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April 2, 2015 / 13 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘David Ben Gurion’

US President Barack Obama Calls to Congratulate Netanyahu

Friday, March 20th, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama finally called Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to congratulate him — on the Likud party’s success at the polls.

According to a statement issued by the White House, the President “emphasized the importance the United States places on our close military, intelligence and security cooperation with Israel, which reflects the deep and abiding partnership between both countries.

“The President and the Prime Minister agreed to continue consultations on a range of regional issues, including the difficult path forward to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the statement continued.

“The President reaffirmed the United States’ long-standing commitment to a two-state solution that results in a secure Israel alongside a sovereign and viable Palestine.

“On Iran, the President reiterated that the United States is focused on reaching a comprehensive deal with Iran that prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and verifiably assures the international community of the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program.”

Obama was preceded by Secretary of State John Kerry, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, and numerous others in congratulating Netanyahu on the historic re-election for a fourth term – the only prime minister to be so chosen since Israel’s founding father, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion.

The issue of Israel’s security is growing exponentially more serious as the days pass, with terror groups backed by Iran and global jihad organizations surrounding the Jewish State.

Aside from the clear and present danger posed by the Iranian nuclear threat to Israel’s existence, the Daesh global jihad terror group is becoming an increasing concern as well.

This past Wednesday, the European Union formally blamed the group, known also as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorist organization, and as ISIS, for a bloody attack at Tunisia’s iconic Bardo Museum in that nation’s capital. At least 19 people were killed, including 17 foreign tourists, and 20 others were wounded.

“With the attack that has struck Tunis, the Daesh terrorist organization is once again targeting the countries and peoples of the Mediterranean region,” EU foreign policy chief Mogherini said in a statement late Wednesday.

“This strengthens our determination to cooperate more closely with our partners to confront the terrorist threat.”

Israeli security personnel have been closely tracking the progress and growth of Daesh terror cells in the region, particularly in northern Israel, Gaza, Judea, Samaria and other areas within pre-1967 Israel.

A number of Arabs who have become involved with the terror group have been identified and arrested by Israeli security forces. Others who left the country and traveled abroad to fight with Daesh are being tracked.

It is for this reason — among others — that Prime Minister Netanyahu has been adamant about ending assumptions of well-meaning nations who believe they can simply force Israel back to the negotiating table with the PA to sign on to any two-state solution.

Marzel: Let Zoabi Speak; the Left Tries to Stifle Free Speech, Not Me

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

In a wide-ranging interview with JewishPress.com, Yachad candidate Baruch Marzel revealed several surprising facts. Most significant was that there is more to this candidate than the “extremist” label which, according to most of the media, constitutes his entire bio. For example, Marzel is a stalwart defender of free speech: he thinks Arab Knesset member Haneen Zoabi should be able to say whatever she wants. He is opposed to enforcing religious observance; and more than a third of his supporters don’t even cover their heads.

Marzel is number four on the list of the new Yachad party. When this party was formed earlier this year, Marzel replaced popular right wing politician Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, for whom Marzel served as parliamentary assistant for several years. Yachad is the combination of the National Religious, Haredi and Traditional factions of Orthodox Jews.

Yachad’s polling numbers have been hovering just around the level needed to have a seat in the Knesset, but in a coalition government, every party that makes it above the threshold has the potential to become a power-broker.

JewishPress.com was particularly interested in learning whether Marzel is, as widely and conclusively described, a two-dimensional religious fanatic who hates everyone else, and whether the Yachad party has anything to offer to someone who doesn’t wear a black hat (or isn’t married to a wearer of same)? We learned the answers to those two questions are no and yes, respectively.

RELIGION AND STATE

First, the religious question: under a Marzel regime, would anyone but observant Jews be welcome in Israel? The answer to that was a quizzically delivered yes. First big surprise: “about thirty to forty percent of my supporters don’t even wear a kippah,” says this Boston-born Jew with a full reddish-turning grey beard.

What he says he wants “is to fulfill the 2000 year old dream of building a Jewish state.” But he does not believe in enforcing religion — that, he says, misfires. The example he gave was the legislation introduced during the last Knesset requiring the charedim to register for the IDF draft. “The result is that there are fewer charedim in the army now that it is mandatory.” The same, he says, would be true if you enforce religion, the opposite will happen.”

What Yachad opposes is enforcing religious observance on Jews. What it favors is having the Jewish State enforce rules that will allow all Jews to observe Shabbat. And, he pointed out, “we have to show the people how nice Shabbat is, if they really try it, wow! It’s special.”

ECONOMICS

Surprisingly, this led to a discussion of economics. The explanation Marzel gave for supporting government-required commercial enterprise to be closed on Shabbat is that, “otherwise it is the poor people who suffer.” Why? “Because the rich owners of businesses can stay home if they want on Shabbat, they don’t have to work,” but it is always the poorest who will be forced to work on Shabbat — they will be forced to break Shabbat in order to survive.

“Socialism is bad, capitalism is bad,” Marzel responds to a question about what kind of market system the Jewish state should have.  “But we have Judaism, that is the system. I’m not against having a successful market, but you can never, never, never forget the poor Jew. A leader who does not see the poor cannot be a leader.”

EDUCATION

What about the educational system? During the last knesset the Yesh Atid party, in particular, focused on requiring charedi schools to include more secular subjects. Marzel and Yachad, however, see the problem quite differently.

“I’m not against learning math,” Marzel explained, but what he finds disastrous is that, in his view, most Israelis complete 12 years of study without knowing anything about their Jewish history, their culture. “First you have to know who you are, where you came from and where you have to go,” he said.

Bibi Says: ‘I am Going to Speak to Congress About the Bad Offer Made to Iran’

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

On Tuesday, Feb. 10, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu released a statement confirming his decision to go to Washington, D.C. next month and to speak in the U.S. Congress about the dangers of the offer the U.S. and its partners has made to Iran.

The prime minister addressed the issue which has been dividing the leadership of the U.S. and Israel: the acceptance by Netanyahu of an invitation to speak before a joint session of Congress next month. It is something this U.S. administration strongly opposes.

Netanyahu acknowledged the very close relationship between the U.S. and Israel, one that has remained strong despite many strong disagreements between leaders in the two countries throughout that relationship. Examples of those disagreements included ones between Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion and the U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall, Levi Eshkol’s decision at the start of the Six Day War, Menachem Begin’s decision to bomb Iraq’s Osirik nuclear reactor, and Prime Minister Sharon’s Operation Defensive Shield.

The Prime Minister turned next to the heart of the current disagreement. It is not over whether Netanyahu should speak before a joint session of Congress, or about how or even when the invitation was extended.

The fundamental disagreement is over the offer Netanyahu said the P5+1, including the U.S., ‘has made‘ to Iran. Note: not may make, not is thinking of making, but has made. According to Netanyahu, the offer has already been extended, and it is an offer, Netanyahu said, that “threatens Israel’s survival.”

Under this deal, Netanyahu stated, Iran will be able “to break out to a nuclear weapon in a short time, and within a few years, to have the industrial capability to produce many nuclear bombs.”

Netanyahu repeated this is not a personal disagreement between himself and President Obama. “I deeply appreciate all that he has done for Israel in many fields,” he said, and he is not going to Washington because he seeks “a confrontation with the President.”

But Netanyahu is going to Washington, he said, “because I must fulfill my obligation to speak up on a matter that affects the very survival of my country,” and he will speak to Congress before the March 24th political framework deadline, “because Congress might have an important role on a nuclear deal with Iran.”

Israel is a Demographic Boom State; Stop the FearMongering

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

The Demographic Doom Bomb (DDB) threat is dropping once again. The DDB was first dropped on David Ben-Gurion, back before the rebirth of the Jewish state. Ben-Gurion was told then that Jews will become a minority in their own land in the not-too-distant future.

Today, everyone who will listen – and too many are listening – is told that soon Jews will be a minority in their own land, and that is true with a vengeance if the disputed territories are annexed.

But the people lobbing the DDB are relying on population numbers from the Palestinian Arab census bureau. That center makes several (intentional or otherwise) errors: it undercounts Arab deaths, it over counts Arab births, it double-counts Arabs, it fails to count altogether Arab emigration and it counts  Palestinian Arabs living abroad.

At the same time, that census bureau undercounts the rocketing Jewish birthrate and the ever-continuing and increasing rate of Aliyah. And upon what do the Israeli Jewish demographers rely for their predictions? Why, the Palestinian Arab numbers, of course.

