As a response to my “Open Response to Itzhak Shapira” Yehezkel Italqi posted a lengthy comment in defense of Shapira. Here is my response to Yehezkel.
So in your opinion if someone “undermines the simple meaning of the word shachar” then his writing is rendered “cheap entertainment.”
Using your yardstick where does Shapira land up?
Yes I did stress, and I continue to stress, that Shapira mistranslated a verse from the Bible.
The entire thrust of my critique of Shapira is to demonstrate his lack of competence. Now my question to you Yehezkel is this. Did Shapira realize that the most natural translation of “k’shachar” in Joel 2:2 is “like dawn”? Perhaps he realizes this truth now, but at the time that he wrote his book I believe that he did not. If he realized that the natural meaning of the word “k’shachar” in context of the Metzudat David is “like dawn” then why would he run to the JPS to translate the word in a way that completely violates the point the Metzudat David is trying to make? If Shapira would have been capable of reading the verse in the original Hebrew he would not have used the JPS in this instance.
In case you believe that Shapira is truly capable of the understanding Bible I suggest that you watch his video presentation entitled “Response to Objection 2: “Hebrew 101″ – Blackness vs. Dawn. An Answer to R’ Blumenthal objection.” In this presentation he presents two verses from the Bible in his effort to justify the JPS translation of “k’shachar” with the words “as blackness.” He quotes Isaiah 8:20 and Isaiah 14:12. In both of those instances the Metzudat David together with the JPS translate the word “shachar” as “dawn” or “light” and not as “blackness.” If this is not a demonstration of incompetence then what is?
Incidentally, the Yerushalmi you quoted proves that “shachar” refers to the first rays of light and NOT to the blackness of night.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal