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Word connections and meaning: oneh,inuy, ta'anit, anav


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Tishrei 17, 5777
What is the cognitive meaning of the root ענה (answer), what are it’s applications ? And is there a common denominator? And last question is this root related to other roots such as עני (poor) and ענו (humble)? I would like to thank you in advance for your respons, time and effort, Kol Tov,
The root includes the meaning of fasting (ta’anit), torture (inuy), poor (ani), humble (anav), where the common denominator is that something is “lacking” (either food, comfort, money, or honor).`The term oneh as an answer (la’anot), stems from singing where one group sings, and the other “answers” them with a chorus (e.g. Shmot 15, 20-21). It’s also used as one part of a dialogue to answer the other speaker (e.g. Breishit 18, 27). Here too, each of the 2 groups or speakers is “lacking” that which the other comes to complete. Accordingly, explains the Malbim, “oneh” is used regarding an immediate answer (like the chorus), as opposed to “meishiv” which is often to “return” an answer after a long time or from afar.
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