The most useful messages to text your Israeli friends

4 min read
Hilly Perlman, Citizen Café Hebrew teacher
Hilly Perlman, Citizen Café Hebrew teacher

Do you want to brag about your Hebrew to your Hebrew-speaking friends but are stuck in the 21st century where we mostly communicate via text?! Worry not! In this blog post, we will teach you the most simple and efficient Hebrew texting to use on a daily basis and sound like a typical Israeli.

What’s up?! All good and you?

“What’s up?” is probably the most common way to start a conversation when texting, so it’s no wonder that there are a million different ways of saying it. When asking “what’s up?” in Hebrew, there are a few options to use. It’s not only a matter of who you say it to, but also of current slang that changes constantly. Let’s learn some of the different options and when to use them:

The most formal, non-slangy “what’s up?” we’ll talk about is ?מה שלומך (mah shlohm-chah?) which would be the equivalent of “how are you?” That’s a greeting you can use with your boss, business associates and other people who you think would not appreciate slang too much.

The second “what’s up” began as a slang term, but is now so deeply rooted in the language, it doesn’t really sound like slang anymore: ?היי, מה קורה (?Hi, mah koh-reh)
It literally means “Hi, what’s happening?” And you can use it with family, friends and anyone else whom you don’t need to be super formal with.

If you want to sound chill, cool and extra Israeli – you can use the current common slang term מה הולך (mah hoh-lehch) which literally means “what’s going?” This one is the youngest slang term we currently use, and we would usually use it with people we know well, as it is not at all formal.

There are many more ways to say “what’s up”, but for starting a conversation – those three have got you covered. To all of these you can answer with:
?הכל טוב, מה איתך(hah-kohl tohv, mah ee-tahch) (f.s) or (hah-kohl tohv, mah eet-chah (m.s)

all good in hebrew

Which means “all good, and you?” Luckily, although “you” in the feminine and masculine forms don’t sound the same, they are written the same when not vowelized, so it doesn’t matter who your recipient is when sending a text.

No problemo!

Texting is a very useful tool for providing short updates or asking for a tiny favor, so when someones texts you something like: “I’ll call you later on” , “I’m running a little late” or maybe asks you for a favor you are willing to do, you can answer with
no problem אין בעיה(ehn beh-ah-yah), which is the perfect answer for many different situations.


Closed, a slang for done deal hebrew

A nice slang that is also very useful in texting is: סגור (sah-goor) which literally means – closed. It’s a slang we use when we want to say- “done deal”. So when a friend is telling you:
let’s meet at the bar at 8″, instead of saying OK, be cool, and say – סגור 🙂

What a bummer!

If a friend told you something upsetting, either for them or for you, something like “oh no! I missed my flight” or “Sorry I can’t make it today!”, you can answer with איזה באסה (eh-zeh bah-sah) which is a slang term that comes from Arabic and means “what a bummer”. It’s a nice way of showing compassion when something upsetting has happened to a friend, and also a cool, not too heavy way of saying “ohhh I really wanted to see you and I am bummed that’s not happening.”

🤣 LOL, MDR, xaxa, hahaha, jajaja 🤣

Now let’s end on a happier note!
Different languages use different ways to type laughter. In the USA they use LOL, in France MDR, in Russia xaxaxa and when you want to laugh in Hebrew you write חחחחחחח. So if a friend told you something funny or sent you a funny video, you can just text חחחחח. You should know that it’s an unwritten rule that the funnier you find the message to be, the more ח letters you’ll react with. However, If you want to convey the next level of laughter, you can write צחקתי בקול (tsah-chahk-tee beh-kohl) which literally means ”I laughed out loud”. Save this one for the funniest messages, ones that really made you start laughing out loud!

So, if you want to speak and text in Hebrew and you don’t have all the vocabulary yet, just start by using the sentences mentioned above whenever you can and if you get an answer you don’t understand, well… that’s just a wonderful opportunity to learn a little bit more Hebrew!

good luck in hebrew

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