Spreading Kindness: How to Say Thank You in Hebrew

The world is filled with so much beauty and wonder, with hundreds of languages shaping worlds within the minds of millions across cultures and time. There is so much we can say with words, so many emotions we can express, but there is no more vital emotion to show than gratitude. Letting the people we have in our lives, whether loved ones or strangers know that we appreciate the things they have done for us is paramount if we want to live in a better world. Within the Hebrew language, there are quite a few ways to tell someone thank you, and we explore a few of them.

Continue to discover:

  • Start with the Basics
  • Thank You Very Much
  • Get a Bit Formal 
  • The Gift of Giving
  • Gratitude

Start with the Basics

Within the Hebrew language, there is very little separation between a family member or your boss when you are saying thank you, unlike many other languages. This can be used whether someone has complimented you or your simply showing gratitude for the aid someone gave you. There isn’t a formal set of rules in place, so the simplest way to show your gratitude is to say toda(תודה). This is pronounced toh-dah, with a strong emphasis on the dah part. You don’t want to emphasize toh, as this creates a strange inflection with the Hebrew language. 

Thank You Very Much

If you are looking to really show your appreciation to someone who has done you a big favor, simply saying todo might not feel like enough. For these occasions, we would say toda raba(תודה רבה), which means thank you very much. Make sure to watch out for your pronunciation. Just like with toda, the emphasis is on the second part of each word, so toh-dah rah-bah. Stress the dah and bah, and you should be fine. Some people use rav todot  (רב תודות) instead of toda raba, but this is rarer. Pronounce it ruv toe-dot, emphasis on the dot. The meanings are pretty much the same regardless, so go with whatever feels good to you in a moment. 

Get a Bit Formal

Although the Hebrew language does not have any specific way to thank someone in a formal way, you can use gender as a way to turn a regular thank you into something a little more polite and formal. Using the sentence ani mode lecha (אני מודה לך), which is pronounced ah-nee moe-deh leh-hhah, with an emphasis on the nee, deh, and hhahh, is a good way for a man to address another. The ladies out there simply have to shift the words a bit. Ani mode lecha becomes ani moda lach (אני מודה לך). Pronunciation goes like this, ah-nee mo-deh lach, the emphasis being on the nee and deh.

The Gift of Giving

One of the most beautiful concepts within the rabbinic traditions is that the best reward for an act of kindness is to have the ability to do another one. Tizkeh lamitzvos is a phrase you can say to someone who has helped you. It translates roughly to may you merit to do mitzvahs, which is a way of complimenting the persons good deed and hoping they have the opportunity to do another. It is pronounced tiz-keh le-mitz-vos, emphasis on the tiz and mitz. 

Gratitude

The world would be much greater if we all decided to say thank you and show our gratitude more often. Many times, we go through entire weeks or months and never realize all the small, helpful little things that people do for us and say to us. With the news telling us daily that the world is coming to an end, social media being used as a tool for complaining about every possible little thing, and everyone around us focused on the negative; it can be hard to notice the small good deeds being committed every single day. It is imperative to create a practice of gratitude in our lives, to really focus on the good things that happen to us, no matter how small, and to simply say thank you to those who have taken the time to be kind to us.

Meta Description: To say thank you in Hebrew can be simple, or it can be something that when turned into a practice of gratitude can change your life and the lives of others. Come explore as we look at a few ways to share the gift of gratitude in the Hebrew language.

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