In this weeks parasha (Bereshit 6:16), Noach is commanded to "make a tzohar in the ark" צֹהַר תַּעֲשֶׂה לַתֵּבָה
The word tzohar (or tsohar) appears only here in the Tanach and there are a number of explanations for the meaning:
- window (Onkelos, Rashi, Ibn Ezra) - based on tsohorayim צהרים - noon. The light of noon is compared to the light entering the ark via the window. Also related to zohar זוהר - brilliance. This may be the window mentioned in 8:6.
- lamp, or oil for a lamp (Menachem, Radak, Chizkuni)- based on yitzhar יצהר - oil.
- roof (Shadal, Cassuto, Kaddari) - via Arabic zahr, Akkadian seru, Ugaritic zr - meaning "back, top".
- luminous stone (Rashi) - based on a Midrash
Based on the root צהר Ben Yehuda coined הצהיר - to declare, from the sense of putting something for all to see, in the light of day (the Biblical verb הצהיר - Iyov 24:11 - meant "to make yitzhar".) Apparently the coinage of Ben Yehuda (who died in 1922) caught on quickly, for the Balfour declaration (in 1917) is known as הצהרת בלפור - Hatzharat Balfour, and not הכרזת בלפור - Hachrazat Balfour which would have used the older verb הכריז.