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Izun

Rabbi Julian Sinclair dips into the dictionary

    The modern Hebrew term for balance is izun, and as a verb, la’azen. In the Bible we are commanded to “have a just balance” (mo’azanei tzedek), meaning to use accurate scales in the marketplace. Moznayim is the biblical term for scales. Izun and la’azen come from moznayim.

    The root of both moznayim and izun is ozen, ear. It seems that as far back as the Bible, people knew that the ears played a crucial role in the body’s regulation of balance and equilibrium. While they may not have known the specifics of the inner ear’s vestibular system and its role in keeping us from falling over, people embraced the ear as a symbol of balance. This awareness impacted language development and thus moznayim was born.

    Today, you will find yoga teachers in Israel using the term shivui mishkal (an equilibrium of weight)to describe the goal of certain postures. Shivui derives from shaveh, meaning equal, and mishkal means weight and comes from shekel, which was a term of measurement and a coin in the Bible. Izun is reserved for more theoretical situations, as in an izun between two opposing forces, and shivui mishkal refers to the body’s sense of balance.

Jewish words

Darchei Shalom

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Darchei Shalom
Jewish words

Chizuk

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Chizuk
Jewish words

Harat Olam

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Harat Olam
Jewish words

Ga'agua

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Ga'agua
Jewish words

Nafka Mina

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Nafka Mina
Jewish words

Machzor

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Machzor
Jewish words

Geshmack

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Geshmack
Jewish words

Neilah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Neilah
Jewish words

Taharah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Taharah