Word of the Day Shadkhan

The guy and gal next door may be perfect for each other and so too are the pages of your brilliant writing. But both need a strong bond to stay together and Hebrew has the answer.

Shoshana Kordova
Shoshana Kordova
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Shoshana Kordova
Shoshana Kordova

Perhaps you’ve never thought of two pieces of paper carelessly stapled together as being wedded to each other. And you probably don't consider the innocent-seeming staple remover as the Other Woman, bent on destroying marital harmony by rending a bond asunder.

Yet in Hebrew, a shadkhan is both a matchmaker and one of the words for stapler (you can also call it a “mehadek,” which means something along the lines of “bringing closer” and is also, confusingly, one of the words for “paper clip”). To avoid ambiguity, the kind of shadkhan sold at Staples is sometimes called a “shadkhan misradi” (“office stapler”) or “shadkhan sikot,” which literally means a “staples stapler.”

I have to wonder if anyone has accidentally given some single colleague the number of the local yenta who spends her days making a match (“shiddukh”) and having that coworker actually score a catch when all she really wanted was to keep the pages of her document from ending up on opposite ends of the desk.

Cue French artist Baptiste Debombourg, who has chosen the rather unusual medium of, yes, staples (hundreds of thousands of them), to create detailed images, like that of Jesus on the cross, inspired by classic paintings. As one Hebrew website put it, Debombourg has, by fulfilling his artistic destiny through the lowly staple, found his shiddukh.

Need a strong connection? Whether for your essay or to find a romantic partner, the word's the same in Hebrew.Credit: Evan Amos

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