web analytics
August 22, 2014 / 26 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



In Hebrew: Origin of the Term ‘Jew’

A daily dose of Hebrew.
F120903MH08

Photo Credit: Mendy Hechtman /Flash90

יְהוּדִי

The word Jew is a household term, just as Christian and Muslim are.

But where does the word Jew come from?

The Hebrew version is יְהוּדִי for a male and יְהוּדִיָּה for a female. These are the Hebrew terms that refer someone of the Jewish faith, who holds the Torah as the most sacred of books.

But if you’d read the Torah – in Hebrew or in English, you’ve probably noticed that the words יהודי and יהודייה are strikingly… absent. How could that be?

The answer has more to do with geography than with religion.

יהודי and יהודייה come from the name יְהוּדָה - one of the sons of Jacob, but also the piece of land named after that son. In English, we call that piece of land Judea.

Twelve Israelite tribes inhabited Ancient Israel, until the Assyrians came and exiled the majority. The major remaining tribe, יהודה, continued to reign until the Babylonians came and exiled them as well.

The people from the land of יהודה (today a large chunk of Modern Israel, including Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh and the southern part of the “West Bank”) were taken to Babel. Many migrated from there to ancient Persia, where the Purim story takes place and presents us with the first person referred to as a יהודי – a Jew:

אִישׁ יְהוּדִי הָיָה בְּשׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה וּשְׁמוֹ מָרְדֳכַי בֶּן יָאִיר בֶּן שִׁמְעִי בֶּן קִישׁ אִישׁ יְמִינִי. אֲשֶׁר הָגְלָה מִירוּשָׁלַיִם… (אסתר ב’:ה’-ו’)

A Jewish man (a man from Judea) was in Shushan the capital, and his name was Mordecai the son of Yair the son of Shim’i the son of Kish, a man from Yemin (the more specific land of Benjamin); who was exiled from Jerusalem… (Esther 2:5-6)

So what was once an ethnicity – יהודי or יהודייה referring to a person from the land of Judea – gradually came to refer to a religion, as the Jewish people wandered from place to place, their religious practice uniting them… as well as their hope to one day return to אֶרֶץ יְהוּדָה- the Land of Judea and the rest of Israel.

יהודי is also part of the name of one of the major political parties that will likely be joining the now-forming Israeli government:


הַבַּיִת הַיְּהוּדִי - literally, The Jewish Home

Whether the party is referring to the religion or the geographic region – or both – I’ll leave to you to decide.

Visit Ktzat Ivrit.

About the Author: Ami Steinberger is founder and director of Ulpan La-Inyan.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “In Hebrew: Origin of the Term ‘Jew’”

  1. I think the origin of the Jew is to be found even back in history to ancient Egypt. Note the key words typical for Jew – Judea, Jehova, Jerusalem (Jedusalem), JHVH, Jahve and especially the real name of the the King of King Solomon – JEDIDIAH. This redundancy of J is not accidental. Connection with ancient Egypt is very interesting. Note the symbol JED. I am quite confident that this is where to look for the origin of the the name Jew.

    With respect and reverence for history and the entire Jewish people.
    + F. Lyubomir Petkov Jedidiah.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Kitzat Ivrit Logo
Current Top Story
Photo: Rotter.net / Tikonist
Live Updates: Ashdod Shul Hit by Rocket (Latest Update: 5:28 pm)
Latest Blogs Stories
Iniigo - Genocide

So you want to blame Israel? First answer these 5 simple questions, and see if you even have a leg to stand on…

Jihad Supporting T-Shirts

Hamas’s online Jihadi supporters and groupies are desperately trying to differentiate between their support for Hamas and supporting ISIS.

Touro-012414-Goals

We all got degrees. We got married. We had families. We worked. We and were Koveih Itim

UNHRC war crimes panel head William Schabas - Not a good Schabas

But the real culprit is William Schabas, who by comparison makes Richard Goldstone look like a saint

“The Jewish board of deputies, who are complicit, will feel the wrath of the People of SA with the age old biblical teaching of an eye for an eye.”

Discussion on recent changes to Social Security benefits and how it will effect you.

I do not understand why Bibi or anyone else (Obama) would ever contemplate accepting any terms by an organization that states loud and clear their goal of Israel’s destruction.

It’s the 4th time in 5 years Maccabi Haifa has traveled to America to play against NBA competition.

The media dumped on the “Lehava” people as extremist – racist and should mind their own business.

What is the point of having our own state when it cooperates with those who are against us?

It was the “first family event I missed due to aliyah.”

Antisemitism, stupidity, fear, or exaggeration?

During Operation Protective Edge, IDF soldiers were faced with deadly risks in the Gaza Strip. Sixty four soldiers were killed and many more were wounded in combat. This is the story of one IDF commander who put his life in danger to rescue a soldier kidnapped by Hamas. Lt. Eitan, 23, joined the elite unit […]

I am a right wing religious Jewish settler and I HATE seeing pictures of kids in Gaza who are dying or suffering because of this war.

Doug speaks with World Chess Cahmpion Magnus Carlsen.

If they weren’t true they would be funny!

More Articles from Ami Steinberger
eyes

Eye contact in Hebrew, literally, is eye connection.

Eyal Yifrah (19), Gil-Ad Shayer(16) and Naftali Frenkel (16) , the three Israeli boys are the victims of kidnapping by Hamas terrorists.

If you follow the Hebrew news, a key word you need to know currently is “kidnapping.”

אָדָם מֻפְנָם, אָדָם מֻחְצָן  listen and repeat Some of us are naturally quiet, while others can be heard from a kilometer away. Introverts tend to keep their feelings and experiences inside, while Extroverts tend to be outgoing and expressive. The Hebrew term for introvert is אָדָם מֻפְנָם  listen and repeat - literally, an introverted person. מופנם  listen and repeat, an adjective deriving from the passive-causative […]

עִם מַבָּט קָדִימָה  listen and repeat While the close of a year is a time to look back, the start of a new one is a time to look ahead. The Hebrew expression for looking ahead is לִהְיוֹת עִם מַבָּט קָדִימָה  listen - literally, to be with a gaze forward – though the to be part is rarely used. […]

קוֹלוֹמְבּוּס גִּלָּה אֶת אָמֶרִיקָה Visit Ktzat Ivrit .

פְּעִילוּת  listen and repeat Some of us like grammar, and some of us don’t. The word verb excites some of us, while daunting others or making them drowsy. But most of us know that a verb is a word that indicates action. In Hebrew, this is easy to remember, since the very word for verb itself – פֹּעַל ( listen […]

מוּטָב מְאֻחָר מֵאֲשֶׁר לְעוֹלָם לֹא  listen and repeat Yesterday my great-uncle had his בַּר מִצְוָה ( listen and repeat) - Bar Mitzvah. Yes, my great uncle. He’s 82. Because when he was 13, he was in Auschwitz, where they didn’t do בר מצווה ceremonies. En route, I told the cab driver about the event. He made his comment […]

בְּיַחַד  listen and repeat Today is ט”וּ בְּאָב ( listen and repeat) - the 15th of the Jewish month of Av – which is the Jewish day of love. The Hebrew word for together is בְּיַחַד ( listen and repeat) (alternatively and more formally, יַחַד ( listen and repeat)). For example: טִיַּלְנוּ בְּיַחַד בַּמִּזְרָח. We traveled together in the east.  listen   You […]

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/ktzat-ivrit/in-hebrew-origin-of-the-term-jew/2013/01/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: