David Kolinsky
David Kolinsky

w’Yaqhel-P’QuDae: What is Shabbat, allegorically?

The point of writing a Torah blog is to understand the Torah as fully as possible. Sometimes an attempt to see the larger picture transcends the divisions of chapters and parashot imposed upon a text that is actually divided into books, paragraphs, sub paragraphs and sentences. This blog is going to bridge the last three parashot and pull in some other portions of the Torah as well. The main focus will be to discuss shabbat. In the Torah, a resting (shabbat) on the seventh day is mentioned on the seventh day of creation (Gen 2:3), with regard to the collecting of the Manna (מנה)(Exod 16:23), in the two readings of the ten commandments (Exod 20:8; Deut 5:12), as a reminder in mishpatim (Exod 23:12), juxtaposed with the Chagim (Exod 34:21; Lev 23:3), regarding its particular offering (num 28:9), and embedded with the instructions for the building of the mishkan (Exod 31:12 & 35:2). With the regard to the later two, I have heard that this was to emphasize that the mishkan could not be built on shabbat and for the purpose of emphasizing the 39 m’lakhot (מלאכות) or shabbat prohibitions.

שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תַּעֲשֶֹה מַעֲשֶֹיךָ וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי תִּשְׁבֹּת לְמַעַן יָנוּחַ שׁוֹרְךָ וַחֲמֹרֶךָ וְיִנָּפֵשׁ בֶּן-אֲמָתְךָ וְהַגֵּר
(Exod 20:8)
שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים יֵעָשֶֹה מְלָאכָה וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן קֹדֶשׁ לַיהוָֹה כָּל-הָעֹשֶֹה מְלָאכָה בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת מוֹת יוּמָת (Exod 23:12)
שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תַּעֲבֹד וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי תִּשְׁבֹּת בֶּחָרִישׁ וּבַקָּצִיר תִּשְׁבֹּת
(Exod 34:21)
שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֵּעָשֶֹה מְלָאכָה וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי יִהְיֶה לָכֶם קֹדֶשׁ שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן לַיהוָֹה כָּל-הָעֹשֶֹה בוֹ מְלָאכָה יוּמָת (Exod 35:2)
שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֵּעָשֶֹה מְלָאכָה וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן מִקְרָא-קֹדֶשׁ כָּל-מְלָאכָה
לֹא תַעֲשֹוּ שַׁבָּת הִוא לַיהֹוָה בְּכֹל מוֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם
(Lev 23:3)
שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תַּעֲבֹד וְעָשִֹיתָ כָּל-מְלַאכְתֶּךָ: וְיוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי שַׁבָּת לַיהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לֹא-תַעֲשֶֹה כָל-מְלָאכָה
(Deut 5:12)

On the level of pashat, the shabbat is a day of rest that emulates the way in which Elohim rested on the seventh day of creation. Of the many times that a commandment for shabbat is given (as reflected above) the usual refrain begins with “six of the days…” followed by “you may work” or “you shall do you tasks” or “tasks may be done” or “you shall do your doings.” The word for six, ShaeSh (שש), evolved from prefixing a letter shin to the root NaShaH (נשה) meaning “to draw off or slip passed > carry over > lift up.” The word ShaeSh (שש) represents what a person does when counting on the fingers: “carrying over the counting to the other hand.” Allegorically, ShaeSh (שש) means “one’s being carried along.”1 The word for day, YoM (יום), evolved from the verb HaMaH (המה to stir up); it means “(the time) causing a stirring up.”2 (As opposed to laylah (לילה night); (the time) of being exhausted, from La/aH (לאה)).3 So the refrain means: “Being carried along by the many things (in experience) causing a stirring, you may work (devote attention) or go off to do a task.”

