Orthodox Judaism/Word "tsela"


Dear Sir

Gen2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;  22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.

I would like to know what the Hebraic roots are for the word rib (tsela) here.I recently watched "Rabbi Mordechai Kraft:Hebrew Torah: The DNA of Creation" on youtube where he explains some root words/etyomology etc of Hebrew and I was hoping I could get some help on the following.

I, in my limited knowledge of Hebrew, am of the opinion that this word may not be "rib" but rather "curve" as one of the meanings according to Strong's Hebrew concordance.

Many mock the Torah saying Adam does not have one less rib which is true but he does have one less curve in his sex chromosome( Women XX,  man XY) and further Gen 2:23 "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." What if "bone" here, etsem,  might rather be "substance" (DNA)? The topical bible suggests that ha-tsela should have been used (side chamber). But I also found that the word tsela means to pray as in bowing -again bowing creates the curve shape. Am I sucking things out of my thumb??  

I would love to hear your comments from the Hebrew perspective.

Kind Regards

Hello Kurt,

Tsela means "side", not exactly rib or curve.  But I would agree that in order to have a "side" one must "bend" from a base.

Etsem can mean substance but if that verse refers to DNA it would not be congruent with the word "flesh" because flesh and bones make a body, not flesh and DNA.

It is not evident that the removal of the side or rib resulted in Adam missing a rib; just like the flesh filled and healed so too could the missing bone have grown back.

The word tsela for prayer is spelled differently, namely tsadi lamed alef (or tsadi lamed yud) and is not a Hebrew word but rather Chaldean (Aramaic).  The word tsela for side is spelled tsadi lamed ayin.

Best regards,

Orthodox Judaism

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David Rosenblum


I am an ex-student of yeshiva and I like to be presented with Torah study problems. If you have studied the Torah and have questions on the subject matter, I want to hear about it. I am not a Rabbi and not qualified to decide halachic issues. I am still interested in halachic questions for which I can sometimes offer general guidelines or present decisions in halachic works such as Mishna Berurah. I welcome questions from non-Jewish people but I cannot respond to religious references that are not part of Judaism. If you are working on a paper or doing research and want general information on a Jewish subject, I may or may not satisfy your need, depending on how comfortable I am with the question. If you have a personal problem, I am not qualified to help you but I will do what I can to offer you some assistance.


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