Tuesday, September 27, 2011


In the previous post on teruah, we mentioned that while teruah refers to the short blasts (of the trumpet or shofar) and tekiah תקיעה refers to the long blasts, the verb taka תקע simply means "blowing on an instrument" (regardless of the length of the blasts). Klein writes that the verb fully means "to thrust, clap, give a blow, blast", and he point out that the sense development is similar to the German stossen - "to thrust, to give a blast, blow" and das Horn stossen - "to blow the horn". Ben Yehuda writes that perhaps the origin of the root comes from the sound of the tekiah.

Kaddari writes that the biblical meanings of the root include: a) to strike - with hands to clap, or to shake hands (to guarantee),  b) to drive in - with a sword (e.g. Shoftim 3:21), with a peg (Shoftim 16:14, Yeshaya 22:23), or a tent (Bereshit 31:25), c) to thrust - in regards to wind (Shemot 10:19), and of course d) to blow on an instrument. He quotes the linguist Eliezer Rubinstein from an article in this book as saying that the basic meaning of the Biblical root תקע is "to cause an object to change its location". This is interesting, because in Modern Hebrew it refers to something much more permanent, as seen by the related words takua תקוע - "stuck" and teka תקע - "(electrical) plug".

Steinberg, and many others say that the Biblical town of Tekoa (not far from my home in Efrat) originally meant "place of setting up a tent". This also inspired the founders of the city of Tekoa, Washington. On the town's website they explain how in 1884:

Mrs. Dan Truax, standing on the porch of her house on the west bank of Hangman Creek, looked at the large number of tents in the city, temporary shelters for the railroad workers and others. She suggested to her husband that they accept the counsel of Amos in the Bible and call the community Tekoa, from the Hebrew word meaning "city of tents", which was about all that Tekoa was at the time. And so the name stuck.

I wonder if they understood the play on words when they wrote "the name stuck..."

No comments: