I have learned from tradition and I build on it, but sometimes I first tear it down. Because tradition produced the Holocaust, and such a result is unacceptable. We have lived in a difficult time. We can no longer assume we know truth when our truth produced such falsity. We are post-truth in that sense, but not as if there is no truth. Truth has great inertia.
Should a translation be explanation? Not at all. But we should not be comforted by everlasting arms, rather we should be terrified of our power, the power of our words that is yielded to us. In these days of that other post-truth, the days of false news and unmatched credulity, the words we write create their own reality.
This blessing has parallels with Genesis 49, what could be altogether a large study.
|וְזֹ֣את הַבְּרָכָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר בֵּרַ֥ךְ מֹשֶׁ֛ה אִ֥ישׁ הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל |
|1||And this is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel, |
in the face of his death.
|וַיֹּאמַ֗ר יְהוָ֞ה מִסִּינַ֥י בָּא֙ וְזָרַ֤ח מִשֵּׂעִיר֙ לָ֔מוֹ הוֹפִ֙יעַ֙ מֵהַ֣ר פָּארָ֔ן וְאָתָ֖ה מֵרִבְבֹ֣ת קֹ֑דֶשׁ |
מִֽימִינ֕וֹ אֵ֥שׁ דָּ֖ת לָֽמוֹ
|2||And he said, Yahweh from Sinai came, and rose from Seir for them. He shined from the hill of Paran. He arrived with ten thousands of the holy, |
from his right, a fiery dictate for them.
|אַ֚ף חֹבֵ֣ב עַמִּ֔ים כָּל־קְדֹשָׁ֖יו בְּיָדֶ֑ךָ |
וְהֵם֙ תֻּכּ֣וּ לְרַגְלֶ֔ךָ יִשָּׂ֖א מִדַּבְּרֹתֶֽיךָ
|3||Indeed he incarnates peoples. All his holy ones are in your hand, |
and they are in the midst at your feet. He bears from your words.
|תּוֹרָ֥ה צִוָּה־לָ֖נוּ מֹשֶׁ֑ה |
מוֹרָשָׁ֖ה קְהִלַּ֥ת יַעֲקֹֽב
|4||Instruction Moses commanded for us, |
a possession of the congregation of Jacob.
|וַיְהִ֥י בִישֻׁר֖וּן מֶ֑לֶךְ |
בְּהִתְאַסֵּף֙ רָ֣אשֵׁי עָ֔ם יַ֖חַד שִׁבְטֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
|5||And he was in Jeshurun, king, |
in the gathering of the heads of the people together with the sceptres of Israel.
|יְחִ֥י רְאוּבֵ֖ן וְאַל־יָמֹ֑ת |
וִיהִ֥י מְתָ֖יו מִסְפָּֽר
|6||May Reuben live and not die, |
and let his men be recorded.
|וְזֹ֣את לִֽיהוּדָה֮ וַיֹּאמַר֒ שְׁמַ֤ע יְהוָה֙ ק֣וֹל יְהוּדָ֔ה וְאֶל־עַמּ֖וֹ תְּבִיאֶ֑נּוּ |
יָדָיו֙ רָ֣ב ל֔וֹ וְעֵ֥זֶר מִצָּרָ֖יו תִּהְיֶֽה
|7||And this is for Judah: and he said, Hear, Yahweh, the voice of Judah, and to his people bring him, |
his hands abundant for him, and you be help from his foe.
|וּלְלֵוִ֣י אָמַ֔ר תֻּמֶּ֥יךָ וְאוּרֶ֖יךָ לְאִ֣ישׁ חֲסִידֶ֑ךָ |
אֲשֶׁ֤ר נִסִּיתוֹ֙ בְּמַסָּ֔ה תְּרִיבֵ֖הוּ עַל־מֵ֥י מְרִיבָֽה
|8||And to Levi say, Your completeness and your light to each within your mercy, |
whom you proved in the temptation, with whom you strove over the waters of Meribah.
|הָאֹמֵ֞ר לְאָבִ֤יו וּלְאִמּוֹ֙ לֹ֣א רְאִיתִ֔יו וְאֶת־אֶחָיו֙ לֹ֣א הִכִּ֔יר וְאֶת־בָּנָ֖יו לֹ֣א יָדָ֑ע |
כִּ֤י שָֽׁמְרוּ֙ אִמְרָתֶ֔ךָ וּבְרִֽיתְךָ֖ יִנְצֹֽרוּ
|9||Saying of his father and of his mother, I do not see him. And his kin, he did not recognize, and his children, he did not know, |
for they kept your promise and your covenant they observed.
