Time Heals All Chaburos

I have a language question for Mordechai Schiller.

I noticed a caption under a picture in a recent Hamodia Community section:

“K.K. from Yeshivah _____ delivering a chaburah.”

Another time I noticed a reference to someone “giving a chaburah.”

I’ve heard of delivering a baby, or the mail (male baby?) or giving tzedakah, but a chaburah?

Would it not be correct or correcter (is that not correct? And if not, why not?) to say delivering a shmuess or a shiur to a chaburah?

Maybe you covered (or uncovered) this in the past and I missed it. But if not, please clarify or fix it.

Thank you. And we can already say a kesivah vachasimah tovah.

CBG, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Mordechai Schiller responds:

In my role as an editor, am I a correcter or a corrector? Or perhaps a correction officer?

OK, I’m dodging.

A chaburah is somewhere between a chavrusa and a shiur. It’s a study group, rather than a formal lecture. As for delivery, Google’s Ngram book-search tool tells me that about twice as many published books use the term “give a lecture” as “deliver a lecture.”

And it is better to give than to receive a delivery.

But why chaburah? How did a word that the Torah (Shemos 21:25) uses to mean a “bruise” wind up meaning a class? (No snarky comments, please.)

Ready? Now, in a display of word wizardry, I’ll show you how there’s no confusion with contusion.

Harav Samson Raphael Hirsch, a master of Biblical etymology, translates chaburah as “swelling.” It comes from the root lechaber — to join or connect. And it refers to the swelling resulting from the gathering inflammation of a closed wound.

It comes from the same root as chaver — friend. Someone connected to you. Similarly, a machberet is a notebook of bound papers.

The Gemara (Brachos 63b) says to “attend classes and occupy yourselves with Torah, because Torah is only acquired in a chaburah — a group.”

So may you, and all of us, get it together and have a wonderful year with all your chevrah.