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Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013 2:38:47 PM
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Joined: 8/11/2013
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Location: United States, CO
So I read the book East of Eden a while back. The way it's described in the novel. The hebrew word means "You may," as in it's sort of up to you. Like, "you may" become a doctor, but you're going to need to work for it. Implied therein is "you may not," meaning it's your hard work and your choices that will decide.

I really liked the idea of this word, and was considering getting a tattoo of it, but I want to make sure that it doesn't actually translate to "hamburger" or something like that.

If an Israeli saw someone with this word tattooed on them, would they think it strange?

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 11:59:59 PM
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What word are you talking about? Can you provide the word specifically?
Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 12:16:33 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/16/2009
Posts: 1,391
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Oh, got it now. It was in the title of the thread but not the body of the post.

So I think the word תמשל does not simply mean "you may." In the context of the sentence, the "ת" before the root of the word "משל" may be understood to lend it that sense, but the root word itself means "to rule" (see:

In context, the Biblical passage וְאַתָּה תִּמְשָׁל בּוֹ would translate thus:
וְאַתָּה: and you
תִּמְשָׁל: can/may rule
בּוֹ: over it/him

So in answer to your question, yes, in my (by no means expert) opinion, a tattoo of just the word תִּמְשָׁל might seem weird.

As an aside, I'm seeing it transliterated as "timshel" all over the Internet, and this appears to be the spelling used in East of Eden, but IMHO it would be better transliterated as timshal (with the "a" sound like the one in the word "smart.")
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