Truth and death (a question about Hebrew).

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Ben C. Smith
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Truth and death (a question about Hebrew).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:22 am

Some medieval Jewish legends of the golem have it that the creature is animated by writing אמת on its forehead and deactivated by erasing the aleph, leaving only מת. I know that the first word means "truth" in ancient Hebrew, and the second is said to mean "dead" or "death" in the sources I can find on the topic. However, in the classical Hebrew I am (at least somewhat) familiar with, "death" would be מות, with a waw/vav in the middle. Google Translate renders the English adjective "dead" as מֵת in modern Hebrew.

So would someone on this forum be able to comment on the form מת in the golem legend? Does it mean "dead" or "death" (or both) in medieval Hebrew? If the form changed in between ancient Hebrew and modern Hebrew, when did it do so?

Thanks in advance.
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semiopen
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Re: Truth and death (a question about Hebrew).

Post by semiopen » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:49 am

Since I've actually purchased a Golem T-shirt at the Old_New_Synagogue in Prague, perhaps I'm qualified to comment.

The legends are pretty stupid, but the absence of the vav doesn't strike me as being important, as this is not considered a serious spelling deficiency even in sacred texts.
It is said that the body of Golem (created by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel) lies in the attic where the genizah of Prague's community is kept.[7] A legend is told of a Nazi agent during World War II broaching the genizah, but who perished instead.[8] In the event, the Gestapo apparently did not enter the attic during the war, and the building was spared during the Nazis' destruction of synagogues.[7] The lowest three meters of the stairs leading to the attic from the outside have been removed and the attic is not open to the general public. Renovation in 1883 and exploration of the attic in August 2014 found no trace of a golem.[9]
I was initially quite surprised to find that my Rabbi actually believed that Loew created a Golem.

http://www.jta.org/2009/05/07/life-reli ... ues-closet
Born in the Polish city of Poznan circa 1517, Loew was a brilliant and unconventional scholar whose prolific writings on Jewish philosophy and Jewish mysticism are still studied today. He wrote some 27 books, was an inspiration for the founders of Chasidism and is an ancestor of the late Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
http://www.vosizneias.com/31522/2009/05 ... 99s-golem/
Milhouse Says:
“ R Sholom Ber did not say so. R Yosef Yitzchok said he saw it. We can accept that he saw SOMETHING; how he knew exactly what it was, I don't know. ”

If i'm not mistaken the story goes like this:
R Yosef Yitzchak schneersohn was in Prague and went up to the attic, when he came back to his father R Sholom Dovber Schneersohn, his father told him that it took alot to fix what he did, and R Y.Y. Schneersohn never told anybody else what he saw in the attic.
I think I read somewhere that this story originated with the daughter of Yosef_Yitzchak_Schneersohn

http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-le ... ews-003067
There are several ways, however, to bring a golem to life. In one version, for example, a golem may be brought to life if its creator were to walk or dance around it whilst saying a combination of letters from the Hebrew alphabet and the secret name of God. In another version, the letters aleph, mem, and tav (these letters combine to form the word emet, meaning ‘truth’) are required to be written on a golem’s forehead in order to give it life. A third way of bringing a golem to life is to write the name of God on a parchment, and stick it into its arm or mouth.
The erasing the aleph of emet to get mot is just an elegant way of deactivating the Golem. assuming the forehead writing technique actually works.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Truth and death (a question about Hebrew).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:42 pm

Thanks for that, semiopen. Much appreciated.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Truth and death (a question about Hebrew).

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:01 pm

Aramaic mt = dead, corpse
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Secret Alias
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Re: Truth and death (a question about Hebrew).

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:04 pm

And for what it is worth amet = truth but clearly the Marcosians who exhibit familiar with Hebrew/Aramaic in other things understand that being who Marcus sees coming down from heaven as being not only truth but 'the alpha and the omega' which is epitomized (in mystical literature) by amet viz. 'alef-tau'
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: Truth and death (a question about Hebrew).

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:06 pm

Also for what it is worth both vav and the episemon symbolize 'life' or salvation in some form. On the Aramaic spelling of dead - http://cal.huc.edu/showjastrow.php?page=859
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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