages, fasts and rituals they follow, they will all be consigned to hell”. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1377)

“You keep your fasts to please Allah, while you murder other beings for pleasure. You look after your own interests, and so not see the interests of others. What good is your word? O Qazi, the One Lord is within you, but you do not think or contemplation on Him. You do not care for others, you are mad about religion, this is why your life is wasting away.” (Kabir, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 483)

“You kill living beings, and call it a righteous action. Tell me, brother, what would you call an unrighteous action? You call yourself the excellent sage; then whom would you call a butcher?” (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1103).      

Bhai Gurdaas Ji said: “They eat meat by cutting throats, what will their own condition be?” (Vaar 24, Pauree 17)

“One who does not steal, commit adultery, slander anyone, gamble, eat meat or drink wine will be liberated in this very life (i.e. Jeewan Mukt)”. (Guru Gobind Singh, 10th Sikh Guru, “Sudharam Marag Granth”)


Hebrew Basics #2: Pronouns, Sentence Structure

Hi Again!

Now that you’ve hopefully started to get Hebrew writing, it’s time to start with the language itself, beginning with the very base of the language - basic language structure.

First and foremost, here is a table of personal pronouns, since they’re pretty necessary for this lesson, and don’t require too much explaining behind them:

An easy way to remember them is:

  1. 1st person pronouns always start with אֲנ an-.
  2. 2nd person pronouns also always start with א alef, but always have a ת tav in them.
  3. 3rd person pronouns always start with ה he, and are monosyllabic.
  4. Male plural pronouns always end in a מ mem, while female plural pronouns always end in a נ nun.

אֲנוּ ánu is pretty much only used in formal settings, speeches, documents etc., not even in Biblical texts (it rose later in history).

אָנֹכִי anokhí is archaic these days, used primarily in Biblical texts and in some set phrases (e.g. אֲנִי וָאָנֹכִי aní va’anokhí ‘me, myself and I’), as well as serving as an adjective meaning ‘selfish.’

Moreover, some speakers merge the 2nd and 3rd person masculine and feminine plural pronouns, using only the masculine form. I don’t like prescribing you a correct and an incorrect way to say something - but I’ll let myself do so here. This is a language changing as we speak, and as of now this in-distinction is still pretty much universally viewed as incorrect. You can, and probably will, see it online or in speech, but most speakers (at least those I speak to) still make the distinction, especially with verb conjugations (as explained further in the lesson), and some will correct you if you don’t make it yourself.

What you might have noticed as well is the lack of a neutral pronoun. Hebrew nouns are all either male or female, and to refer to an inanimate noun you would simply refer to it by its appropriate pronoun. שֻׁלְחַן shulchán (table) is of masculine gender, so one will refer to it as הוּא hu (he); קַעֲרָה ka’ará (bowl) is of feminine gender, so one will refer to it as הִיא hi (she).

Side note: as there are no gender neutral 2nd and 3rd person pronouns, this creates some problems in feminist and LGBT circles. It’s simply impossible to refer to a group of people by a gender-inclusive pronoun, neither is it possible to refer to someone without explicitly saying what binary gender your referring to them with.

Before I explain sentence types I need to set out word order. Since verbs are conjugated to encode tense, number, gender and person (1st, 2nd and 3rd persons) of the subject, Hebrew generally has pretty free word order. This is because it is usually clear who the subject is through conjugation and context. Another consequence of this is frequent dropping of subject pronouns, since it is already specified through the verb.

However, most sentences still fall under SVO word order - where the subject comes first in a sentence, then the verb, then any objects the subject acts upon. For example:

1. אָכַלְתִּי תַּפּוּחַ. akhálti tapúach. - I ate an apple. (literally: I-ate[S+V] apple[O].)
2. יוֹנָתָן לִטֵּף אֵת הַכֶּלֶב. Yonatán litéf et hakélev. - Yonatan pet the dog. (literally: Yonatan[S] pet[V] direct object preposition the dog[O].)
3. הַסַּפְרָן יִתֵּן לִי אֵת הַסֵּפֶר. hasafrán yitén li et haséfer. - The librarian (m) will give me the book. (literally: the-librarian[S] will-give[V] to-me[O] direct object preposition the-book[O].)

