Thursday, April 10, 2008

Interesting Biblical Fact of the Day

torah 1 by rubberpaw I've been taking a Midrash class at VTS, a class which is essentially about how people take sections of the bible and find meaning or retell the stories adding in their own content "between the lines".  It's incredibly fascinating, my best class so far (out of three, I guess that doesn't say much) which is taught by a local Rabbi.  If you're looking for a class to help you get your head around the Old Testament, and even a basic lens to read the bible by, ,this is it.

I mentioned Midrash at our high school bible study last night and one of the questions were, why would someone do that?  why does someone need to interpret the bible and add to it, it's pretty clear already, right?

Here's my interesting bible fact (and really it's a couple).  We all know that the original Hebrew bible doesn't have punctuation and such (at least, we all do now, right).  There is also none of the section headings describing what is coming up.  Like that heading, "The Story of Abraham", not in the original text.  But the really interesting part?

There are also no spaces in the original Hebrew.

iaginewhatthatmustlooklikeforjustasecondkindofcunfusingrightitsureisforme (Imagine what that must look like for just a second.  Kind of confusing right?  It sure is for me.)

Torah 2 by rubberpaw And yet another interesting fact I learned last week?  Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet is also a number.  Kind of like those crazy Romans with their I, II, III, IV, except more confusing to look at.

So, when you have no spaces, and suddenly each letter could also be a number, it's no wonder there's confusion.  Heck, it's no wonder we have so many different versions of the bible, and all of them are "correct".

I continue to find this fascinating, and I'm glad to pass it along.


* An interesting note.  The photos of the Torah above, by rubberpaw on flickr, are found at the Masonic Village, in Elizabethtown, PA, USA, was rescued from a burning synagogue during the oppression of the Jews in Nazi Germany. I understand it to have been a near victim of the German's brutal pogrom, the Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass.

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