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November 30, 2015 / 18 Kislev, 5776
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In Hebrew: ‘Light Switch’

A daily dose of Hebrew.


With today’s entry I’m plugging a friend, the newest, best and most reliable and reasonable handyman in Jerusalem – in my opinion. A few months ago the light switch in my bathroom stopped working. Since I don’t have experience in fixing electronics, I called up Jochanan.
Jochanan came over (at the time he said he would – and first thing in the morning), played with some electrical wiresחוּטִים חַשְׁמַלִּיִיםand got the switchהַמֶּתֶג – to work. מֶתֶג, appearing in Biblical Hebrew,is synonymous with רֶסֶן, both of which mean rein or bridle. Both words still refer to a wire going around a horse’s head, but מתג has come to refer also to that piece of circuitry with which we turn on and shut off electricity: a switch.

מתג usually refers to a light switch, but it can also refer to other electrical switches. In order to refer to an electrical switch of any kind, use מֶתֶג חַשְׁמַלִּי.

For example:

הוּא בָּא לְתַקֵּן מֶתֶג חַשְׁמָלִי שֶׁהִפְסִיק לַעֲבוֹד. He came to fix an electrical switch that stopped working.
So, if things stop working for you during this storm in Jerusalem, you know whom to call.
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About the Author: Ami Steinberger is founder and director of Ulpan La-Inyan.

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