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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
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A Woman Called Basha

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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.

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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9 Responses to “A Woman Called Basha”

  1. arabic,meaning “seer” of all and probably islamic god allah.

  2. Menachem Stark’s wife is named Basha .. It’s common in Satmar, Klausenberger and Skver

  3. I always thought it was Hungarian

  4. In Polish it is Barbara.

  5. David Cohen says:

    Who cares? Too much time focusing on complete NONSENSE!!!!!

  6. Joseph-Chanie Berman says:

    Aruch Hashulchan (Gittin 129) says that Basha is most certainly not a form of Batya/Basya, (which he says isד actually a mistaken form of Bisya daוghter of Paaroh) and that a get written with Basya was nullified by the gedolim. The correct spelling cited in the Aruch Hashulchan is בשא

  7. Aruch Hashulchan (Gittin 129) says that Basha is most certainly not a form of Batya/Basya, (which he says is actually a mistaken form of Bisya dauוghter of Paaroh) and that a get written with Basya was nullified by the gedolim. The correct spelling cited in the Aruch Hashulchan is בשא The case of the get in Prague may have been where the woman was actually called both names, but generally it’s simply בשא -pronounced with a Shin yemanis

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