Hebrew Interrogative Pronouns

Yoel Halevi No Comments
מַה/ מֶהmah/meh  What 
לָמָּה lāmāh WhyWith preposition ל to indicate direction of speech
כַּמָּה kammāh How muchWith preposition כ to indicate likeness
בַּמָּה/ בַּמֶּה bammāh/bameh  With whatWith preposition ב to indicate instrumental use
מָתַי mātay WhenThis preposition is its own form which appears in many Semitic languages.
מִי Who/whom 
לְמִי To whomWith preposition ל to indicate direction of speech
כְּמִי Like whomWith preposition כ to indicate likeness
בְּמִי By/within whomWith preposition ב to indicate instrumental use
אַיֵּה WhereCore form uses אי with combinations
אַיֶּכָּה Where are you (masculine, unattested in feminine)  
אֵיפֹה WhereBasic אי+פה (here)
אָן Where 
אֵיךְ How 
אֵיכָה How (maybe poetic) 
הֲ Basic form 
הַ Before gutturals or regular consonants with shva
הֶ Before gutturals with Qamats

Relative pronouns

אֲשֶׁר That/which
שֶׁ That/which
כִּי That/which (note that this word is used with more meanings)

Josué 5 e O Omer

Yoel Halevi No Comments

“O povo de Israel se acampou em Gilgal e eles observaram o Pesach no décimo quarto dia do mês, nas planícies de Jericó. O dia após Pesach eles comeram o que a terra produziu, matzah e espigas tostadas de grão naquele dia. No dia seguinte, após eles terem comido alimento produzido na terra, o maná cessou. Desde então o povo de Israel não mais teve maná; ao invés disso, aquele ano, eles comera o produto da terra de Canaã.” Josué 5:10-12

Determining the location and identity of towns and villages from the era of the Tanakh.

Yoel Halevi No Comments

Can we identify Israel in the vast amount of cultural layers of the land of Canaan? On of the major issues in archeology and the Tanakh is the finding exactly where Israel dwelt and at what stage did they take over the whole land. Attempts have been done for over 150 years to find the towns and villages Israel lived in, but to what level of success has this been achieved? Join Yoel in this group study on the subject of Israel’s urban archeology.

New Moon- When calculations count.

Yoel Halevi One comments

New Moon April 2022

I have been contemplating the question I raised in regards to when this new lunar month has started. I will admit that it kept me up last night and it took me a lot of time to make certain decisions. In truth, because I am just an individual who has expertise in the field, anything I say is only a suggestion and should be always taken with an advisory. 

I reached out to several world-renowned experts on ancient calendars to seek any information on issues of obstructed vision during a new moon sighting. The information which was provided showed serval clear ideas:

1. A month in the lunar-solar calendars was ideally 30 days long. This was a system that was adopted from eastern math which saw 60 as a perfect number. However, they also knew a cycle was not always 30 days and had to confirm how many days had actually passed since the last sighting.

2. In Babylon math was part of the system which allowed the experts to determine when the next new moon should be. This math was advanced and could predict things in a relatively accurate fashion. 

3. When clouds obstructed the horizon messengers were sent to other locations to check if others might have sighted the moon. If not, a 30-day month was used. However, they would first send out messengers to other locations to check if any other cities were able to sight. In any case when there was no answer the central power (King and Temple) would make a decision based on what they knew. 

4. In case of things were wrong there was a retroactive correction of the month which was done by officials under the orders of the king. 

Most of these principles were implemented in the Jewish Lunar-Solar calendar in the 2nd temple. The Jewish Lunar-Solar calendar is the calendar that was and is used by most Jews to this very day. However, the use of calculations was introduced because of the difficulty to send the information from the land to the diaspora. The calculation in time became corrupted due to the lack of adjusting it to the changes which happen with the movement of the earth and the moon. 

The introduction of calculations also led different groups to a decision that the Lunar-Solar calendar was incorrect and the creation of several other calendars described in the book of Jubilees (circa 100BC) and calendar scrolls such as 4Q317. 

The principles used by moon sighters today are the same as were used by rabbinic Jews till the crusades which destroyed the Jews community in Israel which continued to sight the moon till the 11th century. From that point, only calculations were used due to the lack of Jewish witnesses from the land. 

The renewal of sightings was started over 30 years ago by a group of orthodox Jews who decided to study the subject for theoretical information to maybe be used one day when the original system would be reintroduced into the Jewish world. This gathering of data has created a huge database of what can be expected with the moon cycles. This data has not only shown that we can predict when the moon will be sighted but also that the prediction can also be incorrect. In time Karaites who were also interested in the lunar sightings joined this practice after several centuries of using calculations as well. Nowadays many people around the world use the local moon sightings from Israel to determine when to keep the biblical feasts. This is an astonishing thing to witness, especially when you are one of the people who publish information on the subject.

I think that with the accumulated information on moon sightings and the math we have on the subject it stands to reason that the new moon day would have been after Shabbat, April 2nd, and not the day after. This is a conclusion based on the fact that the conjunction was on Friday evening at 17:15:03 before sunset. The moon the next day was at 2% at sunset (19:00) with more than 24hr after conjunction and with a lag time of 75min. The sky turned dark well before the moon setting and was over the horizon for an extended period of time. In these conditions, based on past observations, the moon would have been visible for a short window. 

