David Kolinsky
David Kolinsky

T’tsaweh – Performing w/ Precise Mindful Intention

Of the 12 occurrences of the expression: לכהן לי “for the purpose of performing the priestly functions for me,” half are to be found in parashat T’tsaweh. Allegorically, this expression means “for the purpose of giving something precise and mindful attention with respect to me.”1 In Judaism, the kohaen represents the ideal behavior to which every Jewish person is to aspire. As stated earlier in Exodus: You shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a nation of holiness. A kohaen is a person who behaves with precise and mindful intention, a person who engages experience with precise and mindful attention. The first priest was Aharon. Allegorically, his name means “the mental faculty bringing things to light.”2 If we are truly to engage with God’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H), then we must do so by first bringing things to light, by giving the experience created for us by God precise and mindful attention. Aharon’s four sons represent subsidiary behaviors: one’s devoting attention to a scene (Nadav)3 and one’s taking notice of what exists (Avihu);4 one’s advancing toward what is around (Elazar)5 and one’s indicating what opportunity to avail oneself of in standing firmly in wonderment (Itamar).6

In order for a person to become invested in the details of experience, it is important for them to layer (לבש – to wear)7 upon themselves the details that break through to the surface of what is brought forward in experience. By sheer coincidence, the root B.G.D. (בגד) not only means to embroider and therefore clothes, but also “to give up information, to be a traitor.” In Arabic, this root is used for a word meaning “a basic fact.” Additionally, the word QoDeSh (קודש) meaning holy, literally means “what is brought forward.”8 Therefore, big’dai qodesh (בגדי קודש), the clothing of holiness, allegorically means “acts of bringing up basic facts of what is brought forward in experience.”

Each article of the priests clothing represents a different way for a person to become invested with experience. The choshen (חשן) represent’s “one’s pondering a scene so as to understand it well.”9 The aephod (אפד) represents “one’s becoming acquainted with things.”10 The m’il (מעיל) represents “one’s meandering about occasionally busying oneself with particular things.”11 The coat of embroidery (כתנת תשבץ – k’tonet tashbaets) represents “one’s condensing information as a result of the going back over a scene.”12 The mitsnephet (מצנפת – mitre, headband) represents “one’s sifting and sorting through a scene so as to characterize things”13 and the abhnaet (אבנט – sash, cummerbund) represents “one’s pushing completely into something and fully penetrating it.”14 These items are made of gold (many fleeting impressions),15 of blue (what can be embraced),16 of purple (what can be considered),17 of scarlet yarn (what can be chewed over repeatedly),18 and of fine linen (what is complicated)19 – allegorically representing things can be encountered in experience.

However, this parashah is not only about the clothing of the priests. The parashah is bookended with mentions of the priestly duty to raise candles in the ohel moed. In the first case, it is referring to the naer tamid (נר תמיד – eternal candle). In the latter case, one assumes it is in reference to the candles of the menorah. Since the word NaeR (נר – candle) literally means “what is lit up,”20 allegorically both lines refer to the things in experience that are lit up or brought to light as a consequence of the actions of the kohanim, the behaviors of engaging experience with precise and mindful attention. Specifically, this refers to Aharon and his sons – one’s bringing things to light and its subsidiary behaviors.

For the purpose of lighting it, shall be taken “oil of olive – pure, beaten” or allegorically: “what exudes of a scene (שמן oil)21 – what is radiantly apparent (זית olive),22 clear (זך ZaKh)23 and succinctly consolidated (כתית KaTyT).”24 Aharon (one’s bringing things to light) – along with his behaviors (sons) – “shall arrange it in the tent of meeting, outside of the veil that is upon the testimony.” This location is described in a rather peculiar way. According to the Torah, the testimony (עדות) can be found within the aron (ארון – ark), which is covered by the kaporet (כפרת) and k’rubhim (כרובים). The ark is placed within the qodesh qadashim (holy of holies) which is separated from the area referred to as the qodesh (holy) by the parokhet (פרכת) or veil. However, this section states that the veil was “upon-about the testimony.” Similarly, Lev. 24:3 states that the naer tamid is to be lit (elevated) “outside the parokhet of the testimony, in the ohel moed.” Such imprecision is not meant to be sloppy nor to confuse, but rather to give the Torah allegorical flexibility – a juxtaposition of terms is used to convey an association of meaning, even when such physical juxtaposition does not exist.

