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Monday, November 18, 2013

God of the Sea

God of the Sea

This tattoo has troublesome spacing. The creator probably didn't realize that the nikud (vowels) do not usually receive spaces of their own.

The verse is supposed to read, "Be still and know that I am God". At first glance, however, it distinctly reads "Be still and know that I am the god of sea". That happens because the word ELOHIM (God), when separated in two parts by a space, will read EL HA-YAM (god of the sea). Cute, really.
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Return of the Sea God

The other day I was looking for some new materials and ended up on myspace. Let me tell you, that place has lots of Hebrew Tattoo pictures... the vast majority of them incorrect.

Today's feature is one of my new finds, and it also features an error we've seen before. Give some applause to God of the Sea!

This guy was keeping it simple, all he wanted was a single word "God". Unfortunately, somehow an extra space found its way into the tattoo, turning "Elohim" into "El Hayam" - God of the Sea.

How can a word like "God" be cut in half and still retain it's meaning you ask?

See, the original word "Elohim" means God, it's in a special multiple form to emphasize God's greatness. When it's spelled this way, you have no doubt which god is meant, it's the biblical God and no other.

Cut the frills away, and you're left with "El", aka god, no emphasis or capitalization needed. It can be used to refer to any god you like. Conveniently, the other part of the word transforms him into God of the Sea.

Edit: For Margy, who requested to see how God is supposed to be written in Hebrew:

You can write it in two ways. The one on top is what the featured tattoo was supposed to look like. People not practiced in Hebrew might not see the difference, but even spacing is crucial.

The bottom version is the one more common in modern Hebrew, I prefer to write God this way.

The difference between the two is the letter Vav, which reads here as the "O" in "Elohim". In this case it's an optional letter, you can choose whether to write it or not.

God's Name, All Messed Up

Today's victim is walking around with a particularly ridiculous Hebrew tattoo on his wrist:

All this guy wanted is a spiritual tattoo saying "The Lord's" in Hebrew. I bet those of you who know Hebrew are scratching your heads in confusion, as this bad Hebrew tattoo spells out a nonsense word.

Somehow, whoever attempted this sad translation couldn't distinguish "The Lord's" from "The Lords" - and so he took God's most sacred name, YHWH, and attempted to turn it into multiple form. You just don't do that! Especially not to a God who is all about oneness.

Also, the Nikkud (vowel dots) on this tattoo is totally random. And it's ugly too. If any Hebrew tattoo deserves the title of Epic Fail - this is the one.

How would you write "The Lord's" in Hebrew? Something like this:

This basically says "Belong to my master", I think it conveys the original meaning best, while avoiding the offensiveness of tattooing God's sacred name. Good for BDSM purposes too.
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Say What?

Jesus the Messiah
A prime example of Hebrew tattoo gone terribly wrong. It's supposed to say something along the lines of "Jesus the Messiah", but it does no such thing. It is just meaningless gibberish.

If you're all set on "Jesus the Messiah", how about a nice manly pendant instead? 

Pewter Hebrew "Jesus the Messiah" Pendant by Bob Siemon, 20

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There's a Banner, but where's the God?

Sometimes it seems that those who tattoo God's name in vain get punished for it, and very quickly too. No waiting for the afterlife for this one:

The girl was going for a Hebrew tattoo saying "The Lord is my Banner". It all went downhill from there.

See, the tattoo ended up backwards. But not only that, God's most sacred name, YHWH, is also misspelled. It somehow acquired an extra letter. Bad karma? I think so!

Anyway, the correct way to write "The Lord is my Banner" (YHWH Nissi) in Hebrew is:

Tattoo it at your own risk!
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The Guy Who Wanted to Get Pregnant

For all intents and purposes, we have here some kind of pagan male pregnancytotem.

First, there is the writing, a declaration, "He Shall be Pregnant!", in Hebrew, permanently tattooed on our subject's limb.

You can also see a bush, obviously representing an invitation to the spot at the local gay cruising park, where this guy conducts his baby making attempts.

Now that we've all had our laugh, here is what went wrong:

The Mpreg Dude wanted to tattoo the most sacred name of God, YHWH, but unfortunately, didn't pay very close attention to his spelling, getting a Resh instead of the Vav, thus changing the meaning entirely.

The letters Vav and Resh might look similar, but they are very much not the same.

Now, observe the difference between "YHWH", God's most sacred name, and "Yhare" which translates in Hebrew to "He Shall be Pregnant":

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Yes God!

Look at this superb piece of art. A truly spiritual scribble, "Son of God". Or it would have been, had the author known their Hebrew letters.

As it goes, a tiny bit or the first letter was omitted, turning the BET into a KAF and consequently the word "Son" into "Yes". "Yes God", a true devotee.

Very sad, but not the end of story. The word God is also messed up. The vowel formation under the ALEF (4 dots, like a gaming cube) does not exist in the Hebrew language. The author of this tattoo apparently invented a new Hebrew vowel, how is that for true divine inspiration?
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