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During a hesped for Rav Belsky z"tl, Rav Yisroel Reisman mentions Rav Belsky's ability to connect common words with their Torah source, alluding to "terafim" of Lavan being connected with "therapy". What is the connection between the two words?

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    Just considering what the 'terafim' of Lavan was and how it was used, that would suggest strongly that Rav Reisman had a very low opinion of whatever contemporary therapy he was discussing. – Yaacov Deane Dec 4 '19 at 18:39
  • תרופה means medication, medicine; solution (to problem); remedy – wfb Dec 4 '19 at 19:57
  • @wfb Therapy comes from the Greek therapeia. Many Greek cognates come from Semitic languages such as Hebrew and Phoenician, and it's logical to suppose that is a correct etymology. (I searched for a similar cognate in Brill's Ugaritic dictionary and this online Akkadian dictionary, and I could not find any). – Fred Dec 5 '19 at 7:39
  • @Fred it seems safe to say R Belsky wasn't an expert Ugaritic or Akkadian speaker. If his skill was connecting words, it was almost certainly in a Modern Drash sense, not in a historical etymology sense. – Double AA Dec 5 '19 at 16:19
  • @DoubleAA I was referring to wfb's comment (and that word of course appears in Tanach as well, Y'chezkel 47:12, "ועלהו לתרופה"). Perhaps there's even an indirect etymological link to t'rafim, but like you said, R' Belsky probably was interested in the "Modern Drash" sense. As far as his expertise in Ugaritic or Akkadian, I don't know (though I at least know that my Rosh Yeshiva studied Ugaritic in university, and I assume some other talmidei chachamim have as well). – Fred Dec 6 '19 at 2:18

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