Monday, May 27, 2013

Ye shall kindle no fire...


One of the most interesting and greatly misunderstood verses is the verse of Exodus 35:3. Let's take a look:

‎3 ‏לֹא־תְבַעֲר֣וּ אֵ֔שׁ בְּכֹ֖ל מֹשְׁבֹֽתֵיכֶ֑ם בְּי֖וֹם הַשַּׁבָּֽת׃ פ
3 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.

As you can see, most translation translate the expression "תבערו" (tevaaru) as "you shall kindle". However, this is a grossly incorrect translation due to the traditionalistic approaches when translating the text. In reality, what the text really says is this:

3 Do not eradicate fire in any of your dwellings on the day of rest.

As you can see, this particular verse uses double negative to relay the meaning of the text. Most likely, such translation has come to us from the Jewish tradition where it is forbidden to the Jews (orthodox Jews) to light the fire on the Shabbat. Talmudic roots, basically. However, comparative analysis of the text, particularly the verses Exodus 3:2-3, would instantly reveal what I have already stated above. Thus, the common translations of this verse are GROSSLY incorrect.

Correct translation of the word "תבערו" (tevaaru) can be found in Deuteronomy 13:5, 17:7, 17:12, 19:13, 19:19, 21:9, 21:21, 22:21, 22:22, 22:24.

The proposed translation can be justified by other verses of the Pentateuch, particularly Leviticus 24:2 and Leviticus 6:13. From these verses you can most certainly say that  both the Menorah and the Altar of Burnt Offering of the Tabernacle were to be lit constantly. This by itself already supports my translation and invalidates the traditional ones.

Also, the Day of Rest (Shabbat) is both the Holy Day and the holiday (Genesis 2:3). Even if you celebrate it on Sunday or Friday - does not matter. What matters is that the Day of Rest is the Day of the Lord. This day is the Day of Light, Day of Warmth, Day of Plenty (Exodus 25:30). God most certainly would not intend for us to go through any inconveniences being without a fire or light or food. Thus, the traditional translation is incorrect for this reason also.

So as you can see, it can be extremely difficult to translate the text as such occurrences are not uncommon in the Pentateuch and each such verse requires a very diligent investigation and careful review.

Popular Posts

Blog Archive