Madlik Podcast – Torah Thoughts on Judaism From a Post-Orthodox Jew
About This Show
Madlik – Torah thoughts from a post-orthodox Jew with a life-long love and appreciation of Jewish texts and a fresh and sometimes heterodox perspective on their meaning, intent and practical (halachic) implications.
Most Recent Episode
Lost in Translation - Toldot
3 days ago
Lost in Translation - Parsha Toldot Notes "Reading the Bible in translation is like kissing your new bride through a veil." famously quipped Haim Nachman Bialik. I would love to see this quote as Bialik as published or documented verbatim and in the original Hebrew. I'm suspicious that what I find attributed to Bialik as it may just be a translation or paraphrase: תרגום דומה לנשיקה מבעד לצעיף I’m sure that reading Bialik in translation is a similarly less-than sensual experience. Did he say bride or girl, did he mean just a kiss or was he suggesting something more intimate and finally was it a veil or the proverbial sheet? In any case, I do agree with Bialik that learning Torah can be like sex and in this regard it should not be practiced safely with an interfering translation… it should be done … in the original Hebrew. While we’re on the subject of kosher sex, let’s consider one of the best examples of lost-in-translation in the Bible. Genesis 26 sets the stage wherein Isaac fibs about his wife and tells Abimelech that Rebecca is his sister. 8 And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife. וַיְהִי, כִּי אָרְכוּ-לוֹ שָׁם הַיָּמִים, וַיַּשְׁקֵף אֲבִימֶלֶךְ מֶלֶךְ פְּלִשְׁתִּים, בְּעַד הַחַלּוֹן; וַיַּרְא, וְהִנֵּה יִצְחָק מְצַחֵק, אֵת, רִבְקָה אִשְׁתּוֹ. The Hebrew word that the text uses for “sporting” is metzahek which comes from the same Hebrew root as does Isaac’s name: listen: “Yitzhak metzahek”. It is clear that the biblical writer, along with Isaac, was having some fun here. This is the only place[i] in the Bible that metzahek is used to imply sexual activity…. Unless, of course, we now re-read the texts associated with the original association of Yitzhak’s name with the laughter of Sarah and Abraham ….. and realize that his parents laughed at the thought o