At this point, the first thing to notice is that the seventh day is still a day, YoM (יום), “(a time) causing a stirring up.” By definition, in and of itself, it cannot be a day of rest. The word for seven, SheBha\ (שבע), is etymologically related to the word SaBha\ (שבע satiated, fulfilled). It evolved from prefixing a letter sin to either NaBha\ (נבע to swell up) or Ba\aH (בעה to bubble up > boil). Allegorically, these roots represent one’s becoming satiated by what bubbles up in experience.4 So the seventh day is: (a time) causing a stirring up, one of becoming satiated by what bubbles up in experience.” Although by definition a day ((a time) causing a stirring up) cannot be a time of resting, once a person has become satiated by what has bubbled up in that day, a period of rest is both well deserved and necessary. This can be seen further when we examine the words for work. The verb \aBhaD (עבד work) evolved from the noun \eBheD (עבד slave), which evolved from the verb /aBhaD (אבד to be lost).5 A slave is one lost to the community and made to work. The verb means: to slave > to work > to devote, to worship; allegorically it means “to devote attention to something in experience.” The word m’lakhah (מלאכה – a task) comes from the root La/Kh (לאך) meaning to send.6 Allegorically, both of these words involve leaving behind what is being done now – either by devoting attention to something new (עבד \aBhaD) or by going off to perform a different task (מלאכה m’lakhah). On the other hand, the word Shabbat (שבת) literally means “a time of settling in-down.”7 Allegorically it represents a time of settling down into something. When what bubbles up in experience becomes satiating, we don’t run away from it, we settle down into it. We give it our full attention without devoting attention to something else and without going off to perform a different task.

Notice that this matches up precisely with what Elohim did upon completing creation:וַיְכַל אֱלֹהִים בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָֹה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִכָּל-מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָֹה “And Elohim was completing, on the seventh day, His task that He did. And He was resting, on the seventh day, from all of His task that He did.” God worked on the seventh day, the day of becoming satiated, and once satiation occurred, God rested. At this point, I should point out that I am not advocating for work to performed into the seventh day. All of creation comes from God. All that we experience comes from God’s bringing forth of existence, God’s guidance being found in experience (Y-H-W-H, Elohim). Allegorically, shabbat is a time of settling in and remaining with what is satiating of experience that HaShem has created for us. This is a call for perseverance and persistence in the face of one’s challenges. It is not a call for defiance of halakhah. In fact, allegorically shabbat is not a particular day of the week; rather it is representative of an event that can occur on any day. Any day in which a person feels as if a life event is satiating and overwhelming, is a day to settle into that event with perseverance and persistence.

This call for persistence and perseverance can be seen in our parashah: לֹא-תְבַעֲרוּ אֵשׁ בְּכֹל משְׁבֹתֵיכֶם בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת “You shall not ignite-extinguish a fire in any of your settlements on the day of Shabbat.” The verb Ba\aR (בער) has a fabulous diversity of meanings. It evolved from Ba/aR (באר) meaning “to make clear, elucidate, explain.” The verb Ba\aR (בער) principally applies to the clearing out of a field. This can occur either by animals, B’\eeR (בעיר cattle, beast), or by fire. The process of clearing out a field with fire involves igniting the fire, allowing it to burn and then eventually extinguishing it; hence the verb Ba\aR (בער) means all three – “to ignite, burn and extinguish (fire).” Since the word for fire, /aeSh (אש), literally means “what persists,”8 allegorically the sentence means “You shall not extinguish an act of persistence (fire) with any of your acts-places of settling in (with experience), in (the time) causing a stirring up, of the settling in (with experience).” Once again, this is allegory and I am not advocating a breaking of halakhah to keep a fire burning on shabbat.

