g'mar chatima tova

Alternative Spellings

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

Definitions

  • "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

Dictionaries

The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001)

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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