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Ore and let davven.™

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Friday, July 21, 2006


A short vort:

In general society, arrogance is all in all something people don't like. Nevertheless, it has a strong side of positive associations - purveying a kind of superiority or aplomb. Even if seen as unwanted, it is regarded to be something sophisticated and refined - it often goes together with wittiness, even though there's no original connexion.

Not so with us Jews. The modern Ivrit word is שחצנות, which goes back to Mishnaic Hebrew, but actually means (or meant) rather pride, like gaave.

The traditional expression however (see ShO ChM 10:1 for a good example) is גסות רוח, literally 'grossness of mind', the exact opposite of refinement!