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November 30, 2015 / 18 Kislev, 5776
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How to Say “Beg Persistently” in Hebrew

A daily dose of Hebrew.


To beg, in Hebrew, is לְהִתְחַנֵּן .

But there’s a certain type of begging that doesn’t let up. To beg in such a manner is לְהַפְצִיר .

This word is used, albeit in a different verb form, in Biblical Hebrew, in contexts where the speaker is imploring someone to accept a favor.

An example from the Torah portion read last week:

קַח נָא אֶת בִּרְכָתִי אֲשֶׁר הֻבָאת לָךְ, כִּי חַנַּנִי אֱלֹהִים וְכִי יֶשׁ-לִי כֹל; וַיִּפְצַר בּוֹ, וַיִּקָּח. (בְּרֵאשִׁית ל”ג:י”א) Please take my gift (literally, blessing) that is brought to you, for G-d has graced me and has given me everything; and he begged him, and he took. (Genesis 33:11)

And an example in Modern-Hebrew usage:

מַנְהִיגִים רַבִּים מַפְצִירִים בְּרֹאשׁ הַמֶּמְשָׁלָה לֹא לְהַתְקִיף. Many leaders are begging the prime minister persistently not to attack.

להפציר, in its modern usage, is an active-causative הִפְעִיל verb. In its Biblical-Hebrew usage, it’s an active-simple פָּעַל verb.

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About the Author: Ami Steinberger is founder and director of Ulpan La-Inyan.

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