Rashi presented 10 distinct meaning methods. Today we examine
meaning based on grammatical transformation.
Although most conjugation rules refer to the
conjugation of verbs, there are also conjugation
rules for transfroming nouns into verbs.
We list several common methods for transforming nouns
- create the noun: e.g. to flower
- remove the noun: e.g. to dust
- use the noun: e.g. to hammer
- the verb(activity) done to this noun: e.g.
Dt21-04b: neck the calf in other words kill it with
a blow to the neck
Using this principle of meaning based on grammatical transformation
we have the following elegant sequence:
When Hebrew assigns two meanings to the same root it will frequently use different
grammatical modes to accomplish this assignment. In this case the active mode
of the root Resh-Tzade-Hey means to desire while the Intensive
mode of the root Resh-Tzade-Hey means to please.
- From the verb Resh-Tzade-Hey, meaning to want, to desire we obtain
- the adjective RaTzuy meaning desirable, pleasing
- Then in term from the adjective desirable, pleasing we obtain
- the verb to make desirable, to please..
Applying this meaning, Resh-Tzade-Hey to please to verses
Lv26-34a, Lv26-41c we obtain the following translations:
Then [after they are exiled for not observing the land-sabbaticals]
the land shall please her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye are in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and repay her sabbaths. and
I also will walk contrary unto them, and bring them into the land of their enemies; if then perchance their uncircumcised heart be humbled, and then they please themselves from their sins,
Advanced Rashi: The phrases land please her Sabbaths and
they will please themselves from their sins doesn't sound 100% right.
There is a general problem in translating between languages. There is no verb in English
which means to make desirable. Hebrew because of the richness of its modes can reuse
the verb desire to mean make desirable. The English to please is the closest
we come in English to a verb meaning to make desirable. Such searching for good translations
is characteristic of advanced biblical study.
If a more accurate translation was desired we could translate they will make themselves desirable
from their sins and the land will make itself desirable with land-sabbaticals.