Word of the Week, episode 2 🙂
This weekend and next weekend are the performances of my church’s fine arts ministry program. This year we are doing Fiddler on the Roof, a traditional show about, well, tradition amongst Hasidic Russian Jews. It is actually based on a true story/book and deals with several issues for the jewish population in Russia during the early 20th century (1900s). Fun show–deep philosophically speaking but still fun.
One of the songs in the show is called L’chai-im!, or To Life. Since this is a Hebrew word… I thought I would be elaborate on its meaning & significance.
I was able to locate this word in the Biblical context, in Isaiah 4. In this case it is used in a different context — but it has the same meaning “to life.” It comes from the Hebrew word for “life.” The same word is the root for the verb, for living things. (see pg 310-313 of the Brown Driver Briggs Lexicon) I want to saw that this words is like the living source of everything. It interconnects all of creation. The term is used in the Bible for people’s livelihood, for life in general, for reference to sustenance and for maintaining existence.
So if you ever get to see “Fiddler on the Roof,” when the men start singing in the bar about life… keep in mind that it doesn’t just incorporate the amber colored liquid in their cups 🙂
So in hopes to expand my blog, I decided I wanted to start a “word of week” portion of my blog. I love languages, especially the Biblical ones and I enjoy even more some of the history and meanings of words in other languages. So I decided to provide a weekly word section where I will look at the meaning of a word in another language and expand on its, well, “importance.” 🙂
Word of the Week
What word would be more fitting as a beginning than the word for “beginning?” B’resheet is the first word of the first book of the Bible and in the Jewish community the title of the book we English-speakers know as Genesis. And rightly so, because the word comes from a similar root word in Hebrew that means “head” or “chief.” (See Brown Driver Briggs Lexicon p 911-12.) B’resheet in its Genesis 1:1 context has a distinct meaning, as it carries a prefix (B’) that indicates “in, with or by.” something. The actual noun is resheet which refers to “beginning” or “chief.”
If one would continue in the Lexicon you can see the other times this words appears in the Bible it is always associated with the beginning of something new & amazing. For example, the beginning of a new kingdom (Gen 10:10) as well as the beginning of creation. It also is associated with the first fruits in Exodus 23:19 and even the first chief in Amos 6:1.
The similar root is the word meaning chief or head, which includes a meaning of “beginning” of time located in my favorite chapter Isaiah 40:21.
I think if we were to remember this word when we coming across it in the Bible, it is important to remember its significance in that it is not just a beginning of a new chapter … it truly means a new context. either a new world, a new kingdom, a new person. And so let the new chapter of this blog, well BEGIN!
- … to Life!…. (musingsofanafterthought.wordpress.com)