Sunday, April 05, 2009

an etymological haggadah

Well, maybe we're not quite ready for an etymological haggadah just yet. But this time of year I get a lot of requests (both by email and from search engines) for explanations for Pesach related words. So I've decided to compile them all here in one place. Enjoy!

means "pass over", right? Actually, probably not:

Origin of the name "Mitzrayim" and the connection to the song Misirlou:

From Chur to Cherut(einu) to Uhuru:

The connection between "Leil Shimurim" and "shemarim" (yeast):

Chametz, chometz and hummus - is there a connection?

Kitniyot may not be a small issue these days, but it is related to "katan":

Gebrochts is related to broke - but not "broker":

A connection between "seder" and Sderot (but not Shedrot!)

You've probably never noticed the first word in the haggadah. The meaning "mix" is much more significant than the common translation "pour":

We do netilat yadayim twice? Does it mean "taking the hands"?

On all nights we eat many yerakot - but is there a connection to yarok (green)?

Does "mesubin" just mean sitting around? Well, it probably once did, then it took on a very specific meaning of reclining, and now we're back to sitting around again:

"Hit his teeth" or "blunt his teeth"? And a coffee connection:

Who was the Arami? What did he do to our father?

God saw our "amal" - what does that mean?

Not by a "saraf" - perhaps connected to "syrup" and "sherbet", but not "serpent":

The third plague is kinim. Does kmo ken mean "(to die) like them" or ("to die") like a louse?

Bechorim or bechorot? And a connection to albacore:

The sea that split: the Red Sea or the Sea of Reeds?

When did they start calling hazeret "horseradish"?

Different theories about the etymology of matza:

Maror and mor (myrrh) - bitter to taste and sweet to smell:

The karpas from the haggadah and the karpas from Megilat Esther aren't related:

Tzafun means hidden. Is it related to tzafon (north)?

We finish the meal with the afikoman or we don't finish the meal with the afikoman? It depends what the word means:

Echad mi yodea? Here's the story behind all the Hebrew numbers:

And don't forget to count the omer. But what does omer mean?

No comments: