Expressions with the Word “Language” in Hebrew-part 2

When we go to the Machneh Yehuda market in Jerusalem, we use words that are different from those you would read in an article from the Hebrew University. One of the reasons for this is because we want to find a common language with the sellers. The expressions that we use in Hebrew is “Matsa’ Safah Meshutefet”- מָצַא שָׂפָה מְשֻׁתֶּפֶת- that means that we have found a common language.


However, if we read an article or book written by a scholar, the Hebrew would be a little bit different. We call it – “the higher language” – “Safah Gevohah”-  שָׂפָה גְּבֹהָה. Continue reading

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Expressions with the Word “Language” in Hebrew – Part 1

Like every language, Hebrew has many expressions that are common and used in different contexts in our life. Today we shall learn about the word “language” in Hebrew and a few expressions with this word.

If you want to say “language” in Hebrew you would use two different words; the first would be “Safah”-שָׂפָה- that has the letters Sin, Feh and Heh. The second is the word “Lashon”-לָשׁוֹן- with the letters Lamed, Shin, Vav and Nun Sofit. . What is really amazing to see is that these two words signify two organs that we use to speak. Safah also means “lip” in Hebrew and “lashon” means tongue.

Hebrew alphabet

Let’s learn a few expressions that contain these words.

When we enjoy the food that we eat, we say that we lick our fingers or lips and in Hebrew it’s pronounced “Liqeq ‘et ha-sefatayim“-לִקֵּק אֶת הַשָּׂפָתַיִם. Continue reading

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A Few Words About Costumes

Every year, a month before we celebrate Purim, children and their parents start planning their costumes. In Hebrew, “costume” is “Tachposet”-תַּחְפֹּשֶׂת. Purim allows everyone to change their appearance, and sometimes even their gender, for a day. It is really interesting to see because in the Hebrew bible men are forbidden to wear women’s clothes and vice versa, but Purim is the exception, as it is written:

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.

(Deuteronomy 22:5)


“What they used to wear masks  on Purim , and a man that wear a woman’s dress and  a woman wear  a man’s garment -There is no prohibition since they mean for rejoice”(Rabbi Moshe Iserlish)

“לֹא יִהְיֶה כְלִי-גֶבֶר עַל אִשָּׁה וְלֹא יִלְבַּשׁ גֶּבֶר שִׂמְלַת אִשָּׁה כִּי תוֹעֲבַת ה’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ כָּל עֹשֵׂה אֵלֶּה.”

“מה שנהגו ללבוש פרצופים בפורים וגבר לובש שמלת אשה ואשה כלי גבר אין איסור בדבר מאחר שאין מכוונים אלא לשמחה בעלמא”

Purim is, without a doubt, a day when your identity can temporarily chance. The idea of this day is to rejoice! In the book of Esther, we learn that the month of Purim, Adar, is a month that changed from being one of grief (Yagon in Hebrew-יָגוֹן) to one of rejoicing. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why we wear costumes (see Esther 9:22).



There’s another interesting observation I’d like to share with you concerning the Hebrew word for costume. In order to form a word in Hebrew, we need to put the root (Shoresh) of the word in a certain pattern, and by adding different vowels a word is then formed. Continue reading

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