I find it important to note that defaulting to 30 days is a completely rational thing and is the normal course of things. My questions resulted from the fact that we had a default last month and that the basic data used (by karaites as well) showed a high potential of sighting. The moon was also not sighted the next day and no report came in. When defaulting in an important month like this one I think it’s important to confirm the moon. Sunday night was also hazy which casts doubt on Sunday night being the right day. 

Hence even when people default it is based on a calculation assumption and not on an actual sighting. The moon was visible on (Monday April 4th) evening and was clearly on it’s third day of renewal (I sighted it from Haifa University at 7:32 PM). On Shabbat (April 9th) the moon was at it’s first half stage making it clear that 7 days ago it was renewed. Ignoring such data is ignoring facts and is not a calculation but real observation. 

This reality has made it crucial to sight the next new moon. If my suggestion is correct then when ever we sight the new moon next month will not be an issue. However, if the moon is sighted 29 days from after Shabbat (my suggestion), then the Sunday night (default) will be on day 28. This is not ideal situation but can happen when dealing with actual sighting. As a result if this scenario happens there will be a need to retroactively adjust the calendar. If the moon is sighted after 29 days for the default then both opinions can be seen as possible. Based on the calculation data the next new moon should be on May 2nd, the moon should be at around 3%. This date places my opinion at 30 days and the default at 29 days. This means that there is no way of knowing what the real day was unless we concider the calculation and observations I have proposed. 

Though I have been doing this for a long time it is not in my power or authority to tell people what to do. This is why I have not answered the question of what I plan to do. What I do is irrelevant to the question because I live in a Jewish community. My way of avoiding any issues with the Torah is to just keep extra days by not doing work and not eating leaven. However, this is just a personal decision that is part of my personal life as a Jew in a Jewish community. I see my community as my living and breathing form of Torah-living and cannot step away from real life because I have an opinion about something. In the past when I was younger it was easy for me to be more militant, but with age and knowledge, I stepped away from this mindset. I decided to use logic and have gone through years of study and obtained degrees in different fields to increase my knowledge. This led me to a study I did under one of my professors which taught me that even in the Tanakh we find that unity trumps opinions and circumstances can affect decision making. This of course does not allow us to violate Torah, but it did show me that there are issues one can be flexible with as long as one is still within the larger picture of the rule. 

These are some more points to consider when discussing the sighted moon calendar.

With prayer for better understanding and a return to a more perfect keeping of the Torah. 

Blessings to all.

Aviv Search 2022

Yoel Halevi 8 comments

Following are some notes regarding the state of barley growth in Israel from two recent trips:

Definitions related to barley development according to the following:

Stages of Growth after Heading



            Soft Dough


First Edible Stage for Humans

            Aviv Stage ( אָבִיב ) –        Filled With Starch/Firm, can be parched in fire

            Karmel Stage (כַּרְמֶל)

            Mature Stage–    Dry

Note: a detailed but schematic description of the route followed for observing barley development is included for the sake of transparency so that everyone can understand the evidence more clearly.

If this information is used for conducting independent barley observations, please respect others by being careful not to destroy the evidence that other groups may want to inspect after you.

Palavras de Inverno

Yoel Halevi No Comments

Nós estamos agora profundamente dentro do inverno na terra de Israel e existem muitas boas palavras hebraicas dignas de discussão que aparecem na Bíblia Hebraica.

O primeiro grupo é a questão sobre o relacionamento entre Gešem-Chuva e Matar. Em geral Matar tem uma próxima conexão com Gešem, contudo, um uso comum da palavra é conectado com queda/derramar de alguma coisa. Por analogia a conexão entre os dois se torna muito clara, o que explica por que as duas palavras são intercambiáveis. Como um exemplo, nós podemos ver como ambas as palavras são usadas com o mesmo significado quando Elias descreve chuva como Matar e não Gešem :

Song on the Sea Part Three

Yoel Halevi No Comments
Part three of the in-depth study of The Song on the Sea.

Hebrew In Israel intro music: Çeçen Kizi by Seyyah

Song on the Sea Part Two

Yoel Halevi One comments

Part 2 of the in-depth discussion of the Song on the Sea.

Hebrew In Israel intro music: Çeçen Kizi by Seyyah

Who Were the Nefilim/Giants?

Yoel Halevi 2 comments

In this class, I discuss the Biblical description of Giants and what is true and untrue about these descriptions. The class was given before my bible group and goes in-depth into Biblical literature.

Hebrew In Israel intro music: Çeçen Kizi by Seyyah

Gilgul Neshamot (Reencarnação das Almas) – Aprenda Torah

Yoel Halevi 2 comments

Eu tenho sido perguntado muitas vezes sobre o assunto de reencarnação na Bíblia e Judaísmo. Os seguintes são meus pensamentos pessoais e entendimentos, como sendo uma pessoa que tem cruzado com essa crença na corrente principal do Judaísmo hoje. Como uma pessoa que tem sido criada na Ortodoxia  e tem também recebido treinamento acadêmico, eu não consigo encontrar dados concretos sobre essa crença como uma crença antiga. Isto afeta a validade da dita crença e a abre para a crítica moderna que não pode usar fontes antigas. 

Para muitos o Tanakh não tem gravação ou crença em reencarnação  ou nenhum tipo de retorno dos mortos. Nós encontramos versos que provavelmente indicam que a morte é o estágio final:

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