Wednesday, October 25, 2006


After discussing bilui בילוי - recreation, let's look at a similar word: bidur בידור - entertainment.

The verb בדר originally meant "to scatter, to disperse". According to Stahl, entertainment disperses your boredom and scatters your worries. The English word "sport" has a similar background. Sport derives from the word disport, whose origin is:

from Anglo-Fr. disporter "divert, amuse," from O.Fr. desporter, lit. "carry away" (the mind from serious matters), from des- "away" + porter "to carry," from L. portare "to carry"

You may have noticed that בדר resembles בזר and פזר - which also mean "to scatter". This makes sense, for we have seen that bet interchanges with peh, and dalet interchanges with zayin.

However, Stahl goes further, and suggests that בדר is part of a collection of roots that start with the letters בד. Steinberg, Jastrow and Horowitz all agree - and point out that these words all mean "single, separate (either as an adjective or a verb)".

Lets look at some examples:

  • בדד and לבד - alone
  • בד - bad - fabric. Klein writes that it may be related to בד meaning "part, portion".
  • בדה - to invent, concoct. While the English word "fabricate" derives from "fabric", this doesn't seem to be the case here. However, Jastrow writes that this verb originally meant "to take out (a piece of dough)" and from here "to shape, to form".
  • אבד - lost
  • בדל - separated. This is the root of havdala הבדלה .
  • בדיל - tin, alloy. Horowitz writes this "originally meant that which is separated from the precious metal".
  • בדק - The word bedek originally meant "a breach" - something broken off (Malachim II 12:6). From here the verb developed to mean "to mend, repair", and Klein says that most scholars say that from that meaning came the sense "to examine, inspect".

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