Hebrew In Israel | House of God – Learn Torah

Hebrew In Israel | House of God – Learn Torah

Yoel Halevi No Comments
In Biblical Hebrew there are two basic forms to describe the temple: Heykhal YHWH and Beyt YHWH.  Heykahl is derived from the Sumerian word E-GAL, and by most means a large structure.

E-GAL seems to have reached Hebrew via Akkadian after the G was changed into a K in Akkadian.  The change we see is E-GAL>Ekallu.  Beyt is a construct form of the word Bayit, which means House.  In later Biblical Hebrew we find a new form Beyt Hamiqdash, which is the more known and common word used today.  This form seems to have come from Aramaic and is not the original Hebrew form for a temple.

In a letter from Lakhish (around the 6th century BC), at the end of the letter we can see the words LBYT YHWH- To the House of YHWH demonstrating the living language of the time.  What I find interesting about this letter is that though it is a secular letter, we see that they did not have a concern in writing the name on it.  This is very different than what we find today in Judaism.  In rabbinic sources we find an absolute prohibition on writing the name if it is not in a Torah scroll, Mezuzah or Teffilin.  The process of not using the name started in the beginning of the 2nd Temple, centuries before we even hear of any rabbis.  This action was probably derived from an over reverence to God and the Torah as an extreme counter reaction to the sins which brought the destruction.

 

Sources:  M.Kedari “Biblical Hebrew Dictionary”- Bar-Illan, 2007N.Tor-Sinai “Letters of Lakhis”- Bialik Inst,1984S.Japhet “The Ideology of the Book of Chronicles, and its Place In Biblical Thought”- Bialik Inst, 1995

 

 

Originally Published:  9 June 2016

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