Tubwayhun lawile d’hinnon netbayun.
Wake up you who weep for your frustrated desire;
you shall see the face of fulfillment in a new form.
(KJV version: Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted..)
Again, it is plain to see how a translation from Aramaic (through the Syrian tradition) favours a much more active stance than that which has been traditionally received through traditional translations in the West.
“…they that mourn…” evokes pictures of helplessness, hopelessness, grief and loss. One often feels the paralysis and numbness of such a state, and the comforting, strengthening embrace has a healing role to play. The problem, however, is passivity – you can’t do much about your situation except be open to receiving what is on offer if you are perceptive enough to see it.
I appreciate the “wake up” call, which can be as equally gentle and invitational as brash and confronting. “Mourning” is recast as “frustrated desire” which, incidentally, has no value, positive or negative, attached to it. Desire can be either, and it is often frustrated. If we are awake and alert to the fullness of the gift of life, and able to determine the ultimate shape of its fulfillment, our hope is restored.
If my frustrated desire emanates from a selfish passion (the so-called 7 deadlies!), fulfillment may come in the form of acknowledging what is life-giving and what is life destroying. My yearning for a big feed of doughnuts may present itself as a vision of growing obesity and then represent itself as engagement in and promotion of healthier eating.
If my frustrated desire emanates from compassion for the poor, it will translate into action that seeks ways to alleviate poverty through available avenues – leading to renewed engagement and fresh perspective..
Translations from both the Greek and the Aramaic scripts have much to offer – the Greek in terms of receptivity and the Aramaic in terms of action. I like to see them in dialogue and people aware that they have a choice of stance according to what is needful to the continuation of journey.
One is not condemned to remain stuck!
- Wakeup calls in an ancient tongue (wonderingpilgrim.com)
6 thoughts on “There’s muscle in what we yearn for…”
This is wonderful, WP. Just the translation I needed today. I do appreciate your translating: it opens up a whole world of meaning.
Thanks, Kate – I find it’s like breaking open a familiar looking loaf of bread and breathing in the aroma of something fresh and newly baked.