Query: Medresh Shmuel on Greek in Avot

Robert Vanhoff's picture

Dear H-Judaic Scholars,

In his comments to קונה לו פרקליט אחד (Avot 4:14 (4:11 in Kaufmann, Eshkol)), Shmuel Ozida cites Isaac Israeli's assertion that "paraqlit" is a Greek word.

ר׳ יצחק בר שלמה ז״ל כתב פרקליט היא מלה יונית ופירושו מלאך טוב

As I understand it, we have a 16th century (in Sfat no less) writer citing what appears to be a 10th century source which attempts to explain the Greek origin and meaning of a word in the Mishnah. I find this especially interesting since Ozida also cites Moshe Alashkar in support of an ingenious "derivation" of פרקליט as from Aramaic: מלאך שפורק הליט !

Is the quote from Israeli verifiable?

Are there other medieval rabbinic sources that also explain פרקליט as a Greek word meaning מלאך?

As far as I know, neither Rashi nor Rambam discuss the Greek origin of this word, at least in their comments here. Of course, by the late 19th century this is common knowledge (Jastrow, for example, who I assume would have rejected the Aramaic derivation).

I would be grateful for any pointers on this topic.

Thank you,

Robert Vanhoff

Categories: Query, Medresh Shmuel, Greek
Keywords: Avot, etymology

It is a much later Spanish author.

פירושי רבינו יצחק ב"ר שלמה מטולידו על מסכת אבות / ירושלים : מכון תורה שלמה, תשכ"ה



Commentary is found on page 145. See the introduction for biographical information.

Leor Jacobi
Bar-Ilan University