Wa’aerah – The Gestalt that is YHWH

The most frequently used names that refer to G-d in the Torah are the tetragrammaton (YHWH), Elohim, El and El Shaddai. In the previous parshah, the text connects the tetragrammaton with the verb HaYaH (היה – to be, exist). The YHWH, being the piel form of the verb, therefore translates as “G-d’s bringing forth of existence.” The words El (אל – G-d) and Elohim (אלהים) predate Judaism and were used in the Hebrew and Ugaritic of the Canaanite pantheon. El (אל – G-d) was the first of the gods. Etymologically related to the words el (אל) to, toward; ayil (איל) ram, one who rams forward; and Ya/aL (יאל) to endeavor to advance forward; the word El (אל – god) means the initiator or the one advancing existence forward. In the Canaanite religion, Elohim (אלהים) referred to all of the gods, the divine council or the pantheon. A plural of Eloah (אלוה), it is an expansion of the root LaWaH (לוה – to guide, escort) and not of El (אל – G-d). Therefore, depending on the context, Elohim (אלהים) translates as G-d’s Guidance, the pantheon (of others), a council of humans or angels, or a person such as Moshe who serves as a counselor (to Pharaoh). Shaddai (שדי) or El Shaddai is related to the verb ShaDaD (שדד) which in Hebrew means “to overpower, plunder, ruin, and destroy.” However, its Akkadian cognate means “to drag, tow, stretch a rope, draw a line, draw up/ in/down/away and extend time.” Likewise, its Arabic cognate means “to draw taught, pull tight, tense, be/come firm, to pull, drag, and tug.” Furthermore, related roots demonstrate an essential idea of “going back and forth” as can be seen in the verbs ShaDaKh (שדך – to haggle, negotiate) and ShaDaPh (שדף – to make swing back and forth, to blast). Although El Shaddai could be translated as “the initiator that overpowers by throwing back and forth,” I think “the initiator that tugs a person along” is a more appropriate fit.

In this parshah, HaShem tells Moshe that El Shaddai (the initiator that tugs a person along) was appearing to Avraham, Yitschaq and Yaaqov and that G-d was not known to them as YHWH, as G-d’s bringing forth of existence. In other words, they understood the effect that G-d exerted on them in their lives as El Shaddai, but they had not understood G-d as the creator of everything. They understood G-d experientially and observationally, but not cosmically. This is consistent with the next statement regarding G-d’s having established his B’RiT (ברית – covenant) with them. This word literally means “a clear understanding.”1 A person, in utilizing the archetypes of Avraham (one’s spreading out into experience so as to take notice of many stirring things),2 and of Yitschaq (one’s bringing things to light in being meticulously alert to what’s around),3 and of Yaaqov (one’s investigating what comes around in experience);4 experientially and observationally can develop a clear understanding of how G-d tugs at a person and drags a person through experience. However, understanding that all things and all occurrences happen as a result of the workings of YHWH, of G-d’s bringing forth of existence, is a much more sophisticated perspective. It requires a person to understand that both every thing perceived and every aspect of experience and existence come from HaShem, the YHWH, G-d’s bringing forth of existence.

In Genesis 15:13, HaShem told Avram that his progeny would become sojourners in a land that was not for them, that they would serve them and that they would afflict them. HaShem, G-d’s bringing forth of existence, sends us to Mitsraim, to the acts of feverishly focusing upon the many things narrowing in from experience,5 not for the purpose of afflicting us or punishing us or honing us, but because, as attentive individuals, we try to be as Pharaoh, chaotically attending to too many things.6 But it is not for us. We devote attention (serve it)7 because in the moment, when we cannot see the forest for the trees, we believe that there is no other choice. There is a dynamic tension between the attempting to feverishly focus in upon everything that narrows in from experience (Mitsraim) and the ability to make a sustained survey of what advances forward in experience (Yisrael).8 The latter, is ultimately for the purpose of making an investigation of what comes around in experience (Yaaqov)4 which enables us to optimally function in the world. The burden is one of attempting to mentally process everything narrowing in from experience versus restricting one’s perception to those aspects of experience that move a person forward in a divinely intended direction. Moshe, “the mental faculty drawing out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience,”9 attempted to give direction, but due to the shortness of breath resulting from the burdens of dealing with all that was narrowing in upon them from experience, the children of Yisrael were unable to listen.