|יוֹר֤וּ מִשְׁפָּטֶ֙יךָ֙ לְיַעֲקֹ֔ב וְתוֹרָתְךָ֖ לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל |
יָשִׂ֤ימוּ קְטוֹרָה֙ בְּאַפֶּ֔ךָ וְכָלִ֖יל עַֽל־מִזְבְּחֶֽךָ
|10||They will give instruction from your judgments to Jacob, and your instruction to Israel. |
They will put incense under your nose, and whole offering on your altar.
|בָּרֵ֤ךְ יְהוָה֙ חֵיל֔וֹ וּפֹ֥עַל יָדָ֖יו תִּרְצֶ֑ה |
מְחַ֨ץ מָתְנַ֧יִם קָמָ֛יו וּמְשַׂנְאָ֖יו מִן־יְקוּמֽוּן
|11||Bless, Yahweh, his ability, and the work of his hands accept. |
Wound the waist of those arising against him, and those hating him from their arising.
|לְבִנְיָמִ֣ן אָמַ֔ר יְדִ֣יד יְהֹוָ֔ה יִשְׁכֹּ֥ן לָבֶ֖טַח עָלָ֑יו |
חֹפֵ֤ף עָלָיו֙ כָּל־הַיּ֔וֹם וּבֵ֥ין כְּתֵיפָ֖יו שָׁכֵֽן
|12||Of Benjamin he said, The beloved of Yahweh will dwell in trust by him. |
Considered faultless by him every day, and between his shoulders he will dwell.
|וּלְיוֹסֵ֣ף אָמַ֔ר מְבֹרֶ֥כֶת יְהֹוָ֖ה אַרְצ֑וֹ |
מִמֶּ֤גֶד שָׁמַ֙יִם֙ מִטָּ֔ל וּמִתְּה֖וֹם רֹבֶ֥צֶת תָּֽחַת
|13||And of Joseph he said, From the blessing of Yahweh his land, |
from the quality of the heavens, from dew, and from the abyss reclining beneath,
|וּמִמֶּ֖גֶד תְּבוּאֹ֣ת שָׁ֑מֶשׁ |
וּמִמֶּ֖גֶד גֶּ֥רֶשׁ יְרָחִֽים
|14||From the quality of of the incoming of the sun and from the quality of the outcome of the moons.||3e||4B||9|
|וּמֵרֹ֖אשׁ הַרְרֵי־קֶ֑דֶם |
וּמִמֶּ֖גֶד גִּבְע֥וֹת עוֹלָֽם
|15||From the top of the mountains of old, |
and from the quality of the everlasting hillocks,
|וּמִמֶּ֗גֶד אֶ֚רֶץ וּמְלֹאָ֔הּ וּרְצ֥וֹן שֹׁכְנִ֖י סְנֶ֑ה |
תָּב֙וֹאתָה֙ לְרֹ֣אשׁ יוֹסֵ֔ף וּלְקָדְקֹ֖ד נְזִ֥יר אֶחָֽיו
|16||And from the quality of the earth and her fullness, and the bidding of those that dwell in the bush, |
let revenue be on the head of Joseph, and on the scalp of the Nazirite of his brothers.
|בְּכ֨וֹר שׁוֹר֜וֹ הָדָ֣ר ל֗וֹ וְקַרְנֵ֤י רְאֵם֙ קַרְנָ֔יו בָּהֶ֗ם עַמִּ֛ים יְנַגַּ֥ח יַחְדָּ֖ו אַפְסֵי־אָ֑רֶץ |
וְהֵם֙ רִבְב֣וֹת אֶפְרַ֔יִם וְהֵ֖ם אַלְפֵ֥י מְנַשֶּֽׁה
|17||The firstborn of his bulls is honour to him, and the horns of a wild bull are his horns. In them he will push back peoples as one, to the ends of the earth, |
and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.
|וְלִזְבוּלֻ֣ן אָמַ֔ר שְׂמַ֥ח זְבוּלֻ֖ן בְּצֵאתֶ֑ךָ |
|18||And of Zebulun he said, Be glad, Zebulun, when you go forth, |
and Issachar in your tents.
|עַמִּים֙ הַר־יִקְרָ֔אוּ שָׁ֖ם יִזְבְּח֣וּ זִבְחֵי־צֶ֑דֶק |
כִּ֣י שֶׁ֤פַע יַמִּים֙ יִינָ֔קוּ וּשְׂפוּנֵ֖י טְמ֥וּנֵי חֽוֹל
|19||The peoples of the hill they will call. There they offer offerings of righteousness, |
for the profusion of the seas they will suckle, and the mysteries buried in sand.
