Word of the Day / Beitzim

Shoshana Kordova
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Shoshana Kordova

If food items were assigned a gender with which they are most closely associated, there seems little doubt that eggs (“beitzim”) should be firmly in the female pile. After all, not only are they an essential ingredient in quiches, but they are the sole province of the female members of egg-laying species, and among humankind, they mostly hang around in women’s ovaries.

So it seems a bit funny that while the eggs that contribute to making human babies are called “beitziyot” in Hebrew, the, er, crown jewels of male humans are known colloquially not as “balls,” as in the English, but as “beitzim.”

And thus it is that Israeli women have, on occasion, been known to kick men in the eggs and, somewhat oddly, that the woman who headed the train workers union at the time told a (female) judge earlier this year that she doesn’t “have the beitzim to make decisions.” Or as a Globes headline on the incident read (or would have read if it were written in English): “Gila Edrei to regional labor court president: You don’t have balls.”

Sometimes the multiple meanings of “beitzim” converge, as in a May tweet from @PonyPrincipessa, who wanted to know: “If you don’t have the beitzim to talk to me, how are you going to make me an omelet the morning after?”

xxxxxxxx.Credit: Walter Art Museum

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