By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, May 14, 2009
“How charif is your charif?: you would be wise to ask this of the felafel vendor before agreeing to have some of the spicy sauce added to your pitta. Charif means hot and spicy, not for the faint-hearted. It also means intelligent and insightful. A great sage is said to possess charifut, spiciness.
In the Bible, the word charaf means to defy or affront, as in Proverbs 17:5, “He who mocks the poor, affronts [charaf] his Maker.”
Cherpah means disgrace. Upon the birth of Joseph, Rachel exclaimed, “God has taken away my cherpah.” Her infertility had caused Rachel great shame.