|וּלְגָ֣ד אָמַ֔ר בָּר֖וּךְ מַרְחִ֣יב גָּ֑ד |
כְּלָבִ֣יא שָׁכֵ֔ן וְטָרַ֥ף זְר֖וֹעַ אַף־קָדְקֹֽד
|20||And of Gad he said, Blessed be the one who broadens Gad. |
As a great cat he will dwell, and he tears an arm, indeed a scalp.
|וַיַּ֤רְא רֵאשִׁית֙ ל֔וֹ כִּי־שָׁ֛ם חֶלְקַ֥ת מְחֹקֵ֖ק סָפ֑וּן |
וַיֵּתֵא֙ רָ֣אשֵׁי עָ֔ם צִדְקַ֤ת יְהוָה֙ עָשָׂ֔ה וּמִשְׁפָּטָ֖יו עִם־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
|21||And he appeared first for himself, for there in the part of lawgiver boxed in, |
but he arrived with the heads of the people, doing the justice of Yahweh, and his judgments are with Israel.
|וּלְדָ֣ן אָמַ֔ר דָּ֖ן גּ֣וּר אַרְיֵ֑ה |
|22||And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion's whelp. |
He will bound from fruitful Bashan.
|וּלְנַפְתָּלִ֣י אָמַ֔ר נַפְתָּלִי֙ שְׂבַ֣ע רָצ֔וֹן וּמָלֵ֖א בִּרְכַּ֣ת יְהוָ֑ה |
יָ֥ם וְדָר֖וֹם יְרָֽשָׁה
|23||And of Naphtali he said, Naphtali, satisfied with acceptance, and full of the blessing of Yahweh, |
Sea and southern region, possess.
|וּלְאָשֵׁ֣ר אָמַ֔ר בָּר֥וּךְ מִבָּנִ֖ים אָשֵׁ֑ר |
יְהִ֤י רְצוּי֙ אֶחָ֔יו וְטֹבֵ֥ל בַּשֶּׁ֖מֶן רַגְלֽוֹ
|24||And for Asher he said, Blessed from children be Asher, |
and let him be acceptable to his kin and let him dip in oil his foot.
|בַּרְזֶ֥ל וּנְחֹ֖שֶׁת מִנְעָלֶ֑יךָ |
|25||Iron and brass your sandals, |
and as your days, your grit.
|אֵ֥ין כָּאֵ֖ל יְשֻׁר֑וּן |
רֹכֵ֤ב שָׁמַ֙יִם֙ בְעֶזְרֶ֔ךָ וּבְגַאֲוָת֖וֹ שְׁחָקִֽים
|26||There is none like the One of Jeshurun, |
riding heaven in your help, and in the pride of the skies.
|מְעֹנָה֙ אֱלֹ֣הֵי קֶ֔דֶם וּמִתַּ֖חַת זְרֹעֹ֣ת עוֹלָ֑ם |
וַיְגָ֧רֶשׁ מִפָּנֶ֛יךָ אוֹיֵ֖ב וַיֹּ֥אמֶר הַשְׁמֵֽד
|27||A habitation is my God of antiquity, and under are arms everlasting. |
And he will expel from your presence an enemy, and he will say, Exterminate.
|וַיִּשְׁכֹּן֩ יִשְׂרָאֵ֨ל בֶּ֤טַח בָּדָד֙ עֵ֣ין יַעֲקֹ֔ב אֶל־אֶ֖רֶץ דָּגָ֣ן וְתִיר֑וֹשׁ |
אַף־שָׁמָ֖יו יַֽעַרְפוּ טָֽל
|28||And Israel will dwell in unassisted trust, the spring of Jacob on a land of grain and new wine. |
Indeed, his heaven will seep dew.
|אַשְׁרֶ֨יךָ יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל מִ֣י כָמ֗וֹךָ עַ֚ם נוֹשַׁ֣ע בַּֽיהוָ֔ה מָגֵ֣ן עֶזְרֶ֔ךָ וַאֲשֶׁר־חֶ֖רֶב גַּאֲוָתֶ֑ךָ |
וְיִכָּֽחֲשׁ֤וּ אֹיְבֶ֙יךָ֙ לָ֔ךְ וְאַתָּ֖ה עַל־בָּמוֹתֵ֥ימוֹ תִדְרֹֽךְ
|29||Happy are you, Israel. Who is like you, a people victorious in Yahweh, the shield of your help, and who is the sword of your pride. |
And your enemies will be disowned for you, but you on their high places will tread.