About “Davar Akher”

דבר אחר (pron. davar acher) is Hebrew.

Literally, it means “another thing”; it is employed in the early rabbinic literature as a means of introducing an alternative explanation on a topic. As a phrase, its very nature testifies to the continued existence of alternative ways of understanding things.

There is, however, another interpretation (דבר אחר)
Rather than viewing the first word as a noun and the second as an attributive adjective, they can both be viewed as nouns.

In that case, the second word would be in the genitive, and the phrase would have the meaning “The word (or the speech) of Acher“.

Acher, otherwise known as Elisha ben Abuya, was a second century rabbi who lost his faith in rabbinic Judaism. So great was he that his and subsequent generations continued learning from him – to the extent that the authors of the Babylonian Talmud needed to create a story that would serve to legitimise his teachings despite his apostasy. His lesson is a lesson for us all: that great stature is not contingent upon blind faith, nor high learning upon the observation of Torah precepts.

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