Saturday, December 29, 2018

I'm Still Recovering from Gantz's Hebrew

Benny Gantz new party calls itself "Resilience".

In Hebrew Hosen, with a guttural ch

חוסן לישראל


What is "resilience"?

One source is from the world of psychology:

Resilience is what gives people the psychological strength to cope with stress and hardship. It is the mental reservoir of strength that people are able to call on in times of need to carry them through without falling apart. Psychologists believe that resilient individuals are better able to handle such adversity and rebuild their lives after a catastrophe.

A more official definition from that field is

Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means "bouncing back" from difficult experiences.Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. 
A straight dictionary definition has it as
the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive, stress; an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change
Another has it as
the ability of a substance to return to its usual shape after being bent, stretched, or pressed; the quality of being able to return quickly to a previous good condition after problems:

What does the Bible say?

Isaiah 33:6 וְהָיָה אֱמוּנַת עִתֶּיךָ, חֹסֶן יְשׁוּעֹת חָכְמַת וָדָעַתAnd the stability of thy times shall be a hoard of salvation--wisdom and knowledge
Jeremiah 20:5וְנָתַתִּי, אֶת-כָּל-חֹסֶן הָעִיר הַזֹּאת, וְאֶת-כָּל-יְגִיעָהּ, וְאֶת-כָּל-יְקָרָהּ; Moreover I will give all the store of this city, and all the gains thereof, and all the wealth thereof
Ezekiel 22:25חֹסֶן וִיקָר יִקָּחוּ--אַלְמְנוֹתֶיהָ, הִרְבּוּ בְתוֹכָהּ.they take treasure and precious things, they have made her widows many in the midst thereof
Proverbs 15:6בֵּית צַדִּיק, חֹסֶן רָב; וּבִתְבוּאַת רָשָׁע נֶעְכָּרֶתIn the house of the righteous is much treasure; but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.
Proverbs 27:24כִּי לֹא לְעוֹלָם חֹסֶן;For riches are not for ever;

Biblical Hebrew indicates that the word has a meaning of some sort of material strength whereas in Modern Hebrew the word has come to mean some sort of spiritual, psychological strength although, indeed, in the fields of engineering and metallurgy, the physical strength of an object is also described as having "hosen".

A strong, strapping lad is characterized as חסון.

The Professors for a Strong Israel group's name in Hebrew uses hosen in connection with diplomatic and economic strength.

To conclude, I do not think "Resilience" is the correct translation.



Joe in Australia said...

Klein's Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language has two root meanings: “to be strong” and “to store”. I don't know why he didn't consider them to be two aspects of the same idea. He also identifies another use of this root: נחסן, in Isaiah 23:18.

I suppose you might say that someone with "strength” and with “stores” is resilient, but I agree that it's not an obvious translation.

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