Monthly Archives: April 2012

Next lesson to come . . .

About May 8, 2012. The class here had a review week and then we have a week off.

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Lesson 5: Ruth 1:19-22

Audio and help for translating vss.20-22 have now been added. See bottom of post for audio from a live class.

וַתֵּלַכְנָה שְׁתֵּיהֶם עַד־בֹּאָנָה בֵּית לָחֶם וַיְהִי כְּבֹאָנָה בֵּית לֶחֶם וַתֵּהֹם כָּל־הָעִיר עֲלֵיהֶן וַתֹּאמַרְנָה הֲזֹאת נָעֳמִי׃
(Ruth 1:19)

See “Reading Tutor, Ruth 1:19,” for pronunciation help.

See “Shaddai, an Earthy Title for God,” a comment on Ruth 1:20.

HIPHIL AND NIPHAL VERBS:
First, Hiphil is pronounced HIF-feel and Niphal is NEEF-fall. Continue reading

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Reading Tutor, Ruth 1:19


וַתֵּלַכְנָה שְׁתֵּיהֶם עַד־בֹּאָנָה בֵּית לָחֶם וַיְהִי כְּבֹאָנָה בֵּית לֶחֶם וַתֵּהֹם כָּל־הָעִיר עֲלֵיהֶן וַתֹּאמַרְנָה הֲזֹאת נָעֳמִי׃
(Ruth 1:19)

READING TUTOR:
Note that the “a” sound in general is “ah” — when “e” ends a syllable it is “uh” as in “maroon” (MUH-roon) — “e” with a consonant after it rhymes with “bed” — “ie” here should rhyme with “pie”:

va-tay-lokh-nah she-tay-hem ad-bo-a-nah bayt lakhem va-ye-hee ke-vo-a-nah bayt lekhem va-tay-hoam koal-ha-eer alayhen va-toe-mar-nah ha-zoat Naomi:

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Shaddai, an Earthy Title for God

Many translations quite safely render El Shaddai as “God Almighty.” It’s a neat concept, one that feels safe. There is a conjecture that Shaddai is related to an Akkadian word for “mountain.” One possible implication is that mountains are mighty and they rise up high, so this is an idea of God Most High or Mighty God.

But mountains are also shaped like breasts. That may sound irreverent, but שַׁד shad occurs three times in the Bible meaning “breast” (Isa 60:16; 66:11; Job 24:9) and שַׁדִּים sha-deem “breasts” occurs another ten times. Continue reading

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Lesson 4: Ruth 1:11-18

See the bottom of this post for an audio recording of the live class.

וַתֹּאמֶר נָעֳמִי שֹׁבְנָה בְנֹתַי לָמָּה תֵלַכְנָה עִמִּי הַעוֹד־לִי בָנִים בְּמֵעַי וְהָיוּ לָכֶם לַאֲנָשִׁים׃
(Ruth 1:11)

Need help reading? See “Reading Tutor, Ruth 1:11.”

Click here to go to the article: “TIKVAH, THE CORD OF HOPE.”

INTERROGATIVES:
Vs. 11 is by itself a good lesson in two important kinds of question words (interrogatives) in Hebrew: an interrogative pronoun (what, who, where, why, how) and the interrogative particle (a simple prefix in Hebrew which renders a clause a question. Continue reading

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Reading Tutor, Ruth 1:11


וַתֹּאמֶר נָעֳמִי שֹׁבְנָה בְנֹתַי לָמָּה תֵלַכְנָה עִמִּי הַעוֹד־לִי בָנִים בְּמֵעַי וְהָיוּ לָכֶם לַאֲנָשִׁים׃
(Ruth 1:11)

READING TUTOR:
Note that the “a” sound in general is “ah” — when “e” ends a syllable it is “uh” as in “maroon” (MUH-roon) — “e” with a consonant after it rhymes with “bed” — “ie” here should rhyme with “pie”:

va-toe-mer Na-oe-mee shoe-ve-nah ve-noe-tie lammah tay-lakh-nah eemmee ha-oad lee va-neem be-may-’ie ve-ha-yoo lakhem la-ana-sheem:

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Tikvah: The Cord of Hope

The JPS Commentary on Ruth is a delightful blend of scholarship and inspiration. Tikva-Frymer Kensky, who began the commentary and died before its completion, certainly has an investment in the word תִקְוָה tikvah, the basic meaning of which is hope. Perhaps that is why, in commenting on Ruth 1:12, she writes a short word study on it. The results of her study are insightful and suddenly many ideas in the Hebrew Bible are illuminated by the concept of a cord which should not be cut, a cord of hope, which people need to make it in this often troubling life.

The idea of tikvah as a thread or cord is perhaps best illustrated in Joshua 2:18, “When we invade the country, you tie this length of crimson cord to the window through which you let us down.” That is a “cord of crimson thread,” תִקְוַת חוּט הַשָּׁנִי tikvat khoot ha-shanee (and khoot is thread in this phrase while tikvat is rendered “cord of”).

Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, who completed the work of her teacher Frymer-Kensky, says:

The imagery in this idiom suggests that our life is spun out like a cord, and hope arises from the strength of that cord, representing the prospect of a viable future. Indeed, tikvah, used in this sense, appears four times elsewhere in the Bible in parallel with the Hebrew akhareet “future.”

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