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Nov 30, 2012

how to say "champion" in Hebrew


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אַלּוּף




this week's video
The Torah portion to be read this Shabbat by Jews around the world introduces the Biblical term for a chief or the head of a tribe: אַלּוּף.

Today this word refers to modern-day chiefs in the military and sports realms, meaning general and champion for example:



דַּרְגַּת "רַב-אַלּוּף" הִיא הַגְּבֹהָה בְּיוֹתֵר בְּצה"ל.
The rank of "major general" is the highest in the IDF.

מַיקֶל פֶלְפְּס הוּא אַלּוּף הָעוֹלָם בִּשְׂחִיָּה.
Michael Phelps is the world champion in swimming.


from the Wikipedia article on the letter aleph
You may have noticed that the root of אלוף is א.ל.פ (a.l.ph), the same as the first letter of the Hebrew language as well as related to the English term, alpha-bet. That's because the word אָלֶף (aleph) also means ox in very ancient Hebrew... and the ox was the chief among the all-important livestock in the ancient world.

The word for championship is אַלִּיפוּת
.

שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם וְסוֹף שָׁבוּעַ נָעִים לְכֻלָּם!
Shabbat Shalom, and a pleasant weekend to all!


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Nov 29, 2012

how to say "dead end" in Hebrew


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לְלֹא מוֹצָא

Yesterday we saw the Hebrew expression for point of departure - נְקֻדַּת מוֹצָא
דֶּרֶךְ לְלֹא מוֹצָא
dead-end road

The Hebrew term for a dead end - a point without departure or a place with no way out - is מָקוֹם לְלֹא מוֹצָא. To refer to a particular type of dead end, substitute the word for place - מָקוֹם- with your specific noun. 


For example:



רְחוֹב לְלֹא מוֹצָא
dead-end street

and:

קֶשֶׁר לְלֹא מוֹצָא
dead-end relationship

Another expression meaning dead end or cul-de-sac is מָבוֹי סָתוּם, literally a blocked alley.


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Nov 26, 2012

how to say "to blink" in Hebrew


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לְמַצְמֵץ


The ancient Hebrew word for to peek is לְהָצִיץ, as in:


הִנֵּה זֶה עוֹמֵד, אַחַר כָּתְלֵנוּ מַשְׁגִּיחַ מִן הַחַלֹּנוֹת, מֵצִיץ מִן הַחֲרַכִּים
(שִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים ב:ט)
Here he stands beyond our wall, watching from the windows, peeking through the cracks (Song of Songs 2:9)

When we blink, we peek for a very short period of time. To create the word for to blink, Modern Hebrew takes the participle form of להציץ, as appearing in the passage above (מֵצִיץ) and adds a מ (m) in the middle, creating the active-intensive פִּעֵל verb לְמַצְמֵץ.

An example:

צַּלֵּם אֹתִי שׁוּב, מִצְמַצְתִּי.
(to a male) Take my picture again, I blinked.

A synonym of לְמַצְמֵץ is לִקְרוֹץ, which we'll discuss tomorrow.



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Nov 25, 2012

how to say "point of departure" in Hebrew


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נְקֻדַּת מוֹצָא

The Hebrew root י.צ.א (y.ts.a), meaning exiting, gave rise to many words throughout Hebrew's history.

One of these words is that of origin as well as that which has exited/departed - מוֹצָא, which, in Modern Hebrew, has also come to mean ethnicity or ancestry.

For example:


הִיא מִמּוֹצָא גֶּרְמָנִי.
She is of German ancestry.

Another modern application of the word מוצא is in the expression for starting point or point of departure: נְקֻדַּת מוֹצָא, as in:

הַנִּסָּיוֹן שֶׁל נְיוּטוֹן עִם הַתַּפּוּחַ מְשַׁמֵּשׁ כִּנְקֻדַּת מוֹצָא לְמֶחְקָר מְרַתֵּק.
Newton's experience with the apple serves as a point of departure for fascinating research.


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how to say "a wink" in Hebrew


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קְרִיצַת עַיִן

Yesterday I introduced the Hebrew word for to blink - לְמַצְמֵץ. I mentioned that that word has a synonym, לִקְרוֹץ

But whereas למצמץ meaning to blink is a modern creation from the Biblical-Hebrew word להציץ(to peek), a form of the active-simple פָֹעַל verb
לקרוץ itself appears in Biblical Hebrew:



 אַל יִשְׂמְחוּ לִי אֹיְבַי שֶׁקֶר, שֹׂנְאַי חִנָּם, יִקְרְצוּ עָיִן (תְּהִלִּים ל"ה:י"ט)
For my enemies will not rejoice over me, nor the liars who hate me without cause, who wink with their eyes. (Psalms 35:19, translation from Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

Since קריצה is a voluntary action (unlike blinking, which occurs unconsciously), it carries certain meanings. In the context above, the enemies יִקְרְצוּ עַיִן wink their eyes in disdain. And in other contexts, קְרִיצַת עַיִן (the wink of an eye) can be a sign of friendship, an act of flirtation, etc.

For example:

הִיא קָרְצָה לִי עַיִן, וְלֹא יָדַעְתִּי מָה הַכּוָּנָה שֶׁלָּהּ.
She winked an eye at (to) me and I didn't know what her intention was.
 


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Nov 22, 2012

how to say "escalation" in Hebrew


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הַסְלָמָה


this week's video
In light of this past week's events in southern Israel and Gaza, coupled with the appearance of the mystical, prophetic Jacob's ladder - סֻלַּם יַעֲקֹב - appearing in the Torah portion to be read this Shabbat by Jews around the world, I'm introducing the word for escalation: הַסְלָמָה.

To create such a modern term on an authentic Hebraic base, Modern Hebrew took the ancient word for ladder, סֻלָּם, and plugged it into the active-causative הִפְעִיל verb form. The resulting verb is לְהַסְלִים - to escalate - whose abstract noun is הסלמה, escalation.

For example:


לִפְעָמִים הַסְלָמָה בַּאֲלִּימוּת נְחוּצָה כְּדֵי לְהָבִיא שָׁלוֹם אֲמִתִּי.
Sometimes escalation in violence is necessary in order to bring true peace.

שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם וְסוֹף שָׁבוּעַ נָעִים לְכֻלָּם!
Shabbat Shalom, and a pleasant weekend to all!



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