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There are several Jewish and Hebrew greetings, farewells, and phrases that are used in Judaism, and in Jewish and Hebrew-speaking communities around the world. Even outside Israel, Hebrew is an important part of Jewish life.[1] Many Jews, even if they don't speak Hebrew fluently, will know several of these Hebrew and some Yiddish greetings.[1]

Contents

Shabbat

For the Sabbath, there are several greetings that Jews use to greet one another.

Phrase Hebrew script Translation Phoneticized Language Explanation
Shabbat Shalom שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם Peaceful Sabbath shah-BAHT shah-LOHM Hebrew Used any time on Shabbat, especially at the end of a shabbat service.[2] In Israel it is used at all times..[2]
Gut Shabbes
Good Shabbos
גוּט שַׁבָּת
Good Shabbos
Good Sabbath GUT SHAH-biss; gut rhymes with put
Good SHAH-biss
Yiddish/English Used any time on Shabbat, especially in general conversation or when greeting people.[2]
Shavua Tov שָׁבוּעַ טוֹב Good Week shah-VOO-ah TOHV Hebrew Used on Saturday nights and even on Sundays (after Havdalah) "Shavua Tov" is used to wish someone a good coming week.[2]

Holidays

For different chagim and yom tov there are different expressions used.

Phrase Hebrew script Translation Phoneticized Language Explanation
Chag Sameach חַג שָׂמֵחַ Happy Holiday KHAHG sah-MEHY-ahkh Hebrew Used as a greeting for the holidays, can insert holiday name in the middle, ex. Chag Chanukah Sameach.[2] Also, for Passover, "Chag Kasher V'Same'ach" (חַג כָשֵׁר וְשָׂמֵחַ) meaning wishing a happy and kosher holiday.[2]
Gut Yontiff
Good Yontiff
גוט יום־טובֿ Good Yom Tov GUT YAHN-tiff; gut rhymes with put
GUT YAHN-tiff
Yiddish/English Used as a greeting for the Yom Tov holidays.[2]
L'Shanah Tovah לְשָׁנָה טוֹבָה To a Good Year leh-shah-NAH toh-VAH Hebrew Used as a greeting during Rosh Hashanah and the Days of Awe, Also used, simply "Shanah Tovah" (שָׁנָה טוֹבָה), meaning "A Good Year", or "Shana Tova U'Metukah" (שָׁנָה טוֹבָה וּמְתוּקָה) meaning "A Good and Sweet Year".[2] The phrase is short for "L'Shanah Tovah Techatemu VeTikatevu" (לְשָׁנָה טוֹבָה תֵּחָתֵמוּ וְתִכָּתֵבוּ) meaning "May You Be Inscribed and Sealed (in the Book of Life) for a Good Year".[3] A shorter version is often used: "Ktiva VeChatima Tova" (כְּתִיבָה וְחֲתִימָה טוֹבָה), meaning "(Have a) good signature (in the Book of Life)!" and literally "Good Inscribing and Signing!"[3]
Have an easy fast צוֹם קַל Easy Fast tzom kal English Used to wish someone well for Yom Kippur. The word "happy" is not used because Yom Kippur is meant to be somber holiday, not a happy one.[2]

Greetings and farewells

There are several greetings and good-byes used in Hebrew to say hello and farewell to someone.

Phrase Hebrew script Translation Phoneticized Language Explanation
Shalom שָׁלוֹם Hello, goodbye, peace shah-lohm Hebrew A Hebrew greeting literally meaning peace and used for hello and goodbye.[4] A cognate with the Arabic-language salaam.
Shalom aleichem שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם Peace be upon you shah-lohm ah-leh-chem Hebrew This form of greeting was traditional among the Ashkenazi Jewish communities of Eastern Europe. The appropriate response is "Aleichem Shalom" (עֲלֵיכֶם שָׁלוֹם) or "Upon you be peace." (cognate with the Arabic-language "assalamu alaikum")

Phrases

These are Hebrew phrases you're likely to hear in Jewish communities both inside and outside of Israel.[1]

Word Hebrew script Translation Phoneticized Language Explanation
Mazel Tov מַזָּל טוֹב Good Luck mah-zahl tohv Hebrew/Yiddish Used to mean congratulations. Used in Hebrew (Mazal Tov) or Yiddish. Used on to indicate good luck has occurred, ex. birthday, Bar Mitzvah, a new job, or an engagement.[1] Also shouted out at Jewish weddings when the groom (or both fiances) stomps on a glass. In Israel, at a restaurant when someone accidentally breaks a glass or a dish, the restaurant shouts out Mazal Tov in unison.[1]
B'Karov Etzlech (m.)
B'Karov Etzlecha (f.)
Soon so shall it be by you. buh-kah-rohv ehtz-lehch
buh-kah-rohv ehtz-leh-chah
Hebrew Used in response to "Mazal Tov".[1]
B'Ezrat HaShem הַשֵּׁם בְּעֶזְרָת With God's Help beh-ehz-raht hah-shehm Hebrew Used in by religious Jews when speaking of the future and wanting God's help (similar to "God willing" or "Insha'Allah"). [1]
Yishar Koach יְשַׁר כֹּחַ You should have strength yih-shahr koh-ach Hebrew Meaning like "good for you, way to go, or more power to you." Often used in synagogue after someone has received an honour. The proper response is Baruch Teheyeh (bah-rooch teeh-hee-yeh) (m)/Brucha Teeheyi (bh-roo-chah tee-hee-yee) (f) meaning "You Shall be Blessed."[1] [5]
Nu?  ?נו So? nuuuuuuu Yiddish A Yiddish interjection used to inquire about how everything went at something.[1]
Kol HaKavod כֹּל הַכָּבוֹד All of the honour kohl hah-kah-vohd Hebrew Used for a job well done.[1]
L'Chaim לְחַיִּים To life lecha'im Hebrew/Yiddish Hebrew and Yiddish equivalent of saying "cheers" when doing a toast.[1]
Gesundheit געזונטהייט Health g'-SUND-hahyt Yiddish Yiddish (and German) equivalent of saying "bless you" when someone sneezes.[2]
Labriut לבריאות Good Health laab-ree-OOT Hebrew Hebrew equivalent of saying "bless you" when someone sneezes.[5]

See also

References

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