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Emet m'Tsiyon

Sunday, October 16, 2005

What They Said about the Arabs [Rabbi Nathan, Cervantes, Chateaubriand]

The Arabs have their virtues, such as hospitality, imagination, the ability to weave tales blending truth and falsehood -- or wholly imaginary-- , to conceive poetic images, and so on. However, nowadays their faults and flaws are forgotten in a mass media din of flattery and praise and justification for the most heinous acts of Arabs. Here are some reminders of how Arabs were seen in the past.

Rabbi Nathan says:
There is no love like the love of Torah
There is no wisdom like the wisdom of the Land of Israel
There is no beauty like that of Jerusalem
there is no wealth like that of Rome
there is no might like that of Persia
there is no whorishness like that of Arabs . . .

Aboth de-Rabbi Nathan, chap 28. This is called one of the Minor Tractates of the Talmud and is mainly a commentary or elaboration on the Pirqey Aboth, which is part of the Mishnah.

אבות דרבי נתן, פרק כח
: רבי נתן אומר
אין לך אהבה כאהבה של תורה
ואין לך חכמה כחכמה של ארץ ישראל
ואין לך יופי כיופיה של ירושלים
ואין לך עושר כעושרה של רומי
ואין לך גבורה כגבורה של פרס
ואין לך זנות כמו זנות של ערביים

We have translated the word znut זנות as whorishness. Judah Goldin has "harlotry" and others have "depravity." [Goldin's translation is The Fathers according to Rabbi Nathan, Schocken, p 116]

Miguel Cervantes de Saavedra

Do not trust any Moor. Because they are all deceitful.
No te fies de ningun moro, porque son todos marfuces
Don Quijote de la Mancha, Parte I, cap. 40]

François-René de Chateaubriand
Everything about the Americans [= the natives of America, usually called "Indians"] denotes the savage who has not yet arrived at the state of civilization.
Everything about the Arabs denotes the civilized man who has fallen back into the savage state.

En un mot, tout annonce chez l’Américain le Sauvage qui n’est point encore parvenu à l’état de civilisation; tout indique chez l’Arabe l’homme civilisé retombé dans l’état sauvage

Itinéraire de Paris à Jérusalem
[many editions]

- - - - - - - - -
Coming: Repercussions of the Greek Revolt in the Land of Israel
Inscriptions on the Arch of Titus, more photos of the Arch and Roman coins
What Did Rome Call the Land of Israel?


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