Sunday, February 28, 2021

Masks- A Linguistic Purim Spiel, Story, Dvar Torah

Bemasked and Bewigged Purim 5781

I was rather surprised and even flattered when a neighbor asked me to prepare something to say about "Masks" for the Old Fogeys' Purim Party. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure if I was supposed to be serious, theological or humorous, but I figured that if I asked too many questions, I'd lose the gig.

My mind began racing in all different directions in two languages. Actually, I was thinking in English and translating into Hebrew almost simultaneously. The talk was to be in Hebrew, even though my brain's wiring is primarily English. 

One shouldn't forget that according to some expert linguists, Hebrew is the root/source of all languages. If that's really true, then thinking in English is sort of like thinking in Hebrew. 

Every once in awhile the similarities between English and Hebrew words strike me like a bolt of lightening. When I'm on the Jerusalem Lightrail in Pisgat Zeev I hear:

"פסגת זאב מרכז"

"Pisgat Zeev Merkaz*"

"Pisgat Zeev Market"

Until the lightrail announcement, I had never noticed the similarity between merkaz and market. Remember that markets are in town centers...

Back to masks...

...The job of a mask is to mask is to hide...

OOPS! A mask is a מסכה masecha, but to mask or to hide is להסתיר lihas'tir which unrelated linguistically to מסכה masecha. which has the same root as סוכה succah, which gives us protection. 

By thinking/planning in English I was making no sense in Hebrew. And davka me, who gets all riled up at bad translations causing even theological mistakes. For example a Biblical Prophet, Navi נביא is not a fortune or future teller. He or she is a messenger, a tool Gd uses to pass important warnings to the Jewish People. Because it's always translated into "prophet" meaning teller of the future, now even Hebrew speakers think that the role of a Navi is tell the future.

Mask does sound very much like masecha. Maybe they are related...

Then it hit me! Such siyate d'Shmaya, such irony, too! During this past year masks have been a tool for protection against the COVID corona virus! No longer do we primarily think of a bank robber in a mask. Now we wear masks to stay healthy and keep others healthy. It's for protection, not hiding. 

Hebrew really is the root of all languages.

Stay safe, and wear your mask in public or when with other people.



Sassy Smith said...

Herbew is an old language. there is no doubt about that. but what happened with the mask i am curious about that (lol).

Batya said...

The root for the Hebrew "masecha" mask means protect. Now that people wear masks for protection, not hiding, it's the same meaning.

Anonymous said...

How can masks be helpful?

You wrote: protection against the COVID corona virus!

If that be true, then why the vaccine?

On the contrary i think that masks prevent one from staying healthy as you are breathing in your own stale breath, and not the Gd given fresh air that all living creatures need. Animals and birds fly around without masks.
This is all so strange, masks that we are forced to use. No, they are not healthy. If they were, then why does one keep reading about different forms of this virus emerging.
I am no doctor, just a curious being who thinks.
You might be right. Then many others who say and i agree with them, that masks are not anything to prevent us from this blown out 'virus', its deceptive, and its a sort of game being played out.
Then again i could be wrong, but perhaps i am right too. Soon, B'H, may Mashiach come and then we will know the truth.

Oh, forgive if what i say now might be a sin. Wondering would the Mashicah come wearing a mask? Have i erred in saying this?

Batya said...

Masks keep out dust, pollution and viruses. Masks should be laundered or disposed of. Medical personnel, especially surgeons wear masks for hours on end and they're not injured by wearing masks.
The vaccine is proving very effective, and all the fake news against masks and the vaccine are being proven FAKE.

Anonymous said...

everyone is free to think as they wish.

Not get punished for thinking different. And lets agree to disagree.

I think, comparing Drs. in operating rooms, is different.. not to be compared with being outdoors and breathing in on your breath.
Gd made fresh air. Gd is in control. But that is my thinking.

Have a lovely rest of the week.. Gd bless you.