Bo – Leaving Denial and Chaos Behind

As an archetype, Pharaoh is not a bad actor, he is simply an aspect of each one of us, our being in denial and thus chaotically attending to too many things in experience.1 The same is true for his servants (עבדיו), our acts of devoting attention in experience.2 The antagonism stems from his (our) refusal to remain mindful of G-d’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H), his refusal to send forth the people (עם).3 HaShem’s solution is to set before us his signs that indicate the way (אותות) and to make us recount (תספר) how G-d takes himself around and performs (התעלל), while we attempt to feverishly focus upon the many things narrowing in from experience (מצרים).4 (Ex 10:1-2)

Here is a review of the plagues from the previous parshah. Because our Pharaoh refuses to be mindful, each plague represents our feeling overloaded by our encounters with experience:5
1 – blood (דם – DaM) – a pouring forth of things in experience, with their many details (fish)
2 – frogs (צפרדע – Ts’phardae’a\) – an overflowing (צפר) of things to be acknowledged (דע)
3 – lice (כנים – kinim) – information that is honest and sincere
4 – mixture (ערוב – \aRoBh) – one’s becoming mixed up or confused by what is encountered
5 – inflammation (שחין – Sh’Hhin) – a person’s laying oneself out to experience (השתחוות), of making entreaties and asking questions (בעה)
6 – pestilence (דבר – DeBheR) – a barrage of experience that drives directly forward
7 – hail (ברד – BaRaD) a boring in of experience (ברז > ברד)

The lead up to the eighth plague is similar to that of others. Moshe (the mental faculty drawing out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience)6 and Aharon (the mental faculty bringing things to light)7 exhort Pharaoh (our being in denial and thus chaotically attending to too many things in experience) with the following, allegorically: “An impression (כה),8 G-d’s bringing forth of existence makes explicit,9 G-d’s Guidance for those wandering about experience (עברים – Hebrews),10 until when will you refuse to humble yourself as a result of my many presentations (מפני – before me, my faces)? Send forth the being mindful of me (my people) that they shall devote attention to me (עבד – worship, serve).” However, the refusal to be humble (לענות – lae-\aNoeT) is new. This word comes from the root \aNaH (ענה – to afflict), but having evolved from /aNaH (אנה – to impose) it literally means to impose and overwhelm. Whereas in English humility has a component of lowliness (humus (ground) > humilis), in Hebrew it is more about the accepting of one’s relative position to what is overwhelming of experience, but not necessarily a lower position. Here the question for Pharaoh (our being in denial and thus chaotically attending to too many things in experience) is when will you submit to the many faces or presentations of experience coming forth from G-d’s bringing forth of existence. In other words, there is not just one thing coming from G-d that G-d wants us to take note of, but rather, as the creator of all of what exists G-d wants us to send our being mindful of Him (his people) into the place of flash floods (מדבר – midbar),11 threshing through what dangles of stirring things (דרך שלשת ימים – a journey of three days).12 However, if we refuse to be mindful (send the people) then this same experience will be perceived as a plague of experience.

The name of the eighth plague, locusts (ארבה – /aRBeH), can be derived from two etymologically unrelated roots. The first is from the word HaRBaeH (הרבה – many) that evolves to mean locust (many, innumerable). The second is from an unrelated root /aRaBh, (ארב – to squeeze into the light, lurk, ambush). Thus the locusts (ארבה – /aRBeH) represent a swarm of innumerable things that squeeze into the light and ambush a person. There will be so many that one will not be able to see the way for a person to dispose oneself to experience (ארץ – land)13 such that it will consume one’s serpentining through experience (פלטה – escaped)14 and all of a person’s striving (עץ – tree).15 It will fill what comes in from experience (בתים – houses)16 as a result of a person’s devoting attention to experience (עבד – servant) and as a result of all of a person’s feverishly focusing upon the many things narrowing in (מצרים – Mistraim). Even before the plague begins, Pharaoh’s servants implore for him to send forth the acts of applying oneself in experience (אנשים – men)17 so that they might devote themselves to G-d’s bringing forth of existence, G-d’s guidance found in experience (HaShem, אלהיהם).18 Because in the face of being ambushed by innumerable things, Mitsraim, a person’s feverishly focusing upon the many things narrowing in from experience, is lost.

With such opportunity abounding, our Pharaoh needs to know, which mental faculties will be required. So Moshe says: with our becoming mentally stirred with particular things in experience (נער – young men)19 and with our ability to visualize things clearly and maturely (זקן – elders);20 with our taking action (בנים – sons)21 and with our endeavoring (בנות – daughters);21 with our considering things (צאן – flocks)22 and with out investigating (בקר – cattle)23 because for us, it is a way of drawing into (חג – pilgrimage) G-d’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H). But our Pharaoh, our being in denial and thus chaotically attending to too many things in experience, is afraid. Although, he acknowledges that they will indeed see G-d’s bringing forth of existence (יהי כן השם עמכם), he believes that only evil, misery and distress (רעה) will be found in making the effort. Therefore, he insists that only acts of prevailing strength (גבר – men)24 should be sent.

