It turns out that thanksgiving (or giving thanks) is very Jewish. In fact, the very term Jew (Yehudi) is directly linked to the Hebrew word hoda’ah, which means “thanks.” Here are seven classic Jewish ways to express your gratitude:

1. Todah Rabah

The word Toda written on a neon sign with green lights.

In modern Hebrew, the most common way to say “thank you” is todah rabah, “great thanks,” which can be shortened to just todah. To add emphasis, add another rabah (or two or three) at the end to show how great your thanks is!

Pronounce it: toe-DAH rah-BAH

2. A Dank

The word Dank formed with letters of different colors.

“Thanks” in Yiddish is a dank. You can spice this one up by putting an adjective before the dank. A sheinem dank (“a nice thanks”) and a groisen dank (“a big thanks”) both work well.

Pronounce it: Ah DANK

3. Yasher Koach

This has roots in the rabbinic Hebrew expression yishar kochacha, which is often translated as “more power to you” (but more literally, “may your power be focused”), and is a common way to express thanks among contemporary Hebrew and Yiddish speakers. It is often contracted into shkoyach. Note that this can also be a term of congratulation and encouragement for a job well done.

Pronounce it: YAH-sher KO-akh or Sh-KOY-akh

4. Tizkeh Lemitzvos

The phrase Thank You written in beach sand.

Literally “may you merit to do mitzvahs,” this term is often used to thank someone for an act of kindness. This reflects the rabbinic notion that the reward for a good deed is the ability to perform another one.

Pronounce it: TIZ-keh le-MITZ-vos

5. Merci Muncho

The word merci written in red on a tablecloth.

Among the descendants of the Jews exiled from Spain in 1492, you’d probably say merci muncho, which is Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) for “thank you very much.” Interestingly, while muncho is of Spanish origin (as is most of Ladino), merci is French.

Pronounce it: Mair-SEE MOON-tchoe

6. Give a Blessing

A label with Thank You written on a wooden table with a background of flowers.

Now that’s the real Jewish way to say thanks—and probably the oldest. You don’t see “thanks” in the Hebrew Bible, but you do see a lot of blessings given in return for kind deeds. And as the sages, of blessed memory, said, “Don’t take lightly even the blessing of a simpleton.” Because if it’s said from the heart, it’s sure to be worthwhile.

Common blessings include:

  • G‑d bless you!

  • May G‑d give you all that your heart desires for good!

  • May G‑d give you success in all that you do!

  • May you have health, wealth and nachas from your children!

Pronounce it: With all your heart.

7. Thank You

Thank you written on a typewriter sheet.

No matter what language you do (or don’t) speak, the main thing is that you actually voice your thanks, to your family, friends, bank tellers, street cleaners . . . everyone, especially G‑d.

And when you do, yasher koach!