In 1944, an Italian demographer, Roberto Bacchi, informed Ben-Gurion that the Jewish state would be a non-starter. Bacchi warned Ben-Gurion against the undertaking because the 600,000 Jews ready to pioneer was not a sufficient critical mass.

By the 1960’s, according to Bacchi, the Jews will be a minority in the state. In his best case scenario – about which Bacchi was not sanguine – by 2001 there would only be 2.3 million Jews in Israel.

Well, Bacchi was wrong then and so are his demographic theory heirs, Sergio DellaPergola of Hebrew University and Arnon Sofer, of Haifa University. Those two continue the doom and gloom prognostications, even though it’s consistently been proven wrong by reality. But the predictions have taken root and multiplied, more rapidly than have the non-Israeli  and Israeli Arabs in their predictions.

The reason this is relevant today, in 2015, is that the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics just released a new report. It contains projections based on 2014 data. These data, like Bacchi’s information, are wielded as kryptonite to subdue any thoughts about Jewish sovereignty in parts of the Middle East. Back in the ’40’s it was used to deter any thoughts of a Jewish state in the region at all. Now it is being used to forestall talk of annexing territory beyond the Apartheid Green Line, beyond which all foes and even some friends demand no Jew should live.

After reading one article in particular which continued the tradition of treating the truth as false and the flawed as truth, The Jewish Press sought some answers.

In a wide-ranging interview, former Ambassador and ardent iconoclast Yoram Ettinger of the American-Israel Demographic Research Group once again patiently shared why the “official” Israeli numbers are so skewed, and what that means for everyone’s understanding of the DDB. Ettinger was skewered in some articles by Bacchi’s disciples. But that’s okay with Ettinger, so long as he’s allowed to respond.

Bacchi’s disciples, according to Ettinger, get their numbers wrong primarily for the same reasons he did: they failed to comprehend the enduring lure of Aliyah, and they failed to understand fertility reality both for Jews who make Israel their home and the same for Israeli Arabs.

They all vastly underestimate the will of Jews to make Aliyah to a hostile, largely inhospitable region. But Ben-Gurion and his peers built it, and boy did Jews come. And they are still coming. They are coming in numbers Bacchi could never imagine, and they keep coming despite DellaPergola and Sofer’s refusal to acknowledge that reality.

The other reason their numbers are off the mark is that, despite their insistence to the contrary, the birthrate for Israelis is not consistent (as in downward spiraling) with the rest of the West, while the birthrate for Arab Israelis and those living more western-style lives is.

Countdown to Israeli Independence Day!

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

In one more week we’ll all be celebrating Israeli Independence Day!  Sixty-six 66 years since David Ben-Gurion took on the world and declared that enough was enough.  The Jewish State, aka the State of Israel was declared!

The odds were completely against us, and the world sat by watching, expecting to see a simple bloody rout. There was no way that a bunch of poor Jewish farmers, beggars and undernourished survivors of Hitler’s concentration camps could defeat the Arabs who had the de facto backing of Great Britain and other countries.

Juara Haganah Museum

Ben-Gurion didn’t even have a united Jewish army to fight with him. Actually, that was mostly his fault. He was so against the Etzel and Lechi during the latter years of the British Mandate that he even cooperated with the British by informing against them in a period known as the sezon, The Hunting Season.  He continued with his extreme hatred of those Jews who didn’t support him politically by tricking the Etzel, led by Menachem Begin, and attacking the Altalena which resulted in the death of Jewish patriots and the destruction of valuable weapons which had been brought to liberate Jerusalem from the Arabs.

Altalena on fire

It wasn’t only the Revisionists, Jabotinsky followers, members of Etzel and Lechi that Ben-Gurion tried to defeat, he also did everything he could to brainwash, deprogram religious North-African Jews from strictly observing Judaism. Children were sent to secular boarding schools to be “educated” and turned into Leftist, secular Israelis aka modern Jews.

Honestly, when I began this post, I didn’t plan on rehashing the terrible side of early Israeli history. But in order to understand today’s State of Israel we must remember the awful, disgraceful side, too.

When we wonder why the Israeli Left, and even Center, are so rabidly anti-Jewish Life in Judea and Samaria, and we wonder why Shabbak, Israel’s “secret police” can be so cruel to fellow Jews instead of concentrating on our real enemies, and we wonder how the Israeli Judicial System can judge Patriotic Jews so unfairly, we just have to think of David Ben-Gurion.

