This summer, I will have been living in Israel for 21 years. Add to that the year I spent in Israel after high school, and that makes 22 years of living in Israel.
I am 44. As of next year, I will have spent more of my life in Israel, than in the US.
This year, at Shavua HaSefer (book week), because of another purchase we made, we had the opportunity to purchase the Even-Shoshan Dictionary at an incredible price. Due to the internet, there is less of a need for reference books. Still, living in Israel and possessing only English-Hebrew dictionaries felt... wrong.
How could I be living here for over 20 years and not own a proper Hebrew dictionary?
The Even-Shoshan Dictionary is THE dictionary to get. It contains far more than mere definitions of words. It contains definitions of phrases and references to where particular words or phrases appear in Tanach and Israeli literature. It is SO DAMN COOL!!
And I got one!
I have wanted one for years, but they were so expensive. The set usually costs over 700 NIS. Recently it sold, on sale, for around 420 NIS. I got it for 250 NIS!!
In my mind, owning an Even-Shoshan Dictionary is quintessentially Israeli.
I felt so proud, like I had finally crossed the line from being a new immigrant to being Israeli.
I do not own an Oxford dictionary, but I own the Even-Shoshan Dictionary.
As often happens, as soon as I made the purchase, I started having doubts. What if my kids, for whom I really got it, never use it? What if I got a good deal, but still wasted the money? What if it just sits on my shelf, gathering dust?
Well, today, I used it, myself, a lot!
It is a bit of a long story (i.e. the topic for another post), but I proofread the text for Tefillat HaDerech and discovered that it was very important to me that the text be grammatically correct, down to every dagesh and every comma.
I got totally into the details.
I pulled out the dictionary.
Wow. Just wow.
Not only could I ensure grammatical accuracy, I caught several textual references that I otherwise would not have known.
This is the coolest dictionary. I had so much fun looking up the exact spelling of particular words, that you might think I am normally this pedantic about grammar. I am not.
But if I am putting something in print, I want it to be right.
I bought the dictionary less than a month ago, and I used it already.
I am so happy we got it.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,
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