After banning Jews from being augurs, diviners, sorcerers, and necromancers, the Torah commands that one should be “tamim with G-d” (Deut. 18:13).
Avot de-Rabbi Natan explains that the world is called taivel because it is “spiced up” (metubal) with Torah, so that the Midrash is emphasizing the importance of Torah in that the entire world is called taivel simply because there’s a little bit of Torah “mixed into” it.
The Radak in Sefer Shorashim also connects eretz to the idea of running – in this case because of the planet’s non-stop astronomical motions.
A meilitz yosher is a defender who emphasizes a person’s good and “straight” deeds, while a prosecutor emphasizes a person’s evil and criminal deeds.
The concept of “roundness” also comes into play in this discussion. The Hebrew word galal in the sense of “dung” appears five times in the Bible (I Kgs. 14:10, Job 20:7, Zeph. 1:17, Ezek. 4:12, 4:15).
When it comes to the word yavam, Rabbi Pappenheim explains that this term for a relative-in-law contrasts with other terms for relatives-in-law.
As a young child, Joash was hidden away in the Holy Temple by his uncle Jehoiada, the Kohen Gadol, and later ascended the throne.
In exploring the etymologies and polysemous usages of just a few of these words, we will shed light on the nuanced differences among some of the words for anger in our list.
Siddur HaRokeach adds that just as the rooster closes one eye when G-d is angry, so was Balaam blind in one eye, and just as the rooster stands on one foot when G-d is angry, so was Balaam lame in one foot.
A person who is not careful to speak precisely… disregards the quality of his speech, as if he is grinding kemach.
Yabia means speech that flows from the depths of one’s heart … or speaking continuously, non-stop, like an ever-flowing spring.
A person who pesters another and unrelentingly tries to convince him of something is called misarev (Nedarim 8:7), because he refuses to give up on changing the other person’s mind.
The poshea is not one who tries to rebel but is rather one whose indolence shows that he does not care about the result of his actions.
According to the explanation that dag means “male fish” while dagah means “female fish,” it is hard to understand why the Jews in Egypt would have specifically eaten female fish and why the Plague of Blood would have only killed female fish.
Rabbi Marcus argues that at the core of “taninim” (sea-monsters – see Genesis 1:21) is the word “nun.” In offering this explanation, Rabbi Marcus explicitly rejects scholarly speculation that “taninim” is a Sanskrit loanword.
Not only does G-d strengthen those who are tired, He also energizes those who are completely exhausted.
In the same way that rays of light spread out to illuminate as much as possible, an enlightened person must spread his intellectual purview…in order to not violate what is expected of him.
According to Rabbinic tradition, the infinitive verb “la’gur” connotes living in a certain place under a temporary arrangement.
I used to think that the English word “bizarre” is related to “zar,” but the Oxford English Dictionary maintains otherwise.
The semantic range of “dod” later expanded to include lover or companion, as the word seems to mean throughout Song of Songs.
Israeli archaeologist Dr. Shmuel Yeivin (1896-1982) writes that some scholars have proposed that “chermesh” is a “sickle” while “magal” is a larger “scythe.”
Rabbi Pappenheim traces “yehgeh” to the root hey-gimmel, which primarily refers to diligence and consistency, making its derivative “yehgeh” refer to a lion consistently crying.
An apocryphal Midrash describes the colorful sounds made by the animals etched on King Solomon’s throne. Most of these words do not appear in the Bible.
Rabbi Shlomo Pappenheim of Breslau (1740-1814) writes that “masveh” and “suto” are related to “stav” (autumn or fall) and refer to soft, spongy fabrics worn to insulate oneself from cold weather.
“Pakad” primarily means remembering something or someone in order to deal with it, and the most basic way of dealing with something is to determine whether it’s actually present or not – hence, it means to count.
Indeed, the Talmud (Shavuos 26a) exempts a person from punishment if he swore falsely to something that he thought was true.
Rabbi Wertheimer further notes that wings create shade and thus serve as a metaphor for offering protection.
We now turn our attention to “eshnav.” This rather obscure word only appears twice in the entire Bible.
The Zohar interestingly seems to echo this idea (Bo 34a), stating that “Bo el Pharaoh” teaches us that G-d brought Moses into some sort of heavenly inner chamber that was somehow associated with the sea-creature that characterizes Egypt.
Rabbi Pappenheim writes that “achu” refers to the brotherhood between the different animals that join up in fertile land to feast on its produce.