Thursday, August 25, 2016


YONA SABAR: Hebrew word of the week: Nasi’/President.

An little footnote to this word. The second-century head of the failed second revolt against Rome, Shimon Bar Kokhba (Bar Kosiba) was also addressed by his followers with the title Nasi’, "prince" or (anachronistically) "president." In 1960, when archaeologist Yigael Yadin announced the discovery of the Bar Kokhba letters, he made the announcement in the residence of the President of Israel and in the hearing of the President. Yadin showed a slide of of one of the letters and said (in Hebrew), "Your Excellency, I am honored to be able to tell you that we have discovered fifteen despatches written or dictated by the last President of ancient Israel, 1800 years ago."*

*Yadin, Bar-Kokhba: The Rediscovery of the Legendary Hero of the Second Jewish Revolt Against Rome (New York: Random House, 1971), untitled opening statement.