Emor: The Road Less Traveled ~ Tzvi Abrahams


The Road Less Traveled

עַם קוֹדֶשׁ: holy nation

קְדֵישָׁה: prostitute

קִדוּשׁ: Kiddush

שַׁבָּת קוֹדֶשׁ: Shabbos Kodesh

קִדוּשִׁין:engagement, invitation, designated

אֶרֶץ הַקֹּדֶשׁ: the Holy Land

בֵּית הַמִקְדָשׁ: the Temple

קוֹדֶשׁ קְדָשִׁים: the Holy of Holies

InParshas Emorit says regarding the kohanim:קְדֹשִׁים יִהְיוּ לֵ-א-לֹהֵיהֶם/they will be holy to their G-d.1

And in Parshas Kedoshim, it says: קְדֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּ כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אֲנִי ה’אֱ-לֹהֵיכֶם/you shall be holy because I, your G-d, am holy.2

עַם קוֹדֶשׁ: Holy Nation

What exactly does it mean to be holy? Rashi says it means to separate oneself from forbidden relationships and idol worship. The Ramban goes a stage further, applying holiness to even separating oneself from what is permitted, e.g., to limiting relations with one’s wife, limiting one’s food intake, and not being a glutton.

But more than separation, קְדֹשִׁיםmeans unique and special. When we separate something, we make it special; we elevate it from being ordinary to being something special. When weמְקַדֵשׁ/engage a woman, we are in fact separating her from all other women and saying that she is special. She is now off-limits to all other men and is unique to her groom. 

This is what Hashem is saying to us: “You are a holy nation, you are special to me; I am separating you from the rest of the nations to be unique only to me, because I am unique.” We are therefore off-limits to all of the other nations in that we cannot marry out, we cannot worship their avodah zarah, we cannot follow their practices וְלֹא תֵלְכוּ בְּחֻקֹּת הַגּוֹי)), but rather are meant to be separate from them in the way we look, in the way we speak, in the way we eat, and in the way we conduct our lives. All of this makes us special.

The commentaries tell us that we were redeemed from Egypt because we were distinguished in our dress, we kept our Jewish names, we had Shabbos, and we had brismilah.3Those Jews who did not segregate themselves from the Egyptians were not redeemed, as the Sages say that only one-fifth of us were redeemed. We have a tradition that we will be redeemed from the current exile in the same way as we were redeemed in Egypt, so whoever does not identify with being a Jew will not be redeemed. Once we begin to walk and talk and look like Egyptians, we are no longer special, and we lose our uniqueness.

קְדֵישָׁה: Prostitute

לֹא תִהְיֶה קְדֵשָׁה מִבְּנוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל/there shall not be a prostitute among the daughters of Israel.4

Rashi says that a prostitute is called a kadeishahbecause she has designated herself for promiscuity. She is in fact the opposite of being holy; instead of being special, she has made herself specifically un-special.

קִידוּשׁ: Kiddush

When we make Kiddush on Shabbos, we mention זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם/a remembrance of the exodus from Egypt when we first became a nation, and we mention זֵכֶר לְמַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית/a remembrance of Bereshis, the beginning.בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱ-לֹהִים/in the beginning Hashem created the world,on which Rashi quotes the pasukin Yirmiyahu:קֹדֶשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל לַה’רֵאשִׁית תְּבוּאָתֹה/Israel are kodeshto Hashem because they are the first of His produce. So thereforeבְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱ-לֹהִיםmeans because of Israel the רֵאשִׁית/the first, Hashem created the world.

The head is the most elevated part of the body and we are born head first, the רֹאשׁborn out from רֵאשִׁית/the beginning, symbolizing to us that just like everything follows the head, so too everything follows on from the beginning. Beginnings are therefore very important.

There is something special about being first: the first time we give birth and become a parent, the first time the tree blossoms and produces fruit. These are special times when Hashem wants us to remember Him and thank Him for the blessings, in order to forge a stronger relationship with Him. For this reason, we are commanded to קַדֵשׁ לִי כָּל בְּכוֹר/bemekadeshthe firstborn, to bring the בִּכּוּרִים/the first fruits to the Beis HaMikdash, to take terumahand separate the first of our grain, to take challahand separate the first of the dough, to say kiddush and remember our beginnings.

שַׁבָּת קוֹדֶשׁ: Shabbos Kodesh

It is said that more than the Jews keep the Shabbos, it is the Shabbos that has kept the Jews. 

