Thursday, December 28, 2006

Well, Huff!

I wanted to write something having to do with the parsha for the speech I'm giving at my brother's bar mitzvah. I took the Ramban Artscroll because I don't translate Hebrew very well and this one has all Ramban's commentaries translated. Awesome does not even begin to describe it.
But then I noticed something interesting. In perek mem-vav, pasuk aleph, it says that Yaacov then brought karbanot to "Elokay aviv Yitzchak." Why specifically just his father when Avraham was just as special, right? So I looked down the page to Ramban's commentaries.
Ramban explains that it would have been more fitting to say, "l'Elokay avotav," the the Gd of his fathers. Or, Ramban adds, it didn't have to mention anyone. It could just say that Yaacov brought karbanot to HaShem, "for what need is there to specify more than this?" the translation reads. Now my curiosity was piqued. Sure, there's no need to specify that HaShem is the Gd of anyone's fathers, but still, this is Yitzchak and Avraham--what exactly does Ramban mean by this? The next phrase was translated as, "Rather, this verse contains a mystical concept..."
Then there are brackets which read that Ramban uses a Kabbalistic concept for why "Gd of his father Yitzchak" is used, BUT "this part of Ramban's comment is beyond the scope of this elucidation." WHAT? They say where it can be found in the Hebrew, but here, uh-uh. Nothing.
What exactly is Artscroll saying? If you don't know how to translate the Hebrew you're not on the level to understand a Kabbalistic concept? Something else? I feel so discriminated against right now.

4 original thoughts out there

Blogger The Nucular Jew said...

I get that all time. Those hoity toity Artscroll people!

BTW, my word verification is jljewwy

Friday, December 29, 2006 1:56:00 PM  
Anonymous MonseyGuy said...

You'd be surprised at how much "English" books leave out, D. In the "39 Melachos of Shabbos" books, the author cites the most stringent of opinions in the English section, and in the Hebrew footnotes, he explains that there are several more lenient approaches, but it's not appropriate to publicize these in a book that's written for lay readers.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger BrownsvilleGirl said...

Well, see, that's just what bugs me. No offense to anyone out there, but when I'm reading the English translations of things, it's not because I want an overview. It's because my Hebrew sucks. I always learn with a chavruta (I learn Tanach once every other week with a teacher and with my cousin on Shabbos), but sometimes SOMETIMES I have a question and like to find out the answer on my own. I can't translate very well, so I use already translated texts. I read the Hebrew part as well, but I don't understand it.
Their reasoning--the whole "lay person" attitude--is very offensive because there are people (like me) who need help with their Hebrew but aren't "lay people." I spent elementary school in a yeshiva and high school in an academically challenging Jewish school. I've studied Rambans, Rambams, Rashis, Rashbams, R'Hirschs, etc., ask some damn good questions, and figure out some nice answers. Unfortunately, the yeshiva system failed me where language is concerned and I never got a good grasp on Hebrew.
And what bugs me the most is that I know that's why they're censoring their translations and Ramban's question was the same one I asked.
What ever.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007 1:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to the 'heimish' Jewish world, D. This is just a very small instance of their protecting your pretty little head from difficult concepts and gray areas you wouldn't understand or be able to process without proper guidance from a certified rov or rebbetzin.

And, while we're on the subject, why not work on improving the translation skills?

I was also failed by the yeshiva system, in terms of its emphasis on gemara and minutiae. My Hebrew is kick-ass, though. Wanna get a new chavruta?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007 5:27:00 PM  

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