Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Adventures in Semantics: Galut v. Geula

I don't know about you, but I frequently confused these words for years (and didn't even know I was confusing them). They just sounded so similar to my ear! Especially since people can slur these words when speaking quickly with an American accent. Honestly, I don't know that I'd ever encountered the word "geula," so I probably just assumed it was a conjugation of galut, which is also pronounced galus. 

Of course there's an embarrassing story behind this for me. My then-fiance and I were introduced in passing to a woman named Geula. As we left, I said to him, "Wow. That's a really depressing name." He looked at me in confusion, and I had to explain myself. Of course, I was totally wrong and confused, and Gd help him, he married me anyway even though I continue to be clueless and/or totally wrong on a frequent basis. 

So let's break them down.

Galut/Galus: the exile. As in The Exile. Of the Jewish people from Israel and Jerusalem after the fall of the Second Temple. 

Geula: the redemption. As in the coming Redemption of the Messianic Era. (It's also the name of a chareidi neighborhood in Jerusalem, which is why you most frequently hear the word.)

So now you see how this could be a perfectly awful mix-up in that conversation above. I called the Messianic Era and the redemption of the Jewish people depressing. Because of course it couldn't be a nonsensical mistake; it had to be one that actually meant something. I have several other colorful stories like that, but they're not Jewish-related. Let's just say I have a bad case of Foot in Mouth Syndrome. It's an excellent lesson in learning to laugh at yourself. It's a gift in its own special-awful way. 

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