If you have ever heard
that the magical word “Abracadabra” is Hebrew, then you may enjoy today’s Jewish Treat highlighting the
etymological connection of some common English words and their Hebrew origins.
Abracadabra, a word used to bring forth magic, is an excellent place to start.
It is traced to Hebrew phrase av’rah
– I will create as was spoken.

Some words are obvious
to those who know the Bible: To “babble” is to speak rapidly and randomly, as
did the people at the Tower of Babel when they lost the ability to speak to one
another. A cherub, that cute little angel with the dimpled cheeks, comes
straight from the Hebrew word k’ruvim,
the angelic figures that were on top of the Holy Ark.
There are many words
that are not credited with a Hebrew etymological root* and yet the connection
is hard to overlook: The word  “over” is
phonetically similar to the word ever
(ayin-vet-reish), which is also the
root of the word ivri (Hebrew), the
term used to describe Abraham for having crossed over the river. Another
interesting word is “mystery,” which shares an interesting resonance to the
Hebrew word hester (samech-tav-reish), the Hebrew word for
hidden. Creating a hole in the ground is the act of “boring,” and Joseph’s
brothers threw him into a bor (bet-vav-reish), a deep pit. One last
example is the Hebrew word ayin,
which is not only the name of a Hebrew letter but also the Hebrew term for eye.
*Many words are traced
to Old French or Old German, but no further back than that.

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