Alternative Spellings

pshat, p'shat


  • "The literal, obvious meaning scholars give to a Jewish text. It can also refer to the simple interpretation of any issue or question." (JPS)
  • "An explanation of the logic behind or the source of a passage, event, work, etc." (Weiser)
  • Justification

Example Sentences

  • "I once had a shiduch in an art museum, and I made up pshat in all the paintings to try to make an impression" (Weiser)
  • "I thought they're friends; what's the pshat they're fighting" (Weiser)
  • "the key to understanding the difference between pshat and drash lies in a principle explained by the Ibn Ezra" (

Languages of Origin

Textual Hebrew



Who Uses This

Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education
Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)


North America


The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
Frumspeak: The First Dictionary of Yeshivish, by Chaim Weiser (Northvale, 1995).


Often used in contrast to "drash." Used in the phrase "What's pshat" ('why'): "What's pshat the yeshiva gives an entrance exam if they seem to accept everyone who applies?" (Weiser 103)

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