Sunday, November 27, 2022

choref and cherpa

A reader recently asked if I've explored the words חֹרֶף choref - "winter" and חֶרְפָּה cherpa - "shame." I know that I wrote about choref. It's a post I go back to often, since it's a quick way of explaining how words can change over time (stav used to be the later season, and choref the earlier one.) In fact, I revisited it in a recent column in HaMizrachi Weekly (see page 28 here).

However, to my "shame" I never thought to write about a connection to cherpa. Perhaps that's because Klein doesn't suggest one, and back in 2007 when I first wrote that post, I relied on him even more heavily than I do now.

So I thought of writing an update to that post, exploring the possible connection to those two words. But as it happened, Mitchell First beat me to it. He recently sent me a copy of his latest book, Words for the Wise. As with his previous books, it includes many interesting short essays on history, liturgy, and of course the history and meaning of Hebrew words. (For the latter topic, you'll often notice credit to Balashon, which is always appreciated).

Mitchell wrote a truly comprehensive review of the root חרף and at this point, I don't feel that I have much to add. His original column on the topic can be viewed here, although the book has an expanded version (pp. 167-174), so if you can, it's worth taking a look there.

Happy winter everyone!

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