The verb associated with the word for veil (פרכת – parokhet) means to divide and crush into many pieces. From the latter, it also evolved the meaning of vigorously rubbing. As a divider, it acts as the veil that separates between the two inner chambers of the mishkan: between the holy and the holy of holies. Allegorically, it represents “an act of vigorously crushing something and threshing over its many details.” The word qodesh (קודש – holy) literally means what is brought forward in experience. The qodesh qadashim (קודש קדשים – holy of holies) represents the things in experience that are most apparent of the many things brought forward in experience or the things most especially brought forward. Allegorically, it is as a consequence of the act of vigorously threshing over things (parokhet), that one enters into what is most apparent in experience (holy of holies). There we encounter the testimony (עדות) which represents the things that are enduring (עד) and therefore evident (עד) in experience.25 The things that are evident in experience (testimony) are placed in the ark (ארון – aron), through an act of repetitively plucking at things so as to bring them into the light (ארה).26 As a young lion (כפיר – K’PhyR) pounces and covers its prey, each detail is pounced upon and completely covered by our mind’s eye which is represented by the overlaying kaporet (כפרת). Finally, above the covering sit two K’ruvim (כרבים). Because in Syriac, this root K.R.B. (כרב) means “to plow, to turn over and over in one’s thoughts, and to meditate over,” it represents the details being meditated upon, over and over again.

While the holy of holies represents our encounter with the things in experience that are most evident, the area outside of (wedged off from) this vigorous threshing of experience (parokhet – פרכת) is called the qodesh. Although what is found there is still what is brought forward in experience (holy), the seeing of it requires more work on our part; they are not readily evident. Rather, the things found there must be brought forward through a series of processes represented by the items that are found in this area. There is the shulchan (שלחן – table) which represents acts of repeatedly getting in very close with things found in experience. Upon the shulchan (שלחן – table) can be found special bread (לחם פנים – LeHheM PaNiM) representing an act of getting in very close (לחם) to many presentations or faces of things found in experience (פנים). Etymologically, the biliteral root LaWaHh (לוח – to join closely) is the basis for both the word for table (שלחן – shulchan) and the word for bread (לחם – LeHheM). Where a table is made by bringing planks (לוח) into close approximation and bread (לחם) consists of a close approximation of grains. Opposite (נכח) – taking a stand and confronting (הכיח)27 – the table is the menorah (מנורה) which represents an act of shedding light upon something. The most prominent and telling component of the menorah are its almond shaped cups described as G’Bhi’im m’ShuQaDim (גביעים משקדים). From Sabaic, the cups (גביעים – G’Bhi’im) represent heapings of things in experience that are compelling, while in Hebrew m’ShuQaDim (משקדים) means “vigilantly observed.” The way to shed light on something found in experience is to vigilantly observe (שקד) what is heaped up and compelling.

In other words, outside of the parokhet represents an engaging with experience far less intense than that encountered within the holy of holies. Because outside of the veil represents things that are not so evident, a person must first approach and engage with things more closely (שלחן – table) and then a process of shedding light (מנורה – menorah) must occur. The naer tamid is to be found outside of the parokhet. It represents “what is brought to light, always” as a result of a continuous process of revealing things encountered in experience. The naer tamid is to be lit from the evening (ערב) unto the morning (בקר) or allegorically “from the moment of confusion (ערב),28 unto the moment of making an investigation (בקר).”29 Finally, although all of these objects are within the ohel moed, specifically stating so carries a particular allegorical meaning. From the Arabic, the word ohel (אהל) represents a becoming familiar with something. The word moed (מועד) comes from the verb Ya\aD (יעד – to endure > to meet > to make an appointment). Allegorically, the ohel moed represents one’s becoming familiar with things as a result of being enduringly (mentally) present. Likewise, it is as a result of being mentally present that a person can become familiar with a scene and therefore bring things to light.

