Hebrew Title

Started by Jack Solomon Berger on Saturday, December 31, 2011
Showing all 14 posts
12/31/2011 at 10:57 AM

Someone should attend to spelling the Hebrew word for 'head' with the aleph that is missing.

Most of us know that the commentator Rashi lived in the Diaspora of Southern France, in the city of Troyes.

12/31/2011 at 5:33 PM

It's the Aramaic I presume, which does not have an aleph in rashei but does in galuta

Exilarch (Hebrew: ראש גלות Rosh Galut, Aramaic: ריש גלותא Reish Galuta lit. "head of the exile", Greek: Æchmalotarcha)

1/1/2012 at 7:52 AM

Not confirmed by any text from the Talmud.

Even if you were right, you need to get the order of the letter correct.

The Arabic is 'Rais,' رأسا, which also takes an Alif, so why should we believe the Aramaic doesn't?

1/1/2012 at 9:18 AM

Yes, I studied Arabic for 19 years and have a PhD in Semitic languages. Thanks.

1/1/2012 at 9:35 AM

On the Aramaic, the word appears in Daniel, so you can check there. Either both Shmuel and Wikipedia made a mistake or it's spelled variably. Since varieties of Aramaic are still spoken / written, it would be interesting to see how they spell "head".

1/1/2012 at 9:49 AM

It's important to remember that Geni has users at many different skill levels. If you look closely you'll find many other spelling variations in this area of the tree, reflecting entries by different users. If you have editing rights to a particular profile, it's best to quietly correct any mistakes you see than to make a fuss.

Jack Solomon Berger,
I created the "typo" that you refer to. As a native Israeli I can assure you that I know how to spell ראש or ראשי, but as my friends have already pointed out, this isn't Hebrew so much as Aramaic, which I also know reasonably well. I would not be surprised if the Jastro dictionary is still THE leading source, and... he agrees (although he also brings the form רישי).

A fun game I like to play, when I'm unsure of an expression is to "ask Google", by entering different variants:

"ראש גלותא" has 320 results.
"ראש גלות" has 3,730 results.
"ריש גלותא" has 42,600 results.

"ראשי גלותא" has 97 results.
"רישי גלותא" also has 97 results.
"רשי גלותא" has 245 results.

Of course this is not very scientific and non-binding, unless that is, as in this case, where the disparity is rather extreme. I guess ~90% of the internet has it wrong then.

1/1/2012 at 2:57 PM

رأس or ra's is the Arabic for "head" by the way.

Ra'is is something like chieftan.

1/1/2012 at 4:40 PM

I will not contest the physical evidence, however, I remain skeptical.

thanks for the input.

1/1/2012 at 5:16 PM

If you are discussing the Proto-Semitic form, certainly it is likely to have had an "aleph". How that was written or whether it (the glottal stop) was dropped in descendant languages may vary considerably however.

Private User
1/2/2012 at 3:48 PM

I have checked my notes and found them to reflect that the terms, spelling and usage will vary depending upon geographic location, predominant indigenous language, and time period. As Shmuel rightly points out there is a singular and plural form as well.

"Ra'sh Golah" was the term used among Palestinian Nasi'im, during Gaonic and early Rishonim Periods, according to Geniza document translations prepared by Moshe Gil.

"Rosh Golei" and "Roshei Galut" was the term used by Ashkenazim post-crusades; this reflects differences between Jewish Communities of Arabic lands (Mediterranean and Iberian) compared to those living in Christian lands of Northern and Eastern Europe.

"Ra's al-galut" was the Arabic transliteration of the Aramaic form "ראש גלות" used during the Gaonic and Rishonim Period among Gaonim and Nasi'im...leading to Hebrew transliteration of "Raish Galut"

According to Talmud Bavli "'Uḳban b. Nehemiah, 'Raish galuta' "ריש גלותא" [Talmud (Shab. 56b; B. B. 55a)]

If I might offer one other correction to this discussion, Troyes is not in Southern France...it is in Northern France; roughly 200 kilometers east-southeast of Paris. Perhaps Mr Berger was confusing R Kalonymus with Rashi?


Hope that helps.


1/3/2012 at 5:49 AM

Re: Location of Troyes.

As a leftie, I have never been able to keep points of the compass straight in my mind. There are those whoo know me who would aver that I don't know whether I'm coming or going.

There is some truth to that.

Private User
1/3/2012 at 7:51 AM

We are all here to help, Jack :)

Shavua tob,


1/4/2012 at 8:12 PM

I'm totally confused by those early Medieval French and German locations. Yet I now know certain areas of Lithuania and the Ukraine really well! So much to learn I realized. My background was Semitic linguistics and to the extent that I was exposed to Jewish history it was in various courses in Israel which focused on pre-Zionist and early Israeli history. Now I'm pouring over Beider and lurking on Jewish Gen foru hours reading records and reading everything I can to learn about 18th and 19th century Lita. I figure I'll move back in time and geography from there to Brest - Krakow - Prague - Vienna - Padua - Troyes and Mainz. And other towns and cities I am forgetting.

Okay, I do know a bit about Spain I admit due to my Islamic history background. And know the names of a few Alsatian towns relative to my brother-in-law's ancestors.

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