לַעֲלוֹת לִירוּשָׁלַיִם The simple word for to go by foot, in Hebrew, is ללכת. To go by vehicle is לנסוע. But going to Jerusalem is a special affair, partly because it requires ascending a mountain, but also because it’s such a special place that it involves a personal ascent as well. Thus to go to Jerusalem is לעלות לירושלים – […]
אִחוּד Looking at the word at hand today, איחוד, you may spot the word אחד – one. איחוד, unification, derives from the active-intensive verb לאחד – to unite. Referring to the reunification of Jerusalem that took place 50 years ago in the wake of the Six Day War, Hebrew uses the term איחוד ירושלים – the unification of Jerusalem. For example: […]
בַּקְבּוּקֵי מַיִם Some Hebrew words are onomatopoeias – they’re named after the sound they make. One such word is בקבוק. Imagine pouring a lot of wine and you’ll understand what I mean. For example: כשמטיילים, חשוב להביא בקבוק מים. When (you) hike, it’s important to take a bottle of water. Bottles are בקבוקים, and bottles of are בקבוקי […]
יִהְיֶה כֵּיף A few months ago a video went viral in Israel, crossing all cultural, religious and political barriers. Sung by an Arab schoolteacher in Taibeh along with her young Hebrew-language learners, the words to the song featured in the video go: גשם, גשם מטפטף! גשם, גשם, איזה כיף! Rain, rain dripping! Rain, rain, what fun! The word […]
מַסָּע If you’ve traveled anywhere in the world, you have probably met an Israeli traveling too. Israelis love to travel. The Hebrew word for to travel when on vacation is לטייל. But the generic word for to travel is לנסוע. And while in modern times לנסוע refers to travel by vehicle, in Biblical times it meant simply to go. Thus the word for a journey […]
חֹמֶר לְשִׁנּוּן Review Material Can’t read Hebrew yet? You spent time on your Hebrew this week. Use these review materials to make it yours to keep. Flashcards . Scatter . Gravity . Test שבת שלום, וסוף שבוע נעים! Shabbat Shalom, and have a nice weekend!
קָר שָׁם Though summer is approaching in the northern hemisphere, there are places on earth where it’s pretty cold. If you’ve got even the most basic Hebrew under your belt, you probably know the word for cold – קר. To say it’s cold there, you might try translating literally from English, coming up with זה קר שם. But […]
תְנָאִים “Sure, you can join. On one condition…” The Hebrew word for condition is תנאי, so that the sentence above reads: בטח, אתה יכול להצטרף, בתנאי אחד… …assuming it’s a male being spoken to. תנאי first appears in Mishnaic Hebrew. Its plural is תנאים, in the connected (construct) state תנאֵי, which might appear in a variety of […]
לְהִצְטָרֵף Tal, a teenager, is going hiking with a few friends. He calls up his younger cousin Shimon and says: אתה רוצה להצטרף אלינו? Do you want to join us? The word להצטרף – to join – is a reflexive verb of the root צ.ר.פ meaning to meld together, to refine, originally (in Biblical times) referring to the […]
רֶכֶס הָרִים The Alps, the Carpathians and the Himalayas are all mountain ranges. In Hebrew, each is a רכס הרים, where רכס means range and הרים are mountains. For example: גם הרכמל נחשב רכס הרים. The Carmel is also considered a mountain range. Mountain ranges are רכסי הרים.
לְטַפֵּס One of my Arik Einstein favorites, אוהב להיות בבית (I Like to Be Home) is a gem of a song for people looking to get a sense of Hebrew’s so-called present tense (I say so-called, because really such “present-tense verbs” in Hebrew are participles). The song begins: יש אנשים שמטפסים על הרים… There are people who […]