If we were to give seven eggs to a child and tell him to make one of them special, he would probably get his felt tips out and start coloring it with beautiful colors, etc. This is Shabbos. Hashem has taken one day out of seven and made it beautiful. On all of the other days we go to work and do our ordinary things, where יוֹם חוֹל means an ordinary day. Come Shabbos, we leave our ordinary lives behind and we step into the special time zone of Shabbos. We beautify Shabbos by wearing special clothing, eating delicious delicacies, spending quality time with Hashem, our wives, and our children. By beautifying the Shabbos and making it kadosh, Shabbos in turn elevates us to the point where we are able to draw closer to the One who is kulo kadosh, HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

קִדוּשִׁין: Engagement, Invitation, Designated

We can only really enjoy Shabbos if we have made the correct preparations — meaning that we do all our shopping and cooking, our washing and cleaning, so that when Shabbos comes, everything is ready and all we have to do is enjoy Shabbos. Similarly, when we all stood at Har Sinai, Hashem told Moshe to prepare the people for three days before the giving of the Torah, using the lashonof וְקִדַשְׁתָּם, where Rashi explains this to mean an invitation/הַזְמָנָה. An invitation is more than just a request to be in attendance — it is a request to prepare oneself to be ready. Before giving the Torah, Hashem gave us time to wash our clothing and be in a state of purity so that we could receive the Torah.

The period of kiddushinbefore marriage is for this very reason: in order to prepare for the wedding, for the bride to have time to buy jewellery and fine clothing to beautify herself for her husband.

In the same way, we are Hashem’s bride, Hashem’s designated one. We each have been given a period of time in order to prepare ourselves, as it says in Pirkei Avosthat first we must prepare ourselves in the corridor in order to enter the banquet hall.5We are preparing for the day that is יוֹם שֶׁכֻּלוֹ שַׁבָּת/the day that is eternally Shabbos. Life is a period of kiddushin, an engagement period, where we need to beautify ourselves for our husband, Hashem. Just like the bride adorns herself with jewellery and fine clothing, we too clothe ourselves with mitzvos and good deeds that make us beautiful.

אֶרֶץ הַקֹּדֶשׁ: The Holy Land

הכֹּל מַעַלִין לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל/everyone goes up to Eretz Yisrael, which is why we call it aliyah/to go up.6Hashem has elevated the Land of Israel from all the other lands and has raised it up from being ordinary to kadosh. This seems to contradict our general knowledge that Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. However, if we were to suspend a ball on a piece of string, the most elevated part of the ball is where the string joins the ball at the most central tip; in this way, Eretz Yisrael is the center of the world, making it the most elevated of places.7The fact that all the eyes of the world look to Israel bears testimony to this point. The land of Eretz Yisrael is known as אֶרֶץ צְבִי/the land of desire, because all the goyimdesire a piece of the action, since this is the land where the Divine Presence is found.8

The Holy Land is also the most spiritually elevated of all the lands. It is the place where the Shechinah, the Divine Presence, chooses to rest. It is where, unlike all the other nations — which have an intermediary angel who ministers their daily affairs — there is a direct connection, where Hashem alone oversees and administers all affairs.

בֵּית הַמִקְדָשׁ: The Temple

Yerushalayim (עִיר הַקֹּדֶשׁ) is the most beautiful city in the world. The Gemara says that out of ten portions of beauty that descended to the world, nine were given to Yerushalayim.9The most beautiful place of all, the centerpiece, was the בֵּית הַמִקְדָשׁ. The Beis HaMikdash stood on theאֶבֶן שְׁתִיָה/the foundation stone from where the Earth was first created and from which it spread out. This is the very point where heaven and earth meet, the hot spot of the whole world, the most sought-after place, which has made it the most contested point of all world conflicts to this very day.

קֹדֶשׁ הַקָּדָשִׁים: The Holy of Holies

The holiest moment of the whole year is when the Kohen Gadolenters the קֹדֶשׁ הַקָּדָשִׁים on Yom Kippur. Here we have the most holy of men, the Kohen Gadol, entering the most holy of places, the Kodesh HaKadashim, on the most holy of days, Shabbos Shabbason, Yom Kippur. The degree of holiness is relevant to how much we separate something, elevating it more and more, making it more unique and special. The High Holy Days are the high point of the whole year, the point when the Kohen Gadolsteps into the Holy of Holies and is misyached/together with Hashem.

To become one with Hashem is the goal of holiness. The meaning ofקְדֹשִים תִּהְיוּ כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אַנִי ה’אֶ-לֹהֵיכֶם/you shall be holy because I, your G-d, am holy, is that Hashem wants us to be kadoshso that we can be together with Him.

אֵלֶה מועַדֵי ה’מִקרָאֵי קֹדֶש/these are the appointed times of Hashem, the holy festivals.10How we spend our holidays, our “holy days,” reveals a lot about who we are. Do we use them as a time to run away and escape from the world, or do we use the time as an opportunity to draw closer?

Hashem gives us a command of aliyah l’regel/to go up to the Beis HaMikdash on Pesach, Shavuos, and Succos. Not to come empty handed, but rather to come bearing gifts that throughout the year we have made הֶקְדֵשׁ/designated for a higher purpose. We bring with us our offerings, our first fruits, and our ma’aser sheini,and we are commanded to be happy before Hashem. 

