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Aug 31, 2012

how to say "to educate" in Hebrew


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לְחַנֵּךְ



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One might argue that the central theme of the Torah is education, as the word תּוֹרָה (toh-RAH) itself means, essentially, instruction. In the Torah portion to be read this Shabbat by Jews around the world, the topic shows up implicitly in the case of the wayward, defiant son - a בֵּן סוֹרֵר וּמוֹרֶה (ben soh-REHR oo-moh-REH) who, had he received the right education (and upbringing), would not behave the way he does.


There's to teach - לְלַמֵּד (leh-lah-MED), the act of giving over specific lessons, and then there's to educate - לְחַנֵּךְ (leh-khah-NEKH), a more comprehensive act of priming someone for life. לחנך is an active-intensive פִּעֵל verb

For example:

הֵם חִנְּכוּ אֶת הַיְּלָדִים שֶׁלָּהֵם לְנֶאֱמָנוּת וְכָבוֹד לַזּוּלַת.
They educated their children with (toward) loyalty and respect for others (the other).

The word's root, ח.נ.כ (kh.n.k), means inauguration - launching something or someone for a task or function. In Biblical Hebrew, the word appears in the active-simple פָּעַל form, usually describing the inauguration of a building or home, but occasionally describing education, as in the well-known verse,  מִשְׁלֵי כב:ו - Proverbs 22:6 (meesh-LEH-ee kahf bet:vahv):

חֲנֹךְ לַנַּעַר עַל פִּי דַּרְכּוֹ, גַּם כִּי יַזְקִין לֹא יָסוּר מִמֶּנָּה
Educate the young man according to his way, (and) even when he grows old, he will not veer from it.


Following the פיעל verb pattern, the abstract noun education and name of this noble industry is חִנּוּךְ (khee-NOOKH).

שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם וְסוֹף שָׁבוּעַ נָעִים לְכֻלָּם!
Shabbat Shalom, and a pleasant weekend to all!
(shah-BAHT shah-LOHM, veh-SOHF shah-VOO-ah nah-EEM leh-khoo-LAHM)    

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Aug 30, 2012

how to say "to fit in"


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לְהִשְׁתַּלֵּב


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It is basic human nature to want and need both autonomy and acceptance - we are at once individuals as well members of a tribe. Thus while children and teens must accomplish tasks in order to develop a healthy sense of self, they must also experience themselves as accepted and loved in order to do so.

Modern Hebrew calls upon the Biblical root שׁ.ל.ב (sh.l.b), meaning arrangement or piece within a structure to create a beautiful word that means to fit in - לְהִשְׁתַּלֵּב (leh-heesh-tah-LEV). This reflexive-intensive הִתְפָּעֵל verb is also one of the words for to merge onto a road

Some examples:


סָבִיר לְהַנִּיחַ כִּי אוּרִי יִשְׁתַּלֵּב טוֹב בְּבֵית הַסֵּפֶר הֶחָדָשׁ.
It's safe (reasonable) to assume that Uri will fit in well in his (the) new school.


חָשׁוּב לָשִׂים לֵב לַתְּנוּעָה הַזּוֹרֶמֶת כְּשֶׁמִּשְׁתַּלְּבִים בַּכְּבִישׁ הַמָּהִיר.
It's important to pay attention to the flow (the flowing) traffic when merging on the highway.

Since להשתלב means to fit in, it is also used when describing the prospect of fitting into or joining a company as an employee: 

אֶשְׂמַח לְהִשְׁתַּלֵּב אֶצְלְכֶם בַּחֶבְרָה.
I would like (I'll be happy) to join (fit in to) your company (at the company with you).

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Aug 29, 2012

how to say "calculator" in Hebrew


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מַחְשְׁבוֹן


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זוֹכְרִים אֶת אֵלֶּה?
remember these?
(zoh-kheh-REEM et EH-leh)
One of the most commonly-used verbs in conversation, in both English and Hebrew, is to think - לַחְשׁוֹב (lahkh-SHOHV). The root of this active-simple פָּעַל Hebrew verb, ח.ש.ב (kh.sh.b), is also the birthplace of many other words, including to be considerate, account, math, the bill, and many others, including the word for calculator.

מַחְשְׁבוֹן (mahkh-sheh-VOHN) is a diminutive form of the word for computerמַחְשֵׁב (mahkh-SHEV), which means, basically, thinking machine. מחשבון means calculator.

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Aug 28, 2012

how to say "reading and writing" in Hebrew


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קְרֹא וּכְתֹב




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The literal way of saying reading and writing uses the abstract-noun forms, קְרִיאָה וּכְתִיבָה (keh-ree-AH oo-kheh-tee-VAH). Hebrew speakers use this term to label various skills studied in a particular class.