In the face of Pharaoh’s refusal, Moshe (our mental faculty drawing out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience) brings out the arbeh, the swarm of innumerable things that squeeze into the light and ambush a person. But if they are everywhere, how is it they we feel ambushed by them? Because in addition to Moshe’s actions, the genesis of this plague requires HaShem to drive an east wind, a spirit of anxious anticipation (רוח קדים). Here the allegory utilizes the double meaning of RuaHh (רוח) as both wind and a person’s spirit. Additionally, the word QaDyM (קדים – east) which literally means of an earlier (sunrise) time, can also mean zealous or anxious anticipation. It is this, our anxiety at the time of our making an investigation (בוקר),23 that lifts up the feeling ambushed by experience, Not only did it cover over the eyeing of one’s disposing of oneself (עין כל הארץ),13 but it also hedged (חשׂך > חשך) in the ability to dispose oneself to experience (הארץ).13 Ultimately, when Pharaoh had enough, Moshe (our mental faculty drawing out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience) entreated God, such that God was churning up a west wind (רוח ים), a spirit of being stirred up and excited (המה > ים), that was carrying away what was ambushing the person. And then he was channeling it, toward the sea of reeds (ימה סוף). Here, just as previously, RuaHh (רוח) carries the double meaning of both wind and a person’s spirit. Additionally, the Arabic cognate of SuPh (סוף) means “to look out expectantly and longingly, to look forward to.” With a change of attitude, not one enigma, conundrum or riddle (אחד)25 remained of what was ambushing the person in experience (ארבה – /arbeh, locust).

Without any attempts to convince Pharaoh, the ninth plague, darkness (חשך – HhoSheKh) descends on Mitsraim (a person’s feverishly focusing upon the many things narrowing in). Because this word evolved from the word HhaSaKh (חשׂך – to hedge in, hold back), the darkness is not the absence of things but rather a palpable blanketing of everything (וימש חשך), a dangling of many stirring things (שלשת ימים) for three days.12 However, for the behaviors of making a sustained survey of the many things advancing forward in experience (בני ישראל – the children of Yisrael)26 it was the light of opportunities radiating out in all directions.

Again, Pharaoh (our being in denial and thus chaotically attending to too many things in experience) tells Moshe (our mental faculty drawing out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience) to devote attention (עבד – serve, worship) G-d’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H) but without their consideration (צאן – flocks) and without their making an investigation (בקר – cattle). Moshe ups the ante and demands that Pharaoh also contribute offerings and that their ability to visually fixate upon things (מקנה – possessions)27 also go with, for no hoof (פרסה – parsah),28 no minute observation (farisa, Arabic) may remain. Because from each act of visually fixating on reality (קנה – to acquire), they shall take up for the purpose of devoting attention to G-d’s bringing forth of existence, G-d’s Guidance found in experience (Elohim).

In order to understand the allegory of the tenth and final plague, it is necessary to understand that the word for death is used paradoxically to mean “a complete drawing out of”29 and that the word BaKhoR (בכור – first born) literally means “a welling forth of.”30 Therefore, the killing of the first born allegorically represents “a complete drawing out of what wells forth in experience” be it as a consequence of one’s feverishly focusing upon what narrows in from experience (Mitsraim), or of one’s chaotically attending to many things in branching out into experience (Pharaoh), or of one’s pouring forth throughout experience (שפחה – handmaid, one who pours),31 or as a consequence of one’s brutishly pushing inward to make observations of experience (בהמה – herd animal).32 It is for this reason that the people were previously told to request from their ability to perceive (רעה – neighbor, lit. one received),33 containings (כלי – containers) of many lasting impressions (כסף – silver)34 and of many fleeting impressions (זהב – gold)35 regarding existence.

However, we must be prepared for this massive influx of information derived from experience. The month of this event will forever represent the first of the months (ראש חדשים), an act of seeing (ראה > ראש)36 as a result of many acts of threshing over and over experience (דוש > חדש).37 During this act of seeing (ראש) and renewed threshing (חדש), when life experience bears down (עשר – tenth),38 we are to take up a craving (שה – youngling)39 for the coming in of experience (house, בא > בית). It must be a perfect craving, one of clear mindedness (זכר – male, mental clarity)40 to be a way of watching and observing experience (משמרת) until the flooding in all directions of what bears down in experience (ארבעה עשר – fourteenth).41 At that time, we are to lean into it (חטה > שחט)42 between the moments of confusion (ערבים – evenings).43 Furthermore, we are to take from what flows of experience (דם – blood)44 and put it upon the starts (שתי – two)45 of our anxiety (מזוזת – doorposts)46 and upon our places of leaning out in contemplation (משקף – ledge, lintel).47 We are to embrace (אכל – eat)48 what is confidently driven into (בשר – flesh)49…leaning in with persistence (צלי אש – roasted of fire)50…acts of striving (מצות – matsah)51 over feelings of bitterness (מררים – bitter herbs).52 We are to embrace (eat) it in haste, for it is a leaping (פסח)53 for G-d’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H). If instead a person embraces an act of becoming overheated, angry, worked up and violent (חמץ – chamaets),54 then a person of that spirit (הנפש ההוא) will be cut off from the ability to make a sustained survey of the many things advancing forward in experience (Yisrael).

