Word of the Day / Ad Hasof: Testing the Limits and Breaking Through

The Hebrew term for going all the way can have either an innocuous or a naughty connotation - just ask Foreign Minister Lieberman.


Like many little girls around the world, my oldest daughter is pretty obsessed with Disney’s “Frozen.” She has seen it innumerable times in English, but recently became interested in hearing the Hebrew songs as well, which is how I discovered that the Hebrew version of “Let It Go” has Elsa singing “Let loose, let go / And lalekhet ad hasof” in place of “Let it go, let it go / Turn away and slam the door.”

Lalekhet ad hasof, literally “to go [lalekhet] to the end [ad hasof],” essentially means “to go all the way.” In the context of the Disney hit, Elsa is going all the way when she closes the door on her emotionally stinted past and celebrates her liberation by forming ice castles with her fingertips.

The idiom has also been used as a way of referring to stripping down to bare essentials. “Lalekhet Ad Hasof” is the Hebrew title of the 1997 British movie “The Full Monty,” in which six jobless men form a male striptease act and announce they will go the full monty – the whole nine yards, which in this case means total nudity – to raise the money they need.

The phrase ad hasof has also found its way into the title of another movie, last year’s martial arts film “Man of Tai Chi,” Keanu Reeve’s directorial debut that in Hebrew was called “Krav Ad Hasof” (literally “Battle to the End”), meaning something like “Ultimate Combat.”

Sometimes the phrase is used to refer to actual combat, as with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s comment last month that what Israel really needed to do was “to go all the way – lalekhet ad hasof – to destroy the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip.”

Then again, perhaps Lieberman has been misunderstood all along. Maybe he just wanted the boys in green to go the full monty and, possibly, form ice castles with their fingertips.

To contact Shoshana Kordova with column suggestions or other word-related comments, email her at shoshanakordova@gmail.com. For previous Word of the Day columns, click here