The day is over. The night has come. Today is gone. What is done is done. Embrace your dreams, through the night; tomorrow comes with a whole new light. Tissbah a3la kheir, another beautiful Arabic/Lebanese words of parting, encapsulates the beauty of the language on a social level.
As the sky gets dark and one is about to leave a few words to wish the other a goodnight are essential. Wishing one a goodnight is an indicator that this person matters to you, that their general well being and happiness is of concern to you. it seals the meeting with a wish of well being.
As all languages wish one a simple “goodnight” or “bonne nuit,” which mean exactly what the words define, tissbah a3la kheir has layers of undertones in between its words.
Tissbah comes from the verb assbah, meaning to wake up/to get up. Tissbah, on the hand, has a minor nuance to it where it actually means “may you wake up/greet the morning.” It expresses a wish or a hope (an optative construction).
Kheir is another one of those words that can have multiple meanings with many connotations. Kheir refers to goodness, abundance, ease, and a state of having all things. What a combination of beautiful expressive words!
The response to this would be wo inta bi kheir, meaning “and may you be well/good too” or wo inta min ahlo, which is my favorite, meaning “and you are from its family (the family of goodness and ease).
As we are about to part with those we love and head home to another night of unwinding after a long day, this time to reflect on the past and plan for tomorrow, surely these kind words of blessing would uplift the soul and create a feeling of unworldly lightness:
“May you greet the day with goodness, abundance, and good will… good night.”
“And you come from that family of good will and love, good night to you too.”
2 thoughts on “It’s Time to Say Good Night”
Hello Karen – I just want to congratulate you on the work that you do here. People like you DO make a difference for Lebanon. Keep up the good work; all the best to you and your family.
– Max Kuri
Dear Karen I am working for unesco and would like to use some of your photos of the sarcophagus of ahirm in a school lesson plan we shall be giving away for free via the unesco website. Could you give me copyright permission please? yours sincerely Martin Porter