After God’s instruction to Moshe was performed, it occurred at midnight (בחצי הלילה), with the act of wedging and dividing through (חצה) one’s feelings of exhaustion (לאה > לילה), God struck upon everything welling forth in experience through a disposing of oneself to the act of feverishly focusing upon the many things narrowing in from experience (ארץ מצרים).13 Thereupon Pharaoh (our being in denial and thus chaotically attending to too many things in experience) was calling for Moshe (our mental faculty drawing out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience) and Aharon (our mental faculty bringing things to light) to go and to devote attention (עבד – serve, worship) G-d’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H). along with their consideration (צאן – flocks)22 and along with their investigation (בקר – cattle).23

So those of the behaviors of making a sustained survey of the many things advancing forward in experience (children of Yisrael) were marching on, away from becoming shaken and compelled by what things were rearing up in experience (רעמסס – Ramses),55 and were instead moving toward the many hopeful acts of squinting and gazing through an intertwined and entangled experience (סכת – Sukkot).56

However, not just anyone can make a leap (פסח – PeSaHh) to G-d’s bringing forth of existence. A person who is only vaguely acquainted with experience (נכר – foreigner),57 a person who simply settles into experience (תושב – settler),58 a person who must be prodded by experience (שכיר – hired worker),59 and a person who remains inaccessible to experience (ערל – uncircumcised, covered over)60 may not. Anyone who makes a sustained survey of the many things advancing forward in experience (Yisrael) may make a leap to G-d’s bringing forth of existence. But if a person who draws in (גר – sojourner, convert)61 toward experience wishes to make a leap (פסח – PeSaHh) to G-d’s bringing forth of existence, the text says: המול לו כל זכר “He will be circumcised for his own sake, each male.” The word here meaning “to be circumcised” (המול – HiMoL) is the niphal of the verb MuL (מול – to circumcise). Coincidentally, were the verb MaLaL (מלל – to engage) to have a niphal form it would also be המול (HiMoL). If this verb were to exist (which it does not), its meaning would be “to be engaged with.” The allegory of the sentence would then be: “He will be engaged for his own sake, each thing in experience that is clearly manifest.” Furthermore, any act of devoting attention (עבד – slave),2 one of (mental) persistence (איש – husband > man),62 one visually fixating upon many lasting impressions (מקנת כסף – acquired of silver)27,34 and you will engage it (with experience) (מלתה = מלותה), it may embrace the act of leaping to G-d’s bringing forth of existence.

The final two paragraphs of this parshah instruct us to sanctify all of the first born males of Yisrael to G-d, both of humans and animals. Allegorically, it instructs us to attribute to G-d everything in experience that wells forth (בכור – first born)30 of what bursts forth (פטר) in experience, everything that a person can adapt to and accommodate from experience (רחם – womb)63 as a result of the behaviors of making a sustained survey of the many things advancing forward in experience (בני ישראל – children of Yisrael) through a person’s being thoughtfully absorbed with experience (אדם – human)64 and through a person’s pushing his way into experience (to make observations) (בהמה – herd animals).32 We are commanded to be clear minded (זכור – remember)40 of what is stirring in experience, that which is apparent (היום הזה – this day)65,66 because this is how we were able to leave behind the feverishly focusing upon the many things narrowing in from experience (Mitsraim). We must not embrace the becoming overheated, angry, worked up and violent (חמץ – chamaets), rather we must willingly give forth of ourselves to experience, just like the abounding vegetation of spring (אביב).67 In this way, we shall come into a disposing of oneself to what flows of what is captivating in experience and what pours forth copiously (ארץ זבת חלב ודבש – a land flowing with milk and honey).68 By embracing acts of striving (מצות – matsah), we will draw into (חג) G-d’s bringing forth of existence. Any bursting forth of our being overly fastidious, constraining or harboring resentment (חמר – donkey)69 must be redeemed with a craving (שה – youngling)39 for experience and if we are unable to redeem it, then we must drop it (ערפתו). These are the instructions, the signs that point the way, that daily are upon our means of pointing things out and acknowledging experience (יד < ידה – hand) and that must flit, float and flicker before our eyes (טוטפות),70 because G-d’s bringing forth of existence required a strong hand to take us out from the acts of feverishly focusing upon the many things narrowing in from experience. Because our Pharaoh, our being in denial and thus chaotically attending to too many things in experience, would not let us go.

