Passing Phrase - www.learnhebrew.org.il

Lama? Kova!

Literally: Why? Hat!
Idiomatically: A nonsensical answer to a redundant or silly question

Those of us who have raised kids in Israel are familiar with seemingly nonsensical and exasperating retort to the question "Lama?" (why?) Ė "Kova" )hat( usually accompanied by a shoulder shrug. But few of us understand the meaning of the phrase. One explanation is that it is short for "Lama kova af lagova" - Why did the hat fly up high. Another possibility concerns a bawdy song sung by Israeli soldiers in the 1950ís. When they came to parts which could not be recited in polite company, as in "Lama xxxx xxxx - Kova," they just deleted the middle and were left with "Lama? Kova." Now after all of that, I still donít understand it.

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