True happiness is born out of closeness and deveikus/joining with Hakadosh Baruch Hu. The more kadoshwe become, the more we draw close to Hashem. After the period ofkiddushinis over and we have made all of our preparations, we are then ready to be misyached/ alonewith our husband in the cheder yichud. When we finally fall into the arms of our loved one, there will be no greater simchah.

The Mountain of G-d

וַיֹּאמֶר אַל תִּקְרַב הֲלֹם שַׁל נְעָלֶיךָ מֵעַל רַגְלֶיךָ כִּי הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה עוֹמֵד עָלָיו אַדְמַת קֹדֶשׁ הוּא

The first reference to land being קֹדֶשׁoccurs when Moshe approaches the burning bush on Har Sinai, the mountain of G-d. Hashem tells Moshe to take off his shoes because the land isאַדְמַת קֹדֶשׁ/holy land.11The commentaries explain that the presence of the Shechinah resting there made it holy. Unlike today, where we have paved roads, people then would walk along dusty paths that were sometimes full of mud, so it would be highly disrespectful to draw close to the Shechinah with dirty shoes. For this same reason the kohanimin the Beis HaMikdash served Hashem barefoot. In addition, it was also so that there should be nothing חוֹצֵץ/separating them from the holy ground.

In the Mishkan, the Shechinah rested in the אֹהֵל מוֹעֵד/the Tent of Meeting, so called because that is where Hashem would meet with Moshe. Like a king who has designated times to speak with his servant, Hashem would מְדַבֵּר/speak from the דְבִיר/the Holy of Holies, where a voice would come out from between thekeruvim/angels above the Ark, a voice that only Moshe could hear, as it says:וְנוֹעַדְתִּי לְךָ שָׁם וְדִבַּרְתִּי אִתְּךָ מֵעַל הַכַּפֹּרֶת.12. Likewise, Hashem has given us the מוֹעַדִים/designated times where we are able to draw close to Hashem.

Holiness, in the form of the Shechinah, can thus attach itself to places, times, and people — places in the form of the Beis HaMikdash, times in the form of Shabbos and the festivals, and people in the form of the kohanim. It is not just the kohanimwho are holy, though. We all have the capability of drawing close and becoming holy. Although today we don’t have prophecy, we do have the potential for רוּחַ הַקוֹדֶשׁ. In מְסִילַת יְשָׁרִים it says that one of the highest levels that can be reached is רוּחַ הַקוֹדֶשׁ, but first one has to ascend the ladder of righteousness through progressively refining his character by being careful and watchful of his actions, separating from the material world, and going through a process of cleansing and purification. This process draws down the Shechinah, allowing the spirit of kedushahto rest upon the person, giving him רוּחַ הַקוֹדֶשׁ.

David HaMelech wrote: “Who can climb the mountain of G-d, and who can stand in His holy place? נְקִי כַפַּיִם וּבַר לֵבָב/someone whose hands are clean and who has a pure heart.” The more we separate, the higher we go. We are aiming for perfection. Anyone with an imperfection is not allowed to serve in the Beis HaMikdash. Aפְּגַם/blemish in the body is a sign of a spiritual defect within. Just like akorbanmust be תָּמִים/pure to be brought to Hashem so too we, His servants, must be free of imperfections as well. 

Even though the mountain of G-d may seem like a tall order, we cannot become complacent and give up hope. In Pirkei Avosit says that the task is not for us to finish, but we must nonetheless start the process. There is a mashalof a king who seeks a suitor to marry his daughter. He places the princess at the top of a very tall tower and challenges that whoever can climb the ten thousand steps within the duration of a day will marry his daughter. Day in and day out, suitors come and start to climb the many thousands of steps. They pass one thousand steps, two thousand steps, three thousand steps, three thousand five hundred, three thousand eight hundred, but by the time they reach four thousand steps, over half the day has passed and they feel there is no way they cancomplete the task, and thus they give up. However, one man says to himself that if the king is making this challenge, there must be a way to achieve it; there is no way the king would make a task that was impossible to achieve. With this thought in mind, he persevered beyond the four thousand steps, and even though half the day had already passed and it seemed impossible to reach the top, still he persevered until he reached five thousand. At the halfway mark, a strange thing happened — the steps started to get easier to climb! He easily continued on to six thousand, seven thousand, eight thousand, nine thousand, and just as the sun was setting, he made it to the top. The secret to his success was that since he went against the force of gravity and broke his nature and persevered past the halfway point, the pull of gravity started to have less of an effect on him, which made things easier and easier.