Notes:
1 – Pharaoh (פרעה) one’s being in denial and thus chaotically attending to too many things in experience, branching out in many directions. From (Ex5:4)(CrII28:19) from PaRa\ (פרע) to cause to disengage, cause disorder, chaos. Also to refuse to accept (Pr1:25) and to avoid (Pr4:15;8:33;13:18). In Arabic: to be free, available, collect one’s thoughts, devote and apply oneself, and do one’s best, to put forth branches, to branch, to derive / deduce from ramification, concerning practical application. In Arabic PaRa\ evolved into PaRa\g
2 – work-serve-slave-worship-devote (עבד – \aBhaD) Although the noun originally means slave, the verb evolved to mean to work, serve, worship and devote. Allegorically, it means “devote (attention).”
3 – \aM (עם – people) allegorically means “being ever presently (mindful) of what crowds in.” It comes from the related roots \aMaH – \aMaM (עמה – עמם) literally meaning to be ever present with. However, when something is ever present with something else, it can be close or too close. Therefore, the words derived from this root reflect closeness: with (עם – \iM), people-crowd (עם – \aM), and connecting (עמה – \uMaH); and those representing being too close: covered over, suppress, ignorant, dim, dark, and blind. In ancient Hebrew and in those Semitic languages retaining the ghayin variant of ayin, the latter words are spelled with ghayin, but are nevertheless etymologically related.
4 – Mitsraim (מצרים). Allegorically, one’s feverishly focusing upon the many things narrowing in. This word for Egypt probably was derived from there being two narrow (צר) strips of arable land on either side of the Nile river. The allegory is based on the idea that narrowing in upon something can have a visual component. Evidence for this can be seen in the evolved words צוהר window; צהרים (time of clarity) before and after noon; יצהר (transparent) oil and the related Arabic ד’הר to be / become visible, perceptible, distinct, clear, apparent, appear, know, learn, noon. Therefore, MiTsRi (מצרי – Egyptian) allegorically represents one’s visually narrowing in upon something. The doubling in Mitsraim (מצרים) suggests a person’s viusally narrowing in upon what narrows in upon the person. I added “feverishly” because the king of Mitsraim is Pharaoh.
5 – https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/waaerah-the-gestalt-that-is-yhwh/
6 – Moshe (משה) allegorically complex, with all of the details of the story, the archetype of Moshe means: “A behavior of being mindfully present with many startling things coming in from experience, in mentally clinging to a scene, sucking up some details and looking them over, considering the many possible directions that one particular thing may go, being more mindful of it, channeling this one particular thing while subduing the thoughts about the others, and in showing resolve and being decisive in attending to this one particular thing, making it a priority, thus drawing it out from a midst the many other stirring things found in experience.” Simplied: “the mental faculty drawing out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience.” The verb MaShaH (משה) simply means “to draw out.”
7 – Aharon (אהרן) “the mental faculty bringing things to light;” from the verb HaRaH (הרה – to conceive), but like the related verb HaRHaeR (הרהר), it refers to one’s ability to conceive of something in mind (not in the womb). Also related to these words is the noun HaR (mountain – הר) which literally means “the place of bringing things to light,” a place where one can see and conceive of what is coming due to its elevated perspective.
8 – So (כה) literally an impression, derived from כוה (to press a point >) to sear, scald, cauterize
9 – /aMaR (אמר) to say (explicitly), Amorite. This root evolved from מר (pouring) a drop (Is40:15) and מור myrrh (sticky and bitter). Most Semitic words of the /aMaR (אמר) root mean sticky, or to stick with. Arabic: constantly urging > command; spirit, soul, mind; pericardium, characteristic; Ugaritic: look at, be seen; order, demand; lamb (matted); Akkadian look at, see, inspect, examine, catch sight of; Syriac: muse, preach, expound, say, speak, renounce (declare away from), tell affirm, assert, intend, chant; predict
10 – \iBhRi (עברי) Hebrew. From the root \aBhaR (עבר), to pass through or over. Many explain this word as referring to Avram’s crossing over a river in his entering into Canaan, but based on allegorical context and the fact that the Hebrews were nomads who passed through from one grazing area to the next, it is more likely that it means wanderer.
11 – miDBaR (מדבר) In most Semitic languages the root DaBaR (דבר) means to drive at and to direct. Even in Hebrew, the same piel form of the verb that usually means to speak means “to drive over, barrel down, to kill” (CrII22:10). The word DeBheR (דבר) means plague for this reason. Although miDBar may simply mean “a place requiring direction or guidance,” the fact of geography and the frequent occurrence of flash floods suggests to me otherwise.
