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Oct 31, 2011

how to say "I like this" in Hebrew


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לִמְצוֹא חֵן בְּעֵינֵי...





Get talking... in Hebrew.
Our Level 1 course starts
Sunday, November 20

in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv


A sweet elderly couple living next door to me invited me to a dinner they were having in honor of their grandson, who was just Bar Mitzvah today. As is accustomed, I just learned, in some Jewish communities from Arab lands, the Bar Mitzvah boy and the whole family (as well as guests) some kind of substance (shown in the picture below) smudged on the palm of their hand, which is then bandaged with a piece of cloth. It's a form of Henna - חִינָה (KHEE-nah) in Judeo-Arabic. The practice appears much more commonly at Jewish (as well as non-Jewish) weddings of couples from Eastern, Middle-Eastern or North African origin.


The significance? I'm not sure, but everyone was having a good time.


The חינה reminded me of a Hebrew expression dating back to Biblical times that means I like... 






You may be familiar with the conventional translation, ...אֲנִי אוֹהֵב/ת (ah-NEE oh-HEH/vet - masculine and feminine, respectively). If so, you probably know that לֶאֱהוֹב (leh-eh-HOHV) means both to love and to like. Thus one must use the word לאהוב with caution, lest an awkward misunderstanding arise.

A way to get more specific about one's feelings is to use the term, לִמְצוֹא חֵן בְּעֵינֵי... (leem-TSOH khen beh-eh-ee-NEH-ee...) - literally, to find favor in the eyes of... For example, I might say, הַמַּחְשֵׁב הַזֶּה מוֹצֵא חֵן בְּעֵינֶיה (hah-mahkh-SHEV hah-ZEH moh-tseh KHEN beh-eh-ee-NEH-hah) - She likes this computer. Or, I might say, הַבָּחוּרָה הַזֹּאת מוֹצֵאת חֵן בְּעֵינָיו (hah-bah-khoo-RAH hah-ZOHT moh-tset KHEN beh-eh-ee-NAHV) - He likes this girl.



...למצוא חן בעיני implies fondness, not necessarily love.





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Oct 28, 2011

how to say "vegan" in Hebrew


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טִבְעוֹנִי




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Class starts THIS SUNDAY
in four locations with Ulpan La-Inyan.

The Torah portion being read tomorrow by Jews the world over is that of נֹח (NOH-ahkh) - Noah - which tells the story of destruction and renewal, closeness and separation... as well as vegetarianism and, well, meat-eating.


In light of the latter theme, I thought I'd introduce the Modern Hebrew words for vegetarian and vegan.






A vegetarian - one who refrains from eating meat - is a צִמְחוֹנִי* (tseem-khoh-NEE), deriving from the word for plant or herb, צֶמַח (TSEH-mahkh).


A vegan - one who refrains from eating all animal products - is a טִבְעוֹנִי* (teev-oh-NEE), from the word טֶבַע (TEH-vah) - nature.


* These are the masculine versions of the words. To describe a female vegetarian or vegan, add a ת (t) to the end of the desired word.


שבת שלום וסוף שבוע נעים לכולם!
Shabbat Shalom and a pleasant weekend to all!

Oct 27, 2011

how to say "hygienist" in Hebrew


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שִנָּנִית




Get talking... in Hebrew.

Class starts THIS SUNDAY
in four locations with Ulpan La-Inyan.



Ever run out of dental floss? I did this week... and my dental hygienist might give me a scolding if I don't replace it soon.


The Academy of the Hebrew Language came up with an authentic Hebrew word for this modern profession: שִׁנָּן (shee-NAHN), deriving from the word for tooth - שֵׁן (shen). And whereas many other attempts to introduce a Hebrew word to substitute a foreign one, this attempt succeeded.






But since the vast majority of them are female, the de facto term used by speakers as well as online engines to translate dental hygienist is שִׁנָּנִית (shee-nah-NEET). 





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Oct 26, 2011

how to say "magical" in Hebrew


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קָסוּם






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Class starts THIS SUNDAY






Upon returning from visiting family abroad, I became enchanted again with Jerusalem. One might say it's a magical city - עִיר קְסוּמָה (eer keh-soo-MAH).






I write קסומה instead of קָסוּם (kah-SOOM), since a city is a feminine noun in Hebrew. Those of you who live in Raanana (where our Level 3 class starts on Sunday morning) might know the stationery shop on רְחוֹב שֵׁשֶׁת הַיָּמִים (reh-KHOHV SHEH-shet hah-yah-MEEM) - Six Days (War) Street - by the name of הַיַּעַר הַקּסוּם (hah-YAH-ahr hah-kah-SOOM) - The Magical Forest.


קסום and קסומה come from the Biblical Hebrew word, קֶסֶם (KEH-sem) - magic or sorcery




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Oct 25, 2011

how to say "to lose weight" in Hebrew


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לִרְזוֹת


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Class starts next Sunday, October 30




Yesterday I wrote about the tendency to gain weight - לְהַשְׁמִין - over the holidays. As Ktzat Ivrit subscriber Debby pointed out to me, professionals and people being more polite are likely to use לַעֲלוֹת בַּמִּשְׁקָל (lah-ah-LOHT bah-meesh-KAHL) to mean to gain weight (literally, to go up in the weight), rather than the more informal and in-your-face להשמין.


But that was yesterday's dose.


לִרְזוֹת (leer-ZOHT) means to lose weight, or literally, to become thin. This simple verb is derived from the adjective, רָזֶה (rah-ZEH) meaning thin, when referring to a male (the feminine version is רָזָה - rah-ZAH). A more professional, polite version of the term is לָרֶדֶת בַּמִּשְׁקָל (lah-REH-det bah-meesh-KAHL) - literally, to go down in the weight.