But if we are unable to listen to our inner Moshe, then what other mental faculty could possibly make due? Surely not R’uvaen who attempts to see all that is overwhelming of experience10 – remaining fully committed to a scene (חנוך)11 and going to extremes (פלוא),12 with an act of repetitively enclosing around aspects of the scene (חצרן)13 and heaping up a lot from experience (כרמי).14 Nor would Shimon be of use with its repetitive attempts to be attentive to one thing,15 followed by the next – the taking notice of what conspicuously and impendingly advances forward (ימואל),16 being ever present with it (ימין),17 directing oneself toward it (אהד),18 setting oneself firmly upon it (יכין),19 so as to clarify it (צחר).20 Of the behaviors of Levi (לוי) “a person’s mentally clinging to a scene, and thus generating an awareness of many startling things,”21 QaHaT (קהת – the act of intently maintaining a visual fix on a scene)22 is perhaps better than the act of repeatedly driving into a scene (גרשן) 23 and the act of traversing through and unrelentingly pouring over a scene to completion (מררי).24 Regarding QaHaT (קהת – the act of intently maintaining a visual fix on a scene), having a heightened mindfulness of a scene (עמרם – Amram) 25 is preferred over an act of narrowing in upon a particular thing so as to make it clearer (יצהר – Yitshar); 26 or repeated acts of sticking with particular things so as to get to know them well (חברון – Chevron); 27 or an act of making a show of strength so as to advance forward into a scene with initiative (עזיאל – Uziel) 28 in an attempt to see everything. Because the initial gestalt view achieved through Amram (having a heightened mindfulness of a scene) is ultimately more useful than fixing on just a few details (יצהר – Yitshar and חברון – Chevron) or valiently trying to take in everything (עזיאל – Uziel).

The benefit of Amram’s (עמרם) heightened mindfulness of a scene is that G-d’s bringing forth of existence is taken seriously (יוכבד – Yokheved).29 The combination of the two enables a person to utilize the mental faculties of Moshe, “the ability to draw out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience,” and of Aharon “the mental faculty bringing things to light.”30 With the later, a person can advance forward toward things bubbling up in experience (אלישבע – Elisheva\)31 thus enabling a person to devote attention to an aspect of a scene (נדב – Nadav)32 and to take notice of what exists (אביהוא – Avihoo);33 but also to advance toward the things that are around (אלעזר – El’azar)34 and to indicate what opportunity to avail oneself of in standing firmly in wonderment (איתמר – Itamar).35 Furthermore, a person’s advancing toward the things that are around (אלעזר) enables that person to endeavor in different directions (פוטיאל – PuTiel),36 so as to turn toward particular things for closer consideration (פינחס – Pinhas).37

These behaviors are to be distinguished from an act of narrowing in upon a particular thing so as to make it clearer (יצהר – Yitshar) which leads to an act of getting in very close and festering over a particular thing (קרח – Qorah),38 and an act of going all out and exhausting oneself with a particular thing (נפג – Nepheg),39 so as to achieve greater mental clarity about a particular thing (זכרי – Zikhri).40 Where festering over a particular thing (קרח – Qorah) leads to one’s becoming bound to a particular thing (אסיר – Asir),41 and one’s advancing so as to fixate upon a particular thing (אלקנה – Elqanah),42 and the reining in of one’s ability to take notice of other things (אביאסף – Aviasaph).43

Therefore, a person’s Moshe, “the ability to draw out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience,” and a person’s Aharon “the mental faculty bringing things to light,” are ideally suited to speak to that person’s Pharaoh, the attempts to attend to many things in chaotically going in many directions. So that their Moshe, “the ability to draw out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience,” can be a means of providing guidance (אלהים – Elohim) about experience for their Pharaoh, the attempts to attend to many things in chaotically going in many directions. So that their Aharon, “the mental faculty bringing things to light,” can pour forth with a revelation about experience (נביא – prophet) for their Moshe, “the ability to draw out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience.”

