Cheat Sheet

Hebrew For Dummies

From Hebrew For Dummies by Jill Suzanne Jacobs

The ancient language of Hebrew is still spoken today and if you want to speak it, you need to know common greetings, basic questions, and the Hebrew alphabet. A Jewish blessing in Hebrew shows the language in action.

How to Ask Questions in Hebrew

To master Hebrew — or any language — you need to be able to ask questions. The following table lists the common question words and a few common questions that can come in useful if you’re in a Hebrew-speaking community:

Question Hebrew (pronunciation) Question Hebrew (pronunciation)
Who Mi (mee) How Eich (ech)
What Mah (mah) How much does it cost? Kamah Zeh Oleh? (kah-mah zeh oh-leh)
When Matai (mah-tye) Where are the restrooms? Eifo HaSherutim? (ay-foh hah-sheh-roo-teem)
Where Eifo (ay-foh) What's the time? Mah HaSha’ah? (mah hah-shah-ah)
Why Lamah (lah-mah) What happened? Mah Karah? (mah kah-rah)

Common Greetings and Phrases in Hebrew

Being able to greet people in Hebrew and say simple phrases helps you feel comfortable in the language and leads to conversations through which you can further expand your Hebrew proficiency. The following table offers basic words and phrases used when meeting and greeting people:

Word/Phrase Hebrew (pronunciation) Word/Phrase Hebrew (pronunciation) Word/Phrase Hebrew (pronunciation)
good morning Boker Tov (boh-kehr tohv) hello, good-bye, peace Shalom (shah-lohm) What’s your name? (MS) Eich Korim Lecha? (eich koh-reem leh-chah)
good afternoon) Tzohorayim Tovim (tzoh-hoh-rah-yeem toh-veem) please and you’re welcome Bevakasha (beh-vah-kah-shah) What’s your name? (FS) Eich Korim Lach? (eich koh-reem lach)
good night Lilah Tov (lye-lah tohv) excuse me Slicha (slee-chah) How are you? (MS) Mah Shlomcha? (mah shlohm-chah)
good Sabbath Shabbat Shalom (shah-baht shah-lohm) thanks Todah (toh-dah) How are you? (FS) Mah Shlomech?(mah shloh-mech)
a good week Shavua Tov (shah-voo-ah tohv) see you soon Lehitraot (leh-heet-rah-oht)

The Hebrew Alphabet

The Hebrew alphabet is comprised of 24 letters and a point system that denotes vowel sounds because the alphabet itself has no vowels. The following table lists the letters and their sounds followed by the points and which vowel sound each represents.

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A Basic Blessing in Hebrew

You can use this great all-purpose Jewish blessing in Hebrew any time you experience something new (such as eating the first fruit of the season), or experience something wonderful — a wedding, a new job, a new contract, or whatever).

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Hebrew: Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha’Olam, Sh’hecheyanu, V’Kiyemanu, V’Higianu LaZman HaZeh.

Pronunciation: bah-rooch ah-tah ah-doh-noye eh-loh-hay-noo meh-lehch hah-oh-lahm, sheh-cheh-hee-yah-noo veh-kee-yah-mah-noo veh-hee-gee-ah-noo lahz-mahn hah-zeh.

Translation: Praised are You, the Eternal One our God, Ruler of the Cosmos, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this moment.

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