This post starts with a description of the period before Tasha B’Av- the 9th of the month of Av. No Prohibition about learning Hebrew in a fun way and that will follow.
The “Three Weeks” between the 17th of Tammuz and the Tisha B’Av have historically been days of misfortune and calamity for the Jewish people. During this time, both the First and Second Temples were destroyed, amongst other terrible tragedies.
These days are referred to as the period “within the straits” (bein hametzarim), in accordance with the verse: “all her oppressors have overtaken her within the straits” (Lamentations 1:3).
On Shabbat during the Three Weeks, the Haftorahs are taken from chapters in Isaiah and Jeremiah dealing with the Temple’s destruction and the exile of the Jewish people.
During this time, various aspects of mourning are observed by the entire nation. We minimize joy and celebration. And, since the attribute of Divine judgement (“din”) is acutely felt, we avoid potentially dangerous or risky endeavors.
ASPECTS OF MOURNING DURING THE THREE WEEKS
- No weddings are held. (However, engagement ceremonies are permitted.)
- We do not listen to music.
- We avoid all public celebrations — especially those which involve dancing and musical accompaniment.
- We avoid exciting and entertaining trips and activities. (Kaf HaChaim – OC 551:41)
- No haircuts or shaving. (Fingernails may be clipped up until the week in which Tisha B’Av falls.)
- We do not say the blessing She-hechianu on new food or clothes, except on Shabbat.
THE NINE DAYS
The period commencing with Rosh Chodesh Av is called the “Nine Days.” During this time, a stricter level of mourning is observed, in accordance with the Talmudic dictum (Ta’anit 26): “When the month of Av begins, we reduce our joy.”
(1) We avoid purchasing any items that bring great joy.
(2) We suspend home improvements, or the planting of trees and flowers.
(3) We avoid litigation with non-Jews, since fortune is inauspicious at this time.
(4) We abstain from the consumption of meat (including poultry) and wine. These foods are symbolic of the Temple service, and are generally expressions of celebration and joy.
- On Shabbat, meat and wine are permitted. This applies also to any other seuduat mitzvah — for example, at a Brit Milah or at the completion of a tractate of Talmud.
- Wine from Havdallah should be given to a child to drink.
(5) We refrain from wearing newly laundered garments, or laundering any clothes.
- If the “freshness” has been taken out of a garment prior to the Nine Days, it may be worn.
- Fresh clothes may be worn for Shabbat.
- The clothing of small children, which gets soiled frequently, may be laundered during the Nine Days.
- Clothes may not be laundered even if done in preparation for after Tisha B’Av, or even if done by a non-Jew.
(6) We do not bathe for pleasure.
- It is permitted to bathe in order to remove dirt or perspiration, or for medical reasons. This may be done only in cool water.
- Furthermore, the body should be washed in parts, rather than all at one time.
- Bathing in warm water is permitted on Friday in honor of Shabbat.
with thanks to Rabbi Moshe Lazerus Aishe Ha Torah
I was requested to compile Hebrew terms to help friends on their doctor’s visits. Seems funny because I have not met a doctor in Israel who doesn’t speak English. However, communicating with support staff-there Hebrew is required.
These funny associations from a medical student should help you keep Hebrew medical terminology in your head (at least for a day or so. . .): from http://medinthemizraakh.blogspot.com/2012/10/how-i-remember-medical-hebrew.html
Elbow – Marpek – “mar” in Hebrew means “bitter” and elbows look similar to bird beaks. It would be bitter to bepecked in the face by a bird. I would probably elbow that bird. Marpek.
I told you this is a little crazy.
Heel – Akev – “kelev” is “dog” in Hebrew. Shorten that and you end up with “kev.” A common command for dogs is “heel!”Akev.
Okay, so I realize this probably isn’t helpful for those of you who don’t know any Hebrew at all. So here are some dedicated to you.
Eyebrow – Gaba – Yo GabbaGabba! is a disturbing children’s show that makes me raise my eyebrows. Gaba.
Jaw – Leset – You set your jaw when you’re upset. Leset.
Nostrils – Nakhir – Where should I put my finger? Not here . . . *points to nostrils* Nakhir.
Spine – Khuliya – Someone comes up and tells you, “She was in a car accident and broke her spine.” You reply, “Who, Leah?” Khuliya.
Lip – Safa – Sara has soft lips, therefore, we shall call her Safa.
Hair – Se’ar – Creepy dude to a girl with long, beautiful hair, “Say, are you beautiful!” Se’ar.
Chin – Santer – Sounds like a man’s name (maybe a variant of the Spanish “Santos?”), and that he would have a prominent chin. He probably saunters, too. Santer.
Testis – Ashakh – Like a shack that houses sperm. Ashakh.
Scrotum – Sak ha’ashakhim –The sack that holds the shack that houses the sperm. (the suffix -im makes it plural; Hebrew for “the” is ha). Sak ha’ashakhim
Bottom – Yashvan, from the shoresh, to sit yashav
Buttocks – Akuz – Yesh (There is) a van. You sit on your bottom in a van. Inside that van is also a cuz (akuz). Yashvan, akuz.
Cheek – Lekhi – You turn your cheek to someone – (which means to) he (ambiguous male). Lekhi.
Tooth – Shen – Glistening white teeth “shine.”
Face – Panim – A common Hebrew phrase translated to English is “all on the face.” “Pan” means “all,” so it’s all on the face. Panim.
Ankle – Karsul – Sul broke her ankle getting out of the car. Wow, she’s a klutz. Karsul.
Big toe – Bohen – Hebrew for test is “bohan,” and when you stub your big toe, it’s a test of whether you’re going to shout expletives to the world. Bohen.
Pupil – Ishon – (My Hebrew TA gave me this one.) Ish means “man” in Hebrew. When you look into someone’s pupil, you see yourself in the form of a little (wo)man. (I’m pretty sure Hebrew did this intentionally) Ishon.
Hip – Agan – Broken hips are a common problem with the elderly, and sometimes it happens more than once. When someone tells you Uncle Alf broke his hip, you might respond, “Again?!” Agan.
Thigh – Yarekh – Girls, you see your girlfriend stuffing her face with a donut, you shake your head in disgust, “Girl, ya’ wreckin’ your thighs.” Yarekh.
A friend has been been volunteering this summer at HaGan HaSolari in Binyamina and informed me of the tours which are are fun educational and “green!” The Solar Garden is a blooming ecological oasis in the middle of the city! You do cool activities and there is plenty of shade so don’t let the hot sun keep you indoors. Come and experience this amazing place for yourselves! It’s a unique adventure for the whole family. Here are some examples of what you do on a tour:
* get electrocuted through your finger tips (only for the brave!!!)
* use the scorching heat of the sun to make a personal sign or drawing!
* run an obstacle course and race against the clock using a solar bug!
* do a creative workshop to turn waste into a quality, useful product to take home!
* find and name the 24 (!) different fruit-bearing trees at the center!
* get INSPIRED to go home and turn your own walls into a living, blooming “green wall!”
Suitable for kids aged 4 and up, as well as teenagers and adults. The tour can be in English or in Hebrew.
You can get more info on their website: http://www.thesolargarden.org/or call 072-2612211.