David Kolinsky
David Kolinsky

Naso – Elevating One’s Seeing

One must be vigilant when observing experience, not only to guard against dangers, but also to become aware of the opportunities that lay ahead. The children of Israel, representing the different behaviors of making a sustained survey of the many things advancing forward in experience,1 established tribal encampments in the previous parashah. Each encampment represented a different way of mentally attending to experience.2 Members of the tribe of Levi were positioned in the immediate vicinity of the mishkan – representing a person’s dwelling upon experience.3 The behaviors represented by the families of Levi (clinging to a scene)4 ensure that nothing is missed of the experiences brought to us by God’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H). They are the behaviors of repetitively driving into a scene (Gershon),5 of maintaining a visual fix on particular aspects of a scene (Qahat)6 and of unrelentingly pouring over a scene to completion (M’rari).7 Even though this parashah begins with the continued establishment of tribal camps around the mishkan and ends with its anointing and the bringing of gifts, the natural flow of text is interrupted by what appear to be five non sequiturs: expulsion from the camp of impure persons, dealing with one who sins, a wife who goes astray (Sotah), the nazarite vow and the priestly blessing. Although these instructions may appear out of place, allegorically they are precisely where they need to be, for each deals with a situation that has the potential to undermine the ultimate purpose of one’s mentally attending to experience – the ability to engage with experience.

1 – Expulsion from the camp of impure persons:
Having established the means to be mentally present, mentally attending to experience in the ways represented by the behaviors symbolized by each tribe and its Nasi, it is necessary to eliminate the things that adversely affect it. To this end, God commands Moshe to rid the camp (act of mentally attending to experience) of one’s being narrowed in (צרוע Tsaru’a),8 one’s being unreservedly effusive (זב Zabh)9 and any way of being mentally unavailable (טמא)10 with regard to one’s spirit (נפש NePheSh). The text elaborates further stating “from male and unto female, you shall send them to outside with respect to the camp.” Allegorically this elaboration is actually the solution to the problem, for it can be read: “as a result of mental clarity (זכר male)11 and unto being receptive while delving deeply into things (נקבה female),12 you shall send them away – advancing toward what is outside of mentally attending to what is prosaic.”13 So that their means of mentally attending to experience (camps) shall not be made unavailable in that “I (God’s bringing forth of existence) am one dwelling in the midst of them.”

2 – Dealing with one who sins:
The point of mentally attending to experience is ultimately for the purpose of engaging with what God brings forth to us. It can even be said that this is the purpose and meaning of one’s life. Therefore, any act of veering off (חטאת sin)14 for the sake of circumventing (מעל) against God’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H) is unacceptable. In the text, the one that has veered off and circumvented is referred to as /aDaM (אדם human), allegorically a person’s being thoughtfully absorbed with experience.15 Being the one that observes the opportunity that is circumvented, the obvious solution is to acknowledge of oneself (והתודו) their veering off and to settle down their indebtedness (to make it right) (אשם)16 – both through his seeing (בראשו)17 and additionally by his taking it in hand (חמישתו fifth part).18 If the person’s being mentally persistent (איש)19 does not have the means of recovery (גאל)20 then it falls on the person’s ability to give the situation precise and mindful attention (כוהן priest).21

3 – a wife who goes astray (Sotah)
The third way in which a person’s attending to a scene for the purpose of engaging something in experience can be undermined is when a person’s actions, a person’s ability to set out with initiative (אשתו wife)22 goes astray (שוטה Sotah). This occurs when an (other) act of being mentally persistent with some (other) thing in experience (איש man)19 hedges her in – a hedging in of the ability to sow oneself into an experience (שכבת זרע).23,24 As a result, a spirit of jealousy passes over him. The word for jealousy (קנאה QiN’aH) literally means “an act of being visually fixated upon something.”25

The ritual to resolve the situation is very complex. First, the person’s act of being mentally persistent (husband) which believes that he has lost control over his ability to set out with initiative (wife) brings her to the ability to give the situation precise and mindful attention (priest). Additionally, he brings an offering that both symbolizes and precludes her further going astray: a remaining firm (קמח)26 of acts of taking notice of many things in being stirred by them (שערים barley).27 In order to ensure that she does not flail in pursuit of these many options, it is further stipulated that an act of exuding into experience (oil)28 may not be poured upon it, nor can a particular thing be given priority (frankincense).29 It is an act of leaning in of acts of being visually fixated (מנחת קנאת)30,25 – an act of leaning in of being repetitively clear minded (מנחת זכרון), bringing clarity to the act of twisting back and forth (מזכרת עון).31

The act of giving the situation precise and mindful attention (priest) makes her (his ability to take the initiative) remain before the many options available to her, the many faces or presentations (לפני)32 of God’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H). He then takes up holy water into an earthen vessel. This represents a taking up of the many things stirred up in experience of the many things brought forward (holy water)33,34 through an act of containing (כלי vessel),35 by scratching the surface and plowing in (חרש earthen).36 He then adds to it dirt from the floor of the mishkan – the ability to examine every detail (dirt, dust)37 that is with an act of getting closer in (floor),38 of an act of dwelling upon things (mishkan).3 Next, he dishevels (פרע) her hair (lit. head) – causing her ability to see things (head) to chaotically attend to many things in experience (פרע).39 This is accompanied by his placing upon her compulsion (כפיה palms)40 the act of leaning in of acts of visually fixating upon things (מנחת קנאת) – thus forcing (כפה) her to visually fixate on things. Finally, the priest has in his hands what are referred to as “the waters of bitterness that bring forth a curse.”

In this text, the word used for bitterness, (מרים MaRim), related to MaR (מר drop) and MoR (מור myrrh), evolved from RaWaH (רוה pour forth). Cognate with the Arabic MaR (מר) “to flow through and pass along something” and the Akkadian MaRaR (מרר) “to go away, depart, and chase away,” allegorically it means “passing through.” The word used here for “cursing,” Mi/aR’Rim (מאררים) from the root /aRaR (ארר), literally means “brought into the light” – having evolved from /aRaH (ארה to pluck out into the light). So allegorically “the waters of bitterness that bring forth a curse” represent “things drawn off41 of the things passing through in experience, the things being brought into the light.” Like the other words used in this section of text, it represents the opportunities that are available to his wife (אשתו) – the ability to set out with initiative – and the woman (אשה) – the conducting of oneself through experience.52 The other word used here for curse is /aLaH (אלה), related to /aeLaH (אלה these), both words literally mean “what advances forward.”

The priest makes her take an oath: “HaShem shall draw you out regarded as a curse and regarded as an oath a midst your people, in HaShem’s giving your thigh falling and your belly to swell. And these waters, those bringing forth a curse, will come into your bowels to swell the belly and to drop the thigh.” Allegorically this means: “God’s bringing forth of existence shall draw you out42 regarded as “one advancing forward”43 and regarded as “one obliged”44 through what pushes inward45 of your being mindful of the many things crowding in from experience,46 through God’s bringing forth of experience drawing out of your endurance,47 going back and forth,48 and your bursting forth49 (into experience) to be firm.50 And the things stirred up in experience, the ones being brought into the light, the ones advancing forward, will comes into your twists and turns51 in order to firm up the act of bursting forth into experience and to make go back and forth an act of endurance.” Therefore, allegorically the curse is not a curse at all, but rather a bringing forward of propitious events.

4 – the nazarite vow
The fourth seeming non-sequitur to the establishing of the tribal camps and the mishkan is the Nazarite vow. Equally as complicated as Sotah, it is best to glean the important points. The text refers to a man (an act of being mentally persistent)19 or a woman (an act of conducting oneself through experience)52 that makes an extreme effort to vow a vow of exclusive devotion (נדר NeDeR)53 of one abstaining (נזיר NaZyR), for the purpose of abstaining for the sake of God’s bringing forth of existence. As stated throughout, the ultimate purpose of one’s life is to tease out the experiences brought forth by God and to engage those experiences. To that end, the nazarite must abstain from what is overwhelming in experience (wine)54 and what hedges a person in (strong drink),55 especially those that make a person overly worked up (חומץ).56 Nor shall he drink (align with) any way of being steeped in convoluted entanglements (ענבים (vines of grapes)57 – be they one’s of getting in closely (לחים fresh)58 or one’s causing a withering and a holding back (יבשים dried).59 All of the days of the vow of his abstaining a becoming stirred up-agitated (תער razor)60 may not pass over his seeing and perceiving of things (head). All of the days of his time of abstaining for the sake of God’s bringing forth of existence, he shall not come in upon the spirit of being drawn away (a dead spirit).61 He is to be one brought forward (holy) for the sake of God’s bringing forth of existence.

5 – the priestly blessing
On the peshat, the priestly blessing conveys the protection of HaShem to those who receive it. However, in being consistent with the allegorical theme of this parashah, it is also a means of showering the recipient, and his behaviors of making a sustained survey of the many things advancing forward in experience (בני ישראל), with the many experiences brought forth by HaShem, God’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H). Not only does God guard you (שמר) and give you peace (שלום), but God’s bringing forth of existence also showers you with abundance (ברך),62 projects toward you his many faces-presentations (יאר פניו),63 graces you with his presence (חנן), and lifts up and draws off his many faces-presentations to you (ישא פניו). In so doing, God ensures that what is put forth by him (שם his name)64 is placed upon (שים) the person’s behaviors of making a sustained survey of the many things advancing forward in experience (בני ישראל).

