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I am trying to track down a Hebrew word mentioned by Rabbi Rami Shapiro in his book The Divine Feminine in Biblical Wisdom Literature:

There are two types of people according to Proverbs: those who are wise and those who are foolish. The wise spend their days in harmony with Chochma, aligning themselves with the natural order of things. In so doing they become simple, marveling at the innate complexity of life without adding unnecessary complications to it. These wise and simple people are the sages. The foolish follow their own designs and run headlong into immutable Wisdom. The wise are thought to be good and honorable for they uphold the Way of life. The foolish are not simply foolish but wicked, for they seek to overturn the Way of life and replace the order established by God with the disorder that comes from human greed. While there is but one category of sage, fools come in eight varieties:

  1. pethi, ignorant
  2. k’sil, dimwitted
  3. ‘wil, obstinate
  4. sakal, addicts
  5. ba’ar, boors
  6. nabal, brutes
  7. holel, insane
  8. lesh, narcissistic

I've succeeded in tracking down the first 7 of these terms in Strong's, but the last one, "lesh," is eluding me. I've tried a few searches, but I don't read Hebrew and this quest is proving difficult to navigate. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Dan

[Edit: answered] Much thanks to Der Übermensch for the answer! Here is the use I've made of it:

  1. pethi, ignorant [Strong’s 6612]
  • [“simple”] Pr. 1:4,22,32; 7:7; 8:5; 9:4[13–Strong’s 6615],16; 14:15,18; 19:25; 21:11; 22:3; 27:12
  • [“simplicity”] Pr 1:22
  • [“foolish] Pr 9:6
  1. k’sil, dimwitted [Strong’s 3684; 3687–Pr 9:13]
  • [“fool”] Pr 10:18,23; 13:16; 14:16; 17:10,12,16,21,24; 18:2; 19:1,10; 23:9; 26:1,4-6,8,10-12; 28:26; 29:11,20
  • [“fools”] Pr 1:22,32; 3:35; 8:5; 12:23; 13:19-20; 14:8,24,33; 15:2,14; 19:29; 26:7,9
  • [“foolish”] Pr 10:1; 14:7; 15:7,20; 17:25; 19:13; 21:20
  • [“fool’s”] Pr 18:6-7
  • [“fools’ ”] Pr 26:3
  1. ‘wil, obstinate [Strong’s 191]
  • [“fool”] Pr 7:22; 10:8,10; 11:29; 12:15; 15:5; 17:28; 20:3; 24:7; 27:22
  • [“fools”] Pr 1:7; 10:21; 14:9; 16:22
  • [“foolish”] Pr 10:14; 14:3; 29:9
  • [“fool’s”] Pr 12:16; 27:3
  1. sakal, addicts [Strong’s 5528-5530]
  • No occurences in Proverbs? Several in Ecclesiastes and elsewhere; esp. Jer 4:22, “sottish”
  1. ba’ar, boors [Strong’s 1198]
  • [“brutish”] Pr 12:1; 30:2
  1. nabal, brutes [Strong’s 5034,36]
  • [“done foolishly”] Pr 30:32
  • [“fool”] Pr 17:7,21; 30:22
  1. holel, insane [Strong’s 1984; cf. 1947-8]
  • [“boast/boasteth”] Pr 10:3; 20:14; 27:1
  • [More occurences of “mad/madness” in Eccl.]
  1. lesh, narcissistic [Strong’s 3887; cf. 3944,45]
  • [“scorner/scorners”] Pr 1:22; 3:34; 9:7-8; 13:1; 14:6; 15:12; 19:25,29; 21:11,24; 22:10; 24:9
  • [“scorneth/scornest”] Pr 9:12; 19:28
  • [“scornful”] Pr 29:8
  • [“make a mock at”] Pr 14:9
  • [“mocker”] Pr 20:1
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  • These are excellent points. I used Young's Concordance, only getting Le'shem as a proper name but with no reference, and this comment regarding the Greek proper name, Narcissus; "the word means a flower causing lethargy. This was the name of a believer at Rome whom Paul saluted (Romans 16:11)." Perhaps the connection is due to lethargy?
    – Anne
    Commented Mar 21 at 16:25

1 Answer 1

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The Hebrew word you are looking for is לֵץ. However, according to the Academy of the Hebrew Language (established in 1953),1 the Hebrew word לֵץ should be transliterated into English as lets, not lesh.

The sh grapheme is typically used to transliterate the Hebrew letter שׁ (shin), not צ - ץ (tzade), hence the futility of your search for a Hebrew word that corresponded to lesh. Personally, I prefer transliterating צ - ץ into English as tz rather than ts, thus letz.

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The Hebrew word לֵץ is a participle derived from the Hebrew verb לוּץ (lutz), which corresponds to Strong’s H3887.2

Regarding לוּץ and לֵץ, Gesenius wrote the following,3

enter image description here

לוּץ to mock; to laugh at. Part[iciple] לֵץ the mocker, a man of vile, all-mocking arrogance. Proverbs 22:10, 24:9 . Especially, the vile despiser of religion and morality, the arrogant evil-doer, compare זד.

In case you needed further proof that לֵץ is the word in question, see this website.


Footnotes
1 See PDF entitled התעתיק מעברית לאותיות לטיניות, at this link.
2 For [most] occurrences of לֵץ (letz) in the Tanakh, click here.
3 Gesenius, Vol. 2, p. 529
References
Gesenius, Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm. Hebräisch–Deutsches Handwörterbuch über die Schriften des Alten Testaments. 1st ed. Vol. 2. Leipzig: Vogel, 1812.
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    THANK YOU, that is exactly the help I was hoping to receive on this question! Commented Mar 22 at 3:44
  • +1. Good answer to an interesting question!
    – Jason_
    Commented Mar 22 at 4:21

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