Last modified on 11 October 2012, at 13:56

User:Shlomif/Hebraic Proverbs

This page is for Hebrew proverbs, in alphabetical order, with English translations. כאן יש מספר פתגמים עבריים, על-פי סדר האלף-בית, כולל תרגומים לאנגלית.

See also the "discussion" page for the errata and todo list.

אEdit

  • אבן נגולה מעל לבי
    • Even nagolah me'al libbi
    • Translation: a stone was removed off my heart.
    • Meaning: I was relieved from a mental burden.
  • אדם לאדם זאב
  • אותה גברת בשינוי אדרת
    • Otah Gevereth Beshinuy Adereth
    • Translation: the same madame with another coat.
    • Meaning: the same thing with a small difference.
  • אחרי מות, קדושים אמור
    • Achrey mot, q'doshim emor
    • Translation: After death, say holy.
    • Meaning: Say only good things about people after they die.
    • Origin: The Hebrew names of the Leviticus "portions" 16-18,19-20,21-24 are "After death", "Holy" and "Say" respectively, so the table of contents spells the Hebrew phrase (which is grammatical in Hebrew).
    • References: for Hebrew names of the portions, see [1] [2] [3]
  • איך נפלו גיבורים
    • Ekh Naflu Giborim
    • Translation: how the mighty have fallen.
    • Meaning: how the competent (or otherwise those that were heavily anticipated to succeed) have failed.
    • Origin: the Bible - 2 Samuel 1 19
  • אין ארוחת חינם
    • Eyn Aruhath Hinam
    • Translation: there isn't a free meal.
    • Meaning: someone has to pay for a man to support himself.
    • English Equivalent: there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
  • אין הנחתום מעיד על עיסתו
    • Eyn Hanah'tom Meid Al Eesato
    • Translation: The baker shouldn't comment on his dough.
    • Meaning: A person who makes something should not speak its praises.
    • English equivalent: He that tooteth his own horn, the same shall not be tooted. Hezekiah 4:44 (not a real Scripture, only an inference that this saying is true and ancient/respectable)
    • English equivalent: Don't blow your own horn.
  • אין חיה כזאת
    • Eyn Hayah Kazoth
    • Translation: there's no such animal.
    • Meaning: it [= the topic of the conversation] does not exist or is impossible.
  • אין משיחין בשעת הסעודה פן יקדים קנה לושט
    • En mesihin bisha'ath hase'oda pen yaqdim qaneh levesheth
    • Meaning: don't talk during the meal lest the trachea will precede the esophagus
  • אין עשן בלי אש
    • Eyn Ashan Bli Esh
    • Translation: There is no smoke without fire.
    • Meaning: a side-effect has a cause.
    • English equivalent: "No smoke without fire", or "Where there's smoke, there's fire".
  • אליה וקוץ בה
    • Aliyah Veqotz Bah
    • Translation: a fat tail (of the sheep) with a thorn in it.
    • Meaning: a mixed blessing.
    • English equivalent: there's a fly in the ointment.
  • אל יתהלל חוגר כמפתח
    • Al yithalel hoger kimfate'ah
    • Translation: he who buckles [his armor] should not boast as the one who opens it.
    • Meaning: he who goes into battle should not boast as much as the one who has won it.
    • Origin: The Bible - Kings 20, 11
  • אל תסתכל בקנקן, אלא במה שבתוכו
    • Al tistakel baqanqan, ela bemah shebetokho
    • Translation: Don't look at the jar, but at what's inside it.
    • Meaning: don't be fooled by external appearances - find the real value.
    • English equivalent: Don't judge a book by its cover.
  • אל תקנה חתול בשק
    • Al Tiqneh Hatul Basaq
    • Translation: Don't buy a cat in the sack.
    • Meaning: Don't buy an uncertain good.
    • English equivalent: Don't buy a pig in a poke.
  • אל תתן לחתול לשמור על השמנת
    • Al Titen La'hatol Lishmor Al Hashameneth
    • Translation: Don't let the cat guard the cream
    • Meaning: Don't give something to someone who is likely to take it for himself.
    • English equivalent: Don't let the fox guard the hen-house.
  • אם אין אני לי, מי לי; וכשאני לעצמי, מה אני; ואם לא עכשיו, אימתי.(פרקי אבות, פרק א, משנה יד)
    • "Im ein ani li, mi li; uchshe'ani le'atzmi, ma ani; ve'im lo achshav, eymatay?" -- Ethics of the Fathers, Chapter 1, Episode 14
    • Translation: "If I am not for myself, who is for me? And when I am [only] for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?"
    • See also the Chabad page about this sentence
  • אם בארזים נפלה שלהבת, מה יגידו אזובי הקיר?
    • "Im Ba'arazim Naflah Shalheveth, Mah Yagidu Ezovey Haqir?"
    • Translation: "If a flame has caught the firs, what will the moss on the wall say?"
    • Meaning: if the leadership has become corrupt, what can one expect of lesser folks?
    • Origin: from the Biblical Talmud.
    • See also this page about the phrase from safa-ivrit.org.
  • אם ההר לא יבוא אל מוחמד, מוחמד ילך אל ההר.
    • "Im ha'har lo yavo el Muhammad, Muhammad yelekh el hahar.
    • Translation: "If the mountain won't come to Muhammad, Muhammad will go to the mountain."
    • Meaning: if reality does not adapt itself to one's personal whims, one must adapt himself to reality.
  • אמר את המילה האחרונה
    • Amar eth hamilah ha'ahrona
    • Translation: (he) said the last word
    • Meaning: He had the last laugh, his was the final word

