“Guaranteed returns for yield-bearing property abroad?!” reads the title of a post on an Israeli real estate blog. Sound too good to be true? Read on: “Avdu alekha” -- they fooled you, they tricked you, they pulled one over on you.
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The full phrase is “avdu alav ba’eynayim,” which literally translates into something like “they worked him over in the eyes,” but actually means pulling the wool over someone’s eyes.
“Avdu alekha,” or “alayikh,” if the person being fooled is female, can refer to a situation in which the person doing the fooling seeks to deceive for the sake of benefiting from the person’s ignorance, as in the real estate example, or just a simple prank that ends with the confession “avadeti alekha,” in the sense of “gotcha!”
In a blog post entitled “The era of stupidity,” someone writing under the name Israelev Ben Yehuda ranted in staccato style about how society has fooled us into a life of empty consumerism and pleasure-seeking.
“iPhone. Shopping. Girls. Guys. iPhone. Shopping. Bar. Beer. TV. iPhone. Sex,” he writes. “Wake up. Open your eyes. … Now you discover a different reality. A genuine reality. A painful reality. You’ve discovered that avdu alekha. Avdu alekha ba’eynayim. They tricked you. They lied to you.”
Which just goes to show that it’s not always clear whether people have indeed been had, or if that’s not really wool after all and all they need is a haircut.