At the end of this parashah, can be found the instructions to make the incense altar. This too is peculiar in that the instructions for the building of other similar objects were given in the previous parashah. The word altar (מזבח – miZBae’aHh) literally means “a place of flowing forth”30 presumably referring to a flowing forth of blood. The word for incense (קטרת – QeTuRet) evolved from the root QuT (קוט) meaning to shrivel up. Presumably when incense burns it shrivels up to nothing. Across the Semitic languages, the root QaTaR (קטר) also means “to knot, tie, condense, interlace, couple together, distill, refine, engage, encircle, regard, consider, supervise, inspect, oversee and reckon.” Based on allegorical context, the altar of incense allegorically represents “an act of flowing forth to experience of engaging, regarding, inspecting and considering something.”

Here again the description for this altar’s location seems peculiar. The text says: “And you will put it in front of the veil (parokhet) that is upon the ark (aron) of the testimony, in front of the covering that is upon the testimony that I shall meet (be made to endure) for you, toward there.” This is quite a lot of detail when all that needed to be said was “in front of or outside of the parokhet.” Here again, the text wants for us to make an allegorical association between this altar, representing an act of flowing forth of engaging and inspecting things and the ability to encounter what is brought forward in experience (what is qodesh). In fact, by engaging and inspecting, one is able to transform qodesh (what is brought forward) to qodesh qadashim (what is most especially brought forward). Even though this altar is not within the holy of holies, the text says that once a year (on Yom Kippur) atonement shall be made upon its horns and it will be qodesh qadashim. The word for horn (קרן – QeReN) literally means “what approaches more closely,”31 for it is through the process of approaching something more closely that one is able to engage and inspect something, thus transforming it into something that is especially brought forward (what is holy of holies). This is emphasized further by specifically stating that this altar is “in front of the parokhet,” as opposed to outside of it (even though it is outside of it). Allegorically, this altar is given the status of both within and without because it represents the behavior (engaging and inspecting) that creates a more intimate connection between the observer and the observed.

The use of this altar is tied together with the preparing of the candles every morning and with their lighting every evening. Upon this altar of engaging and inspecting, Aharon (one’s bringing things to light) burns q’toret samim (קטרת סמים) every morning. The word samim (סמים) refers to an incense concoction. However, the word samim (סמים) literally means “an application.”32 So allegorically, every morning (בקר), in the time of making an investigation (בקר), a person’s bringing things to light (Aharon), prepares what is brought to light of experience (candles) by engaging and inspecting a scene through multiple acts of applying oneself (סמים – samim). Furthermore, these things in experience brought to light (candles) are further elevated and promoted (העלת) between the times of confusion (ערבים – evenings) – a q’toret tamid before HaShem – a continuous act of engaging and inspecting with respect to the many faces (לפני) of God’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H). Unlike other structures, this altar is described as having a lid or roof (גג). This word evolved from the root GaWaH (גוה to arch, hang over). In Arabic, GaWaH (גוה) means “to come to, reach to, bring to, arrive at, turn to” and a related root GaWaY (גוי) means “to be passionately stirred.” Based on these and allegorical context, the roof represents a person’s enthusiastic curiosity, a quality of utmost importance for engaging and inspecting God’s bringing forth of existence.

Finally, there are two sets of offerings detailed in this parashah. The first entails the rituals of inauguration and the second details the tamid or daily offering. Allegorically, offerings of food describe actions to be taken and engaged in. The word for bull (פר – PaR) comes from either of two related roots PuR or PaRaH (פור פרה), both essentially meaning to disengage and scatter about. This word describes each bull as an individual set apart and scattered from the herd. Allegorically, it represents a person’s almost randomly scattering or circulating about a scene. The bull (פר – PaR) is described as ben BaQaR (בן בקר), one of the cattle. But since this verb means to make an investigation, it represents a person’s scattering about a scene so as to make an investigation. In this case, the bull is a sin offering (חטאת – ChaTaa/T). This word literally means to veer off (or miss the mark) and represents a person’s veering about a scene, this way and that. The bull’s head (ראש – Ro/Sh) represents the seeing33 associated with this activity. Its blood (דם – DaM) represents what flows forth34 or comes as a consequence of this activity. Its fat (חלב – ChaLaBh) represents what thing in experience is captivating and seized upon35 as a result of this activity – its flesh (בשר – BaSaR) what can be driven into of it36 ; its skin (עור – \uR) what can be exposed37 of it; its waste (פרש – PeReSh), what can be spread out and made clear of it.38

In contrast, a ram (איל), who drives directly forward with purpose, represents an act of advancing forward into experience with initiative. The dissection of it represents a partitioning of a scene. First one, then another, and then another are advanced into for the purpose of encountering things in experience in a more organized and sequential way. It is described as a ram of fillings, fulfillings, consecration or perfection, aeL MiLu’im (איל מלאים), because it is an exhaustive act, an act of engaging with a scene to the fullest extent (מלא).

