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May 30, 2012

how to say "to carry" in Hebrew


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לָשֵׂאת



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The Torah portion to be read this Shabbat by Jews around the world is called נָשֹא (nah-SOH), which, literally, means lift up or carry (in the Biblical context, it means take a census or lift up the heads of children of Gershon, so that they can be counted).


The infinitive form of that word is לָשֵׂאת (lah-SET). In Modern Hebrew, לשאת means to carry. However, unlike the word carry in English, a very common word, לשאת is most often used to refer to carrying in a non-literal sense. 


For example:


הִיא נוֹשֵׂאת אֶת הַתִּינוֹק.
She is carrying the baby.
(hee noh-SET et hah-tee-NOHK)


הֵם נוֹשְׂאִים בְּאַחְרָיוּת הָאֵרוּעַ.
They are taking responsibility (literally, carrying the responsibility) for the event.


The more common, literal word in Hebrew for to carry is לִסְחוֹב (lees-KHOHV), meaning literally, to drag or to carry with difficulty... or just to schlep.


For example:


הוּא סוֹחֵב הַרְבֵּה דְּבָרִים בַּיָדָיו.
He is carrying lots of things in his hands.
(hoo soh-KHEV hahr-BEH deh-vah-REEM beh-yah-DAHV)




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





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how to say "gender" in Hebrew


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מִגְדָּר



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We've seen the Hebrew root ג.ד.ר used in its original sense to mean fence - גָּדֵר (gah-DEHR), as well as in a modern application to mean definition or computer setting - הַגְדָּרָה (hahg-dah-RAH).


Another modern application of this Biblical root is the word for gender - מִגְדָּר (meeg-DAHR), since gender places a person into one of two defined or fenced-in denominations.


To use gender as an adjective, you'd say מִגְדָּרִי (meeg-dah-REE) in the masculine and מִגְדָּרִית (meeg-dah-REET) in the feminine.


A couple of examples:


שִׁוְיוֹן מגדרי
gender equality
(sheev-YOHN meeg-dah-REE)


נִתּוּחַ מגדרי
gender analysis
(nee-TOO-ahkh meeg-dah-REE)


זֶהוּת מגדרית
gender identity
(zeh-HOOT meeg-dah-REET)


Gender in the grammatical sense is מִין (meen).





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May 29, 2012

how to say "definition" in Hebrew


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הַגְדָּרָה



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Yesterday's entry introduced the word for fence or, more abstractly, framework. The root is ג.ד.ר (g.d.r).


A definition is something that brings clarity to a word or idea: without definition, an idea runs freely, unattainable to the mind. A definition confines it, placing a virtual fence around it.

This is the logic behind the choice of the makers of Modern Hebrew to plug the  root ג.ד.ר meaning fence into the active-causative הפעיל verb form. The result is the word לְהַגְדִּיר 
to define (leh-hahg-DEER).


Following the הפעיל pattern, a definition is a הַגְדָּרָה (hahg-dah-RAH). 


For example:


הַגְדָּרַת הַמִּלָּה הִיא...
The word's definition is...
(hahg-dah-RAHT hah-mee-LAH hee...)


.צָרִיךְ לְהַגְדִּיר אֶת הַתַּפְקִיד שֶׁלּוֹ הֵיטֵב
We need (literally, is needed) to define his role/job well.
(tsah-REEKH leh-hahg-DEER et hah-tahf-KEED sheh-LOH heh-ee-TEV)


The plural of הגדרה is also used to refer to computer settings. For example:


.שִׁנּוּי קָטָן בַּהַגְדָּרוֹת עָשׂוּי לִפְתּוֹר אֶת הַבְּעָיָה
A small change in the settings is likely to solve the problem.
(shee-NOO-ee kah-TAHN bah-hahg-dah-ROHT ah-SOO-ee leef-TOHR et hah-beh-ah-YAH)





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how to say "fence" in Hebrew


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גָּדֵר



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by h.koppdelaney
A fence, in Hebrew, is a גָּדֵר (gah-DEHR) - a feminine noun. For instance, יֵשׁ גָּדֵר אֲרֻכָּה מִסָּבִיב לַבָּיִת - there is a long fence around the house (yesh gah-DEHR ah-roo-KAH mee-sah-VEEV lah-BAH-yeet).


A גדר creates a physical framework around a house, a building, a bunch of cows, etc. גדר is also used to refer to more abstract fences or frameworks, as in:


הַקַּבָּלָה לֹא נִמְצֵאת בְּגֶדֶר הַמְּצִיאוּת הַחָמְרִית 
Kabbalah is not to be found in the framework of material reality
(hah-kah-bah-LAH loh neem-TSET beh-GHEH-dehr hah-meh-tsee-OOT hah-khohm-REET)


Note that when used in the construct "סְמִיכוּת" (seh-mee-KHOOT) state, גָּדֵר (gah-DEHR) becomes גֶּדֶר (GHEH-dehr).





