I know people might consider this a Hebrew language question, but I decided it would be relevent because I'm wondering why a ladybug is called a פרת משה רבינו in Modern Hebrew. To the best of my knowledge, פרת is the Euphrates River, and adding Moshe Rabbeinu's name doesn't make that make any more sense. "Euphrates Moshe Rabbeinu"? How does that make any sense? Is there some Medrash or other Jewish source that might elude to the reason a ladybug is called this?


1 Answer 1


According to analysis from here:

On the way to explaining why the Hebrew term for ladybug is “parat Moshe Rabbeinu” – the cow of Moshe Rabbeinu, meaning “Moses’ cow” – Israeli linguist Reuven Merkin notes that quirky, affectionate and religion-linked names for this insect are the norm in a variety of languages.

The Christian European names for the beetle turned into the Yiddish equivalent of “Moses’ cow,” and the Hebrew version was taken directly from the Yiddish, Merkin writes. But while I would have thought the replacement was merely a way of excising the Christian influence on the name and importing a Jewish one, Merkin speculates that Moses was chosen because both the Jewish leader and the spotted beetle are considered humble creatures who do no harm.

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