MembersThe Biblical Origins of Anti-Semitism

Look in an English Bible concordance for the meaning of the name “Judah,” and it will tell you that it means “praise.”

By Dov Chaikin |
MIDEAST ISRAEL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90

This is based on the last verse of Genesis 29: “She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ So she named him Judah.”

 

What has this got to do with anti-Semitism? one might ask. Well, this writer will argue that it has a great deal to do with it; in fact, he contends that that is where the very origins of anti-Semitism are located. Admittedly, a good knowledge of Hebrew—perhaps more so, an innate feel for the language—is a requisite. To start with, let us quote the entire passage (Genesis 29:31-35):

 

When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen [ראה = ra’ah] my misery. Surely my husband will love...

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