When returning from an Aliyah la'Torah, I am commonly met with "Hazak u'Baruch". I have encountered this saying in other situations when someone does something praiseworthy.

Can one say "Hazak u'Baruch" to both men and women? If not, is there a female equivalent?

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    Hi Lee, welcome to Mi Yodeya. Thanks for bringing your question here; looking forward to seeing you around the site. – user2110 Apr 9 '13 at 15:37

Perhaps Hazaka u'vrucha? Haven't heard it said before though, and i'm not even sure if thats grammatically correct

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    It's grammatically correct if chazak is the adjective (which seems more likely than the imperative, as it pairs with baruch). – msh210 Apr 10 '13 at 5:01
  • @msh210, I think the imperative should be "chazeik", no? I've always been kind of confused by that greeting since both chazak and baruch are adjectives. It's not really a sentence. – Daniel Apr 10 '13 at 5:05
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    @Daniel: Re the imperative: See Is. 41:6. Re a 'sentence' that's just an adjective phrase: Fair enough. – msh210 Apr 10 '13 at 14:47

The full expression (at least in the Spanish-Portuguese custom) is "hazaq ubarukh tihye" (yes, that "b" is beth without daghesh, as is standard in Spanish-Portuguese Hebrew pronunciation).

The challenge is that we do not know whether it is "be strong (verb) and be blessed" or "be strong (adjective) and blessed". In the former case, the heth would have the vowel hateph-pathah. In the latter case, the heth would have the vowel qames. In the former case, the feminine would be "hizqi ubrukha tihyi" (or briefly, "hizqi ubrukha"), while in the latter case the feminine would be "hazaqa ubrukha tihyi" (or briefly, "hazaqa ubrukha").

In Spanish-Portuguese custom, the response to "hazaq ubarukh" is "barukh tihye" (which is also the Ashkinazic response to "yashar kohekha"). In the Mizrahi custom, however, the response is "hazaq we'emas" (Joshua 1:6, Deuternomy 31:7). In the response, hazaq is certainly a verb, which might suggest that it should be a verb also in the "hazaq ubarukh". I have read (apologies that I don't have the reference), that the first indication of such a custom said that people would say only "hazaq", which suggests that it began as the verb.

I think the preponderance of the evidence is that the phrase began with "hazaq" as a verb, which would indicate we should say to a woman, "hizqi ubrukha". However, whenever I have heard it in actual use, what was said was "hazaqa ubrukha". I conclude from this that over time hazaq became understood as an adjective rather than a verb, and it is now so understood by the user community. Thus, "hazaqa ubrukha" seems the most appropriate phrase.

"hazaqim ubrukhim!" to you all.

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