בEdit

  • בדקה התשעים (בדקה ה-90)
    • Badaqah Hatish'im
    • Translation: in the 90th minute.
    • Meaning: in the last moment; in the nick of time.
    • Origin: from Soccer games which last 90 minutes, and there can be a goal in the 90th minute.
  • בור ששתית ממנו מים אל תזרוק בו אבן
    • Bor she'shatitah mimenu mayim al tizrok bo even.
    • Translation: don't throw a stone into a well you drank from.
    • Meaning: a person must show his gratitude to all, even to an animal or an object.
  • בין הפטיש לסדן
    • Beyn hapatish lasadan
    • Translation: between the hammer and the anvil
    • Meaning: between two evils
    • English Equivalent: Between a rock and a hard place
  • בכל רמ"ח איבריו
    • Bekhol Ramah Eivarav
    • Translation: in all 248 of his bones.
    • Meaning: (said of a person) fully, completely.
    • Origin: from the Halakha, after the 248 "Do commands" in the Bible, which Hazal believed to be the number of bones in the human body.
  • במה הועילו חכמים בתקנתם?
    • Bameh ho'ilu hakhamim bethaqanatham?
    • Translation: how did the wise men help with their ruling?
  • ברומא התנהג כרומאי
    • Be'Roma hitnaheg ke'Roma'i
    • Translation: in Rome act like a Roman
    • Meaning: one has to adapt oneself to his environment
  • ברחל בתך הקטנה
    • Be'Rahel bitkha haqtanah
    • Translation: by Rachel your younger daughter
    • Meaning: spell out every detail
    • Origin: from the Bible (Genesis 29, 18).
  • בשר תותחים
    • Besar totahim
    • Translation: cannon fodder
    • Meaning: a live wall.

גEdit

  • גדול המצווה ועושה - משאינו מצווה ועושה
    • Gadol Ha'Metsoo've ve'oh'se mi'mee she'ay'no me'tsoo've ve'oh'se
    • Transtaltion: Greater is he who is obligated to do it, than he who volunteers to do it.
    • Meaning: Its harder for a person to do his job, than a volunteer. Moreover the volunteer can walk away at any time, whereas the obligated one, cannot.
    • Origin: Talmud in the name of Chananiah ben Teradyon

דEdit

  • דומים כמו שתי טיפות מים
    • Domim Kmo Shthey Tiputh Mayim"
    • Translation: similar like two drops of water.
  • דמו בראשו
    • Damo berosho
    • Translation: his blood is in his head.
    • Meaning: his problems are his own fault.

