Rather more recently, a text of Isaiah [2:20] was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, which in fact had the word khafarperet as a single word. But this doesn’t free us from the problem of what a khafarperet was, since as we already said - the Holy Land has no moles.It's always good when an even number of mistakes makes you right.
There may not be moles but there are spalax, which are blind rodents that live in holes, also known as mole-rats. The zoologically challenged might be pardoned for thinking the delightful rodents are moles, since they look like moles, dig like moles et cetera.
In modern parlance, when an Israeli sees a spalax (or more likely, a mound created by one), he'll probably tell you it's a khafarferet, not realizing that he's dead wrong and the species is actually a mole-rat, known locally as kholed. But that's okay, since that is probably what khafarperet originally meant anyway.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
A MOLE BY ANY OTHER NAME ... Word of the Day / Khafarperet: The word that means mole but shouldn't, The sages didn't realize Israel has no moles. Hint as to what khafarperet might mean: It probably isn't fruit-digger (Elon Gilad, Haaretz).