[Avodah] Shinana

Sholom Simon sholom at aishdas.org
Sun Apr 14 09:57:52 PDT 2019

A friend of mine, noticed that R Yehuda is sometime called Shinnana, and
that got him thinking.  I'm very impressed with this idea, and wondering
what others think about it, and/or if you've ever heard of this idea before:

It is the nick name given to R Yehuda because he had big teeth.  But it
also is translated as wise or keen scholar. Apparently that is because
Yehuda’s arguments were so incisive (think incisors).
See Eruvim 54a below but it literally shows up in about a dozen other


This got me thinking. If teeth is a metaphor for sharp thinking (or perhaps
persuasive thinking) then this gives a new meaning for the “blunt the
teeth” command to the rasha [in the hagada]. Perhaps it is not dental
surgery but rather a command to take extra care to counter his thinking -
to blunt his incisive points and arguments - lest it infect others at the


-- Sholom
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