Tuesday, February 16, 2010


In my last post I mentioned the word "rega" in regards to the bus driver who drove off leaving the baby with the old man on the sidewalk. When I was thinking of how to explain "rega" I ran across this hilarious description of the word and it's usage. Maybe you have to live here to fully appreciate this story but ...I think those who don't will laugh too....... My thanks to Shay P. who wrote it a couple of years ago on Yahoo! Answers.

This was his response to the Question. "In Hebrew, whats the difference between savlanut & rega?"

"One of the first Hebrew words to enter the traveller's vocabulary was savlanut.

It means "patience", but it reflects a lifestyle. Its message was: 'You do things your way in your country, but here, we have our own way of doing things, at our own tempo, in our own time. You are here now, respect what you see before you.

This is a good one explaining REGA !!


You ordered coffee twenty minutes ago.

There is a break in your conversation, and you realize that it just doesn't take that long to make a cup of coffee, and you begin to wonder if perhaps your waiter has forgotten your order.

"I'll go check on things," you tell the other people at the table.

You walk over towards the counter, and see that your waiter is speaking on his cell phone. Normally, this disrespectful lack of customer service would irritate you. But today you are in a good mood, and in no rush, and so you give a friendly smile, to make sure that it is clear you need attention, and begin to wait patiently for your waiter to get off the phone.

You expected that this would happen quickly, imagining that your waiter, feeling embarrassed, would tell the person on the other end of the line, "I have to go, I am at work", and then promptly apologise, and see what he could do to be of service.

Instead he turns his back, and continues his conversation, about something that really doesn't sound urgent. Now you start to get annoyed. This is rude.

"Excuse me!" you say loudly.

And then it happens. Time slows down.

The waiter curls his right hand, so that the tips of each finger are brought together with the tip of his thumb, raises his hand into the air, and with an out stretched arm, shakes the gesture a couple of times, clearly bothered that you have disturbed him.

You my friend have been given the REGA.

What does it mean? Literally, the word "rega" translates into "moment", but a more accurate translation, in this context, is "wait", as in "wait a moment".

Israelis use this hand gesture quite a bit. It isn't always rude, although it is never quite polite. And it can be done with a full range of nuanced meaning and individual style.

The Angry Rega- Thrown up quickly in the face of another, and shook violently.
The Feminine Rega- Done using only the index finger, middle finger, and thumb.
The Apologetic Rega- In which the hand is shaken quickly, as if to say, "Hold on, I will be ready for you in one second."
The F-You Rega- The arm is out right and stiff, and the hand is raised quickly in the air, and then abruptly halted, while the person giving it looks away, in the classic, "talk to the hand" pose.

An Israeli space shuttle is getting ready to launch. A booming deep voice, amplified loudly through the speakers, prepares the large crowd, who are waiting silently filled with anticipation.


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