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26 March 2012 (Hamoodi)

March 26, 2012

One of our favorite vegetable stalls in the market is run by a guy named Hamoodi. Now, hamood in Hebrew means cute or sweet, and is commonly used to address someone with affection. “Thank you hamood,” or “You are such a hamooda (for females),” and so on. I’ve always assumed Hamoodi came from that, him being so sweet and cute that it became his nickname.

When we stopped by Hamoodi’s stall today to stock up on our fruits and vegetables before the upcoming holiday Pesach (Passover), he asked us how long we have been together after hearing us speak to each other in English.

“Hmm… about four years?” I answered.

“And you don’t talk to each other in Hebrew?” he asked, composing his English slowly, as if carefully stringing them together one by one inside his head. (It was still much better than my Hebrew!)

“She’s learning slowly. Le at, le at,” Yuval said.

“You should. Hebrew.. it’s such a beautiful language,” Hamoodi told me encouragingly as he weighed all our fruits and vegetables.

I thought he was talking about his own language, but later in the car I found out that the name Hamoodi has nothing to do with the Hebrew word hamood. It’s actually the most common nickname for Mohammed!

After I had some time for that to sink in to my head, I thought again about what Hamoodi said about the Hebrew language and found it intriguing that he would say that.

市場の中で私たちがお気に入りの野菜屋さんのオーナーはハムーディという名の男性。
さて、ヘブライ語でハムードとは「かわいい」とか「いとしい」という意味。
英語でいう「sweetie」とか「honey」のように、愛しい人、親しい人に対して使われます。
「ありがとうハムード」、「あなたはハムダ(女性形)ね」など。
だからハムーディの由来はこのハムードからきているのと私はてっきり思っていたのでした。
みんなにハムーディというあだ名で呼ばれるなんてかわいいな〜、と。

もう間近に控えた祝日ペサハの前に野菜と果物を買いためようと、
今日もハムーディのお店へ行きました。
私たちがいつものように英語で会話していると、
ハムーディは二人が出逢ってからどれくらいたつの?と聞いてきました。

「う〜ん、、、4年くらいかな?」と私。

「でもヘブライ語でしゃべらないんだ。」とハムーディは単語を頭の中で一つ一つ
つなぎ合わせているようにゆっくり英語で言いました。
(私のヘブライ語よりかははるかに上級だったけど!)

「彼女はゆっくりマイペースで学んでるよ。レアットゥ、レアットゥ」とユバル。

「是非学ぶべきだよ。ヘブライ語は、、、とても美しい言葉なんだ。」
ハムーディは私たちの野菜や果物を計りながら言いました。

てっきりハムーディが彼の母国語についてそう言っているのかと思いましたが、
後で車の中で知ったのはハムーディは実はヘブライ語のハムードとは全く無関係だということ。
実はモハメッドの最も一般的なあだ名なのだそう!

その事実が頭に十分浸透してから新たにハムーディがヘブライ語について
言ったことを思い出し、余計興味がわきました。

Much love,
Kaori

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2012 9:15 pm

    How funny, I made the same assumption and learned the origin of the name from a supermarket cashier who was exceptionally friendly! After some unusually polite chit chat, he wished us shabbat shalom and I commented to my husband that it was fitting that such a sweet man had a name like that. He explained and I was so surprised.

    Also, we didn’t start speaking Hebrew regularly at home until the last year or so, and we’ve been together for about 4 (or maybe 5…?) years too. I think when the time is right for both of you, it’s a natural transition. Don’t think about it too much!

    • March 27, 2012 7:49 pm

      Ah, I’m glad I’m not the only one who made the mistake! And nice to know there’s another sweet Hamoodi somewhere else in Israel🙂

      Wow you guys speak regularly in Hebrew? Good for you!

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