What We Don’t Know We Don’t Know

In my previous post, fittingly called “What we Don’t Know”, the word opmekn, which I thought was mistaken in the Harshavs’ translation of Glatshteyn’s In Mitn Veg, was in fact correct all along. I’ve corrected that original post here:

Since that post was about different kinds of not knowing, I suppose this is strangely appropriate that contains my worst error since I started this blog. Returning to the four kinds of children, I suppose that I’m still in the running for the wise child (wise to know what you don’t know, and to correct mistakes), or the arrogant child (did I really think that I as a beginner already knew better than two well-regarded translators of a more knowledgeable generation?), or the simple child (the correct definition was literally next to the wrong one in my dictionary).

In the spirit of keeping even the awkward parts of history intact, I struck through my erroneous commentary rather than mekn it op.

Do read the Glatshteyn poem, though, if you haven’t yet. It is really gorgeous. Ostensibly about the desert generation unable to cross into the promised land, the impetus for the poem was the founding of the State of Israel right on the heels of the holocaust. But more than that specific historical moment, it’s about all generation gaps, and, too, about collective amnesia which may sometimes be necessary, but always comes at a cost.

Image from yiddishwit.com

Image from yiddishwit.com

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