1. Fast Forward

You heard correctly, Biden said ‘inshallah’ on the debate stage

During last night’s presidential debate, former Vice President Joe Biden uttered an unlikely phrase in response to the president’s declaration that he would, at least eventually, release his tax records.

Biden said “Inshallah,” an Arabic phrase literally meaning “God willing.”

Known for his stutter and not infrequent verbal gaffes, many thought Biden had said ‘in July’ or even ‘enchilada,’ but according to NPR’s Asma Khalid, the Biden campaign has confirmed that the candidate did in fact say “inshallah.”

Unsurprisingly, Muslim and Arab Twitter has been gushing over the use of the term, especially since Biden seemed to use it in its more colloquial manner, as a sarcastic ‘yeah right.’ Al-Jazeera even dubbed the moment “historic.”

However, Jews have reason to be excited as well. While equivalents like the Hebrew b’ezrat Hashem or Aramaic b’siyata d’shmaya are used by Jewish communities all over the world in similar ways, for many Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewish communities who have spoken Arabic or dialects of Judeo-Arabic for hundreds of years, inshallah is as much a Jewish phrase as it is a Muslim one.

“Fun fact: The first time I heard ‘Inshallah’ used ironically like this was back in college when I asked my co-editor of the Queens College of Jewish Studies if she (an Iraqi Jewish woman) wanted to try some of my homemade gefilte fish,” said Russel Neiss in a now deleted tweet.

At debate, Biden says ‘inshallah’ on stage

Recommend this article

You heard correctly, Biden said ‘inshallah’ on the debate stage

Thank you!

This article has been sent!