Now that the ways to mentally attend to experience (camps) have been established; the things undermining presence of mind have been precluded; and the many opportunities (faces) put forth by God have been promoted; the person’s ability to dwell upon experience (mishkan) can be established (הקים), drawn out (משח anointed)65 and brought forward into experience (קדש). From the elevated (Nasi) (behaviors) of the act of making a sustained survey of the many things advancing forward in experience (Israel), from the acts of seeing (heads) what comes in (house)66 of their acts of taking notice of things (fathers),67 Moshe gave to the Levites (acts of clinging upon a scene): the acts of rushing about experience in order to swiftly descend upon things (wagons)68 and the acts of making an investigation (cattle).69 Gershon (the act of repetitively driving into a scene) received the starts of the acts of rushing about experience in order to descend upon different things and the going in all directions of the act of making an investigation; M’rari (the act of unrelentingly pouring over a scene to completion) received a going in all directions of the acts of rushing about in order to descend upon different things and an act of exuding of making an investigation; but Qahat (an act of maintaining a visual fix on particular aspects of a scene) did not receive, because the act of devoting attention to that which comes forward in experience (עבדת הקודש)70 was upon them. Through the consolidating of information (upon one’s shoulder),71 they were taking it up.

In conclusion:
“(It was) with the coming in of the person’s mental faculty that draws out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience (Moshe)72 to the act of becoming familiar with of being enduringly mentally present (ohel moed)73 to speak with Him (HaShem) that he was hearing the voice speaking to him, from upon the act of covering the scene (kaporet)74 that was upon the act of picking out and bringing into the light (aron)75 the things in evidence (עדות)76 from between the repetitive acts of plowing in and turning things over and over in one’s thoughts (כרבים),77 such that He was speaking to him.”

