The Sefer Ha'Aruch is a type of dictionary that is quoted by Rashi and Tosfos.

I took a look at the sefer the other day and couldn't figure out how it's supposed to be used. All I saw was a list of Gemara's that have in them the word under discussion.

My question is: How is this book supposed to be used?

  • Sounds like a concordance used to show how words are used in various gemaras. In that case, the meaning would be derived from the usages. Sep 28, 2014 at 16:47
  • @sabbahillel That thought occurred to me but I wasn't sure. Also, I saw a couple of versions. Additionally, from how I have seen the Aruch quoted by Rashi it seems like he does give a definition outright.
    – Gavriel
    Sep 28, 2014 at 16:54
  • It would then seem that Rashi gives the definition based on one of the gemaras that it points to. Sep 28, 2014 at 16:57
  • @sabbahillel Makes sense, I'll have to look into that.
    – Gavriel
    Sep 28, 2014 at 17:04
  • I think that most of the time @sabbahillel is right, but it's not allways just show how words are used in various gemaras. For example: שלחן - "האומר לחברו: הראה על השלחן". פירוש על השלחן - של שולחני, והוא המוכר מטבעות, ולפי שהשולחן לפניו תמיד, ומוכר וקונה על השולחן, לפי כך נקרא שולחני. אפסניה - "אין מושיבים לא מלך ולא כהן גדול בעיבור השנה: מלך - משום אפסניה...פירוש: ההוצאה שנותן לחיילותיו חדש בחדש והוא נוטל המס בשנה ומפזר להם בכל חדש וחדש . ואם יוסיפו חודש - צריך ליתן משלו, לפיכך דוחה את העיבור... ובלשון יוון קורין להוצאה אפסניא". חרתא - דארגיז, עיר הסמוכה לבגדד ברחוק פרסה. Sep 28, 2014 at 18:28

1 Answer 1


For one thing, the Aruch often groups similar words together, which is useful if the word can have multiple meanings. You can use the Aruch to know which times the word has meaning A, which times meaning B, which times C, etc.

In addition, there are many times where the Aruch does define the word, and many times where the Aruch goes further and explains the gemara under discussion. Thus it is a valuable resource, especially when the explanation is from R' Chananel or R' Hai Gaon, and without the Aruch the explanation would have been lost for most of history (R' Chananel was only published a few centuries ago.)

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