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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777
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How to Say ‘Uncertainty’ in Hebrew

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Human beings have a need for clarity and organization – we seek certainty in order to relax and go about our day.

While certainty, in Hebrew, is וַדָּאוּת (listen and repeat), uncertainty is אִי-וַדָּאוּת (listen and repeat).

For example:

קָשֶׁה אָבָל הֶכְרֵחִי לִחְיוֹת עִם אִי-וַדָּאוּת.

It’s difficult but necessary to live with uncertainty. listen

A lack of certainty is חֹסֶר וַדָּאוּת (listen and repeat), so that the sentence could also be written:

קָשֶׁה אָבָל הֶכְרֵחִי לִחְיוֹת עִם חֹסֶר-וַדָּאוּת.

It’s difficult but necessary to live with a lack of certainty. listen

ודאות (listen and repeat) is related to the expression, !בְּוַדַּאי (listen and repeat) – certainly! and, in its original form in Mishnaic Hebrew, וַדַּאי (listen and repeat) – also certainly.

The word אִי (listen and repeat), when affixed to a word such as ודאות, negates that word and is the equivalent of un- or in- in English.

But when אי appears on its own, it means island.

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Ami Steinberger

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

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