As I described in more detail in my blog for B’Shalach, although the Manna was a daily distribution of food, allegorically it represented a distribution of divine inspiration9 – situations with which to engage provided by God’s bringing forth of existence. The manna was described as a bread (לחם LeHheM), a word that literally means “a thing gotten into very closely.”10 The people went out daily to gather it and received a double portion on the sixth day. Because of shabbat prohibitions, there was none to be gathered on the seventh day. The text says: וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם הוּא אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהֹוָה שַׁבָּתוֹן שַׁבַּת-קֹדֶשׁ לַיהוָֹה מָחָר אֵת אֲשֶׁר-תֹּאפוּ אֵפוּ וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר-תְּבַשְּׁלוּ בַּשֵּׁלוּ וְאֵת כָּל-הָעֹדֵף הַנִּיחוּ לָכֶם לְמִשְׁמֶרֶת עַד-הַבֹּקֶר “It is that which God’s bringing forth of existence spoke, a shabbaton of holy shabbat with respect to God’s bringing forth of existence is tomorrow – that which you can bake, bake, and that which you can boil, boil – all of the excess store away for yourselves regarded as something under observation, unto the morning.” Allegorically, there are a number of words of importance in this quote. First the word MaChaR (מחר tomorrow) evolved by adding a letter mem to the word /aChaR (אחר after) with an elision of the aleph. However, its allegorical meaning, a time of prodding, comes from the root MaChaR (מחר to appeal to (Akk); to plow (Arb)), both of which evolved from ChaRaH (חרה – to poke, prod, incite). This indicates that the shabbat (a settling in of experience) is also a prodding of experience. Second, the words תאפו אפו from the verb /aPhaH (אפה to bake) can also be from the root /aPhaPh (אפף to enclose around, smother the face in),11 while the root BaShaL (בשל) literally means to “steep in.”12 So this experience of what settles in of what is brought forward in experience (shabbat qodesh)13 is something prodding (מחר) with which to smother oneself (אפף) and stew oneself with (בשל). Finally, this experience can be kept until morning (בקר – BoQaeR), a time of making an investigation.14

Further confirmation that the shabbat represents an experience, not to be avoided, also comes from the discussion of the manna: שבו איש תחתיו אל יצא איש ממקמו ביום השביעי “You (pl) must settle in – a man, his place, a man shall preclude from going out from his place on the seventh day.” There are two words in this sentence meaning “place.” The first, TaHhaT (תחת), is almost never used to mean “place.” Rather since it means “under” or “instead of,” it allegorically means “what subdues.”15 The second, MaQoM (מקום) comes from the verb QuM (קום stand firm, arise, establish). It is allegorically related to another derived noun, QaM (קם) meaning one who stands before, confronts, and adversary. Allegorically, these two words indicate that a person’s being (mentally) persistent (איש /eeSh, man)16 must settle in with the things in experience subduing him (תחת TaHhaT) and may not abandon what is confronting him in (קם QaM, confronts) experience – in the time causing a stirring, the one of becoming satiated by what bubbles up in experience (the seventh day).

Allegorically, the mishkan serves as a means of “(mindfully) dwelling upon” a scene.17 The items found within it each represent different ways of approaching and observing that scene. The ark (ארון aron) represents “one’s picking out and bringing to light particular things.”18 The K’ruvim (כרובים) represent things meditated over.19 The table (שלחן Shulchan) represents acts of repetitively getting into things more closely.20 The menurah (מנורה) represents an act of shedding light upon things.21 While its almond shaped cups described as G’Bhi’im m’ShuQaDim (גביעים משקדים) represent heapings of things in experience that are compelling,22 “vigilantly observed.”23 The responsibility of building the mishkan falls upon B’tsalael the son of Uri the son of Chur (בצלאל בן אורי בן חור) and his associate Ahaliav the son of Achisamakh (אהליאב בן אחיסמך). The name of the first means “one who splits open many layers of what advances forward in experience, a behavior of emanating into my experience, a behavior of examining what is evident so as to gain clarity.”24 The second means “one who becomes familiar with things in taking notice of things, a behavior of what points things out for me in experience provides support.”25 The behaviors represented by them are behaviors of examining a large amount of the details found in a scene.

Shabbat, on the other hand, represents isolated situations or experiences that settle in as a result of God’s bringing forth of experience. While it is important to dwell upon a scene for the purpose of examining the many things that can be found there (mishkan), it is nevertheless, more important not to miss the acts (things) of settling in (shabbats), of what is brought forward (qodesh), with regard to God’s bringing forth of existence (ל..Y-H-W-H), in the time causing a stirring, the one of becoming satiated by what bubbles up in experience (the seventh day). This is the reason why the paragraph about shabbat is interposed a midst the instructions to build the mishkan: אַךְ אֶת-שַׁבְּתֹתַי תִּשְׁמֹרוּ כִּי אוֹת הִוא בֵּינִי וּבֵינֵיכֶם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם לָדַעַת כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָֹה מְקַדִּשְׁכֶם “Nevertheless, my sabbaths, you shall observe because it is a sign between me and you (pl) for your generations, in order to acknowledge that I am God’s bringing forth of existence, the one sanctifying you.” The word for sign, /oT (אות) comes from the root /aWaH (אוה) meaning both “to point (to what exists)” and “to want” or more precisely “to point to what exists that one wants.” The shabbat, a settling into experience, is a sign because it points to something to engage in experience; the thing toward which God’s bringing forth of experience is bringing you forward (מְקַדִּשְׁכֶם).

