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January 16, 2017 / 18 Tevet, 5777
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In Hebrew: ‘Clear the Table’

A daily dose of Hebrew.

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לְפַנּוֹת אֶת הַשֻּׁלְחָן לְפַנּוֹת means to clear off. For example, I might say, אֲנִי מְפַנֶּה לִי אֶת הַבֹּקֶר כְּדֵי לִנְסוֹעַ עִם דָּנִית לַיָּם (ah-NEE meh-fah-NEH lee et hah-BOH-kehr keh-DEH-ee leen-SOH-ah eem dah-NEET lah-YAHM) – I’m clearing (for myself) the morning in order to go (travel) to the beach (sea) with Danit.Likewise, one can clear off a table – לְפַנּוֹת שֻׁלְחָן (leh-fah-NOHT shool-KHAHN). When I was a child and we used to have Friday night dinner as a family, this was the part where I always had to go to the bathroom.

The word לפנות is an active-intensive פיעל verb of the root פ.נ.ה (p.n.h). Some related words are פִּנָּה (pee-NAH) – corner (a place sectioned off from the rest), פָּנוּי (pah-NOO-ee) – available and לְהִתְפַּנּוֹת (leh-heet-pah-NOHT) – to use the restroom(to relieve oneself).

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Ami Steinberger

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

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