(Note: even if it doesn’t look like it, the period / full stop comes after the text - to the left. So do exclamation and question marks. Typing right-to-left text embedded in a left-to-right language is very annoying, so you should get used to punctuation, vowel points and generally everything to not fall where you actually put your cursor. It’s terrible. Also, vowel points don’t get bolded with the rest of the text?? w h y)

Occasionally, in more higher speech as well as in Biblical texts, Hebrew also shows VSO word order. Hence, all of these sentences could alternatively be said like so:

1. אָכַלְתִּי תַּפּוּחַ. akhálti tapúach. - I ate an apple. (literally: I-ate[S+V] apple[O].)
2. לִטֵּף יוֹנָתָן אֵת הַכֶּלֶב. litéf Yonatán et hakélev. - Yonatan pet the dog. (literally: pet[V] Yonatan[S] direct object preposition the-dog[O].)
3. יִתֵּןהַסַּפְרָן לִי אֵת הַסֵּפֶר. yiténhasafrán li et haséfer. - The librarian (m) will give me the book. (literally: will-give[V] the-librarian[S] to-me[O] direct object preposition the-book[O].)

In 1, the verb and the subject are conjoined, therefore flipping their order doesn’t make any sense and the sentence stays the same.

That being said, these days SVO word order is a lot more common that VSO, especially in speech, so don’t worry too much about it, just know it’s used. Personally, I tend to used VSO in some cases for school essays, but that’s about it - and even this is mostly my personal tendency. Again, don’t think about it too much.

Sentence Structure - Syntax!

Hebrew sentences are generally separated into two categories: verbal sentences and nominal sentences. A verbal sentence, מִשְׁפָּט פָּעֳלִי mishpát po’olí (more commonly pronounced po’alí), is a sentence that contains a subject (some type of noun or verb phrase) and an action verb, also called the predicate. This, you might recognize, is the basic sentence structure of English as well. In fact, the vast majority of languages only possess this type of sentence. Nominal sentences are where stuff gets interesting.

A nominal sentence, מִשְׁפָּט שְׁמָנִי mishpát shemaní, as you might have guessed, is a sentence where instead of a nominal subject and an action verb - there’s just another noun (or adjective) acting as the predicate. These are characteristic to Semitic languages and Russian (I’m not sure about other Slavic languages), among others. For example:

1. הַדֹּב הַזֶּה מְאֹד יָפֶה. hadóv haze me’ód yafé. - This bear is very pretty. (literally: bear this very pretty.)
2. אֲנִי רְעֵבָה. aní re’evá. - I am hungry. (literally: I hungry (female))
3. הוּא כֶּלֶב. hu kélev. - He is a dog. (literally: he dog).

To negate the sentence, simply put לֹא

As you might have noticed, the key characteristic is where English would put the verb to be, Hebrew just doesn’t put anything, because there is no equivalent in Hebrew. The languages simply lacks a copula (the linguistic term for verbs like to be, whose purpose is linking the subject to a non-verb predicate).

Well… not quite.

You see, without a copula, there would be no way of indicating different tenses. When the sentence is word-for-word ‘I hungry’ or ‘he dog,’ where do you mark the tense? For this there’s a nice and clever solution - copulae! Yep, Hebrew didn’t wanna feel left out of the copula club so it made itself copulae of its own.

There are many types of copulae, to mark different types of relations, but for now I’ll introduce you to most common and most simple one. To mark present tense sentences use the 3rd person pronouns הוּא, הִיא, הֵם, הֵן, and for past and future tenses it uses conjugations of the verb הָיָה hayá*, ‘to be,’ as following:

*I refer to all verbs in this series with their 3rd person, masculine past tense form. This is because verb infinitives in Hebrew, as you will learn, are not a great way to represent the verb, and the 3rd person masc. form of a verb is considered the most basic form of the verb in all different conjugations.