Notes:
1 – 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.”
2 – camp (חנה – HhaNaH), essentially meaning “to establish a presence” and allegorically “a mental presence.” It evolved from HoN (הון – substantial > wealth) and its hiphil (ההין to make/be present, make/be ready; (Dt1:41)), HaeN (הן – here) and HiNaeH (הנה – see here (be present)). Evolved from (חנה – HhaNaH) is HhaNaN (חנן – presence > grace).
3 – tabernacle, mishkan (משכן – MiShKaN) Allegorically: one’s (visually) dwelling upon a scene. From the verb ShaKaN (שכן to dwell), from the root KuN (כון to be fixed in place).
4 – Lewi – Levi (לוי) from LaWaH (לוה) to take around, escort to, to follow, to cling to, join company of, be attached. In naming him: עתה הפעם ילוה אישי אלי כי ילדתי לו שלשה בנים. Allegorically, the words Pa\aM implies startling, LaWaH implies clinging, \eeSh implies mental persistence, SheLoShaH implies dangling-suspending, BaNim implies activities. Therefore: mentally clinging to a scene, and thus generating an awareness of many startling things
5 – Gershon (גרשן) repeatedly driving into a scene; from GaRaSH (גרש) understood from Hebrew “to divorce” but compare גרש (Akk- to move towards, stride, copulate with); (Arb- (drive into >) grind, crush, grate, bruise); (Syr- to challenge, stir up). Derived from GuR > GRH literally meaning to draw > drive into.
6 – QaHaT (קהת) the act of intently maintaining a visual fix on a scene; from (hold onto firmly) to be obedient (Gn49:10). Based on an unattested root קת (to hold onto firmly) which would have evolved from קשה (be hard / firm / stiff / straight). Also related to קת (Syr – remain fixed, stuck, fix eyes upon / gaze).
7 – M’rary (מררי) traversing through and unrelentingly pouring over a scene to completion; from מר (Arb- pass along something, elapse, traverse, cross, flowing through)
8 – leprous (צרעת – TsaRa\aT) Sabaic cognate: to damage, defeat, humiliate, bring s.o to submission; related to TsuR (צור – narrow in)
9 – (genital) discharge (זב ZaBh) Allegorically: excessively pouring forth (to something in experience); from ZaBhaH (זבה – to flow)
10 – impure, unclean (טמא TaMae/) The evolution of this root begins with TsuM (צום wrung out > squeezed in > to fast). From there, TaM (טם) means “flood, inundate, overwhelming” in Arabic; “stop up, block, closely packed, solid, dense, opaque, repress, restrain; repressed, coerced” in Syriac; plaited in Akkadian; and TaMaM (טמם) is “filled / crowded to capacity” in Amharic. Essentially, these roots mean squeezed in > overstuffed > overwhelmed.
11 – male (זכר – ZaKhaR) literally means “one clearly manifest” (referring to evident genitalia) from the verb “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).
12 – female (נקבה N’QaeBhaH) Allegorically: being receptive (to things found in experience), delving deeply into things. Related to NaQaBh (נקב socket, to penetrate, pierce, bore into-out) from QuBh (קוב to make a vault, receptacle)(which is related to QaBhaL (קבל to receive, accept)).
13 – outside with respect to the camp (מחוץ למחנה) Allegorically: outside with respect to the mentally attending to what is common and prosaic (camp). From camp (חנה – HhaNaH), essentially meaning “to establish a presence” and allegorically “a mental presence.” It evolved from HoN (הון – substantial > wealth) and its hiphil (ההין to make/be present, make/be ready; (Dt1:41)), HaeN (הן – here) and HiNaeH (הנה – see here (be present)). Evolved from (חנה – HhaNaH) is HhaNaN (חנן – presence > grace).
14 – sin (חטא ChaTa/) Allegorically: an act of veering off-about experience. From HhaTaH (חטה – to incline, lean into) > ChaTa/ (חטא – to veer off, sin). See also HhiTaH (חטה) wheat = what leans, inclines; and ChiTae\ (חטא) to re-aim, rectify from veering off-going astray
15 – 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.”
16 – incurring of guilt (אשם /aShaM) Allegorically: being indebted to make something right, rectify something. Which is partially based upon the meaning in Ugaritic “be indebted” and derived from SuM-SYM (שום – שים to put, place, impose, label). Related roots: ShaMa\ (שמע) (stay put) > to listen; ShaMaR (שמר) (stay put) > to observe; ShaM (שם) (put) there > ShaMayim (שמים) two arrangements > sky (nighttime and daytime); ShaMaSh (שמש) to wait upon, attend to, serve, minister, officiate, be in attendance as a disciple to a scholar; SuM (סום) means to bind, mark, to serve as a mark for / indication of, (bind up, wrap up) to finish, end with. The derived noun SaM (סם) means “(something applied, an application) spice, paint, drug, medicine, poison.”
17 – head (ראש – Ro/Sh) possibly derived from Ra/aH (ראה – to see) which explains the vestigial aleph. Contextually, this always works allegorically as well.
18 – five (fingers) > fifth (חמש – ChaMaeSh) handed = armed (חמושים – ChaMuShim) which actually means “grasping or groping” from MuSh (מוש – to grasp, grope)