For example:

בַּקּוּרְס שֶׁלָּנוּ לוֹמְדִים בְּעִקָּר דִּבּוּר וְהַאֲזָנָה, אָבָל גַּם קְרִיאָה וּכְתִיבָה.
In our course, (you) study mainly speaking and listening, but also reading and writing.
(bah-KOORS sheh-LAH-noo loh-meh-DEEM beh-ee-KAHR dee-BOOR veh-hah-ah-zah-NAH, ah-VAHL gahm keh-ree-AH oo-kheh-tee-VAH)

But to speak of reading and writing in general - in other words, to speak of literacy - you'd use the expression, קְרֹא וּכְתֹב (keh-ROH oo-kheh-TOHV). This expression employs the infinitive form, minus the -ל (l) prefix. In fact, a better translation into English is simply to read and write.


For example:

יֶלֶד הַנִּכְנַס לְכִתָּה אָלֶף בְּדֶרֶךְ כְּלָל עוֹד לֹא יוֹדֵעַ קְרֹא וּכְתֹב.
A child entering the first grade usually does not know to read and write.
(YEH-led hah-neekh-NAHS leh-khee-TAH AH-lef beh-DEH-rehkh keh-LAHL loh yoh-DEH-ah keh-ROH oo-kheh-TOHV)

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Aug 27, 2012

how to say "back to school"


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חֲזָרָה לְבֵית הַסֵּפֶר



In English, we have to come back and to return. Both phrases describe the same situation, but while the former describes a day-to-day return, the latter describes a more dramatic one. 

Likewise in Hebrew, there are two words that mean to return to a placeלַחְזוֹר (lahkh-ZOHR) and לָשׁוּב (lah-SHOOV). Both are active-simple פָּעַל verbs


לחזור means to come back, while לשוב means to return.

An example using a variation of לחזור:


הִיא חָזְרָה הַבַּיְתָה מֵהַטִּיּוּל.
She came back home from the trip.
(hee khahz-RAH hah-BAH-ee-tah meh-hah-tee-YOOL)

And an example using a variation of לשוב:


אַחֲרֵי חָדָשִׁים רַבִּים בַּקְּרָב, הוּא סוֹף כָּל סוֹף שָׁב הַבַּיְתָה.
After many months in battle, he finally returned home.

Translating back to school into Hebrew using the right word for returning, we get:

חֲזָרָה לְבֵית הַסֵּפֶר - literally, a return to the school - (khah-zah-RAH leh-VEH-eet hah-SEH-fehr).

Another well-known usage the word חזרה is in the Hebrew translation of Back to the Future (literally, with return to the future) - בְּחֲזָרָה לָעָתִיד (beh-khah-zah-RAH lah-ah-TEED).

We at Ulpan La-Inyan wish 
בְּהַצְלָחָה לְכָל הַתַּלְמִידִים!
Good luck (literally, success) to all the students!
(beh-hahts-lah-KHAH leh-KHOHL hah-tahl-mee-DEEM).

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Aug 24, 2012

how to say "boundary" in Hebrew


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גְּבוּל


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The Torah portion to be read this Shabbat by Jews around the world falls smack in the middle of the fifth of Five Books of Moses, סֵפֶר דְּבָרִים (SEH-fehr deh-vah-REEM) - The Book of Deuteronomy, or literally, The Book of Words. ספר דברים and its narrator, Moses, concern themselves primarily with preparing the Children of Israel for entering their land - present-day Israel - and thus a word that pops up over and over in the book, as well as in this week's portion, is גְּבוּל (gheh-VOOL) - border or boundary.

Despite the word's masculine gender, it appears feminine in the plural: גְּבוּלוֹת (gheh-voo-LOHT). However, since the word is masculine in the singular form, it behaves like a masculine noun, even in the plural, when described by an adjective. For example:


לְפוֹלִין יֵשׁ גְּבוּלוֹת אֲרוּכִּים בְּכָל הַצְּדָדִים.
Poland has long borders on all (the) sides.
(leh-foh-LEEN yesh gheh-voo-LOHT ah-roo-KEEM beh-KHOHL hah-tseh-dah-DEEM)

גבול means not only a geographical boundary, but a personal and interpersonal one as well.

For instance, the term setting boundaries, in Hebrew, is לְהַצִּיב גְּבוּלוֹת (leh-hah-TSEEV gheh-voo-LOHT).

I find it interesting that the root of boundary - ג.ב.ל (g.b.l), is almost identical to that of braverymanhood and heroism - ג.ב.ר (g.b.r). I am convinced that the two roots share a core concept, since the first two root letters are identical, and since the sounds l and r have a tendency to alternate among languages and sometimes within languages. 

If you agree with me on the commonality, how do you understand the connection between ג.ב.ל and ג.ב.ר?


Use the "comments" form below to say your piece.


שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם וְסוֹף שָׁבוּעַ נָעִים לְכֻלָּם!
Shabbat Shalom, and a pleasant weekend to all!
(shah-BAHT shah-LOHM, veh-SOHF shah-VOO-ah nah-EEM leh-khoo-LAHM)    


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Aug 22, 2012

how do say "decaf" in Hebrew


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נְטוּל קָפֶאִין


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The basic Hebrew word for to take is לָקַחַת (lah-KAH-khaht), an active-simple פָּעַל verb.

Another more elegant word for to take is לִנְטוֹל (leen-TOHL) or לִטּוֹל (lee-TOHL) of the root נ.ט.ל (n.t.l), also a פָּעַל verb. But as happens with more elegant words, this one is used only in certain cases, such as in the phrase meaning decaffeinated - נְטוּל קָפֶאִין (neh-TOOL kah-feh-EEN). In נטול קפאין, the word נְטוּל - or נָטוּל (nah-TOOL) when unconnected to another word - means taken away or removed, making the phrase for decaf mean literally, caffeine has been removed (from it).

Another phrase using נטול you might come across is:

דֶּלֶק נְטוּל עוֹפֶרֶת
unleaded fuel
(DEH-lek neh-TOOL oh-FEH-ret)


On washing of hands - נטילת ידיים

If you're familiar with Jewish tradition, you almost certainly caught the similarity between the word נטול and נְטִילַת יָדַיִם (neh-tee-LAHT yah-DAH-yeem) - the ritual washing of the hands. You're probably also wondering what washing has to do with taking away.

I was wondering the same thing until I found this Wikipedia article (only the Hebrew version of the article contains this explanation). The article explains that in the Rabbinic era, servants would wash the hands of their Jewish masters: the servant would give the water to the master by pouring it on his hands, while the master would in turn receive or take the water as it bathed his hands. 

Thus there is no literal connection between washing and taking away. Rather, the phrase נטילת ידיים preserves the memory of a ritual that involved two people, as opposed to today's pouring of water over one's own hands.


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Aug 21, 2012

how to say "exclusive" in Hebrew


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בִּלְעָדִי



Oftentimes the developers of Modern Hebrew are faced with the challenge of creating a new word for a concept that didn't quite exist in Biblical and Mishnaic times. One such concept is exclusivity.

As presented in yesterday's entry, one of the Hebrew words meaning without is בִּלְעָדַי (beel-ah-DAH-ee), used with suffixes to form phrases such as without me, without you, etc. Yesterday's entry provides all the possibilities.

Modern Hebrew's developers borrowed the basic concept of without to label the modern concept of exclusivity - or, being without most others. The word they came up with is בִּלְעָדִיּוּת (beel-ah-dee-YOOT)

Exclusive is בִּלְעָדִי (beel-ah-DEE) when referring to something masculine and בִּלְעָדִית (beel-ah-DEET)  when referring to something feminine.

For example:


מִבְצָע בִּלְעָדִי, רַק לְמַחְזִיקֵי כַּרְטִיס אַשְׁרַאי!
Exclusive deal, only for credit-card holders!
(meev-TSAH beel-ah-DEE, rahk leh-mahkh-zee-KEH-ee kahr-TEES ahsh-RAH-ee)

בלעדי is the official word that is becoming more and more in style. Most Israelis are still using, however, אֶקְסְקְלוּסִיבִי (eks-kloo-SEE-vee).

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Aug 20, 2012

how to say "without" in Hebrew


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בְּלִי, בִּלְעֲדֵי, לְלֹא

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While the common Hebrew preposition for with is עִם (eem), the one for without is בְּלִי (beh-LEE).

But just like עם doesn't get declined with suffixes to mean with me, with us, etc, and we use אֶת (et) instead, בלי doesn't take suffixes either. Instead of בלי, we use the Biblical synonym, בִּלְעָדַי (beel-ah-DAH-ee), meaning literally, apart from.

We get:


without me - בִּלְעָדַי (beel-ah-DAH-ee)
without us (one male) -  בִּלְעָדֵינוּ  (beel-ah-DEH-ee-noo)
without you (one male) -  בִּלְעָדֶיךָ  (beel-ah-DEH-khah)
without you (one female) -  בִּלְעָדַיִךְ  (beel-ah-DAH-eekh)
without you (males or mixed) -  בִּלְעָדֵיכֶם  (beel-ah-deh-ee-KHEM)
without you (females) -  בִּלְעָדֵיכֶן  (beel-ah-deh-ee-KHEN)
without him -  בִּלְעָדָיו (beel-ah-DAHV)
without her -  בִּלְעָדֶיהָ (beel-ah-DEH-hah)
without them (males or mixed) -  בִּלְעָדֵיהֶם (beel-ah-deh-ee-HEM)
without them (females) -  בִּלְעָדֵיהֶן  (beel-ah-deh-ee-HEN)

Another way of saying without is לְלֹא (leh-LOH). For example:

הִיא רוֹצָה קָפֶה לְלֹא סֻכָּר.
She wants coffee without sugar.
(hee roh-TSAH kah-FEH leh-LOH soo-KAHR)

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