1 October 2016
The רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה rosh ha-shana "New Year", the fest of תַּפּוּחִים וּדְבַשׁ (apples and honey) is coming!
The word דְּבַשׁ dvash "honey", apart having the New Year connection, is used in one of the poetic references to the Land of Israel: אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבַשׁ eretz zavat chalav u-dvash "the land flowing with milk and honey" (see, for example, שְׁמוֹת sh(e)mot (Exodus) 3.8).
The song עַל כָּל אֵלֶה al kol ele by Naomi Shemer begins with the line עַל הַדְּבַשׁ וְעַל הַָעֹקֶץ Al ha-dvash ve-al ha-oketz "The honey and the sting". Please see below the text of its refrain with word-for-word (not intended to be idiomatic) translation:
Note that the verb לִשְׁמֹר ~ לשמור lishmor "to keep, to guard" is used with the preposition עַל al, rather than אֶת et, as might be expected. The same goes for the verb לְהָגֵן lehagen "to defend".
אַל al is the negative imperative particle ("don't"). It is used with the future tense of the verb, rather than the imperative: אַל תִּשׁכַּח "Don't forget". The particle נָא na can be used to reinforce the request: שְׁמֹר נָא shmor na "please keep", אַל נָא תִּשׁכַּח "please don't forget".
The expression לעקור נטוע from the line above occurs in קֹהֶלֶת Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 3:2: עֵת לָטַעַת, וְעֵת לַעֲקוֹר נָטוּעַ et lata'at, ve-et la'akor natua "Time to plant, and time to pluck what has been planted".
הֲשִׁיבֵנִי וְאָשׁוּבָה hashiveni ve-ashuva "Bring me back, and I will return" is a quote from Jeremiah 31:17.
הֲשִׁיבֵנִי hashiveni is the imperative of the word לְהָשִׁיב lehashiv "to bring back, to return" with the first person singular object pronoun suffix: "bring me back". אָשׁוּבָה ashuva is the first person singular cohortative of the word לָשׁוּב lashuv "to return, to come back". It is formed from the corresponding future form (אָשׁוּב ashuv) by adding the suffix ־ָה and is close to the future tense in its meaning, but differs in nuances – for example, in this particular case it is said that it indicates an intended result: "bring me back so that I may come".
Both the forms with object pronouns and the cohortative are not used in modern Hebrew (except in highly literary / poetic language) and we don't cover them in the inflection tables (but may add them in the future).
This concludes our posts for the year ה'תשע"ו, or 5776. Wish you all the best in the new year!
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