Passing Phrase -

Targil Masriach

Literally: A filthy maneuver
Idiomatically: Dirty dealings

This phrase won Israeli acclaim as the phrase of the year back in 1988 when the Labor Party made a deal with the Shas Party in trying to topple the Shamir government. The word comes from "sarach" - to stink or be spoiled (Avodah Zarah 8A). Someone who had bad breath would be called "Masriach MeiHapeh" (Yerushalmi Eruvin 2:4). "Targil" is usually used to mean an exercise (either in sports, education, or the military). Although thoroughly modern in usage, it does have its Biblical roots (Hoshea 11:3). To run a "targil masriach" is to do something so odious that we are surprised that even politicians would consider it. A common saying puts it best: "Hadag Masriach MeHarosh" - the fish stinks from the head.

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