Share It

Jul 22, 2014

how to say "shelter" in Hebrew


One of the most common words heard on the lips of Israelis these days is, unfortunately, the one for shelter - מִקְלָט listen and repeat. The word first appears in the Torah portion to be read this Shabbat by Jews around the world, where cities of refuge are to be set up around Israel as well as in Israelite Transjordan.

The word's root is ק.ל.ט (k.l.t) meaning to absorb: a shelter or a refuge is a place that absorbs those seeking it.

The word in context:

בִּדְרוֹם הָאָרֶץ, אֲנָשִׁים רָצִים לְמִקְלָטִים כַּמָּה פְּעָמִים בְּשָׁעָה.
In the south of the country (Israel), people run to shelters several times an hour.

Jul 21, 2014

how to say "keep me posted" in Hebrew

תְּעַדְכֵּן אׂתִי

In English, we use the term to update mostly when discussing the news and professionally-related topics.

In Hebrew, however, it's used in lieu of the everyday expressions let me know and keep me posted. The word is לְעַדְכֵּן listen and repeat, an active-intensive verb of the four-letter root ע.ד.כ.נ (a.d.k.n).

For example:

אַתְּ לֹא יוֹדַעַת אִם אַתְּ בָּאָה בִּשְׁמוֹנֶה אוֹ בְּתֵשַׁע? טוֹב, תְּעַדְכְּנִי אֹתִי.
You (a female) don't know whether you're coming at eight or nine? Okay, let me know.

As Hebrew is based on a three-letter verb root system, a four-letter root has a story to it. The story in this case is that Modern Hebrew took the Talmudic expression עַד כָּאן listen and repeat - until here or up until this point - and combined the two words to create the root for update, which means that which is known up to this point in time.

Jul 20, 2014

how to say "ceasefire" in Hebrew

הַפְסָקַת אֵשׁ

The Hebrew word for a break is הַפְסָקָה listen and repeat, an active-causative verb of the root פ.ס.ק (p.s.k) meaning pause.

For example:

הָעוֹבְדִים יָצְאוּ לְהַפְסָקַת צָהֳרַיִם.
The employees went out for an afternoon break.

And אֵשׁ listen and repeat is fire.

So a ceasefire, or a break/ceasing in the firing, is הַפְסָקַת אֵשׁ listen and repeat.

For example:

חַמַאס לֹא מְכַבֵּד הַפְסָקוֹת אֵשׁ, גַּם כְּשֶׁהוּא מְבַקֵּשׁ אֹתָן.
Hamas doesn't honor ceasefires, even when it asks for them. 

Jul 18, 2014

make this week's Hebrew yours - REVIEW this week's doses!

חֹמֶר לְשִׁנּוּן
Review Material
Review, practice and test yourself on this week's doses of Hebrew!

שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם, וְסוֹף שָׁבוּעַ נָעִים!
Shabbat Shalom, and have a nice weekend!

Jul 17, 2014

how to say "pioneer" in Hebrew


Modern Hebrew finds its roots in Biblical, though as time has progressed, words have taken on meanings that depart from their original usage, to varying degrees. The essential meaning found in the root, however, tends to remain the same.

One such example is the word חָלוּץ listen and repeat. In Biblical Hebrew, this word means one equipped for war. The word's meaning in Modern Hebrew is more benign: it means pioneer, the one who goes first in a great venture

What do the Biblical warrior and the modern-day pioneer have in common? The root of חלוץ is ח.ל.צ (kh.l.ts), meaning strength and vigor - exactly the virtues needed for both types of חֲלוּצִים listen and repeat.

The word in a Modern-Hebrew example:

הַחֲלוּצִים בָּנוּ אֶת הַתַּשְׁתִּיוֹת שֶׁל מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל.
The pioneers built the foundations of the State of Israel.

Jul 16, 2014

how to say "ladder" in Hebrew


If the Modern-Hebrew word for escalation is הַסְלָמָה listen and repeat, its root is ס.ל.מ (s.l.m), forming a very ancient word, סֻלָּם listen and repeat - ladder.

I say ancient because the word appears already in Genesis, in Jacob's dream:

וְהִנֵּה סֻלָּם מֻצָּב אַרְצָה וְרֹאשׁוֹ מַגִּיעַ הַשָּׁמָיְמָה...
and behold, a ladder placed on the earth, with its top reaching the heavens...
(Genesis 28:12)

The word's equivalent, سلم (sallima), also appears in Arabic as ladder and staircase.


To help you understand the Hebrew press during the current military operation, here's a glossary.

Jul 15, 2014

how to say "fellow human being" in Hebrew


זוּלָה listen and repeat in Biblical Hebrew means removing from or except for, always used in the construct state - where the letter ה (h) at the end becomes a ת (t), or a ת with a suffix - as in:

זוּלָתִי כָּלֵב בֶּן יְפֻנֶּה, הוּא יִרְאֶנָּה...
except for Caleb the son of Yefuneh, he will see it (the land)...
(Deuteronomy 1:36)

Over time Hebrew began to use this construct state of זולה to mean other than, as in:

אֶפֶס זוּלָתוֹ
there is none other than Him (from Jewish prayer, referring to G-d)

...eventually yielding to the word referring to the other and to one's fellow, הַזּוּלַת listen and repeat, as in:

צָרִיךְ לָתֵת כָּבוֹד לַזּוּלָת.
(One) must give respect to one's fellow human being.