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 "I want" and "I need" in Hebrew

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"I want" and "I need" in Hebrew

Probably, you will get some more of Hebrew talking experience when you want or need something. Most oftenly it happens when you want or need to order: menu at the restaurant, taxi, pizza... Even if you don't know the exact word for what you want, you sometimes just can tell I want/need "this" -- and point on the object of your interest. Actually, if you look at young children learning their first language, those words are usually the ones the children start using, and they are the key for your communication success.

And just in case: no, the sentences here (and in all other lessons) are NOT just taken from some stupid tourist guide. :)

I want

Ani rotzeh (m)

Ani rotzah (f)

אֲנִי רוֹצֶה

אני רוֹצָה

I want to (make a) call

ani rotzeh / rotzah lehitkasher

אני רוצה לְהִתְקַשֵּׁר

I want this

ani rotzeh / rotzah et zeh

אני רוצה אֶת זֶה

But all this "I want to" sounds a bit childish. It would be sufficient in the restaurant, probably, but it's quite not enough when you need to ask for driving directions, for example.

Here are some other useful words (and remember to read the remarks after this table):

I need

Ani tzarikh(m)

Ani tzrikhah (f)

אני צָרִיך

אני צְרִיכָה

I need to (make a) call...

ani tzareekh lehitkasher


ani tzreekhah lehitkasher

אני צריך להתקשר

אני צריכה להתקשר

... to the States.



in writing:       לארה"ב

I need to leave.
(literally: to go)

ani tzarikh lalekhet

ani tzrikhah lalekhet

אני צָרִיך לָלֶכֶת

אני צריכה לָלֶכֶת

I have to go.

ani khayav lalekhet

ani khayevet lalekhet

אני חַיָּב ללכת

אני חַיֶּבֶת ללכת

I need to take off.
(literally: to leave)

ani tzarikh la`azov

ani tzrikha la`azov

אני צריך לַעֲזוֹב

אני צריכה לעזוב

I have to take off.
(literally: to leave)

ani khayav la`azov

ani khayevet la`azov

אני חייב לעזוב

אני חייבת לעזוב

I need to get to ....

ani tzarikh lehagia` le-...


אני צריך לְהַגִּיעַ ל...

I need to go (to drive) to ...

ani tzarikh linsoa` le-...

אני צָרִיך לִנְסוֹעַ ל...

I need to buy ...

ani tzarikh liknot ...

ani tzarikh liknot ...

אני צריך לִקְנוֹת ...

אני צריכה לקנות ...


(To make it shorter, we omit feminine form of the modal verb in some phrases.)

One of the goals of showing you all the variants of saying "I have to" was introducing the most useful verbs in Hebrew. Israelis might use them interchangeably, without thinking whether their opponent (you) can really understand it. Nobody (except of your relatives, of course) is going to simplify their speecj for you. Therefore, it worth learning both צריך and חייב.

Remember the way the word חייב is written: while writing without diacritic marks, the Yud is doubled.

United States in Hebrew: אַרְצוֹת-הַבְּרִית. Full name: United States of America: אַרְצוֹת הַבְּרִית שֶׁל אָמֵרִיקָה (Artzot ha-Brit shel America.) Note the word Brit, which you probably know from the Brit (Brit-Milah, Brith, Bris.) The literal meaning is Union (in case of the Jewish circumcision ceremony it's the Union of the God with Father Abraham); and Artzot ha-Brit literally means "Lands of Union", i.e., United States.
However, same way as in English you'd use the abbreviation U.S., in Hebrew there is slightly longer abbreviation: ארה"ב. Unlike many other abbreviations it doesn't have it's own readin, and the full name is pronounced: ארה"ב - Artzot ha-Brit.

Now, let's learn some destinations and objects, so we can build some useful phrases with all those "I need to..."

to order

lehazmeen לְהַזְמִין

to take a taxi / a cab

(see remarks)

lakakhat monit / sherut

לָקַחַת מוֹנִית / שֵירוּת*












matanah (single)

matanot (plural)



mall / shopping center


(some people pronounce
it like "canyon" in English)



(to go) shopping

la`asot kniyot לַעֲשׂוֹת קְנִיּוֹת

train station

takhanat rakevet

תַחֲנַת רַכֶּבֶת

Nemal - te`ufah


bus stop

takhanat otobus

תַחֲנַת אוֹטוֹבּוּס

central (bus) station
takhanah merkazit תַחֲנָה מֶרְכָּזִית

Note the word שֵׁירוּת and it's plural שֵׁירוּתִים. The word literally means "service", and it's applied accordingly, e.g. military service is שֵׁירוּת צְבָאִי. Now, the taxis moving on the bus' routes are called "service" (שֵׁירוּת) to distinguish it from the taxi (מוֹנִית) you call with your special order; at least, this is the way it was called in Haifa back in 90s. :) Well, if שֵׁירוּת means "service", then שֵׁירוּתִים is "services", and that's how Israelis refer the restroom.

Regarding the taxis: if you're a tourist, you're probably going to take taxi; but if you're a student or a soldier, you'll probably try to save money using buses and "service" cabs on your way home.

Some remarks regardin the words we've just seen (and just another opportunity for you to look on the words.)

The word מרכז - "center" has been borrowed from Arabic, although few people today might now that.

The word תעופה means "aviation", and it oftenly appears in "combinational" words:

נְמַל-תְעוּפָה - airport (literally: "aviation port")

שְׂדֵה-תְעוּפָה - also used for airport, but it rather means the landing field (literally "aviation field")

כְּלִי-תְעוּפָה - aircraft (literally: "aviation device")

The word מַתָּנָה was probably familiar to your Jewish grandma: in Yiddish it sounded Matoneh (pl. Matones.)


Now, can you build a phrase "I need to get to the airport"?

How about "I need to buy gifts" or "I want to go shopping"?

I bet, you can do it now. And you also can read some of it even without the "nekudot".

Good luck!

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