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I have gone through some basic schooling at a modern yeshiva. For 10 years I haven't touched a Chumash, but would like to get back into it. I have started reading the Artscroll Chumash--reading the Hebrew and then looking at the English translation when I run across a word or phrase I don't know. I then note that word with its translation in a notepad. This method turns out to be excruciatingly slow and requires a lot of patience.

Is there a better method for getting up to speed with biblical Hebrew. I will also use this method for learning Aramaic.

My goal is to be able to open up any parsha and be able to understand the entire hebrew along with any mepharshim available.

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Ramin, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for posting your question here, so that the whole Internet can benefit from any answers you get! I wish you much success in your quest to get beck into serious learning. I hope you'll look around the site and find other material here you can learn from, perhaps including our 183 other torah-study questions. – Isaac Moses Jul 18 '13 at 14:32
A similar question, but for a less advanced student: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/8795. A similar question, but for a more advanced student: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/5197. – msh210 Jul 18 '13 at 15:28
How could any method be faster than looking at the translation? If you don't know a word, how do you expect to suddenly know it if you don't look it up? – Daniel Jul 18 '13 at 18:35
@Daniel, for example, learning roots and how words are formed from those roots will be faster in the long run than looking up individual words' translations. – msh210 Jul 18 '13 at 19:13
@msh210 Sure, but I'd assume that someone with 10 years of yeshiva experience would do that automatically when encountering a new word without really having to think about it. – Daniel Jul 18 '13 at 19:16

There are loads of books on Hebrew grammar out there and choosing between them depends largely on the quality of the book and your personal preferences.

  • From the procedure described in your question it sounds like you are a methodical person, who might be into one of the very reputable scholarly grammars like "Jouon Muraoka", which formally describes the system of Biblical Hebrew in detail.

  • If you are looking for something more narrative in tone, but still pretty comprehensive (and without footnotes) try How the Hebrew Language Grew.

As far as efficiency goes, if you are used to reading books and absorbing the contents, it doesn't get better than reading a grammar. If you are looking for a course, there are many of those offered at universities around the world too, but I don't know much about them.

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Metsudah chumash goes a lot faster. Make sure you know some grammar rules. You need to know how to recognize a shoresh and conjugate it in different ways.

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fred, welcome to Mi Yodeya and thanks for the advice. I hope you stick around and enjoy the site. Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features. – msh210 Jul 18 '13 at 19:14

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