Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More unorthodox exegisis

You want to see foreign languages being used for holy purposes, go to BT MK 28a, by which I mean, of course, Mo'ed Katan daf chaf chet amud aleph. I can't point you to the place on the page because I don't have the printed sha"s in front of me, but the words you're looking for (sorry, you need Hebrew) begin תנו רבנן: מת פתאום זו היא מיתה חטופה.

What you'll see is our old friend, Rabbi Yishmoel, once again attempting to win a Talmudic argument by relying on a Greek homonym. It's the same homonym he used on BT Sanh 76b; again he says that we can learn Torah lessons from the fact that the Hebrew word הן sounds like the Greek word for "one."

This, you understand, is rather like saying that Torah lessons can be learned from the fact that the Hebrew for fish corresponds with the English word "dog." Would any of you try that? Perhaps Rabbi Yishmoel would approve...

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