Is the root פר related to the meaning of the letter ר (REISH)?
QUESTION: I read your article “Down by the River“. I have long been unclear as to the difference in the types of rivers. Your article helps – but, no surprise, there’s no one clear answer. Anyways, you mention the letter reish as “throwing”. I’ve seen that pay-reish means much the same, as in “pri” and “perach”. It’s interesting to see that the reish alone has such meaning.
David S. from Los Angeles
ANSWER: Anyways, I’m glad you liked that essay. I actually wrote about Rav Pappenheim’s theory about the meaning of REISH a few weeks earlier than that for Chanukah (you can read it here). The whole thing about one- and two-letter shorashim is a very interesting topic. Rabbi Pappenheim is a strong proponent of the two-letter shoresh opinion (like Menachem ibn Saruk who lived many centuries before him), and in some cases even holds of one letter shorashim His theory goes that most seemingly 3-letter shoresh are actually made up of a one- or two-letter shoresh, plus a letter from the letters האמנתי”ו. So the cases I mentioned in this essay and the Chanuka one all go back to just the single REISH. But regarding the shoresh you mentioned of REISH-PEH, Rabbi Pappenheim himself understands that it is a two-letter shoresh of its own, not derived from the single REISH shoresh.
Reuven Chaim Klein
Beitar Illit, Israel