English speakers can be tired, exhausted, wiped out or knackered, but sometimes the best way to describe a state of fatigue is to say you feel like all your energy has just poured right out of you. In Hebrew, you would say you feel shafukh (if you're male) or shefukha (if you're female), which literally means "spilled" or "poured."
- Word of the Day / Sof Haderekh
- Word of the Day / Parve
- Word of the Day / Kishta
- Word of the Day / Yetziat Mitzrayim
- Word of the Day / Dai
- Word of the Day / Pascha
- Word of the Day / Mimouna
- Word of the Day / Met
Sometimes this state of being is described, in greater detail, as being "shafukh from tiredness," as with a blogger who alerted her readers that "I'm here, I'm reading, I'm shefukha from tiredness, I'll have a better response later on – lots of food for thought!"
Similarly, a homework-laden student posted on a youth forum: "How am I supposed to do all my homework for tomorrow? I'm shefukha from tiredness and can't concentrate."
Although the connection between pouring and exhaustion is of modern vintage, variants of shafukh are used in a figurative sense in the Bible as well to refer not to a tangible object, like milk, but to the wrath of God.
"As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out (uvehema shefukha), will I be king over you," the Bible says in Ezekiel 20:33.
It is in this sense that the word is used in the Passover Haggadah, though in this case the wrath is geared not toward the people of Israel, as in Ezekiel, but toward other nations. "Shefokh hamatkha," God is urged in the passage in the Haggadah, taken in part from Psalms 79:6-7: "Pour out thy wrath upon the nations that know thee not, and upon the kingdoms that call not upon thy name. For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his habitation."
The passage is thought to have been added to the Haggadah during the Middle Ages, in response to the Crusades and the persecution of Jews around Easter time.
Who knows, maybe there is a connection between feeling "poured out" with exhaustion today and the earlier uses of the word after all – all that spilling of blood and pouring out of wrath sounds pretty tiring to me.
To contact Shoshana Kordova with column suggestions or other word-related comments, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For previous Word of the Day columns, go to: www.haaretz.com/news/features/word-of-the-day.