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What's A Balabostah?

September 21, 2011 | by

I recently became married, and in setting up my first home, my elderly grandmother keeps referring to me as a "balabostah." Is that a compliment? Exactly what is a "balabostah"?

The Aish Rabbi Replies

I wish I could show your question to my dearly departed grandmother. She was a real balabostah!

Balabustah is one of those jerry-rigged linguistic anomalies – two Hebrew words welded together with a Yiddish suffix. "Bal" means boss, "bayis" means house, and "tah" is an endearing suffix.

So there is nothing negative at all. Balabustah connotes a woman in charge of her domain. In fact, the Dutch language has incorporated the word "bolleboos" to mean someone who is very talented, clever, and a master of his/her domain.

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