Al Ha’panim

Jewish culture often expects one to state that the situation is worse than it actually is, in order to not brag about one’s good fortune, thus inviting bad luck. There are numerous ways to express how terrible things are going, and one of the most common is Al Ha’panim – literally “on the face.” In other words, things are so bad, that you have just fallen face down in the mud.

Examples:

  • How are you feeling?
    Al Ha’panim.
  • How’s the football game going?
    Al Ha’panim.
  • Do you want to go to the movies with me?
    No thanks. I feel Al Ha’panim.
  • They didn’t accept our offer on the house.
    Al Ha’panim. What are we going to do now?

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