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October 26, 2016 / 24 Tishri, 5777
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In Hebrew: ‘Pocket Money’

A daily dose of Hebrew.

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Pocket Money

Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

כֶּסֶף כִּיס

Rabbi Ila’i of the Talmud taught:

בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה דְּבָרִים אָדָם נִכָּר: בְּכוֹסוֹ וּבְכִיסוֹ וּבְכַעֲסוֹ.
In three matters a person(‘s character) can be recognized: with his cup (drink), with his pocket and in his anger.

The Hebrew word for pocket, כִּיס, goes all the way back to Biblical times, long before pockets were likely to be sewn into pants as they are today.

Pocket money – small sums of cash that are carried around – is כֶּסֶף כִּיסin Hebrew.

For example:

בֹּאוּ נֵצֵא לִרְאוֹת סֶרֶט – יֵשׁ לָכֶם כֶּסֶף כִּיס?
Let’s go (out to) see a movie – do you (plural) have pocket money?

To refer to allowance money, you’d use a different expression, calling up the Aramaic word for money (literally, monies), דָּמִים. The expression is דְּמֵי כִּיס where דמי means monies of. For example:

קִבַּלְתָּ דְּמֵי כִּיס מִסַּבְתָּא?
Did you get (your) allowance from Grandma?

Correction:In my entry on washing the dishes last week, I spelled the word for to rinse as לִשְׁתּוֹף (with aת) instead of לִשְׁטוֹף (with a ט). It was a typo and has since been corrected. Thank you, Shemaya, for pointing it out.

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Ami Steinberger

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

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