29 September 2016

The PiecesMaker

How Perski Became Peres

[...] When Peres was still called Shimon Perski, Ben-Gurion went with him on a surveying trip in the Negev. Perski discovered the nest of the rare and spectacular bearded vulture, which is called peres in the Torah, and he promptly decided to change his European name to the Hebrew Peres.

I asked the President if he knew why the bearded vulture is called peres. He suggested that it is from the phrase lifros kenafayim, to spread the wings, referring to its huge wingspan. However, that is spelled with a sin rather than a samech. I informed him of another suggestion that has been put forward by Biblical commentators: that it is from the root meaning "piece."

The bearded vulture is famed for making pieces. It eats bones, which it does via picking them up, flying high over rocks, and then dropping them and smashing them to pieces, as you can see in this video:




Source: Lunch with the Piecemaker

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