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Section: Parshas HaShavua   Category: Quick Vort
Parshas Bo: Shela HaKadosh - Tefilin, Who's Speaking Whose Language?

The Torah tells us to wear Totafos Bein Einecha. Totafos mean Tefilin Shel Rosh. Chazal explain that they are called Totafos because there are four compartments in them for the four Parshiyos, Shema, V'Haya Im Shamo'a, Kadesh Li, and V'Haya Ki Yivi'acha. Tat in the language of Katfi is two and Pas in Afriki is two, adding up to the four parshiyos.

Why would the Torah call our Holy Tefilin a name comprised of a numerical equality of two foreign languages?

The Shanyim Mikra brings in the name of the Shela HaKadosh explains that each of the seventy languages has a bit of Lashon Kodesh mixed in to it. No language is totally bereft of the Holy tongue. Bnei Yisrael however received the Holy language in its entirety. Tat and Pas are both Lashon Kodesh used in another language. It is for this reason we say, "VRomemanu MiKol Lashon;" Hashem elevated us with our pure undiluted language from all the other nations that only merited bits and pieces.

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Visitor Comments: 1

mb, Passaic, NJ, 2012-01-27 05:14:34
Afriqi probably refers to Punic, the language of Carthage, in what is now Tunisa. "Carthage" is the Latin mangling of "Carta Chadsha -- New City", in Phoenician. The northern Kenaanim became the Phoenicians, who later fled to Carthage. Phoenician and Punic are both Hamito-Semitic Languages.

So it's not too surprising that Afriqi would show evidence of their ancestors' exposure to Hebrew and Aramaic.

Truth is, Tanakh uses an abnormally few number of shorashim. This has been a huge aid in preserving the meaning of the words. But, it means that other archeological instances of Ancient Hebrew (eg the Tel Armana letters) have many roots that we wouldn't recognize.

Chazal are saying that "pas" is one of those words.

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