Passing Phrase - www.learnhebrew.org.il

(ke) Even She'ain La Hofchin

Literally: (Like) a stone that has no other side
Idiomatically: Useless, unwanted as useful as a screen door on a submarine; as useful as a chocolate teapot

“Even,” the word for stone or rock, appears countless times in the Bible. One of its first appearances is in Genesis (28) in the context of Jacob’s using a pile of stones as a pillow. “Hofech” means to turn over (gentle) or to overturn (harsh – like to destroy). And in that second context, we find that Sodom is “overturned” (Genesis 19:21-29). The Talmud uses this phrase (Sanhedrin 14a) describing the tale of Judah ben Baba who decided to ordinate Rabbis despite a Roman ban. He believed that as a man of many years the Romans would just pass him by as if having no worth. Unfortunately, they killed him. The idea behind it is a stone which is discarded by the wayside and no one bothers even to flip it over.

ההליכון היקר מונח בחדר כאבן שאין לה הופכין.

"Hahalichon hayakar munach bacheder ke'even she'ain la hofchin"

My expensive treadmill is sitting useless in the room.

Unless you consider it an expensive clothes rack.

You figure that you’ll surprise your wife and buy her something that "she" really needs in the kitchen: An electric bread maker. Well, it’s a good thing to take the initiative and use the machine from time to time; otherwise it would sit on the shelf “Ka-even she-ein lah hofchin.”

Considering how my bread comes out, the phrase "like a stone" is quite appropriate.

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