If this seems like a lot to take in - it’s because it is. Hebrew verb conjugation is pretty complicated, and it doesn’t help that הָיָה hayá is quite an irregular verb. I don’t recommend you try and understand it fully, as I’ll be teaching everything you need to know about Hebrew verb conjugation pretty soon. For now, just take it at face value.


  1. If you have keen eyes, you might notice the /i/ after the /h/ in the transliteration of all future tense conjugations, that shouldn’t be there according to the vowel points. If not, notice it now. This is because it’s difficult to pronounce a /h/ without any consonant afterwards, so a dummy vowel was inserted after it. This is a common phenomenon in Hebrew with some consonants, but I won’t explain it now, as it’s quite complicated. (the different vowel points in the 1st person is just that I found two different vowel markings that seem to have no real difference between them)
  2. For the present tense 1st and 2nd persons no copula is used. My guess is that this is because the subject can only ever be ‘I’ or ‘you’ when talking about 1st and 2nd person subjects, so repeating the same pronoun twice is useless. This is the case for 3rd person subjects as well: if the subject itself is ‘he,’ ‘she’ or ‘they,’ you don’t repeat the same pronoun as a copula.
  3. This is getting a bit into verb conjugations, but the 2nd person plural past tense forms (now try saying that three times in a row) have two pronunciations: the top is the ‘correct’ one used formally, and the bottom is the one you’d actually hear pretty much everywhere, as it fits the conjugation pattern more regularly.
  4. The 2nd and 3rd person feminine plural future tense conjugation, as marked on the table, is very rare nowadays, and shifting towards merging with the equivalent masculine conjugation. In fact, even the 2nd person plural past tense conjugations (marked with the 3), are starting to lose their distinction between masculine and feminine, just like the pronounced mentioned in the beginning of this lesson, but this is still widely considered a grammatical mistake and I do advise that you keep the distinction - people will just correct you otherwise.

The examples above in different tenses would be:

1. הַדֹּב הַזֶּה הָיָה מְאֹד יָפֶה. hadóv haze hayá me’ód yafé. - This bear was very pretty. (literally: bear this was very pretty.)
2. אֲנִי הָיִיתִי רְעֵבָה. aní hayíti re’evá. - I was hungry. (literally: I was hungry [female])
3. הוּא הָיָה כֶּלֶב. hú hayá kélev. - He was a dog. (literally: he was dog).

1. הַדֹּב הַזֶּה יִהְיֶה מְאֹד יָפֶה. hadóv haze yihiyé me’ód yafé. - This bear will be very pretty. (literally: bear this will-be very pretty.)
2. אֲנִי אֶהֱיֶה רְעֵבָה. aní eheyé re’evá. - I will be hungry. (literally: I will-be hungry (female))
3. הוּא יִהְיֶה כֶּלֶב. hú yihiyé kélev. - He will be a dog. (literally: he will-be dog).


For the next 10 sentences, I’ll leave out the copula, and you should fill it in according to the tense and gender given in the brackets… if you even need the copula!!! muahahahaha

Don’t worry, they’re as simple as it gets.

1. הַכּוֹס ___ יְרֻקָּה. hakós ___ yeruqá. (fem. sing. past)
2. בְּנִי ___ חָכָם. bní ___ chakhám. (masc. sing. future)
3. מָסָךְ הַטֶּלֶוִיזְיָה שֶׁלִּי ___ לָבָן. masákh hatelevízya sheli ___ laván. (masc. sing. past)
4. הַלֵּב ___ הָאֵיבַר הֲכִי חָשׁוּב בַּגּוּף. halév ___ ha’evár hakhí chashúv bagúf. (masc. sing. present)
5. כְּרוּבִית ___ יֶרֶק. kruvít ___ yérek. (fem., sing., present)
6. מֶזֶג הָאֲוִיר מָחָר ___ קַר. mézeg ha’avír machar ___ kár. (masc. sing. future)
7. הֵן ___ בָּנוֹת נִפְלָאוֹת. hen __ banót nifla’ót. (fem. pl. present)
8. הַשֻּׁלְחַנוֹת שֶׁלָּהֶן ___ חֻמִּים. hashulchanót shelahen ___ chumím.(masc. pl. future)
9. הַהֲלִיכוֹן ___ מָהִיר מִדַּי. hahalichón ___ mahír miday. (masc. sing. past)
10. מִשְׁקָפַי ___ חֲזָקִים. mishkafái ___ chazaqím. (masc. pl. present)

