Sunday, May 3, 2009

Heblish: Pesach Sheni edition

Back in my blogiversary post, I noted that “the four questions in heblish” was one of the search terms which led someone to this blog.

Clearly, there’s a real demand out there for a Heblish version of “Mah Nishtanah”, and so I decided to translate it myself*.

Special thanks to YZG, who suggested that I post it in honor of Pesach Sheni (which comes out this coming Friday IY”H).

And now, without further ado, allow me to present:

The Official Our Shiputzim Heblish Translation of “Mah Nishtanah”

What is this night different from all the nights?

That in all the nights, we are eating chametz and matzah. This night, all of it is matzah.

That in all the nights, we are eating other vegetables. This night, maror.

That in all the nights, there is not we are dipping, even one time. This night, two times.

That in all the nights, we are eating between sitting and between leaning. This night, all of us are leaning.


* How was this Heblish post different from all the other Heblish posts throughout the whole year? In all the other Heblish posts throughout the whole year, I recorded actual Heblish expressions used by assorted members of the Shiputzim family. But in this post, I made it all up…



  1. It's perfect! As I was reading it, I heard it spoken with a thick Israeli accent, and it sounded very authentic.

  2. The problem is that Heblish is usually spoken with an American accent. This leads one to assume that they should know how to speak English better.

  3. Imma - this means your going to say Ma Nishtana next year?

    Maybe by then you will have a Heblish Hagada!



    *A smiley in heblish...

  4. SuperRaizy - LOL! That's exactly how I heard it as I wrote it...

    Miriam - Ahhh, but the truth is that most Heblish speakers only THINK that they have a real American accent. Instead, they have that charming "my-parents-were-born-in-the-States-and-all-I-got-was-the-ability-to-sound-slightly-less-Israeli-than-the-average-Israeli" accent...

    MAG - A Heblish haggadah? Hmm. You just might be on to something...

  5. This debate over the correct accent for Heblish speakers reminds me of when my daughter was in the third grade; the Israelis already had English but the English speakers did not have a separate class until the fourth grade, so my daughter learned English in the regular class. The only thing she gained that year was the ability to speak English with an Israeli accent!

  6. Malke - Unless I figure out an alternate solution, we might be looking at a similar situation next year IY"H. As of now, a certain Shiputzim child is the only native English-speaker in the entire grade...

    And on a related note, Miriam, would you like to share your eh-pple story?

  7. "my-parents-were-born-in-the-States-and-all-I-got-was-the-ability-to-sound-slightly-less-Israeli-than-the-average-Israeli"Not-always-true.
    I-like-the-lines-instead-of-spaces (-------------------:

  8. MAG - Not-always-true.You're right, and that's why I referred to "most Heblish speakers"...

  9. Very cute. I just heard this from my 4 year old: "He's crying because you just said on him something."

  10. Jennifer - Good one! I think that mistranslations of prepositions like על and ב produce some of the best Heblishisms.
    Shabbat Shalom!

  11. Shalom all:

    For more information about the Second Passover, you can bounce over to my Pesach / Passover website and my web page about Pesach Sheni or Pesach Sheini :

    Enjoy, and Happy Pesach Sheini or Pesach Sheni ! :)

    Sincerely, Eli Ha-Levi, BA, M.L.I.S. (professional librarian)

    Website: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

  12. I think that people who speak "Heblish" with an Israeli accent are just speaking a "bad English". Real mother-tongue Heblish speakers are the ones who have fine accents and use Heblish as their prefered method of communicating. They use only English words, but their Grandparents in the US cannot understand them...

  13. Miriam - They use only English words, but their Grandparents in the US cannot understand them...This is an excellent definition of Heblish!


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