You may recall this root appearing in the introductory prayer for rain made a few days ago: רָזוֹן (rah-ZOHN) refers to gauntness, or in the case of the prayer, famine, whereas שֹׂבַע (SOH-vah) refers to satiation.



The word רָזֶה appears in Shalom Hanoch's song (performed also by Arik Einstein) that captured the spirit, albeit not exactly, of last week's release of Gilad Shalit (who returned from his captivity quite רָזֶה himself), a father-son piece on homecoming: כָּמָה טוֹב שֶׁבָּאתָ הַבַּיְתָה (KAH-mah tohv sheh-BAH-tah hah-BAH-ee-tah) - How Great It Is That You've Come Home.

I'll be featuring this song on my hour of Israeli music tomorrow, which you can listen to live at noon Israel time at rustymike.com.

Oct 24, 2011

how to say "to gain weight" in Hebrew...


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לְהַשְׁמִין



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Class starts next Sunday, October 30




The Jewish holiday season is now over both in Israel and abroad. And just as in other cultures and religions, Jews have a tendency to gain weight over the holidays.


The Hebrew word for to gain weight is לְהַשְׁמִין (le-hahsh-MEEN), of the root ש.מ.נ (sh.m.n) meaning fat. So whereas in English you might say to a close male friend, "you've gained weight," in Hebrew you'd say, הִשְׁמַנְת (heesh-MAHN-tah).


להשמין is an active-causative verb.


Tomorrow's entry will be about losing weight.

Oct 19, 2011

how to say "dependency" in Hebrew


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תְּלוּת
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Class starts October 30


After observing the הוֹשַׁעֲנָא רַבָּה (hoh-shah-NAH rah-BAH) service this morning and looking forward to the prayer for rain tomorrow, I've been thinking about how much we humans depend upon water and rain - for the believers among us, G-d's blessing - especially in Israel.






The Hebrew word for dependency is תְּלוּת (teh-LOOT), deriving from the verb לִתְלוֹת (leet-LOHT), meaning, literally, to hang (if I depend on something, I hang or hinge on it). A related phrase you might know is ...זֶה תָּלוּי ב (zeh tah-LOO-ee beh...) - it depends on...


May it rain this winter...




חַג שָׂמֵחַ!
(khahg sah-MEH-ahkh!)
Happy holiday!





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how to say "tastefully" in Hebrew


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בְּטוּב טַעַם


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Class starts October 30




For weeks, there's cement, wood planks and metal shards all over. But over the next few months, the place starts to look like a house, and eventually the interior designer waves her magic wand... and the family enters their new home.






The woman of the house runs from room to room emitting screams of delight, as the man comments, הִיא עִצְּבָה אֶת הַבָּיִת בְּטוּב טַעַם (hee ee-tseh-VAH et hah-BAH-yeet beh-TOOV TAH-ahm) - she designed the house tastefully.


Note that the vowel in the word טוֹב, meaning good or well (tohv), changes from oh to oo in בטוּב טעם. That's because, in this phrase, טוּב is part of a two-word unit, meaning literally, good of taste.





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Oct 17, 2011

how to say "to postpone" in Hebrew


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לִדְחוֹת



Events and appointments get postponed all the time. The Hebrew word for to postpone is לִדְחוֹת (leed-KHOHT) - a simple verb - while to be postponed is לְהִדָּחוֹת  (leh-hee-dah-KHOHT), a "nifal" verb. For example, הַטִּיּוּל נִדְחָה בְּשָׁבוּע (hah-tee-YOOL need-KHAH beh-shah-VOO-ah) - the trip was postponed by a week.


Word of caution: לדחות also means to reject or, more potentially destructive, to repulse. For example, you might hear someone speak of צֶבַע דּוֹחֶה (TSEH-vah doh-KHEH) - a repulsive color.


So don't tell your wife אֲנִי דּוֹחֶה אֹתָך (ah-NEE doh-KHEH oh-TAHKH) - I'm rejecting you - when you really mean I'm changing our lunch appointment.





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how to say "when there's a will, there's a way" in Hebrew


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אֵין דָּבָר עוֹמֵד בִּפְנֵי הָרָצוֹן




The human will is capable of more than its bearers realize. They say we use only ten percent of our brains' capacity... which means that our potential for more is enormous.


We catch a glimpse of this potential when we encounter stories such that of Byron Katie, whose innate will to live brought her to wake up one morning with a clarity that would lead her and countless others out of the darkness and into happiness and fulfillment, after years of an ominous depression that was tearing apart every fabric of her professional and family life.






In English, we say, Where there's a will, there's a way.


In Hebrew, we say, אֵין דָּבָר עוֹמֵד בִּפְנֵי הָרָצוֹן (eh-een dah-VAHR oh-MED beef-NEH-ee hah-rah-TSOHN) - nothing stands in the face of (the) will.


רָצוֹן (rah-TSOHN) is the noun form of that most basic "simple" Hebrew verb, לִרְצוֹת (leer-TSOHT), to desire or to want.


בִּפְנֵי is the construct form of ...בַּפָּנִים שֶׁל (bah-pah-NEEM shel...) - in the face of..., just as לִפְנֵי (leef-NEH-ee), meaning before (regarding both time - "I was here before you" - and space - "I am standing before you"), is the construct form of ...לְפָנִים שֶׁל (leh-fah-NEEM shel...) - to the face of.







How's your Hebrew?