Answer Key

1. הָיְתָה haytá (The cup was green.)
2. יִהְיֶה yihiyé (My son will be smart.)
3. הָיָה hayá (My TV screen was white.)
4. [הוּא] / - hu / - (The heart is the most important organ in the body.)
5. [הִיא] / - ; hi / - (Cauliflower is a vegetable.)
6. יִהְיֶה yihiyé (The weather tomorrow will be cold.)
7. - (They are wonderful girls.)
8. יִהְיוּ yihiyú (Their (f) tables will be brown.)
9. הָיָה hayá (The treadmill was too fast.)
10. הֵם / [-] ; hem / - (My glasses are strong.)

In the present tense examples I marked the option more likely to be heard with square brackets. I’m not sure why it is for each example, but the other option just sounds less natural.

Aaaaand that’s it for today!

Next time… Verbs??? probably

See you next week :)


עַל שְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד, עַל הַתּוֹרָה וְעַל הָעֲבוֹדָה וְעַל גְּמִילוּת חֲסָדִים

Shimon the Righteous, Pirkei Avot 1:2

Translation:  “Upon three things the world stands, upon Torah and upon worship and upon deeds of loving kindness”

An incredible 2,700 year-old Papyrus bearing the oldest known mention of Jerusalem in Hebrew. This fragile piece of Jewish history was plundered from a cave in the Judean desert and then recovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority. The full Hebrew text reads : “From the female servant of the King, from Naharata (near Jericho) two wineskins to Jerusalem.” This is from the time of the First Temple.

The UN has just passed two outrageous resolutions claiming that there is no link between the Temple Mount, the most sacred site in Judaism ( which they have now renamed Al Haram Al Sharif ) and the Jewish people

“Lucifer” in Isaiah 14:12 presents a minor problem to mainstream Christianity. It becomes a much larger problem to Bible literalists. LUCIFER IS NOT SATAN!

 Lucifer makes its appearance in the fourteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Isaiah, at the twelfth verse, and nowhere else:

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”

“O Lucifer” was used to express “O shining one”, and not the name of a biblical character, and certainly not Satan. Its own simple context clearly shows this.

The first problem is that Lucifer is a Latin word. So how did it find its way into a Hebrew manuscript, written before there was a Roman language? To find the answer, I consulted a scholar at the library of the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. What Hebrew name, I asked, was Satan given in this chapter of Isaiah, which describes the angel who fell to become the ruler of hell?

The answer was a surprise. In the original Hebrew text, the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah is not about a fallen angel, but about a fallen Babylonian king, who during his lifetime had persecuted the children of Israel. It contains no mention of Satan, either by name or reference. The Hebrew scholar could only speculate that some early Christian scribes, writing in the Latin tongue used by the Church, had decided for themselves that they wanted the story to be about a fallen angel, a creature not even mentioned in the original Hebrew text, and to whom they gave the name “Lucifer.”

Why Lucifer? In Roman astronomy, Lucifer was the name given to the morning star (the star we now know by another Roman name, Venus). The morning star appears in the heavens just before dawn, heralding the rising sun. The name derives from the Latin term lucem ferre, bringer, or bearer, of light.“ In the Hebrew text the expression used to describe the Babylonian king before his death is Helal, son of Shahar, which can best be translated as "Day star, son of the Dawn.” The name evokes the golden glitter of a proud king’s dress and court (much as his personal splendor earned for King Louis XIV of France the appellation, “The Sun King”).

