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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Obi-Wan HaNavi?

As Ed Cook's recent post points out, Star Wars fans all over the world are gearing up for the release of George Lucas' final installment of the prequel trilogy. This brought to mind something interesting I ran across on accident on-line a few weeks ago. Many Star Wars fans are probably aware that Hebrew crops up in several places in the Star Wars series. There is, of course, the infamous Hebrew writing on Darth Vader's chest-plate. And I'm sure most Hebrew speaking/reading Star Wars fans have noticed that the name Yoda is very similar to the Hebrew verb יוֹדֶעַ (yode'a, know)--which is a fairly appropriate appelation for a Jedi Master one would think--and that the name of Anakin Skywalker's mother, Shmi, looks very much like שְמִי (shmi, my name), which would mean her name would translate as "My Name is Skywalker."

The tidbit I ran across recently was in regards to Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi. Dave Gordon, in an article on Jewish references in Star Wars, speculates that the surname Kenobi could actually be related to כְּנַביא (kenavi', like a prophet). The similarity is actually closer than it might appear at first glance when you remember that the letter ב can be pronounced as either a B or a V depending on the context (for example: Abraham in Hebrew is אברהם, pronounced Avraham). I'm not sure how likely it is, but it certainly sounds plausible to me.

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The background image on this page is a Hebrew translation of the verse from Bob Dylan's song  It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), from which the title of this blog is taken. Translation courtesy of Yoram Aharon of Hod-HaSharon's page--found via YudelLine-- which has many Dylan lyrics in Hebrew.