Bob Fitzke fitzke at VOYAGER.NET
Tue Mar 13 22:49:33 UTC 2001

A  former official of the Anti-Defamation League--and good friend---once
told me that even Jews don't know how many megillahs there are. Anyone?


Laurence Horn wrote:
> At 12:06 PM -0500 3/13/01, Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM wrote:
> >Larry writes:
> >
> >>>>
> >No idea on the origin, although if I had to bet it would be on
> >Sicilian Italian rather than French.  Just a guess, though.  Here's
> >two other spellings to check (there were no google hits on the
> >version given), both evidently representing the same lexical item,
> >with the approximate meaning of 'megillah'.
> >                                  ********
> ><<<
> >
> >... Which, of course, is Hebrew for 'scroll', specifically a book of the
> >(Hebrew) Bible written by a scribe on a scroll, and especially at this time
> >of year the Megillat Esther, the Book of Esther, which records the legend
> >celebrated in the festival of Purim, whose events include the complete
> >reading of that Book, which can be rather tedious (especially in Hebrew for
> >those with limited or zero comprehension thereof, and especially in
> >contrast to the noisy and joyous play of the events, or Purim Shpiel in
> >Yiddish), which has given rise to the expression "the whole megillah" 'the
> >entire process or affair', which in turn and at last leads to the sense in
> >which Larry is using the word, 'big noisy doing', whether of conflict (his
> >first two cites) or of celebration (his third).
> >      <panting for breath>
> >
> Actually, Mark--whose Hebrew and Yiddish are no doubt far better than
> mine, especially siince I didn't even remember what the whole
> megillah WAS (literally speaking)--bears out the appropriateness of
> my hastily chosen gloss, since IIRC the variously spelled and
> contextualized web cites of "festoosh" we've collected do in fact
> encompass both the "big noisy conflict" and "big noisy celebration"
> senses.  Yet another piece of evidence for an isomeme uniting
> Southern- Italian-American and Ashkenazic-Jewish-American lifestyles
> (or maybe it was an areal feature from contact situtations in the
> Lower East Side).
> larry

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