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August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
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How to Say ‘Compromise’ in Hebrew

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פְּשָׁרָה

 listen and repeat


An important tool for conflict resolution is compromise.

The Hebrew word for a compromise is פְּשָׁרָה ( listen and repeat), while to compromise is the reflexive-intensive הִתְפַּעֵל verb, לְהִתְפַּשֵּׁר ( listen and repeat). (To compromise in the sense of compromising safety is לְסַכֵּן ( listen and repeat) – also to endanger.)

The root of these two is clearly פ.שׁ.ר (p.sh.r)… but exactly how that root generates the meaning compromise is not as clear. On the one hand, cool or lukewarm water is מַיִם פּוֹשְׁרִים ( listen and repeat). So we can theorize that a פשרה is a cooling down of the spirits.

But on the other hand, a Biblical word for interpretation or meaning is פֵּשֶׁר ( listen and repeat), leading me to posit that a פשרה is a resolution creating new meaning in a situation. In any case, here’s an example in Modern Hebrew:

הַשְּׁנַיִם חִפְּשׂוּ פְּשָׁרָה וּבַסּוֹף מָצְאוּ. The two sought out a compromise and, in the end, found one.  listen

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

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