As we approach Thanksgiving, when families are gathered along with close friends and guests, when the spirit of this special holiday is filling us with relaxation and with sentiments of joy and love, we’ll introduce in this coming month words and phrases that concur with these fine sentiments of kindness, joy and love as we received requests to present such words for some time.
Today we’ll learn the words husband and how a woman introduces her husband to others.
There are two Hebrew word for ‘husband’ the biblical and the modern. The word for husband in the Bible is mostly ‘eesh’ but we also see the word ‘ba•al‘ with the same meaning. ‘Eesh’, as you may remember from previous emails also means a ‘man’. But ‘baal’ became the word that has been used in the modern era, until this very day. This word is quite troubling because of it connotation. In all other contexts and expressions, ‘baal’ means ‘an owner’. As much as it is uneasy to admit, we know that during the biblical era (and even today in some societies) women were considered property of their master’s household. That explains the word ‘baal’ as husband. What is hard to explain is why modern Hebrew has picked this politically incorrect, connotation loaded word instead of ‘eesh’ which was more often used in the Bible than ‘baal’, yet has no ownership connotations. Look at the interesting verse from Hosea below.
The word ‘ee•shi’, (the same sound as ‘ishi’ in the verse above) means ‘my husband’, or ‘my man’. It is the word ‘eesh’, ‘man’ connected to the pronominal suffix ‘ee’ (or ‘i’) which means ‘my’. Therefore ‘ee•shi’ is ‘my husband’, and this is the more common way you’d find this word in the Bible.
Old Testament example of both ‘ee•shi’ and ‘ba•ali’:
‘And it shall be at that day, says the Lord, that you shall call me My husband (“Ishi”); and shall no more call me My master (“Baali”)
Although there is a growing number of women in Israel that refrain from referring to their husbands with the name ‘ba•ali’, there is still no substitution to the word that sounds right in Hebrew. The biblical ‘my husband’ ‘eeshi’ means nowadays ‘personal’ and sounds strange when trying to revive it in the meaning of ‘my husband’. Most people, however, don’t think of ownership context when saying or hearing the word ‘ba•ali’.
‘Na le•ha•kir’ literally means ‘please meet’, and after saying this you pause, present your husband before the people who are present, and then say: ‘ba•ali’, ‘my husband’.
The reply to this, and to any other introduction is: ‘na•eem me•od’, ‘nice to meet you’.