19 – 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.”
20 – redeem, recover (גאל Go/aeL) This verb means to redeem, recover, save, avenge, AND to stain, pollute and defile. The verbs derived from GuL (גול) have meanings related to “to roll up / around” and “to turn over.” GyL (גיל rejoice), GaLGaeL (גלגל to roll down, whirl about), GaLaH (גלה to roll out, remove, to go into exile), GaLaL (גלל to roll, roll up, remove); GaLaBh (גלב (reveal) to scrape, shave); GaLaHh (גלח (reveal) shave); GaLa\ (גלע (reveal) disclose); GaLaM (גלם to roll, bundle up); GaLaSh (גלש to roll down > slide); SaGaL (סגל to roll up, save, treasure); ShaGaL (שגל (reveal) to rape)
21 – priest (כהן – KoHaeN) related to the noun KaWaNaH (כונה – mindful intention); used as a verb not related to priestly duties (piel) to set / fix in place precisely (Is61:10).
22 – /aeSheT (אשת), “wife of” comes from /eeShah (אשה). However, based on a false etymology, its allegory comes from the verb ShaTaT (שתת) meaning “to set up / out to do something, to start something or lay the foundation for.”
23 – laying down of (שכבת ShiKhBhaT) Allegorically: hedgiing in of. From ShaKhaBh (שכב – to snuggle up, huddle, lie up against, lay down). Evolved from the verb ShuKh (שׁוך – to cordon off), from SuKh (שוך – to hedge in). Related verbs: ShaKhaR (שכר – to become drunk)(= hedged in); HhaShaKh (חשך) to darken, be dark; HhaSaKh (חשך) to withhold; NaShaKh (נשך) to bite, take a bite off; /eSheKh (אשך) testicles )(what is cordoned off / hedged in).
24 – seed (זרע – ZeRa\) meaning to scatter, but practically also suggests implantation > engagement. Evolved from ZaRaH (זרה) to scatter. And expanded into: ZaRaHh (זרח to shine, break out), ZeReD (זרד be brave, valiant) and ZaRaZ (זרז to speed up, urge and stimulate).
25 – jealous (zealous) (QaNa/ – קנא), literally meaning to be (visually) fixed on something. It is derived from QaNaH (קנה) also meaning to be fixed in place but used for “to acquire.” Related to other Q.N. words, all meaning fixed in place, such as the word for nest (קן QaN); arrangement (קינה QyNaH); reed, stalk, staff, beam (קנה QaNeH). cattle ( מקנה miQNeH)(קנין QiNyaN possession); to make straight, fix (תקן TaQaN).
26 – flour (קמח QeMaHh) Allegorically: standing firmly. In Hebrew and Aramaic, this root refers to the flour of the grain, however, in Arabic it refers to wheat itself: “wheat; (also) to bear one’s head high, be proud.” Although the root from which it is derived is more often understood to mean “to get up > be upright” its essential meaning is to be firm and fixed in place. This can be seen in (Sm I 4:15) where Eli’s eyes are fixed in place. This root (קמח QeMaHh) is directly derived from QaMaH (קמה) standing grain (Ex22:5)(Dt16:19).
27 – barley (שערים from שעורה S’/oRaH), goat (hairy one),demon (שעיר Sa\yR); gate (שער Sha\aR). Allegorically: acts of taking notice of many things in being stirred by them. Except for gate (which possibly is derived from עיר city (place stirred up)), related to the roots Sh\R (שער), S\R (סער), and Sae\aR (שער – hair) which all mean “to stir up” in one way or another. Also related to a similar Arabic root meaning to take notice of things (in being stirred up).
28 – oil (שמן – SheMeN) & eight (שמונה – Sh’MoneH) literally mean “what exudes outward.” It evolved from the verb MaNaH (מנה) – to distribute, count, assign, classify. The number is possibly based on the image of putting the two hands together palms down, with the thumbs tucked under the palms with eight fingers splayed out like the exuding of oil (or maybe not).
29 – related to Lavan (לבן) means both white and brick. The verb means to layer bricks. A comparison of related words indicate that this root means to layer out and stratify things such as LaBhaSh (to layer clothing – לבש), LaBhaBh (to layer a cake – לבב), ShaLaBh (to join layers, rungs of a ladder – שלב), HhaLaBh (milk, what layers out – חלב) and L’BhoNah (frankincense, what layers out – לבונה). In Arabic it means undertaking, enterprise, object, wish, aim, and goal; thus indicating that it also means “what layers to the top” or is given a priority (aim / goal).
30 – meal or MinHhaH offering (מנחה MiNHhaH) etymologically comes from the verb MaNaHh (מנח) Ugaritic: “to deliver; delivery, contribution, tribute; offering” & Arabic “to grant, give, accord, bestow, confer; gift, present, grant, and donation.” MaNaHh (מנח) evolved from NaHhaH (נחה), has a sense of leaning in or inclining toward something. Cognate with NaHhaH (נחה) is the Arabic (נחא – to wend one’s way, go, move, walk, turn toward > follow, imitate; BUT Also (incline >) lean, push aside, remove, yield, withdraw), Also from NaHhaH (נחה) is NaHhaL (נחל (to push toward) inherit) and NaHhaT (נחתּ to take down, put at the disposal of, bring, reach for ((Ugaritic)).
31 – iniquity (עון) Allegorically: twistings and turnings. This root evolved from \aWaH (עוה – to twist, twist away)
