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Peleh

    A peleh is a wonder or a miracle. At the splitting of the Red Sea, God is praised "awesome in splendour, working peleh [wonder]" (Exodus 15:11).

    When Manoah asks the name of the angel who has come to announce the conception of Samson, the angel refuses, claiming that his name is peli - unknowable (Judges 13:18). A peleh is a type of miracle that is beyond our understanding, as in Leviticus 17:8: "if a case is too baffling - yipaleh mimcha davar".

    A related biblical use of peleh concerns oaths. The verbal expression for making an oath is lefaleh neder.(Leviticus 22:21). Rashi explains the meaning of lefaleh as "to separate through speech". An oath is, in a sense, a wonder, a creation of a new reality through words.

    Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner in his masterful Pachad Yitzchak explains that the reason the verb lefaleh is used for oaths is that the ability to speak is miraculous. Speech is a product of the soul and the body working together. This co-operation is what sets humanity apart and is a peleh. Hence Maimonides called his volume on the Jewish laws regarding speech Sefer Hapliyah, the "Book of Wonder".

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