derech eretz

Alternative Spellings

derekh erets

Definitions

  • Participating in modern society.
  • "Good conduct; normal, polite behavior in a social setting." (JPS). Manners, respect.

Example Sentences

  • "It's important to treat everyone, be he a doctor or a garbageman, with derech eretz."
  • "Hirsch's Torah im Derech Eretz ("Torah with the way of the Land") is a philosophy of Orthodox Judaism which formalizes a relationship between halakhically observant Judaism and the modern world." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_Orthodox_Judaism#Torah_im_Derech_Eretz)

Languages of Origin

Textual Hebrew, Yiddish

Etymology

Heb דרך ארץ dérekh érets 'lit. way of the land; respect', Yiddish דרך־ארץ derkhérets 'respect'

Who Uses This

Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education
Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)

Regions

North America

Dictionaries

The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

Notes

Also, in gemorrah Hebrew: Sexual Relations ("the way of the land").

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