הEdit

  • הזורעים בדמעה - ברינה יקצרו.
    • Hazor'im bedim'a - berina yiqtsoro
    • Translation: they who seed with tears - will reap with song.
    • Meaning: those who worked hard, will reap the fruits of their labour.
  • היהפוך כושי עורו ונמר חברבורותיו?
    • Hayahafokh kushi oro venamer hhavarborotav
    • Translation: can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?
    • Meaning: certain things cannot be changed, because it is against their nature.
    • Origin: Jeremiah 13/23 from the Hebrew Bible
  • היופי הוא בעיני המתבונן
    • Hayofi hoo be'eyney hamitbonen
    • Translation: beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
  • הבדל של שמיים וארץ
    • Hevdel shel shamayim va'arets
    • Translation: a difference of Sky and Earth.
    • Meaning: a very significant difference.
  • הפוסל במומו פוסל
    • Haposel Bemumo Posel
    • Translation: the one who disqualifies, disqualifies based on his own fault.
    • English Equivalent: Pot calling the kettle black
  • המטרה מקדשת את האמצעים
    • Hamatarah meqadesheth eth ha'emtsa'im
    • Translation: the cause makes the means holy. (i.e: in place).
    • Meaning: the ends justify the means.
  • הניח כספו על קרן הצבי
    • Henia'ch kaspo al keren ha'tsvi
    • Translation: placed his money on the gazzele's horns
    • Meaning: risked his money
  • הסנדלר הולך יחף
    • Hasandlar holekh yahef
    • Translation: the cobbler walks barefoot.
    • Meaning: a professional does not apply his profession upon himself.
    • English equivalent: the shoe-maker has no shoes.
  • השמיים הם הגבול
    • Hashamayim hem hagvul
    • Translation: the sky's the limit.
    • Meaning: said on something that if performed, there will be very vast possibilities.
  • התפוח לא נופל רחוק מהעץ
    • Hatapuakh lo nofel rahoq meha'etz
    • Translation: the apple does not fall far from the tree.
    • Meaning: children resemble their parents.
    • English Equivalent: Chip off the old block

וEdit

  • ובא לציון גואל
    • Uba Letziyon Go'el
    • Translation: and a savior came for Zion.
    • Meaning: and the salvation/solution for a problem will come (and everyone will be happy).

חEdit

  • חיים ומוות ביד הלשון
    • Hayim oo'maveth beyad halashon
    • Translation: life and death in the hands of the tongue
    • Meaning: what you say can have a large effect on your future.
  • חיפש את האתונות ומצא את המלוכה
    • Hipess eth ha'atonoth oomatsa eth hamelukha
    • Translation: looked for the female donkeys and found the kingship.
    • Meaning: looked for something minor and found something much greater.
    • Origin: from the Bible, in regards to the story about Saul that was anointed as a king after looking for his father's donkeys.

טEdit

  • טוב להיות זנב לאריות מאשר ראש לשועלים
    • Tov Lihiyoth Zanav La'arayoth Ma'asher Rosh Lashu'alim
    • Translation: Better be a tail for the lions than the head of the foxes
    • Meaning: It is better to be a minor member of a good group, than a prominent leader of a bad group.
  • טובה ציפור אחת ביד משתיים על העץ
    • Tova Tzipor Ahath Bayad Mishtayim Al Ha'etz
    • Translation: "One bird in the hand is better than two on the tree".
  • טלית שכולה תכלת
    • Tallith Shekulah Tkheleth
    • Translation: a Tallit which is entirely azure.
    • Meaning: someone who is a purely benevolent person. Usually said negatively: "he isn't a Tallit which is entirely azure".

יEdit

  • ירד לטמיון
    • Yarad letimyon
    • Translation: went to the government's treasury
    • Meaning: to get lost; to go down the drain.
  • יש גבול לכל תעלול
    • Yesh Gvul Lekhol Ta'alul
    • Translation: there's a limit to every act of mischief
    • Meaning: enough is enough.