So too, Hashem sets down a challenge to us: Who can climb the mountain of G-d? The answer is that it’s the one who breaks himself and starts the process of purification. In the period of Sefiras Ha’Omer, when this parshahis normally read, we have begun the process of climbing the fifty steps in preparation to receiving the Torah. Once we have started the process, Hashem helps us along the rest of the way, until we find ourselves standing in His holy place.

They say that it is a lonely place at the top, and this road that we are on is by far the road less travelled, but if you would ask Moshe Rabbeinu what it was like to be at the top of the mountain, I am sure he would say that it was far from lonely.

1Vayikra 21:6.

2Ibid., 19:2.

3See Baal HaTurimto Shemos 1:1.

4Devarim 23:18.

5Avos 4:16.

6Kesubos 110b.

7Maharal, Be’er HaGolah 6.

8See Rashi to Devarim 33:17.

9Kiddushin 49b.

10Vayikra 23:4.

11Shemos 3:5.

12Ibid., 25:22

Emor: When Just Counting Doesn’t Count ~ Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein


The Torah commands us to count the days and weeks from Passover until Shavuot (Lev. 23:15-16). Interestingly, the Torah portion which includes this commandment is always read during that time of the year. Counting that forty-nine day/seven week period is known as Sefirat Ha’Omer (“counting of the omer”) because it connects the annual barley sacrifice offered on the second day of Passover (known as the Korban Omer) to the annual wheat sacrifice offered on the festival of Shavuot. The word sefirat (“counting of”) is based on the verb sofer used by the Torah in this commandment to mean “count” (its noun form, mispar, means “number). Nonetheless, the Hebrew language has another word for counting: moneh (whose final number is called a minyan). What is the difference between sofer/mispar and moneh/minyan, and why does the Torah choose to specifically use the word sofer when talking about Sefirat Ha’Omer?

We can suggest some possible ideas, but none of these are hard and fast answers: Firstly, the Vilna Gaon (1720-1797) explains that minyan is a general count, while mispar refers to the specific number in the count. However, on the other hand, Rabbi Wertheimer proffers evidence that mispar is the general number, while mifkad is the word for a specific count. Secondly, Rabbi Shlomo Pappenheim of Breslau (1740-1814) explains that the word mispar is related to the Hebrew word sippur (story), because just as the different parts of a story should flow in a natural and logical way, so do the numbers of one counting flow in a logical way (i.e. numerically). One does not count the contents of a set by saying random numbers, just as one does not tell a story by relating unrelated incidents. Nonetheless, this approach ostensibly does not account for how the term mispar differs from the term minyan.

Rabbi Yaakov Tzvi Mecklenburg (1785-1865) writes the word moneh is related to the word maneh, which means, “a respectable portion”. Thus, the connotation of the word moneh is that whatever is included in the set that is counted must be something respectable or important — something worth counting. In contrast, the word mispar also means “number,” but especially connotes the use of a number as a limit. For example, when discussing the halachic punishment of flogging, the Torah limits the amount of lashes to only a mispar (Deut. 25:2) — which tradition reveals is thirty-nine. For this reason the Aramaic word for a nation’s border is sfar (which limits a nation’s territorial domain), and the Aramaic word for barber is sapar (because by giving his client a haircut, he limits the growth of his hair). By this rubric, Rabbi Mecklenburg explains that Sefirat Ha’Omer uses the word sefirah because wording of that commandment reads: “Until the morrow of the seventh week you shall count.” The verb “to count” in this context is being limited to forty-nine days, so the word used is sefirah instead of moneh.

Additionally, Rabbi Mecklenberg suggests that the counting of sefirah differs from the counting of moneh in that the latter is simply the counting of numbers, while the former denotes something extra deliberately done or required to mark each unit. Sefirah is not just a count of quantity, but a count of quality as well. The goal of a sefirah-type counting is not just to count the raw numbers, but to also qualitatively improve oneself, to cleanse oneself of impurities. He connects the word sefirah to the Hebrew word sapir (“sapphire” in English) in that sefirah cleanses a person, just as a precious gem is free from impurities.

From a halachic perspective, each day of the Omer may be considered a separate mitzvah, so if an entire day is missed one should continue counting (albeit without a beracha). Many have used the forty-nine day period between Passover and Shavuot to follow a forty-nine step scheme of character development or to focus their energies on the forty-nine ways of acquiring Torah (as listed in the Mishnah Avot in ch. 6) or studying a forty-nine page tractate of the Talmud (like Sotah or Shavuot). Given this model, the purpose of counting the Omer is not necessarily just the destination to reach Shavuot, but the journey itself. If on each day one works to change into a better person, then not only does the final count have special significance, but each day has special significance. In this way, counting the Omer differs from, say, the quorum of ten men (known as a minyan) required for the recitation of certain especially holy parts of the prayers, or the seven times that the Kohen Gadol sprinkles blood towards the Holy of Holies (whose counting the Yom Kippur liturgy describes as moneh, not sofer). In these cases the final numbers are the only requirements, and each individual unit on its own is not necessarily significant.

