Re: the word "bizbuz"

Florence Amit (
Thu, 02 Jan 1997 09:14:50 +0200

Dear Torah-Forum readers,
Your response to my question about biz buz was more than gratifying and the
odd ball behavior of Jack's college friends regarding the word gives me food
for thought on the level of folk lore, especially considering the source of
my research which I copy before you here. It must be mentioned in this
context that this is but a hint of the quantity of Hebrew that is found in
Shakespeare, particularly in "The Merchant of Venice". You may read a book
on that in Hebrew by J.S. Schoenfeld, (Jerusalem) which I have interpreted
in an essay that I sent to the "Shakesper" electronic conference, from which
this is taken. Believe me "The Merchant" is not seen as it can be. Perhaps
you would like me to send more of the essay and a reveiw of Schoenfeld's work?

Schoenfeld was influenced by Leon Kellner who wrote about this subject in
German. If I could get a hold of his essay on Shakespeare and Pirke Avoth,
that and perhaps these other things would appear in a special Internet home

Florence Amit

>"Hamlet": Let us examine the name of Yorick. In Hebrew it can mean more
>>>than one thing depending upon how one chooses to pronounce the vowels
>>>(since they are not written). Yet all these variations suit the nature
>>>of the king's jester. 1. Yarak, 'spat out' or 'thrown out': Yorick is
>>>thrown out of his grave and his nature during his lifetime was to blurt
>>>out harsh words. 2. Yareek, 'to be made empty': By his removal, the grave
>>>is made empty as well as the enclosure of his skull. "That skull had a
>>>tongue in it, and could sing once." 3. Yarok, 'green': The worldly remains
>>>of Yorick is moldy. His nature was jealous, for he is carefully depicted
>>>to have Robert GREENE's fiery nature, the king's own jester indeed, who
>>>had contended with the burgeoning play write, William Shakespeare: "he
>>>has borne me on his back a thousand times"

>>>Having learned the rick, "reek, rake" -- 'empty' ending for Yorick, --
>>>Shakespeare applies it in a most original way for Osrick. He makes his
>>>own combination. Os (oz) spelled with an aleph means 'so' and with rick
>>>(reek) 'empty'. 'So empty' well describes Osrick's long-winded manner of
>>>speech.. But the Oz spelled with an ayin (another Hebrew letter with a
>>>sound like aleph but beginning further back in the throat ) fits the
>>>subject to the then popular slang (which does not parallel Hebrew
>>>usage). Oz with an ayin means 'bravery', which is intended by the
>>>Elizabethans to connote showiness and the rick empty completes the
>>>picture. (The Os of Oswald in King Lear defines the bravery of

>>>Hamlet makes this aside while in the presence of Claudius and Gertrude,
>>>(I,ii,65) "A little more kin than kind". The phrase has multiple Hebrew
>>>connotations. The k itself is a prefix meaning 'like' also c-ain is like
>>>while the ain can mean 'not' or 'nothing' . On the other hand ken can mean
>>>'yes'. The word also begins the resonance associated with the biblical
>>>Cain whom Claudius resembles according to his own comparison in the
>>>prayer scene. There are more meanings such as like an eye or like a

>>>The K-ind may mean like an ornament or something worn, or bound. Also if
>>>we dare, as it is customary in Hebrew speech, to include the opening
>>>weak vowel into the pronunciation of the preposition, what results are
>>>like a dike or heap and like movement. So then Hamlet may be saying,
>>>simply and unknowingly, You are "more Cain than a kind brother", but
>>>also the following: 'Though I bear a likeness to you it is not binding'
>>>or 'I am like an eye that sees rather than a decoration that is
>>>flourished' or 'I am more a fountain that wells up from within than
>>>a dike that contains standing waters' or 'I am more affirmative than
>>>changeable'. "A little more kin than kind", so suggestive, may be
>>>further consolidated by other readers.

>>>The "hawk", "handsaw" imagery (II,ii 360) with its sawing sound
>>>connotations is continued into Hebrew when Hamlet says, "Buz, buz!"in
>>>line 373. The Buz can be any of several kinds of falcons or kestrels
>>>and bazbuz is a finch. On the other hand bizbuz means to squander.
>>>Hamlet is accusing Polonius of wasting words.

Florence Amit
Phone: 972 76278843