Ba'al Ha-Bayit

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BA'AL HA-BAYIT (Heb. בַּעַל הַבַּיִת, pl. Ba'alei Battim, "Head of the household"; in Yid., pronounced "Balebos"), head of a family. The term is often also associated with the notion of wealth and is used to describe a man of wealth and secure economic position, e.g., a landlord. The Yiddish adjective balebatish, in the sense of bourgeois, is derived from this term. Ba'al ha-bayit was also applied to married and taxpaying members of the congregation, as opposed to *baḥur ("young man"). In the learning sense ba'al bayit means a man whose Torah learning is basic but superficial, as against baḏur yeshivah (Yid. yeshiveh bucher) whose learning is intensive and deep. The feminine form is ba'alat bayit, in Yiddish baleboste, denoting a housewife, often in the sense of a good housekeeper.