Hebrew Word of the Day

Hebrew Word of the Day (brutish person)The Bible has nothing good to say of the person who behaves like a brute (beast).  We first encounter the word בַּעַר in Psalm 49:11 (English 49:10), but it is Psalm 73:23 (22) which unpacks its meaning — “So brutish was I, and ignorant; I was as a beast before you.”

A brute is someone who would strike a cripple down or would treat a brother like a slave outside of Israel is treated.  A brute is considered a person who is human in form but a beast in behavior.

Hillel said of the brutish person: “The brute will not fear sin.  The ignoramus will not be saintly…. In the place where there are no human beings, try to be one.” (Pirqei Avoth 2:5).  Rashi defines a brute as “one bereft of any qualities,” and Maimonides echoes this, insisting that a brute is devoid of wisdom and ethical qualities.

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