Hebrew Language Blog

Hebrew Weekend Vocabulary Posted by on Mar 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

Saturday morning in Tel-Aviv beach (photo by Ayana)

A special feeling accompanies the weekends in Israel. After a long week of work and duties, the Israeli weekend is all about rest and fun.

Shabbat (שַׁבָּת) is a holy day in Judaism. ‟And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made… And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because that in it he had rested from all his work” (Genesis, chapter 2, verses 2-3). The Jews are commanded to observe the Shabbat, as it says in the Fourth Commandment: זָכוֹר אֶת יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת לְקַדְּשׁוֹ (Remember the Shabbat day to keep it holy). Nowadays, keeping the Shabbat means no driving, no using electricity, no cooking, no purchasing, no writing, no using the telephone. It’s a day dedicated to rest; no work or errands are allowed. Orthodox Jews spend the Shabbat praying, eating good food, and singing religious songs.

Most of the Israeli Jews are secular and don’t keep the Shabbat. But Shabbat is still a national day of rest (יוֹם מְנוּחָה). Offices and many companies, shopping centers, kosher restaurants, public transportation, are all closed on Saturday. Most Israelis do not work on Saturday and spend the day with family and friends. Entertainment places like bars, cinemas, coffee shops, and comedy clubs are open and enjoy a great crowed over the weekends.

שַׁבָּת הוּא יוֹם הַמְּנוּחָה.

Shabbat is the day of rest.

The weekend (סוֹף שָׁבוּעַ) includes not only Saturday, but Friday as well. The Jewish calendar defines its days from sunset to sunset. Shabbat, therefore, starts on Friday evening and ends on Saturday evening. Stickers of the Fourth Commandment are often posted in cities with an orthodox community, to publish the exact hours of the Shabbat starting and ending. Like this one from Jerusalem:

(Photo by Ayana)

מָה הַתּוֺכְנׅיּוֺת שֶׁלְּךָ לַסּוֹף שָׁבוּעַ?

What are your plans for the weekend?

לׅכְבוֺד יוֺם הַנּׅישׂוּאׅין שֶׁלָּנוּ בַּעֲלׅי הׅפְתׅיעַ אוֺתׅי עׅם סוֹף שָׁבוּעַ אָרוֺךְ בְּפָּרִיז.

For our anniversary my husband surprised me with a long weekend in Paris.

Friday is what we called a short day (יוֹם קָצָר). Many offices are closed, and it is a day off from work for many Israelis. Businesses that do work on Friday close their doors early – between 1 to 3 pm. Public transportation stops around 3-4 pm. The streets slowly become empty. Orthodox Jews hurry home to get ready and to prepare everything before the Shabbat commences. Secular Jews enjoy the short day to rest and make plans for the evening. Many will gather for a family dinner called אֲרוּחַת שִׁישִׁי (Friday dinner). The common greeting to greet someone on Friday is: שֶׁיּׅהֲיֶה לְךָ סוֹף שָׁבוּעַ נָעִים (have a nice weekend).

The 2015 hit song by Eyal Golan שִׁישִׁי בַּצָּהֳרַיִים (Friday noon) describes well the feeling which prevails on the weekend: getting up late, enjoying a leisure Friday afternoon on the beach with music and beers. Lyrics in the video:

Shabbat ends on Saturday evening. Saturday night is called מוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת (mo-zta-ei shabbat). מוֹצָאֵי comes from the word לָצֶאת, meaning to terminate, and it refers to the rest of Saturday, after the holy Shabbat terminates. Religiously, מוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת is equal to any weekday night. The public transportation resumes, and some shops open their doors. מוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת is a good time to enjoy the rest of the weekend before getting back to work on Sunday. Since the phrase מוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת is a bit long to pronounce, many use the abbreviation מוֺצָ”שׁ. The same goes with the abbreviation for סוֹף שָׁבוּעַ: סוֺפָ”שׁ. For example:

אֲנִי אֲדַבֵּר אׅיתְּךָ בְּמוֺצָ”שׁ.

I’ll talk to you on Saturday night.

הַסּוֺפָ”שׁׅים שֶׁלּׅי בְּדֶרֶךְ כְּלָל עָמוּסׅים.

My weekends are usually busy.

In spoken language, instead of סוֹף שָׁבוּעַ, one can say שִׁישִׁי-שַׁבָּת. For example:

שִׁישִׁי-שַׁבָּת הַזֶּה אֲנַחְנוּ אֵצֶל הַהוֺרׅים שֶׁלּׅי.

This weekend we’ll be at my parents.

הׅתְקַשַּׁרְתּׅי אֵלֶיךָ בְּשִׁישִׁי-שַׁבָּת אֲבָל לֺא עָנׅיתָ.

I called you on the weekend, but you didn’t answer.

The common greeting on Saturday night is a short two-words phrase: שָׁבוּעַ טוֺב (have a good week). On Sunday, another week of work and chores begins. Have a good week everyone!


Text vocabulary

Day = יוֹם

Week = שָׁבוּעַ

Saturday = יוֹם שַׁבָּת

Day of rest = יוֹם מְנוּחָה

Weekend = סוֹף שָׁבוּעַ, סוֺפָ”שׁ, שִׁישִׁי-שַׁבָּת

Short day = יוֹם קָצָר

Nice weekend = סוֹף שָׁבוּעַ נָעִים

Relaxed weekend = סוֹף שָׁבוּעַ רָגוּעַַ

Saturday night = מוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת, מוֺצָ”שׁ

Good week = שָׁבוּעַ טוֺב


Keep Calm and Learn Hebrew!


Keep learning Hebrew with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it