Finally, the daily or tamid (תמיד – always) offering consists of two sheep of a year old. There are two seemingly related words for sheep, KeBheS (כבש) and KeSeBh (כשב). Linguists believe that the latter is a metathesized version of the former where the last two letters in the root switched places. However, KeBheS (כבש) means “pushed down into” or matted, while KeSeBh (כשב) means “heaped up” or fluffy – two different conditions of a sheep’s wool. In this case, the word KeBheS (כבש) is used representing a person’s pushing and pressing down into experience. The first, or in Hebrew “the one” (אחד – /eChaD), signifies a person’s being mentally sharp39 when making the offering. Therefore, it is offered in the morning (בקר), the time of making an investigation (בקר). While the second (שני – ShaeNy), signifies a person’s imposing of oneself40 when making the offering. Therefore,, it is offered between the evenings (ערב), the times of confusion (ערב). It is described as an elevation offering of continuance (עלת תמיד), an act of meandering about a scene busying oneself with things, continually. It is performed at the opening of the tent of meeting, the ohel moed (אהל מועד), the beginning of becoming familiar as a result of one’s being enduringly (mentally) present. This is where the many facets of God’s bringing forth of experience (Y-H-W-H) can be met with; this is where the glory of God’s intensity (כבוד) is made to come forward. This is how God’s bringing forth of existence is made to dwell amongst us, how we come to acknowledge and know God’s bringing forth of existence as God’s guidance found in experience (Elohim).41 And this is how God continuously brings us out from Egypt, from our feverishly focusing upon the many things narrowing in from experience (מצרים).42