12 – threshing through what dangles of stirring things (דרך שלשת ימים). “A way-journey of three days.” DaRaKh (דרך) to tread, trample, thresh, walk about, guide and aim. ShaLoSh (שלש – three) actually means suspend? This root evolved from the root שלה meaning to be relaxed and at ease. A doubling of that root formed ShiLShaeL (שלשל) meaning to let down, to lower toward, hang down, chain, couple, relax, and loosen the bowels. ShaLaL (שלל) to let fall. Sh.L.Sh. also means to deposit and entrust. YoM (יום – day), from HaMaH (המה – to stir up), literally means “time period causing a stirring.”
13 – land (ארץ – /eReTs) evolved from RaTsaTs (רצץ to run upon / crush), which evolved from RuTs (רוץ to run) > RaTsaH (רצה to run toward, show favor). The allegory comes from a related noun /aRTsuT (ארצות one’s disposition, how a person runs-shows favor)
14 – to escape (פלט – PaLaT). The root evolved from פלץ (move in all directions) to tremble. It not only means to escape, deliver and rescue, but also (writhe) to deliver young from the womb (Mi6:14)
15 – tree (עץ – \aeTs) derived from the root \uTs (עוץ) which derived from /uTs (אוץ) literally means “to hasten, force, push through” but is used to mean “to advise, give counsel.” Allegorically, it is used to mean “one’s striving, one’s urges or things that are difficult or elusive – the later from the Arabic cognate and context.
16 – house (בית – BayiT) from Bo/ (בוא – to come in). Technically, it means “place of coming in” but based in context the allegory uses it as “the coming in of something from experience” or “what comes in from experience.”
17 – Men (/aNaShim – אנשים) from the noun /eNoSh (אנוש), evolved from the root /aNaH (אנה) meaning to impose or apply oneself. Therefore the meaning is those applying-imposing themselves in experience
18 – Elohim (אלהים) plural of Eloah (אלוה) – Although most derive it from El (אל), I believe that the word evolved from LaWaH (לוה) meaning to escort and guide. Hence, initially the word Elohim (אלהים) referred to the pantheon of gods, whose purported purpose was to guide and escort humanity. With the advent of monotheism, the word was used with a singular verb to represent G-d, but continued to be used to represent the pantheons of others, a council of judges and people of similar purpose.
19 – young man (Na\aR – נער) evolved from the verb \uR (עור – to stir up, awaken), allegorically means the act of becoming mentally stirred by particular things in experience mostly based on allegorical context.
20 – elder (זקן) allegorically “the acts of clearly visualizing things” from (זקן – (be clear) beard, old), related to ZuQ (זוק – (Arb- (make clear in the mind) to visualize) and ZaQaQ (זקק – (to make clear / purify) to distill)
21 – sons (בנים) – From the root BuWN (בון) to push between. The masculine Ben (בן) is used to express belonging to category of, or of the characteristic of: such as בן הכות deserving of death penalty, בן לילה of the night, expressing one’s age, בן חיל one of endurance. Allegorically, a son is a subsidiary behavior and from context daughters are ways of endeavoring.
22 – TsoN (צאן – flock) essentially means “what holds back”. Cognate with Arabic S^WN-S^/N (to protect / guard/ safeguard, preserve, conserve, sustain; seclude o.s, protect o.s, be chaste); Th^N ((regard = re – guard >) to think, believe, deem, suspect, suppose, consider, presume); and D^N (to keep back, be stingy, thrifty, meager >) in due consideration of
23 – cattle (בקר – BaQaR, one who investigates) or morning (בוקר – BoQaeR, time of investigation). From the root meaning “to investigate, search.”
24 – men (גבר – GeBheR) related to the verb of the same root meaning to prevail over.
25 – mental sharpness (/eHhaD – אחד) evolved from the root HhaDaD (חדד – to sharpen), literally meaning “one (sharpened point);” allegorically it means “mental sharpness” or “what sharpens the mind” > “enigma, conundrum, or riddle” from the related root HhuD (חוד) meaning to test one’s mental acumen, to propose a riddle or enigma
26 – Yisrael (ישראל) from the verb Sarah (שרה), from which comes the name Yisrael (ישראל). It does not exactly mean to wrestle, nor does its associated noun exactly mean princess. It means to fix on something either visually or physically. When to fix on something physically, it could be used to mean wrestle. When to fix on something visually, its male counterpart, Sar (שר), means an overseer, a member of the court. Additionally, El (אל) G-d, meaning one advancing forward with initiative such as in el (אל) to, toward; ayil (איל) ram forward; Ya/aL (יאל) to endeavor to advance forward allegorically can be used to mean “what advances forward” and “one’s advancing forward.”
27 – cattle, acquired (miQNeH – מקנה, possession) comes from the verb QaNaH (קנה – to acquire), representing one’s (visually) fixating on particular things, it literally means “to fix in place.” It evolved into QaNa/ (קנא) be visually fixated on > jealous, zealous