There is a third set of words for counting/numbering in the Torah, and that is poked/mifkad,but we will have to leave that discussion for another time.

Emor: Branching Out ~ Yehoshua Steinberg


The word ענף (branch) appears in the Pentateuch only in our Parsha: Leviticus 23:40 – And you shall take for yourselves on the first day, the fruit of the hadar tree, date palm fronds, a branch of a braided tree, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for a seven day period.

  1. Anaf ענף. A branch is essentially an appendage which protrudes from the trunk of a tree. Several attributes characterize tree branches: A. An external manifestation[1] A tree’s main beauty is projected by its branches. B. A non-essential appendage – A tree can survive without even one branch for some time. C. Movement – Most branches sway in the wind. They are not, however, self-propelling. D. Protection – Tree branches provide both shade and refuge to fleeing creatures. E. Extension/Reach – The range between a tree’s furthest branches in effect constitutes the width and height of the tree.



Based on these attributes, one may compare the word ענף to other words which include the string ‘נף’ which share all or some of these same characteristics. The following is a list of such words, which we will examine one at a time:

  1. ענף. 2. סנפיר. 3. כנף. 4. קנף 5. נוף. 6. תנופה. 7. נפה. 8. סניף. 9. צניף. 10. אנף 11. חנף. 12. טנף.


  1. 2. Kanaf כנף (wing) – This is an bird’s appendage (i.e. limb) used for navigating in the air. It has attributes similar to those of a tree branch: A. An external manifestation – It protrudes from the bird’s body A non-essential appendage – A bird can exist in a protected place for hours or even days without wings (as opposed to, say, without a heart). C. Movement – Wings have both the ability to move and are self-propelling. D. Protection – Birds protect their young by covering them with their wings and doves are known to fight off enemies using with their wings[2]. Another obvious protective mechanism wings offer is the ability to flee. E. Extension/Reach – The range between a bird’s outstretched wings in effect constitutes its width.


The word כנף also refer to the corner of a garment. Rambam (in his Guide for the Perplexed 1:43)[3] lists four meanings, and explains that they all derive from the primary meaning of birds’ wings: A. Wings. B. Corners of a garment C. “Corners” of the earth. D. Concealment (in the name of R. Yonah Ibn Janach). I would add one more meaning ofכנף , namely the usage of the word in a military context[4]. In Isaiah 8:8 we read: “and its wingspread (כנפיו מוטות[5]) will be the full width of your land O Immanuel.” The term כנף  are used in the military-political sense of maximum extension, maximum reach, i.e. that extent of territory over which hegemony exists[6] . Political power derives first and foremost from the sense of security and shelter that the military “wingspan” provides. This double meaning is also found in the word שלט, which denotes both a shield[7] and political rule[8]. The word אגף  also has a military connotation as well as a bird’s wing.


  1. Qanaf (corner bedposts) קנף – This Mishnaic[9] word, phonetically linked to כנף, is derived from כנף’s meaning of “corner” listed above.


  1. Nof (branch) נוף – This is the Rabbinic word for a tree branch[10]. However, the source of this word is actually Scriptural as Rashi cites in the name of Dunash Ibn Librat[11]. Others (e.g. Radak) interpret the word as a “district.” I would suggest that this meaning fits as well, as follows: every district has a capital or hub, as well as outlying areas. The capital is analogous to the trunk, and the suburbs to the branches.


  1. Tenufa (lift, wave) תנופה – This word derives from the root נוף, and it means lifting/elevating (e.g. Isaiah 10:15) as well as fluttering/waving (one’s hand[12] or a hand-held object[13]).


This word also has attributes similar to those of a tree branch (ענף): A. An external manifestation – An elevated object is visible from a distance. B. Movement –One of the meanings of תנופה directly refers to movement[14]. C. Protection – Comparable to the wings of a bird which provide protection by means of elevation and escape[15]. Waving a flag (or even a hand) can also serve to alert outsiders that assistance is needed. And in the worst event the waving of a white flag of surrender is intended to save the waver’s life. D. Extension/Reach – Stretching the hand (and that which it holds) constitutes the extent of its reach.


  1. Nafa (sifting) נפה – This word (synonymous with מרקד in the Mishnah[16]) is also derived from the root נוף.[17] They are conceptually similar in the broad sense of נוף as lifting, since sifting necessitates lifting and lowering the flour in the sifter. Isaiah 30:28 says: “to sift (הנפת) the nations in a faulty sieve נפת))”. Radak in his Shorashim (entry נפה) explains that sifting is related to תנופה because it involves shaking the sieve from side to side so that the flour will fall between the holes.


