jlink
Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Jewish Link welcomes letters to the editor, which can be emailed to [email protected]
Letters may be edited for length, clarity and appropriateness. We do not welcome personal attacks or disrespectful language, and replies to letters through our website comment feed will not be posted online. We reserve the right to not print any letter.

I would like to convey a yashar koach to Mitchell First on his recent article about the meaning of “tishkach yemini” (“‘If I Forget You, Jerusalem...’ (Psalms 137:5),” May 30, 2019). An additional point, in favor of an interpretation of a paralysis, or general weakening of the strength (tash koach, one might say) of the right hand: as mentioned in the article, this is an oath form. Specifically, it is an oath starting with a conditional of a bad thing a person does (“If I forget thee”) and a negative result (“let my right hand forget / be forgotten”). A parallel to this could then be found not locally (in the next verse’s tidbak) but in Iyov 31:21-22: “If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless... Then let my shoulder fall from the shoulder-blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone.” There, it is a more general disabling of the arm, rather than forgetting a particular, musical, skill.

Josh Waxman
Teaneck