1 – 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).
2 – 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.
3 – Nadav (נדב) one’s devoting attention to an aspect of a scene; from (נדב) in Hebrew: to give willingly or volunteer, in Arabic apply / devote o.s, be willing, stand ready.
4 – Avihoo (אביהוא) one’s taking notice of what exists; from /aBhaH (אבה) which in Hebrew means “to be willing to give forth of oneself,” whereas in Arabic it means “to take notice of.” + Hu/ (הוא) derived from HaYaH (היה – to be, exist).
5 – El’azar (אלעזר) one’s advancing toward the things that are around; from 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.” + \aZaR (עזר) surround, around.
6 – Itamar (איתמר) one’s indicating what opportunity to avail oneself of in standing firmly in wonderment; from (אי – where) derived from (אוה – to point, indicate) see (piel) to point out, designate (Ps132:13) and consider /oT (אות sign, indicator) + TaMaR (תמר) meaning “to stand still and upright,” which evolved from the root TaMaH (תמה) meaning “to stand still in amazement, to wonder, to be stunned and undecided.” However, in Arabic TaMaR also means “to bear fruit, make a profit, utilize, and avail oneself of an opportunity.” So allegorically Tamar means “one’s standing firmly in wonderment, yet able to avail oneself of an opportunity.”
7 – to wear, layer clothing (לבש – LaBhaSh) A comparison of related words indicate that this root means to layer out and stratify things such as , 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)
8 – Holy (קדש – QoDaeSh) 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).
9 – Choshen (חשן) is related to the root HhuSh (חוש) meaning to experience, while its Arabic cognate means “to experience, sense, feel, feel compassion, and grope.” A related root in Akkadian means “to think, plan, ponder, and notice.” The Choshen is also referred to as the Choshen mishpat and Choshen ha-mishpat – where mishpat (משפט) means a declared judgment or clarification (from PuT (פוט) to burst forth, therefore, make a declaration). This is also consistent with the Arabic root cognate with Choshen (HhaSaN) meaning “to grasp or understand well, judge something favorably.” There is another Arabic cognate meaning to beautify. As a decorative, this too is probably related.
10 – /aephod (אפד) evolved from the verb PaDaH (פדה – to separate, place aside). It was a type of apron with its front and back portions separated by the body of the wearer. It is related to the Arabic PYD (פידּ) meaning to acquaint or inform.
11 – m’il (מעיל). An article of clothing that drapes over its wearer. It represents “one’s meandering about occasionally busying oneself with particular things.” It is related to a number of roots that mean to go around. The verb \aLaH (עלה to rise, ascend) primarily, because it basically means to go around > drape over > be above-over > ascend. Also related are \aLaL (עלל to meander, perform, busy oneself), \oLaL (עולל to glean) and to circumvent (מעל – Ma\aL).
12 – coat of embroidery (כתנת תשבץ – k’tonet tashbaets) represents “one’s condensing information as a result of the going back and forth over a scene.” k’tonet (כתנת) is specifically a coat made out of felt, one that is compressed and matted together. The verb ShaBaTs (שבץ) to embroider / inlay evolved from ShaBhaH (שבה – to settle back a captive) which evolved from ShuBh (שוב – to settle back > return, do again, stay, remain). It is related to YaShaBh (ישב – to settle back > sit, settle) and ShaBhaHh (שבח – to settle down, still).
13 – mitsnephet (מצנפת – mitre, headband) represents “one’s sifting and sorting through a scene so as to characterize things.” It is related to the verb TsaNaPh (צנף) which in Arabic means “to sort, assort, classify, categorize, compile, compose, author.”
14 – abhnaet (אבנט – sash, cummerbund) represents “one’s pushing completely into something and fully penetrating it.” This word is related to the Arabic BaNaT (בּנט – drill bit) and it may be related to BNTL (בּנטל ,בּנטלון – pants, trousers; pantolon) (although this may be a coincidence and a loan word from another language). The root BaNaT evolved from BaNaH (בנה – to push between > through > to buld) from which evolved BeN (בן – son, one squeezed through), having evolved from BuN (בון) giving “to squeeze between” (BayN – בין) and haBhyN (הבין – squeeze inside > to understand). Likewise, Arabic’s BaNaT (בּנט – drill bit) literally means to squeeze inside > to penetrate.
15 – gold (זהב – ZaHaBh) meaning “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
16 – blue (תכלת – T’KhaeLeT) “what can be embraced” from KaLaH (כלה – to contain). From the dye made from Hexaplex Trunculus, which may defensively surround / contain said creature or its predators)
17 – purple (ארגמן – /aRGaMaN) “what can be considered” from RaGaM (רגם) which literally means “to throw back and forth” and in Arabic “to consider, guess, surmise.” In Hebrew, RaGaMaH (רגמה – council (Ps68:28)).
18 – scarlet yarn (תולעת שני – Tola\aT ShaNy) “what can be chewed over repeatedly” from ToLa\ (תולע – worm), related to YaLa\ (ילע) from La\a\ (לעע – to cause to swallow, swallow down (Ob1:16) (Jb6:3)), but literally meaning to jaw > chew voraciously). The origin of ShaNy (שני) in this context is obscure, however it may be related to ShaNaH (שנה – to sharpen, hone, do repeatedly, double up) from Sh + /aNaH (ש+אנה to impose oneself).
19 – fine linen (שש – ShaeSh) “what is complicated.” Related to other roots meaning “to lift and carry” originally from NaShaH > NaSa/ (נשה > נשא). They are ShuS (שוש – to lift something, to rob) ShuS (שוס – to lift > plunder), SuS (שוש – uplifted, joyful) > SuS (סוס – horse, one who rears upward). Relevant here is ShaWaSh (שׁוושׁ) (Arabic – (lift up) muddle, confuse, confound, jumble, disturb, complicate; muslin, white cloth; movie screen, skullcap, tuft of hair).
20 – candle (נר – NaeR) related to Arabic NWR (נור – to light, illuminate, enlighten; fire, light, ray of light, lamp), possibly originally from N + /uR (נ + אור).
21 – oil (שמן – SheMeN) literally mean “what exudes outward.” It evolved from the verb MaNaH (מנה) – to distribute, count, assign, classify
22 – olive (זית – ZaYT) “what is radiantly apparent” which eveolved from ZaHaH (זהה – exude light), see Syriac cognate ZaHa/ (זהא – shining, glorious, splendid, resplendent) and in Arabic (radiant, shine brightly, be haughty)
23 – pure (זך ZaKh) “clear” from ZaKhaKh (זכך – (visually bright) be clear, pure)
24 – pressed (כתית KaTyT) “succinctly consolidated“ from KaTaT (כתת – to pound, smash together). All KaTa* verbs essentially mean to press-impress-compress; such as KaTaBh (כתב – to write), KaTaL (כתל wall; Arabic – to press into, compact, mass),KaTaR (כתר – huddle, croud in on), KaTaPh (כתף – shoulder joint), KaTaSh (כתש – crush, compress)
25 – 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.”
26 – 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.
27 – opposite (נכח – NoKhaHh) which evolved into YaKhaHh (יכח) whose hiphil hoKhyaHh (הוכיח) means to take a stand (Is11:3,4) and confront (Lv19:17)(Jb13:3)
28 – 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).
29 – morning (בוקר – BoQaeR, time of investigation). From the root BaQaR (בקר) meaning “to investigate, search.”
30 – altar (מזבח – miZBae’aHh) Allegorically refers to the way in which a person flows forth. The verb ZaBhaHh (זבח – make an offering, sacrifice) evolved from ZaBhaH (זבה – to flow), perhaps due to the flowing of blood that occurs with ritual offering.
31 – horn (קרן QeReN) Roots based on the biliteral root Q.R. (קר) essentially mean “to get in very close”: KaRaH (קרה to come upon, happen occur); QaRa/ (קרא to call closer, call out to, meet, call and read); QaRaBh (קרב to approach); QaRaM (קרם to cover closely, membrane, encrust, plate); QaRaN (קרן horn, to project); QaRa\ (קרע (get closely into) to tear into, to put on eye liner); QaRaSh (קרש to contract, gnash, bite into); QaRaS (קרס to stoop, clasp); QaRaTs (קרץ to pinch off, squint, purse); NaQaR (נקר to gouge, chisel); ShaQaR (שקר to gouge > deceive, lie).
32 – SaMim (סמים) means application. This root evolved from SYM SuM (שים שום to put, place, label, impose, arrange). The root 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.”
33 – head (ראש – Ro/Sh) possibly derived from Ra/aH (ראה – to see) which explains the vestigial aleph. Contextually, this always works allegorically as well.
34 – 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)
35 – fat (חלב – HhaeLeBh) from the Arabic root (חלב = ChaLaB – to seize with claws, cajole, coax, beguile, fascinate, captivate; gripping, captivating, attractive, tempting).
36 – 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.
37 – skin (עור – \uR) what can be exposed of it; related to \aRaH (ערה (bring out into the light > expose) uncover (shield) (Is22:6); to make naked (Is32:11); to lay bare (Is3:17)(Tz2:14)(Ps141:8)
38 – waste (פרש – PeReSh), “what can be spread out and made clear of it” from PaRaSh (פרש – to separate, spread out, expose, clarify)
39 – one, 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
40 – second, two (Sh’Naey – שני) from ShaNaH (שנה – to sharpen > repeat), from /aNaH (אנה – to impose)
41 – 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.
42 – Mitsraim (מצרים). 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, chaos.

A.F.L Beeston, M.A. Ghul, W.W. Muller, J. Ryckmans (1982) Sabaic Dictionary. Publication of the University of Sanaa, Yar

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

Hans Wehr. Ed by J Milton Cowan (1979) Hans Wehr A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. Ithaca, NY: Published in the United States by Spoken Languages Services, Inc with permission of Otto Harrassowitz

Jeremy Black, Andrew George, Nicholas Postgate, eds., A Concise Dictionary ofAkkadian, 2nd corrected printing (Santag Arbeiten und Untersuchungen Zur Keilschriftkunde, 5; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2000)

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

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

Wolf Leslau (1976) Concise Amharic Dictionary. University of California Press. Berkeley and Los Angeles.

H.W.F. Gesenius (1979) Gesenius’ Hebrew – Chaldee Lexicon. Baker Books. Grand Rapids.

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.
Related Topics
Related Posts