Which of these books/texts would be possible to read when you know only Modern Hebrew?

Kizur Shulchan Aruch
Shulchan Aruch
Mishnah Berurah
Babylonian Talmud
Jerusalem Talmud

Comments by:

Anything else which you can recommend for a person with Modern Hebrew knowledge?

  • 1
    Everything on that list except the two talmuds should be just fine. Jan 29, 2022 at 17:08
  • Welcome to MiYodeya romario and thanks for this first question. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Jan 29, 2022 at 17:10
  • What comments to Tanach by Rambam are you referring to? He didn't write a commentary on Tanach AFAIK.
    – N.T.
    Jan 30, 2022 at 5:01
  • 1
    Did you mean Ramban instead of Rambam for comments on the Torah? In any case, most of these texts are very hard to understand without commentaries, the simplest of all (and not a bad idea to start) is the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, but I recommend a text with Hebrew and commented English in parallel to make the most of it. Artscroll has a very good one (artscroll.com/Categories/kit.html).
    – mbloch
    Jan 31, 2022 at 4:30
  • 1
    @Josh K Oh ok its just an outlier siman in hilchos pesach in shulchan aruch that is was copied for some reason in its mostly aramaic form, therefore your comment is incorrect. But there are many reasons a modern hebrew speaker would have difficulty with halachic texts (or not with the talmuds..).
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Jan 31, 2022 at 12:06

1 Answer 1


Modern Hebrew varies significantly from Biblical and Rabbinic Hebrew. Rabbinic Hebrew presupposes the reader understands the Aramaic terminology of the Babylonian Talmud. In addition, it usually contains many abbreviations and acronyms which are confusing to the uninitiated.

Rashi on Chumash should be easier, but he still uses Aramaic phrases here and there. I would recommend using Artscroll or shiurim (at least initially) to make sure you are not making mistakes.

  • Do you have experience reading these texts as an only-Modern Hebrew speaker? If not there's no way to know to trust you when someone could just as easily have written "Modern Hebrew varies pretty insignificantly from Biblical and Rabbinic Hebrew. There are a few extra Aramaic terms and abbreviations, but you should be fine overall." In other words, we all know the dialects are similar with differences and the only question is how those differences would affect a reader which is very hard to evaluate if you haven't been in those shoes.
    – Double AA
    Feb 1, 2022 at 15:18
  • @DoubleAA Not me personally, but people I know.
    – N.T.
    Feb 1, 2022 at 18:25

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