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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Leap Year- Shannah Me’uberet

In Judaism, a lunar calendar is used to determine and count the days of the year. However, the cycle of each year is solar, according to the sun – Shemesh in Hebrew – שֶׁמֶשׁ. Another important and fundamental principle is that Passover must always be at spring time, as written in Deuteronomy 16:1-

“Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto the Lord thy God: for in the month of Abib the Lord thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.” “Shamor ‘et chodesh ha’viv ve-’asita pesacl la-adonay elo’eychah, ki be-chodesh ha’aviv hotsi’acha adonay ‘elo’eychah mi-mitsrayim Laylah”

“שָׁמוֹר אֶת-חֹדֶשׁ הָאָבִיב וְעָשִׂיתָ פֶּסַח לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ:  כִּי בְּחֹדֶשׁ הָאָבִיב הוֹצִיאֲךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מִמִּצְרַיִם-לָיְלָה.”

Megilat Ester

Because Passover must always be in spring, and every lunar year is 11 days less than a solar one (a lunar year is 354 days and solar is 365 days), a solution was found – the leap year- שָׁנָה מְעֻבֶּרֶת. Continue reading

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