Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Seasonal Jewish Greetings: What do they mean and when do I use them?

This time of year can be confusing with what Jewish greeting should you use.  Special thanks to Rabbi Nicole Greninger for compiling this complete list.  I know I should have had this list 2 weeks ago but better late than never.   I have highlighted in yellow some greetings for the next 8 days.  Sukkot is a fun holiday and I hope that everyone comes to Lakeside and enjoys our Sukkah on Sukkot.  Sushi in the Sukkah is tonight and next Wednesday at 7:00 pm is Simchat Torah, we will end the cycle of Torah reading and immediately begin it again.

It can be confusing to know when to say which Jewish greeting but I have the website for you:  Is it a Jewish Holiday today?  Try it out.

While giving you a fun website to look up I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I have a brand new Imovie which shows Rabbi Serotta's Sukkah going up in time lapse.  Sukkah Movie. Thanks to Allison Gelman for the music suggestion We built this city by Starship.  It fits perfectly. 

 I hope to see everyone this week and I wish you all Chag Samaech and Moadim l'simcha.  


Phrase - Translation - When to use it


Shalom (or L'shalom) - Hello, goodbye, peace - Anytime
L'hitraot - See you again soon - Whenever you're saying goodbye to someone
Shabbat shalom - Have a peaceful Shabbat! - Weds through Sat
Shavua tov - Have a good week - Sat night through Tues
Shana tovah (or L'shana tovah) - Happy New Year - Starting about a month before the High Holy Days and up until / including Rosh Hashanah
Shana tovah u'metukah - Have a happy & sweet New Year - Same as "shana tovah"
G'mar chatimah tovah or g'mar tov - May you be sealed for good (i.e. may you be sealed in the Book of Life on Yom Kippur) - Between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur
Tzom kal - Have an easy fast - Before any day on the Jewish calendar when it's customary to fast (including Yom Kippur)
Chag sameach - Happy holiday! - Before and during holidays that are 'chagim,' which includes the first and last days of Sukkot & Passover, Shavuot
Moadim l'simcha - It's the season/times of joy - During chol ha'moed, which includes the middle days of Sukkot & Pesach (in other words, you begin the holiday saying Chag sameach, then you say Moadim l'simcha for about a week, then Chag sameach at the end of the holiday)
Chag Sukkot sameach - Happy holiday of Sukkot - First and last days of Sukkot
Chanukah sameach - Happy Chanukah - Before/during Chanukah
Chag urim sameach - Happy holiday of lights - Before / during Chanukah
Chag Purim sameach - Happy holiday of Purim - Before/ during Purim
Chodesh tov - Happy new month - On Rosh Hodesh (the first day or two of each Hebrew month)
Yasher koach - Great job - When someone accomplished something or did something great (i.e. 'nice job chanting Torah!')
Mazal tov - Congratulations - When something exciting happens, such as the birth of a new baby, a wedding, etc.
B'sha'ah tovah - In good time (also has a congratulatory connotation) - When you find out that someone is pregnant (in other words, you don't say 'mazal tov' until the baby is born since it's not a 'done deal' yet... rather, you say 'b'sha'ah tovah' to mean, may the baby come at a good time, i.e. when s/he is really ready to be born and no sooner)
Kol tuv / kol tov - All is good, may all be good - A generic greeting that closes letters / e-mails any time of the year
B'ezrat Ha'shem - With God's help - When you're hopeful and/or cautious about something
Baruch dayan ha'emet - Praise the Judge of truth - When you first hear about a death... The phrase is said in order "to acknowledge that the poignant mystery and tender thread between life and death is in God's hands, so to speak" (Rabbi Howard Ruben's beautiful explanation)

Yom Huledet Samaech (my addition) :  Happy Birthday, and my greeting on Facebook when I wish everyone Happy Birthday.