A Daf A Day (daf yomi)

A daf yomi blog for discussion, questions and comments on the daily daf.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ohr means night (Pesachim 2)

Why does the term "Ohr", which literally means light, refer to night?

6 Comments:

At 12:14 PM, Blogger joshwaxman said...

I hope to have a post on this in more detail tomorrow. In the meantime, see Jastrow, who notes that the word means "break, perforate," and from there means break of day or break of night.

This preliminary post on parshablog has the scan of Jastrow in preparation for the eventual post:

http://parsha.blogspot.com/2006/01/jastrow-on-or-post-to-follow-later_16.html

 
At 12:31 PM, Blogger joshwaxman said...

a more typical approach might be: just as the word Naghei, which comes from Nogah,, meaning "light," seems to be Lashon Sagi Nahor -- in fact almost literally, since Lashon Sagi Nahor means "a language of much light," because Sagi Nahor, "much light," is a euphemism for a blind person -- so too, this is how the word Or came to acquire that meaning.

By the way, if anyone is interested, I run the Rif Yomi blog at http://alfasi.blogspot.com - it might be a nice supplement to daf yomi.

 
At 2:18 PM, Blogger David G. said...

The Hasagos Haraavad asks the same question (daf alef in dapei harif) says that when it says "ohr" it's referring to the beginning of the night when there is still light. That's why it uses the lashon nekiya here but it uses the word layla in many other places.

The Ran asks that question and says it does it here just because it's the beginning of the masechta. The Raavad doesn't like that explanation because there are other places that ohr is used when it's not the beginning of the masechta.

 
At 3:18 PM, Blogger joshwaxman said...

"referring to the beginning of the night when there is still light"

that would fit in well with the idea of "break of day" vs. "break of night," though from a different etymology.

"The Raavad doesn't like that explanation because there are other places that ohr is used when it's not the beginning of the masechta"

case in point, the third mishna, where Or Arbaa Asar is used by Rabbi Yehuda and the Chachamim. But even more so, by the gemara, in trying to determine whether Or refers to yemama or oreta, which is simply the Aramaic equivalent of orand clearly means "night."

 
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