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What Does Mazel Tov Mean?

Although it means “good luck,” it is more commonly used to convey congratulations or well wishes in retrospect (for example, at a wedding or after a purchase), rather than in the prospective manner in which the phrase “good luck” is more commonly used.

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What Language Is “Mazel Tov” Originally From? Hebrew or Yiddish?

Even though mazel tov can be translated literally as “good fortune” or “good luck,” the phrase does not have the same connotations in Yiddish as “good luck.” Mazel tov is a recognition that something good has already occurred; it is much more similar to “congratulations” along with “thank goodness.”

While “good luck” expresses a wish that something will turn out well, mazel tov is a recognition that something good has already occurred.

The Hebrew origins of the Yiddish greeting “mazel tov” can be traced back to words that mean “a constellation of good stars and destiny.”

“Don’t say ‘mazel tov!’ to a man going into the hospital; say ‘mazel tov!’ when he comes out,” Leo Rosten wrote in his classic work The Joys of Yiddish.

Do not yell “mazel tov!” as a boxer enters the ring because this would imply that you are praising him for having made it to the arena. Likewise, do not say this to a young woman as she is about to have her nose bobbed because this would mean “and about time, too!”

Although the spelling of this transliteration had not yet been standardized when it first appeared in an English publication in the late fifteenth century, the phrase “mazel tov” was used to celebrate a joyous occasion.

This Yiddish phrase, along with others like it, was adopted into American English during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe established homes throughout the United States. For instance, the Industrial Removal Office was established in 1901 as a branch of the Jewish Agricultural Society.

Its purpose was to assist in the process of relocating people from the Lower East Side of New York City to other communities across the United States. The expression “mazel tov” became more common in English publications in the early 1900s, which may have been caused by this phenomenon.

What Is The Proper Way To Reply When Someone Wishes You Mazel Tov?

  • Simply saying “thank you” in any language you feel most comfortable using is sufficient.
  • Todah is the Hebrew word for “thanks” or “thank you.” To dah is how it is pronounced.
  • Todah rabah is “many gratitude.” Pronounced: toh dah roh bah.

You should be able to get it if you just let the words flow easily off your lips.

Thank you is the proper way to respond to ANY act of kindness, physical or spiritual. “I”YH by you b’shaa tova u’mutzlachas” is an excellent choice for a bracha associated with a celebration. In addition, if someone says “I”YH by you to you, respond with “thank you” and “amein.”

When someone thoughtfully “metchems” a group of females at a chasunah, it causes far too many of the young women to become agitated. They hate the bracha since they may not be in a relationship at that time, and this is a terrible mindset and attitude to express towards someone who meant well.

Is It Okay To Say Mazel Tov?

Have you ever encountered a situation in which someone greeted you with Jewish customs but you were unsure what they meant or how you should react?

Jewish greetings can be used for many different events, such as happy and sad life events, Jewish holidays, and other times. Shalom is the Hebrew word that translates to “hello,” “goodbye,” and “peace.” It is the Jewish greeting that is used the most frequently. 

During Jewish lifecycle events and Jewish festivals, a wide variety of Jewish greetings are exchanged. In case you came across a Hebrew or Yiddish term and were left wondering what it meant, we have included a list of some of the most prominent Jewish words along with their translations.

When someone tells you they’re pregnant, you shouldn’t congratulate them by saying “mazel tov.” They have not yet given birth to the child. Instead of that, you should say “b’sha’ah tovah,” which translates to “in a good hour” and means something along the lines of “I hope this turns out perfectly.”

Say instead, “I’m so happy for you,” if you’re worried that saying that will make you feel awkward. 

At a Jewish naming ceremony, the most acceptable greeting is “Mazal Tov,” which means “congratulations.” Although, it is traditional to exclaim Baruch Ha’ba or Baruch Haba’ah as the baby is brought into the room for the bris or naming ceremony.

How Do You Say “Mazel Tov”?

Mazel tov

[Pronounced mah-zel tohv]

Congratulations are the only appropriate meaning for this expression, even though its literal meaning is “good luck” or “a good sign.” It is something to say to people who are getting married (or celebrating an anniversary), the parents of children who are becoming bar or bat mitzvah, and people who have just become parents (but not to be said to expecting parents).

It is also a nice thing to say to someone on their birthday, when they get a new job, or when they get a new car.

It is customary in the Jewish subculture to offer congratulations to the parents, siblings, and friends of people who are getting married, having a baby, or watching a relative become a bar or bat mitzvah. This is something that sets the Jewish subculture apart from the dominant culture in some small but significant ways.

If someone wishes you “Congratulations!” when you mention that you will be attending a friend’s wedding, rather than responding, “It’s not my wedding, you goofball,” you should simply say, “Thank you.”

In a Jewish delicatessen, you might also hear a wise guy yell “Mazel tov” in response to someone dropping dishes. This is because it is traditional at Jewish weddings to break a glass, and sometimes a plate as well.

Can You Say “Mazel Tov” As A Non-Jewish Person?

Mazel Tov is a Yiddish term used by the Jewish people to offer compliments, especially in a big event like a Jewish wedding or Bar Mitzvah. You may have heard a Jewish person using the word “Mazel Tov,” and you decide to use it to tell people congratulations.

However, there are doubts regarding whether a non-Jewish person can utter “Mazel Tov” or any other Jewish term. I have studied and found some relevant facts on using the Yiddish language by the non-Jewish people.

So, can you say “Mazel Tov” as a non-Jewish person? Whether a non-Jewish individual can say ‘Mazel Tov’ seems to be disputed among the Jewish people. Most Jewish say it is not okay to say “Mazel Tov” if you are not a Jewish person, while some do not see any problem with a non-Jewish person saying “Mazel Tov.”

The general rule is that, if it feels uncomfortable for you to say “Mazel Tov,” then you should probably trust your instinct and not say it.

Importance Of The Yiddish Language

A lot of Jewish people see the Yiddish language as a crucial part of their past. The Yiddish language was formerly among the prominent languages in Europe until the tragic events that witnessed the killing of millions of Jewish people, with most of them being Yiddish speakers.

Hence, non-Jewish people uttering “Mazel Tov” at any time they feel without knowing how crucial the Yiddish language is to the Jewish people comes off as insulting.


Knowing the meaning of “mazel tov” or other greetings in every situation that arises is important for us to be aware that not everyone shares the same emotions. One of the most essential things that you can do is ensure that the feelings of other people are respected.

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