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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776
Judaism
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A Woman Called Basha

Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha-NEW

Question: Is the name Basha a derivative or nickname of another name?

Answer: When I first heard this question, I checked the Kitzur Nachalat Shiva – an accepted halachic authority for correctly writing names in Jewish divorces and ketubot. He notes that Basha is a nickname for the name Bat Sheva.

However, when I circulated this information in a rabbinical e-mail forum, I was challenged by a colleague who contended that the name Basha in his family was reputed to be derived from Batya, not Bat Sheva.

This prompted me to review the issue in the unabridged Nachalat Shiva. There I found the following:

1) A get from Prague noted that Basha was a nickname for Bat Sheva.

2) Women named Bat Sheva were also called Batya.

Logic maintains that if A equals B, and B equals C, then A equals C. Accordingly, Basha may be a nickname for both Bat Sheva and Batya.

In addition, we may conjecture as follows: Litvaks, like my maternal grandmother, pronounced every “shin” as a “sin.” “Shir HaShirim,” for example, was “Sir Hasirim.” Basha, therefore, was Basa. The Hebrew name Batya – without a dagesh in the taf – is Basya. Now note the similarity between Basa and Basya.

Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen

About the Author: Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, is the author of eight sefarim on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer the Right Way” (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and select Judaica stores.


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