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The Joys of Hebrew
Author: Lewis Glinert
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Date: 1992
Pages: 304
Format: PDF
Size: 10,1 MB
Language: English
Glinert (Hebrew and Jewish studies, Univ. of London) has brought together a collection of more than 600 entries on "the best known and most lovable Hebrew words and sayings." Although the style is light-hearted, the author knows his subject. The arrangement is alphabetical according to an excellent transliteration. Entries range from the familiar Bar Mitzvah and chutzpah to rachmanut ("compassion") and tsarr gidul banim ("the stress of raising children"). Definitions are drawn from literature, folklore, and history and from everyday and esoteric sources. Glinert delights in sharing punchy anecdotes and humorous stories. Nor does he slight etymology. An introductory essay surveys the fate of Hebrew from its ancient beginnings to the present, a fate which parallels that of the Jewish people. A significant virtue of this book is the author's clear explanation of the difference between Hebrew and Yiddish. He relates the history and development of each language and notes their intersecting points. This title will be welcomed on its own merits for its easy readability and informative entries. One of the few on the subject available to readers of English, it makes no pretense of being comprehensive.

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