The Lost


It is generally acknowledged that the greatest of all biblical commentators was the 11th-century French scholar Rabbi Schlomo be Itzhak who is better known as Rashi.  His concern for each and every word of the text he was studying was matched by only a cramped terseness of his style. …both scholars acknowledge the difficulties of translating the very first line of the text of Bereishit – bereishit bara Elohim et-hashamayim v’et ha’aretz.  Contrary to the belief of millions who have read the King James bible, the line does not mean  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  What the Hebrew literally says is, In the beginning of, God created the heavens and the earth…  After an extended discussion of the linguistics issue, Rashi eventually solves the problem by adopting certain parallels from other texts in which bereishit is followed by a verb rather than a noun, and it is this that allows us to translate the first crucial words as follows:

BostonGarden2

In the beginning of God’s creating the skies and the heaven – when the skies had been shapeless and formless, and darkness had been on the face of the deep, and God‘s spirit was hovering on the face of the water – God said, “Let there be light.” -from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost

There was some excitement within when something grips you. It happened when you came across a great epic, or when you were involved in creating something or someone.  Like in a marriage, or in a daughter.

Language and money are things which connect us.  In every day life.  As do stories, in speaking of attachment and/or belonging.  Or their opposite, abandonment. 

Mindful of the subtleness of human language and its power, the subtleness of language is one reference point for what divides me and my community from outsiders. The significance was when people gathered to say together words with a living language which defined themselves to each other.  Words to people somehow connected which had recognized meaning. Here! So why do languages, like currencies – like Latin, or the Irish punt – die?  If you ever get to Killarney, stop in the pub called O’Connors and see if P.J. is around (he owns the place.) And ask him the question. 

The key issue for Rashi, is that the wrong reading suggests an incorrect chronology of Creation: That God created the heavens and then the earth, then light, and so forth.  But this is not how it happened, Rashi says. If you get the small details wrong, the big picture will be wrong too. -from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost

Born into something: given life by someone. And one day set free from your home and your homeland. With songs learned about land and liberty. Born into something, with a common language. Note the things which allow a nomad to travel: food, money, prayer — sometimes wheels. These often were the things which gave a nomad the means to retire. And so the movement in the story.

Currency. Currency exchanges. To transact. When places are for sale? To be transformed. Did you ever feel a strangeness of foreigners, with their different valuations and their funny looking money? The subtleness of humans was so often lost in the business world of money, without a common language or a common currency or the the shared words of people somehow connected — back home. When places or people are for sale there, and the sales had an affect on you?

To realize the holiness of what I was doing — without charge. But the conflict when someone else did not recognize my holiness, or did things in such a strange way. To read from beginning to end, or from left to right. Before meetitng the strangerr who reads from right to left: Yes, Biblical scholars acknowledge the difficulties of translating the very first line of the text of Bereishit – bereishit bara Elohim et-hashamayim v’et ha’aretz. 

When all along the goal of a good translator on a dead language – a lot like at a currency exchange in a land so foreign – should be to promote quality services of its people reaching for some kind of union. A literal interpretation of the Hebrew Bible is not in keeping with the living Jewish tradition. And so Midrash, with the conversation like prayer, debating the Biblical issues in order to come to a deeper understanding about life.

“Look what I have created!” It is a a natural human response. But after you created, there was the formation process – of yourself and then of others. Recognizing the theme in the first chapter of Genesis “to separate,” note from the stories how heroes attempt to separate “my creation” from the rest of creation? And thus the developing concept of “CHOSEN” from all the rest.

Friends say that they will accept the other’s struggle to accept what they are learning about themselves, in the ambiguity and mystery of their own great epic, when involved in creating something or someone. Maybe a lot like in the period of time early on in a relationship— like when God‘s Spirit was hovering on the face of the water — there was this hovering spirit within that somehow had to get out.

