יְשׁוּעָה, גְּאֻלָּה, הַצָּלָה
With the Torah portion to be read this week by Jews around the world being the first of סֵפֶר שְׁמוֹת listen and repeat (Exodus), and with the heroics displayed by many during the snowstorm in Israel this past week, now’s a good time to introduce the terms for salvation.
יְשׁוּעָה listen and repeat is the best translation of the English salvation. It carries with it a lofty, sometimes divine connotation. The word’s root is י.שׁ.ע (y.sh.a), and the verb to save, when used in loftier contexts, is לְהוֹשִׂיעַ listen and repeat, an active-causative verb of the פ”י variety.
A word better translated to redemption is גְּאֻלָּה listen and repeat. This is the term used to describe redemption of land to a previous owner, as well as redemption of a people. Its related verb is לִגְאוֹל listen and repeat – to redeem – an active-simple verb.
Note that לגאול refers to redeeming land, not prizes – that’s לִפְדוֹת listen and repeat, which is also used in Biblical contexts referring to national redemption.