fbpx

Hebrew Word of the Week: urim ve-tummim

Apparently, two objects used by the High Priest (ha-Kohen ha-Gadol) for casting lots, to know “guilty” or “innocent, “yes” or “no” questions (Exodus 28:30; Leviticus 8:8; Ezra 2:63). But also by individuals, as when “Saul inquired of the Lord … either by dreams or by an oracle (Urim) or by prophets” (1 Samuel 28:6).  

Usually translated “Light and Truth,” “Lights and Perfections,” or “Revelations and Truth.”*

Traditionally, Urim is seen as plural of ur “(fire)light” and tummim as plural of tom “innocence” (as be-tom-lev “in good faith”); compare to tam (as the third child in Passover haggadah) or tamim “innocent.” In Israeli Hebrew, Chanukah is often called Hag ha-urim “Holiday of Lights.”

* The seal of Yale University, one of the oldest in America, uses the Hebrew אורים ותומים and the Latin Lux et Veritas, which also is translated as “light and truth.”


Yona Sabar is a professor of Hebrew and Aramaic in the department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures at UCLA.

Did you enjoy this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 1880 Century Park East, Los Angeles, CA, 90067, https://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

Culture

Latest Articles
Latest

Help for Hurricane Ian Survivors Comes From Israel

A delegation from the United Hatzalah organization will provide first psychological aid to those coping with the harrowing aftermath of the devastating hurricane

Competing Narratives of Jewish History and the Holocaust: Reflections on My Recent Journey to Poland

The relationship between Poles and Jews is complex and often contentious, historically when Poland was the home to the largest Jewish community in the...

Meet the Former Class President Who Keeps Aiming Higher

When I first learned that Judith Manouchehri (née Kermani) is running for a seat on the Board of Governors of the Beverly Hills Unified...

Berkeley Law Dean, Profs Express Support for Jewish Students

Several members of the Berkeley School of Law faculty, including Dean Erwin Cherminsky, have signed a statement expressing support for Jewish students after several...

Is the Tide at Berkeley Beginning to Turn?

At long last, under pressure, Berkeley Law’s Dean is pledging to enforce Berkeley’s anti-discrimination rules against any of these nine organizations that act upon their new bylaw provisions. He must be held to it.

Hollywood

Podcasts

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

x
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap