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Hebrew Lesson Number 28:

At the Barbershop


Jonathan surprised Eran by inviting his acting partner Elad to join this Hebrew lesson. Together they will act out a scene from their recent play and introduce us to a new Hebrew building block: Hitpa-el.

Introduction to Lesson 28: 

At the Barbershop

Learn Hebrew Pod - Lesson No. 28

Each year for four days in October, the streets of Akko play host to one of Israel’s leading cultural events--The Akko Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre.  

Akko is a mixed city of both Arabs and Jews, and the festival includes both Hebrew and Arabic plays and Jewish-Arab co-productions. 

Sounds exciting!  me-od meragesh!  

It attracts people of all ages from all over Israel and is full of fringe theatre shows, colorful street events, and street theatre performances. 

Sounds exciting!  me-od meragesh! 


At this year’s festival, Jonathan got to see Eran in a fantastic production.  He was so impressed that he invited Eran’s acting partner, Elad, to join our lesson and give us an encore performance.  

The barbershop scene from their play is full of verbs in a brand new Hebrew building block . . . so not only will we get to meet Elad, we’ll also get to meet 

Eran and Elad will give us a very helpful review of the Hebrew building block system.  We’ll recognize again why pa-al is called pa-al, and we’ll learn why 
hitpa-el is called hitpa-el.

הוא מסתפר

All of this . . . plus some free theatre!  Who can top that?  So join us, and you’ll agree . . . Learn Hebrew Pod shiur mispar esrim ve-shmone deserves a standing ovation!  

Team Conversation from the Lesson:

Eran and Elad

ערן ואלעד

Jonathan: shalom uvruchim ha-ba-im le-shi-ur mispar esrim ve-shmone - Hello and welcome to lesson twenty eightshalom Eran, ma shlomcha?

Eran: shalom Yonatanshlomi ne-hedar ve-ani margish mezzu-yanma shlomcha? eych avar alecha chag ha-sukot? - How was your Sukkoth Holiday?

Jonathan: ha-ya mamash achla chagmeod kef - It was a really great holiday, I had a lot of fun.   yazzati leta-yel kzzat ba-teva - I went on a little nature walkbikarti be-harbe mekomot ba-arezz she-harbe zman lo ha-iti ba-hem - I visited many places in Israel that hadn’t visited in a long time.  But except for enjoying the teva - the naturehayta li et ha-efsharut ve-ha-hizdamnut - I had the option and the opportunity, to combine it all with another great love of mine …    

Eran: which is?

Jonathan: ha-te-atron kamuvan! - The theater of course!


Eran: Oh, Jonathan… I’m so sorry - ani kol kach mizzta-er, shachacti  lachalutin - I totally forgot,  what an avid theater lover you are. I was really preoccupied with my upcoming performance in the Akko Theater Festival.

Jonathan: So preoccupied that you actually forgot to let me know about it… ze beseder gamur, Eran - that’s perfectly Okay, Eran.  Lucky for me and lucky for you - lemazali      ve-lamazalcha, I had the good fortune of getting all of the information me-ha-shutaf shelcha.

Eran: ha-shutaf sheli? ma ata mitkaven - what do you mean?  ha-shutaf sheli                  ba-hazzaga? - My acting partner in the play… the play I participated in, in the festival?

Jonathan: bedi-yuk! ata zocher et ha-hofa-a ha-achrona she-hayta lachem ba-festival? - Do you remember your last performance at the Festival?


Eran: Of course - kamuvnzot hayta ha-hofa-a ha-tova be-yoter she-asinu - That was the best performance we did. The audience was really excited!

Jonathan: ani yode-a - I know… I was in the audience that day, with a few of my friends - im kama chaverim. We had a great time; we got really excited at the end and applauded for over ten minutes.  Eran, you are really a wonderful actor - ata be-emet sachkan mezzu-yan, as is your acting partner, Elad.

Eran: Wow Jonathan, kodem kol - first of all, toda raba - thanks a lot.  ve-ani me-od same-ach - I’m very happy, that you know my acting partner - et ha-shutaf sheli            ba-hazzaga, Elad. He’s really a great actor.   ze mazzchik - it’s funny, I didn’t know you knew him and was actually planning on telling you about him. I actually thought about recommending him for one of our shows. hu mamash tov be-Ivrit - he’s really good in Hebrew…

*Join us to this exciting Hebrew lesson! Meet Eran’s friend - Elad, listen to these two wonderful actors as they share a dialogue from their performance with us, and take your first steps with the Hitpael building block.

Some Grammar from This Lesson:

The System of Hebrew Building Blocks


Eran: Jonathan, If I may suggest - im ani yachol le-hazzi-a…  Elad ve-ani, would like first to remind our students about the system, the importance, the method and the meaning of the Hebrew Building Blocks… ze beseder mibchinatcha? - Is that okay with you?

Jonathan: kamuvan. This system is very unique and when understood… is so very helpful. Freshening up previously acquired knowledge is very important for the process of studying a language. kach she - so… I would love for you and Elad to do that. bevakasha!

Eran: toda, Yonatan. 

Building Blocks

The different Hebrew building blocks are the grammar paradigm used for creating and conjugating Verbs in Hebrew. 

Elad: In other words, it is the system or pattern, by which one conjugates the roots in different tenses and when using different pronouns. Think of the building blocks, metaphorically, as a set of molds for casting tools.


Eran: This system mostly consists of adding prefixes, suffixes and infixes to the basic stem of the Hebrew verb, that is to the root of the verb.

Elad: By getting acquainted and memorizing the different prefixes, suffixes and infixes, of the various Hebrew building blocks, you will master the technique by which the roots become meaningful Hebrew verbs, correctly related to specific pronouns and a specific tense.


Eran:  On our program so far, we have mainly dealt with the Pa-al building block.

Let's first, understand why the Pa-al building block is called Pa-al.

Elad: The names of the different building blocks are derived from their third person singular conjugation in the past tense

He in the Past

Eran: Pa-al is the name of a building block but it is also a verb in itself.                                                                       It is comprised from the Hebrew root letters 'P', 'A' and 'L' - 'pey', 'ayin' and 'lamed'.

The meaning of this root is to work or to operate.

Elad: So saying hu pa-al is actually saying: he worked, or he operatedIt's the third person singular conjugation of a real Hebrew verb in the past tense.   

Eran: At the same time, the root letters 'P', 'A' and 'L' - 'pey', 'ayin' and 'lamed' act, respectively, as the variables for ANY root letters:

Elad: The 'pey' is always the variable for the first root letter.

Eran: The 'ayin' is always the variable for the second root letter.

Elad: The 'lamed' is always the variable for the third root letter.

Eran: When put in the third person singular in the past tense, the 'he in the past' conjugation is exactly what the verb means, worked or operated.  BUT… It is also the name of the building block.

Elad: Let's listen how the letters 'P', 'A' and 'L' - 'pey', 'ayin' 'lamed' act as variables, the pattern: 



הוא למד

היא למדה



הוא רקד

היא רקדה



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