  1. Snapir ‘סנפיר’ (fin [appears in Levitcus 11:9]) – This is a fish’s appendage used for navigating in water. It too has attributes similar to those of a tree branch (ענף): A. An external manifestation[18]A fin is a protrusion from the body of the fish. B. A non-essential appendage – A fish can exist in a protected place for hours or even days without fins. C. Movement – Fins have both the power movement and of self-propulsion. D. Protection – Fins provide a fish with protection by means of escape. E. Extension/Reach – The range between a fish’s outstretched fins (e.g., a shark) effectively constitutes its width. (RSRH suggests that the final consonant ר in the word סנפיר is not part of the word’s root[19].)


  1. Senif (branch) סניף – This word (close to the word סנפיר), also means a branch in Rabbinic parlance[20]. RSRH notes that the word סניף is also related to other phonetically similar words like זנב (zanav, tail).[21]


  1. Tzenif (crown) צניף – This word (close to the word סניף) signifies a type of crown in Scripture[22]. The Aruch cites the Targum to Isaiah. 17:6, where the word צנפא[23] is used to translate the term אמיר, which is the uppermost, crown-like branches of a tree[24].


The last three words with which we will deal focus on the aspect of the tree branch (ענף) in that it is an external manifestation:


  1. Anaf (anger and wrath[25]) אנף – RSRH (Gen. 49:7) compares this word to ענף, explaining that the type of anger denoted by אנף is that which manifests itself externally (e.g. one’s face turns red in anger). This is similar to a tree branch because a branch is the most visible external manifestation of a tree.


  1. Chanaf (flatter, pollute) חנף – RSRH (ibid.) compares this word to ענף as well, explaining that both share the attribute of being external (i.e. superficiality in the case of the flatterer. See the next entry regarding the polluter).


  1. Tenef (pollute) טנף – This word is used by Targum pseudo-Yonatan (Num. 35:33) to render חנף (the previous entry). Based on RSRH’s suggestions above, the connection between חנף and טנף may be explained as follows. Just as חנף refers to superficiality, so does טנף represent filth which manifests itself externally, i.e. superficial scum which can be cleaned off.


May Hashem cleanse us of all our טינוף, manifest his Shechina for all to see, and protect us under his spread כנפיים. May those wings also bear the remnant of the Jewish people, and bring them to the Promised Land, speedily in our times.


Tzitzit are also called ענף because they are fringe string which protrude from one’s person:

[2]  ברכ’ נג: – יונה אינה ניצולת אלא בכנפיה; רש”י – נצולת אלא בכנפיה – או בורחת, או נלחמת בראשי אגפיה… כנפיה מגינות עליה – מן הצנה, ומכל עוף ואדם הבא עליה היא נלחמת ומכה בראש גפיה, מה שאין כן בשאר עופות.

[3]  מורה נבוכים (חלק א פרק מג): ‘כנף’ – שם משותף, ורוב שתופו מצד ההשאלה. 1. הנחתו הראשונה – לכנפי בעל החיים הפורח: כֹּל צִפּוֹר כָּל כָּנָף (בראשית ז:יד), כָּל צִפּוֹר כָּנָף אֲשֶׁר תָּעוּף בַּשָּׁמָיִם (דברים ד:יז). 2.  ואחרי כן הושאל  לכנפות הבגדים וזויותיהם: עַל אַרְבַּע כַּנְפוֹת כְּסוּתְךָ (שם כב:יב). 3. ואחרי כן הושאל  לקצוות המיושב מן הארץ ופאותיה הרחוקות ממקומותינו: לֶאֱחֹז בְּכַנְפוֹת הָאָרֶץ (איוב לח:יג), מִכְּנַף הָאָרֶץ זְמִרֹת שָׁמַעְנוּ (ישעיהו כד:טז). 4. ואמר איבן ג’נאח שהוא יבוא גם כן בענין  ההסתר… ואמר בפרוש: וְלֹא יִכָּנֵף עוֹד מוֹרֶיךָ (שם ל:כ) – ולא יסתר ממך מוריך, ולא יתעלם – וזה פרוש נאה. וממנו אצלי: וְלֹא יְגַלֶּה כְּנַף אָבִיו (דברים כג:א) – לא יגלה סתר אביו.

[4] Reminiscent of the combat unit US Air Force termed a “Wing”.

[5]  [לשון ‘מוטות’ כאן מורה על נטייה והתפשטות לפי המדקדקים]: מלבי”ם ישעיהו ח:ח – מטות. שרשו ‘נטה’, והדגש למלאות הנו”ן, שכמו שנמצא על האהל פרישה ונטיה, ויפרוש את האהל, ויט האהל, ויט אהלו, כן בכנף, יפרוש כנפיו אם פורש למעלה, ונטיית הכנפים אל הצדדים.

[6]  And perhaps this is the source of the German word reich which means empire.

