Friday, November 10, 2006

Ness - Nissayon - Flag and Test?

Excellent post on the etymology of Ness and Nisayon at Balashon

Shabbat Shalom


  1. Shalom shalom,

    There is a book (in English) called "Maimonides Commentary on Pirke Avoth" by Paul Forchheimer. Commenting on Avoth 5:3, he writes the following (I believe this is his own commentary):

    "The two Hebrew words nes "miracle" and nisayon "temptation" (also used to express a trial of G-D) have the same root, nes, which also means a flag of a ship, a banner. The basic meaning then is a demonstration of power over nature. G-D apparently performs a change of nature but (see mishna 6) to achieve His end, and to impress man with higher realities. He does not tempt the weak who cannot prevail against the temptation, but the morally firm to show that they, too, master their nature. A temptation conquered merits a miracle. Man, on the other hand, has no right to "try" G-D. Only the ten temptations which Abraham withstood saved his children when they committed the terrible sin of trying G-D. But the tenth one of these trials sealed the fate of that generation."

    I think this supports your concept of a DEMONSTRATION, as the underlying meaning or purporse of the word. Although I am not sure about the reward part.

  2. This is a combination of Rambamn and Ramban . It is a little confusing and I have seen later commentators who go in this direction -

  3. Thanks for the plug. And Al - interesting quote.

    Just one thing, the link you sent isn't the easiest to read.