~ Sunday, January 18, 2004 ~
one more verse
Actually not so much a verse as just another possible way to relyricise the chorus.
I went to the Shilo,
To Franckie and Jastrow, (1)
I called for Devorah (2),
But she's baffled also
There's more than one entry for these phrases
Printed in this book of mine
And the more I look up verbs in the infinitive (3)
The less I can define
The less I can define
(1) Dictionaries we use. Shilo, a gift from Jennifer when I started Drisha, is my favorite, because it's so compact, fast, and easy on the eyes, but the entries have very little detail or history, and it's mainly Biblical and modern Hebrew, with minimal Talmudic Hebrew and only occasional Aramaic. It's good for looking up roots, though. Franck's is a dictionary specifically for study of Talmud. My second-favorite, it's very useful for cracking the abbreviations and particularly jargonish terms. It's also small enough that it doesn't take forever to look up a single word. Jastrow is the most scholarly, the most complete, the most fully cross-referenced, the heaviest, the most awkward, the one with the tiniest print, the one most likely to have the entry for your word refer you to another entry which will refer you to a third entry which will refer you to a fourth entry before you actually get to read the translation (I hate that), the most informative, and the most annoying. On the other hand, it will occasionally supplement its definition of some term or phrase with an example taken from the very text we're trying to understand. It will then supply, as part of the entry, the translation for not only that phrase but also the rest of the quote. This is known as a Jastrow Bonus. Jastrow Boni trigger the popping of champagne and the falling of confetti, which is all good, but I still can't stand using the dictionary. There's also several others in the canon of dictionaries: Brown-Driver-Briggs (aka BDB), which is bigger, more awkward, and more scholarly than Jastrow, but newer and more legibly printed; the dictionary of abbreviations which I just call the Roshei Tevot (which means "abbreviations") because I don't know the full name; the Konkordantzya (that's Hebrew for "concordance") which isn't exactly a dictionary but tells us where in Tanach every single word appears, and is used as a fall-back when the dictionary isn't good enough.
(2) Devorah Zlochower is the wonderful director of full time programs at Drisha. She also teaches us Gemara in the mornings. She knows everything, and everybody who works with her loves her.
(3) Actually, we look them up in the third-person-singular, past-tense, but sometimes I sacrifice truth for the sake of felicitous arrangement of words. Young man, let that be a lesson to you. (4)
Current Music: The Drastic, Vivid History of Monahan O'Han, Sylvia Fine (in my head)
~ prattled by Miriam at 12:02 p.m. [+]
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