10 Words for the Rainy Season

Tue | Sep 17

10 Words for the Rainy Season

Though Israel does have four seasons, Israelis tend talk about only two of them – קיץ וחורף
– summer and winter, where קיץ
refers to the dry months and חורף
to the rainy ones.
חורף בריא לכולם
– a healthy winter to all!
1. גֶּשֶׁם
– rain
The basic Hebrew word for rain is גשם
, as in the prayer משיב הרוח ומוריד הגשם
– (the One who) makes the wind blow and brings down rain.
A synonym for גשם
is מטר
. Both words appear in Biblical Hebrew.
Rain coat
2. יוֹרֵד גֶּשֶׁם
– it’s raining
In English, “to rain” is a verb. In Hebrew, in contrast, we say “rain is coming down” – יורד גשם
Here’s an example in the future tense: 
אולי יֵרד מחר גשם.
Maybe it’ll rain tomorrow.
3. גַּשְׁמִיּוֹת/חוֹמְרִיּוֹת
– materialism

In Jewish tradition, גשם
represents physicality or that which is material (in Arabic, جسم – jism – the same Semitic root as גשם
– means “body”). Thus גשמיות
has traditionally meant worldliness or materiality, though the word people use most today for materiality or materialism is חומריות
bricks of solid gold
Women in sunset
4. לְהַגְשִׁים חָלוֹם
– to make a  dream come true

In 3, we saw that גשם
has to do with physicality. And if you take the three-letter word גשם
as a root, plug it into the causative הפעיל verb form, you get להגשים
– to cause something to materialize, to make it real. Thus “to make a dream come true” (to bring it into reality) is להגשים חלום
5. מִטְרִיָּיה
– umbrella
The ancient word מטר
(a synonym of the ancient word גשם
– see 1 above) brings us the modern word מטרייה
– umbrella.
For example: 
יש עננים אפורים – כדאי לקחת מטרייה.
There are gray clouds – it’s worth taking an umbrella.
Girl standing in rain with umbrella
storm at sea
6. מֶזֶג אֲוִויר
– weather
The Biblical-Hebrew root מ.ז.ג
has to do with mixing, but the Rabbinic era the word מזג
started to refer to the character of something – anything. Suppose you want to characterize the air – האוויר
: Is it hot or cold? Wet or dry? Still or windy? Thus the term מזג אוויר
– weather – was born.
7. סוּפָה/סְעָרָה
– storm
Suppose a מטרייה
(see 5) is not enough, because the wind is blowing too fast and the גשם
is coming down too hard. This is what we might call a storm – סערה
or סופה
For example: 
איזו סערה בחוץ!
What a storm outside!
bicycle through water
8. בָּרָד
– hail
Now, גשם
is the most common form of precipitation that falls in Israel. The runner up is ברד
– hail – which has caused me to flee the outdoors on several occasions.
in context:
ברד הוא בעצם קרח שיורד מהשמים.
Hail is actually ice that comes down from the sky.
9. שֶׁלֶג
– snow
This third form of precipitation – שלג
– typically falls in the mountains of the Upper Galilee, on the Hermon, and occasionally in Jerusalem and its surrounding areas. When the gentle white material does grace the holy city, it’s cause for celebration – and a day off for everyone, since the city is not equipped with very many snowplows. But no worries – the שלג
melts within a day or two.
in context:
האם השנה ירד שלג בבירה?
Will it snow (will snow come down) this year in the capital?
sky full of clouds
10. מִשְׁקָעִים
– precipitation
All of these – גשם, ברד, שלג
(there’s also טל
– dew) – are called in Hebrew משקעים
– precipitation. משקעים
always appears in the plural (with the ים- ending), since its singular form – משקע
– refers to something else – residue.

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