"Hamayvin yavin" is a marvelous and recursive
ly meaningless Hebrew idiom
, literally "The one who understands will understand". It's often used to end an explanation while it is still cryptic
, or at least before it becomes overbearing
. It can also be used to exclude the clueless
from a converstation
or a lecture
: I don't need to go on, I've been perfectly clear, and besides, hamayvin yavin.
The best use of this phrase ever is in the Biblical commentary of the 11th century Spanish
Biblical exegite Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra
. Ibn Ezra was foremeost a grammar
ian, and his readings of the Bible led him to conclude that its constant variations of language
could be the result of multiple authorship
. However, he didn't dare proclaim this openly, so within his commentary on the Bible, whenever he approached a controversial insight
, he left his point unclear and simply concluded, hamayvin yavin.
In response to TheLady
, I know that the word hamayvin means "the understander" and not "the one who understands," but I think that the phrase is nonetheless recursive, or at least truistic
, insofar as it consists of two words built on the same root. On a tenuously related note, the Hebrew word mayvin is the same as the Yiddish
, meaning an expert.