Showing posts from May, 2013

Two words for "husband": Haftarah Bamidbar

From the Shofar Newsletter May 2013   What’s the Hebrew word for ‘husband’? Actually, you have two choices.  Both are in use in Hebrew today.  and both were used in the time of the bible.  The first word is ‘ ba’al ’.  If a woman in Israel today wants to refer to her husband, she might refer to him as ‘ ba’ali ’ - ‘my husband.’ But if you know Hebrew, you know that the same word ‘ baal ’ can mean ‘owner.’  For example, ‘ ba’al ha-bayit ’ means ‘home-owner’ or ‘master of the house.’  And more insidiously, the owner of a slave is also referred to in the bible as ‘ baal ’. So you can see this term’s etymological origin.  It is a relic of a time when a woman’s relationship with her husband wasn’t that different from the relationship between a servant and master.  There are some people who won’t use the word baal on principle for this reason.  So what word would they use instead?  The word ‘ ish ’.  Most literally, ‘ ish ’ simply means ‘man’ - but there are some point