Monday, April 03, 2006


A number of years ago I was working on a kibbutz, helping to prepare the kitchen for Pesach. One of the tasks was to rinse the vessels and utensils in boiling water - known as hag'alat kelim - הגעלת כלים. When someone asked me what I was doing, I said ani mag'il אני מגעיל - which also means "I am disgusting." While the story would have been funnier if I had not known the meanings of both words, the question remains - what is the connection between rinsing in boiling water and disgust/rejection? Does the root געל have one meaning or two?

Klein seems to indicate that there are two meanings, but doesn't fully explain the etymology of each. If I recall correctly, one of the kibbutznikim offered me a convincing explanation. Both words indicate repulsion. When something disgusts me or someone rejects me - I am repelled away. When I do ha'galat kelim - I repel, remove, the chametz from the vessel.

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