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No is yes, but only if no is a possibility
#1
Here is a riddle for the forum here at Peshitta.org: Where are you if ?yes? means ?no?, and ?no? means ?if? but ?yes? does not mean ?if? unless you speak the common language of the people and acknowledge that you cannot control any of these answers?

Find the answer in Matthew 5:37, and here are some helpful definitions?

In biblical Hebrew ayn (aleph-yod-nun) means ?no?. But in biblical Aramaic this same word ayn means ?yes?. And in biblical Aramaic la (lamed-aleph) is no. But in biblical Hebrew la can mean ?if?. Exact pronunciation and context were very important! And let us not forget about the Aramaic ula with two quite conflicting definitions: "and not" or "it is proper".

Probably many confusing circumstances for those in the land of Israel! I hope this helps put into perspective Yahshua?s words in Matthew 5:37, ?But your word should be yes, yes (ayn ayn) and no, no (ula la). Anything that adds to these is from evil.?

The context of Matthew 5:37 is that Yahshua is advising his disciples to avoid oaths and swearing by things they cannot control (see Matthew 5:33-36). I gather that in ancient Israel there was an eroding tradition for performing certain vows and oaths only in the Hebrew language. See e.g., ?There was a rule to the effect that oaths must always be taken in Hebrew (Yad, Shevu'ot 11:8), but it was later mitigated so as to allow the oath to be taken in the language best understood by the deponent (ibid., 11:14; Sh. Ar., HM 87:20).? Oath in the Bible, by Jewish Virtual Library (pointing out also the close link between the Hebrew words for curse (alh) and oath (ShbuEah), where these words are sometimes used interchangeably in the bible). See also, Vows in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East, by Tony W. Cartledge.

Are we still living in Babylon today? Ayn.
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#2
Of course, the answer to the riddle: Israel in the first century AD.

Matthew 5:37-38 (“But your word should be yes, yes, and no, no.  Anything that is greater than these is from evil.  You have heard that it has been said that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”  Notice the wordplay of ܐܝܢ (yes) and  ܥܝܢܐ (eye).  Also  ܫܢ (tooth) can be translated as ‘go away’, which has a logical interplay with ܠܐ (no), the opposite of ܐܝܢ (yes).


Note also the Matthew 5:38 wordplay of ‘tooth’ (ܫܢܐ) with hate (ܤܢܐ) , which helps provide a transition to Matthew 5:39, which is commonly translated “do not oppose an evil one” -- but I think the literal is “do not rise to oppose in evil”.  So the literal meaning comports with the gospel message to not exchange evil for evil, but rather good for evil.  Yahshua provides literally the best answer!

Also catch this greater point of Matthew 5:21 – the example is about burning passion toward death, rather than correcting assumptions about what you have and what you don’t have or lose.  Thus, continuing the original point above, we find the word ‘cheek’ (ܦܟܟ) in Matthew 5:39 (“But he who strikes you upon your right cheek, turn to him also the other”), which is a play on the word ‘dull/fool’ (ܦܟܗ), as you’ll see below in a moment.  But first, a slap on the cheek is just a facial injury.  In Matthew 5:39 the word ‘also’ (ܐܦ) is the play on the word for ‘face’ (ܐܦ) because the injury is just a surface injury.  And the whole point of these examples in Matthew is seeing beyond the surface/face.  For example…

Matthew 5:24 – the offering comes from the holy heart, which is why we have to clear grudges (with ܖܥܐ) before we can ascend to the altar. And then we read in Matthew 5:26 ‘small copper coin’ (ܫܡܘܢܐ).  The temple in Jerusalem had a copper altar.  You see, an offering comes from the heart. Confirm this in the Torah as YHVH requests a free will offering. See e.g., Leviticus 23.


Back to the word ‘no’ (ܠܐ) here in Matthew 5, note the Matthew 5:31 wordplay of divorce (ܕܘܠܠܐ) with Matthew 5:22 fool (ܠܠܐ).  In this context, the Aramaic word ‘fool’ (ܠܠܐ) and the Hebrew word ‘if’ (ܠܐ) are a play on one another, and one of the greater contexts to explore here is separation.  Remembering back to John 1, how light and dark were separated…. the physics of light and dark is largely explained by probabilities which often seem absurd even in the most sophisticated laboratories – another reason to be careful not to call any brother a fool (ܠܠܐ). Matthew 5:22-24.  

In the words of a famous physicist describing the great ‘ifs’ of probability that describe light and matter in a laboratory, “The theory of quantum electrodynamics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And it agrees fully with experiment.  So I hope you can accept nature as she is – absurd. I’m going to have fun telling you about this absurdity, because I find it delightful.”  QED, The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, by Richard Feynman.

[Image: feynman1_strange.jpg]
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#3
The dichotomy of words in Semitic language reveals part of the character of Yahweh.  For example, with a single action Yahweh can destroy one person and liberate another - a single word with dual meaning (“destroy/liberate”) helps convey that reality.

In Hebrew, one of the most fascinating dualities is present in the word ܐܠ

It means both “no” and “God”.  (It also works as a participle meaning “in”, “at”, etc.)

The duality of ܐܠ (“God / no”) represents the reality that Alha gives and Alha takes away.  In Alha anything is possible, including negation.  As the Lawgiver, Alha is the one who says “no”.  As the Creator, Alha is the one who says “yes”. 

Psalm 27:9
ܥܙܪܬܝ ܗܝܝܬ ܐܠ ܬܜܫܢܝ ܘܠܐ ܬܥܙܒܢܝ ܐܠܗܝ ܝܫܥܝ

Yahshua helps reveal this quality of Alha in his name ܝܫܘܥ

Without the ܝ (yod), his name is ܫܘܥ (“false”) but with the ܝ (yod), his name is ܝܫܘܥ (“salvation”). 

Who is our salvation?  Answer:  יהוה
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