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October 8, 2015 / 25 Tishri, 5776
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In Hebrew: ‘Wash the Dishes’

A daily dose of Hebrew.
Wash the Dishes

לִשְׁטוֹף כֵּלִים Those who study the דַּף יוֹמִיthe daily page (of Talmud) – probably came across the word לְהִשְׁתַּטֵּף today. In the Talmudic context, that word means to rinse oneself. It’s a word that is no longer used in spoken Hebrew.

When pronounced by your average Israeli, להשתטף sounds just like the word for to participateלְהִשְׁתַּתֵּף, a word that can be found of the lips of every Israeli schoolchild and teacher. To tell the difference between these two reflexive-intensive הִתְפַּעֵל verbs, look at their roots:

להשתטף – the root is שׁ.ט.פ meaning rinsing להשתתף – the root is שׁ.ת.פ meaning partnership While להשתטף no longer gets spoken, its root, שׁ.ט.פ, is alive and well, most commonly in the active-simple פָּעַל verb, לִשְׁטוֹףto rinse.

Everyday expressions include:

לִשְׁטוֹף כֵּלִיםto rinse/wash (the) dishes

שְׁטִיפַת כֵּלִים(the act of) rinsing/washing (the) dishes

שְׁטִיפַת מֹחַbrainwash Another expression that also means to rinse (the) dishes is לְהַדִּיחַ כֵּלִים.

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

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