My friend told me how the word das, which we use to mean halacha or religion, like k'das Moshe veYisroel, is actually a Persian word. If this is true, then how can commentators explain the word aishdas in Vezos haBracha as meaning a fiery law, if Persia and Persian did not exist at the time of the Torah? The same question goes for any similar instance in Tanach, if there are any.

Here are some sources about das being of Persian origin. Perhaps there are some more reliable sources too.





  • 3
    How do you know that the Persian language (or a predecessor) did not exist then?
    – Joel K
    Jun 16 at 5:10
  • Hebrew is a Semitic language. A whole host of words are similar if you look at comparisons with other texts of Semitic origin. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic_languages
    – bondonk
    Jun 16 at 9:49
  • 1
    Drush != Peshat
    – Joel K
    Jun 16 at 11:39

Hebrew is a Semitic language. Texts based on this will have similar/familiar words.

For example, ancient Ugaritic texts (circa 3000 BC) use words like Yam (sea) and Mot (death) for their gods. Other include the word "El" for an extant god, which is also used throughout the Torah. The god "Baal" derives from the word for 'ownership' in ancient Mesopotamian pantheons. Other words include Kohen (priest) and Kadesh (sanctity) which have a base in Ugaritic texts.

Persian itself is not a semitic language, but some earlier forms do seem to be.

I got some of these examples from Mircea Eliade's "History of Religious Ideas: Part 1". But since Semitic languages cover quite a broad spectrum of ancient, and now modern, forms, there will be correspondence with many to Hebrew.

This doesn't answer the question of how commentaries based their commentaries on words that derive from other languages. But I hope this is a start.

  • 3
    This is the crucial point: Persian itself is not a semitic language, but some earlier forms do seem to be. And precisely this is why your answer is not credible. Jun 16 at 10:10
  • Are you implying that no words in Persian have a Semitic root? You can check that my statement is correct, that some early forms of Persian do indeed have a Semitic root. By extension, there will be some remnants of that in later forms of Persian.
    – bondonk
    Jun 17 at 8:44
  • Persian is an Indo-European language, while Hebrew is an Afro-Asiatic one, a totally different story. There can be loanwords (e.g. פרדס or زیتون), as you can find many in the Book of Esther, or coincidences, but that doesn't mean that Persian is systematically using Semitic roots. Rather check out the linked answer, which gives a plausible hypothesis. Jun 17 at 10:32

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