Rabbi Ju­lian Sin­clair dips into the dic­tio­nary

The Jewish Chronicle - - Judaism -


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, meze­gavir, which first ap­peared in the Mid­dle Ages, refers to the mood of the air (avir means air) or weather. On days with hot

meze­gavir, a maz­gan or air-con­di­tioner is all you need to cre­ate a pleas­ant blend of air.

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