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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Idit here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Hebrew questions.
The question for this lesson is…
What is the meaning of the word דווקא (dav’ka)?
The word דווקא (dav’ka) has no equivalent in English, so it can be quite confusing for people who try to look it up in the dictionary. However, it’s similar to the English word “spite” and can be used in a variety of ways in Hebrew.
Like many other words in modern Hebrew, the word דווקא (dav’ka) came from the Aramaic language. In Aramaic, it means, "precision” or “meticulousness." In modern Hebrew, it has a few different meanings, depending on the context of the sentence. However, its meanings are always related to the original definition in some way. It can mean "precisely," but mostly in an ironic or sarcastic kind of way. For exampleー
"Don't go there, that place is always crowded."
"That is precisely why I want to go!”
דווקא בגלל זה אני רוצה ללכת!
(dav’ka biglal ze ani rotze lalekhet!)
You can also use דווקא (davka) to mean "out of spite." This shows that I am doing this action in order to make someone else angry or upset. For example,
"I loved that vase, why did you break it?!" - דווקא (davka)!" (out of spite).
Another common expression in Hebrew is לעשות דווקא (la’asot dav’ka), which means to act out of spite in a childish way:
ההורים שלי רצו שאלמד רפואה, אז הלכתי ללמוד אמנות כדי "לעשות להם דווקא".
(ha’horim sheli ratzu she’elmad refu’a, az halakh’ti lilmod omanot kedei la’asot la’hem dav’ka).
“My parents wanted me to study medicine, so I studied art to לעשות דווקא (la’asot davka), ‘do davka.’ or ‘spite them.’”
How was this lesson? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!