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Ecclesiastes 12:1

Discussion in 'Judaism DIR' started by Jayhawker Soule, Oct 1, 2020.

  1. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    So, I was reading through the Ecclesiastes/Qohelet online and I came to verse 12.1:

    וּזְכֹר֙ אֶת־בּ֣וֹרְאֶ֔יךָ בִּימֵ֖י בְּחוּרֹתֶ֑יךָ עַ֣ד אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹא־יָבֹ֙אוּ֙ יְמֵ֣י הָֽרָעָ֔ה וְהִגִּ֣יעוּ שָׁנִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֣ר תֹּאמַ֔ר אֵֽין־לִ֥י בָהֶ֖ם חֵֽפֶץ׃
    So appreciate your vigor in the days of your youth, before those days of sorrow come and those years arrive of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”;​

    The translation shown above is from the JPS.

    Most translations offer something akin to:

    Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth ...

    with Robert Alter having:

    And recall your Creator in the days of your prime ...

    So, what's with "vigor"? Any thoughts on why the JPS chose this atypical translation?
     
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  2. LAGoff

    LAGoff Member

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    How 'z'khor' and 'boray' are translated by JPS is a head scratcher to me. It doesn't surprise me though. I love JPS's modern translation only because it's easy to read and flows for the modern 'rock and roller'. But I take it's translations with a grain of salt (thank God I know Tanakh Hebrew)
    I actually have always kept this verse (the traditional translation) close to my heart and mind. (actually, the thought of this verse extends 'till around verse 8)
    Basically, verses 1-8 tell me that it takes a lot to truly understand Hashem and His Revelation to us (Tanakh); so there is nothing more important than searching for the real meaning of Tanakh; and this search takes a long time; so get on it! because life -- young man -- is going to come at you with both barrels and My Revelation is the only thing that...
    You can ask about this here: Virtual Yeshiva Discussion Forums - Hebrew Language Education
    I'd like to know. If you don't ask, I will (soon)
     
    #2 LAGoff, Oct 1, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
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  3. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    How would you define "Tanakh Hebrew" and how did you come to know it?
     
  4. LAGoff

    LAGoff Member

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    I went to a Hebrew school from 1st to 6th grade; so I learned how to read and write Hebrew (but not understand it). It's taken me about 30 years of self study (I'm 58) of Tanakh to get to where I can push back at someone's translation.
    Languages don't come easy to me. If someone spoke ancient ('Tanakh') Hebrew (or modern Hebrew) to me, I wouldn't understand a word. But on a page of Tanakh I can usually understand by finding the root of the word and intuiting the context.
    I thank God for my early start on this.
     
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  5. rosends

    rosends Well-Known Member

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    The Nachal Eshkol seems to say that it means "remember when you were young" refers to days when one was strong enough to battle the yetzer hara.
    בתחילת ימי האדם יתגבר על יצרו נצחו ליצר הרע וז"ש וזכור את בוראיך
     
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  6. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    To be perfectly honest, I don't see how.
     
  7. rosends

    rosends Well-Known Member

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    Other commentators allude to the quality of the young days (Rashi quotes the mishna which looks at the word bor'echa in 3 ways, including God, but none fits here). The Taalumot Chochma explains the younger says as "קודם שיבאו היסורין עליך".

    I'd be curious about how a variety of other translations have it (check out the parallels in bible hub I guess). I think "vigor" is more than a stretch -- I'm just trying to grasp at straws.
     
  8. LAGoff

    LAGoff Member

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    There's a JPS Bible Commentary that goes into this a little. See here (last post): Interlinear question about Ecc.12:1..."Creator" plural or singular? - Logos Bible Software Forums
    The relevant passage from this commentary is:

    "12:1 appreciate your vigor Hebrew zekhor ʾet borʾeykha; its plain sense is “remember your Creator.” NJPS instead identifies borʾeykha with a rabbinic word bori, meaning “health” or “vigor.” Many other commentators have likewise felt that “remember your Creator” is too pietistic to suit Koheleth, and they also wonder how remembering God would be relevant to the exhortation to enjoy life. Nevertheless, the advice “remember your Creator” fits well in the passage, echoing and reinforcing the cautionary note in 11:9b (“but know well that God will call you to account for all such things”). Both sentences counterbalance the advice to enjoy life with an admonition to remember that God is watching over your acts.
    Rabbi Akiva saw a triple meaning in the word borʾeykha, reading it as beʾerka, “your well” (semen); boreka, “your pit” (the grave); and borʾeykha, “your Creator” (God) (Lev. R.18.1)."

    Remember, that when 'we' say JPS, 'we' mean (at least in regards to this), the 1984 version (aka NJPS). The original JPS (1917) has the traditional translation.
    The NJPS ('appreciate your vigor' translation) has a note below the text that says: "a Cf. postbiblical bori; others, "Remember thy Creator.""
    I suppose if one knows this period's Hebrew (100 BCE to 600 CE?), they could chime in. So a Talmud[-era] scholar would be the best one to ask. After he gives you an answer about 'postbilical bori', he might say Kohelet was written by Shlomo so why would you want to know what postbiblical Hebrew says?
     
    #8 LAGoff, Oct 1, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
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  9. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Almost all of them have something akin to "remember your Creator," including the New English Translation of the Septuagint. I'm tempted to pick up the JPS Bible Commentary: Ecclesiastes, but I have too much on my shelf already -- literally and figuratively.
     
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  10. RabbiO

    RabbiO הרב יונה בן זכריה

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    But then you’ll miss Rabbi Fox’s comment on pages 77-78 about the verse’s translation.
     
  11. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    It looks like the JPS might have been coming from the word בריא similar to Gen. 41:2.
     
  12. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Yep. To be perfectly honest, I'd be more interested in his support of 'vanity' (as rendered by the KJV) in verse 1:2.
     
    #12 Jayhawker Soule, Oct 1, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
  13. Jake1001

    Jake1001 Computer Simulator

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    Thank you @Jaybo for this inspiring Tanach piece.
    In my humble view, the more important section is the second part of the phrase, “and those years arrive..I have no pleasure in them”. Why doesn’t the scribe, presumably Ezra, have pleasure in his later years ? Is it perhaps due to loss of sexual vigor ? I would like to hear Big R view of this ? Hint: it relates to making love through the bed sheet.
     
    #13 Jake1001, Oct 2, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
  14. RabbiO

    RabbiO הרב יונה בן זכריה

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    If you believe the completely false notion that Jews, Orthodox or otherwise, make love through a hole in a bedsheet, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d love to sell you.
     
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  15. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Wow, that was disorienting!

    You were apparently responding to a post authored by someone on my ignore-list and, therefore, a post that I did not see. It looked very much like you were reacting to my post #13 (which would suggest that you were hitting the Kedem wine far too early in the morning).
     
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  16. RabbiO

    RabbiO הרב יונה בן זכריה

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    The rabbi never drinks before it is noon somewhere in the world.
     
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  17. Jake1001

    Jake1001 Computer Simulator

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    Thank you, Big R, in fact I was just fact checking @Jay’s OP. We all know they do it under Kosher Rabbi certification
     
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