In Sh’mot, the problem is that the person is approaching experience chaotically (Pharaoh) and is deliberating over too many things that are narrowing in from experience (Mitsraim). This is an ineffective means of approaching experience. Instead, the mental faculties represented by Moshe and Aharon need to present the person with one alternative, with a particular thing in experience that is persuasive (פתה > יפת > מופת). They are instructed to cast down their staff (מטה – MaTeH, thing upon which to incline / lean upon) so that it will turn into a snake. The word used here for snake is TaNyN (תנין). Related to the Arabic root T.N.Y. (תני – to double up, fold under, bend, flex, turn toward > apply oneself), the TaNyN allegorically represents the alternative – a way for the person to apply oneself in experience, a way of leaning in and inclining oneself in experience, a way of engaging the thing in experience that is persuasive. Even though ultimately Aharon’s staff swallows up those of the others, Pharaoh’s wise men and sorcerers were also able to turn their staffs into snakes. This was because the wisdom associated with the person’s attending to many things in chaotically going in many directions, and its unveiling of things (sorcerers),44 were also able to make specific suggestions about which things to engage with in experience.

The problem with our Pharaoh is that, in being chaotic and attempting to attend to too many things, its heart (will) is heavy (כבד) or weighted down by this desire to engage with those many things. Therefore, it is unwilling to send forth the people, which allegorically represents “one’s ability to be mindful with experience.”45 The plagues that follow are not so much a punishment as they are a consequence of that refusal to be mindful, that refusal to make an organized survey of the many things in experience advancing forward (Yisrael).

Pharaoh indicated that he did not know or acknowledge HaShem. In other words, when we try to chaotically attend to too many things (Pharaoh), it is impossible for us to acknowledge G-d’s bringing forth of existence. We are so overwhelmed by the particulars, that we are unable to see the forest for the trees. We are drowning, such that we cannot see the entire lake. Therefore, each plague represents an overload of things encountered in experience, as well as the person’s occasional reaction. The first plague, blood (דם), literally meaning “what flows forth,” represents a pouring forth of things in experience such that the details (fish) are completely drawn out (die). This will be elaborated upon further in the following paragraphs. In the second plague, the word for frogs is Ts’phardae’a\ (צפרדע), which literally means “one who overflows with knowledge.”46 Allegorically, the frogs represent an overflowing of things to be acknowledged. In the third plague, the word for lice, kinim (כנים – those fixed in place) is etymologically related to the word used by Yoseph’s brothers, kaenim (כנים), meaning reliable and honest. Whereas, they claimed to be reliable and honest and thus represent information that can be relied upon, Yoseph viewed them as spies (m’RaGLim – מרגלים), those delivering false reports. In the fourth plague, \aRoBh (ערוב) understood as a mixture of creatures, allegorically represents one’s being mixed up or confused by what is encountered in experience. The fifth plague, an inflammation (שחין) an eruption (פרח) of boils (אבעבעת), represents a person’s laying oneself out to experience (השתחוות), a blossoming (פרח) of making entreaties and asking questions (בעה). The sixth plague, DeBheR (דבר), represents a barrage of experience that drives directly forward.47 The final plague in this parshah, the seventh plague, BaRaD (ברד – hail) represents things in experience that elicit a feeling of being bored into (ברז > ברד). However, this feeling of being bored into by experience only occurred when the person abandoned his devoting attention to things, but not when the person was in awe of what drove directly forward of G-d’s bringing forth of experience (דבר יהוה).

Lets look more closely at the first plague. The word for blood is DaM (דם). It evolved from the root DaWaH (דוה) meaning “to flow.” Related words are DaYo (דיו – fluid, ink), DaMaH (דמה – congestion) and DaMa\ (דמע – tears). In the story, Moshe and Aharon are instructed to go to Pharaoh (the person’s attempting to chaotically attend to many things) in the morning (בקר), which represents his making a search or an investigation of experience (בקר). Being (mentally) present (הנה), he is going out toward the many things stirred up in experience (waters – המה > ים > מים). Moshe, “the ability to draw out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience,” stands to meet him upon the lip of the Nile (a place of the pouring forth of what radiates outward (of experience) – שפת היאר). The staff (מטה – way of inclining or leaning in) that had transformed into a snake (נחש – a way of feeling one’s way about experience) within his hand. Here at this place where the things stirred up that exist in experience pour forth, where he is to lean into experience and feel about, Moshe is to say: “Send forth the being mindful of me (my people), so that it shall devote attention to me (serve me)!” “I am one striking with my leaning in (my staff)…upon the things stirred in experience (the waters), that are with what radiates outward of experience (the Nile) that it will be transformed, regarded as a flowing forth of experience (blood).” This is precisely Moshe’s role, to draw things out (משה) from the waters, from the things that are stirred in experience. In so doing, he causes experience to flow (blood), radiating out into time and space (the Nile).

