Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rabbi Ahron Milevsky of Montevideo, Uruguay and כרכשאות

It is interesting to see how words that haven't been used for many years manage to survive in Rabbinic circles, long after the more modern term is widely used and the old word is no longer understandable to the vast majority of the speakers of the language.

I came across recently, a letter sent from Uruguay, by Rabbi Ahron Milevsky to Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin in NY, dated 1957. Milevsky requested an immediate response to the Kashruth status of the wrappers of כרכרשאות sold in Uruguay by the Ford company. He attached a sample of the wrapper to the letter, having it stapled on.

The word כרכרשאות which means sausages, is derived from the Aramaic work כרכושתא, which appears in the Talmud Baba Metzia 85. The word word appears regularly in scattered Rabbinic writings, for example in the Tur Choshen Mishpat 306 והטבחים שלוקחין הכרכשתות מן הכשרות נקרא שפיר בשכר. Agnon used it once as well שהיה מכיר אפלו בתוך הקוגיל כרכשתא שנגנבה הימנו" עגנון, אלו כ

By the early 1900s the word נקניק was by the far the word that was used for sausages. נקניק appears but כרכושתא does not in Ben Yehuda, Alcalay, Megiddo and other Hebrew Dictionaries of the day. Occasionally Jews would use the old German word for sausages as well וואורשט, in some advertisements in Rabbinic Journals in the mid-1900s, you are able to see both words still in use, often together and interchangeably. Here is one such ad from Hapardes

And here is an ad page from the Journal היהודי from 1937, showing 2 different ads, one used the old term כרכשתות and the one by Hebrew National using Sausage (In Hebrew Letters) as well as the Yiddish term וואורשט

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