combats with the Romans. Furthermore, the sparus is a small hunting spear never used in battle to aim against the warrior's shield. As the entire passage in the Midrash quoted conveys the purpose of the interpreters to explain the Biblical text by means of a popular illustration, the Amora reported to have used this expression would have utterly missed his object, had he employed foreign and unfamiliar words, when he might have used plain words like כמגן לרומח, or their Aramaic equivalents. If, furthermore, it is taken into consideration that editio Buber of Lam. R., in agreement with the Arukh, reads רבנן דתמן אמרין for חד אמר, thus distinctly referring to Babylonian authorities, the supposition of foreign origin for בורמא and אספריסא falls to the ground. But, on the other hand, take אספריסא as an 'Ispeel' noun of the stem פרס, and it means 'that which is to be cloven', i. e. the log, corresponding to the Hebrew בקעת What is בורמא, or פרמא, again on the assumption that it is a home word? The root ברם. like פרם means to divide, to split, and burma or rather bor'ma is 'the splitter', i. e. the wedge used to split the log. The Amora quoted in the Midrash therefore means to say that Israel, although the target of hostile attacks, is what the wedge is to the log: the wedge is struck, but the log is split. The other Amora quoted expresses the same idea by a different metaphor: 'as the pole of the arrows', and likewise a third, who lays stress on ויציבני, 'he caused me to stand', in the sense of enduring. An analogous expression to בורמא, is פלגסיא (Pales of פלג), with which Targum renders the same Hebrew word (מטרה) that forms the subject of comment in the Midrash just referred to (I Samuel XX, 20).
The following lines are intended to give some specimens of such extension of roots, both Hebrew and Aramaic, as have not been recognized heretofore, or, if recognized, have not been applied to their full extent.
Ithpaal or Ithpeel nouns in Aramaean and Aramaicized Hebrew, and Hithpael nouns in Hebrew are too well known to require more than mere mention. Formations like השתחויה, אתכנעו, אצטרכיא are recognized on their face. Except for the preconceived notions concerning the nature of the Talmudic vocabulary, it would seem no more than natural that the Mishnaic אצטלית or אסטלית (Yoma VII, 1) should be an enlargement of טלית, i. e. an Ithpaal noun of טלל, and אצטלית לבן merely a synonym of בגדי לבן in the same Mishnah, meaning 'covering', i. e. a suit of clothes, whereas the plainer form טלית is used for cloak or sheet. From among the vocables reclaimed for the Semitic store on the same principle, one more may be mentioned here: איצטמא or איסטמא is a derivative of צמם, and, as such, a phonetic and actual equivalent of the Biblical צַמָּה, and the meaning of the Hebrew word should be learned from its well-defined Aramaic representative: 'something which restrains the
- That Arukh ed. Kohut and Buber in Lam. R. read אספריתא, with ת for ס, cannot be taken into consideration in view of the numerous evidences in favor of אספריסא.
- Compare Targum I Chronicles V, 12, ברם לכותא, 'a portion of the kingdom' and the particle ברם 'besides', and B'rakhoth 39a פרמינהו פרימי, 'he chopped them into pieces.'