Sabra

Unusual names intrigue me. Whenever I encounter a name I don’t know, I find myself curious about the origin. Probably this comes somewhat from researching my own names which both my first and last (see the last post Legacy of a Name). Both were for obscure authors and painters people almost never know. Which lets me explain who they are.

Asked a waitress named Sabra if she knew the origins of her name. She had never looked it up, but multiple bank tellers told her it was the name of a desert flower in Arabic. She found it interesting bank tellers are the only people who volunteer that they know about something non-monetary. Told her about my recent discovery Ezra was an anti-miscegenist so my pro-miscegenist parents ironically named me for him. We both laughed about the story.

So I looked up sabra….

The Akkadians used a word sibaru for aloe. Arabic picked it up as sabr. Hebrew picked up the word for cactus in with the introduction of the prickly pear as tzabar. In 1931, Sabra was adopted to mean those Hebrew born in Palestine and distinguish them from those born in Germany or Russia. Ezra would have been much in favor of Sabras, I think.

Didn’t expect it to go in that direction. At least the exercise made me laugh.

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Legacy of A Name

There is a legacy of my name most people may not be aware.

Ezra the Scribe made all the men of Israel send their foreign wives back to Persia. See, the people had been living in Babylon in Persia (now Iraq). Cyrus, founder of the Persian Empire, allowed them to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem (the same one whose current ruins form the basis of the animosity of Islam vs Israel) following a dream. His grandson, Darius, allowed the Israelites to return. One of the better known repercussions of reconnecting the people with the Word was to make the men give up any foreign wives to send back to Persia.

10 And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel. 11 Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives.

This is definitely about separating different races, seeking to accomplish the same thing as what Loving vs. Virginia overturned. So there is a certain amount of irony being indirectly named for an anti-miscegenationist when just a couple years prior my parents found difficulty getting married over them being of two different races. Of course, my mother was proud of making John C. Calhoun roll over in his grave by having me… So….