Monday, July 17, 2006

Not Quite qdš lYHVH

As you might have noticed, my new computer's built-in camera has driven me a bit self-portrait-crazy. I've gone through a number of different profile pictures here on Blogger, not to mention the many other different self-portraits I took and edited for various other internet forums.

Oh wait, actually one of those was taken on a cellphone camera belonging to one of my students. I think you can guess which one, as well as what the class before them was studying ;–) .

Anyway, on a recent post, Lipman commented on my profile picture at the time, and dropped a link to a website called The Fedora Lounge, which seems to be a website forum for (mostly) men who like early- and mid-twentieth century clothing, such as hats and various types of suits and jackets. I wonder if posting the link on Hhareidi websites would help certain people diversify beyond the large-brim pinstripe "gangster look"...

Anyway, I was wandering around that website when I found this thread, in which a hat manufacturer is showing off a very customized hat meant to partially evoke the hat worn by Indiana Jones. What's really interesting to me, though, is the logo on the inside of the hat:

Ketav ‘Ivri alert!

I haven't seen any of the Indiana Jones movies in years, but the design of the logo reminds me of the jewel-headed staff they use in Raiders of the Lost Ark to shine a beam of light onto a map engraved in an Ancient Egyptian tomb.

And not only has it got Ketav ‘Ivri around the rim of the design, but it includes God's Name! Now, the kohein gadol used to wear a metal ornament called the tzitz which had engraved upon it קדש לה׳, but this is a bit ridiculous.

It seems to say:

ואמה(?) אחת(?) מעל קדש ・ כבד י--ה והמשקף(?)

(one ama/cubit above the holiness of God's glory and the lintel?)

I guess that makes sense as an instruction for assembling some ancient secret pointer to where to find the aron berit H' (ark of the covenant), but writing it out with the Explicit Name explicitly spelled out on the underside of a hat crown where it's going to get all sweaty and nasty?!

Who wants to join me in a "Muḥammad cartoon riot"?


Blogger Lipman said...

Aaargh! How do I close this window? Ever?! Oh, wait, this comment window put itself over the picture. So, if I close it again, the picture will reappear. I'd better switch off the screen, then close the browser by a key combination, and "§$

fas"%A g


7/17/2006 4:23 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

I'm sorry Lipman, i don't speak fas"%Ag... could you repeat that last part in Akkadian?

7/17/2006 4:26 AM  
Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

As far as I can tell, it says כבד יקוק והמשכו

But I can only read the left side, which is where it presumably begins. I also assume that they meant והמשחו. And the last word is, of course, קדש.

7/17/2006 6:41 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Ah okay i see the problem...
the final letter on the left side looks like an open-mouthed פ to me. I don't see the two forks on top that would make it a ו. And that's definitely a כ as you pointed out, not a ק.

7/17/2006 6:53 PM  
Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

You know, in 1500 years or so if this T shirt happens to survive paleographers and scholars will pore over it.

7/17/2006 6:56 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

...or the random contextless potsherd at Sartaba i happened to scratch something on ;-) .

Not a t-shirt; it's the inside of a hat.

7/17/2006 7:20 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

So how does one dispose of this hat?

A burial?

A respectful burial?

I know ..... remove the label (which respectfully bury), then burn the hat itself (optionally with the idiot still inside).

7/17/2006 8:26 PM  
Anonymous kaspit said...

Hi. Did you ask the hatmaker about his source for the text?

7/17/2006 8:44 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


Ah, that begs the question... what exactly is the status of Ketav ‘Ivri in Halakha? Does the Name written in KI have the same status as if it were written in Ashurit, or another contemporary Hebrew script?


No i didn't... that would make a lot of sense, wouldn't it? ;-)

7/18/2006 10:20 AM  
Anonymous jdub said...

is this simply a replica of the amulet used in Raiders of the Lost Ark to help locate the Ark?

7/18/2006 1:14 PM  
Anonymous jdub said...

D'oh, I hadn't seen that you caught that already.

7/18/2006 1:15 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


wow, thanks for the link to the pictures of the artifact!

So it looks like it says:

(top picture)
ואמה אחת מעל קדש
כבד י--ה והמשכפ
(bottom picture)

7/18/2006 2:11 PM  
Blogger BZ said...

No, it doesn't beg the question.

7/18/2006 2:56 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der Å¡teg) said...


Well, i am a Descriptivist...

from that site:
"While descriptivists and other such laissez-faire linguists are content to allow the misconception to fall into the vernacular, it cannot be denied that logic and philosophy stand to lose an important conceptual label should the meaning of BTQ become diluted to the point that we must constantly distinguish between the traditional usage and the erroneous "modern" usage. This is why we fight."

7/18/2006 4:13 PM  
Blogger thanbo said...

IIRC, the Name in Ketav Ivri doesn't have the same kedushah as the Name in Ketav Ashurit (why is it Ksav Ivri vs Ksav Ashuris - shouldn't the adjective agree with the noun? isn't Ksav a masculine noun?).

Some of the DSS Kisvei Kodesh have the text in Ksav Ashuris, but the Sheimoth in Kethabh Ibhri.

7/19/2006 8:51 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


But what does that mean practically, halakha lema‘aseh? Can you write and erase Names in Ivri with impunity? Not worry about taking them into the bathroom?

I remember learning about that Dead Sea Scrolls writing style at some point, and thinking it's cool enough to want to reproduce if/when i scribe a siddur. :-)
I would write the Names in Ivri, and then above them in furigana how to prononounce them in regular letters.

For now, whenever i need to write a Name in a note or emendation in my siddur, I just write the first letter in Ivri with a 'smitshik' abbreviation mark.

7/19/2006 10:39 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Thanbo, good question. Maybe it's "the Handwriting of the Assyrian Lady"?

Or it's Yeshivish, meaning "the asser (i. e. prohibit)-it alphabet".

But seriously, I gather it's in fact a construction of two nouns ("the alphabet of Ashuris" or "the Ashuris alphabet"), not noun + congruent adjective ("the Ashurian alphabet"). And there are places where the text has כתב עיברית, aren't there?

7/20/2006 2:20 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Btw, here's an example of what i've been doing to my siddur...

7/20/2006 8:10 AM  
Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>Ah, that begs the question... what exactly is the status of Ketav ‘Ivri in Halakha? Does the Name written in KI have the same status as if it were written in Ashurit, or another contemporary Hebrew script?

Good question. I haven't been able to uncover anything on it, so I am going to ask a posek.

I can guess the answer (no) but I'd rather hear it with the rationale.

7/24/2006 12:04 PM  

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