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Balashon Hebrew Language Detective
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Balashon is on hiatus
As you may have noticed, I haven't written any posts in Balashon in over a year. While I have not abandoned Balashon, I have put my activity on hold for now, as I am working on a different project. I hope to finish the project in the next few months, and wh...
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charoset
I've planned on writing a post about charoset חרוסת since 2006. But every time I started, the etymology offered by Klein seemed so obvious and convincing that I didn't think I had anything to write about: חרסת - ' haroseth ' - a condiment made of fruits and...
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haggadah and aggadah
Pesach is coming up and we will be reading from the haggada הגדה. What is the connection between haggada and aggada אגדה - the stories found in rabbinic literature? They both derive from the root הגיד - "he told, narrated", and so, according to Klein, can m...
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malon
In the post about achsania , I mentioned the word for hotel - malon מלון. I didn't discuss the etymology there, so let's take a look now. Malon is a biblical word, originally meaning "lodging place" or more specifically "inn." It derives from the root לון, ...
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daysa
A reader asked about the origin of the word daysa דייסה - "porridge, gruel." He said that "the word looks and sounds not much Hebrew and seems to hide its roots." Indeed, Klein says that the etymology is unknown, and other sources weren't particularly helpf...
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krach
We are approaching the holiday of Purim, where the megillah is read in most cities on the 14th of Adar, but in walled cities it is read on the 15th. One of the terms for a walled city is  krach  כרך. Until very recently, I would have told you that the origi...
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chofesh and chovesh
A while back we talked about herut חרות - "freedom". But what about the similar word chofshi חפשי - "free" and the related chofesh חופש and chufsha חופשה - which originally meant "freedom" and today have the sense of "vacation, holiday" (the former being mo...
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chelek and chaklaut
A friend recently asked me a question about metathesis - the rearranging of letters in a word. Let's take a quick look at an example in Hebrew. The word helek חלק - "part, portion" derives from the verb חלק - "to divide, share" (according to Klein). He does...
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hasta and ad
Arnold Schwarzenegger has been in the news recently, so I thought I'd take a look at the first word of his catchphrase, " Hasta la vista, baby ". While  hasta la vista  is used to mean "see you later", the literal meaning in Spanish is "Until the (next) sig...
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kerach and kereach
It was frosty here this weekend, so I got to thinking - is there any connection between the homographs קרח kerach - "ice" and kereach - "bald"? Even Shoshan discusses the verb root קרח (as found in Vayikra 21:5), and says that the meaning is "to pull out ha...
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