Friday, November 18, 2005

Shemot: Sadaam Follows in the Pharaoh's Path

Pharaoh, when faced with a demand to release the Israelites for a festival {Shemot 5:1-2}:
א וְאַחַר, בָּאוּ מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן, וַיֹּאמְרוּ, אֶל-פַּרְעֹה: כֹּה-אָמַר ה, אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, שַׁלַּח אֶת-עַמִּי, וְיָחֹגּוּ לִי בַּמִּדְבָּר. 1 And afterward Moses and Aaron came, and said unto Pharaoh: 'Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel: Let My people go, that they may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness.'
ב וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה--מִי ה אֲשֶׁר אֶשְׁמַע בְּקֹלוֹ, לְשַׁלַּח אֶת-יִשְׂרָאֵל: לֹא יָדַעְתִּי אֶת-ה, וְגַם אֶת-יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא אֲשַׁלֵּחַ. 2 And Pharaoh said: 'Who is the LORD, that I should hearken unto His voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, and moreover I will not let Israel go.'
together with the well-known midrash which elaborated upon Pharaoh's statement.

Sadaam, at his trial, when accused of destroying two shrines (from the Telegraph):

Asked whether the shrines of the Imams Hussein and Abbas in the city had been attacked by Iraqi forces, Saddam at first pretended not to know the two holy figures of Shia Islam.

But he then said: "Who do you mean? Those manayich [buggers]?" According to the Iraqi lawyer, two of the court's clerks who had been taking notes then lunged at the former dictator and started to punch him.

Saddam fought back until the judge succeeded in restoring order, but not before the ex-dictator's head was bruised. US guards posted outside the makeshift courthouse in Baghdad found the incident amusing and did not intervene, the lawyer claimed.

I am unsure what manayich means. This is from the Telegraph, so they presumably are giving the British lang equivalent. It appears seems to be vulgar slang for "Sodomite" (=homosexual) {Update: thus making it relevant for this week's parsha, Vayera} {Update 2: and of course I should have mentioned how appropriate it is that it is someone named Sodom who leveled this allegation ;) }, though could also mean "disreputable person." Presumably the first was intended. Interestingly, the word comes from Middle English bougre, "heretic."

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