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Hilarious Hebrew Fail

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons; Jun 18, 2012 at 11:00:48 AM

A recent episode of the Showtime series “Episodes” included a scene in a Jewish cemetery. Notice the Hebrew writing on this tombstone:

Tombstone with Hebrew, from the Showtime series “Episodes”

At first glance, the Hebrew words appear to be untranslatable gobbledygook. But a blogger by the name of Shahar Golan noticed that the letters were in reverse order: left to right, instead of Hebrew’s right to left. Reading the words backwards, the first line actually makes sense: Baal v’av ahuv means “beloved husband and father.”

But the second part of the tombstone - Hich’mitz b’yoker – translates into Hebrew as “he was pickled at great expense.” So what’s the story here?

If you go to Google translate, and enter the words “Dearly missed,” you get the faulty computerized translation, Hich’mitz b’yoker. Oops.

Google Translation of Dearly missed

Yet this still doesn’t explain the bizarre left-to-right reversal of all the letters. Another blogger, Elder of Ziyon, came up with this plausible theory: Whoever did the Google translate emailed the Hebrew text to the designer of the fake tombstone, whose computer software flipped the characters left-to-right.

Perhaps this constitutes proof that Jews do not run Hollywood.

Published: June 18, 2012


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Visitor Comments: 2

(2) M Hillson, June 20, 2012 1:19 PM

In Central Park, Too

2 years ago we visited the States and saw a multi-lingual sign in Central Park, with all the Hebrew from left to right.

(1) An Israeli, June 19, 2012 8:13 PM

Actually it's not so "faulty"

Hichmitz does not only mean pickled or soured, it does also actually mean missed, as in, missed the opportunity. Hichmitz beyoker means missed (an opportunity) at a great price. But the translation taken out of context made for a really funny tombstone inscription. ;-)

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