Hebrew Class

Our second week of school is finished. It’s been a week of blessing.

The weather is now cool and growing more autumn-ish. The highs are in the 60s or 70s, and fall into the 40s at night. I love it, especially after the unbearably hot summer we had. I wearing sweatshirts and eating winter foods. Soon the trees will turn beautiful colors, and the leaves will rain down, and we will shuffle our feet through piles of fallen leaves as we walk. Soon we will be able to start up our woodstove, and we will get cider and donuts. Yeah!

I went with EJ to the doctor on Wednesday to follow up on his blood tests and MRI. His blood tests came back all good. He has arthritis, but not rheumatoid arthritis, which is good. And his back shows no degeneration since 2008, which is VERY good. He is having a flare up of problems with his herniated disk, but NOT degeneration. It’s such encouraging news.

One of my Facebook friends wrote on her status earlier this week that she was enjoying her Hebrew class, and I commented that I was delighted that she could attend a Hebrew class with a real teacher. I said I was slightly “envious” because I have told God that I wish I had someone to teach/practice Hebrew with–because there is no better way to learn a language than to talk to someone who knows it. However, I live in a very small village of 700, and the chances of finding anyone who speaks Hebrew is astronomical. Then my friend told me that the class is on-line, through Google+ video-chatting, and that maybe I could join too, so I contacted the woman teaching it. The class was full (Google only allows groups of ten to connect), but some people hadn’t participated, so she asked them if they wanted to continue in the class and one cancelled, and I squeezed in because of it. People from Indiana, Texas, Florida, and who knows where else are participating. I told my son that I want him to participate too. He is reluctant to speak a new language on video cam with people he doesn’t know–and so am I, especially since I’m not particularly good at speaking languages–but I told him that it is an OPPORTUNITY we can’t miss if we are to really learn Hebrew. The class meets on Sunday evenings at 10 p.m. for me in my timezone. I am not a night-owl and learning Hebrew at 10 p.m. when I am tired might not be pretty, but I am seizing the opportunity.

My friend who told me about the class called me yesterday. I met her several years ago on the Hebrew4Christian forums, and we have discussed deep thoughts, encouraged each other, and prayed for each other over the years. I have never heard her voice until yesterday. It was such a blessing! We might “get together” during the week via phone to practice Hebrew together in participation for our next class. That would be cool.

When I was in eighth grade, I took a term of Spanish. The teacher was so fun that I enjoyed Spanish and took it in my freshman year of high school, but the high school teacher was not a good teacher so I lost my love of Spanish and never took it again. I told my husband that Hebrew is different than any other language. In other languages, a person learns that THIS word means THAT in the language–like cat is gato in Spanish. It’s a substitution of one word for another. But learning Hebrew is not merely learning different words, but it is learning a different way of thinking–there are meanings within meanings, and connections you would never think to make. Hebrew is actually learning to how to live. For example, as I wrote before, the word for faith (emunah) means “faithfulness, steadfastness, steadiness, fidelity.”  When you know this, you know that faith doesn’t mean just “praying a salvation prayer” and then living as you please, but it means living a life of faithfully trusting and walking with God. The word devar  means both word and thing, which seems odd until you understand that God spoke the world (things) into being, and that we, on a limited scale, can cause things to happen with our words. Discipleship doesn’t mean sitting in a discipleship classroom learning and memorizing a bunch of doctrine or catechism to believe. In Jesus’ day, a disciple (talmid) would live with his rabbi and observe what he taught and how he lived. A rabbi taught by example. It was very active and participatory. This has changed my thinking so that I try to live what I believe and teach through how I live. There is so much about how to live in Hebrew, that it is a deeply, deeply beautiful and satisfying language to learn. It is the language of life and living. It has changed my life.

There are also things I have grown to appreciate about the way Jewish people learn. I learned that they have friends (chaverim

And I am so EXCITED about Hebrew Class and the opportunity to study with some new Chaverim!

By the way, if you want to learn Hebrew, a really good book is Zola Levitt’s Introduction to Hebrew by John Parsons. A good book about Hebrew ways of thinking is Lois Tverberg’s Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus. You can find both books in the Amazon carousel at the right of this blog.

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