[7]  [כגון]: שה”ש ד:ד – כֹּל שִׁלְטֵי הַגִּבּוֹרִים; אב”ע – שלטי – …השלטים ענינו כמו מגינים.

[8]  [כגון]: קהלת ח:ד – בַּאֲשֶׁר דְּבַר מֶלֶךְ שִׁלְטוֹן.

[9]  סוכה א:ג – פירס על גבי הקינוף; תפארת ישראל – או שפורס ע”ג הקינוף. הוא מטה עם ד’ קונדסין בד’ זויותיה.

[10]  שבת ד: – אילן העומד ברשות היחיד ונופו נוטה לרשות הרבים.

[11]  תה’ מח:ג – יְפֵה נוֹף; רש”י – יפה נוף – דונש פתר… ל’ נוף של אילן, ונקרא הר ציון יפה נוף כי הוא הר הזתים.

[12]  [כמו]: מ”ב ה:יא – וְהֵנִיף יָדוֹ אֶל הַמָּקוֹם.

[13]  [כמו]: שמ’ כט:כב-כד – וְלָקַחְתָּ מִן הָאַיִל הַחֵלֶב… וְשַׂמְתָּ הַכֹּל עַל כַּפֵּי אַהֲרֹן וְעַל כַּפֵּי בָנָיו וְהֵנַפְתָּ אֹתָם תְּנוּפָה.

[14]  [כדפירש רא”ם]: וי’ ז:לד – כִּי אֶת חֲזֵה הַתְּנוּפָה; רא”ם – פירוש תנופה, מענין תנועה אילך ואילך.

[15]  [ראה לעיל בהערות למלה ‘כנף’].

[16]  שבת ז:ב – הבורר הטוחן והמרקד.

[17]  [לדעת רד”ק, כדלדהן].

[18]  [לכן גם ציצית מכונים ענף]: מנחות מב. – ת”ר: ציצית – אין ציצית אלא ענף, וכה”א… בציצית ראשי; לקט יושר (או”ח דף יב ענין ב) – קרי לציצית ענף… בדין נפרדין יוצאין מן האילן, גם זה יוצא מן הבגד. [ע’ גם מצ”צ יחז’ ח:ג].