28 – hoof (פרסה) from verb of the same root meaning to split, break. Syriac: spread out, extend, stretch out, unfold, unroll, diffuse, divide; devise, plan, scheme; Arabic: to tear to pieces, ravish, rape, eye, regard searchingly, scrutinize, detect (a quality) be perspicacious, discriminating, discrimination; Akkadian – to spread out, cut off, abolish, withhold, decide, pick out, select, divide, section off, investigate, establish facts, arbitrate, reach a decision, pass judgment
29 – die (MuT – מות) has the paradoxical meaning of “to be completely drawn out,” or fully manifest. Its essential meaning of extending something in space or time can be seen by examining the related roots MaTaQ (מתק – to savor), MaTaiy (מתי – (drawn out to) when), and MaTaHh (מתח – to draw, spread out)
30 – BaKhaR (בכר) to bud (well up) to be born first evolved from BaKhaH (בכה) to cry, weep, vent and trickle; which evolved from NaBhaKh (נבך) (welling up) spring, source (Jb38:16)
31 – handmaid (שׁפחה – ShiPhHhaH) related to Akkadian and Arabic cognates: “to pour” and probably Akkadian SaPhaHh to spread, spend freely, splash over, scatter, disperse, frustrate, squander; diaspora.
32 – herd animal (בהמה – B’HaeMaH) This word evolved from an unattested root BoowM (בום) whose approximate meaning was to push into / between. Related to this root: BaMaH (במה) most often translated as height, but more specifically means bulge, protrusion, or haunches (as in Psalms 18:34); YaBaM (יבם) which in a very loose sense means to push in or intercede in behalf of (if one could intercede in behalf of a deceased brother in order to ensure progeny in his name); B’HaeMaH (בהמה) meaning one who pushes in or herd-animal, (which explains why the related word behemoth has come to mean brutish). From allegorical context, it tends to mean to push in so as to observe.
33 – friend (רע – Ra’a\) from the verb Ra\aH (רעה – to welcome, to receive) which evolved from Ra/aH (ראה – (be penetrated) to see, perceive) from YaRa\ (ירא – (be penetrated) > be in awe, be afraid) from YaRaH (ירה – to aim > penetrate). Note also רע (perception) thought (Ps139:2) and רעא (Syr- think, be minded, be of opinion, reason, purpose)
34 – silver (כֶּסֶף – KeSePh) evolved from the root K.S.H (כסה) which means “to make marks, cuts, impressions and to cover over.” Over time, silver tarnishes. K.S.Ph. Silver, literally means “that which is marked up (tarnished)
35 – gold (זהב – ZaHaBh) literally means “of fleeting impressions.” From unattested ZaHaH (זהה – exude light), see Syriac cognate ZaHa/ (זהא – shining, glorious, splendid, resplendent) and in Arabic (radiant, shine brightly, be haughty). Also Arabic cognate of ZaHaBh means to take leave, vanish, to take with, lead or conduct, to allow the imagination to wander > think, believe; gold, going, passing, manner, opinion, belief, ideology, orientation
36 – head (ראש – Ro/Sh) possibly derived from Ra/aH (ראה – to see) which explains the vestigial aleph. Contextually, this always works allegorically as well.
37 – month (חודש – HhoDeSh) derived from the root DuSh (דוש) (flow / go over again & again) > to rake, tread, thresh, stampede. The root HhaDaSh means to renew (go over again and again).
38 – ten (עשרה – \aSaRaH) metaphorically means “what bears down (upon a person).” This Semitic root consists of two etymologically unrelated homonyms. The number ten evolved from the root that means “to be well supported.” But the other homonym means to urge, force, compel, bear down, plight, and predicament in Arabic; and to put pressure on, demand, exact payment, constrict, enclose, and confine in Akkadian
39 – youngling (שה – SeH) from the verb ShaHaH (שהה – to stay, remain, stand still, dwell, tarry, pause). The Arabic cognate means: “desire, wish, covet, crave, long, arouse greed, whet the appetite; sensual, sensuous, libidinous, lustful, uninhibited.”
40 – male (זכר – ZaKhaR) literally means to be clear, hence to remember (be clear in mind) from ZaKhaH (זכה
– (to be clear) be pure, free of guilt, right / justified, innocent, be acquitted / right, to be privileged. Also note (Syriac – (manifest something with clarity) use magic arts; bring up a familiar spirit; divine using a spirit).
41 – four (ארבע /aRBa\) derived from RaBha\ (רבע – to lie down, spread out, make square). Allegorically it represents a spreading out in all directions; flooding / inundating hence 40 days and nights of flood, wandering in the wilderness and Moshe’s time with HaShem in the mountain.
42 – slaughter (people or animals) (שחט – ShaChaT) from HhaTaH (חטה – to incline, lean into) > ChaTa/ (חטא – to veer off, sin). Compare cognates: Ugaritic: butcher, slaughterer; Arabic: be annoyed / displeased / angry, to resent, wrath; exasperation; Syriac: to harm, mar, abuse, impair, vitiate, infringe, violate (law / woman)
43 – evening (ערב – \aRaBh) derived from \aRaH (ערה – to pour) > \aRaBh (ערב – to mix, confuse), evening being a time of mixing of day and night. From \aRaBh > \gaRaBh (ערב).
