[b-hebrew] yorenu (teach US)

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Mon Jun 30 20:58:10 EDT 2008

On Mon, Jun 30, 2008 at 9:10 PM, Gabe Eisenstein wrote:
> Harold,
> Your reading seems to be the standard one, in thinking that the point is
> just to illustrate the unrepentant and defiant nature of the Israelites
> (that's us!). And if that's all there is to it, you are right that
> there's no need to translate R.b.b.Hana's yorenu as "teach us" rather
> than "teach him" (as we agree to translate it in Isaiah). Nonetheless
> Soncino saw fit to translate "teach us" -- why?

I don't know why Soncino saw fit to translate it this way.  I also don't trust
Artscroll.  But it seems that the only way to read the verse is "teach him."
The direct context is the following little passage:
The prophet said to Israel: Repent!
Israel responded: We cannot overcome our evil inclinations which control us.
The prophet said: Discipline (ysrw) your inclinations!
Israel responded: "His god will teach him."

The back-and-forth between Isaiah and Israel is Israel's refusal to take the
prophets' advise and an attempt to throw the burden over to someone else.
Furthermore, the passage leads up to the discipline of the inclination.  So
that "teach him" is the only appropriate reading.

Following David Kummerow's comments, I note that in Rabbinic Hebrew,
the regular imperfect expressed wishes:
If you search for jussives or tenses -
you can then look up some of the following pages which may also be of interest:
104, 105, 175.

It therefore is rather sensible that a 3rd generation Talmudic authority would
read the verse as such.

Yitzhak Sapir

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