I understand that there’s a yeshivish tradition of referring to Masekhes Beitza as “Bei’a”, by way of using the Aramaic word for ‘egg’ in place of the Hebrew. In two separate online shiurim that I have listened to (dafyomi.org and realcleardaf.com) the maggid shiur not only does this, but continues replacing every instance of “beitza” with “bei’a” in the gemara as well.

For an example from realcleardaf.com, see here (it is possible that you need to register to listen to the content); for an example from dafyomi.org, see here.

And yet, wherever the word beitza appears in other masekhtas (eg: at the bottom of Shabbes 19b), the maggid shiur in question keeps it as “beitza”.

Where does the tradition of replacing the Hebrew with the Aramaic come from, and why is it done only in this one masekhta? It is obviously not an issue with the word itself, but an issue with its appearance in this particular tractate. What is the reason for that, and when did this tradition develop?


1 Answer 1


Refer to this website here:

Many have the custom to refer to the Maseches as "Bei'a," which is the Aramaic term for "egg." The source for this practice is the MAGEN AVRAHAM (end of OC 156) in the name of the MAHARSHAL (Yam Shel Shlomo, Bava Kama 4:11), who writes that it is proper to say ["Bei'a" or] "Bei'im" instead of ["Beitzah" or] "Beitzim," in order to maintain a high standard of purity of speech.1 (The word "Beitzah" is used in Chazal to connote part of the reproductive organ, and thus it is improper to utter it.)

The IYEI HA'YAM (cited by the Likutim on the Mishnayos), however, refutes this practice, pointing out that there is no source anywhere in Shas that the Sages refrained from pronouncing the word as "Beitzah" or that they classified it as improper speech. In fact, we find that Chazal even borrowed the term and described many oblong objects as "Beitzah" (such as "Beitzah ha'Gir," Beitzah 15a). Furthermore, what is gained by translating the word to Aramaic? It means the same thing in any language! As a clear proof that the word was indeed pronounced "Beitzim" in the days of Chazal, he cites the Gemara in Sanhedrin (5b) which relates an incident whereby a certain Talmid made a Halachic statement regarding "Mei Beitzim" (eggs) and people erred Halachically because they thought that he said "Mei Bitzim" (swamp water, see Tosfos there). Had he said "Bei'im," no misunderstanding would have occurred! This prompts the TIFERES YISRAEL to suggest that indeed, the practice of not pronouncing the word as "Beitzah" has nothing to do with improper speech. Rather, since a Halachic error occurred because of the similarity between the words "Beitzim" and "Bitzim," the practice arose to pronounce the word "Bei'a," when used in a Halachic context. (The Iyei ha'Yam, though, quotes the son of the Vilna Ga'on as saying that the VILNA GA'ON called the Maseches "Beitzah," in contrast to the words of the Magen Avraham.)

1 It writes there:

אל יוציא דבר מגונה מפיו ולכן לא יאמר בתלמוד ביצים אלא בעים [יש"ש ב"ק פ"ד]

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