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Mar 30, 2012

how to say "to rely (upon)" in Hebrew


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לִסְמוֹךְ




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The Torah portion to be read this Shabbat by Jews around the world continues to detail the sacrificial practices in the Temple. One of event in the process of offering a sacrifice was the person's resting his hands on the head of the animal, thereby forging a connection with the animal that was to signify the person's own personal sacrifice. This act was called סְמִיכַת יָדַיִם (seh-mee-KHAHT yah-DAH-yeem) - literally, resting of hands.


Likewise, one word might rest upon another in Hebrew, as in the phrase בֵּית הַקָּפֶה (BEH-yeet hah-kah-FEH) - the coffee house or the house of coffee. In that phrase, בית relies upon הקפה to express its full meaning. This grammatical phenomenon is called סְמִיכוּת (seh-mee-KHOOT).
by schmollmolch


Later Hebrew took this physical act of resting on something and made it abstract - so that לִסְמוֹך (lees-MOHKH) meant to rest on something in the figurative sense as well: to rely upon something... or someone. For example, סְמוֹךְ עָלַי (smohkh ah-LAH-ee) is the Modern-Hebrew equivalent of the English, trust me.


The act of ordaining a rabbi exemplifies both the literal and figurative meanings of לסמוך. The act dates back to Moses placing his hands upon his successor, Joshua, thereby displaying his reliance upon and trust in Joshua to lead the Israelite people well.


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





Scavenger hunt in Nachlaot (Jerusalem)
April 8, especially for art lovers.

Mar 29, 2012

how to say "materialism" in Hebrew...


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חָמְרִיּוּת




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If חֹמֶר לְמַחְשָׁבָה (KHOH-mehr leh-mahkh-shah-VAH) means food (material) for thought, and the word חומר itself means material, it follows that חָמְרִיּוּת (khohm-ree-YOOT) means materialism, where the וּת- ending functions in a way similar to that of the English -ism.


For example, one might pose a philosophical-religious question, הַאִם הַחָמְרִיּוּת הִיא דָּבָר טוֹב לָעֹלָם? (hah-EEM hah-khohm-ree-YOOT hee dah-VAHR tohv lah-oh-LAHM?) - Is (the) materialism a good thing for the world?


Note that the  ָ(kah-MAHTS) vowel signifies the oh sound in this case, not the ah sound.


Regardless of what you think of it, make the word חומריות your own by listening and repeating it... and then repeating it again a few times throughout your day.




Mar 28, 2012

another way of saying "food for thought" in Hebrew


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חֹמֶר לְמַחְשָׁבָה




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The last entry presented a Hebrew equivalent for the English expression, food for thought - נְקֻדָּה לְמַחְשָׁבָה (neh-koo-DAH leh-mahkh-shah-VAH) - literally, a point for thought.


I realized later that there is another equivalent expression that's even closer to the literal meaning of the English one: חֹמֶר לְמַחְשָׁבָה (KHOH-mehr leh-mahkh-shah-VAH) - literally, material for thought.


Own this expression by listening and repeating it... and then repeating it again a few times throughout your day.


The word חומר itself meant clay or mortar in Biblical Hebrew and came to mean all forms of material in later generations of the language. Here's an example of the word חומר used in another context.


Scavenger hunt in Nachlaot (Jerusalem)
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Mar 27, 2012

how to say "food for thought" in Hebrew


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נְקֻדָּה לְמַחְשָׁבָה




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by Darwin Bell
Many expressions in English have direct translations in Hebrew... as well as in German, French and many other languages.


Some expressions have a more approximate, related-but-not-identical translation. One such expression is food for thought - whereas English invokes the food metaphor to depict a morsel of information nurturing and stimulating the brain, Hebrew uses the abstract concept (originating in metaphor) of a point - thus a point for thought is a נְקֻדָּה לְמַחְשָׁבָה (neh-koo-DAH leh-mahkh-shah-VAH).


נקודה means point and מחשבה means thought.


Park this expression in your brain by listening and repeating it... and then repeating it again a few times throughout your day.







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Mar 26, 2012

how to say "complexity" in Hebrew


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מֻרְכָּבוּת




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The Hebrew word רֶכֶב (REH-khev) means vehicle in both Biblical and Modern Hebrew. Likewise, the verb לִרְכּוֹב (leer-KOHV) means to ride. The root is ר.כ.ב (r.k.b).


by Kıvanç Niş
There's another set of words used in Modern Hebrew that are of the same root but of an entirely different meaning. The active-causative הפעיל verb לְהַרְכִּיב (leh-hahr-KEEV) means to assemble or, in its Mishnaic Hebrew origin, to place one element on top of another. A similar word is רְכִיב (reh-KHEEV) - an ingredient, or an element within a system. Something already assembled or complex is something מֻרְכָּב - an adjective from the passive-causative הופעל verb form.


