Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blog Myers-Briggs rating

This blog has been rated as ESFP - The Performers! (See here)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

La dernière classe (jusqu'a 2009)

I did start with ח and it was fun. I set up by finding the letters nun-chet-mem sofit in the blocks - and on the way I also found the Latin letters for nacham - 6 in Latin and only 3 in Hebrew. I had found all the Latin letters before the first of the Hebrew ones turned up! (Something about the block content design?)

We fit the history of the hope of the world in 5 minutes - touching Isaiah (I began by singing the opening tenor recit from Messiah - just the first few bars - there were titters from the girls at my singing!) then to the difference between He and Chet reminding them of Abraham and Sarah - and on the way Ruach - (I forgot Noach!). Then a little on Simeon and Anna and the consolation of Israel - as outlined in the last post but without all the detail. And then the promise of the Spirit - the Comforter - for us all but particularly for those present.

One of the girls asked me 'what is the Hebrew for Christmas'? - what would you answer? I thought it should be something around anoint / Messiah and festival.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Christmas is coming

the geese are getting fat! Well - it's more than that!

The children are getting ready to prepare for Pageant and I will be away for several weeks in England and France - to hear my daughter's services at Ely and Selwyn and for a little break near Nice. So this week will be the last Hebrew 'lesson' till January.

With what word or letter shall I introduce Christmas? What else is possible but with the word NXM (nacham)- as Handel's Messiah begins: נַחֲמוּ נַחֲמוּ עַמִּי יֹאמַר אֱלֹהֵיכֶם (nachamu, nachamu, 'ami, yo'mar 'eloheikem)
The children already know the word from the name נֹחַ (Noach) for of him it is said he will comfort us concerning our work. His name is from 'rest' but the writer of Genesis 5:29 connects it with נחם.

Of the human, it is used to mean console (Genesis 37:35).

Of God the word is used when God 'repents' - almost meaning 'sighed'. So Genesis 6:6-7 and Exodus 32:12. But 1 Samuel 15:29 shows some ambivalence over God's repenting. Nevertheless יהוה repenting in 1 and 2 Samuel is frequent. (1 Samuel 15:35). The children don't know these stories yet - I am just checking a few to see if I can say anything about how נחם relates to Christmas. The connection is with what Simeon was waiting for when Jesus comes to the temple for the first time with Mary and Joseph. (Luke 2:25) The consolation that Simeon is waiting for (παράκλησις paraklēsis) is that same comfort of which נחם speaks. It is the same word as the one John uses for the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the paracletos. This shows the great Hebrew-Hellenist divide - how do we know what words make the transfer of the word of God from one culture to another? The LXX translation tells us - and here it is for Isaiah 40: παρακαλεῖτε παρακαλεῖτε τὸν λαόν μου λέγει ὁ θεός.

How does one introduce to children the helper of their lives? One doesn't need to - one simply points to the words that have been used through the millennia that have been God's word to us of love.

One could use Psalm 90 - a great psalm of 'turning' - for the children can at all times be encouraged to turn to God as God can be encouraged to turn to us. And in that psalm, Moses prays just such a turning (Psalm 90:13)
שׁוּבָה יְהוָה עַד-מָתָי וְהִנָּחֵם עַל-עֲבָדֶיךָ. Return, O LORD; how long?
And let it repent Thee concerning Thy servants.
ἐπίστρεψον κύριε ἕως πότε καὶ παρακλήθητι ἐπὶ τοῖς δούλοις σου (LXX) Bring back O Lord! How long? Be consoled (parakletheti) over your slaves.

(Bob) Turn O Lord, how long? And sigh over your servants.
The truth about Jesus, the consolation of Israel, is that God need not repent further - for in him, he was well pleased. His pleasure in Jesus gives us all grace.

Perhaps I will begin with the letter Chet ח and see where it leads.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Father and Mother

This week I had a longer opportunity to work with the youngest. The main subject of this week's class was Mary so I brought in an image of the Lippo Memmi and Martini Annunciation and Two Saints 1333 currently at the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence - the kids loved it and identified the stream from the Angel's mouth as 'letters'. We talked a little of the word of God coming to each of us also.

Then I read them this verse from Exodus 20 and pointed out the av and the em. They had seen these words before.
כַּבֵּד אֶת-אָבִיךָ, וְאֶת-אִמֶּךָ
Honour thy father and thy mother
We read it together several times and I noted that the younger ones are both more absorptive and less distracted when they are alone. We also reminded them of the mothers and fathers they had studied in the last 4 or 5 weeks. Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel and Leah. We talked a bit of Mary as mother and of Eve. And I promised them that sometime later we would read about Hannah and Samuel - another special mother and son in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 1-3).

I brought out all the flash cards and laid them out. Some of the smaller ones were disappearing into small hands. Then we went to find the father and mother in the flash cards - of course, being the smallest, they disappeared even in a small hand - but we did find them.

They like the flash cards and turn them over to read the transcription and meaning.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Vowels - an introduction

This morning I had a few minutes to continue the lesson on Vav and to introduce the Masoretic markings - or 'vowels'. This was not a successful lesson - from my point of view. I felt that I was unprepared, and that over the last 6 months I had achieved nothing. I think the children remember the cookies and the games but none of the content. But the 10 or so children in the class were just as wonderful as ever. It was only me with the depressed heart. Why art thou so heavy O my soul! (Psalms 42-43).

I write this so that anyone reading will know that there are times that are down as well as times of elation. Hope still in God.

Vav - the hook for the tabernacle, the connector of words, is a letter that can say va, vi, ve, vey, o, and u (oo). Isn't it curious that the v disappears before the o class of vowels? Is it perhaps that vav is the proto vowel?

Linguists out there, help me out if you see this question.