Untangling Hebrew

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Hebrew Word of the Day

Today's Hebrew word is from Walk Genesis by Jeffrey Feinberg. I don't normally take the Hebrew word from someone else's research but as this word is related to our first word מולדת (MOLEDET)it seemed appropriate. It is also the title of this week's parasha, so I decided, well, why re-invent the wheel...

תולדת(TOL'DOT) - generations, history, family
Genesis 25:19 - "These are the generations of Isaac, son of Abraham. Abraham gave birth to Issac." This word is also used in Gen. 2:4 "These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens." So it means more than just familial descent. There is another word for that, דור (DOR). In fact, Gen. 6:9 makes use of both words: "These are the generations תולדת(TOL'DOT) of Noah; Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations דור (DOR) , and Noah walked with God."

This word is also a derivative of ילד (YALAD) - beget or give birth. Other related words are:
תולדן (TOLADAN) - historian, chronicler
תולד (TOLAD) - derivative
ילדות (YALDOOT) - childhood

Monday, November 21, 2005

Hebrew Word of the Day

Today's Hebrew word leads us across all kinds of little rabbit trails... and, ok, we're not in this parasha anymore but I'm still thinking about it so we'll follow these trails for another day.

Gen. 21:1 "ADONAI remebered Sarah as he had said, and ADONAI did for Sarah what he had promised."

פקד PAKAD - "visit, appoint, command"
So our verse might be better translated, "Adonai visited Sarah..." This is the same word which is used in 1 Sam. 2:21- "So ADONAI took notice of Hannah, and she conceived and bore three more sons and two daughters." (This happened shortly after she fulfilled her vow and brought Samuel to the tabernacle to be raised by Eli the priest.)
This word is also used in Ps. 8:4- "What is man, that you remember us, and the son of man, that you visit us?"

There are two other related words we'll look at today:
פקוד PAKOOD- "appointed mandate, commandment, precept."
Such as found in Ps. 19:8 (v. 9 in the Hebrew)- "The precepts of ADONAI are right, rejoicing the heart." and in Ps.119:4- "You laid down your precepts for us to observe with care." So what do we learn from this? That not only are "pakood" precepts and commands, but also our mandate, and indeed the result of an intimate visit from God. No wonder they bring such joy to the heart, and we observe (heb. "guard") them carefully.

פקיד PAKEED- "a superintendent, governor, or officer"
Gen. 41:34- "Pharaoh... should appoint supervisors over the land..."
This facet of "pakad" reminds me of when Paul wrote that the Torah is a "tutor" to lead us to Messiah...
All this from one little word, "visit"- into a wide spectrum of words which have a common base of meaning. This is why I love Hebrew!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Hebrew Word of the Day

Sorry I have neglected this little site for a few days; I've been fighting the flu. Here's the Hebrew word for today:

זרע "ZARA' " sow, plant
זרוע "Z'ROA' " seed, offspring; arm, strength

Genesis 3:15- "I will put animosity between you and the woman, and between your descendant and her descendant; he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel."
Isaiah 53:1- "Who believes our report? To whom is the arm of ADONAI revealed?"

These are two Messianic prophecies (among many) which use the word "Z'ROA" to refer to the Messiah as the seed of Man and of the Lord.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hebrew Word of the Day

ברוך הבא

Today's Hebrew word is from Gen. 12:5: "Avram took his wife Sarai, his brother's son Lot, and all their possessions which they had accumulated..."
Both "posssessions" and "accumulated" are derived from the same root word here, which is
רכש(RAKHASH) :lay up, collect, gather, get
רכוש(R'KHOOSH) :property, goods.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Hebrew Word of the Day

ברוך הבא
Welcome to Hebrew! We will derive our Hebrew word for the day from this week's parasha portion, לך לך (Lech L'cha- Get yourself out)

Genesis 12:1 "Now Adonai said to Avram, 'Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsmen and away from your father's house, and go to the land that I will show you.' " (CJB)

-birthplace, native country, lineage, kinsmen
מולדת derives from the root ילד (yalad) - give birth, or beget.
ילד is also the root for ילד (yeled) -boy- and ילדה (yaldah) -girl.

God calls Avram to get away from his family and background. Terach his father began the journey out of Ur, but never reached his goal of Canaan. (Gen. 11:31) Did God originally call the whole family, only to see them stay in Haran? At any rate, God specifically tells Avram, "Get yourself out of there!" and only Avram and Lot enter into Canaan. God calls Avram to leave his 'moledet' behind because He intends to make of this man a new nation and a new lineage on the earth.

What about Lot? Should Avram have brought him along? God told Avram to leave everyone in his family behind. Lot was indeed also blessed and ended up fathering two nations himself, but Avram had to rescue Lot from death twice. Lot did not help the people around him or soften their hearts towards God; rather the reverse occured. Lot lost everything he had had when he left Avram, and the nations he fathered were the result of incest. (see Gen. 19:30-38)

This word is also used of the Moabitess Ruth in Ruth 2:11- "...you left your father and your mother and the land you were born in (מולדת moledet) to come to a people about whom you knew nothing beforehand." (CJB) Ruth, of course, ends up being the matriarch of the Messianic line. And realize also that she came from Moab, who was one of Lot's sons.