[b-hebrew] Idiomatic phrases

Chavoux Luyt chavoux at gmail.com
Sat Sep 24 18:24:40 EDT 2011

Hi George

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: George Athas <George.Athas at moore.edu.au>
> I'm thinking about what idiomatic phrases beginning students of Hebrew should be aware of, and was
>wondering what expressions you would contribute.
There are a number of these I can think of. One has already been named
in another thread:
(al pnei) על פני  = "in the presence of" (On the face of)

There are also a few that I am not sure of:
(matza chen be einei) מצא חן בעיני = "like"? (find favor in the eyes
of) (modern Hebrew only?)
 קרא בשם יהוה (kara beshem YHWH) = "pray" ?(Call on the Name of YHWH)

Some are so familiar that we barely distinguish between the idiom and
the literal meaning.: e.g.
השתחוה (Hishtachaveh) = "worship" (bow before)
 איש לאחיו / איש אל רעהו /  איש לרעהו (ish le-re`ehu / ish el re`ehu /
ish le'achiv) = one another (man to his neighbour/man to his brother)

Some eufemisms might be less common (=applicable to beginning
students), but are interesting nonetheless:
E.g. Job 2:9 - ברך אלהים (berach Elohim) = "curse God" (bless God)
 להסך את רגליו  (lehasekh et raglav) = "to relieve himself" (to cover his feet)
 משתין בקיר (mashtin b'kir) = "males" (who urinates against a wall)

I know there are more that I cannot think of now, but let's hear more
from the other list members. :-)

Chavoux Luyt

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