The Torah recounts a series of incidents between the shepherds employed by Isaac and those employed by Avimelech, the Philistine king of Gerar, in which the former dug wells, and the latter tried to usurp control of those wells.
Curiously, Rabbi Pappenheim argues that the word neshek (“weapon”) also relates to this root, because two opposing combatants approaching each other on the battlefield resemble two lovers approaching each other for a kiss, or because the mechanics of the neshek create a certain type of consistent noise.
Interestingly, Rabbi Yaakov Emden (1697-1776) argues for a Hebrew etymology of the word ushpiz in the sense of host by explaining it as a portmanteau of the Hebrew phrase yesh po zin (there is sustenance here).
While the words rechush and mikneh always appear in singular form in the Bible, the word nechasim always appears in the plural.
...the word sod expanded in Rabbinic Hebrew to refer to any sort of restricted or confidential information to which only a select few are privy. Hence, the word sod came to mean secret.
In Modern Hebrew, the term hadar was redefined to refer to the entire citrus genus. This includes all sorts of citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, tangerines, pomelos, kumquats, mandarins, clementines, and more.
When monies are invested into a potential endeavor, the undertaking can go in one of two possible directions – the principal can be lost, or it can produce profit.
According to Rabbi Bedersi, klimah is the most intense type of embarrassment: it results from somebody doing something that he was not supposed to do, or somebody being called out for his misdeeds.
Academy of the Hebrew Language and another article by Dr. Moshe Raanan of Herzog College explain that even though in earlier times the terms efroach and gozal were indeed synonymous, in Modern Hebrew there is a difference between these terms based on a zoological distinction.
Now that we’ve seen the entire list, we can better appreciate a comment that Rashi made off the cuff.
The famous Burning Bush where Hashem introduced Himself to Moses was called a sneh, and that word appears a total of six times in the Bible.
One of the appellations given to Jericho in the Bible is Ir HaTmarim, “the City of Dates.”
It seems that the principle meaning of the root reish-kaf-samech is “to tie together.” When things are tied together, the nexus of the knot is the point where their connection is strongest and most-highly concentrated.
Rabbi Pappenheim postulates that there are two different types of moistness: one refers to something wet on the outside but not necessarily on the inside, while the other refers to something saturated with liquid on the inside but dry on the outside.
The word garon appears eight times in the Bible. In five of those cases, the word is associated with speech, so it is clearly talking about the trachea through which speech passed to exit one’s mouth
In explaining what a guzma is, Rashi writes that they are “simply words,” meaning they do not reflect the actual reality ... Similarly, Rashi explains that "words of havai" refers to speech spoken by common people, who often speak in vulgar ways that exaggerate the matter at hand.
The truth is that kilay in the sense of miser is a rather obscure and archaic Biblical Hebrew word, seemingly not used in Mishnaic Hebrew.
The word baal not only means husband, but was the name of the chief deity of the Canaanite pantheon. Throughout the Bible, the Jews dallied with Baal-worship, and many of the prophets endeavored to break the Jews of that idolatrous habit.
The word gvinah only appears once in the Bible: Is it not like milk that You have poured me, and like cheese [gvinah] that You have solidified me? (Job 10:10).
Another word related to both sheviit and sheva is shavua, but this word bears two distinct meanings in both Biblical Hebrew and Mishnaic Hebrew.
How does the literal meaning of “slipping away” relate back to laws of the sabbatical year?
Rabbi Avraham Bedersi in Chotam Tochnit points out that in rabbinic usage, the term shechar clearly refers to some drink other than wine.
Although some Bible scholars claim that tirosh is an archaic Hebrew word for wine that was later replaced with the more modern word yayin in the Bible, this explanation does not really account for the difference between the two terms and why the newer term did not just completely replace the older term.
Dr. Kohut was the first to note that Rashi’s explanation of eches as snake venom was likely informed by the Greek word echis (viper).
The Mishnah itself implies that the sela coin is what the Bible calls a shekel, because the Mishnah uses the word sela in the same contexts in which the Bible uses the word shekel.
We begin our discussion with an insightful analysis of the word sefer, the generic term applied to the 24 books of the Bible (although some books are described as a megillah).
Explaining argaman as red does not preclude explaining argaman as orange, for orange is a shade of red mixed with yellow.
Some scholars even trace the name of the Angles, one of the Germanic Anglo-Saxon tribes that occupied what later became known as England, to the word in question.
Usually, a person does not literally dig their own grave during their lifetime.
The Torah stipulates that a metal receptacle used for cooking the meat of a sin-offering must be thoroughly cleaned before being used for another purpose; it must undergo merikah and shetifah in water (Lev. 6:21).