[b-hebrew] figurative vs. literal

fred burlingame tensorpath at gmail.com
Sat Dec 18 12:03:37 EST 2010

Hello all:

ועשו ארון עצי שטים אמתים וחצי ארכו ואמה וחצי רחבו ואמה וחצי קמתו

שמות כה י

Given the loss of this box since circa 587 b.c., and the corresponding
impossibility of compliance with much of the legal regime described in התורה
, does not the language (and its words) enjoy a metaphorical purpose, rather
than solely literal message?

In other words;

a. just as letters and words, symbolize actions and objects;

b. so the first layer of actions and objects literal, signify in turn a
second set of actions and objects?

Or to state it another way, does not the language in this
instance, communicate actions that can be performed, rather than actions
which cannot be done?

The two little letters אל combined in this manner, enjoy a wide horizontal &
vertical range of meaning, depending on context; presence or absence of
vowels; plural or singular; differing shades pronunciation; etc. Witness
strong's numbers 352, 408, 410, 411, 413, 414, 421, 422, 423, 424, 428, 430,
433. Does not this word flexibility imply the two halves of the language;
the one literal; the other figurative?

Hence, any consumer of the language must decide constantly whether the
speaker intends literal or symbolic, or both meanings to the words?

And so in conclusion we have:

ולקח מדם הפר והזה באצבעו על פני הכפרת קדמה ולפני הכפרת יזה שבע פעמים מן הדם

ויקרא טז יד

The words apparently enjoy a plain literal meaning. But given the
physical impossibility of such actions when the masoretic text was
manufactured, does not the language convey a different and second,
metaphorical message?


fred burlingame

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