The Wish of Health

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The literal meanings of common phrases of courtesy in Arabic are so much more elaborate than the rest of the world. They are beautifully rhymed and phrased short little sentences that reflect so much about our culture. Respect and proper greetings are pillars in our social fiber. We smile, say hello, and ask about the other’s person’s day all in a cordial manner. Yet the most beautiful of expressions, I find, is “ya’tik el a’fye, a shortened version of Allah ya’tik el a’fye (may God give you health and vigor). Most people translate a’fye as only health, but I believe it has more depth to it. Soha in Arabic means health, and a’fye means health and vitality, vigor, strength, or energy.

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