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If חֹמֶר לְמַחְשָׁבָה (KHOH-mehr leh-mahkh-shah-VAH) means food (material) for thought, and the word חומר itself means material, it follows that חָמְרִיּוּת (khohm-ree-YOOT) means materialism, where the וּת– ending functions in a way similar to that of the English –ism.


For example, one might pose a philosophical-religious question, הַאִם הַחָמְרִיּוּת הִיאדָּבָר טוֹב לָעֹלָם? (hah-EEM hah-khohm-ree-YOOT hee dah-VAHR tohv lah-oh-LAHM?) – Is (the) materialism a good thing for the world?

Note that the  ָ(kah-MAHTS) vowel signifies the oh sound in this case, not the ah sound.

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Ami Steinberger is founder and director of Ulpan La-Inyan.