כEdit

  • כורת את הענף שעליו הוא יושב
    • Koreth eth ha'anaf she'alav hu yoshev
    • Translation: He cuts the branch that he is sitting on.
    • Meaning: he is hurting something that he depends on.
  • כי בתחבולות תעשה לך מלחמה
    • Ki betah'boloth ta'aseh lekha milhama
    • Translation: because with tricks you should do a war
    • Origin: The Bible - Pslams 24, 6
  • כל הדרכים מובילות לרומא
    • Kol hadrakhim moviloth le'Roma
    • Translation: all the roads lead to Rome.
  • כל שני וחמישי
    • Kol Sheni va'Hamishi
    • Translation: every Monday and Thursday
    • Meaning: often and continuously (every few days).
    • Origin: from the days of the Torah reading, besides Saturday, which in turn originated from Market days in Judea during the Second Temple.
  • כמו כוסות רוח למת
    • Kmo Kosoth Ru'akh Lameth
    • Translation: like fire cups for the dead.
    • Meaning: like something useless.

לEdit

  • לא דובים ולא יער
    • Lo Dubim Velo Ya'ar
    • Translation: No bears and no forest.
    • Meaning: Never happened.
  • לא היו דברים מעולם
    • Lo hayu dvarim me'olam
    • Translation: (these) things never happened.
  • לא תמיד אתה מפספס את האוטובוס, לפעמים האוטובוס מפספס אותך
    • Lo tamid atha mefasfes eth ha'otobus, lif'amim ha'otobus mefasfes otkha.
    • Translation: You don't always miss the bus. Sometimes, it misses you.
  • להכות בברזל בעודו חם
    • Lehakoth Babarzel Be'odo Ham
    • Translation: hit the iron while it's hot.
    • Meaning: exploit the opportunity while it still exists.
  • לחפש בנרות
    • Lehapes Baneroth
    • Translation: to search using candles.
    • Meaning: to search thoroughly (in obscure places, etc.).
  • למען יראו וייראו
    • Lema'an Yir'u Va'yira'u
    • Translation: so (people) will see and fear.

מEdit

  • מדברים על החמור (והחמור בא)
    • Medabrim al hahamor (ve'hahamor ba)
    • Translation: speaking of the donkey (and the donkey comes)
    • Meaning: said when someone appears shortly after he has been discussed.
    • English Equivalent: Speak of the devil
  • מהר יצא עכבר
    • Mehar Yatza Akhbar
    • Translation: a mountain ended up as a mouse
    • Meaning: something that was hyped to be very significant, turned out to be much less so.
    • English Equivalent: Made a mountain of a mole hill
  • מה ששנוא עליך - אל תעשה לחברך
    • Mah Sheshano'a Aleikha Al Ta'aseh Lehaberkha
    • Translation: don't do to another what is hated by you.
  • מחט בערמת שחת
    • Mahat Be'aremath Shahath
    • Translation: a needle in a pile of hay.
    • Meaning: "a needle in a haystack", trying to find something specific in a big surrounding of no interest to the person who looks for it.
  • מי שאוכל לבד - מת לבד
    • Mi she'okhel levad - meth levad
    • Translation: he who eats by himself, dies by himself.
    • Corollaries:
      • מי שאוכל לבד - אוכל יותר
        • Mi she'okhel levad - okhel yother
        • Translation: he who eats by himself, eats more.
        • Origin: the motto of the Cheetos snack in Israel
      • מי שאוכל לבד, מת לבד, אבל מי שמשתף אחרים, מת מרעב
        • Mi she'okhel levad, meth levad, aval mi shemashatef aherim, meth mera'av
        • Translation: he who eats by himself, dies alone, but he who shares his food, dies of hunger.
          • (Therefore he who eats alone will die with his stomach full)
  • מי שטרח בערב שבת, יאכל בשבת
    • Mi shetarah be'erev Shabbath, yokhal beshabath
    • Translation: "He who labored on Shabbath' Eve, will eat on Shabbath".
    • Meaning: he who labored in preparance, will enjoy the fruit of his labor.
  • מי שלא מרים עשר אגורות, לא שווה עשר אגורות
    • Mi shelo merim eser agoroth, lo shaveh eser agoroth
    • Translation: he who doesn't pick up a dime, isn't worth a dime.
  • מי שנכווה ברותחין יזהר בפושרין
    • Mi Shenikhwah Berot'hin Yizaher Beposhrin
    • Translation: He who got burnt in boiling water, will be careful in mildly warm water.
  • מכל טוב הארץ
    • Mikol Tuv Ha'arets
    • Translation: from all the good things of the land.
    • Meaning: "from all the riches of the land" - a lot of good things.
  • מן הפח אל הפחת
    • Min hapah el hapahath
    • Translation: from the trap to the pit.
    • Meaning: from the frying pan into the fire.
    • English Equivalent: From bad to worse
  • מרבה נכסים - מרבה דאגות
    • Marbeh Nekhasim - Marbeh De'agoth
    • Translation: (he who) proliferates possessions - proliferates worries
    • English Equivealent: more money - more problems.
  • מרוב עצים לא רואים את היער
    • Merov etzim lo ro'im eth ha'ya'ar
    • Translation: Can't see the forest for the trees.
    • Meaning: the subject is obscured by the details.

