Reply To: Meanings of the names Zelig and Zalman

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Oomis, your research on the word “chashmal” yielded interesting and factual results, but I think you missed the point. You note that chashmal “seems to be stemming from Tanach.” That is correct; that is also the source of the problem.

The word chashmal does indeed appear in Sefer Yechezkel, most notably in the Navi’s description of Ma’aseh Merkava. (This word does not appear anywhere in Tanach outside of sefer Yechezkel. Corrections welcome.) Ma’aseh Merkava is a part of the Torah that it is forbidden to study in depth as the concepts are part of Toras Hanistar and not accessible to ordinary (even very learned) people. This fact (that Ma’aseh Merkava is part of Toras Hanistar and not accessible to all) is mentioned in the Gemara, the Rambam, and other sources. (I’m not sure what makes you think Ma’aseh Merkava correlates with natural science, and at any rate it’s not an idea we should be discussing.) Using a word from Maaseh Merkava to describe a natural phenomenon- electricity, denigrates and corrupts the meaning of the holy pesukim in Yechezkel that use the word. Ben Yehuda, a maskil, faced much opposition from Rabbonim in introducing modern Hebrew. This is just one example of what aroused their wrath.

As for your specious argument that we are all Zionists-

It is true that we all pray and wait for the return to Zion. But Zion is another word that was expropriated by maskilim. Zionism describes a movement founded by Theodor Herzl at the First Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897. I cannot speak for all of us, but I certainly do not feel that I’m connected to that movement, and I suspect there are many others here who feel as I do.