These lines of text, stating that shabbat is a sign, is separated by a setumah, an open space in the text that indicates that the following subparagraph is thematically related. Here is that text that follows:וַיִּתֵּן אֶל-מֹשֶׁה כְּכַלֹּתוֹ לְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ בְּהַר סִינַי שְׁנֵי לֻחֹת הָעֵדֻת לֻחֹת אֶבֶן כְּתֻבִים בְּאֶצְבַּע אֱלֹהִים “And He was giving to Moshe, as He was finishing to speak with him, in the mount of Sinai, the two tablets of testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of Elohim (God’s guidance found in experience).”26 Immediately following this line, upon seeing that Moshe was delaying, the people asked Aharon to make for them Elohim (gods of guidance) which culminates in the making of the golden calf. Moshe (one’s mental faculty drawing out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience)27 was delaying because he was filtering through (Sinai)28 all of the guidance given to him by God (Elohim), the things getting in very closely of what was evident in experience (tablets of the testimony),29,30 the things getting in very closely of what stuck out prominently (tablets of stone).31 Allegorically, Moshe was filtering through all of this for the purpose of finding the sign that indicates the direction to go (אות /oT), for the purpose of finding the acts of settling in (shabbats). But the people were inpatient. Representing a person’s being mindful of the many things crowding in from experience, the people turned to Aharon (the mantal faculty bringing things to light) to give them more immediate guidance. To this end came out a calf (עגל \eGeL) representing “a person’s meandering, wallowing and rushing about experience in order to swiftly descend upon things.”32

Allegorically, there are two different themes that are being blended together in this narrative – the building of the mishkan represents the acts of going over most of the details of a scene, while Moshe, the tablets, his desire to see HaShem, and the statements about shabbat express the necessity of not missing the particular things brought forth by God a midst the larger picture. Furthermore, in Exodus 32:34 and 33:1, Moshe is told “go and lead” and “go and ascend,” both of which refer to taking the people to the land of the Canaanites. This despite the fact that the context is one of staying put to build the mishkan. Allegorically, the way to make sense of this is to understand that the point of the Torah is to aid “the people” in gaining a “clear understanding” (ברית B’RiT)33 of God’s bringing forth of existence so that one might pursue life goals in alignment with God’s creation for them. The observations of the larger life stage is represented by the mishkan; the particulars upon that stage that one person is meant to engage with is represented by Moshe, the tablets and the shabbats; and the direction that a person is meant to move is represented by the land to which they are to go. To use math as an analogy: the mishkan is the x-y-z axis, Moshe’s job is to determine an appropriate starting coordinate (A), and the land is the end point of the A to B vector.

After making the mishkan, bringing it into Moshe and setting it up, the text ends as follows:
וַיְכַס הֶעָנָן אֶת-אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וּכְבוֹד יְהֹוָה מָלֵא אֶת-הַמִּשְׁכָּן: וְלֹא-יָכֹל מֹשֶׁה לָבוֹא אֶל-אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד כִּי-שָׁכַן עָלָיו הֶעָנָן וּכְבוֹד יְהֹוָה מָלֵא אֶת-הַמִּשְׁכָּן: וּבְהֵעָלוֹת הֶעָנָן מֵעַל הַמִּשְׁכָּן יִסְעוּ בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל בְּכֹל מַסְעֵיהֶם: וְאִם-לֹא יֵעָלֶה הֶעָנָן וְלֹא יִסְעוּ עַד-יוֹם הֵעָלֹתוֹ: כִּי עֲנַן יְהֹוָה עַל-הַמִּשְׁכָּן יוֹמָם וְאֵשׁ תִּהְיֶה לַיְלָה בּוֹ לְעֵינֵי כָל-בֵּית-יִשְֹרָאֵל בְּכָל-מַסְעֵיהֶם

“And the cloud was covering the tent of meeting and the intensity of God’s bringing forth of existence filled the mishkan. And Moshe was not able to go into the tent of meeting because the cloud and the intensity of God’s bringing forth of existence filled the mishkan. And with the ascending of the cloud from upon the mishkan, the children of Yisrael were traveling through all of their travels.. And if the cloud would not ascend then they would not travel unto the day of its ascending. Because the cloud of God’s brining forth of existence was upon the mishkan daily and a fire was with it nightly, to the eyes of all of the house of Yisrael, with all of their travels.”