נEdit

  • נאה דורש - נאה מקיים
    • Na'eh doresh - na'eh meqayem
    • Translation: he who demands well, should fullfill his demands well.
    • English equivalent: "You've got to practice what you preach".
  • נהרוג טורקי - ננוח
    • Na'harog Turqi - na'nuahh
    • Translation: let's kill one Turk, then rest.
    • English equivalent: "One job at a time".
  • נכנס יין - יצא סוד
    • Nikhnas Yayin - Yatza Sod
    • Translation: "Wine Entered - Secret Went Out".
    • Note: in Gematria the values of "wine" and "secret" are the same - 70.
  • נפל האסימון
    • Nafal Ha'asimon
    • Translation: the token has fallen down.
    • Meaning: something was finally understood.

סEdit

  • סנונית אחת אינה מבשרת את בוא האביב
    • Snonith ahath eyna mevasereth eth bo ha'aviv
    • Translation: one swallow does not herald the coming of spring.
    • Meaning: one occurrence does not indicate a general pattern.
    • Origin: Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics".
  • סערה בכוס מים
    • Se'arah bekos mayim
    • Translation: a storm in a glass of water.
    • Meaning: a large fuss with little effect on the outside.
    • English equivalent: "Tempest in a teacup/teapot".

עEdit

  • עבר זמנו - בטל קורבנו
    • Avar Zmano - Battel Qorbano
    • Translation: Its time passed - its sacrifice is cancelled
    • Meaning: it's no longer relevant to take the necessary measure, because it's long past when it would have helped.
  • עוד הזרוע נטויה
    • Od Hazro'a Netuyah
    • Translation: And the arm is still erect.
    • Meaning: It is still going strong.
    • Origin: probably from the Bible, where in a battle with the Amaleq, the Israelites were winning when Moses' arm was erect and losing when his arm was down.
  • על ראש הגנב בוער הכובע
    • "Al Rosh Haganav Bo'er Hakova"
    • Translation: The hat burns on the head of the thief.
    • Origin: reportedly from a folk tale in which a community leader found the identity of a thief by gathering the town and saying that he sees the thief's hat burning, and then observing the real thief feeling his hat with his hands.
  • עם האוכל בא התאבון
    • "Im Ha'okhel Ba' Hate'avon"
    • Translation: "the appetite comes with the food."
    • Meaning: once you start something, you feel like doing it.
  • עם יד על הלב
    • "Im Yad Al Halev"
    • Translation: with a hand on the heart.
    • Meaning: sincerely.
  • עם קצת רצון ועם קצת יכולת גם פיל יזיין תרנגולת
    • "Im Qtzath Ratson Ve'im Qtzath Yehuleth Gam Pill Yezayen Tarnegoleth"
    • Translation: With some will and some ability, even a elephant will f*ck a chicken
    • Meaning: If you want something, you can achieve it

