Share It

Oct 24, 2014

make the Hebrew you learned this week YOURS TO KEEP

חֹמֶר לְשִׁנּוּן
Review Material
You spent time on your Hebrew this week.

Use these review materials to make it yours to keep.

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

Oct 23, 2014

how to say "window" (literal and proverbial) in Hebrew

חַלּוֹן, צֹהַר

The Hebrew word for the physical window found on the sides of homes and buildings is חַלּוֹן listen and repeat. Though חלון is a masculine noun, it looks feminine in the plural:

מַעֲרֶכֶת הַהַפְעָלָה שֶׁל מִיקְרוֹסוֹפט נִקְרֵאת "חַלּוֹנוֹת."
Microsoft's operating system is called Windows.

חלון also means window in the proverbial sense, as in:

הָעֵינַיִם חַלּוֹן לַנְּשָׁמָה.
The eyes are a window to the soul.

Another word, a more literary synonym for חלון, also refers to the proverbial window: צֹהַר listen and repeat, as in the name of the Israeli rabbinic organization צֹהַר לַיַהֲדוּת listen and repeat - A Window to Judaism.

Both צוהר and חלון first referred to a physical window, and both appear as such in the Torah portion to be read by Jews around the world this Shabbat.

צוהר is related to the word for purity - טֹהַר listen and repeat - as both have to do with clarity, and both begin with an emphatic consonant while the rest of the root letters are the same.

Oct 22, 2014

how to say "universe" in Hebrew


Biblical Hebrew uses the word יְקוּם listen and repeat to mean substance or existence - coarsely, stuff.

For example, in the story of the Flood, G-d says:

...וּמָחִיתִי אֶת כָּל הַיְּקוּם אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתִי מֵעַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה...
...and I will wipe out all the substance that I made from the face of the earth...
(Genesis 7:4)

In light of science, Modern Hebrew uses יקום to the universe, all substance.

For example:

חוֹקְרִים טוֹעֲנִים שֶׁהֵם יוֹדְעִים אֶת גִּיל הַיְּקוּם.
Researchers claim that they know the age of the universe.

The root of the word יקום is ק.ו.מ (k.w.m), meaning standing and existence.

Oct 21, 2014

how to say "zoo" in Hebrew

גַּן חַיּוֹת

In English, we sometimes use the term zoo metaphorically, as in this place is a zoo!

Hebrew uses zoo only to refer to a place where animals are kept on display, literally a garden of animals: גַּן חַיּוֹת listen and repeat.

For example:

בִּקַּרְתֶּם בְּגַן הַחַיּוֹת הַתָּנָ"כִי בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם?
Have you (plural) visited the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem?

Oct 20, 2014

how to say "transition" in Hebrew


Getting back to the routine is a transition.

The Hebrew word for transition is מַעֲבָר listen and repeat. It literally means passage, as a transition is a passage from one state of being to another.

For example:

יֵשׁ שְׁלֹשָׁה מַעֲבָרֵי גְּבוּל בֵּין יִשְׂרָאֵל לְיַרְדֵּן.
There are three border passages between Israel and Jordan.


לִפְעָמִים קָשֶׁה הַמַּעֲבָר בֵּין הַחַגִּים לַשִּׁגְרָה.
Sometimes the transition between the holidays and the routine is difficult.

Oct 19, 2014

how to say "human nature" in Hebrew

טֶבַע הָאָדָם, הַטֶּבַע הָאֱנוֹשִׁי

In observance of the Jewish holidays, I took off some time from blogging. Now it's back to the routine, with a dose of Hebrew that brings themes of the holidays together with themes of the Torah portions being read these weeks by Jews around the world.

The word for nature is טֶבַע listen and repeat. As for human nature, Modern Hebrew has two terms:


טֶבַע הָאָדָם listen and repeat means literally the nature of (the) man

For example:

הַאִם טֶבַע הָאָדָם נִתָּן לְשִׁנּוּי?
Is human nature (the nature of man) changeable?

Although אדם listen and repeat also means human being in the term בֶּן אָדָם listen and repeat, used to refer to both males and females, the term טבע האדם is seen as a bit chauvinistic, with Israelis preferring the second term in this entry.


הַטֶּבַע הָאֱנוֹשִׁי listen and repeat means literally human nature, where אנושי listen and repeat is human as an adjective. This is the more politically-correct term.

Take this statement from Haaretz for example:

מֶחְקָרִים חֲדָשִׁים מְגַלִּים: הַדִּיאֶטָה נוֹגֶדֶת אֶת הַטֶּבַע הָאֱנוֹשִׁי.

New research reveals: Dieting goes against human nature.

Oct 7, 2014

how to say "decoration" in Hebrew


The Hebrew word for to decorate first appears in the Mishnah, where it refers to people adorning themselves, using the reflexive verb לְהִתְקַשֵּׁט listen and repeat.

Since then, the word has taken on the meaning of decorating objects as well, employing the active-intensive verb, לְקַשֵּׁט listen and repeat

The word for decoration follows that verb form: קִשּׁוּט listen and repeat.

For example:

אֲנַחְנוּ קִשַּׁטְנוּ אֶת הַסֻּכָּה בְּכָל מִינֵי קִשּׁוּטִים יָפִים.
We decorated the Sukkah with all kinds of pretty decorations.