how to say “lesson” in Hebrew

שִׁעוּר

The Hebrew word for lesson is שיעור . It comes from the root ש.ע.ר meaning measure: a lesson is a measured portion of a greater course.

For example:

יש אצלנו 20 שיעורים ברמה.

We have at our (school) 20 lessons in a level.

You might think that שיעור is related to the word for gate – שער, especially since the name of the Jerusalem neighborhood מאה שערים comes from the biblical verse:

וַיִּזְרַע יִצְחָק בָּאָרֶץ הַהִוא וַיִּמְצָא בַּשָּׁנָה הַהִוא מֵאָה שְׁעָרִים וַיְבָרֲכֵהוּ ה'. (בראשית כ"ו, י"ב)

And Isaac planted in that land and he reaped in that year a hundredfold, and God blessed him. (Genesis 26:12)

שער in מאה שערים refers not to gates, but to measures. And digging into comparison words in other languages (Arabic, Aramaic), we find that שער – measure and שערgate actually sounded quite different in ancient Hebrew: שער meaning measure had a sh sound at the beginning, while שער meaning gate had a th or t sound, as in the German Tor – gate.

After having studied literature and linguistics on the bachelors level and psychology on the masters, Ami decided to draw upon his hobby of learning languages, his understanding of human thought processes and his skill of explaining complex ideas in simple terms, to found a program that enables people to speak Hebrew with confidence.

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