[Ads-l] Heard: dialogue

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Sun May 6 20:07:01 EDT 2018

On Sat, 5 May 2018 15:40:01 Zone-0500 Andy Bach <afbach at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

>> "How many days & nights was *_MOSES_* on the Ark?"
> Was Moses on the Ark, instead of Noah?

According to the Masoretic text, which for Jews and English-speaking Protestants is the canonical text of the Old Testament, the vessel in which Moses floated on the Nile (Exodus 2:3) was a "tevah".  In Genesis 6:14 Noah is told "Make yourself a _tevah_ of _gofer_ wood".  The word "tevah" occurs in the Pentateuch only in these two verses

Hence Moses was indeed in an "ark" (unless you prefer to say Noah was in a "basket").

"gofer" appears only in Genesis 6:14 and its meaning is unknown, but highly unlikely to be "gopher" (the animal).  Some scholars believe it to be cypress.  The word "wood" appears in the verse.  The rest of the verse may mean "make it an ark built of reeds, and cover it inside and out with pitch".

How long was Moses in his ark? Not long.  In Exodus 2:4 Moses's aunt "stationed herself at a distance", and Pharoah's daughter apparently showed up before the aunt left, which implies Moses was in his ark for less than a day. 

Reference:  _Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary_ New York: The Rabbinical Assembly, 2001, ISBN 0-8276-0712-1, footnotes on Exodus 2:3

change topic:

On Fri, 4 May 2018 22:16:41 Zone-0400 Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:

>There is a plane that takes off from France, and then flies to Chicago 
>with a stop in Toronto.  Engine failure causes the plane to crash right 
>on the border between Canada and the U.S.  Where do they bury the survivors?

I first heard this, in Spanish from a group of Ecuadorian exchange students, in 1963.  The question, when translated verbatim rather than idiomatically, is somewhat macabre:  "?Donde se entierran los sobrevivadores?"  "Where did the survivors bury themselves?"

- Jim Landau

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