Not doing well, am I? The last thing I wrote I never published. Okay, here are three kibbles to let you know there is still a heartbeat.
Yesterday, I attended the local synagogue and learned a couple of tidbits. Following the meeting, I sat near the rabbi and asked a couple of questions. As an offshoot, he talked about prayer.
The Hebrew word תְפַּלֵּל (pray; e.g., 1 Samuel 2:1) is a reflexive (“reflexive words show that the person who does the action is also the person who is affected by it”), imperfect (incomplete action) conjugation of the root word “judge.” The Rabbi’s interpretation is that prayer is about self judgement ( my words: discovering our unworthiness, pleading for redemption, and never finishing the job).
In the example text, Hannah prayed (past tense), whereas in Hebrew it is clearly imperfect (incomplete as in future tense). That would of course be bad English, but the good English rather misses the point. As a side note, I found that this Hebrew word is used 84 times in the OT. There are 371 translations to the word “prayed.” Most of the instances in the KJV of “pray” do not mean pray in Hebrew. So, you might ask, what word do these other “prays” come from (e.g., Exodus 34:9)? Well, in every case I looked at (about 30) they came from nowhere at all. They are simply not there in the Hebrew. It appears they were added to resolve a sentence structure that simply doesn’t translate.The NT seems a little better, but there are still a large number of instances where a different word (request, beseech, invoke) when clearly not a prayer might have been a better choice.
I was surprised to hear myself bearing testimony today and juxtaposing the last week of the Savior’s life with the events taking place in parallel. While I have known this, I never really thought about the ironies. For example, I imagine the sacrificial lamb on display in the temple for all to come and inspect. Now, further imagine that The Sacrificial Lamb is glancing over to see people inspecting the sacrificial lamb while He is going through a form of inquisition from the Jewish leaders.
Similarly, I never thought of the multitude of sacrifices going on in the temple simultaneous to The Sacrifice taking place elsewhere.
There are so many other things I have missed: Christ throwing the money changers coins onto the temple floor and Judas throwing the blood money onto (the temple?) floor; the various anointments taking place as part of the Passover and The Anointment the Savior receives at the hand of Miriam; the priests changing their garments and The Savior; the kiddish and The Last Supper; etc; etc; etc.
I feel a bit lame.
Did you know that the Jews paid tithing for local support AND tithing for the support of the temple AND more yet if they wanted to redeem at 120% (see Leviticus 27:13) a required gift (e.g., first born sheep that is not clean; Lev 27:26-27) and… and… (see more in Lev 27)? This is in addition to leaving the corners of the fields for the poor and needy along with not gleaning. And we feel so good about ourselves giving 10% of our… wait, is that gross, or net, or something else?