In the next three days, we’ll introduce common time expressions. Because these words are simple, and to make this series more effective, we’ll present 2-3 words per day instead of the regular pace of one a day. You’ll need a little more time for practice, but you’ll build up your useful vocabulary much sooner. If you are in contact with Hebrew speakers, why not start today and surprise them with a small representation from their own tongue?
Today’s first word, sha•na, a year, may sound familiar to you. You may have heard that the Jewish New Year holiday is ‘Rosh Hashana,’ It means ‘the head of the year’ (head is considered beginning in Hebrew). You may have heard the blessing we say on this holiday: ‘Shana Tove,’ which means ‘a good year’; but in this sense it means ‘have a happy New Year.’
The word ‘shans’ comes from a root that has the same letters (Sheen, Noon, Hey) that means: perpetual, repeating again. It perfectly explains the idea of a year in life ‒ one ends and the next one comes, and so forth.
Today’s second word, cho•desh, a month, may also sound familiar to you if you have heard the phrase ‘Rosh Chodesh’. Similar to Rosh hashana, Rosh Chodesh is the commemoration of the new month on the Jewish ritualistic order of prayer. Rosh, then, is the beginning, and chodesh is a month. This word also comes from a root that has the same letters as the word (Chet, Dalet, Sheen), which means ‘new,’ and which is also an indication of something perpetual if you consider what is new in the Jewish calendar system. This calendar is lunar, based on the moon’s cycle. This kind of ‘new’ is perpetual.