The scholars authorized by King James I to translate the Bible into current English did not use the original Hebrew texts, but used versions translated … largely by St. Jerome in the fourth century. Jerome had mistranslated the Hebraic metaphor, “Day star, son of the Dawn,” as “Lucifer,” and over the centuries a metamorphosis took place. Lucifer the morning star became a disobedient angel, cast out of heaven to rule eternally in hell. Theologians, writers, and poets interwove the myth with the doctrine of the Fall, and in Christian tradition Lucifer is now the same as Satan, the Devil, and — ironically — the Prince of Darkness.

So “Lucifer” is nothing more than an ancient Latin name for the morning star, the bringer of light. That can be confusing for Christians who identify Christ himself as the morning star, a term used as a central theme in many Christian sermons. Jesus refers to himself as the morning star in Revelation 22:16: “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”

And so there are those who do not read beyond the King James version of the Bible, who say ‘Lucifer is Satan: so says the Word of God’….“

- Doc de Lux

@queerken it’s perfectly fine if you want to interpret david and johnathan’s bond as a platonic friendship. the bible is an ancient and complex text with numerous interpretations. but take care to make sure you’re not trivializing in the process, yeah?

the hebrew text very often uses the term ahava to refer to their love. this is the same term which the bible uses to describe heterosexual relationships and relationships between god and people. using the same signifier for straight romances and spiritual bonds signifies to me that they had a relationship which was not just respectful, but profound in its closeness, and perhaps even transcendent. there’s room for romantic interpretation in that alone, in my opinion.

johnathan’s end of their relationship was not even in the territory of disinterested. the man was willing to go against his family and his social status for david. johnathan chose to make a covenant with david. the two men consistently tell each other how much they wish to remain devoted to each other. for david to say that the bond with johnathan was stronger than his bond with any woman isn’t putting down women, but simply saying that the intensity of their bond was such that he experienced it more deeply than any other. that’s not naïveté, that’s unadulterated love. whether it’s purely spiritual, also romantic, or perhaps even physical, what they share between them is an equal, lasting love.

also ‘women were a means to patriarchal ends, seldom anything else?’ you do realize you’re talking about the book where women become powerful rulers (deborah) or liberate their people from war or threats of death (esther, judith, jael). it was women like mary of nazareth and mary magdalene who brought the savior into the world and was first to know of his return. and this isn’t even mentioning the long list of strong female martyrs and saints. women have always been movers, shakers, and rule-breakers in the bible, not for the good of men’s wants, but for the good of their own needs. don’t look at only lot’s wife and say all women are passive, immobile pillars of salt

gracelessace  asked:

(1/2) You had a great post on early Genesis and gender, and you mainly talked about Genesis 1:27-28. I found it interesting that throughout the entire creation story, this first of the adam was never named- in my translation he's just called "the human" whereas Eve is named after their expulsion from the Garden (3:20). I was looking to see if Adam was ever named, and I found he was in Chapter 5- "This is the record of Adam's descendants. On the day God created humanity, he made them to resemble

(2/2) God and created them male and female. He blessed them and called them humanity (adam) when they were created.“ (Ch. 5:1-2) Do you have anything to say or any notes on the original Hebrew text and/or meaning of this passage, and what that would mean for your interpretation?

Oh thank you for this ask! While writing that post I was trying to remember if Adam was ever actually called Adam as his name rather than to mean “the human” and I guess I didn’t look far enough ahead – there it is at the start of chapter 5 indeed. 

I’ll pull apart the Hebrew of 5:1-2 now and let’s see what we find.

My translation: “This is the book of the begettings [generations/descendants] of Adam. On the day God created adam, in the likeness of God he made them; male and female he created them and blessed them and called their name adam on the day they were created.” 

[Spoilers: I find that the most interesting bullet point is the last one, so feel free to skip to that.] 

