Monday 14 June 2010

Korach and divisiveness

A wonderful translation from German by Carol Brown Janeway, wittily written, Measuring the World, by Daniel Kehlmann, the lives of two geniuses from 19th century Germany: a real treat, published as pure fiction, despite being about Gauss and Humboldt. I started re-reading it as soon as I'd finished.
He uses the device of no quotation marks, just like Saramago does, and I love it here just as much.

I'm taking part in an online translation pool: tricky expressions are sent in...I've used it successfully for my own translations, when technical terms arose, for instance in finance or engineering. German to English. Am also interested in the French to English and Hebrew to English. Now I look to see what others are sending in, see if I can contribute too - another participant warned me that it was addictive. It is.

I wrote a sermon about Korach, who was Moses and Aaron's cousin and rebelled against them (Numbers,  Ch 16 and ff.) and after two attempts by Moses and God, to convince K that he was wrong, "the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them" (Korach and his followers). Here is what the Lubavitcher Rebbe says about that portion:
"If Korach is the essence of divisiveness, says the Rebbe, then an understanding of the dynamics of conflict and harmony will explain Korach's challenge to Moses. Conversely, an understanding of the subtleties of Korach's argument will shed light on the very fine line separating divisiveness from true peace.

For although divisiveness and peace look very different from each other in their full-blown, actual states, in their essence and origins they are amazingly similar. In fact, they are very nearly indistinguishable from each other."

I wish I understood that. And there is more, also hard to understand.

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