And at the center of all that drama – for Rashi goes to no little trouble to explain that it does indeed stand in the center – the mysterious and somehow moving symbol in the garden, a tree that represents, I have come to think, both the pleasure and the pain that comes from knowing things. -from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost

There was a wisdom on display which comes from hearing about other people’s suffering. To reach the acceptance level, after going through all the emotions of denial, fear, anger. After reaching the acceptance level, “we will want to give what we have accepted even though there will always be more to learn about the mystery of ourselves,” writes Larry Gillick.  “God saw that human beings would search for completion, satisfaction and saw this searching as ‘very good.’”  

In all of human history, no one has ever told a story without having some kind of agenda.  And if you get the small details wrong, you will get the big picture wrong, like in the stress in facing beginnings and endings. When first your money, next your land and then your life was taken away – to sustain a kingdom, with the goblins in the closet – over the unity of Germans in the 1930s, when there was so much currency disorder.

The Holocaust. To realize that you could be born into a living nightmare. The theme in the first chapter of Genesis is to separate, so things can be good, in the way of fertility. The confusion between the separate species: of men and women, of Muslim and Jews. With the struggle in the attempt to so tediously translate. And so the human response in the way of killing what you did not understand, in the translation:

As I have said, the first thing that happens in Bereishit is not, as many people think that God created the heavens and the earth, but rather in the beginning of his creation of the heavens and the earth, when everything had been a stupefying void, he said, “Let there be light.”  This is, in fact, the first act of creation that we hear about in Bereishit.  But what is interesting to me is that every act that follows – light and dark, night and day, dry land and oceans, plants and animals, and finally man from dust – is described as an act of separation. What did God do when he saw that the light was “good”?  He separated it from darkness, and then proceeded to go on separating ….The story begins with Creation which, as we have seen, is the story of the acts of distinguishing one thing from another.  It ends by alluding to the most crucial distinction of all, the distinction between Good and Bad, a distinction that becomes apprehensible to humans only by eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, a tree about which the Torah tells us that it was (like light) “good”,  that it was a delight in the eyes of Eve, and that it was desirable for comprehension,” and it was because of this goodness, this delightfulness, this desirability that Eve ate of it. -from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost

There was something exciting within when something grips you. It happened when you came across a great epic.  “In fashioning ‘woman,’  writes Larry Gillick, “God gave the man a closeness to himself, but just not quite, and this form of separation or distinctiveness would form the framework for the real meaning of human love; a revelation of God’s love, but not a substitute or replacement for that love.”

Writes Larry Gillick, “I pause to insert a quotation meant to stimulate, confuse, and accept. ‘There is not a woman in the world, the possession of whom, is as precious as that of the truths which she reveals to us by causing us to suffer.’”

Narrative tension is primarily about withholding information.  With a fear in the story.  When doubt was always the center of either mystery or faith, which moved THESE STORIES beyond the power of imagination. With all the fear in the story about money and women and suffering, if you get the small details wrong, you will get the big picture wrong affecting first your money, next your land and then your life.  When all along the goal of a good translator on a dead language – a lot like at a currency exchange in a land so foreign, or maybe a lot like in the ongoing family relationships after a divorce  – should be to promote quality services of its people reaching for some kind of union. About shared belief.

There was an unsettling fear associated with power, and trying to grasp greatness.  When you proved your greatness in a relationship.  And then in the world.  When your power grew out of relationship. 

Exploring relationship — like the currency in circulation — as further dislocation could conceivably lead to social unrest and geopolitical conflict.  Like what happened yesterday in Athens, with the fear in the story, if you dwelt nearby.

Piecing together broken fragments.  If you get the small details wrong, with the Fiat Monetary System, the big picture will be wrong too. The Central Banks of the world could inflate together, create a massive feudal system of peonage on a global scale and maintain both political and social controls over the various populations of the world without very much restrain or limitations.  The problem is that central bankers and governments appear to believe in the system which they created for these purposes. . . herding the population into neat, controllable groups for convenience, taxing and regulating to maintain their political controls…moving in Europe for an international paper unit that would fluctuate through an independent fiat monetary system around the world.  World wars are historically bred from economic hardship, from currency which a government has declared to be legal tender, despite the fact that it has no intrinsic value and is not backed by reserves.

