Listen to this lesson

The full lesson is available only to Speaking Hebrew: Intermediate Course subscribers.

Each of our lessons includes: 3 audio learning sessions, a quiz, and plenty of interactive learning games and reading tutorials.

Try a Free Lesson

Test your level with the audio and video lessons below to decide which of our full courses is best for you!

-or- Sign Up Today


Hebrew Lesson Number 39:

The Concert

Eran and Liat had a great time yesterday, they went to a concert and heard a Beethoven's Symphony, simfonya shel Bethoven. In this lesson they discuss music, orchestration and the Piel building block.

Introduction to Lesson 39: 

The Concert

Learn Hebrew Pod - Lesson No. 39

Have you ever attended a live symphony orchestra concert?  Or listened to a piece of classical music by one of the great composers . . . Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Brahms?  

המלחין יוהאן ברהאמס

Just close your eyes and be transported to a whole different time and place . . . the flute becomes a nightingale, the cello a flowing brook, the tympani a crash of thunder.  

היא מנגנת בחליל

And somehow the composer knew exactly the right way to combine the thunderous and the delicate, the highest highs and the lowest lows, as skillfully as nature herself.

Liat and Eran were lucky enough to attend a concert just like that yesterday, as Jonathan gave them tickets to see the Israel Philharmonic perform Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony--the Pastoral Symphony.  And judging by all the humming going on around here--and by the newspaper’s review--everyone had a great time!


The first movement of Learn Hebrew Pod’s Symphony No. 39 will enhance our Hebrew vocabulary with words related to music, orchestras, and instruments.  

Then, in the second movement, we’ll acquire the ability to talk in Hebrew about nature and life in the country (just as Beethoven did using music in the Pastoral Symphony).  

And for the finale, we’ll be treated to a debut performance by none other than our fourth Hebrew building block--binyan pi-el.

Do you want to become a Hebrew virtuoso?  Stick with Learn Hebrew Pod . . . it’ll be music to your ears!

Team Conversation from the Lesson:

המלחין לודוויג ואן בטהובן

Eran and Liat humming out a tune from Beethoven's Sixth Symphony

Liat: ata yode-a… ha-ya li mamash kar…

Eran: ken, gam li… mamash chashavti she-holech laredet geshem…

Jonathan: hey Liat, hey Eran, ma ha-in-yanim?

Liat: hey Yonatan, ma shlomcha?

Eran: hey Yonatan, ma ha-mazzav?

Eran, Jonathan and Liat

Our Intermediate Hebrew Level Teachers

Jonathan: Everything is great guys – ha-kol ne-hedar. So… did you have…

Liat: We had a great time, Jonathan!

Eran: ken! toda raba  al ha-kartisim Yonatan - thank you for the tickets Jonathan, ze ha-ya kol kach kef etmol - it was so much fun yesterday.

Jimmy Baikovicius from Montevideo, Uruguay

19th International Jazz Festival of Punta del Este

Liat: be-emet, haya mamash kef! You know Jonathan, I'm usually (sings a Jazz phrase from 'summertime') a big Jazz fan…

Eran: ve-ani - and I'm (sings a dance music phrase) into Israeli Dance Music…

Liat: But today I went and bought myself a present, a new CD - disk chadash.

Eran: And I actually called the Philharmonic Orchestra, ve hizmanti kartisim - and ordered tickets for their next performance. They are going to play Mahler’s Fourth Symphony.

תזמורת סימפונית

Liat: So… those tickets you gave us yesterday really expanded our musical taste to include Classical Music.

Eran: toda Yonatan!

Liat: And look guys, I have today's newspaper, they have a wonderful review of the performance we saw yesterday… ach… that was such lovely music - muzika nifla-a.  It really made me feel like spending time in nature. The title of the Symphony, the Pastoral Symphony is perfect!

נוף פסטורלי

Eran: nachon? We could actually recognize et ha-zziporim ha-shonot - the different birds Beethoven was imitating using the woodwinds instruments.

Liat: And the thunder and lightning storm, that was so realistic, as Eran just said… we could almost feel the rain pouring…

ברקים ורעמים

Jonathan: Guys, I'm so happy you had a great time! Do you know? I actually played this symphony when I was a member of the Young Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra – ha-tizmoret ha-filharmonit ha-zze-ira… I used to play the Double bass - kontrabas!


Some Grammar from This Lesson

Hebrew Building Blocks Meaning

In future lessons we will discuss more thoroughly the passive/active relationship of the different building blocks in Hebrew. For now let’s start by seeing how three verbs that use the same root letters carry different meanings and are conjugated differently according to the building blocks they belong to:


For the root letters:  ShM & R – shinmemve-resh.

In Pa-al the verb is active – shamar - kept, guarded, safeguarded.

In Nif-al, the verb is in the passive – nishmar - was kept, was guarded or was safeguarded

In Pi-el, the verb is again active – shimmer - preserved, maintained.


Pi-el is an active building block but the same root in the Pa-al or the Pi-el results in another meaning

As in our example, Pi-el It is often used for intensifying the verb:

shamar, which is in Pa-al – kept.

shimmer, which is in Pi-el – preserved / maintained.


Let's check another word in Hebrew, often used in the Bible: shiber. This is the verb used in the next verse taken from Exodus 32; 19

"And he saw the calf and the dancing; and Moses anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and broke them at the foot of the mountain"

Let's listen to the Hebrew version.

Exodus 32; 19 - Shmotlamed bet pasuk tsha-esre:

"וַיַּרְא אֶת-הָעֵגֶל, וּמְחֹלֹת; וַיִּחַר-אַף מֹשֶׁה, וַיַּשְׁלֵךְ מִיָּדָו אֶת-הַלֻּחֹת, וַיְשַׁבֵּר אֹתָם, תַּחַת הָהָר"

משה אוחז את לוחות הברית

While most of the English translation for this verse use the verb 'broke'

"Broke them at the foot of the mountain"

The more appropriate translation to this verse will be

"Smashed them at the foot of the mountain"

In Hebrew we have the verb 'vay-shaber' which is in a complex biblical form of the Pi-el. The Pi-el is often used to intensify the action of the Hebrew verb as can be clearly seen in this example.

shavar – broke

shiber – smashed or shattered.

But this is not always the use of the Piel. Let's check another root when it's conjugated in the Pa-alNif-al and Pi-el.  

LM & D – lamedmem ve-daled.

*Read and listen to the Full Hebrew Grammar Discussion - Join the Learn Hebrew Pod Intermediate Speaking Hebrew Program.