Thus, like many other nouns created by adding the oot sound to the end of another word (as English might add -ity or -ness), complexity is מֻרְכָּבוּת (moor-kah-VOOT) in Modern Hebrew.


Whether there is a semantic connection between רכב the vehicle and מוכרבות the abstract concept, I don't know. Any ideas?


Mar 23, 2012

how to say "guilty feelings" in Hebrew


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רִגְשׁוֹת אַשְׁמָה





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The Torah portion to be read this Shabbat by Jews around the world unveils the spiritual life of those Jews living in the times of the Temple - more specifically, the rituals they practice to express their devotion to God... as well as their sorrow at having sinned.


One of the five types of ritual sacrifices is called the קָרְבַּן אָשָׁם (kohr-BAHN ah-SHAHM) - the sacrifice of guilt. Say the word אשם out loud and note how similar it sounds to the English word, shameאַשְׁמָה (ahsh-MAH) is the word used in Modern Hebrew to mean guilt the emotion.


Then again, the word בּוּשָׁה (boo-SHAH) also sounds a bit like shame.


By VinothChandar
Guilt-אשמה and shame-בושה are not the same thing.  רִגְשׁוֹת אַשְׁמָה (reeg-SHOHT ahsh-MAH) - guilty feelings - come when a person believes, "I've done something bad." These feelings motivate this person to fix what has become broken. As Brené Brown taught in her phenomenal talk earlier this month, רשגות אשמה are healthy and adaptive. 


The feeling of בושה, on the other hand, comes when a person believes "I am bad." This experience is unhealthy and maladaptive, and can only be released when expressed fully - to self or, preferably, to another.


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





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Mar 22, 2012

how to say "medical center" in Hebrew


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מֶרְכָּז רְפוּאִי




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A center is a מֶרְכָּז (mehr-KAHZ). For example, the greater Tel Aviv metropolis is considered מֶרְכַּז הָאָרֶץ (mehr-KAHZ hah-AH-rets) - the center of the country. The root of מרכז is ר.כ.ז (r.k.z) meaning concentration


The practice of medicine is רְפוּאָה (reh-foo-AH). Thus a medical center is a מֶרְכָּז רְפוּאִי (mehr-KAHZ reh-foo-EE), where the ee sound at the end of the רפואי turns the feminine noun of רפואה into a masculine adjective describing the masculine noun מרכז.


Didn't get that grammatical explanation? No worries. Just listen and repeat...




Mar 21, 2012

how to say "massacre" in Hebrew


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טֶבַח



The root is ט.ב.ח (t.b.kh), just like that of the word for kitchen - מִטְבָּח (meet-BAHKH). And it makes sense - a מטבח is historically the place where butchering took place. 


Toulouse. אוֹצָר הַתּוֹרָה (oh-TSAHR hah-toh-RAH) - The Treasure of the Torah. Sweet innocent children and adults (before this week's event as well) טְבוּחִים (teh-voo-KHEEM) - massacred.


May we never hear of such things again. And may justice be served.

Mar 20, 2012

how to say "myself" in Hebrew


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עַצְמִי



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The Hebrew word עֶצֶם (EH-tsem) means, literally, bone. In Biblical Hebrew, the word עַצְמִי (ahts-MEE) means only my bone or my bones. It is used figuratively in the expression עַצְמִי וּבְשָׂרִי (ahts-MEE oo-veh-sah-REE) - literally, my bone and my flesh - equivalent the expression in English, my flesh and blood (a relative). So עצמי, already in Biblical times, meant myself.


In later Hebrew and through today, עצם is the common word to express the concept of self or essence. The Talmud, for instance (and in a departure from Babylonian Aramaic, back to Hebrew) states the rule: אָדָם קָרוֹב אֵצֶל עַצְמו (ah-DAHM kah-ROHV EH-tsel ahts-MOH) - a person is close to him/herself, meaning that a person cannot be held trustworthy in court to testify on his own behalf, since he may be too concerned about protecting himself to speak truthfully.


We don't use the word אצל in conjunction with עצם in Modern HebrewRather, we use אֶת. For example, אָדָם צָרִיךְ לֶאֱהוֹב אֶת עַצְמו (ah-DAHM tsah-REEKH leh-eh-HOHV et ahts-MOH) - a person must love him/herself. And if they don't, they should throw themselves an עצם anyway.


Other declensions of עצם meaning self are: 
עַצְמָהּ - herself
עַצְמְךַ - yourself (m.s) 
עַצְמֵךְ - yourself (f.s.)
עַצְמְכֶם - yourselves
עַצְמָם - themselves


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