“Everyone on earth had the same language and the same words.” Genesis 11:1 (The Israel Bible™)
Speaking to Breaking Israel News, Rabbi Weisz said that the prophet Zephaniah describes how all the nations of the world will have “purity of speech” in the End of Days:
For then I will make the peoples pure of speech, so that they all invoke Hashem by name and serve Him with one accord. Zephaniah 3:9
Rabbi Weisz said Jewish tradition has always maintained that the pure language that Zephaniah promises is the language of Hebrew.
Today, students of all backgrounds have a chance to learn Hebrew in a new Yeshiva for the Nations course, “Introduction to the Hebrew Alphabet and Hebrew Reading.” Yeshiva for the Nations is a Jewish school for religious studies, designed for non-Jews. Registrants dip into the deep wells of Jewish knowledge by engaging with Jewish texts through the eyes of Jewish rabbis and teachers.
Rabbi Weisz said the language of creation was Hebrew and that God spoke Hebrew to the first people, Adam and Eve. He believes the whole world spoke Hebrew until right after Noah’s flood, at which time the people of Babel joined forces to build an impressive tower with evil intentions: to display the achievements of man without acknowledging the Creator above.
Come, let us build us a city, and a tower with its top in the sky, to make a name for ourselves; else we shall be scattered all over the world. Genesis 11:4
The punishment for the people’s sin of rebellion and failure to acknowledge God as creator was to be scattered across the earth, their language diversified so they could no longer communicate as one, explained Rabbi Weisz.
However, despite their dispersion, the Jews worked to maintain some use of the Hebrew language. With the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 and the ingathering of the exiles, the Jewish people miraculously revived Hebrew and made it, once again, their national language.
“Hebrew is one of the most beautiful languages,” said Sharon Niv, who teaches the Yeshiva for the Nations Hebrew course. She said that while in English there are more words than in Hebrew, the Hebrew language has greater depth.
“Every word has its own history because of the history of the Jewish people,” Niv expressed. “Every word can take you to a different time or place.”
As God gave the Torah to the Jewish people in Hebrew, Rabbi Weisz stressed the importance of learning the Bible in Hebrew to “understand all of its nuances…Reading in translation loses a lot of the meaning, nuance and spirit of the message.”
Niv said a person can learn Hebrew at any age, with any background. In her course, she starts slow, focusing on basic letter recognition and sound. She told Breaking Israel News that if a student lets the language flow within him or her, he or she will ultimately pick it up.
Introduction to Hebrew Alphabet and Reading
In recent years, there has been growing interest by Christian Zionists to learn Hebrew. Rabbi Weisz said this is likely a step toward the redemption described by Zephaniah.
“Unlike in the generation of Babel, nations are coming together to serve God through the language of purity,” said Rabbi Weisz. “With Jews and Christians reconciling for the first time in history, may our sense of unity not be for the glory of man, but may we study together the language of Hebrew to build a great tower to the One true God of Israel.”
Do you want to learn more? Sharon Niv’s new Hebrew course, Introduction to the Hebrew Alphabet and Hebrew Reading, is available through Israel365’s Yeshiva for the Nations. For more information or to watch the online course, visit yeshivaforthenations.com.