A descriptive grammar of epigraphic South Arabian. by A. F. L. Beeston

By A. F. L. Beeston

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Only a mother, moreover, can beget a mother: what lies at the core of an immemorial origin lies also at the heart of an ongoing creation—not only of what is but of what is yet to be, so that anticipation becomes a definitive element of creation. Says André Neher, “G-d starts creating, and He distributes creation over seven days. Time itself is of the uppermost importance. Creation manifests itself by the appearance of time” (Neher 1969: 131). Thus, for Jewish thought, the tenses and the intensity of time comprise a fundamental aspect of an origin that is not only behind us but is forever before us: the origin is the future.

A name is a commandment: if being who we are entails being free, then being who we are entails being who we are commanded to be. Thus in the Mishnah we have the commentary on the verse, tjøLh¨ Î' l[' tWrj; aWh µyqi1a‘ bT'km] i bT;kM] hi w' “ hM;h´ µyqi1a‘ hc´[mIæ ' tjøLh¨ w' “ (vehaluchot maaseh Elokim hemah vehamikhtav mikhtav Elokim hu charut al-haluchot), “And the tablets were the work of G-d, and the writing was the writing of G-d, graven [tWrj;] upon the tablets” (Exodus 32:16): “Do not read tWrj; (charut or ‘graven’) but tWrj´ (cherut or ‘freedom’), for no man is free save one who is engaged in the study of Torah” (Avot 6:2; see also Eruvin 54a; Avot d’Rabbi Natan 2:3; and Bemidbar Rabbah 10:8).

The mouth can sometimes speak what the heart does not feel. Even what the heart says can be at odds with what the man truly wills in his soul . . But “relating” comes from the depths of a man’s being. (Schneerson 1986b: 74) Because relating comes from the depths of the soul, the term relate is to be understood not only as relating a tale but also as entering into a relation, both with the one who hears the tale and with the one who tells the tale. Indeed, to come to know another person is to come to know his or her story—and to become part of it through that knowing: to know the tale is to become part of the tale.

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