I heard that Rashi uses a Russian word where he deals with the building of the Beis Hamikdash by King Shlomo. I also heard that he uses a Polish word.

Does anyone know where it is?


1 Answer 1


In his commentary to I Kings 6:7:

ומקבות" - דלוט"א בלשון רוסיא"

Although it seems quite likely that this is a later interpolation; it doesn't appear in early prints of Rashi.

In several places, though, Rashi refers to לשון כנען, which was a popular term at the time for the Slavic languages (based on the equation of "Slav" with "slave" and the association of the latter with Canaan). These include Deut. 3:9 (שניר הוא שלג... ובלשון כנען), Shabbos 20b in Hagahos HaBach (פסולתא דזיפתא... עיטרן שקורין דוהינו בלשון כנען), Avodah Zarah 28b (חיפושתא... ובלשון כנען קרוקי"ם) and 51b (דסחיפא לה משכילתא ארישיה... כלי ארוך ובלשון כנען אקדון). Some of these might indeed be Polish, although I don't know.

  • 1
    +1. "Snow" in Slavic languages is things like shneg. In (modern) Polish it's śnieg (pronounced roughly "shnek"); in (modern) Russian снег ("snek"); in (modern) Ukrainian сніг ("snih" I think). I don't see a language that has anything closer to s'nir than the Salvic languages, though a number of other Indo-European languages (esp. Germanic languages) are about as close to s'nir as the Slavic.
    – msh210
    Feb 23, 2012 at 16:51
  • @msh210, indeed. Rashi there gives German (where the word is schnee) and Slavic as similar to s'nir. One possibility is that he might have been referring specifically to Czech, in which the word is snih, just like in Ukrainian (and geographically it's a lot closer to France). Silbermann has an interesting discussion of this in the endnotes to his edition of the Chumash.
    – Alex
    Feb 23, 2012 at 19:47
  • Could you please send me a scan of Silbermann's discussion about this? Goolge Books only has a snippet view of it, see books.google.co.il/… Thanks!! Feb 15, 2013 at 8:18

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