Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Project update 14.1.14

Hebrew Immersion Study Course

The three year project Hebrew Immersion Study Course has finally finished this week. Here is a link to the original post and the update back in 2012. The summary of the project aims were as follows:

  1. To improve my knowledge of Hebrew
  2. To learn the background texts that put Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah in context
Some secrets are only passed over the surface of the water...
And the details are as follows:
Scope: Read all of the 24 books of the Tanach,
Time: 3 year deadline
Cost: Sunk cost of books purchased to date is £82.95. No further purchases expected.
Quality: To be specified, see discussion on difficulty in measuring language proficiency above
Communication: Progress update on chapters covered with excerpts for parts deemed applicable to this blog.
Risks:
1. Daily study is very time-consuming,
2. Study fatigue may kick-in
3. Language skills may not improve significantly
4. May not remember enough of material covered to put learning Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah in context
Issues:
1. Difficult to measure proficiency of language.

Unfortunately the project failed to achieve it's objectives as I did not study all 24 books of the Tanach.
Instead I spent all the time reading the Chumash / Five Books of Moses each of the past 3 years with Rashi commentary (for 2 years) and Ramban (for 1 year).

Also the scope of this project increased to include studying Mishnah on a daily basis. I have finished Nezikin and I am now studying Nashim. The plan is to get through the whole of Mishnah in 6 years and then move on to Gemarrah.

Overall my proficiency of Hebrew has increased in the past 3 years. I feel a lot more confident and comfortable opening a book in Hebrew and trying to make sense of what is being said in the paragraph in context.

But I am still struggling to make any headway in translating Hebrew books in Kabbalah due to 2 reasons:
  1. Translation involves converting the wording in to another language AND the meaning of the text. The latter is much more challenging. 
  2. It still requires a special project set-up to dedicate time & energy to do this work and hence is not yet 'business as usual' wherein I have a set time and day of the week where I only do translation work.
Supporting the Detroit Lions
For the past two years the Detroit Lions have failed to make it to the play-offs. Any magical aid that I might have been able to bring to bear has failed to change this outcome. I take full responsibility for this failure and I'm divided whether or not to try again next year or take a break and come up with a better strategy. The emotional input that I have put in to this project has waned over the past couple of years in part due to what is happening in Detroit itself. I'll know by September whether this project will be revived again or put on the shelf for awhile.