Answers to Quora Queries
Source of picture:
The sun-lit portion of the tree above is its utmost section. In Hebrew this would be called the “Amir.” The picture is taking from an article discussing grafting portions of one tree into another. This may be a problematic subject in Biblical law. Nevertheless the article does imply that the “Amir” section of the tree helps determine the character of all the rest, see below.
The question was,
Is it common that Jewish men have the name 'Amir' despite it being an Arabic name?
In Arabic the name 'Amir" is said to connote prince, ruler, civilized person.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Amir, meaning "lord" or "commander-in-chief", is derived from the Arabic root a-m-r, "command". Originally simply meaning "commander-in-chief" or "leader", usually in reference to a group of people, it came to be used as a title for governors or rulers, usually in smaller states, and in modern Arabic is analogous to the English word "prince". The word entered English in 1593, from the French emir. t was one of the titles or names of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
In Hebrew “Amir” can connote "tall.” The top branches and leaves of a tree are called “Amir,” cf.
Isaiah (NASB) 17:
6 Yet gleanings will be left in it like the shaking of an olive tree, Two or three olives on the topmost bough [Hebrew: "amir"], Four or five on the branches of a fruitful tree, Declares the LORD, the God of Israel.
In its connotation as "tall" it may be related to the word "tomer" (reflexive "hitamer") meaning "become tall."
The word “Amir” is related to the root "AMR" connoting "speak." Rabbi S.R. Hirsch said that the word-root "AMR" in its aspect of “speak” connotes organizing sound and words, commanding your voice. This would be similar to the Arabic meaning.
The Amorites (in Hebrew "Amori") were a Canaanite People (Genesis 10:16). Their name may be derived from the same root, cf.
9 Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, Though his height was like the height of cedars And he was strong as the oaks; I even destroyed his fruit above and his root below.
Here we have the name “AMORI” applied to a very tall people and the word-root of the name itself can connote height.
The word root is also associated with "declare" cf.
Deuteronomy (NASB) 2:
18 The LORD has today declared you [Hebrew: "He-amir-ca”] to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments.
The boys’-name “Amir” as now used in Israel seems to be a recent development.
It is not a common name but it is not that rare either.
In Biblical Times we find similar names based on the same word root:
Imri (AiMRI): Nehamiah 3:2, 1-Chronicles 9:4
Amaryah: in 13 cases, e.g. Zephaniah 1:1.
Amaryahu: in 3 cases, e.g. 1-Chronicles 24:23
In order to add a little depth to this answer I asked Rabbi Yehonatan Davidi why he and his wife gave the name "Amir" to one their sons?
He said that "Amir" in Hebrew connotes the topmost branches and leaves of the tree (Isaiah 17:6). As long as the "Amir" remains the tree will grow upwards. Cut the "Amir" off and the tree will grow out more to the sides. The name "Amir" therefore symbolizes the ideal person who strives upwards to reach the Almighty and brings others to do the same. Together with this he remains connected (through the rest of the tree) to earthly matters.
This, says Rabbi Yehonatan, is related to the passages:
Deuteronomy (NASB) 2:
17 You have today declared [Hebrew: "He-amar-ta"] the LORD to be your God, and that you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments and His ordinances, and listen to His voice.
18 The LORD has today declared you [Hebrew: "He-amir-ca"] to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments.
In both verses we find the word root "AMR" as the root of a word translated as "declare." We declare the Almighty to be our God and He, in His turn, declares us to be His people. The word root however has the additional meaning of “amir” i.e. the topmost section striving upwards. We set the Almighty at the top of all we are and He sets us above all others.