Alternative Spellings

halivai, alevay, halevay, halvay, halavai, alevai


  • If only
  • "Would that it be so" (Steinmetz, Yiddish and English)
  • I wish!

Example Sentences

  • "In a few years we'll celebrate at your son's bris." "Halevai!"
  • "Halevai it snowed and I wouldn't have to go to English today." (Weiser)
  • "You're making it sound like just seeing tzitzit automatically makes someone think about the mitzvot. Halevai!" (http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol12/v12n048.shtml)

Languages of Origin

Aramaic, Yiddish, Modern Hebrew



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)


North America


The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).
Yiddish and English: A Century of Yiddish in America, by Sol Steinmetz (Tuscaloosa, 1986).
The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
Frumspeak: The First Dictionary of Yeshivish, by Chaim Weiser (Northvale, 1995).
Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).
JPS: The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001)

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