It’s way too early to be thinking about fall, but there you go – that’s what I’m thinking about. I accidentally put on my “Elul Hebrew Songs” playlist before Shabbos and ended up listening to a whole bunch of pre-Rosh Hashanah songs and getting into THAT kind of mood.
And with all these songs comes a word that comes up all the time in the fall in Israel that I had never really even thought about before… שַׁלֶּכֶת/ shalechet.
Morfix translates the word as “fall (of autumn leaves) ; (botany) exfoliation.” Google, as “autumn, fall, or effoliation.” But you’ll have to take my word for it – nobody says this in English the way Israelis do here, with its many heaped-on layers of meaning.
This is a lovely word that is a haiku unto itself. It means, vaguely, “fallen leaves on sidewalks.” But it also refers to the crunchiness of the leaves and the mood of the leaves and the ending-and-transitioning that is fall and even, kind of, winter in Israel, which isn’t really a season but more a dampness that descends for a while and then lifts.
It’s certainly not just “falling leaves” – because when people want to talk about falling leaves, they say עלי שלכת/alei shalechet, which would be redundant if shalechet was all about leaves.