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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Definition of Modern Hebrew Words


By Jeff A. Benner

In a previous issue we looked at the Hebrew word miqveh. A closely related word is תקוה (tiqvah, Strong's #8615), another Modern Hebrew word that is found in the Hebrew Bible.

Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line (tiqvah) of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by… (KJV, Joshua 2:18)

The word tiqvah is derived from the root קוה (qavah, Strong's #6960) meaning “to collect.” The concrete meaning of tiqvah is a “line” or “cord,” a collection of fibers that are twisted together to make a strong and firm cord. This same word is also used for the abstract idea of “hope,” a strong and firm mind.

For thou art my hope (strength and firmness), O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth. (KJV, Psalm 71:5)

The National Anthem for the State of Israel is titled “Tiqvah.”

Kol `od balevav, p'nimah,
Nefesh y'hudi homiyah,
U-l'fa'atei mizrach qadimah,
`Ayin l'tsiyon tsofiyah,

`Od lo' 'avdah tiqvatenu,
Ha-tiqvah bat sh'not 'alpayim,
Lihyot `am chafshi b'artsenu,
'Erets tsiyon viy'rushalayim,
Lihyot `am chafshi b'artsenu,
'Erets tsiyon viy'rushalayim.

While yet within the heart, inwardly,
The soul of the Jew yearns,
And towards the vistas of the East, eastward,
An eye looks toward Zion,

Our hope is not yet lost,
The hope born of two thousand years,
To be a free people in our land,
In the land of Zion and Jerusalem,
To be a free people in our land,
In the land of Zion and Jerusalem.

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