Let’s Tie the Knot: mah hah-keh-shehr?!

2 min read
Noa Lara Meir, Citizen Cafè teacher
Noa Lara Meir, Citizen Cafè teacher

Some of you may have heard this saying a few times when hanging out with Israelis, and maybe even understood its meaning by context (since it’s usually said in a very specific tone).

But just to get everyone on board, let’s break down what this expression means.

It’s composed of two words – מה (mah) which means “what,” and קשר (keh-shehr) which, well, has quite a few meanings.

The word “keh-shehr” in Hebrew literally refers to a knot but is also the word used for a connection or relationship.

It makes sense when you think about it, right?

A knot is the combination of two elements that when intertwined tend to be hard to unravel.

So, back to where we started, the common expression “?מה הקשר” literally means “what is the connection?”. In Hebrew slang, we often use it when we want to ask – “What’s that got to do with it?!”

Ksharim (the plural for connection) are a vital part of Israeli culture and mentality.

A lot of time you’ll hear an Israeli say, “yehsh lee kshah-reem shahm” (יש לי קשרים שם) which translates to “I have a lot of connections there.”

When you know the “right person” it’s easier to get what you want. In a small country like Israel, though, connections play an even more important role, and here’s an insider’s secret – it’s not that hard to find that “right person.”

Yes, finding connections might seem intimidating initially, especially if you don’t really know anyone yet. But practice makes perfect, and there are a lot of ways to practice forming new connections in Israel.

One way to start finding קשרים to get something you want: leave any shyness behind and start telling everyone you know that you’re looking for people to connect with about your given subject. Israel has such a small population that you are sure to get in touch with someone relevant and willing to give a helping hand.

You’d be surprised to see how reaching out (whether it be in a Facebook group, at a family dinner, or at your local café) can lead to some really great connections.

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