blogitto ergo sum

July 13, 2008

#135 – My Name is NOT Earl, Gail or Yale

Filed under: Uncategorized — yael [ya-el] wagner @ 15:53
Tags: , ,

“Lost in translation” is a fact of life. It’s true for jokes, morals, stories. . . and to names. Since my parents were careful not to give any of us horrible, begging for teasing names, I never thought much about it. I knew its meaning, where it comes from, the animal called this name, and that was it. As long as I lived in Israel.

Psalms 104:18 - The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the conies.

Imagine you, a native English speaker, moving to a country that speaks a language that has not “w”. Your name, BTW, is William, nickname Willie. Now everyone calls you Villie or Villiam. Or, further cutting it short, they call you Vill, but to your ears it sounds like Veal. Nice, ha? You are Veal from Vashington. How would you like your steak?

yael, Judean Desert

yael, Judean Desert

The English language, rich as it is, has its own limitation too. My name calls out one. “AE” put together are not a common sound, and I end up with listening to creative ways of pronouncing it or even more creative workarounds to avoid saying it. All in good intention, all much appreciated.

It’s important to note however, that a desert goat was not what my parents had on their mind.

And the Torah says:

Judges 4:15-23 (21st Century King James Version)

15And the LORD discomfited Sisera and all his chariots and all his host with the edge of the sword before Barak, so that Sisera alighted down off his chariot and fled away on his feet. 16But Barak pursued after the chariots and after the host unto Harosheth of the Gentiles; and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword, and there was not a man left.

17However Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, “Turn in, my lord, turn in to me. Fear not.” And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle. 19And he said unto her, “Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty.” And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him. 20Again he said unto her, “Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and inquire of thee and say, `Is there any man here?’ that thou shalt say, `No.'”

Yael, delivering Sisera to a world of Goodness

Yael, delivering Sisera to a world of Goodness

21Then Jael, Heber’s wife, took a nail of the tent and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground; for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

22And behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him and said unto him, “Come, and I will show thee the man whom thou seekest.” And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples. 23So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel.

A little on the gory side, but those were the days. Don’t know how “yael” became “Jael”; lost in translation, I guess.

My solution? A new ringtone that may help the listener practice. If only I figured out how to load an audio file.


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