g'mar chatima tova

Pronunciations

g'mar chatima tova (ge-MAR chah-tee-MAH tow-VAH)

Definitions

  • interj. "A customary greeting among Jews on Yom Kippur [and the period between Yom Kippur and Rosh haShanah]" (JPS). lit. "a good end of [the process of] sealing [in the Book of Life]".

Example Sentences

  • "I hope this is a good year for you, g'mar chatimah tova." (This was at the end of an e-mail from a Reform Rabbinic student.)

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew

Etymology

  • גמר חתימה טובה: gmar 'finish', chatima 'sealing', tova 'good'

    • 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
      • Great Britain
      • South Africa
      • Australia / New Zealand

      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).

      Alternative Spellings

      gmar chatima tovah, gmar chatimah tova, gmar chatimah tovah, g'mar chatimah tovah, gmar chatima tova, gemar hatima tova, g'mar chasima tovah

Notes

  • Stems from the traditional idea that on Rosh Hashanah God judges individuals, but that judgment is "sealed" on Yom Kippur and "sent out" on Hoshana Rabba (the seventh day of Sukkot). One sometimes hears this shortened to "g'mar tov" or "gmar tov" (גמר טוב).

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