After the waters turn to blood the fish die, the Nile smells bad and the Egyptians labor exhaustively in order to drink water from it. The word for fish DaG or DaGaH (דג דגה) evolved from the root DuKh (דוך – to pound, crush). Like the word DaQ (דק), which also evolved from the root DuKh (דוך – to pound, crush), it essentially means “particles.” It is for this reason that Yaaqov says of Ephraim and M’nasheh that they shall multiply and become numerous (like fish) in (Gn48:16) and why modern Israelis use the phrase B’DyuQ (בדיוק) meaning “exactly” or its all in the fine and minute details.” A further evolution of this root is DaGaN (דגן – grain) also literally meaning individual particles. Therefore, the fish, as individual particles, represent details. Paradoxically, the root meaning to die (מות) – as related to MaTaQ (מתק – to savor), MaTaiy (מתי – (drawn out to) when), and MaTaHh (מתח – to draw, spread out – literally means to draw out in space and time. So the dying of the fish represents a drawing out of the particular details found in experience in space and time. Nevertheless, all of these details are both disordered and displeasing (באש), so what radiates outward of experience is said to rot and smell bad (באש). Because all of the details have become completely manifest and are disordered, the Egyptians who represent our acts of feverishly focusing upon the many things narrowing in from experience become exhausted in laboring to align with (drink) the many things stirred up in experience (the waters).

With each plague, there is a gradual separation between a person’s feverish focusing upon the many things narrowing in from experience and a person’s making a sustained survey of the many things advancing forward in experience (Yisrael). Pharaoh’s magicians (חרטמים) are able to replicate the plagues of blood and frogs. Since the word for magicians (חרטמים) means those who prod what is impenetrable or literally what is densely packed in, they were able to bring out all that was made to flow forth (blood – דם) in experience and the overflowing of things to be acknowledged of experience (frogs). However, they were not able to bring out the lice (כנים), which represents things in experience of accurate and reliable permanence, stating that it was of the finger of Elohim (G-d’s guidance). During the fourth plague, the plague of mixed creatures – confusion did not afflict the land of Goshen (גשן) because there the people probed experience (גשש) such that the confusion never set in. During the fifth plague, DeBheR (דבר – what directly barrels over), HaShem makes a separation between the cattle (מקנה) of Yisrael and that of Mitsraim. This word comes from QaNaH (קנה – to acquire), but has the allegorical meaning of visually fixing upon something. Therefore, a person making a sustained survey of what advances forward in experience is better able to visually fix upon something then when that person is instead feverishly focusing upon the many things narrowing in from experience. In this way, not a thing (דבר – DaBhaR) of what directly barreled over of experience (דבר – DeBheR) was missed (died). During the sixth plague, inflammation (שחין – what spreads out), the magicians (חרטמים) were unable to stand before Moshe and from before the inflammation, because the inflammation was on the magicians and upon all of Mitsraim. Again, since the word for magicians (חרטמים) means those who prod what is impenetrable or literally what is densely packed in, they were unable to process the immensity of experience that resulted from their laying themselves out to experience. With regard to the seventh plague, the hail (ברד – what bores in from experience), the text says: רק בארץ גשן אשר שם בני ישראל לא היה ברד – “Still, in the land of Goshen that there was the children of Yisrael, there was no hail.” Allegorically, this means that when a person disposing oneself to probing experience, by making a sustained survey of what advances forward of experience, there is no feeling of being bored into by experience. Because the things boring in from experience were those things that the person did not pay attention to. But when the person did pay attention, there was no sense that things from experience were boring in.

Shabbat Shalom!

