The root p-g-r is used 22 times in tanach (as per Even Shoshan), and the dictionary explains them all as corpse (a dead body).

In 2 of those cases, one in Yeshayahu and one in M'lachim II, the phrase used is "פְּגָרִ֥ים מֵתִֽים" dead corpses. I was under the impression that all corpses were dead.

The Ralbag in M'lachim II 19:35 reads

והנה פגרים מתים הם גופי' מתים כי הגוף החי יקרא גם כן פגר

that p'garim meitim are dead bodies because a live body is also called "p-g-r"

First, where does the Ralbag get this idea -- where is p-g-r used as a specifically live body (I haven't checked through all the instances, but the Even Shoshan seemed insistent that the definition is consistently corpse)? Next, if it does mean "live body" then wouldn't the word, in the other contexts, need the adjective "dead" appended to it also to distinguish?

  • Have you ever learned the concept of Yaacov Avinu didn’t die? Also, think about the blessing you make each morning which includes the same language. Nov 7, 2021 at 0:21
  • The blessing is exactly why I started thinking about the choice of that word, then of that phrase, so I found its source in tanach.
    – rosends
    Nov 7, 2021 at 1:40
  • The concept of life and death as conceived in Torah is more involved than what is commonly understood. If memory serves, you may find a relevant discussion of this in a collection of the teachings of the Vilna Gaon called Sefer Ohrot HaGra. Nov 7, 2021 at 3:40
  • 1
    I assume the Ralbag's source is this possuk itself.
    – N.T.
    Nov 7, 2021 at 3:59
  • According to this essay, the root "PGR" may rarely refer also to "heaps" of [things], so maybe here it means "dead heaps"?
    – Harel13
    Nov 7, 2021 at 11:39


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