This is consistent with what I have been saying in this blog. Until the experience brought forth by God is dealt with, one should not move on (travel on) to the next thing. The word anon (ענן) cloud evolved from the verb \aNaH (ענה) to impose oneself, afflict etc.34 It literally means “an imposing presence.” The word KaBhoD (כבוד) is usually translated as “glory.” Technically, it means “what is heavy or pressing down upon,” for this reason I prefer to translate it as “intensity.” The children of Yisrael, representing a person’s behaviors of making a sustained survey of the many things advancing forward in experience, cannot move on until they have surveyed, observationally processed (mishkan) and become familiar with (ohel) the intensity and imposing presence of God’s bringing forth of existence. Even Moshe (one’s mental faculty drawing out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience) was not able to deal with such intensity.

1 – six (שש – ShaeSh) Allegorically: being elated and getting carried away. The probable literal meaning of six is “carried over (to other hand (when counting)).” It is 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).
2 – derived from the root HaMaH (המה – to stir up) are YaM (ים – sea, what is stirred up); HaeM (הם they, those stirred up); HaMoN (המון those stirred up); YoM (יום – day, time period causing a stirring)
3 – night (לילה – LaiLaH) etymologically probably from a doubling of either La/aH (לאה – to be exhausted, to labor exhaustively) or LaHaH (להה – (exhausted) to languish, be tired)
4 – SheBha\ (שבע) seven, Although with a shin, this word appears to have been derived from the similar root with a letter sin, SaBha\ understood 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.
5 – 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).”
6 – angel (מלאך – mal’akh) & task (מלאכה m’lakhah) from the verb La/aKh (לאך) Ugaritic and Syriac – to send a messenger, a message. Related to Hebrew HaLaKh (הלך – to go, advance).
7 – Sabbath (שבת – Shabbat). This verb 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). So the root (שבת – ShaBhaT) means (to settle down) > cease, rest, but allegorically also has a meaning of settling in.
8 – Fire /aeSh (אש, fire, persistent existence) from /uSh (אוש – to make persistent, to go on and on, be lengthy, make a steady noise (Jastro))
9 – Manna – from MaNaH (מנה – distribute, count, reckon, assign, class), which evolved from MaHaH (מהה – dissolve, dissipate), MaNaH (מנה) originally meant to draw off from hence the related words MiN (מן – from) and SheMeN (שמן – oil); also T’MuNaH (תמונה – likeness) is something that is drawn off from an original thing, but not quite the same as it, a reckoning, a likeness, an approximation.
10 – bread (לחם) is related to the word MiLHhaMah (מלחמה – to engage in battle). Both words derive from LaWaHh (לוח – to join together and to be well joined > escort). In Arabic, לחם means to cling, join, solder, get stuck, engage in battle.
11 – bake (אפה – /aPhaH) evolved from the root /aPh (אף – nose, face, brow). That it means to cover the face can be seen in the evolved root /aPhaPh (אפף – to smother the face)
12 – stew, steep > cook (בשל BaShaL) evolved from BuSh (בוש – delay > to be embarrassed) and BaShaSh (בשש – to delay). Related verbs: YaBaShah (יבשה – dry land) in that it takes a delay in time for something organic to dry up; Ba/aSh (באש to rot, go bad)
13 Holy (קדש – QoDaeSh, 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)
14 – morning (בוקר – BoQaeR, time of investigation) / cattle (בקר – BaQaR, those who investigates). From the root meaning “to investigate, search.”
15 – under, rear-end (תחת TaHhaT) from NaHhaT (נחת to press down upon / bend, to descend, come down); which evolved to HhaTaH (חתה – to push down; (press down into, bring down into) to scoop up) and then ChaTaT (חתת to press down upon, to subdue, and to frighten)
16 – 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.”
17 – 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).
18 – ark (ארון /aRoN) Allegorically: “one’s picking out and bringing to light particular things” from the verb /aRaH (ארה to pick out), but literally meaning to bring out into the light from /oR (אור light). Related roots: /aRaBh (ארב to jump out into the light > ambush; squeezing through of light); /aRaS (ארש to designate a bride, bring out into the light); /aRaR (ארר to point out, bring into question (Mal 2:2)); YaRaH (ירה (throw out into the light) > aim, teach); HaRaH (הרה (bring out into the light) > to conceive)