  • “…of Adam.” – This is indeed a usage of the noun adam as a proper name rather than as “the human;” we know this because the article ha (“the”) is not used with it – as well as common sense given that it’s used with the word “descendants” and genealogies are always of specific people. (There are no capital letters in Hebrew so that wouldn’t help us know it’s a name.) 
  • “On the day God created adam– here I suppose adam could be the name Adam since it doesn’t have the article ha with it, but it’s more likely to mean humanity since in the next verse it’s going to refer back to this use of adam with a plural verb (which we’ll get to in a second). 
  • “in the likeness of God he made them” – here we have the singular masculine (or default neutral by English reckoning) pronoun used in Genesis 1:27 to refer to the collective plural implied in adam.
  • “male and female he created them” – here the pronoun is plural.
  • “and blessed them and called their name adam” – here’s the most interesting part interpretively I’d say.
    First of all, we have the same idea found in 1:28, that God blesses not just the “male” but the “female,” so yay for that.
    Then, for something new (not super revelational but as a supplement to what we discovered in Genesis 1 and 2), we have the specific naming of these first humans as simply adam by God. More on that below.

So to me these couple of verses further bolster what I discussed in the previous post, with a little bit extra to add to the interpretation.

Things that 5:1-2 re-affirms from the Genesis 1 and 2 verses of the previous post without adding much new: 
- that God made “male and female” (with the possibility that this is not a binary “and”) in general, but with no mention of God labeling individual humans as either male or female (or neither, etc.). So the possibility that God allows humans to gender themselves after having created those genders (or sexes? or simply physical differences that humans will then try to make sense of through coming up with gender??), rather than “selecting” a gender for each of us, still stands. 

Things that are iterated in new ways here in 5:1-2:
- The word adam being used as the proper name for that first human, Adam, which doesn’t have much to do with the gender interpretation but is good to note since he’s called that in other places in scripture so it’s clearly part of the tradition that the first person’s name was Adam.
- The idea that God named these new beings adam, or humanity/humankind. In Genesis 1 and 2 we could imply that adam is what God called them – rather than ish (man) and/or ishah (woman) – since that is the word used in the text while God makes them, sets the first adam in the Garden, and so on. But here we learn for sure that God calls them adam as their name. Again, this isn’t some huge revelation, but to me it further bolsters the idea that God did not “name” their gender for them – God simply named them all human, with male and female (the “and” holding a whole spectrum of gender) as part of collective humanity but not imposed by God onto individual persons, if that makes sense.

If anyone has more commentary on gender in early Genesis, I’d love to hear it!

On This Day in 1517

On This Day in 1517

Martin Luther nailed his list of 95 theses on indulgences to the church door at Wittenberg.

German professor of theology, Martin Luther, strongly rejected many of the teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic church, the major religion in Europe at the time. Particularly, he objected to the practice of offering ‘indulgences’, whereby the sinner would have to perform a certain task (say, repeating a specific prayer a number of times, taking a pilgrimage, or undertaking a series of good works) which would reduce the amount of punishment received after death in a state before reaching heaven called purgatory.

Wealthy patrons of the church began to pay for their indulgences during the middle ages. Luther objected to this on a number of grounds, believing that the good will of God could not be gained by good deeds alone, but only as a gift of God’s grace that could be received through the believer’s faith in Jesus Christ. He also rejected the concept that the Pope was God’s representative on earth and therefore a conduit to further holy knowledge, stating instead that the Bible was the sole source of divine wisdom received from God. He also considered that all Christians were part of a 'holy priesthood’ (not just those dedicating their life to the church).

Luther also translated the Bible from Latin into German, making it more widely accessible to the common people. This also influenced other translations of the Bible, like the Tyndale Bible, translated directly from Greek and Hebrew texts by William Tyndale.

The nailing of the 95 Theses to Wittenberg church is considered to be the beginning of what is now known as the Protestant Reformation in Europe, a major break from the Roman Catholic church based on the principles above and a simpler religious practice.