Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 4:1-4

Genesis 4:1-4
Ready to pick up the pace some more?
א וְהָאָדָם יָדַע אֶת־חַוָּה אִשְׁתּוֹ וַתַּהַר וַתֵּלֶד אֶת־קַיִן וַתֹּאמֶר קָנִיתִי אִישׁ אֶת־יְהוָֹה:
ב וַתֹּסֶף לָלֶדֶת אֶת־אָחִיו אֶת־הָבֶל וַיְהִי־הֶבֶל רֹעֵה צֹאן וְקַיִן הָיָה עֹבֵד אֲדָמָה:
ג וַיְהִי מִקֵּץ יָמִים וַיָּבֵא קַיִן מִפְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה מִנְחָה לַיהוָֹה:
ד וְהֶבֶל הֵבִיא גַם־הוּא מִבְּכֹרוֹת צֹאנוֹ וּמֵחֶלְבֵהֶן וַיִּשַׁע יְהֹוָה אֶל־הֶבֶל וְאֶל־מִנְחָתוֹ:
Translation:     The man had known Chavvah his wife and she got pregnant and birthed Qain and she said I have acquired a man with ****.
She added birthing his brother, Hevel, and Hevel was a herder of sheep and Qain was a worker of the earth.
It turned out at the end of days, Qain brought from the fruit of the ground a minchah to ****.
Heveh brought, he too, from the firstlings of his sheep and their chelev and **** turned to Hevel and his minchah.
I’m putting the vocabulary at the end of this lesson because most of it is uncommon and I want you to focus on some language issues.
First, remember that the past tense can be used in the sense of a pluperfect.  So when it says Adam “knew” Chavvah, and it’s in the past tense, this can either mean something truly ancient, or it can mean that one thing happened before another.  One interpretation of this verse is that Adam and Chavvah were physically married in Gan Eden, and Qain and Hevel were born there.  I discuss this issue on the Fact-Checking page.
Second, the word minchah had two meanings to the ancient Jews.  One was an offering of grain products which was not only perfectly acceptable, it was also required as part of the two daily sacrifices.  Usually that part of the service was reached in late afternoon and so there is a special service in a Jewish prayerbook called Minchah which is recited in late afternoon.  This sets up the tragedy.
Third, I didn’t translate chelev.  The usual translation of chelev is “fat,” but that doesn’t cut it the same way “firmament” isn’t equivalent to raqia and “work” isn’t equivalent to melakhah.
Chelev is the fat covering the kidneys and other abdominal organs that must be sacrificed to ****.  It is prohibited to Jews for food.  Jews can eat the fat between the muscles; Talmud gives the technical name for that fat as shuman.  If Jews were prohibited to eat all fat, they never could have eaten schmaltz which is chicken fat rendered out of the skin, and gribenes, cracklings made from the skin of the Chanukah goose, would never have been listed in a very old Jewish cookbook that I have.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
                                                                                                    Get pregnant
Birth (v)
I have acquired
Dressed them
At the end
Grain offering and by extension late afternoon prayer service
Firstlings of animals
Their chelev
Turn to
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

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