19 – K’ruvim (Cherubim) (כרובים) Allegorically: things meditated overץ From KaRaBh (כרב) Syriac – to plow, turn over and over in one’s thoughts, meditate over, Akkadian – pray constantly.
20 – table (שלחן ShuLHhaN) Allegorically: acts of repetitively getting into things more closely. Formed by prefixing Shin and suffixing Nun to LuaHh (לוח tablet, board), from LaWaHh (לוח – to join together and to be well joined).
21 – menurah (מנורה M’NuRaH) Allegorically: an act of shedding light upon things. Related to Arabic: NuR (נור to light, illuminate, enlighten)
22 – goblet (גביע – G’Bhia\) / hill (גבעה – GiBh\aH) This root means to heap up. In Sabaic, the verb GaBa\ (גבע) means to impose and force, to compel.
23 – almond shaped (משקדים m’ShuQaDim) Allegorically: “vigilantly observed.” From the root ShaQaD (שקד) literally meaning “to put head forward” > to watch, guard, be vigilantת to be bent upon, be determined, be intent / vigilant. The almond tree is vigilant in its blosoming first in the land of Israel, hence ShaQaD. 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)
24 – B’tsalael, the son of Uri, the son of Chur (בצלאל בן אורי בן חור)
Allegorically: “one who splits open many layers of what advances forward, a behavior of emanating into my experience, a behavior of examining what is evident so as to gain clarity.” From BaTsaL (בצל onion), from BuTs (בוץ to swell and split open, bubble, burst forth, shine);
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;” /oR (אור light) literally means “what emanates,” consider: אורות (weeds-emanating outward) herbs, אויר open space, air and ממארת cancerous, malignant. ChuR (חור) > to make clear and evidentץ
25 – Ahaliav, the son of Achisamakh (אהליאב בן אחיסמך)
Allegorically: “one who becomes familiar with things in taking notice of things, a behavior of what points things out for me in experience provides support.” In Arabic, the root /aHaL (אהל tent) means “take a wife, be familiar, inhabited; enable, qualify, competence, aptitude).” father /aBh (אב) 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.” brother (אח – /aCh) most probably was derived from the root ChaWaH (חוה) which in Arabic means to join someone and to join the company of. Usually the allegorical meaning of a word is based on this type of etymological connection. However, sometimes the Torah makes up an artificial folk etymology. Because Hebrew uses the same letter symbol, ח, for two different consonantal sounds (Hhet and Chet), there is another חוה in Hebrew, (HhaWaH) which means to point out and instruct. Based on context, the allegorical meaning of the word brother (אח) comes from the similarly spelled root HhaWaH (חוה) and not the etymologically correct root ChaWaH (חוה). Allegorically, a brother is one who points something out or points the way.
26 – 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.
27 – 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.” Simplified: “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.”
28 – Sinai (סיני) Allegorically: showing restraint in filtering and clarifying experience. From SaNaN (סנן (impose >) to be bright, sharp & to filter, refine, strain) from ShaNaN (שנן – to sharpen, hone, teach) &/or ShaNaH (שנה – to sharpen > repeat), from /aNaH (אנה – to impose)
29 – board, plank (לוח LuaHh) This root meaning “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 and to lend.”
30 – 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.”
31 – stone (/eBheN – אבן), from the root BuN (בון – to be or project between), literally means “what sticks out prominently.”
32 – 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.
33 – B’RiT (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
34 – cloud (ענן – \aNaN) is derived from \aNaH (ענה) to afflict, overwhelm, humiliate, rape, oppress. This root evolved from /aNaH (אנה to impose oneself).

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

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

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

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