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Rashi on Shemot 25:18

כרבים CHERUBIM — They had the form of a child’s face (Sukkah 5b) כרבים. דְּמוּת פַּרְצוּף תִּינוֹק לָהֶם

While no description of the Keruvim faces is given :

Shemot 25:18

"Make one Keruv at one end and the other Keruv at the other end; of one piece with the cover shall you make the Keruvim at its two ends." ( וַ֠עֲשֵׂה כְּר֨וּב אֶחָ֤ד מִקָּצָה֙ מִזֶּ֔ה וּכְרוּב־אֶחָ֥ד מִקָּצָ֖ה מִזֶּ֑ה מִן־הַכַּפֹּ֛רֶת תַּעֲשׂ֥וּ אֶת־הַכְּרֻבִ֖ים עַל־שְׁנֵ֥י קְצוֹתָֽיו )

Where does Rashi's deduction of Keruvim faces come from? If it decomposes כרוב into [כ-רב[יא, or "like a child", using the aramaic word for child, why would Keruv mean "like-[a] Child" to ancient Ivrim, in the context & culture of Shemot's original form? Does the Torah have other instances of ר֨וּב meaning Child? - For ancient Ivrim כְּיֶּ֔לֶד KeYeled would have meant Like-[a] Child (correct)?

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    Siftei Chachamim there, "[Rashi knows this] since it is written , כרובים we [could] read it as כרביא , i.e., “like a youth.” Onkelos [elsewhere] translates “child” as רביא , and the כ of כרובים means “like.”" -- also, the reference is Sukka 5b, not a, in which the text explains "Apropos the cherubs, the Gemara asks: And what is the form of the face of a cherub [keruv]? Rabbi Abbahu said: Like that of a child [keravya], as in Babylonia one calls a child ravya" – rosends Feb 25 at 15:17
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Rashi's explanation comes from the Talmud on Sukkah 5b:

וּמַאי כְּרוּב אָמַר רַבִּי אֲבָהוּ כְּרָבְיָא שֶׁכֵּן בְּבָבֶל קוֹרִין לְיָנוֹקָא רָבְיָא

Apropos the cherubs, the Gemara asks: And what is the form of the face of a cherub [keruv]? Rabbi Abbahu said: Like that of a child [keravya], as in Babylonia one calls a child ravya.

While it does seem strange to interpret a Hebrew word using Babylonian etymology, The Bible is certainly familiar with other languages (see for example Gen 31:47), and Etymologists will draw on contemporary languages to interpret more obscure biblical words such as תחש.

This article examines Cherubs at length. The Hittites, Phoenicians, and probably also the Canaanites and Israelites, all visualized supernatural beings in various winged forms, such as the Hittite griffon or the Babylonian sphinx. One etymological source put forth for the word Cherud or Kruv is a Babylonian word meaning 'propitious', originating from the Assyrian 'karâbu' (to be propitious, bless).

The word propitious is defined as "giving or indicating a good chance of success; favorable.", which suitably describes a person with much of their life ahead of them. It seems reasonable that the Babylonian word 'ravya' be related.

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  • It is also entirely possible that R' Abbahu is making a Derasha, and this is not meant to be at all literal. – Baby Seal Feb 25 at 19:30

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