Is the shiur the size of an egg properly called a k'beitzah ("כביצה") or a "kebeyah" ("כביעה" maybe)? If "כביצה" is correct, as I think it is, then why do people sometimes say "כביעה"?

  • 1
    Beya is aramaen. betsa is hebrew. Betsa is also used in hebrew to design testis, so in hebrew religious people like to say bea.
    – kouty
    Aug 30, 2017 at 9:05
  • @kouty why not post that as an answer
    – robev
    Aug 30, 2017 at 12:15
  • @robev not sure 100% that I have sufficient sources
    – kouty
    Aug 30, 2017 at 12:16

2 Answers 2


Yam Shel Shlomo in chapter 4 of Bava Kamma says to pronounce it beya as the other word is not nice.

This is subsequently brought in the Magen Avraham in siman 156 which is probably where it picked up it's popularity.

Tiferes Yisroel in the beginning of the masechta named after the word in question, writes that he can't understand who wouldn't like the word beitzah which is found in the Torah. He suggests the source to pronounce it in the Aramaic way is based off the gemara where someone confused mei beitzim and mei bitza'im.

Someone once pointed out that Rabbeinu Channanel at the beginning of maseches Beitzah writes a rhyme which only works if you pronounce it beitzah.

אתחיל מסכת ביצה. בעזרת גדול העיצה.

It isn't clear to me how consistently he tried to rhyme his masechta opening lines, but this one seems quite intentional.

On a possibly related note, many rishonim would actually refer to this masechta as maseches Yom Tov.


Google Translate has:

ביצה = egg, ovum, testicle, lump

I was told that ביעה is preferred to avoid the third meaning of ביצה.

Although Google Translate has "ביעה = A statement", when we say כביעה or מסכת ביעה the meaning is understood.

Later addition:

The Shaarei Teshuva on Orach Chaim 156 (2) quotes authorities that recommend beyim (plural of beyoh) instead of beitzim (plural of beitzoh). But he says that since nowadays the word beyoh has an association with male gonads it is fine to say beitzim. (I assume the same principle applies to the singular forms.)

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    Why would we want to avoid the third meaning of ביצה? Besides, that's not the Biblical word for testicles - that would be אשך, as in Vayikra 21:20.
    – Chaim
    Aug 30, 2017 at 15:19
  • @chaim indeed it would be like insisting on saying basketdall since ball can mean testicle.
    – Double AA
    Aug 30, 2017 at 15:23
  • @AvrohomYitzchok Thanks very much. Do Hebrew speakers then call all eggs "beiah" instead of "beitzah"?
    – SAH
    Aug 30, 2017 at 22:49
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    @SAH Not all Hebrew speakers. But some of the religious Hebrew speakers. I later found more information as a result of your question which I hope to edit in my answer. Aug 31, 2017 at 9:36

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