פEdit

  • פה קבור הכלב
    • Po Qavur Hakelev
    • Translation: "The dog is buried here."
    • Meaning: this is the main issue.
  • פוסח על שני הסעיפים
    • Pose'ah al shney ha'se'ifim
    • Translation: "skips on two branches"
    • Meaning: "cannot decide between two options and does a little of both".
    • Origin: Bible, prophet Eliyahu's quote - "Ad matay tifsehu al shtey ha'se'ifim".
  • פעם שלישית גלידה
    • Pa'am shlishith glidah
    • Translation: third time icecream.
    • Meaning: said when two people accidentally meet twice during a short period, saying that the next time, the other person should buy some icecream to the speaker.
    • English Equivalent: Third time's the charm.
    • See this page in the Hebrew Wikipedia about it.
  • פרה פרה
    • Parah Parah
    • Translation: Literal: "Cow. cow" or "A cow, A cow". Meaning: "One cow at a time."
    • Meaning: one should accomplish two or more things by tackling them one at a time.
    • See also this resource in the MSN learn Hebrew forum

צEdit

  • צדק - צדק תרדוף
    • Tsedeq Tsedeq Tirdof
    • Translation: Justice, Justice you shall pursue.
    • Origin: from the Torah - Deuteronomy 16, 20
  • צוחק מי שצוחק אחרון
    • Tsoheq mi shetsoheq aharon
    • Translation: laughs he who laughs last.
    • Meaning: the winner is the one who won at the end.
  • צרות באות בצרורות
    • Tsaroth ba'oth bitsro'oth
    • Translation: troubles come in packs.
    • English equivalent: when it rains, it pours.
    • Corollaries:
      • צרה צרורה
        • Tsarah Tsrurah
        • Translation: a packed trouble.
  • צרת רבים - חצי נחמה
    • Tsarath rabim - hatzi nehamath
    • Translation: The trouble of many - half of the consolation.
    • Meaning: It is better to share your troubles with people.
  • צרת רבים - נחמת טיפשים
    • Tsarath rabim - nehamath tipshim
    • Translation: The trouble of many - the consolation of fools.

קEdit

  • קרח מכאן ומכאן
    • "Qere'ah Mikan Oomikan"
    • Translation: "Bald from here and from here"
    • Meaning: deprived in both senses.
    • Story behind: a man who has two wives: one young and one old. The young one removes his old hair, and the old one removes his young hair, and thus he becomes "bald from here and from here".

רEdit

  • רומא לא נבנתה ביום אחד
    • Roma Lo Nivnetha Beyom Ehad
    • Translation: "Rome wasn't built in a day."
  • רוקד בשתי חתונות
    • Roqed Bishtey Hatunoth
    • Translation: "Dancing in Two Weddings".
    • Meaning: "Does two different things (or is committed to two different entities) at once."
  • רחוק מהעין - רחוק מהלב
    • Rahoq Meha'ayin - Rahoq Mehalev
    • Translation: "Far from the eye - far from the heart".
    • English equivalent: "out of sight - out of mind"

שEdit

  • שושנה בין החוחים
    • Shoshanah Beyn Hahhohhim
    • Translation: a lily (or incorrectly a rose) between the thorns
    • Meaning: an excpetionally good woman within a bad society.
  • שניים רבים - השלישי זוכה
    • Shnayim Ravim Hashlishi Zokheh
    • Translation: two are fighting - the third wins.
  • שעיר לעזאזל
    • Se'ir La'azazel
    • Meaning: scapegoat.
    • Origin: from the bible. (Leviticus 16)
    • English Equivalent: Scape goat.
    • Corollaries:
      • הולך לעזאזל
        • Holekh La'azazel
        • Translation: goes to the Azazel.
        • Meaning: goes to hell, goes down the drain.

תEdit

  • תפסת מרובה - לא תפסת
    • Tafasta Merubeh - Lo Tafasta
    • Translation: (tried to) caught a lot - didn't catch.
    • Meaning: if one tries to achieve too many goals at once, he'll achieve none or few of them.

א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת