Mezeg avir

By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, October 22, 2009

Although not as popular a topic as in England, people do talk about the mezeg avir or weather in Israel. Mezeg means blend or mixture. The Talmud speaks of “yayin hamazug bemayim, wine blended with water”.

In ancient times wine was diluted with water before it was served. Its alcohol content offered some protection from the bacteria present in the drinking water of those days. Heavily diluted wine was an everyday beverage. Mezigah was part of the pouring process. In today’s Hebrew, limzog simply means to pour someone a drink.

The Talmud also uses mezeg metaphorically to refer to one’s temperament. In a midrash, some royal subjects are said to accuse their king of having an evil mezeg.

The Hebrew language blog Balashon points out that “temper” originally meant “to mix” — similar to mezeg in its meaning both a blend and mood. “Temperature” refers to the composition of the air. Likewise, mezeg avir, which first appeared in the Middle Ages, refers to the mood of the air (avir means air) or weather. On days with hot mezeg avir, a mazgan or air-conditioner is all you need to create a pleasant blend of air.

Last updated: 11:59am, October 22 2009