They are the spiritual, political, immoral heirs of David Ben-Gurion.

What’s the great irony here in Israel sixty-six years later? The descendants of Ben-Gurion and his followers are less interested in Israel than the descendants of those he tried so hard to destroy.

Considering all of the civil war, a battle for Jewish souls going on during the War for Israeli Independence and the early years of the state, it’s even more amazing that G-d allowed the state to survive and thrive.

We wouldn’t have a State of Israel if G-d hadn’t supported us. There’s no rational way to describe our victories in 1948, 1967 and 1973.

That’s why it is so important to thank G-d with Prayers including the Hallel on Israeli Independence Day!

Israeli Independence Day Prayers in the Mishkan Tabernacle Synagogue, Shiloh

Yes, we still have a long way to go, but we won’t succeed without the Help of the Almighty!

Visit Shiloh Musings.  / Batya Medad

Chanukah Guide for the Perplexed, 2013

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

1.  For the first time – and never again – the first day of Chanukah will be celebrated on Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday in November, November 28, 2013.   Since the Jewish calendar is based on a 19 year cycle (when a “leap month” is added – seven times – to the shorter Jewish year) and Thanksgiving is part of a 7 year cycle, they coincide every 133 years.  However, Thanksgiving was formally adopted by President Lincoln in 1863, and therefore it could not coincide with Chanukah 133 years ago, in 1861. Moreover, due to the moving gap between the Jewish lunar calendar (with 29-30 day months) and the general Gregorian solar calendar, they will not coincide before the year 79,811….

2.  David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of the Jewish State, stated: “The struggle of the Maccabees was one of the most dramatic clashes of civilizations in human history, not merely a political-military struggle against foreign oppression…. The meager Jewish people did not assimilate, as did many peoples.  The Jewish people prevailed, won, sustained and enhanced their independence and unique civilization…. The Hasmoneans overcame one of the most magnificent spiritual, political and military challenges in Jewish history due to the spirit of the people, rather than the failed spirit of the establishment ….” (Uniqueness and Destiny, pp 20-22, Ben Gurion, IDF Publishing, 1953).

3. Chanukah is the only Jewish holiday that commemorates a Land of Israel national liberation struggle, unlike Passover (the Exodus from Egypt), Sukkot/Tabernacles and Shavuot/Pentecost (on the way from Egypt to the Land of Israel) and Purim (deliverance of Jews in the Persian Empire). Chanukah is the longest Jewish holiday (8 days) with the most intense element of light (8 consecutive nights of lighting candles).

4. The critical Chanukah developments occurred, mostly, in the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria: Mitzpah (also the Prophet Samuel’s burial site), Beth El (Judah’s first headquarters), Beth Horon (Judah’s victory over Seron), Hadashah (Judah’s victory over Nicanor), Beth Zur (Judah’s victory over Lysias), Ma’aleh Levona (Judah’s victory over Apolonius), Adora’yim (a Maccabean fortress), Elazar and Beit  Zachariya (Judah’s first defeat), Ba’al Hatzor (where Judah was defeated and killed) and the Judean Desert.  Unified Jerusalem was the Capital of the Maccabees. Thus, Chanukah is not a holiday of “occupied territories;” Chanukah highlights the moral-high-ground of Jews in their ancestral land.

5. Shimon the Maccabee – who succeeded his brothers, Judah and Yonatan – defied an ultimatum by the Syrian emperor, Antiochus (Book of Maccabees A, Chapter 15, verse 33), who demanded an end to the “occupation” of Jerusalem, Jaffa, Gaza, Gezer and Akron, Shimon declared: “We have not occupied a foreign land; we have not ruled a foreign land; we have liberated the land of our forefathers from foreign occupation.”

6.  The name Maccabee (מכבי or מקבי) is a derivative of the Hebrew word Makevet (מקבת), Power Hammer, which described Judah’s tenacious and decisive fighting capabilities. Or, it could be a derivative of the Hebrew verb Cabeh (כבה), to extinguish, which described the fate of Judah’s adversaries. Another source of the name suggests that Maccabee, מכבי, is the Hebrew acronym of “Who could resemble you among Gods, Jehovah” (מי כמוך באלים יי). However, the saga of the Maccabees was written, during ancient times, in Latin, which sometimes pronounces C like a TZ.  Hence, Maccabee could be the Latin spelling of the Hebrew word Matzbee, the commander.