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May 25, 2012

how to say "acceptance" in Hebrew


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קַבָּלָה



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This weekend, Jews around the world will be celebrating the Feast of Weeks, which is a direct translation of the Hebrew term, חַג הַשָּׁבֻעוֹת (khahg hah-shah-voo-OHT). 


This is the holiday in which the Jews in Biblical times expressed gratitude for the crop being harvested at the end of the spring, the fully-mature grains and the newly ripened fruits. When Jews became world wanderers upon losing the Temple as well as their independence in the Land of Israel almost 2,000 years ago, חג השבעות took on a new emphasis that would speak to the hearts of Jews in all regions and climates throughout the diaspora, as חג השבעות also commemorates the most monumental event in the world history of morality, the giving of Torah - מַתַּן תּוֹרָה (mah-TAHN toh-RAH).


There's the Giver - הַנּוֹתֵן (hah-noh-TEN)... and there are the receivers - הַמְּקַבְּלִים (hah-meh-kah-beh-LEEM). The Hebrew root for give is נ.ת.נ (n.t.n), while the root for receive is ק.ב.ל (k.b.l). Notably, the Hebrew term used to describe that Sinai transaction is מתן תורה, the giving of Torah, rather than קַבַּלַת תּוֹרָה - the receiving of Torah (kah-bah-LAHT toh-RAH). I believe that the term was thus selected to stress that the Torah is a gift and therefore to nurture gratitude toward the Giver.


The word for to accept and to receive is לְקַבֵּל (leh-kah-BEL), an active-intensive פיעל verb. The word for acceptance is קַבָּלָה (kah-bah-LAH). It's also the word for a financial receipt, as well as the body of Jewish literature containing mystical revelations received from above (the word קִבּוּל - kee-BOOL, the expected gerund for לקבל, refers to other things).


A couple of examples:


הוּא נֶהֱנֶה מִקַּבָּלָה חֶבְרָתִית 
He enjoys social acceptance
(hoo neh-heh-NEH mee-kah-bah-LAH khev-rah-TEET)


בִּקַּשְׁתִּי קַבָּלָה מֵהַמִּסְעָדָה 
I requested from the restaurant a receipt
(bee-KAHSH-tee kah-bah-LAH meh-hah-mees-ah-DAH)


Note - acceptance to a program of study, etc. uses a different word, הִתְקַבְּלוּת (heet-kah-beh-LOOT), the noun form of an active-reflexive התפעל verb, לְהִתְקַבֵּל (leh-heet-kah-BEL).


שבת שלום, חג שמח, וסוף שבוע נעים לכולם!
Shabbat Shalom, Happy (Shavuot) Holiday, and a wonderful weekend to all!





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May 23, 2012

how to say "disposable" in Hebrew


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לְשִׁמּוּשׁ חַד-פַּעֲמִי 



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Disposable - referring to an item that can be disposed of after one use - doesn't get translated literally into Hebrew. Rather, Hebrew uses the expression לְשִׁמּוּשׁ חַד-פַּעֲמִי - literally, for one-time use (leh-shee-MOOSH khahd-pah-ah-MEE). Most Israelis shorten the expression and say, simply, חד-פעמי - one-time.

A couple of examples:
מַזְלֵג חַד-פַּעֲמִי
disposable fork
(mahz-LEG khahd-pah-ah-MEE)

סַכִּין חַד-פַּעֲמִית
disposable knife
(sah-KEEN khahd-pah-ah-MEET)

For more examples, watch this video, Part 1 in the "Shopping for the Barbecue" series.


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how to say "sunburn" in Hebrew


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כְּוִיַּת שֶׁמֶשׁ





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If you're like me and you've had a sunburn before, raise your hand.

The word for sun - שֶׁמֶשׁ (SHEH-mesh) - is one of those nouns people pick up pretty fast when learning Hebrew, especially if they're coming to Israel from a climate that doesn't get much of it.

The most common word for to burn in Hebrew is the active-simple פעל verb, לִשְׁרוֹף (lees-ROHF), of the root שׂ.ר.פ (s.r.p). A word for burn specific to the type of burn found on the body is כְּוִיָּה (keh-vee-YAH). This word appears prominently in the Biblical verses featuring the famous, "an eye for an eye":
עַיִן תַּחַת עַיִן שֵׁן תַּחַת שֵׁן יָד תַּחַת יָד רֶגֶל תַּחַת רָגֶל, כְּוִיָּה תַּחַת כְּוִיָּה...
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, an arm for an arm, a leg for a leg; a burn for a burn...
(AH-yeen TAH-khaht AH-yeen, shen TAH-khaht shen, yahd TAH-khaht yahd, REH-ghel TAH-khaht RAH-ghel; keh-vee-YAH TAH-khaht keh-vee-YAH...)
(Exodus 21:24-25)

Just as in English, where one wouldn't say the sun burned me, but more likely, I was burned by the sun, in Hebrew one would say נִכְוֵתִי (neekh-VEH-tee) - I was burned (on my skin). The verb is of the נפעל variety: לְהִכָּוֹת (leh-hee-kah-VOHT) - to be burned

A sunburn is thus a כְּוִיַּת שמש (keh-vee-YAHT SHEH-mesh).



