Reading a Clock In Hebrew

Updated: Jun 15




Imagine you walk in the streets of Tel-Aviv, got to know what time it is in order to make it to the Falafel stand you heard so much about, you stop random people asking "What time is it? (Ma hasha'a? ?מָה השָׁעַה) and they all answer to you in Hebrew!!

No worries, after reading this blog post, you will be able to understand the answers and make it to eat Falafel just on time! :)

Before We Start

First, you need to know how to count to 12 in Hebrew:

1 - (achat) אַחַת

2 - (shtayim) שְׁתַּיִם

3 - (shalosh) שָׁלֹשׁ

4 - (arba) אַרְבַּע

5 - (chamesh) חָמֵשׁ

6 - (shesh) שֵׁשׁ

7 - (sheva') שֶׁבַע

8 - (shmone) שְׁמוֹנֶה

9 - (tesha') תֵּשַׁע

10 - ('eser) עֶשֶׂר

11 - (achat-'esre) אֲחַת-עֶשְׂרֵה

12 - (shteyim-'esre) שְׁתֵּים-עֶשְׂרֵה

Terminology:

Hour - Sha'a שָׁעַה

Hours - Sha'ot שָׁעוֹת

Minute - Daka דָקַה

Minutes - Dakot דָקוֹת

Now, let's watch some watches.

The Techniques

The Time - X:05

X va chamisha

וחֲמִשָּׁה X

The Time - X:10

X va asara

ועֲשָׂרָה X

The Time - X:15

X va reva

ורֵבַע X

(Reva רֵבַע, means quarter)

The Time - X:20

X ve esrim

ועֶשְׂרִים X

The Time - X:25

X esrim ve chamisha

עֶשְׂרִים וחֲמִשָּׁה X

The Time - X:30

X va chezi

וַחֵצִי X

(chezi חֵצִי, means half)

From this point on, there are 2 ways to read the time, both are correct and both being used in Israel equally:

The Time - X:35

esrim ve chamisha le (X+1)

(X+1)עֶשְׂרִים וחֲמִשָּׁה ל

OR

X shloshim ve chamisha

שׁלוֹשִׁים וחֲמִשָּׁה X

The Time - X:40

חֵצִיesrim le (X+1)

(X+1)עֶשְׂרִים ל

OR

X arba'im

אָרְבַּעִים X

The Time - X:45

reva le (X+1)

(X+1)רֵבַע ל

OR

X arba'im ve chamisha

אָרְבַּעִים וחֲמִשָּׁה X

The Time - X:50

asara le (X+1)

(X+1)עֲשָׂרָה ל

OR

X chamishim

חֲמִשִּׁים X

The Time - X:55

chamisha le (X+1)

(X+1)חֲמִשָּׁה ל

OR

X chamishim ve chamisha

חֲמִשִּׁים וחֲמִשָּׁה X

The Time - X:00

Just say the number in Hebrew :)

and that's it, now to some examples

Examples

6:30

Shesh va chezi

שֵׁשׁ וַחֵצִי

4:50

asara le chamesh

עֲשָׂרָה לחָמֵשׁ

OR

arba chamishim

אַרְבַּע חֲמִשִּׁים

9:20

tesha ve esrim

תֵּשַׁע ועֶשְׂרִים

Examples Out of Scenarios

By now you are probably wondering what happens if the long hand of the clock isn't exactly on a number?

Just like English, we will say:

X and Y minutes

X ve Y dakot (דָקוֹת)

For example:

3:08

shalosh ve shmone dakot

שָׁלֹשׁ ושְׁמוֹנֶה דָקוֹת

7:47

sheva ve arba'im ve sheva dakot

שֶׁבַע ואָרְבַּעִים ושֶׁבַע דָקוֹת



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