Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Heblish: Sefer HaChinuch Edition

If you’ve spent a recent Shabbat here in TRLEOOB*, you’re aware that about half a year ago, we adopted the custom of learning one mitzvah from the Sefer HaChinuch at each of the first two Shabbat meals.

(BTW, if we haven’t yet had the pleasure of your company, please be sure to contact the Our Shiputzim reservations department to arrange a convenient Shabbat. Our operators are standing by...)

Anyway, each time, a different Shiputzim child takes a turn at reading and then translating the text into English.

The reason I mention this practice is that last Shabbat, we reached Mitzvah #52 – שלא לאכול בשר שור הנסקל – the prohibition against eating the meat of a ox that was “niskal”.

Niskal, I should note, means that the animal received s’kilah.

What is s’kilah, you ask?

Well, here’s how a certain Shiputzim child chose to translate this term:

Rocking: Hebrew source סקילה. English definition – Stoning. Sample usage - “You can’t eat the meat of an ox that was rocked.”

And while we’re at it, here are some more excerpts from the Official Our Shiputzim Heblish-English Dictionary: 

I don’t care to…: Hebrew source – …לא אכפת לי ל. English definition – I don’t mind [doing…]. Sample usage - “I don’t care to clear the table today, but only if he clears it tomorrow.”

To move a house: Hebrew source – לעבור דירה. English definition – To move. Sample usage - “She’s moving a house, and so she won’t be in my class anymore.”

As long time readers are aware, most of these Heblish definitions are based on things the Shiputzim children like to say.

But apparently, I’m not above letting some unintentional Heblish creep into my own speech. In fact, I’ve even used it while blogging:

Snappling:  Hebrew source – סנפלינג. English definition –Rappelling. Sample usage – Check out this post for my inadvertent (and admittedly amusing) lapse. (Thanks to commenter Michael Kopinsky for the much-appreciated correction.)

Oh, well. {shrugs} You know what they say: To err is human, but it takes a blogger to mess up in front of readers around the world…**smile_teeth

Previous Heblish editions are available here: Heblish I, Heblish II, Heblish III, Heblish IV, Heblish V, and Heblish VI.


*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog

**Yes, I DID just make this up. Why do you ask? ;-)


  1. B"H

    Shabbath Table conversation...

    1. Child: Ima, tavi li yoter soup bevaqashah.

    2. Adult guest: Please pass the rotev.

    3. [something spills] Don't worry, I'm making sponja tonight.

    Another good example is from your blog "Our Shiputzim." I don't know too many English speakers in Israel who talk about making "renovations."


    Next time I'm in your town {sorry, but highly unlikely} for Shabbath, I'll have to contact you.

  2. Rock The Ox is a great name for a song...

  3. Cool! I think this might the first time I've gotten linked to. Thanks!

  4. Someone once told me that "snappling" is actually "snap-link," which is what it says on the buckles that one uses while rappelling. I have yet to see it for myself, though :)

  5. Ben-Yehudah - It's true. Even Anglo families who speak only English at home (like us) use many Hebrew words without even thinking about it, including: mirpesset, plata, makolet, kablan, kumkum, and many, many more. (And, the invitation still stands...)

    SuperRaizy - LOL! Look for it to make the J-Blogosphere Top 40...

    Michael Kopinsky - Thanks again for the heads-up!

    Toby - Interesting. And I'm with you on being one of those who's not going to be checking out the validity of the explanation any time soon...

  6. I wish my Hebrew was better and then I could certainly enjoy your Heblish post even more.

  7. Ilana-Davita - Yes, I imagine that some of the funny parts get lost in translation. But please don't hesitate to ask for explanations for any of the Hebrew terms in this blog.

  8. Hi, I am an ex South African, ex Israeli, ex frummie, ex athiest, ex Nachal Mutznach, ex yeshivat ohr somayach, post denominational Jewish Bhuddist who is none and all of the above living in Sydney, Australia and I stumbled acrosss your blog by accident. Really enjoyed it. If you're interested check out my blog on

  9. Ah...forgot to add that my name is Mano and my blog


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