Passing Phrase - www.learnhebrew.org.il

Chotemet Gumi

Literally and Idiomatically: Rubber stamp

This modern phrase is taken directly from the English usage. It refers to the practice of employees (or secretaries) to simply "rubber stamp" their bosses' signature to a document without really looking it over. Today it is used to denote a person or institution who may officially (but not in reality) have power. The word "chatima" is a stamp or signature (Ketuvot 21b) and is used in the well-known phrase "Gmar chatima tova" referring to a good sealing or ending before Yom Kippur. "Gumi" or rubber may have been taken from the Latin "gummi" or Greek "kommi." Sometimes in the workplace, we ask: "Haim vaad haovdim rak mehava chotemet gumi lehanhalah?" - Is the workers committee just a rubber stamp for the administration? Unfortunately the answer isn't something we always want to hear....

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