Word of the Day Konseptsia קונספציה

A word with the same Latin roots as the English 'conception' is used in Hebrew to describe ideas of a more bull-headed nature.

Gilad Halpern
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Gilad Halpern

Quite often, words borrowed into Hebrew from a foreign language end up getting a totally different meaning. Such is konseptsia (kohn-SEP-tsia), from the same Latin root as the English word "conception," which has nothing to do with the act of conceiving, be it babies or ideas. In Hebrew, rather, it means idée fixe, or an inexorable ideal. When a person is said to hold many konseptsiot, he has a reputation for being stubborn and dogmatic.

But in Israel, when you talk about the konseptsia (ha-konseptsia), it means only one thing, not at all immaculate: the wall-to-wall confidence among Israel's political and military leadership, prior to the 1973 Yom Kippur War, that Egypt and Syria wouldn't dare attack after the blow their armies had been delivered in the 1967 Six-Day War.

That konseptsia, as konseptsiot often do, proved to be wholly unfounded. And indeed, the Agranat Commission, which was appointed in the wake of the most onerous war in this country's history, blamed the konseptsia for blinding Israel's decision-makers to all the signs that indicated the contrary.

Shoshana Kordova will resume enlightening and entertaining Word of the Day readers on October 9.

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