The meaning of names among Mediterranean Jews

Marc Eliany ?

ABOUHATS?RA (AbiHsera, AviHatsira, Hatsir, Hatsira)

among other possible variations depending on the country and language of the person.

AviHatsira is represented here by Moroccan and Algerian creators. The name is common among Jews in North Africa. It is associated with a long line of rabbis from the Tafilalet region in Morocco. The name consist of the prefix avi (or ab, abe, abou) which implies fatherhood or lineage and the root ‘hatsira’ = a carpet made of hay or other vegetal material. The family is believed to be of Palestinian/Syrian origin. The name is in all likelihood an ancient Hebrew name derived from the word ‘hatsir’ = hay. It appears here with the suffix ‘a’ which is typical to ancient Hebrew name. It appears in Israel in contemporary transformations such as ‘hatsir’ and ‘hatsira.’

Prefixes attached to the root name such as (aben, iben, abe, abi, abou, avi, am, ben, bin, abou, a, aj, al, bel, ha, i, la, lel, me, m, o, wi, vi, ) denotes usually a relation to a person, i.e., the father of or the son of X, a place, i.e., a person from X, an occupation, i.e., a person who practices a specific occupation, a characteristic of a person, i.e., beautiful… The prefixes al, el are equivalent to ‘the’ in English or the article ‘le’ in French. In the Moroccan Berbers tradition, prefixes such as ‘wi’ ‘vi’ ‘i’ means usually a family relationship to X, the equivalent of Abu in Arabic, i.e., ‘the father of’, ‘son of’ a man, a tribal affiliation and so forth.In the Hebrew tradition, the prefix ‘M ‘ is an abbreviation of the word ‘from.’

Suffixes such as ‘a’ characterize ancient Hebrew names, i.e., AviHatsir’a’

Suffixes such as oulah, oulay, ilah, ily, el, eli are used in Hebrew and Arabic to associate a name with God’ blessing.
Suffixes such as ‘i’ or ‘ri’ ‘ti’ refer to an association with a person or a location, for example: arditi= from ardou or ard.
Suffixes such as ‘illo’ ‘ano’ ‘ino’ ‘nino’ are used in Spain and Italy to indicate descendence or association with an attribute.
Suffixes such as ‘yah’, ‘yahu’ ‘hu’ are used in Hebrew to denote God’s benediction, for example: aviyah, aviyahu, avihu…
Suffixws such as ‘oun’ ‘on’ ‘yout’ ‘out’ characterize adjectives in Hebrew, for example: Hayoun, hayout…

ABEHSERA Charles (XXes.). Morocco (Mekn?s). Textile manufacturer in France. Known for his Morgan trademark.
AB?HS?RA Aaron (XXes.). Morocco (Erfoud). Descendent of a family of rabbis of great reputation (see below). Politician, parliament member and minister in a Liberal government formed by the Likud Party in Israel.
ABEHSSERA Chalom (?-1971). Alg?ria (Touat). Rabbi of Colomb-B?char. Author of M?litss tov (The good preacher) and S?f?r youhassin (A geneology Registry).
ABOUHATS?RA (Abihsera) Yah?acov Ben Masoud (1808?-1880). Morocco (Tafilalet). Rabbi. Kabalist. Prolific author: Pitouh? hotam; Yorou michpat?kha l?yah?acov; Chah?ar? Aroukha among other publications. Died and buried in Cairo on his way to Jerusalem. His tomb is subject to pilgrimage. Click here for a detailed profile: Theological Conceptions of Existence among Moroccan Jews Based on the Writings of Rabbi Yaacov Avi Hatsira
ABOUHATS?RA Abraham (1868-1948). Morocco (Mekn?s). Rabbi. Member of the rabbinical court of Casablanca.
ABOUHATS?RA David (1866-1920). Morocco (Tafilalet). Rabbi. Kabalist. Assassinated in Morocco. Prolofic author S?f?r s?khel tov (The good sense guide); P?tah oh?l (The gate of the Tent); S?f?r B?r?chit ou Shemot (Genesis and Exodus). Director of a rabbinical seminary in Tafilalet.
ABOUHATS?RA Isra?l (Baba Sal?) (1890-1984). Morocco. Rabbi. Kabalist.Founder of a Rabbinical seminary in J?rusalem and N?tivot (Israel). His tomb became subject to pilgrimage.


ABEHSSERA Chalom S?f?r youhassin (Genealogy Registers).

Azoulay, Hayim Yossef Shem Hagdolim (the names of the great)

AZOULAY Ha?m Yossef David (Hida) (1724-1807) Ch?m hagu?dolim va?ad lahakhamim (The names of the Great Council of Sages).

Levi, J et. al. 2000        Dictionnaire biographique du monde Juif Sepharade et Mediteranean, Editions Elysee, Montreal.

Toledano, J. 1983        La saga des familles, Les juifs du Maroc et leurs noms, Editions Stavit, Tel Aviv

Laredo A. 1978           Les noms des juifs au Maroc (Madrid, 1978)

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