44 – blood (דם – DaM) what flows (of experience) derived from DaWaH (דוה – to flow). Related words are DaYo (דיו – fluid, ink), DaMaH (דמה – congestion) and DaMa\ (דמע – tears)
45 – Sh’Tai (שתי), meaning two, comes from Sh’NaTayim (שנתים) > Sh’Tayim (שתים). However, the allegory comes from the verb ShaTaT (שתת) meaning “to set up / out to do something, to start something or lay the foundation for.”
46 – doorposts (מזוזת – M’ZuZoT) from ZuZ (זוז – coupled, pair, set) (Jastro) which comes from ZaWaH (זוה – projection > to couple, join). However,the allegory from: NaZaZ (נזז to shake, be unsteady, staggering (Jastro)) > מזז (to shake) to be nervous, to fear (Gesenius, although he proposes a different etymology) & ZuZ (זוז – shake, move).
47 – ledge, lintel (משקף – MaShQoPh) means to lean out and look out. Jastro records to contemplate.
48 – eat (אכל – /aKhaL) the verb evolved from KaLaH (כלה – to contain); allegorically to embrace, encompass.
49 – flesh (בשר – BaSaR). The word almost always means flesh, but literally “what is driven into with confidence,” probably alluding to removing meat from a bone. The Arabic cognate means “to peel, scrape / shave off, grate, shred, come in contact, sexual intercourse, apply oneself.” Also note probable mis-translation of (Ec2:3) תרתי בלבי למשוך ביין את בשרי Conventionally translated as: I sought in my heart to draw out with wine, my flesh. But more correctly translated as: I sought in my heart to draw out with wine, my confidence.
50 – roasted of fire (צלי אש – Ts’Ly /aeSh) Allegorically: “leaning in with persistence.” From TsaLaH (צלה – (to suspend from) to roast (SmI2:15)(Is44:16,19). Related roots mean to suspend > to hang off from the side > lean in. Example TsaLaBh (צלב – to crucify), TsaLaPh (צלף – caper bush (hangs off from cliffs)), TsaLa\ (צלע – side, to limp), TsaL (צל – shadow (hangs off the side of a thing)). Fire /aeSh (אש, fire, persistent existence) from /uSh (אוש – to make persistent, to go on and on, be lengthy, make a steady noise (Jastro))
51 – unleavened bread (מצות – MaTsoT) The plural of MaTsaH, spelled without vowels the same as MiTsWoT-MiTsVoT (מצות) commandments. The words TsiWaH (צוה – to command) and MaTsaH (מצה – unleavened bread) evolved from the former, NiTsaH (נצה – to strive). TsiWaH (צוה) evolved from NiTsaH (נצה) by dropping the initial letter nun. Whereas the verb MaTsaH (מצה) evolved from NiTsaH (נצה) by converting the nun to the letter mem. Of the two forms of the noun MaTsaH (מצה), the one meaning unleavened bread comes from either the verb MaTsaH (מצה) meaning to wring out or MaTsaTs (מצץ) to drain, a derivative of the former. The noun MaTsaH (מצה) meaning strife / quarrel comes from the verb NiTsaH (נצה) to strive / struggle. Of course, the noun MiTsWaH (מצוה) commandment comes from the verb TsiWaH (צוה), to command. However, the essential meaning of all of these verbs is to strive.
52 – bitter herbs (מררים – M’RoRiM) representing both taste and emotionally embittered, be afflicted (Is22:4)
53 – leaping (פסח – PeSaHh) see (KgI18:26)
54 – leavened bread (חמץ – chamaets). The same root as the word chomaets (חומץ) meaning a violent person (Ps71:4). The root ChaMaTs is closely related to the words ChaMaS (חמס) meaning violent / belligerent and ChaeMaH (חמה) meaning anger.
55 – becoming shaken and compelled by what things were rearing up in experience (רעמסס – Ramses) from Ra\aM (רעם – to irritate, annoy) whereas the Arabic cognate: force, compel, coerce. SaeS (סס) is related to SuS (סוס – horse, one who rears upward) which evolved from roots ShuS (שוש – to lift something, to rob) ShuS (שוס – to lift > plunder), SuS (שוש – uplifted, joyful)
56 – Sukkot (סובות) – named for sukkot (thatched huts) which were named for the s’khakh (סכך – thatching) material used to make its roof. Related to SuKh (סוך) to hedge in (Jb38:8), to shelter; SaKhaKh (סכך – to cover snugly) and SaKhaKh (סכך – to knit together (Ps139:13)). However, the etymologically unrelated verb SaKaH (סכה) means to look out and gaze, to hope for and to foresee.
57 – foreigner (נכר – NaeKhaR) literally means “one of vague acquaintance.” The verb of the same root means: to acquaint, to recognize, to be unfamiliar and to make an error in recognition, misjudge
58 – settler (תושב – ToShaBh) from the verb YaShaBh (ישב – to sit, settle in)
59 – hired worker (שכיר –SaKhyR) a person who must be prodded (dug into) by experience. From the verb SaKhaR (שכר – to hire) which probably evolved from KaRaH (כרה – to dig).
60 – uncircumcised, covered over (ערל – \aRaeL) a person who remains inaccessible to experience. This is a common metaphor “a person of uncircumcised heart.” Consider: (niphal) to be covered over (in shame) (Cb2:16)
61 – sojourner, convert (גר – GaeR) from the root GuR (גור – sojourn) literally meaning “to draw into something, somewhere, somebody.” גור to sojourn, gather together, be afraid (draw inward), incite; GaRaR (גרר) to drag along, saw, draw up cud; GaRaBh (גרב) to scrape; GaRaPh (גרף) to scrape up, sweep away; GaRaM (גרם) to draw along, carry with, to gnaw on or crush bones; GaRa\ (גרע) to drag away, reduce, diminish; Ga\aR (גער) to draw into, rebuke; GaRaSh (גרש) to drive into so as to drive out / divorce; SaGaR (סגר) to close in upon
