Hi fellow builders
My journey and passion for Loshen HaKodesh (Hebrew) began 20 years ago. I was teaching a Hebrew Course at Ohr Somayach in Jerusalem and like any Yeshiva Learning experience, the students started to ask questions regarding the noticeable Letter and Vowel changes as we advanced through the course. By the end of the program, I had noted all the questions and I had developed my “own” theories based on the patterns that I had noticed.
I was then that I started a serious investigation of the Sugya (section) of Loshen HaKodesh as explained by the classical early Jewish commentator. The Sefer Dikdukei Shai by Rabbi Shmuli Mandelberg, was the one Sefer that contained the majority of the answers to my questions based on the teachings of the classical Jewish commentators including; Rashi, Radak, Vilna Gaon and many more.
It was through this study and investigation that I realized that Hebrew in not like any other Language but is truly Loshen HaKodesh, Hashem’s infinite and Holy Language. Based on a few fundamental Language Principles including; Long, Short and “Snatched Vowels”, Sheva Nach, Sheva Nah, Open and Closed Syllables, Dagesh Kal and Dagesh Chazak, Guttural, Silent and Swallowed Letters, I discovered that what I thought was an “exception” was actually a rule. The confusion around the “7 Binyanim” was made clear and magnificently beautiful and meaningful.
I wrote my first book called “World within a Word”, names so because there truly is a World within a Word whereby each letter, vowel and even dot, tells one more about the word. For many years I taught the program to adults, yeshivas, seminaries and teacher’s training.
However it was always my vision share my passion and love for the language with younger students. It was then that I was introduced to an illustrator, Shifra Getz, who was able to translate the intellectual wisdom into a Child Friendly and Fun school based program. It was then that the theme of Building and Building Blocks were introduced to the program. Also the color coding methodology and multi sensory learning methodologies were introduced. I soon realized that a major component to the success of the program is to systematically develop the student’s vocabulary and ensure that the language principles are being applied and consolidated in actual Chumash texts that are being studied.
Based on the tried and tested success of the methodologies that have been implemented, we are currently in the process of developing the program within a digital/electronic format and to be extended beyond Chumash and include various other classical Jewish areas of textual learning. We are in the process of developing a wider Chumash curriculum to include the other vital components which ensure a well rounded Chumash learning curriculum. We are also developing materials for other areas of Foundation Skills, such as letter recognition, reading and writing skills. Also a wider advanced Hebrew program based on the same successful teachings and methodologies of the Chumash based “World within a Word” Chumash based program.
Let’s keep on building
Rabbi Yossi Orkin