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I know I'm not supposed to ask about basic hebrew, but I can't find a place to post this to, given that there's no hebrew language section here at stackexchange. So, allow me to complicate things a little and ask about a bracha we all know instead:

HaRachaman Hou Yevarekh Et Avi Mori Baal HaBayit Hazeh...

Now take into account that Adon is believed to have derived from Av. How would using Adon HaBayit break it ? How wrong would it sound ?

Both words seem to mean more or less:

Lord Master Owner

So where is it they don't overlap ?

Another question would be if it makes more sense at all to use Adonai for HaShem instead of Ba'al ? I know Ba'al was used for a different god and it strikes me as very curious.

Can anyone confirm that Adonai is plural for Adoni (my Lords)? If so, what's the plural for Ba'ali ?

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    balashon.com/2011/04/baal-and-adon.html is a start. This page straddles the line between "Hebrew" and "Judaism"
    – rosends
    Jun 4, 2015 at 11:08
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    There is a proposal for one here. Becoming a follower of it and utilizing your votes will bring it closer to beta.
    – intuit
    Jun 4, 2015 at 14:17
  • There not being another place to ask does not make it on topic here.
    – Double AA
    Jun 4, 2015 at 14:49
  • Suggest making your second question about "Ba'al" as a term for other gods into a separate M.Y. question. I have a hunch as to why that term is used, but it warrants its own discussion area, I think.
    – DanF
    Jun 4, 2015 at 14:49

2 Answers 2

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I ran the two words through Google Translate to verify my own thinking on the 2 words, and their translation concurs.

אדון means "lord". It implies rulership or command on something. Thus, G-d, who is the Ruler of the world is correctly referred to as . אדני. (What you may hear in colloquial Modern Hebrew when people address a stranger as אדוני, which literally would mean "My Lord" or "My ruler", is technically, incorrect.)

בעל means "owner" and it does not imply rulership, necessarily. Thus בעל הבית means "the owner of the house". However, within the context of the bracha you mentioned which is part of Birkat Hamazon - Grace After Meals, the term בית doesn't necessarily mean a physical house (the structure) but means "household" or "family". (See usage of the term בית in Numbers 12:7, as an example of similar usage.)

Now that you know the difference in meaning, here's further proof that the word אדון for referring to your father would be confusing, if not inappropriate. In the bracha you refer to your father as בעל הבית and your mother as בעלת הבית . So you have two household family "owners" - mom and dad, together own the "family" or "household". If they were both אדון - rulers - well, IMO, I think you would have a confused dysfunctional family. It is not a given that dad is necessarily the אדון. In my household, my wife is the ruler far more than me. I'm just the "nebbish" chief executive trash disposal guy ;-)

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The difference between Adonay and baal. Adonay is one that have authority over another for the benefit of bring that person like. Get this meaning from its root word Dalet- Nun: door to life. And normally used for YHVH. Baal is one that have dominance over. And a person or animal work for the one that have dominance over. Get this meaning from its root word Ayin- Lamed a yoke. Both words means master, owner, husband, and lord. Hebrew doesnt have a concept of lord. Looked up the meaning of the root words and the understanding of the Hebrew letters used. Used Jeff Benner Ancient Hebrew Lexicon.

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