At a recent kiddush for a baby girl, who had been named Liba, I overheard an interesting conversation.
A middle-aged man turned to someone and said, “Liba. Doesn’t that mean heart? As in, v’sein b’libeinu binah…?”
When the other fellow nodded, the man shook his head ruefully and said, “You know, as a newcomer to Judaism, I can’t take my understanding of any Hebrew or Aramaic word for granted. Just to know what I’m saying when I daven, I need to spend hours reviewing the basic words that make up the prayers in the siddur.”
Well, I had a whole new appreciation for ba’alei teshuvah after that! Imagine plugging away for hours, reviewing root words, prefixes, and suffixes, just to be able to daven properly! The fact that I, an FFB, can understand, more or less, the tefillos that I say, without having to spend hours studying and reviewing them, is something that I shouldn’t take for granted!
But the truth is, it’s not just BTs who may have trouble understanding the language of the siddur and of the Gemara. Not everyone is a “language person,” and especially when it comes to learning, trying to understand a difficult concept while simultaneously trying to understand the language in which the concept is written, can be very, very challenging.
The book Hachi Garsinan was written for this reason.
Hachi Garsinan, which literally means “This is how we say it,” is a one-of-a-kind work which aims to assist those who are learning Gemara but aren’t necessarily familiar with Aramaic, the language of the Gemara. The book explains the origin and meaning of many of the Aramaic words commonly used in the Gemara. In a nutshell, it teaches the non-Aramaic speaker how to understand the Talmud.
Even seasoned Gemara learners, who are fine with Aramaic, have reported being helped by Hachi Garsinan, as the book sheds light on so many nuances of each word.
As the esteemed author of this book writes: “Learning Hachi Garsinan from beginning to end will make you intimately familiar with the Aramaic language, so that when attempting to master a sugya, you will find yourself in ‘familiar territory.’”
There you have it—your “cheat sheet” to help you learn the daf properly.
So whether you’re a BT or an FFB, if you are attempting to understand “Gemara language,” or to delve deeper into your learning, Hachi Garsinan is there for you, ready to empower you on your journey through the Gemara.
Click here to purchase online.