Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Today's Hebrew Moment

So. (You might need to know a little Hebrew, or at least a little about Hebrew, to get the humor.)

We are learning Hebrew by dissecting Genesis 22 (the story of the binding of Issac) syllable by syllable. Twelve hours of class thus far; 1.5 verses.

I finally realized that I need to work ahead in the workbook as much as I can before class, so that I do not have to sit there in abject dismay as everything flies right by me. This way, I've gotten about half the material beforehand and I mostly know what I don't understand. (Not, as it turns out, always.)

This morning I made it through class and then spent a couple of hours with Long Suffering Professor. At first there was a small group of us, The Lost The Baffled and The Utterly Confused, but eventually our numbers dwindled to just me.

I had a few more questions, and I pulled out the copy of the passage that I had photocopied and enlarged on 8.5"x14" paper so that I could see all the little dots and dashes, and placed it on the table.

"You've got it upside down," said LSP.


Anonymous said...

Chuckling at this upside down thing, knowing how much it has helped me when someone explains the Hebrew meaning of the original words.

If it makes you feel better about the universe, we re-did our tiny goldfish pond, put in a waterfall. After the first half hour that the pump ran, the bigger fish started playing Salmon Run at the edge of the fall, flinging their little bodies up to get ??? where ? bruising their tiny brains against the rock. Is this how it is to learn Hebrew?


Stushie said...

Once you hit the Hebrew moment, it will embrace your soul. I studied it for six years and loved it.

Michelle said...

Oh dear...oh dear... {{HUGS}}

ROBERTA said...

oops...maybe it just makes more sense upside down...may it permeate your brain from whichever end is up!

Carol said...

Thanks for my laugh for the day, GG! Unless you're reading something directly from Torah that also has trope symbols (the markings that tell you how to chant it) the best way to know what you're doing is to know that the dots and dashes are UNDER the letters. And if you're trying to learn to read/translate hebrew with trope symbols then respectfully request that they give you something without them. At least they're starting with a passage that you're familiar with. I'll be anxious to hear their interpretation of the word "hineni". (E-mail me for the backstory as to why.)

Gannet Girl said...

Hineni = Here I am (?)

We did it today.

But I just had to look it up because despite doing it at least 10x, I forgot it.

No trope symbols. That would be the end of me. Actually the last 3 hours may have been the end. I am getting to where I can understand about half of it, and remember about zero.

Jodie said...

That was really funny!

Maybe now it will start making more sense?

(couldn't get any worse...)

Joan Calvin said...

Well, you're not alone. I was struggling with a text and nothing seemed to make sense. Then I realized that I was reading it right to left and it was Greek, not Hebrew. Good luck and blessings.

Jim said...

I find myself smiling at your last few entries, not so much out of my own experience with Serbo-Croatian and Russian (I, too, learned along the way that "if you don't use it, you lose it"), but out of a course I once took while in the Navy on busting codes. I'd sit for days sometimes torturing my brain in an attempt to solve an aplhabetic mixture of characters in front of me. Then suddenly a light bulb would go off and the key to the whole mystery would be sitting there, right where it had always been, right in front of me! It works the same way with my favorite form of entertainment: super hard crossword puzzles. I fill them in until my head hurts, lay down the book; and am always amazed a few days later to find, in picking it up once again, that so many answers are immediately clear to me.

You can do this. Hang in there...

Hebrew Student said...

Interesting to read your blog entry about reading Genesis 22 in Hebrew. This was one of the first passages I could read in the Torah. It was incredibly exciting to open up the pages of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and read from its pages in Hebrew, no longer obscured by a translation, absorbing the very words and phrases that were inspired by YHWH almost 4 thousand years ago. Kol hakavod!