The Gemara Berachos (31b) writes

אֵלֵךְ וְאֶסְתַּתֵּר בִּפְנֵי אֶלְקָנָה בַּעֲלִי, וְכֵיוָן דְּמִסְתַּתַּרְנָא מַשְׁקוּ לִי מֵי סוֹטָה, וְאִי אַתָּה עוֹשֶׂה תּוֹרָתְךָ פְּלַסְתֵּר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר ״וְנִקְּתָה וְנִזְרְעָה זָרַע״.‏

What was Hannah threatening? She said:

I will go and seclude myself with another man before Elkana, my husband. Since I secluded myself, they will force me to drink the sota water to determine whether or not I have committed adultery. I will be found innocent, and since You will not make Your Torah false [pelaster], I will bear children. With regards to a woman who is falsely suspected of adultery and drank the sota water, the Torah says: “And if the woman was not defiled, but was pure, then she shall be acquitted and she shall conceive” (Numbers 5:28).

Though Jastrow's dictionary points to the definition of forgery, what is the origin or root of the word פְּלַסְתֵּר?


1 Answer 1


The Hebrew Wiktionary has confirmed my suspicion, the word פְּלַסְתֵּר is of Greek origin, and it comes from πλαστός, meaning

  • invented, artificial
  • false, spurious, fictitious, counterfeit

This is also, how Rashi translates it. The Greek word is derived from πλάσσω, meaning to form or mould, and in a figurative sense to fabricate or forge.

  • 1
    from Klein "PBH forgery, fraud. [Gk. plaste, plastes (= molder, modeler), hence ‘forger’, from plassein (= to mold, form, model). cp. פּֽלַסְטִי, פּֽלַסְמָה.]"
    – rosends
    Commented Nov 3, 2020 at 11:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .