halevai (hah-leh-VYE) listen


  • interj. If only; I wish.

  • v. I wish, I hope.

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!" (source)

  • “Next year could be better, halevay.” (NJY)

  • “He has a chance of getting into Harvard. Halevay!” (NJY)

  • “Sick? He’s dying, the poor man—halevay [I hope] I am wrong.” (NJY)

  • “They warned me a hundred times. I should have listened. Halevay.” (NJY)

Languages of Origin

  • Aramaic
  • Modern Hebrew
  • Yiddish


  • MH הלוואי halevay, Y הלװאַי (h)alevay

    • Who Uses This

      • Israel: Diaspora Jews who feel connected to Israel and have spent time there
      • Older: Jews who are middle-aged and older
      • Ashkenazim: Jews with Ashkenazi heritage


      • North America
      • Great Britain
      • South Africa


      • 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 JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
      • 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).

      Alternative Spellings

      halivai, alevay, halevay, halvay, halavai, alevai

Edit     Something missing from this entry? Inaccurate? Feel free to suggest an edit.