32 – before (לפני LiPh’Nay) from PaNim (פנים face) but literally meaning faces (because a person has many presentations in one’s face), from the root PaNaH (פנה – to face > turn). Allegorically meaning: many faces > aspects > presentations.
33 – water (מים – maYiM) from YaM (ים – sea, what is stirred up) from HaMaH (המה – to stir up).
34 – Holy (קדש – QoDeSh, QaDoSh) Related to the roots meaning to put the head forward – QaDaD (קדד – to bow), QaDQaD (קדקד – crown of head) and QaDaM (קדם to proceed, advance forward); QaDaR (קדר – to drop the head > to duck under, gloomy, potter), QaDaHh (קדח – (drop the head) > to bore into, pierce), ShaQaD (שקד – watch intently, be watchful of, be vigilant, be determined), \aQaD (עקד – to draw the head toward the feet; fix the eyes on s.th, be deter-mined to do s.th (Arb)) The root QaDaSh (קדש) fundamentally means to advance something forward (so as to dedicate for sanctified use)
35 – vessel, instruments of (כלי K’LaY) Allegorically: containings of. From the verb KaLaH (כלה) to contain.
36 – earthen (חרש HheReS) Allegorically: an act of scratching the surface and plowing in. The origin of (חרש HheReS) is questionable, but possibly from HhaRaH (חרה) to burn, and thus related to HhaRyShyT (חרישׁית) (heated) hot (wind) (Yn4:8) and HheReS (חרס) (heated) inflammation (Dt28:27) HhaR’SaH (חרסה sun). However, there are other Ch-R roots (חור חרה חרר) all essentially meaning (to prod) to poke through, make a hole, puncture. From these evolved HhaRaSh (חרש) to plow, cut in, engrave; which in Akkadian is HhaRaS (חרשׂ) to itch, scratch, scabies. Coincidentally, there is also CheReSh (חרש) meaning both silently and congested, state of deafness (Mi7:16), probably derived from RaShaH (רשה) (to lose liquid, to drip, flow down, ooze fluid).
37 – dirt, dust, soil (עפר \aphaR) Allegorically: the ability to examine every detail. Related to the Arabic cognate: to cover the face of something with dust, to begrime, dust, sprinkle with dust; and TO GLEAN). Note also \oPh (עוף)(hiphil) to cover with (one’s eyes) (Pr23:5) is related to Ugaritic \gaPhY (עפי) to observe, espy; all possibly related to Arabic \gaPhaR (עפר) to observe, spy. However, it is unclear if this root ultimately evolved from עפה or from /aphaR (אפר ash).
38 – floor, ground, soil (קרקע QaRQa\) Allegorically: an act of getting closer in. According to Klein, related to Arabic QaRQaR (even ground). Roots based on the biliteral root Q.R. essentially mean “to get in very close”: קרה to come upon, happen occur; קרא to call closer, call out to, meet, call and read; קרב to approach; קרם to cover closely, membrane, encrust, plate; קרן horn, to project; קרע (get closely into) to tear into, to put on eye liner; קרש to contract, gnash, bite into; קרס to stoop; קרץ to pinch off, squint, purse; נקר to gouge, chisel; שקר to gouge > deceive, lie.
39 – make unruly, disorderly (hair) (פרע) Related to Pharaoh: one’s chaotically attempting to attend to too many things in experience. From (Ex5:4)(CrII28:19) from PaRa\ (פרע) to cause to disengage, cause disorder, chaos. Pharaoh (פרעה) one’s chaotically attempting to attend to too many things in experience. From PaRa\ (פרע) to cause to disengage, cause disorder, chaos and Arabic > to be free, available, collect one’s thoughts, devote and apply oneself, and do one’s best. In Arabic PaRa\ evolved into PaRa\g
40 – palm (כף – KaPh) related to the verb KaPhaH (כפה) to bend, to bring under control (Pr21:14); KaPh (כף) power, force, might, coercion (Cb2:9)
41 – waters of (מי MaY) Allegorically: things drawn out-off. This presumes that the word for water in the construct state is not related to the word MaYiM (מים), but rather from MaHaH (מהה – diffuse, dissolve, dilute). It probably relates to the drawing away of a diluted particles in water.
42 – give forth, draw out, make (rare) (נתן NaTaN) related to other N.T. verbs NaTaHh (נתח) to draw / cut away pieces; NaTaKh (נתך) to pour out, distribute, melt; NaTaQ (נתק) to draw away, tear off; pull-pluck out, remove; NaTaR (נתר) to be drawn out > leap, draw out, release.
43 – curse (אלה /aLaH), perhaps literally means “what is being brought forward upon.” It is related to 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; /aeLeH (these – what advances forward); /aL (אל) preclude
44 – oath, promised, obliged (שבועה Sh’Bhu\aH). This root seems to have evolved from Ba\aH (בעה) (probe > poke / beg) and related to Arabic בּאע to pay homage, pledge allegiance. In Hebrew, used in the niphal (passive) and translated as made a promise, but best translated as “obliged to.”
45 – in the middle of, midst of (תוך – ToKh) comes from the verb TaWaKh (תוך – to push or force inward).
46 – people (עם – \aM) 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.
47 – thigh (ירך – YaRaKh) literally means “long part.” It evolved from (ארך /aRaKh) to be long, prolong
