[b-hebrew] Taw added to Verbs

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Sun May 13 02:24:36 EDT 2007


It so happens that ATAH TO-)KAL is 'you [singular male] will eat',  
and HI TO-)KAL, is 'she will eat'. So the word TO-)KAL by itself is  
ambiguous as to gender and needs to be differentiated contextually.  
The full pronouns AT and ATAH are both reduced in this attachment to  
a mere T, and we don't know anymore which is which. Gender ambiguity  
is common. The Hebrew pronoun ANI, 'I', is, as in English, gender  
indifferent so that ANI )AKAL-TI, 'I ate', may be said by a man or a  
woman indifferently. The English sentence "The teacher said that you  
are good" is ambiguous as to both gender and number.
In Hebrew the referenced persons are often identified only  
contextually, and even then not always with certainty. For example,  
Leviticus 12:2, )I$AH KIY TAZRIY(A is translated as "If a woman have  
conceived seed". Now, TA-ZR-IY-(A, from the root ZR(, 'inseminate',  
contains the two personal pronouns TA, and YI. Common sense dictates  
that the first is for the husband and the second for his wife: 'if  
you [ATAH] husband will inseminate your [HI] wife', but according to  
the translation, and the prevailing wisdom, both pronouns go back to  
the wife: 'if a woman [AT] will plant [germinate] a seed within  
herself [HI]'.

In Judges 13:13-14 the subject is the wife and hence LO TO-)KAL is  
short for HI LO TO-)KAL, 'she will not eat'.

To come to the point: the translation of TO-)KAL is: 'you [singular  
male]/she [will] he/she/it eat'.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On May 12, 2007, at 10:37 PM, Brak wrote:

> But what if you just had the phrase LO) TO)KAL ?
> For example in Gen 2:17 you have the same phrase. If it wasn't for  
> the phrase )AKFL:KF it could be translated as "She eat", as God  
> could be saying to Adam that the woman shouldn't eat the fruit.
> I know I might be beating a dead horse here, but I'm just wondering  
> out loud what one would do if there is no context in some other  
> place in the verse to define whether the T is "you" or "she"
> For example in Judges 13:14, couldn't the LO) TO)KAL be translated  
> as "you eat" instead as "she eat" as it is translated?
> I know I might be beating a dead horse, but I am just curious as to  
> how to translate a single word without having to read a bunch of  
> words or even verses before or after it in order to know how to  
> translate it.
> I hope I am being clear with describing my posed situation.
> B"H
> John Steven
> "If you don't behave as you believe, you will end by believing as  
> you behave."
> -Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.

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