Object-ionable Markers

I abandoned this website last year after becoming occupied with other matters—among them, working on online material for a real Jewish organization. Unfortunately, I’ve recently encountered far too much Messianic Jewish/Hebraic Roots/Nazerene silliness, both online and offline, which inspired me to update the site again. Updating right before Yom Kippur is not the best time, admittedly, but better now than never.

The full name of the so-called Hebraic Roots “synagogue” in this video is Messianic Voice Ministries את-Bnai Israel, which again shows that people who have no idea how Hebrew grammar works have no business naming these organizations. In this context, “את” is merely an object marker with no meaning on its own,[*] yet this group appears to have made it a central part of their identity.

Even better, the person leading services has the non-word “את” on the front of his cap. The closest parallel in English I can think of would be a Japanese teenager—one who didn’t speak English, obviously—wearing a shirt with just a semicolon and expecting it to make sense to others.

As for the service, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a group of people who don’t realize that “את” has no meaning on its own. I do like the hanging picture they have, though, of Jesus apparently giving the Vulcan salute (47:30).

G’mar chatima tova, and may everyone have an easy fast.

[*] “את” can also mean “you (feminine)”, of course. Or “spade.” So you can say that I’m calling a spade a, uh… never mind. I thought I had a good joke there, but didn’t.

Edit: Thanks to Michael Miller for pointing out that there’s more to the “את” thing than meets the eye. Apparently, there’s a popular idea in Messianic circles that it’s a reference to the alpha and the omega in the New Testament. The idea is still nonsense, but it does explain why this congregation is so fond of “את”.


2 thoughts on “Object-ionable Markers

  1. This may be a Christian phrase poorly rendered into a Hebraic context. Revelation 1:8 states that “’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’” The Greek letters Alpha and Omega are frequently used in Christian imagery to denote that God/Jesus is the beginning (Alpha, first letter in the Greek alphabet) and the end (Omega, last letter in the Greek alphabet). In other words, all encompassing. (See https://ie.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Alphaomega.svg)

    Alef is the first letter in the Hebrew alefbet, Tav is the final letter, so Alef-Tav is a Hebraic/Hebrew roots way to say “Beginning and the End.”

    It is, however, obviously confusing to those unfamiliar with such concepts.

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