48 – to fall (נפל NaPhaL) Derived from the root PaLaL (פלל to pray, to consider, to judge) but the essential meaning is “to go back and forth.” Nevertheless, the niphal form of this verb means “to stagger and fall” in Ezekiel 28:23. This is the root, from which NaPhaL evolved as meaning “to fall.” Very often, before one falls, they lose their balance and seem to shift back and forth.
49 – abdomen, belly (בטן BeTeN) literally to burst forth; related to בטה בוט to burst forth with words without restraint
50 – swell (צבה TsaBhaH) Evolved from NaTsaBh (נצב to stand upright-defiantly-straight) and then two related roots: TsBha/ (צבא) army, assemble, wage war and the necessity to stand firm and be ready (Jb7:1) AND yellow (צהוב TsaHoBh)(probably from an unattested intermediary TsoBh (צוב)) literally meaning “to stand out, be ardent.” According to Jastro, there is a verbal form of this root meaning: to be defiant, jealous, angry, grieve, and provoke.
51 – innards (מעים Mae\ayim) from \aWaH (עוה – to twist, twist away)
52 – wife-woman (אשה /eeShaH) is related to its plural (NaShiM – נשים). This word is related to NaSa/ (נשה) which like NaSa/ (נשא) means to lift up and carry along. Thus wife-woman (/eeShaH -אשה) could mean “one who lifts up and carries.” Allegorically, based on this and context, it means “one’s conducting oneself through experience.”
53 – vow (נדר NeDeR) Allegorically: an act of extreme devotion, one of devoting oneself exclusively (ignoring all else). This root evolved from NaZaR (נזר) to turn away from, separate from.
54 – YaYin (יין), wine, an overbearing substance. Is related to YWN (יון) to mean overbearing (mud). According to Jastro, the root YNH (ינה) means to be undecided / waver. However, the root evolved from אנה which means “to impose or apply oneself,” so it means “one who asserts himself in a way that is wavering.” YaYin (יין), wine, is a substance that is overbearing and makes a person undecided with wavering assertiveness.
55 – strong drink (שכר ShaeKhaR) from ShaKhaR (שכר to become drunk) Allegorically: hedged in. Evolved from the verb ShuKh (שוך to cordon off), from SuKh (שוך to hedge in).
56 – vinegar (חומץ HhoMeTs) or leavened bread (חמץ – HhaMaeTs). Allegorically: overly heated or worked up. The same root as the word HhoMaeTs (חומץ) meaning a violent person (Ps71:4). The root HhaMaTs is closely related to the words HhaMaS (חמס) meaning violent / belligerent and HhaeMaH (חמה) meaning anger.
57 – vines of grapes (ענבים \aNaBhim) Allegorically: convoluted entanglements. Related to \aNaBh (ענב)(twist) to intertwine, fasten with a loop (Jastro), possibly from \aNaH (ענה) to turn away, possibly from \aWaN (עון)(to twist away) iniquity, possibly from עוה to twist.
58 – fresh (לחים LaHhim) According to Klein, there are two forms LaHh (לח) and Lae’aHh (לח). Allegorically: one’s of getting in closely. Related to LuaHh (לוח board, plank), this root means “to join together and to be well joined” evolved from (לוה – LaWaH) meaning “to cling to or join to” as a verb it is used to mean “to escort, guide.” The sense of fresh comes from “well joined” branch that when fresh-moist-vigorous does not snap or break off easily. The root also means “vigor, moisture.” Also related to L’HhaYym (לְחָיַיִם) two jaws (well joined) > cheeks, and /aLaHh (אלח) taint, contaminate (well joined).
59 – dry, withered (יבש YaBhaeSh), dry land (יבשה YaBaShah) Allegorically: holding back – in that it takes a delay in time for something organic to dry up. Because it evolved from BuSh (בוש – delay > to be embarrassed) and BaShaSh (בשש – to delay). Related to BaShaL (בשל to stew, steep > cook ) and Ba/aSh (באש to rot, go bad)
60 – razor (תער Ta\aR) Allegorically: a becoming stirred up-agitated. The word probably is derived from \aRaH (ערה lay bare, uncover, make naked), however the allegory is from the root \oR (עור to stir up).
61 – 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)
62 – bless (BaRaKh – ברך) quite literally means “to make excel” or “shower with abundance.” BaRuKh – although generally translated as blessed, the most accurate translation would be excellent in the sense of exceeding all bounds, both in regard to esteem and material aspects. Most of the roots with BaR (בר) literally mean to make a clearing, to clear away, or to go clear through, hence בור (clearing > pit), באר (clearing > well, to clearly elucidate), בער (to clear away > clear a field, burn), ברר (to clear away > sift), ברא (to clear away > to sculpt, create, carve, cut down), ברח (to go clear through > escape, bar), ברך (to go clear through > to excel, be / declare excellent; to make a clearing > kneel, pool), ברק (to go clear through > lightening); ShaBhaR (שבר) literally means “to go clear though” hence it means to break, break apart, shatter, smash, crash, to distribute-buy-sell provision (?broken pieces); and for a wave to break. However, its secondarily evolved form SaBhaR (שבר) means to contemplate, look to and hope for. There is an identical noun SheBheR (שבר) meaning “interpretation” or more correctly break down > analysis that indicates the transition between the two
