Communities

Writing
Writing
Codidact Meta
Codidact Meta
The Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors
Photography & Video
Photography & Video
Scientific Speculation
Scientific Speculation
Cooking
Cooking
Electrical Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Judaism
Judaism
Languages & Linguistics
Languages & Linguistics
Software Development
Software Development
Mathematics
Mathematics
Christianity
Christianity
Code Golf
Code Golf
Music
Music
Physics
Physics
Linux Systems
Linux Systems
Power Users
Power Users
Tabletop RPGs
Tabletop RPGs
Community Proposals
Community Proposals
tag:snake search within a tag
answers:0 unanswered questions
user:xxxx search by author id
score:0.5 posts with 0.5+ score
"snake oil" exact phrase
votes:4 posts with 4+ votes
created:<1w created < 1 week ago
post_type:xxxx type of post
Search help
Notifications
Mark all as read See all your notifications »
Q&A

Welcome to the Judaism community on Codidact!

Will you help us build our community of learners? Drop into our study hall, ask questions, help others with answers to their questions, share a d'var torah if you're so inclined, invite your friends, and join us in building this community together. Not an ask-the-rabbi service, just people at all levels learning together.

Post History

60%
+1 −0
Q&A Why is it Baal Shem and not Baal HaShem?

Forgive my ignorance; I am not Jewish but interested in Judaism, and know a bit of Biblical Hebrew. I'm confused about the term Baal Shem. I'm assuming Shem refers to God's name, as in HaShem. But...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Keelan‭

#1: Initial revision by user avatar Keelan‭ · 2023-05-22T15:18:16Z (about 1 year ago)
Why is it Baal Shem and not Baal HaShem?
Forgive my ignorance; I am not Jewish but interested in Judaism, and know a bit of Biblical Hebrew.

I'm confused about the term [_Baal Shem_](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baal_Shem). I'm assuming *Shem* refers to God's name, as in *HaShem*. But assuming standard Biblical Hebrew rules for construct chains, *Baal Shem* translates to '**a** master of **a** name'. I would expect *Baal HaShem* to refer to someone who can work miracles by interacting with God. As far as I know (I may very well be mistaken) it is not common to refer to God by simply *Shem*, only *HaShem*. Similarly, I would expect *Baal HaShem HaTov* rather than [*Baal Shem Tov*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baal_Shem_Tov).

Alternatively, I can imagine that *Shem* does not refer to God's name but to 'reputation', so that a *Baal Shem* is a 'master of reputation', i.e. a 'master *with* reputation', and *Baal Shem Tov* would be the 'good master with reputation' or a 'master with good reputation' (depending on which noun *Tov* agrees with). But I have not found sources to corroborate this alternative etymology.