10 Useful Hebrew Words

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When touring in the Holy Land, whether a Private guide accompanies you or touring alone, knowing some useful Hebrew words can be helpful.

The two official Major Languages in the Holy Land are Hebrew and Arabic and it is spoken by most of the population.

If you are planning on visiting the Arabic cities of Israel such as Nazareth or Cities in the West Bank, we recommend you to check our other guide for Useful Arabic words and Phrases.

Although a large amount of people speaks English, most of the locals speak Hebrew or Arabic due to the fact that these are the official state languages.

In the following list, we have brought you a collection of 20 useful Hebrew words which will help you during your trip to the Holy Land.

You will find this list most useful in the Major Israeli cities like Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, or Haifa for communicating with locals.


Useful Hebrew Words when Traveling the Holy Land

  1. Shalom
    The Equivalent of Hello and Goodbye and literally means “peace”. If you planning on learning one word to use in Israel, make it this one.
  2. Sababa & Beseder
    Those 2 are used for saying “cool”, “great”, “alright”, “OK”.
  3. Ken & Lo
    Yes & no. Tip: When pronouncing “Ken” just imagine you’re saying yes to your Barbie’s friend, Ken.
  4. Ma nishmá
    What’s up? Also, you can use the word “Ma koreh” which means “what’s happening?”.
  5. Toda (also Toda Raba)
    It means Thanks and “Thanks a lot!” which you will use when saying thank you for locals when they will give you directions or services.
  6. Bevakasha
    Be-va-ka-sha means please in Hebrew. In addition, it can be used in the context as “There you go”. For example: When asked for a passport and you answer ” There you go”.
  7. Slicha
    It’s a Hebrew word for excuse me or sorry! You’ll use it when cutting in front of people in queues, when brushing past them on the crowded Jerusalem streets, and also when addressing a stranger with a question.
  8. Tov
    When something goes well, say tov — it’s Hebrew for “good” and has plenty of uses in everyday conversations.
  9. Boker tov & Laila tov — Good morning & Good Evening.
  10. Lehitra’ot – See you / bye.
  11. Nachon – Translate as “right” or “correct”.
  12. Yashar, Yamina & Smola
    This is actually a set of the directions word. Yashar (or Kadima) means forward, Yamina is Right and Smola is Left. Whether if you lost your guide or trying to find a certain landmark this set of words is one of the most common Hebrew words you will need.
  13. Shabbat (also Shabbos)
    The Hebrew word for Saturday, The Jewish holy day of the week. In Israel, it is common to say each other “Shabat Shalom” (also Good Shabbos) during this Day whether you are a Jew, Christian or Muslim.

More Useful Hebrew Words and Phrases

In addition to the mentioned, for those who are looking for a good restaurant to eat or just for a souvenir, it’s also good to know the following useful words:

  1. Shekel
    That’s the currency. It’s a fun word, don’t you think? Good luck figuring out the conversion. It’s always been at an odd amount when I visited, which makes quick conversions in my head rather difficult.
  2. Kama ze ole?
    Means “How much does it cost”. This phrase will be useful when shopping in the Holy Land for souvenirs to bring home.
  3. Eyich Maggeim L…?
    It’s a question phrase meaning “How do you get to…?”. use this phrase when looking for attraction or for your lost group. When pronouncing the “Eyich” think of the word “Eight” and replace the T with CH. When saying L just literary say the letter L.
  4. Be te’avon
    It’s Hebrew for Bon Apetit! If you like to eat, you’ll learn this one quick.
  5. L’chaim
    The toast/cheers when you clink beer glasses, it translates “to life!”
  6. Ayfo – The question word meaning “Where”. Pronounced “A-FAW”.
  7. Ach shely (or Achi)
    The Hebrew equivalent to the American slang word – “bro”. Roughly translates as “My Brother”.

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