Tag: Language

Foreign and Familiar

In this week’s Torah portion, two of the central characters receive new names: Abram becomes Abraham (Gen 17:4), and Sarai, Sarah (17:15). God announces this to Abraham as part of a statement of the covenant […]

Emor: Language and Translation

Leviticus/Vayikra 23:32 in three translations: It is a day of complete rest for you [shabbat shabbaton hu lachem] and you shall afflict yourselves; on the ninth of the month in the evening — from evening […]

Kedoshim: Language and Translation

Three versions of Leviticus/Vayikra verse 19:4: Do not turn [al-tafnu] to the idols [el-ha-elilim] nor make molten gods [elohei masechahfor yourself. I am the LORD your God. (Alter*) Do not turn-your-faces [al-tafnu] to no-gods [el-ha-elilim], […]

Acharei Mot: Language and Translation

Sound and word patterns evident in the Hebrew text do not always translate well into other languages. Fox* notes that Chapter 17 of Leviticus/Vayikra is “built at least partially on repeating sound patterns”: A threefold […]

Shemini: Language and Translation

“Moses spoke to Aaron and to Elazar and Ithamar, his remaining sons [banav ha-notarim], ‘Take the meal-offering that is left [ha-noteret] from the fire-offerings of HASHEM, and eat it unleavened near the Altar; for it […]

Tzav: Language and Translation

**Spoiler alert** If you’d rather be surprised by what is coming in chapter 10, hold off on this post until first reading parashat Shemini. To avoid the spoiler, skip ahead to faint warning in the […]

Vayikra: Language and Translation

What does it mean that “a soul unintentionally fails [Nefesh ki-techeta bi-sh’gagah]…”? — Leviticus/Vayikra 4:1-2 Is this an ethical or ritual error? Was the “soul,” in contemporary understanding, alone involved? Here are five translations with […]

Vayakhel: Language and Translation

Moses said to the Children of Israel, “See, HASHEM has proclaimed by name, Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. He filled him with Godly spirit, with wisdom, insight, and […]

Pekudei: Language and Translation

“And these are the names [v’eileh] of the Children of Israel who were coming [ha-ba’im] to Egypt…”

Ki Tisa: Language and Translation

Exodus/Shemot 32:25, part of Moses’ confrontation with Aaron regarding the Golden Calf, contains two interesting words for which there are a range of translations. One is a hapax legomenon, a word that appears only once […]