Oct 252012

From Ben Qohelet. As the Jamaicans say: “Wanty wanty, cyaan get it; getty getty, nuh want it.”

Shmuel ha-Nagid (993 – 1056?)
How Strange It Seems to Find in Age

How strange it seems to find in age a cure that quiets urges, and a fear of want’s demands;1
As age exhausts your body, it will magnify your wisdom and put money in your hands.

שמואל הנגיד / إسماعيل بن النغريلة

הֲבִזְקוּנִים לְךָ מַרְפֵּא לְהַשְׁקִיט / בְּךָ יֵצֶר, לְקִנְיָן יַחֲרִידָךְ
וְזֹקֶן יַחֲלִישׁ גּוּפָךְ — וְיַגְבִּיר / בְּךָ עֵצָה לְהוֹסִיף הוֹן בְּיָדָךְ.


Ha-vizkuním lekhá marpéi lehashkít / bekhá yétzer, le-kinyán yaḥaridákh
Ve-zóken yaḥalísh gufákh – ve-yagbír / bekhá ʕetzáh lehosíf hon be-yadákh.

  1. This line’s syntax in Hebrew is, for metrical reasons, a bit strange. Literally, it’s something like, “Lo, in old age you have a remedy to quiet the inclination in you, that of acquisition will make you afraid.” Essentially, you won’t want stuff anymore (just as you get smart enough to get the money to finally buy some of it).

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