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Feb 27, 2013

how to say "to wash the dishes" in Hebrew

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לִשְׁטוֹף כֵּלִים

Those who study the דַּף יוֹמִי- the daily page (of Talmud) - probably came across the word לְהִשְׁתַּטֵּף today (they also know that the Talmud has very little to do with brainwash). In the Talmudic context, that word means to rinse oneself. It's a word that is no longer used in spoken Hebrew.

When pronounced by your average Israeli, להשתטף sounds just like the word for to participate - לְהִשְׁתַּתֵּף, a word that can be found of the lips of every Israeli schoolchild and teacher. To tell the difference between these two reflexive-intensive הִתְפַּעֵל verbs, look at their roots:

להשתטף - the root is שׁ.ט.פ meaning rinsing
להשתתף - the root is שׁ.ת.פ meaning partnership

While להשתטף no longer gets spoken, its root, שׁ.ט.פ, is alive and well, most commonly in the active-simple פָּעַל verb, לִשְׁטוֹף- to rinse.

Everyday expressions include:

לִשְׁטוֹף כֵּלִים - to rinse/wash (the) dishes, שְׁטִיפַת כֵּלִים - (the act of) rinsing/washing (the) dishes


שְׁטִיפַת מֹחַ - brainwash

Another expression that also means to rinse (the) dishes is לְהַדִּיחַ כֵּלִים

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Feb 26, 2013

how to say "golden" and "silvery" in Hebrew

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מֻזְהָב, מֻכְסָף

If you know some Hebrew, you're probably familiar with the words for gold and silver - זָהָבand כֶּסֶף, respectively. (כסף is also the standard word for money.)

But you may not know what to call something made of gold or made of silver. These are מֻזְהָבand מֻכְסָף, respectively, when referring to a masculine object; and מֻזְהֶבֶתand מֻכְסֶפֶת, respectively, in the feminine.

For example, a silver-plated goblet is a גָּבִיעַ מֻכְסָף.

מִי שֶׁמְּסַיֵּם קוּרְס "אוּלְפָּן לָעִנְיָין" בְּהַצְלָחָה, מְקַבֵּל תְּעוּדָה עִם חוֹתֶמֶת מֻכְסֶפֶת אוֹ מֻזְהֶבֶת.
Whoever completes a course with (of) Ulpan La-Inyan successfully receives a certificate with a silvery or golden seal.

Another way to say golden is מִזָּהָב from gold -, שֶׁל זָהָב - of gold - or simply connecting a noun to זהב. For example, עֵגֶל הַזָּהָבis the calf of gold... or the Golden Calf.

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Feb 22, 2013

how to say many things about Purim... in Hebrew

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I'm postponing the weekly video to Sunday, Purim day.

For now, here's a bunch of Purim terms that will enhance your Purim experience, wherever you are in the world.


שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם, סוֹף שָׁבוּעַ נָעִים לְכֻלָּם... וּפוּרִים שָׂמֵחַ!
Shabbat Shalom, a pleasant weekend to all... and happy Purim!

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Feb 20, 2013

how to say "mysterious" in Hebrew

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Yesterday, we saw the Hebrew root ס.ת.ר (s.t.r) in action, in the word for to conceal - לְהַסְתִּיר. We saw that the Talmud connects the root ס.ת.ר with the name of the biblical heroine of the Purim story, אֶסְתֵּר Esther.

Another application of ס.ת.ר is in the expression for hideout or place or refuge - מִסְתּוֹר.

מסתור also conveniently serves as the basis for the Hebrew word for mysterious - מִסְתּוֹרִי in the masculine and מִסְתּוֹרִית in the feminine.

For example:

הֵם נִכְנְסוּ לְיַעַר מִסְתּוֹרִי.
They entered a mysterious forest.

As for a mystery, the word is מִסְתּוֹרִין, or its synonym, תַּעֲלוּמָה.

Note that the root ס.ת.ר also bears the meaning contradiction. The word itself for contradiction is סְתִירָה.

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