[19]  [רשר”ה מדמה מלה זו למלים אחרות בעלות אות ר’ בסוף התבה]: רשרה ויק’ יא:ט: סנפיר – אם נניח שאות ר’ נתופסה על השרש1 (אולי כעין זה גם ‘טפסר’2 [פִּקְדוּ עָלֶיהָ טִפְסָר (יר’ נא:כז)], ‘עכבר’3 [הַחֹלֶד וְהָעַכְבָּר (וי’ יא:כט)]), הרי שרשו של ‘סנפיר’ הוא ‘סנף’4… בלשון חז”ל5 המלה ‘סניף’ מציינת נספח שהוא טפל לעיקר6.

~~~~~תת-הערות: 1[בנוסף לדוגמאות ר’ בסוף המלה, יש גם אות ר’ נוספת באמצע המלה בעצמה, כגון: ‘דרמשק’ כמו ‘דמשק’ (ראה רש”י דה”א יח:ה, דה”ב טז:ד); ‘כרבל’ כמו ‘כבל’ (רשר”ה תה’ צד:יח-יט [אולי כי המעוטף דומה לכבול]); ‘סרעף’/’שרעף’ כמו ‘סעיף’/’שעיף’ (מצ”צ יחז’ לא:ה); ‘שרביט’ כמו ‘שבט’ (רש”י דה”ב טז:ד). ובמקור ברוך (דף 264) הוסיף שגם מלת ‘ערפל’ קרובה ל’עפל’ (ע”ש לדוגמאות נוספים)].                 2 [כלומר, ‘טפסר’ נגזרת מל’ ‘טפס’. ברם, ‘טפס’ עצמה היא לשון חז”ל המורה על  צורה ודפוס סטנדרטית]: גיט’ ג:ב – הכותב טפסי גיטין; רעב – הכותב טופסי גיטין – סופר שרוצה שיהיו מזומנין אצלו, שפעמים אדם בא לשכרו והוא טרוד בשטרות אחרים; [ונראה להציע שחז”ל חדשו מלה זו מלשון ‘טפסר’ המורה על מין פקיד בעל קצת שררה, אבל באמת אינו ראוי לכך, וכדרשתם ז”ל]: בר צ:ג – טפסר – טפש בחכמה ושר בשנים. [וא”כ עיקר תפקידו של ה’טפסר’ הוא כפָּקִיד – המדפיס וחותם טפסים].     3 [כלומר, המלה נגזרת מל’ ‘עכב’. אולם, שרש ‘עכב’ מופיע רק בל’ חז”ל (במשנה ובארמית, בד”מ: ר”ה א:ו; אונקלוס בר’ יט:טז), בהוראת  מניעה. ויש להציע קירבה בין ‘עכב’ לבין ‘עכבר’ ע”פ טבעו של העכבר לאסוף ולקבץ את מאכלו –היינו לעכב את האכילה למועד מאוחר יותר, כדמצינו במדרש המרמז על צבירתם]: מדרש אג’ (בובר) בר’ יא:י – אֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת שֵׁם שֵׁם בֶּן מְאַת שָׁנָה וַיּוֹלֶד – למה מינה הכתוב שם שם שני פעמים, משל לאדם שאבד אבידה ומבקשה באשפה, והביא עכברים שהם צוברים באשפה עד שמצאו האבידה, וכיון שמצאו האבידה מיד נפרשו, כך התחיל למנות תולדות שם עד שבא לאברהם שהוא מציאתו של הקדוש ברוך הוא, כמו שנאמר: ומצאת את לבבו נאמן לפניך (נחמי’ ט:ח).     4 [ומעין כך הביאו גם המקור ברוך (דף 264), בפרדס יוסף ובמעשה שושן (שניהם בפ’ שמיני)].      5 [ע’ מנחות יא:ו, כלים כא:ג].    6 [ובספר דברים מוסיף רשר”ה ומשווה ‘סניף’ למלים אחרות הקרובות בהגייתן]: רשרה דב’ כה:יח – ‘זנב’ קרוב ל’סניף’ בל’ חז”ל [בחילוף אותיות בומ”ף, זסשר”ץ]… נספח לגוף העיקרי; וכן ‘צנף’: לחבר את הסרח, את הקצוות אל הגוף העיקרי, לגולל. [ראה להלן בסעיף המתייחס למלה ‘צנף’ בענין הוראה זו של השרש].

[20]  מנחות יא:ה-ו – השלחן ארכו עשרהארבע סניפין של זהב היו שם; תפארת ישראל – ענפים יוצאין מהן.

[21] [ובספר דברים מוסיף רשר”ה ומשווה “סניף” למלים אחרות הקרובות בהגייתן]: רשרה דב’ כה:יח – ‘זנב’ קרוב ל’סניף’ בל’ חז”ל [בחילוף אותיות בומ”ף, זסשר”ץ]… נספח לגוף העיקרי; וכן ‘צנף’: לחבר את הסרח, את הקצוות אל הגוף העיקרי, לגולל. [ראה להלן בסעיף המתייחס למלה “צנף” בענין הוראה זו של השרש].

[22]  [כגון]: ישע’ ג:כג – וְהַצְּנִיפוֹת; ת”י – וְכִתָּרַיָא. שם סב:ג – וּצְנִיף מְלוּכָה; ת”י – וּכְתַר דְתוּשְׁבְּחָא. זכ’ ג:ה – צָנִיף טָהוֹר עַל רֹאשׁוֹ; מצ”ד – ר”ל שיהיה כתר כהונה גדולה. [ובלשון חז”ל פועל ‘לצנף’ מציינת סיפוח, היינו הוספת סניף. קירבת ‘צנף’ ל’סנף’ מרומזת גם ברש”י ומפורש בערוך]: הוריות יג: – בני ת”ח שממונים אביהם פרנס על הצבור… עושים אותם סניפין; רשי – סניפין – שמושיבין אותן בצד הזקנים מפני כבוד אביהם דהויין סניפין לזקנים, כסניף [קורה קטנה (שוטנשטיין)] זה שמצניפין לקורה גדולה; ערוך (ערך ‘סנף’): קרוב לו לשון משנה ‘צנף’. [ובספר ערוך הקצר (ערך צנף א’) פירשה מלשון  ענף]: “או דילמא בצנפא מתפיש” (נזיר כב:) – פירוש בצנפא: בענף.

[23]  [ברם, בגרסאות המצויות התרגום הוא ‘ענפא’].

[24]  [גם הראב”ע מרומז מעין כן]: אב”ע ישע’ יז:ו – אמיר, הוא המעולה בזית, מגזרת: וה’ האמירך (דב’ כו:יח). [ותרגמה תר”י שם מלשון מלוכה]: דב’ כו:יח – וה’ הֶאֱמִירְךָ הַיּוֹם; תרגום ירושלמי – וּמֵימְרָא דַה’ אַמְלָךְ עֲלֵיכוֹן.

[25]  [כגון]: דב’ א:לז – גַּם בִּי הִתְאַנַּף ה’ בִּגְלַלְכֶם; רשי – התאנף – נתמלא רוגז. תה’ ב:יב – נַשְּׁקוּ בַר פֶּן יֶאֱנַף; רשי – פן יאנף – פן יקצוף. שם ס:ג – אֱלֹהִים זְנַחְתָּנוּ פְרַצְתָּנוּ אָנַפְתָּ; רשי – אנפת – קצפת עלינו.