Four days ago we began a series of 12 expressions and idioms that is bound to enrich your Hebrew vocabulary, both in physical and spiritual aspects, all involving a common noun that most of us use daily without giving it too much thought. This noun is p’ri, fruit.
Today’s expression is about the ancient principle that still serves as the foundation of mankind’s livelihood. One needs to work hard to yield fruit. Nothing comes easy and free as it was meant to be in the Garden of Eden. After man committed his first sin, God made the rule that describes our lives until this very day:
“In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread”
There are many ways to say this in other languages throughout the world, such as the English phrase: ‘no pain no gain.’
There is, however, joy and happiness in mankind’s hard labor:
“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy”
Today’s expression, ‘p’ri a•ma•li,’ is made of two words: ‘p’ri,’ fruit, and ‘a•mal,’ ‘work’ or ‘labor.’ The ending ‘i’ in the word ‘amali’ simply stands for ‘my.’ His word will end with ‘o,’ ‘amalo’ (his work) and her work will end with ‘a,’ ‘amala.’ These endings are the possessive suffixes that can be applied to all Hebrew nouns. P’ri a•ma•li, then, also carries something good: fruit.
In the Bible, we find this expression in Philippians 1:22:
“But if I live on in the flesh, this will bring fruit from my work; yet I don’t know what I will choose.”
Although fruit from my work is not described here as a negative attribute, it is clear that it is not sufficient.