Proverb: Hebrew proverb

Note: The informant is from Jerusalem

Hebrew Proverb


Note: Hebrew is written from right to left

Transliteration: Hatzava Tzoed Al Keyvato

Translation: The army marches on its stomach

My informant doesn’t remember where exactly he heard the proverb but he does mention that the military is a prominent part of daily life in Israel so military sayings are common. According to my informant the proverb basically means that ideas can’t sustain themselves until they become real. According him ideas need “food”, they need to link themselves to material before they become important. An example he uses to explain this is Leonardo da Vinci and his models of machines; perpetual motion machine, manufacturing machines, etc. According my informant these machines were revolutionary in hindsight but not important at the time because they served no practical purpose at the time. Those concepts became useful later when fossil fuel and independent workers became commonplace. As opposed to the Renaissance which had other energy sources and serfs.  According to him the proverb isn’t very important to him, he just knows it.

I looked up this proverb and apparently its a quote from Napoleon Bonaparte. Makes sense considering how military-centric Israel is. Although the informant stated that this proverb isn’t very important to him he still it connected to his profession. The da Vinci analogy is not directly connected to the proverb it is just something he used to explain it better. He says that the proverb is a military proverb but he applies it to the nature of scientific progress, which he is teaching a class on. It’s the same proverb but the informant took it out of its “original” context and gave it a different meaning.