Re: Translation of a name #belarus


Judith Romney Wegner
 

I just returned >from a Kindertransport reunion to discover the following
item in my e-mail:

Itka is a diminutive of the biblical name Yehudit (Judith), cf.
Bereishit, 26:34, in the Bible.
The undersigned Yehudit/Judith has no quarrel with the assertion about
Itka, but begs to differ vehemently about precisely which Yehudit is the
source of the popularity of this name among Jews. Jewish Judiths (like
myself) trace the origin of the name to the famous heroine Judith of the
Book of Judith in the Apocrypha (i.e., the Judith who slew Holofernes)
rather than to the Hittite woman mentioned at Genesis 26:34. Although the
apocryphal Judith is not mentioned in the actual Hebrew bible, the book
was originally written in Hebrew, so we know that she was a folk heroine
among Hebrew-speaking Jews and also appears in medieval Hebrew manuscripts.

The Yehudit of Gen. 26:34 was a *Hittite* woman married to *Esau*
(troublesome twin brother of Jacob). Esau is also known as Edom -- a
nation hostile to the Israelites -- and the name Edom later became a
metaphor for the Romans (first of the pagan persuasion, later of the
Christian persuasion anda metaphor for Christians in general). As for the
Hittites, the Torah lists them among the seven "Canaanite" tribes to be
driven out by the Israelites when they occupied Canaan.

Consequently, the popularity of the name Judith among Jews cannot possibly
be based on the Yehudit who was the wife of Esau -- while there is every
reason to suppose it stems originally >from the Apocryphal heroine. The
contrary assertion in the book by Rabbi Gorr cited by the sender of the
earlier message is simply without any logical basis.

Judith Romney Wegner

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