Notes:
1 – BriT (ברית) Usually translated covenant, technically it means “clear agreement.” 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)
2 – Avraham (אברהם) a person’s spreading out so as to take notice of and willingly give forth of oneself to experience, comes from /aBhaR or /eBaeR (אבר – to extend outward, spread wings, take flight) + HaMoN (המון), those that are stirred up, from HaMaH (המה – to stir up). Also the name contains hints of the verb /aBhaH (אבה), meaning “to willingly give forth of oneself” in Hebrew and “to take notice” in Arabic.
3 – YiTsHhaq (יצחק): derived from the root TsaHhaH (צחה) meaning to be bright or clear. Unlike most roots in Hebrew, the root Ts.Hh.Q. (צחק) exhibits consonantal fluidity in both Hebrew, Ugaritic and Arabic. In more than half the cases, this root is spelled with a letter Sin (ש) instead of a Tsade (צ) in Hebrew. Similarly in Arabic can be found S^aHha/ (become clear, bright, aware, alert); D^aHha/ (become visible, appear, bring to light); D^aHhaK (to jeer, scoff, mock, scorn, fool, laugh). As an archetypal behavior, it results from one’s ability to focus (Sarah) with one’s spreading out so as to take notice of and give forth to things stirred up (Avraham) – meaning “one’s bringing things to light in being meticulously alert to what is around.”
4 – Yaaqov (יעקב) from the root \aQaBh (עקב) which essentially means “to twist around.” Across the Semitic languages, this root is used to mean “to constrain, to follow, to come after, to trace, to approach closely, to investigate, to criticize, and to grab the heel (supplant).”
5 – 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
6 – Pharaoh (פרעה) 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 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
7 – 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, this root is used in the verb and noun to means “devote (attention).”
8 – Yisrael (ישראל) from the verb Sarah (שרה) which 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.” Yisrael is an augmentation of Yaaqov (investigating what comes around). Therefore, it is just a bit more than focusing upon the many things advancing forward, because it is an action that is more sustained.
9 – 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.”
10 – R’uvaen (ראובן) “the initial attempt at making an extreme and tenacious examination (of G-d’s bringing forth existence) by persistently looking upon an overwhelming scene” כי אמרה כי ראה יהוה בעניי כי עתה יאהבני אישי
Because she said (made a tenacious examination – Akk.), because HaShem looked upon what afflicts-overwhelms me.
11 – Hhanokh (חנוך) remaining fully committed to a scene; from the verb Hh.N.K. (חנך) to train, dedicate, commit
12 – PaLu/ (פלוא) – going to extremes; from the verb (פלא) to do difficult, extreme, remarkable things
13 – HheTsRon (חצרן) repetitively enclosing around aspects of the scene; from the root (חצר), Heb. Noun: enclosure. Derived from TsuR (צור – narrow in).
14 – KaRMy (כרמי) heaping up a lot from experience; from the verb KaRaM (כרם) (surround) > vineyard, to pile up.
15 – Shimon (שמעון) repetitive attempts to be attentive to one thing, followed by the next; from verb ShaMa\ (שמע) (stay put) > be attentive, guard, hear. From Gen29:33 כי שמע יהוה כי שנואה אנכי ויתן לי גם את זה With שנואה hated literally meaning “imposed upon” having evolved from אנה > שנה > שנא allegorically indicating that HaShem imposes upon a person with experience leading a person to be repetitively attentive to זה (what is overbearingly, clearly apparent) from unattested ZaHaH (זהה – exude light), see Syriac cognate ZaHa/ (זהא – shining, glorious, splendid, resplendent) and in Arabic (radiant, shine brightly, be haughty).
16 – Y’mu’ael (ימואל) the taking notice of what conspicuously and impendingly advances forward; from NaMaH (נמה) in Hebrew related to “persist, stagnate, hover” and in Arabic (for something that persists or hovers) to come to one’s attention, be reported. And אל what advances forward.
17 – Yamyn (ימין) being ever present with it. YaMyN (ימין) meaning ever present / dominant side. A righty puts Tefillin on the left arm (non-dominant) while a lefty puts his Tefillin on his right arm. YaMyN (ימין) evolved from /aMaN (אמן – true, real, believe) means to trust in something’s being ever present. It evolved from /uM (אום – substance, bulk) which literally means “ever present existence.” It also evolved into /iM (אם – if or the possibility of presence) and mother (/aeM – אם) which literally means “who or what that is ever present.”
18 – Ohad (אהד) directing oneself toward it (אהד); from context and derived from Arabic הדּה to lead, guide, show, direct, conduct, convey, gift, present.
19 – Yakhyn (יכין) setting oneself firmly upon it; from the verb (הכין) to be firm, precise
20 – TsoHhaR (צחר) one who clarifies something. A root that is related to צח (Syr- to shine brightly; to express things clearly) and דּ’חא (Arb- be struck by the sun’s rays > to become visible, appear; morning > begin, start).
21 – 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
22 – 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).
23 – 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.