7.  Chanukah’s historical context is narrated in the Books of the Maccabees and the Scroll of Antiochus. Alexander The Great – who held Judaism in high esteem and whose Egyptian heir, Ptolemy II, translated the Torah to Greek – died in 323 BCE following 12 glorious years. Consequently, the Greek Empire disintegrated into five provinces, and thirty years later into three kingdoms: Macedonia, Syria and Egypt. The Land of Israel was militarily contested by Syria and Egypt. In 198 BCE, Israel was conquered by the Syrian Antiochus III, who considered the Jewish State as an ally. In 175 BCE, a new king assumed power in Syria, Antiochus (IV) Epiphanies, who wished to replace Judaism with Hellenic values and assumed that Jews were allies of Egypt. In 169 BC, upon his return to Syria from a war against Egypt, he devastated Jerusalem, massacred the Jews, forbade the practice of Judaism (including the Sabbath, circumcision, etc.) and desecrated Jerusalem and the Temple. The 167 BCE-launched rebellion against the Syrian (Seleucid) kingdom featured the Hasmonean (Maccabee) family: Mattityahu, a priest from the town of Modi’in, and his five sons, Yochanan, Judah, Shimon, Yonatan and Elazar. The heroic (and tactically creative) battles conducted by the Maccabees, were consistent with the reputation of Jews as superb warriors, who were frequently hired as mercenaries by Egypt, Syria, Rome and other global and regional powers.  

8.  The Hasmonean dynasty:
*Mattityahu, son of Yochanan; the priest-led rebellion – 166/7 BCE
*Judah the Maccabee, son of Mattityahu – 166-161 BCE
*Yonatan the Maccabee, son of Mattityahu – 161-143 BCE
*Shimon the Maccabee, son of Mattityahu – 143-135 BCE
*Yochanan Hyrcanus son of Shimon – 135-104 BCE
*Mattityahu Antigonus – 40-37 BCE

9.  Chanukah (חנוכה in Hebrew) is education (חינוכ)-oriented. According to the first book of Maccabees, Judah instituted an eight day holiday on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev 165 BCE, in order to commemorate Jewish history, in general, and the inauguration (Chanukah, חנוכה, in Hebrew) and deliverance of the holy altar and the Temple, in particular.  A key feature of Chanukah is the education/mentoring of family members.  The Hebrew word, Chanukah, consists of two words, Chanu חנו in Hebrew (they rested/stationed) and Kah כה in Hebrew (which is equal to 25), referring to the Maccabees’ re-consecration of the Temple on the 25th day of the month of Kislev. Some have suggested that the timing of Christmas (December 25th) and the celebration of the New Year, 8 days later (January 1), have their origin in Chanukah, which always occurs in December.

10.  Chanukah is the holiday of liberty, which is advanced by combining The Book (spiritual) and the sword (physical), light, the commemoration of history/roots, optimism, dedication to values, faith in God, heroism on the battlefield and principle/morality-driven leadership. Chanukah celebrates the liberation of Jerusalem. The first day of Chanukah is celebrated when daylight is balanced with darkness, ushering in optimism for brighter future. Chanukah is celebrated in Kislev (כסלו), the Jewish month of miracles (e.g., Noah’s Rainbow appeared in Kislev) and the month of security/safety (the Hebrew word Kesel -כסל - means security). The first and last Hebrew letters of Kislev (כו – כסלו) equal 26 (in Jewish Gimatriya) – the total numerical value of the Hebrew spelling of Jehovah – יהוה. Moses completed the construction of the Holy Ark on the 25th day of Kislev, and it was also the date of the laying the foundation of the Second Temple by Nehemiah. The 25th (Hebrew) word in Genesis is Light (OR, אור), which is a Jewish metaphor for the Torah. The word which precedes “light” is יהי (“let there be” in Hebrew) – 25 in Gimatriya. The 25th stop during the Exodus was Hashmona (same root as Hasmonean in Hebrew). Chanukah commemorates one of the early Clashes of Civilizations: the victory of light (Maccabees) over darkness, the few over the many (miniscule light can penetrate darkness), liberty over slavery and remembrance over forgetfulness. The Hebrew spelling of darkness – חשכה – employs the same letters as forgetfulness – שכחה.

11.  The eight candles of Chanukah are lit one more per day, dedicated to the Torah, heroism, deliverance, leadership, camaraderie, roots, ingathering, family/community. The ninth candle (the Shamash, שמש, spelled in Hebrew like the word sun( which is lit every day to light the rest, is dedicated to Divine Providence and its miracles.
The candles should be lit outside the home, or at the window, in order to share the message of Chanukah with the world at-large.

12. The thirty-six Chanukah candles (excluding the ninth “divine” candle) represent the 36 hidden righteous people, whose virtue safeguards human-kind. There were 36 hours of divine light welcoming Adam during the creation, lasting until the end of the first Sabbath. Various forms of light – and candles – are mentioned 36 times in the Torah. There are 36 parts in the Talmud. Chanukah is celebrated during the Hebrew month of Kislev (כסלו), whose spelling consists of two Hebrew words: Throne (כס) and 36 (לו).

13.   The eight days of Chanukah, and the eight branches of the Chanukah Menorah (the ancient Temple Menorah consisted of seven branches, which commemorated the seven days of creation) represent divine capabilities and optimism. The shape of the digit 8 represents infinity: there is no end to divine capabilities as evidenced by the survival of the Jewish People against all odds. The root of the Hebrew word for 8 (Shmoneh, שמונה) is “oil” (Shemen, שמנ), which is also the root of “Hasmonean” (Hashmonayim, חשמונאים). The Aramaic name of the month of Kislev is Kislimo, “heavy.” The Hebrew spelling of “heavy” is identical to the spelling of “oil” – שמן.

14.  The US connection:
*The sculpture of Judah the Maccabee’s head is displayed at the West Point Military Academy, along with the sculptures of Joshua, David, Alexander the Great, Hector, Julius Caesar, King Arthur, Charlemagne and Godfrey of Bouillon – “the Nine Worthies.”

*“In God We Trust” is similar to the Maccabees’ battle cry, which adopted Moses’ battle cry against the builders of the Golden Calf: “Whoever trusts God; join me!”

*Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death,” and New Hampshire’s “Live Free or Die,” followed the liberty and sacrifice-driven legacy of the Maccabees: swimming against the stream gets one closer to the source!

*“Rebellion against Tyrants is obedience to God” was proposed by John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin to be on the US Seal, reflecting the legacy of the Maccabees: A tiny minority of “rebels” – condemned by the “loyalists” – rising against an oppressive super-power. They demonstrated the victory of the few over the many, right over wrong, moral over immoral, truth over lies, faith over cynicism and opportunism.  Paul Revere’s nickname was the “modern day Maccabee.”

15. “Chanukah has a special significance in Montana these days. In Billings in 1993, vandals broke windows in homes that were displaying menorahs. In a response organized by local church leaders, more than 10,000 of the city’s residents and shopkeepers put make-shift menorahs in their own windows, to protect the city’s three dozen or so Jewish families. The vandalism stopped.” (New York Times, Dec. 4, 2009, Eric Stern, senior counselor to Gov. Brian Schweitzer).

In Hebrew: ‘Wipe Something Dry’

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

לְנַגֵּב

Yesterday, we saw that the Hebrew word for dessertקִנּוּחַ- comes from the active-intensive פִּעֵל verb, לְקַנֵּחַ- one of the words for to wipe.

A more common word for to wipe is לְנַגֵּב, also a פִּעֵל verb. Unlikeלקנח, however, לנגב implies wiping to the point of dryness.

For example:

אָחֲרֵי שֶׁרוֹחֲצִים יָדַיִם, טוֹב לְנַגֵּב אֹתָם.
After washing hands, (its) good to wipe them dry.

Eating hummus is sometimes called לְנַגֵּב חוּמוּס, since eaters tend to wipe their plates dry with pitta.

You may have noticed that the root of לנגב is נ.ג.ב (n.g.b), the same as that of the name of the Israeli desert (not dessert, desert), the Negev – הַנֶּגֶב. It’s not clear exactly what the etymology of נגב-Negev is, but one theory is that the נגב is a place that has “been wiped dry” of precipitation.

A couple living in the נגב is looking to change that, fulfilling David Ben Gurion’s vision of making the desert bloom – with people, vegetation, and a thriving economy. Check out their video.

נ.ג.ב is also the root of the Hebrew word for towel, מַגֶּבֶת.

Visit Ktzat Ivrit.

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