Eine Kleine Nach-Musik

Why is the translation of אִם-אֶשְׁכָּחֵךְ יְרוּשָׁלִָם– תִּשְׁכַּח יְמִינִי put as “let my right hand lose its cunning”?  When did the right hand and cunning become synonymous?  This is why translations are so complex.  We’re still stuck in the tower of Babel, aren’t we?

Or in other places, let my right hand wither.  It’s not that, either, it’s just that I don’t want to forget my right hand, at least that’s the simple meaning.

Ibn Ezra does say that it’s an ellipsis; it’s missing the object.  Yay for him and me, but still, how does it take on such a meaning?  Wow!  Radak say “it means the melody will be forgotten, since ‘hayamin‘ plays the kinor (violin, harp, whatever stringed instrument).  After all, it refers back to “How can we sing the song of HaShem on a strange land? (from the previous verse).”

Metzudat David already says “It is speaking in the name of the dispersed who will say “if I forget Jerusalem, then my right will forget its strength and its movement.”

So from there to here, we have a meaning, but still, how?

And, of course, I’m sinister about this because I am left-handed.

I just want to remember Yerushalayim.


One response

  1. Pingback: forgetting the right hand « But Mostly Hers

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