WHAT DOES VADER'S CHESTPLATE SAY?
This is a question we've pondered a lot ourselves. We know it is in Hebrew, but can't really read it. It is even listed on the RASSM Newbie FAQ as a major point of question. People have their theories, but nobody has been able to decipher it. Who can help us? Who?
Out of the West rides a lone Newbie named Anat! She speaks Hebrew and gives her best shot at translating it! Here, posted in it's entirety, is her interesting attempt at a translation:
Being an obedient Newbie ('What is thy bidding my master') I've read the FAQ (July 30th) and came across the following:
FAQ: "26. What does the Hebrew lettering on Darth Vader's chest-plate mean?
Answer: The chest-plate can be seen at www.umr.edu/~hanlon/picpage.htm
Of course I rushed to explore that site!! Hebrew lettering on "Papa" s chest-plate !?
[ If my *real* father knew who I soo fondly call "papa" ;) ]
FAQ: "The readers of rec.arts.sf.starwars.misc have been researching this topic."
Hope I wont be 'flamed' for bringing it all up again, but I think I have a - significant contribution, that may shed some light on this matter..
Especially as Hebrew is my first language!
FAQ:"The readers believe that it is indeed Hebrew lettering."
Indeed it is
FAQ: "Some possible translations are "until he won" (where 'won' means a prize or money as opposed to a victory)"
FAQ:" or "until a return""
FAQ: "David Fleischer recently wrote in saying that - The first line may be "Or, and his works","
Not entirely correct.
FAQ:" the second may be "which will move","
FAQ: "and the third may be "until he has won"."
Well, this IS true - from a certain point of view :)
These lines (which, together form ONE sentence BTW), are written in an ancient (Or Biblical if you like) Style / Syntax, as opposed to Modern Hebrew Syntax.
In Hebrew (Like in many other languages, both modern and ancient), Words often have several meanings - (Regardless of the style, grammar, or syntax in which they are used).
These are then defined according to the context of the sentence
Therefore, translating these lines can be tricky..
With that in mind ;)
I would suggest the following translation:
The First Line -
(Phonetically pronounced - Ein Maasav)
His deeds (and not works) will not
The Second Line - this is a difficult one:
To begin with it is placed up-side down! I think it is partially covered (i.e. the letters are partially cut), I think it is misspelled as well (That is if I guessed it right in the first place!) Anyhow, IMHO, this line means -
(Phonetically pronounced - Nisslachim)
And The Third Line
(Phonetically pronounced - Aad shezacha) Means -
Until he merits (and not won)
Put together, the sentence reads -
" His deeds will not be forgiven, until he merits"
Which, not only makes MUCH more sense (IMHO), but also sounds very familiar. I know I've herd it before, but for the life of me I just cannot remember where.
At first I thought it may be part of the prayers or hymns of the Jewish - Day of Atonement service. I've look it up (read the whole thing) and it's not in there.
Then I thought it might be mentioned in the holy scriptures - in one of the books that deals with repentant - Palms / Proverbs / Ecclesiastes.. (May be the book of prophets as well?)
As I'm not orthodox - my knowledge of the old testament does not go
beyond basic (in Jewish terms). My knowledge of the new testament is probably less then basic - Anyone out there care to have a go? It just might be in there ( in an English version of course! )
Im currently researching these venues. I havent found anything yet.. But you'll be the first to know if I do!
[ BTW, someone at work was very impressed with my - religious devotion - If only they knew :D ]
The more interesting aspect of this mystery chest-plate is -
Who put it there? And why?
Is it meant to be part of the story? Or just an anecdote?
Another related issue is the upside-down line / word...
In the Kabala (=Jewish mysticism) words are very powerful. Perhaps placing a word upside-down can reverse its meaning? (I'm not an expert in 'Kabala' either).
If this is the case, does the chest-plate convey some kind of prophecy or 'curse' placed by - say - Yoda, or Ben - only to be 'reversed' by our beloved Palpy? (Wild speculation..)
Or may be its just a fluke? May be the costume department just got it wrong, by mistake? ;) [Someone that knew nothing of the hidden meaning - in these odd Hebrew symbols (regarding them as just an exotic font) accidentally placed it upside-down..]
Coincidence? I think not!
In any case - food for thought..
Anat wrote us and followed up with this:
I accidentally used the word Nisslachim instead of Nimchalim ... They ARE synonymous words ( I was probably thinking in Hebrew - Consequently using the more modern version of the same word) .
They both mean - be forgiven - so I did not mislead you in that sense - but should you suddenly have an urge to pronounce that sentence phonetically... ;)
Well, its only fair to give you the correct version/ pronunciation... So, the sentence is pronounced -
Ein MaaSaV NimChaLim (!) Aad SheZaCha
- Meaning -
His deeds will not be forgiven until he merits.
May the Force be with you,