Thursday, August 02, 2007

Haftarat Ekev: Poetic Biblical Parallelism in the Divine Names

The haftara of Ekev is from Yeshaya 49.

יד וַתֹּאמֶר צִיּוֹן, עֲזָבַנִי יְהוָה; וַאדֹנָי, שְׁכֵחָנִי. 14 But Zion said: 'The LORD hath forsaken me, and the Lord hath forgotten me.'
טו הֲתִשְׁכַּח אִשָּׁה עוּלָהּ, מֵרַחֵם בֶּן-בִּטְנָהּ; גַּם-אֵלֶּה תִשְׁכַּחְנָה, וְאָנֹכִי לֹא אֶשְׁכָּחֵךְ. 15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, these may forget, yet will not I forget thee.
The entire section is Biblical poetry, in which the first part of the verse is echoed by the second half. Usually, each word finds its partner in the second half. Thus forsaken becomes forgotten.

In this case, in pasuk 14, we have YKVK in the first half, and Adonai in the second half. Of course, as a result of a krei and ketiv which applies throughout all of Tanach, when laining it, we pronounce both the same. But, for the parallelism to work, the Navi must have said YKVK in delivering his prophecy, and perhaps before this krei was instituted, so did some readers.

Meanwhile, JPS uses an interesting convention to distinguish the two, which comes across when they are in opposition like this. LORD is YKVK, while lowercase Lord is Adonai.

1 comment:

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

i remember asking a Tanakh teacher in high school if when Bo‘az greeted his workers with Yhvh ‘imakhem, if he actually pronounced the name or not. The teacher didn't quite get what i was asking, unfortunately.


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