24 – M’rary (מררי) traversing through and unrelentingly pouring over a scene to completion; from מר (Arb- pass along something, elapse, traverse, cross, flowing through)
25 – Amram (עמרם) having a heightened mindfulness of a scene; from \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.+ RaM (רם – elevated, high, heightened)
26 – Yitshar (יצהר) narrowing in upon a particular thing so as to make it clearer. 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 related 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.
27 – Chevron (חברון) repeated acts of sticking with particular things so as to get to know them well; In Hebrew חבר means to join together. That idea is expanded in Arabic: (stick with s.th) to try, experience, know well, inform, communicate, negotiate, seek information.
28 – Uziel (עזיאל) making a show of strength so as to advance forward into a scene with initiative; from \uZ (עוז – strength, power) and 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.”
29 – Yokheved (יוכבד) G-d’s bringing forth of existence is taken seriously. Yo from יה a shortened version of YHWH from the verb to be, to exist in its piel form + KaBhaD (כבד – be heavy, honor, respect, take seriously).
30 – 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.
31 – Elisheva\ (אלישבע) one’s advancing forward toward things bubbling up in experience; 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.” + Sheva/ (שבע) – Although with a shin, this word appears to have been derived from the similar root with a letter sin, SaBha\ meaning as satiated, it derives from either NaBha\ (נבע – to swell or well up) or Ba\aH (בעה – to bubble up, boil). Perhaps it means the number seven because it fulfills a period of one week, although this too is not completely clear. Metaphorically, from context and this etymology it means “being satiated by what bubbles up” or just “a bubbling up of something.
32 – 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.
33 – 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).
34 – 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.
35 – 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.”
36 – PuTiel (פוטיאל) one’s bursting forth in different directions and advancing forward; (פוט – PuT) which evolved from פצה – to split open. Difficult to prove but consider פטר to burst forth + 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.”
37 – Pinhas (פינחס) one’s turning toward particular things for closer consideration; from PaNaH (פנה – to turn toward) + HhuS (חוס) with \aL (על) means to show concern / shower consideration upon, which evolved from ChuSh (חוש) essentially: to spend time with or persist with someone or something by experiencing, sensing, feeling or considering.
38 – Qorah (קרח) one’s getting in very close and festering over a particular thing. 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. In Arabic, the root קרח means to wound, fester, ulcerate. From the idea of fester over something it also means to think up, propose, invent, and improvise. In Sabaic, to inflict a wound. In Syriac: to become bald, (?be clear >>) expose, divulge, disclose, declare expressly, make clear, evident, specify). This idea of baldness which predominates in Hebrew comes from wound > ulcerate > clear out / away > bald, ice/ frost, inside lining (of clothing).
39 – Nepheg (נפג) one’s going all out and exhausting oneself with a particular thing; the root נפג evolved from פוג to blow out. In Arabic נפג is (going all out) to vaunt, jump, leap, bound, spring up and take flight, brag, boast, be a snob.
40 – Zikhri (זכרי) one’s achieve greater mental clarity about a particular thing; from זכר (to be clear in mind) > remember.
41 – Asir (אסיר) one’s becoming bound to a particular thing; from אסר to wrap around, harness, to bind.
42 – Elqanah (אלקנה) one’s advancing so as to fixate upon a particular thing; 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.” + 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. Note related root תקן to fix.
43 – Aviasaph (אביאסף) one’s reining in of one’s ability to take notice of things; from /aBhaH (אבה) which in Hebrew means “to be willing to give forth of oneself,” whereas in Arabic it means “to take notice of.” + אסף to gather in
44 – sorcerers (מכשפים) related to Arabic כשף (Arb- pull away, remove, throw open, take off, unveil, reveal, disclose, uncover, expose, show, demonstrate, shed light, study, scrutinize, investigate, examine, reveal secrets.
45 – \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.
46 – frog (צפרדע – Ts’phardae’a\) from צפר (TsiPaeR – (to overflow out of) > to evacuate, to bail out from (Jd7:3), which evolved from TsaPhaH (צפה – to overflow). TsiPoR (צפור – bird) literally means “the one that evacuates, flies away.” + דע – knowledge from ידע to know, acknowledge
47 – DaBhaR (thing- דבר) 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
48 – magicians (חרטמים) “those who prod what is impenetrable or literally what is densely packed in” from חרה to poke, prod, incite + טום to be packed in tightly (see Syriac – to stop up, block, closely packed, solid, dense, opaque).

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.
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