Allegorical Nonsense

An allegory. Nonsense. Put them together. Okay, not really.

Friday, November 10, 2006

ושיניתם לבביך

A change of heart is sorely needed.

Today, my fiancee and I attended the amended and contracted Gay Pride March. Well, it was originally a march. As a result of fears and negotiations and security concerns and all the rest of it, it was turned into a static event in an enclosed stadium surrounded on all sides with a wide and sweeping police presence.

The event, itself, was wonderful. It was a pleasure to see so many people who were not prepared to be intimidated, who were prepared to take the risk, and come together to stand up for themselves, their friends or family members, their partners. The drag queen comperes were also funny.

But what was incredible was that the only form of provocation that I could see was of the intellectual and emotional kind.

People seem to have the view that gay & lesbian people are ipso facto naked paedophile nymphomaniacs, who would walk down the main street of Mea Shearim humping haredi children and animals, to the tune of Dana International's Viva La Diva, if they could. It turns out that in practice, the Israeli Gay & Lesbian community are, on the whole, responsible and sympathetic to the sensitivities of other minority groups (of which haredim still are one or more) - and are, moreover, non-violent - and are more interested in having people stop trying to harm them than really anything else.

For me, this was the reason it was important that the March occur in Jerusalem, and this was the reason it was important for me to be there. It is impossible that Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish State, will turn into a hub of theocracy and intolerance. It is impossible that with the Jewish People's experience of vilification and persecution, we will allow minorities to be vilified and persecuted in our midst. Clearly it happens, and more often than we would like to believe. But not on my watch.

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At 3:29 AM, Blogger Simon Holloway said...

Forgive me. I did think that what you wrote was very interesting (and I completely agreed with what you had to say) but there is an issue of more pressing comment-related urgency:

Is שניתם לבביך viable Israeli Hebrew? The pronominal suffix on the end of the verb is known as the anticipatory suffix. Literally it means, "And you should change them, your hearts". Standard Biblical Hebrew would either drop the suffix or make the direct object an implied one. Later Aramaic (Syriac is famous for it) actually has a predisposition for the anticipatory suffix, and it ends up popping up here in there in so-called Late Biblical Hebrew texts as well.

Just curious: I didn't know whether or not you left the suffix because it makes sense or just to retain the pun with the original. Back to work!

At 10:29 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

What do you mean by Standard Biblical Hebrew dropping the suffix or making the direct object implied? שיני לבבך or [...] שיניתם ??? I don't get it ... I just wanted a pun ...

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Simon Holloway said...

I understand: you're reading ושניתם as a second person masculine plural. The original ושיננתם was a second person masculine singular verb, the ם on the end of it (with a qamats) indicating the 3rd person plural object: "You shall teach them to your children"

Perhaps you intended ושניתם לבביך, with a seghol before the ם? That would make the verb a 2nd person masculine plural, and the noun the only direct object. I read it vocalised as the original was, with a qamats before the ם, making the actual verb ושנית + objectival suffix (where the objectival suffix stands in for the object that is also mentioned explicitly).


In other news, the only reason that I kept dropping the yodh from between the shin and the nun was because I was putting the verb in the Qal. What you're doing probably makes more sense because the original form (ושיננתם) was a Piel.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

I'm with you.

What does it mean to put a verb in the Qal? Sounds like something I would do at the laundromat ...

At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Simon Holloway said...

There are seven main verbal stems in Hebrew, as you know. "Qal" is simply the regular stem with the basic meaning (also known as the "Pa'al" after what it looks like in the 3rd person masculine singular perfective).ושיננתם is a Pi'el, which normally has a fientive meaning (ie: causing a particular state of being), but is often thought of (simplistically) as just being intensive. I put ושנית into the Qal because it means the same thing, but ושינית does preserve the pun better. So good for you.

At 12:25 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

Oh, for the days when you used to ask me the linguistics questions ...


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