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I have read that Aishdas (Deut. 33:2) means "fiery law" or something of the sort. However, doesn't the word das with the meaning of law/religion come from Persian (i.e. did not have the meaning of law in Biblical times)? Can someone help me out here?

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I've also seen a suggestion (don't recall the source) that דת here is short for דאת (or דאתה), "flew." So the meaning of the verse would be "from His right hand, fire flew to them."

In defense of the traditional explanation, דת as "law" may be a native Hebrew word that is otherwise unattested, rather than a loanword from Persian.

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Based on the k'siv, in which "אשדת" is only one word, I have heard it being related to the independent word אשדת, meaning waterfall, as in "תחת אשדת הפסגה". (D'varim 4:49)

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Conceivably, דת is simply a semitic root that happens to only come up once in the earlier Hebrew of the Chumash, but was used more in Persian. It appears in Aramaic and Syriac as דתא (which is also found in the book of Ezra).

But yes, the kesiv is "waterfall".

A nice metaphor for Torah -- fiery passion and rite fused into a whole that is neither, from which flows life.

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The Persian language did not exist at the time of Torah? Not even a prototype?

I'm not sure I really understand the difficulty. The Torah has words that were not (originally) Hebrew. A couple of examples off the top - Totofos (tefilin) and Moshe.

Is there anywhere stated that all the words in the Torah had to be of Hebrew origin?

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"Is there anywhere stated that all the words in the Torah had to be of Hebrew origin?" This question presupposes a difference between "Hebrew" and "the language of the Torah", both of which - for the purposes of this discussion - could probably be more precisely conflated into "Lashon Hakodesh". – WAF Dec 24 '10 at 16:21
Still a fair point, though. Conceivably דת could have been a really early loanword into Hebrew/Lashon Kodesh from proto-Persian. – Alex Dec 26 '10 at 4:36
Also, Joseph had a Egyptian name - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaphnath-Paaneah For information about Hebrew being the language from which all other languages stem, please take a look at R' Avigdor Miller's trilogy on Jewish History. In his section in the first volume regarding the Tower of Babel, you can find some of the things that he said about Lashon ha-Kodesh. – Adam Mosheh Jun 10 '12 at 23:04

According to Rash"i (on B'reshis 37:17), Ya'akov's other ten sons used the word דת on their way to plot against Yosef.

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I suspect that that's more likely to be a paraphrase in Rabbinic Hebrew rather than a quotation in Biblical Hebrew. – Isaac Moses Dec 28 '10 at 16:58
אה"נ that it's a paraphrase but Rash"i is explaining the word דתינה as "toward their calculations" or something similar. – WAF Dec 28 '10 at 17:09

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