63 – face, lit: faces (פנים PaNim) literally meaning faces because a person has many presentations in one’s face), from the root PaNaH (פנה – to face > turn). Allegorically meaning: many faces > aspects > presentations.
64 – name (שם – ShaeM) from SuM-SYM (שום – שים to put, place, impose, label). It has the allegorical meaning of the applying or application of something or what is put forth of something. Related roots: ShaMa\ (שמע) (stay put) > to listen; ShaMaR (שמר) (stay put) > to observe; ShaM (שם) (put) there > ShaMayim (שמים) two arrangements > sky (nighttime and daytime); ShaMaSh (שמש) to wait upon, attend to, serve, minister, officiate, be in attendance as a disciple to a scholar; SuM (סום) means to bind, mark, to serve as a mark for / indication of, (bind up, wrap up) to finish, end with. The derived noun SaM (סם) means “(something applied, an application) spice, paint, drug, medicine, poison.”
65 – anoint (משח MaShaHh) Allegorically-literally: to draw out. Having evolved from the root MaShaH (משה) to draw out. The act of anointing involves the drawing out of oil across one’s forehead or across the item being anointed. Also used to mean painted (Jr22:14). Jastro: rub-anoint, measure, stretch. Akkadian: to measure land, mete out commodities; the glow (?tail) of a meteor.
66 – house (בית BaYiT ) Allegorically: what comes in. From the root Bo/ (בוא to come in). Literally it means “the place of coming in.”
67 – father (אב /aBh) derives from /aBhaH (אבה) which in Hebrew means “to be willing to give forth of oneself,” whereas in Arabic it means “to take notice of.”
68 – wagon (עגלה \aGaLaH), calf (עגל \eGeL) Allegorically “meandering, wallowing and rushing about experience in order to swiftly descend upon things.” Related to the Arabic: rush, urge, hurry, impel, expedite; catch up, descend upon swiftly, wheel; cart, calf, worldly & Syriac: to roll round / away / about violently, writhe, wallow.
69 – cattle (בקר – BaQaR, those who investigate), morning (בוקר – BoQaeR, time of investigation). From the root meaning “to investigate, search.”
70 – service (עבודה \aBhoDaH) Allegorically: devoting attentionץ From (עבד – \aBhaD) to work, serve, slave, worship and devote. Although the noun originally means slave, the verb evolved to mean to work, serve, worship and devote.
71 – shoulder, shoulder joint (כתף KaTaPh) Allegorically: pressed together > consolidated. All KaTa* verbs essentially mean to press-impress-compress (together); such as KaTaBh (כתב – to write), KaTaL (כתל wall; Arabic – to press into, compact, mass),KaTaR (כתר – huddle, croud in on), KaTaSh (כתש – crush, compress), KaTyT (כתית – pressed) from KaTaT (כתת – to pound, smash together).
72 – 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.”
73 – tent of meeting (אהל מועד /oHeL Mo\aeD) Allegorically: the act of becoming familiar of being enduringly (mentally) present. In Arabic, the root /aHaL (אהל tent) means “take a wife, be familiar, inhabited; enable, qualify, competence, aptitude).” The following roots all mean: “to endure in place or time.”testimony (עדות – \aeduT); enduring (עד – \aD); evident-witness (עד – \aeD); endure, meet, appoint (יעד Ya\aD) > meeting (מועד Mo\eD);
74 – covering (כפרת KaPoRet) Allegorically: to visually cover a scene. The root KaPhaR (כפר) means covering or to cover in a variety of forms: to cover over, to line (Gn6:14); כופר pitch (Gn6:14); כופר henna (Ss1:14;4:13); כפור frost (Ex16:14)(Ps147:16); כפור (plated vessel? -Jastro) bowl (Er1:10)(CrI28:17); כפיר (palm s.th >) pounce and cover s.th > ) young lion; (piel) (wipe away and nullify the effect of) to pacify (Pr16:14), deny, renounce and atone.
75 – ark (ארון /aRoN), a showcase from the verb /aRaH (ארה – to pluck, pick out) which evolved from /uR (אור – light) thus technically meaning to pluck out into the light.
76 – testimony (עדות – \aeduT); enduring (עד – \aD); evident-witness (עד – \aeD); endure, meet, appoint (יעד Ya\aD) > meeting (מועד Mo\eD); these related terms all essentially mean “to endure in place or time.”
77 – K’ruvim (Cherubim) (כרובים) Allegorically: things meditated over. From KaRaBh (כרב) Syriac – to plow, turn over and over in one’s thoughts, meditate over, Akkadian – pray constantly

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Ernest Klein (1987) A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language for Readers of English. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company

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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

J. Payne Smith’s (1999) A Compendious Syriac Dictionary. Published by Wipf and Stock

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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