Archive for December, 2010

Hebrew for Beginners – Updated Schedule for Feb/March 2011

December 21, 2010

Dedicated to the True Beginner, this Hebrew class for adults will start at the beginning with the Alef Bet. Within just a few weeks you’ll be reading the blessing for lighting Shabbat candles! You will also practice the blessings for Torah-study and the New Moon; expressions in Modern Hebrew; as well as selections from the Mourner’s Kaddish, the Book of Esther, and the Passover Haggadah.

Thursdays, 5:00 – 6:00 PM
Due to January snowstorms, the start of this seven-week class has been postponed until the first Thursday in February.

Updated Schedule (as of January 27, 2011):
February 3, 10, 17;
March 3, 10, 17, 24.

Tuition:
$100 for members of Kerem Shalom;
$136 for non-members.

Registration: rosaliege@comcast.net

Kerem Shalom
659 Elm Street
Concord, MA 01742

Textbook: Learn Hebrew Today: Alef-Bet for Adults, by Yedwab and Bogot. You can purchase it online, at a Jewish book store, or at the first class meeting ($11).

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Last Night of Hanukkah: “These Candles”

December 8, 2010

Finally, a translation of “hallalu”!

It means “these.”

In traditional Jewish practice HaNeirot Hallalu is recited immediately after lighting the Hanukkah candles.  The first two words of this paragraph-long prayer — which occur twice there in the exact same form — are usually translated as “these candles.”

That second word, hallalu, is tantalizingly similar to Hebrew words meaning things like “shine brightly” and “sing praises.”  However, as we discussed in my Advanced-Intermediate Hebrew class last night, the word doesn’t fit grammatically with these meanings, or with any Hebrew verb or adjective.

According to Klein: halah = m. & f. pronoun THAT. [Formed from the definite article ha… plus the deictic element …l. Compare with hallalu.] So “hallalu” is the plural pronoun, translated THESE.

Question: Why doesn’t the prayer use the more common plural demonstrative for “these,” i.e., “ha-eileh”?
Answer: I don’t know.

Still, it was extremely satisfying to find the correct translation.  It was fun looking up the English word “deictic,” too.

After lighting the candles and reciting the blessings, and also after reciting HaNeirot Hallalu, it is traditional to sing songs such as Ma’oz Tzur, Mi Yimaleil, S’vivon, etc.