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May 21, 2012

how to say "ready for action" in Hebrew


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מוּכָן וּמְזֻמָּן



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The English phrase ready for action implies that a person is on alert, prepared to do what is necessary to achieve a goal. 


by Keith Allison
The Hebrew expression מוּכָן וּמְזֻמָּן (moo-KHAHN oo-meh-zoo-MAHN), found in the literature of the Rabbis of the classical period as well as in today's Jewish daily prayers, means essentially the same thing: ready and on alert


The word מזומן (meh-zoo-MAHN) itself comes from the root ז.מ.נ (z.m.n) meaning time. The word implies that a person who is on alert is bound by a time that will beckon. 


For example:
רֹאשׁ הָעִיר הֶחָדָשׁ מוכן ומזומן לְכָל דָּבָר.
The new mayor is ready for anything that might come his way (literally, for every thing).
(rohsh hah-EER heh-khah-DAHSH moo-KHAHN oo-meh-zoo-MAHN leh-KHOL dah-VAHR)


An example in the feminine:
הִיא מוּכָנָה וּמְזֻמֶּנֶת לְכָל מַצָּב.
She is ready for any situation.
(hee moo-khah-NAH oo-meh-zoo-MEH-net leh-KHOHL mah-TSAHV)


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May 20, 2012

on the Hebrew word for "miracle"


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נֵס



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This one's for JJ.


Forty five years ago three major Arab powers in the Middle East threatened to destroy the Jewish State and bring upon a second Holocaust. The people of Israel began to dig graves in their backyards in preparation for the worst. Then, Israel launched a preemptive attack that not only spared its certain destruction, but regained territories inhabited by Jews in ancient times, including the political and spiritual center foreseen by the Biblical prophets to be a house of prayer for all nations (Isaiah 55:7), Jerusalem. Today, Israel is at peace with two of the three aforementioned powers.


Such a dramatic turnabout has several precedents in Jewish history, including the Exodus and the story of Esther. Those who don't believe the Biblical stories have a contemporary example of this turnabout, celebrated this very day in Israel as יוֹם יְרוּשָׁלַיִם (yohm yeh-roo-shah-LAH-yeem) - Jerusalem Day.


We use the word נֵס (nes) today to mean miracle, but its meaning in Biblical Hebrew is a symbol of victory held high for all to see (also a banner or flag). Fraught with conflict, debate about their validity and existential threat in the most visceral sense, the existence Jewish Jerusalem and Israel are nevertheless נִסִּים (nee-SEEM) - plural of נס - that the world will become and is already becoming a better place.

The root of נס is נ.ס.ס (n.s.s).






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May 18, 2012

how to say "the rules" in Hebrew


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הַכְּלָלִים



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The Torah portion(s) to be read tomorrow by Jews the world over (in Israel,  בְּחֻקֹּתַי  beh-khoo-koh-TAH-ee, and abroad בְּהַר-בְּחֻקֹּתַי - beh-HAHR-beh-khoo-koh-TAH-ee) feature various rules given to the People of Israel to be kept as they enter their promised land, as well as the consequences that would come should they not follow the rules.


There are many words for a rule in Hebrew, just as there are in English: law, ordinance, decree, dictate, edict, legislation, etc.


by Mariano Kamp
But then there's the rules - those principles, often unspoken, by which people operate (or rebel against) in the various arenas of life.


In Hebrew, these rules are כְּלָלִים (keh-lah-LEEM), of the root כ.ל.ל (k.l.l) meaning all or completeness


Examples of הכללים:


צָרִיךְ לְשַׂחֵק אֶת הַמִּשְׂחָק לְפִי הַכְּלָלִים 
(one) needs to play the game by the rules 
(tsah-REEKH leh-sah-KHEK et hah-mees-KHAHK leh-FEE hah-keh-lah-LEEM)


כְּלָלֵי מִשְׂחַק הַחַיִּים אֵינָם בְּרוּרִים לְכֻלָּם
the rules of the game of life are not clear to everyone
(keh-lah-LEH-ee mees-KHAHK hah-khah-YEEM eh-ee-NAHM beh-roo-REEM leh-khoo-LAHM)


Another application of the root כ.ל.ל is the word generalThe synagogue where I like to pray Friday night is called בֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת הַכְּלָלִי - the general synagogue (where all are welcome) - (BEH-eet hah-keh-NEH-set hah-keh-lah-LEE).


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





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