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Sepharad meaning

ספרד
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🔼The name Sepharad in the Bible

The name Sepharad occurs only once in the Bible. It's the name of an otherwise unknown city or country to which the people of Jerusalem were deported (Obadiah 1:20). Obadiah promises that these exiles would one day return and possess the cities of the Negev.

In the Middle Ages, the name Sepharad became applied to Jews who had migrated from the Middle East to Muslim Spain (and who maintained that their name, the Sephardi, in fact came from Hispania). Together with the Ashkenazi Jews of Christian Italy, these Sephardic Jews guarded the Jewish traditions that eventually evolved into the modern Judaisms.

🔼Etymology of the name Sepharad

It's unclear what the name Sepharad is supposed to mean, or even from what language it stems. It's probably a foreign name, but transliterated into Hebrew it seems to have something to do with the noun ספר (seper), meaning a writing:

Perhaps a creative few among a Hebrew audience saw in our name's final letter ד (daleth) a remnant of either the verb רדד (radad), meaning to beat down and subdue, or the verb רדה I (rada I) meaning to have dominion, to rule:

🔼Sepharad meaning

None of the source we usually consult dares to try a hand at interpreting this name, and that's because technically, it doesn't mean anything. But to a Hebrew audience the name Sepharad may have sounded like The Book Rules, or Writing Subdues. Who knows?

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