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Sep 14, 2011

how to say "beauty" in Hebrew...

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You might be familiar with colloquial Hebrew the expressions, how nice! - אֵיזֶה יֹפִי (EH-ee-zeh YOH-fee!), and the one-word, great! - יופי!

The word יופי literally means beauty, as in שֶׁקֶר הַחֵן וְהֶבֶל הַיֹּפִי - charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting (SHEH-kehr hah-KHEN veh-HEH-vel hah-YOH-fee), from the Biblical book of מִשְׁלֵי (meesh-LEH-ee) - Proverbs.

יופי is a noun communicating an abstract concept. You'll spot its vowel pattern in other such nouns, such as עֹנִי (OH-nee), meaning poverty, and שֹׁנִי (SHOH-nee), meaning difference (as in the differences among various people).

Why talk about יופי today?

Today at noon I'll be delivering my weekly radio show featuring Israeli music - translated and explained. One of the songs I'll be playing is about a man telling his love that she need not put on makeup, to try hard to look good... but that she's beautiful - יָפָה (yah-FAH) - just the way she is.

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