[b-hebrew] Collecting Wow stories

Lance Petersen petersenlance at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 13 18:30:34 EDT 2006


For me, it was reading the 60th chapter of Isaiah. I was depressed over something personal and reached for the Tanach which fell open to that chapter. I felt I should read the entire chapter and learn what every word meant. The first two words came rather easily. I was delighted to find that the meaning of the last word in the first verse was a combination of the first two. Clever play on words. Then in the next verse the powerful imagery came to the fore. I imagined a darkened stage (Shakespeare's "All the world's a stage" came to mind also) with fear and apprehension over the audience when suddenly a spotlight shines upon the chosen people. It blew my mind to think Isaiah could get that kind of imagery millenia before spotlights were around. The next verse continues with the same kind of imagery plus fulfilled prophecy. "Nations shall walk by your light and kings by the brilliance of your shine." The term "Judeao-Christian values" came to mind plus King James' "Basilicon
 Doron." One wow was this is a master work of Hebrew Poetry. A bigger wow was the knowledge that God knows what's going on, and that is comforting.
  Peace, love and eternal holy grooviness,
  Lance the Lurker.


  Hi folks:

I was wondering if you would be willing to share stories or places where
your knowledge of Hebrew has let you see something in the text, or have an
insight that made you say 'wow'. I am not thinking of advanced studies,
and the cutting edge insights you have made so much as I am asking us to
reflect back on our early experiences with the language. In some cases,
later reflection may have led us to discard aspects of those insights, but
their emotional impact remains.

My purpose is to collect stories to motivate beginning students. We know
that learning Hebrew is a lot of work, and it can get discouraging. These
stories can give students, perhaps some even lurking on this list, a
reminder of why they are doing it.

A couple come to my mind just to get the ball rolling.

First, I remember when I was first reviewing the declension of the pronoun
MIN, and saw the Hebrew of Emmanuel.

Another one was from Psalm 27:4 which reads ACHAT SHALTI ME'ET Y''H. 
(Typing from memory). When I first read that the vowels of ME'ET slit to
MA'AT and I read it not as the preposition MIN withe the direct object
marker, but rather as a construct state with the Egyptian noun MAAT. "One
thing I ask - the MAAT (Order) of the LORD." Now I have had enough
eyebrows raised telling people about this to think the proposal is a bit of
a reach, but for me it has become a significant part of my reading of that
prayer, as I seek the divine order of the LORD in my life. 

My guess is many of you have much better stories and insights. Lets
collect them to motivate the novices on the list, and also to help one
another encourage our students.

James Bowick


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