Today, we want to present a very interesting Hebrew idiom that relates to the interlinked chain of words we’ve been discussing lately: Adam-ground-blood-red-Edom-tears-silence.
You may find it surprising, but the biblical text calls ‘silence’ a ‘sound.’ There is an internal connection that we don’t fully understand in nature between ‘bleed’ and ‘silence’ − but they both share the exact same root: ‘Dalet,’ Mem,’ Mem,’ (equivalent of D.M.M). We learned how ‘man’ relates to ground, blood, etc., but perhaps a deeper understanding of science is required to comprehend the blood-silence connection.
Our expression today is ‘kol d’ma•ma da•ka,’ ‘a sound of thin silence.’
Silence being a ‘sound’ is not the only strange thing about ‘sounds’: in the Bible sound may also be visible!
In the following verse, the English translators took the liberty to add their own interpretation to the Hebrew word ‘sound’ and distorted the original meaning of the word by translating it as ‘thundering.’
“And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the sound of the shofar, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they were shaken, and stood far away”
It is not only the (thundering) that the Israelites saw, but also the sound of the shofar!
This verse has another serious distortion that we’ll discuss tomorrow.
What is then, the ‘thin silence’ in the idiom ‘kol d’ma•ma da•ka’? It is probably a kind of silence that most of us have never experienced. Perhaps a total, complete silence. Only those who have ever experienced complete silence know how dramatic and scary it can be. Most of us have never been exposed to this silence. But the prophet Elijah surely did:
“And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it that he wrapped his face in his mantle”
The English translation here again lacks accuracy: ‘a still small voice’ is a wrong translation of the Hebrew text that says: ‘a sound of thin silence.’ This is an idiom that means ‘complete silence.’ It is apparently different from any other partial silence such as the kind suggested in the English text. This complete silence is associated only with God’s doings, and this alone caused Elijah to feel awe and exit the cave.
The extended meaning of the idiom suggests something that starts loud with impressive, extravagant show but ends up with complete silence.