Passing Phrase - www.learnhebrew.org.il

Seenai VeOker Harim

Literally: Sinai and an uprooter of mountains
Idiomatically: Really sharp

This slightly exaggerated compliment is cute. It is taken from the Talmud (Berachot 64a), though there it is referring to two separate people: Rabbi Yosef (Sinai) who has the breadth of knowledge, and Rabbah who was very sharp (in "pilpul," or in-depth learning). This phrase is based on the idea of "Sinai" being the mountain where the Torah was given so it is a symbol of Jewish knowledge. "Oker harim" refers poetically to someone who, with his sharp intellect, can move or lift mountains. In any case, the closest I get to Sinai is the border, and the only mountains I can lift are mountains of junk mail.

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