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Meeting and Greeting Others Posted by on Apr 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

Today’s date: 5th of Iyyar, 5772 ה׳ באייר תשע״ב
20th day of the Omer כ׳ בעומר
6:36p Candle lighting – הדלקת נרות


Meeting and Greeting

In this post I’ll show you some basic introductory greetings you can use when meeting a Hebrew speaker. Although there are actually quite a few ways you can greet someone, I’ll just start with the most commonly known ones.

First we have שָׁלוֹם shah-lom. (hello; peace, welfare.). This is a well known greeting even outside the Jewish community. This can be used to greet someone of any age, any time of day. Another greeting you may hear when welcoming someone is בָּרוּךְ הַבָּא!bah-rookh hah-bah! ( in which the reply is בָּרוּךְ הַנִּמְצָא bah-rookh hah-neem-tsah).

Just knowing how to say hello is a great start. But, if you want to get past the initial hello, you need a few more phrases under your belt. Who knows? These phrases could be the start of a lasting friendship.

Let’s say you want to be a little more specific in your greeting. Just like we have in English “Good morning”, “Good evening” and “Good night”, you can also use these Hebrew equivalents:

בֹּקֶר טוֹבboh-ker tov (Good morning). If someone greets you in this manner, you can respond with בֹּקֶר טוֹב boh-ker tov, or you can say בֹּקֶר אוֹרboh-kehr ohr, meaning “Morning came”. You may also hear (or use yourself) יום טוב Yom tov! – which also means Good morning or Good day

צָהֳרַיִם טוֹבִיםtzah-hoh- rai-eem toh-veem (Good afternoon).

עֶרֶב טוֹבeh-rev tov (Good evening)

לַיְלָה טוֹבlay-lah tov (Good night) – “lay” rhymes with “lie”

And, if someone is headed off to bed, you can wish him or her חֲלוֹמוֹת פָּז khah-loh-mot paz (literally: golden dreams)!

The pattern of simply repeating the greeting as a reply holds true for all the time-sensitive greetings. The morning greeting is the only exception because you can reply with either bo-ker tov or bo-ker or.

Sabbath Greetings

The Hebrew language also contains particular greetings that depend on whether you greet someone before or after the Jewish Sabbath. (The Sabbath starts when the sun begins to set on Friday night and ends about 25 hours later at sundown on Saturday night when the sun has completely set.)

All day Friday and during the Sabbath, greeting people with the words that wish them a peaceful Sabbath is customary:

שַׁבַּת שָׁלוֹםshah-baht shah-lohm (Have a peaceful Sabbath). This is an appropriate greeting at any time on Shabbat, although it is most commonly used at the end of a shabbat service.

Another common Sabbath greeting you may hear is: גוּט שַׁבָּת goot shah-bes. This is actually a Yiddish greeting, and like shabbat shalom, this is a general, all-purpose Sabbath greeting. Gut Shabbes is more likely to be used in general conversation or when greeting people, while Shabbat shalom is more commonly used at the conclusion of a service.

When the sun sets on Saturday night, and you can see three stars in the sky, the Sabbath is over. On Saturday nights and even on Sundays, it’s customary to greet people with a cheery שָׁבוּעַ טוֹבshah-voo-‘ah tohv. This greeting is used after הַבְדָּלָהhav-dah-lah (the ceremony marking the conclusion of Shabbat), to wish someone a good forthcoming week.

Check Yourself

How would you greet someone at the following times?:

a) 9:00 a.m.

b) 3:30 p.m.

c) 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon

d) Sunday night

Respond to the following:

a) חֲלוֹמוֹת פָּז

b) שָׁלוֹם

c) יום טוב

d) שָׁבוּעַ טוֹב


Answers from Reading Practice “It’s All About You, You and I”

With nikud

מִי אַתְ? (mee aht?) – Who are you (to a female)?

אֲנִי תַּלְמִידָה (ah-nee tahl-meed-ah) – I am a (female) student

אֲני יַנַאי. וְאַתָה? אֲני מַתַנְיָה (ah-nee yah-nai. vah-tah? ah-nee mah-tah-nyah) – I am Janai. And you are? I am Matanya.

Without nikud

מי אני? אני מינה (mee ah-nee? ah-nee mee-nah) – Who am I? I am Mina.

מי אתה? אתה תלמיד (mee ah-tah? ah-tah tahl-meed) – Who are you? You are a (male) student

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About the Author: Sean Young

Learning languages since 1978 and studying over 50 (achieving fluency in 10). Sean L. Young loves giving tips, advice and the secrets you need to learn a language successfully no matter what language you're learning. Currently studying Hindi and blogging his progress right here at Transparent Language - https://blogs.transparent.com/language-news.