In all of human history, no one has ever told a story without having some kind of agenda.  Our brains are wired for narrative. Piecing together fragments, to try to keep possession. With all the fear in the story about money and women, if you get the small details wrong, you will get the big picture wrong affecting first your money, next your land and then your life.  And I was such a coward about taking a chance.  Because there was an  insane volatility in equities, credit, commodities and currencies – and women. 

Rare events. The complex thing I can’t seem to know in this world. Not in five minutes or 45 minutes, in the Duomo Museum in Florence, after an extended discussion of the linguistics issue: power versus powerlessness. To miss the reality in the present, as the woman vote had determined the outcome of another election.  The anger of women at men, or at all the others who collaborated. Maybe a lot like what came out of the relationships after a divorce, when there is no emotional attachment connected to replication –or reproductions. When you no longer were possessed.

“When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one’s self; and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.”  -Oscar Wilde

Missing the black swan. There was something exciting within when you were involved in creating something or someone. You feel ashamed discussing the black swan in public, because black swans just did not happen in the real world. There also was an unsettling fear associated with the power of money and/or love.  

And at the center of all that drama – for Rashi goes to no little trouble to explain that it does indeed stand in the center – the mysterious and somehow moving symbol in the garden, a tree that represents, I have come to think, both the pleasure and the pain that comes from knowing things. -from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost

Could you identify the Post Traumatic stress which had come first out of the story of Adam and Eve, and then Noah, just as it had come out of the story of Cain. Feel the difference, listen for all of the wisdom which comes out of seeing other people’s layer by layer suffering, in the difference between those who want to remember with those who need to forget. We discover and peel away superstition, fantasies, ideas of grandeur, levels of confusion, of anger, of hate, in order to experience the people and the world around us – and my life in the world – as directly and clearly as possible.  But when more and more single people, even if they believed in resurrection, just wanted to avoid the suffering.  

“And every act that follows – light and dark, night and day, dry land and oceans, plants and animals, and finally man from dust – is described as an act of separation.”   -from Daniel Mendelsen’s The Lost

“… and God‘s spirit was hovering.”

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1 comment so far

  1. paperlessworld on

    Compare the “Catholic” translation of the Book of Genesis, which was embezzled in a way. And how exactly did Jerome become this expert translator in his PLACE of residence, compared to the antiquity of the Hebrew text?
    http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020915.cfm

    “Taken. Aviya Kushner was taken from the intimate world of her close reading of Hebrew Scriptures to a first-time encounter of the [Hebrew] Bible in English translation, at her Masters in Fine Arts studies at the Iowa Writing Program. Luckily, the dissonance that she encountered, [like a lack of harmony among musical notes] caused by translations, was met with understanding – nay happy encouragement – by her teacher, Marylynne Robinson. Their discussion led Aviya Kushner to write The Grammar of God over a period of many years. A poet and an exegete [textual interpreter or expounder], Kushner is particularly sensitive in her desire to show how through the centuries English translators struggle to open ancient text so revered to believers. Aviya Kushner reads the Hebrew in direct English interlinear translation, commenting on what the BARE substitution of English for Hebrew can never reveal. She then lists seriatim — five or more differing English translations of the same text — suggesting how each attempt tries to capture what the Hebrew says. All translators betray what they attempt to convey – this is a truism – as every reader comes to the scriptures with a history. With a philological study which is not barren, rather meditative and prayerful, Aviya Kushner has shaped The Grammar of God into a personal account of meeting an interpretive world which has had only fleeting resonance [in the quality in the sound of vibration] with the Hebrew [the deep, full, and reverberating Hebrew off a neighboring object] that she knew from her childhood.” — Edward Wheeler, November 16, 2015 in Commonweal

    Mostly what this new generation has lost is an editor, so the mistakes now are more obviously bare. And so the Lost Generation. And I offer some editing here to Mr. Wheeler.


    https://paperlessworld.wordpress.com/2009/09/20/the-sequel/

    Endless Paper for a paperless world.
    Unified Device Targeting. Wordstream.

    Religion Blogs

    So, with all of the discussed separateness, is the world less forgiving of a woman?


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