Hebrew word of the week: Hahpatsah


The feminist movement has contributed many words to the modern, global vocabulary and has made our society especially sensitive to not treating each other as a thing, an object. The Hebrew Hefetz (from H-f-ts) has the perfect semantically desired senses: “a thing, an object; desire, wish, delight, etc.”*

The new Hebrew concept of “objectifying” has been coined either by haHpatsah or Hiftsun, as seen in a headline: “Feminists decide: It is OK to objectify (le-Haftsen) good-looking guys (Hatikhim) …”

*Compare the following nuances and expressions: be-torat adonay Heftso “[Happy is the one …] whose delight is the teaching of God” (Psalms 1:2); be-Hefets kappeha “with her eager hands” (Proverbs 31:13); Hafetz Hayyim … ohev yamim “eager for life, desires years” (Psalms 34:13); Hefsibah “I take delight in her” (woman’s name, 2 Kings 21:1).


Yona Sabar is a professor of Hebrew and Aramaic in the department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures at UCLA