Tag Archives: 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 between them. Both Abraham אַבְרָהָם and Sarah שָׂרָה now have a “ה” (hey) in their names. Thus, each now carries […]

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 to evening — shall you rest on your rest day [tishb’tu shabbatechem].

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], and molten gods [elohei masechah] you are not to make yourselves, I am YHVH your God! (Fox*) Do not turn […]

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 refrain is “That man is to be cut off from his kinspeople,” stressing the seriousness of the prohibition. Four times […]

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 is the most holy.’”