Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Cunning Right Hand

We've been to weddings. We've heard the song.

Im eskokaych Yerusalayim tishkach yimini.

Or, in the official translation: "If I forget thee Jerusalem let my right hand forget her cunning.

Cunning?

Per the dictionary:

cun-ning
Marked by or given to artful subtlety and deceptiveness

Usage: an aptitude for attaining some end by peculiar and secret means. Cunning is usually low; as, a cunning trick...A cunning man often shows his dexterity in simply concealing.

Is this what the Psalmist meant? Is this even what the translator meant?

Moreover, when I translate the words myself I get something like: "Forgeting Jerusalem would be like forgetting my right hand."

What do low and deceptive tricks have to do with it?