62 – husband > man (איש – /eySh) from /uSh (אוש – to make persistent, to go on and on, be lengthy, make a steady noise (Jastro)). Initially meaning husband (one who persists with a wife), it later came to mean man. Allegorically, it is always used to mean “mental persistence.”
63 – womb (רחם) from the root RaWaHh (רוח – wide) means facilitating expansiveness for someone or something. RaHhaMim also means bowels-intestines and compassion.
64 – human (אדם – /aDaM) evolved from DaMAH (דמה – to make comparisons, to think) which evolved from DuM (דום – be still, silent). Also related ground (/aDaMah – אדמה) comes from the root DuM (דום) which means to be still. In Arabic אדם means to enrich bread with food / fat / condiment; fatty / shortening; dyed leather; hide; skin; surface, earth), In Akkadian אדם means to be engaged in conflict whereas in Amharic it means plot, conspiracy, coup d’etat, strike, boycott. Similarly, in Ugaritic the verb is used in the following line: “the cow lows for her calf (..) as they lament.” Based on comparitive Semitics, I believe lament is best replaced with “are intensely concerned, absorbed, preoccupied, obsessed, engrossed together.” Lastly, the related root דאם in Arabic means “to remain, persist, last, go on, continue, persevere, be devoted, permanence, incessant.”
65 – YoM (יום – day), from HaMaH (המה – to stir up), literally means “time period causing a stirring.”
66 – This (זה) from the verb ZaHaH (זהה) and literally means “what is visually radiant or apparent.”
67 – spring (אביב – /aBhiBh) derived from the root /aBhaH (אבה – to willingly give forth of oneself, yield)
68 – a land flowing with milk and honey (ארץ זבת חלב ודבש) a disposing of oneself to what flows of what is captivating in experience and what pours forth copiously. FROM: land (ארץ – /eReTs) evolved from RaTsaTs (רצץ to run upon / crush), which evolved from RuTs (רוץ to run) > RaTsaH (רצה to run toward, show favor). The allegory comes from a related noun /aRTsuT (ארצות one’s disposition, how a person runs-shows favor). Milk (חלב – HhaLaBh) from the Arabic root (חלב = ChaLaB – to seize with claws, cajole, coax, beguile, fascinate, captivate; gripping, captivating, attractive, tempting). Honey (דבש – DaBhaSh) literally means both to extend outward and to rush or flow heavily. It is related to DaBhaR (דבר – to drive directly at / over, kill, pestilence, speak); DaBhaQ (דבק – to adhere to, catch up with, pursue); DaBha/ (דבא – strength, prime); DoBh (דוב – bear, one who rushes at). In Akkadian, this root means bear like.
69 – donkey (HhaMoR – חמרים) From HhaMaR (חמר – to heap up, load), but also related to the Talmudic word HhuMRaH (חמרה – a stringent, fastidiousness and attention to details). Usually allegorically means “acts of conscientiously loading up details.” However, Arabic cognate also means: constraining or harboring resentment
70 – ToT’PhoT (טוטפות) flit, float and flicker. A doubling of TuPh (טוף – to swell / come to the surface; be on the surface) (Jastro) with loss of initial letter Pheh (similar to KoKhaBh from KaBhKaBh – star). Cognate with T.Ph.Y.(טפי) Arabic – to float, drift, rise to the surface, emerge; halo, drifting, superficial); TuPh (טוף) Akkadian – to twist, wind around); TuPh (טוף) Syriac – to bubble, boil, flicker. Like the Tefillin on the Yad (ידה – YaDaH, to point out), this in meant to catch one’s attention when eyeing experience. To be a sign that points the way for the person.

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Marcus Jastrow (1996) A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushlami, and the Midrashic Literature.New York: The Judaica Press

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David Kantrowitz (1991 – 2009) Judaic Classics version 3.4. Institute for Computers in Jewish Life, Davka Corp., and/or Judaica Press, Inc.

G. del Olmo Lete & J. Sanmartin (2003) A Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language in the Alphabetic Tradition. Leiden: Brill. Translated by Wilfred G.E. Watson

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About the Author
David Kolinsky is a retired physician born and raised in Monsey, New York. While living in Monterey California, David initially lived as a secular, agnostic Jew. However, in his spare time, he delved into twenty years of daily study of Hebrew etymology and Torah study culminating in the writing of an etymological dictionary of Biblical Hebrew and a metaphorical translation of Torah. Abandoning his agnostic views, David was simultaneously a spiritual leader of the world's smallest conservative synagogue, a teacher in his local reform synagogue, and a gabbai at Chabad. He is currently sheltering in place with his family in his new home in Plano, Texas.
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