All the Hebrew You Need to Know for Purim

2 min read
Yonatan Engler
Yonatan Engler

Come Purim time in Tel Aviv, the streets are packed with carnivals, parties, and all types of costumes. Here are a list of words and phrases you need to understand for the funnest & craziest holiday in Israel.

1. “Until he doesn’t know”

The name for Israel’s Purim ‘carnival’ comes from the three words עד לא ידע, which means “until he doesn’t know.” The reference comes from religious roots, specifically a story that instructs man to “mellow himself” (understood as drinking alcohol) until he doesn’t know the difference between the “cursed” and the blessed”.

Keywords to know: עִדְלְאֵידָע

Transliteration: ad-loh-yah-dah

Translation: Purim carnival

2. Haman’s ears

Nicknamed “Haman’s ears” (after the Purim story antagonist), these triangular cookies are filled with all sorts of goodness. Our favorites are poppy, chocolate, and Lotus butter.

Keywords to know: אָוזְנֵי הַמָּן

Transliteration: oz-ney hah-mahn

Translation: Homentashen (Purim cookies)

3. The really annoying noise makers

As if Tel Aviv didn’t have enough noise already, Purim invites us to make as much noise as possible with these “groggers.”

Keywords to know: רַעֲשָׁן

Transliteration: rah-ah-shan

Translation: noise maker

4. The costume you’ve been working on since last year

It’s no secret Tel Aviv brings out the best costumes in everyone.

Keywords to know: תַּחְפֹּושֶׁת

Transliteration: tach-poh-set

Translation: costume

5. When the parties don’t fit inside, take them to the streets.

Purim may be only one day, but the parties last all week long, including house parties, street parties, rooftops, and the infamous Ad-Lo-Yada (“until he doesn’t know”) street party.

Keywords to know: מְסִיבַּת רְחוֹב

Transliteration: meh-see-bat reh-chov

Translation: street party

6. When you want to go all out

Because no costume is complete without great makeup.

Keywords to know: אִיפּוּר

Transliteration: ee-poor

Translation: makeup

7. The must-have costume accessory

Honestly, the wig is a costume in and of itself.

Keywords to know: פֵּאָה

Transliteration: peh-ah

Translation: wig

8. When you don’t want people to recognize you at all

Masks are another easy way for a crazy costume.

Keywords to know: מַסֵּכָה

Transliteration: mah-seh-chah

Translation: mask

9. “Grandma’s hair”

Cotton candy in Hebrew literally translates to “grandma’s hair,” which is a bit unsettling when you think about it.

Keywords to know: שְׂעָרוֹת סָבְתָא

Transliteration: seh-are-ot sav-tah

Translation: cotton candy

10. When someone’s costume just isn’t clear

Throwing on old clothes from your closet isn’t a costume, honey.

Keywords to know: לְהִתְחַפֵּשׁ

Transliteration: leh-heet-chah-pes

Translation: to dress up

11. Whose costume will win?

Which costume artist will take this year’s best costume?

Keywords to know: תַּחֲרוּת תַּחְפּוֹשׁוֹת

Transliteration: tah-chah-root tach-poh-sot

Translation: costume contest

12. The time of year when being drunk in public is acceptable

As always, drink responsibly.

Keywords to know: שִׁיכּוֹר (m), שִׁיכּוֹרה (f)

Transliteration: shee-kor (m), shee-kor-ah (m)

Translation: drunk

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