Today, we introduce the word: me•ha•mem, stunning, shocking. The word is derived from the root HA.MAM. The overuse of this word, too, has gone way out of control, and young people (and quite a few adults as well) are using it as a filler in every sentence they say. It reflects the dwindling of the vocabulary of the TV/games generation that barely ever touch a book, let alone read it.
However, even though me•ha•mem sounds like an informal, ultra-modern expression, it is a formal Hebrew word and its verb appears in the Bible in several instances. At times, it means exactly what it means today:
“And the Lord struck them with confusion before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that ascends to Beth-Horon, and struck them as far as Azekah, and Makkedah”
In other instances, the word, ‘hamam,’ stun, was wrongly translated as destroy. The following Hebrew verse actually says: “…stricken or stunned them with great shock, until they were destroyed.” As you can see, the English translation missed this dramatic description:
“But the Lord your God shall deliver them to you, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they are destroyed”
Here is another example with the same Hebrew word, but this time the translation is much closer to the correct Hebrew verb:
“And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and confounded them”
Today’s misuse of me•ha•mem is turning the word into a mere expression of admiration, without the original meaning of ‘to be stricken’ of ‘to be stunned’.