I once heard there is a requirement to separate learning Hebrew from the learning of Torah; that there is an assur on doing basic Hebrew learning based on what one wants or has to study in the Torah at that time.

Does such a prohibition exist?

To formulate the same thing positively:

Is there a requirement to use any sources but the written Torah to learn the language of Torah, and more specifically, any requirement to use secular or modern Hebrew texts?

  • 1
    To make sure I understand correctly: the claim is it is forbidden to read Tanakh if your goal in part is to improve your Hebrew?
    – Double AA
    Jul 14, 2020 at 23:03
  • @DoubleAA Almost but not quite. The claim is that it would be forbidden to learn Hebrew vocabulary and grammar rules taking examples specifically or only from the Tanakh, even if the only reason you're interested in learning Hebrew is the study of Tanakh.
    – וילם
    Jul 14, 2020 at 23:15
  • 1
    @najliel I am unsure, it was a very dark period in my life. I'm still in a dark period, but I got my Koren Shabbat Humash and a Siddur in the mail this month and I'm feeling hopeful. My productivity is also recovering and I got to perform (a bare-bones version of) tikkun haklali yesterday, for which I'm beyond grateful, B"H.
    – וילם
    Jul 15, 2020 at 1:45
  • 1
    Rashi's commentary is packed with grammar rules and vocabulary drawn from Tanach. Also, Radak has several books on Hebrew grammar and vocabulary derived from Tanach. Sefer Aruch is a dictionary showing vocabulary based upon usage throughout Tanach and Shas. Where is the question? Jul 17, 2020 at 16:43
  • 1
    @וילם It is absolutely appropriate for anyone, Jew or non-Jew, to present their questions here in relation to what traditional (meaning Orthodox, as contrasted with Modern-Orthodox,) Judaism teaches. It is difficult for the reader to discern at this site what is traditional. This is primarily because many who are less “mature” in their understanding of traditional Judaism are vociferous in their objections. Only blessings to you in your success to pursue the true path. Jul 19, 2020 at 1:31

1 Answer 1


On the one hand we do have an admonition (Avot) not to use the Torah as a spade to dig with.

On the other hand we know that even single words of Torah study are of the greatest Miztvot we can do - ותלמוד תורה כנגד כולם. (Peah)

So if you're learning Ivrit (modern Hebrew) with no Torah-related intentions, I could understand that some people may be opposed to using the Torah to learn how to speak on national radio.

But if you're trying to learn Lashon HaKodesh in order to properly understand your Torah learning, I cannot see how that would be different than learning Rashi, Malbim, Metzudoth and a host of other commentators who "teach us grammar" using the Torah - or as some would rather - teach us Torah using the finer details of grammar.

Since it sounds like you want to both improve your Torah learning and your knowledge of Hebrew, I would think that using Torah text is the preferred way to do so.

  • Same applies to learning biblical Hebrew for no Torah intentions and learning modern Hebrew with Torah intentions
    – Double AA
    Jul 15, 2020 at 11:26
  • Thank you for the balanced answer.
    – וילם
    Jul 17, 2020 at 16:05
  • 1
    On second inspection, I find that your response is literally not an answer, so I've un-accepted it. If there is no halacha pertaining to language acquisition specifically I do not see how my question can have an answer.
    – וילם
    Aug 22, 2020 at 21:01

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .