tsevat bitsevat asuya


  • n. Chicken and egg; a situation in which it is difficult to distinguish cause and effect.

Example Sentences

  • "Without Israel, widespread anti-Semitism in post-Holocaust Europe would most likely not have awakened from its dormancy; had it not been there to be awakened, criticism of Israel would never have reached the pathologically ferocious levels that it has. In the language of the rabbis, tsvat b’tsvat asuya—the smith’s tongs make each other. Each cause has caused the cause that caused it." (source)

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew


  • צְבָת בִּצְבָת עֲשׂוּיָה, lit. 'tongs made with tongs'

    • Who Uses This

      • Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education


      • North America


      • The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).

      Alternative Spellings

      tzevat bitzevat asuya, tsvas bitsvas asuyo, tzvas bitzvas asuyo, tsvat bitsvat asuya, tsvat b'tsvat asuya, tzvat b'tzvat asuya

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