Friday, March 02, 2007

When Midrash becomes Rabbinic homiletic literature and Goyim remain least to a newspaper

On 2/26 Matthew Wagner wrote this article for the Jerusalem Post, about an effort being spearheaded by one Yitzhak Batzri to get 10,000 children to pray about Ahmenadijad.

In quoting Batzri, who almost certainly said the quote in Hebrew, it said:

"Rabbinic homiletic literature tells the story of how Mordechai the Jew got 10,000 little children to wear sackcloth and ashes and pray that God would foil Haman's diabolical plans," Yitzhak Batzri said. "Their prayers prevented a calamity. My father hopes to do the same against Ahmadinejad."

The very next day, 2/27, Wagner wrote this story, about an American pastor who heard of this story and thought "Why not try to get 6 million kids to pray for Israel?," and is speaheading that effort. That days' Batzri quote:

"Hopefully, it will awaken the entire world to the Iranian threat," said Batzri. "If the goyim have come to the realization that we are in danger, maybe the Jews in the Diaspora will finally wake up."

Now, obviously Batzri was speaking in Hebrew and someone at J Post, probably Wagner translated. So, why does "midrash" or "aggadah" become "Rabbinic homiletic literature" but "goyim" doesn't become "gentiles" or "non-Jews?"

There is a lot you can learn about newspapers and people by the way they handle translation issues. Although I obviously suspect that words are being put into Batzri's mouth, since he didn't say "If the goyim..." as it reads in English anymore than he said "Rabbinic homiletic literature," I'm not 100% sure how to interpret this, but I'm putting it out there.

Hat-tip: Enigma4U

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