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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Return of the Sea God

The other day I was looking for some new materials and ended up on myspace. Let me tell you, that place has lots of Hebrew Tattoo pictures... the vast majority of them incorrect.

Today's feature is one of my new finds, and it also features an error we've seen before. Give some applause to God of the Sea!


This guy was keeping it simple, all he wanted was a single word "God". Unfortunately, somehow an extra space found its way into the tattoo, turning "Elohim" into "El Hayam" - God of the Sea.

How can a word like "God" be cut in half and still retain it's meaning you ask?

See, the original word "Elohim" means God, it's in a special multiple form to emphasize God's greatness. When it's spelled this way, you have no doubt which god is meant, it's the biblical God and no other.

Cut the frills away, and you're left with "El", aka god, no emphasis or capitalization needed. It can be used to refer to any god you like. Conveniently, the other part of the word transforms him into God of the Sea.

Edit: For Margy, who requested to see how God is supposed to be written in Hebrew:

You can write it in two ways. The one on top is what the featured tattoo was supposed to look like. People not practiced in Hebrew might not see the difference, but even spacing is crucial.

The bottom version is the one more common in modern Hebrew, I prefer to write God this way.

The difference between the two is the letter Vav, which reads here as the "O" in "Elohim". In this case it's an optional letter, you can choose whether to write it or not.

10 comments:

  1. Haha...reminds me of this American guy who asked a waiter from a Chinese restaurant to write his name in Chinese characters. He got the thing as a tattoo on his chest. 17 years later on a trip to China, a bartender asked why he had "Coca Cola" tattooed on his chest! XD This is a true story that made it to Yahoo! news sometime last year. :D

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  2. Coca Cola tattoo in Chinese, that's priceless!

    I wonder if some of the things I've got here on the site or in the waiting queue are deliberately messed up like in your story. I'd love to have a confirmed sabotage case in my collection.

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  3. Probably...I would most likely do what the Chinese waiter dude did if ever I get the chance. :D

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  4. Great site Typotat..I wish you had many more examples up on site. I feel desperatly as you do that ppl have gone to the trouble to have deep meanings tattooed onto them only to have the entire meaning botched!

    In regard to this particular one....and becasue im a visual gal, how actually is the word GOD (Biblical God)spelt becasue im not quite understanding or seeing where the space is in the tattoo?

    Keep up the awesome work ....

    ps. I really appreciate it when you are able to visually show the correct way a word is written.

    M.

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  5. Hi Margy,

    Thank you for commenting, I've added your requested visual to the post!

    --Typo

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  6. You made your own typo when you wrote "too" instead of "two" - :)

    Love the blog!

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  7. Thanks for telling me, Devorah! All fixed now :)

    --Typo

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  8. Actually, this one isn't that bad, the meaning is quite clear even with the wrong spacing

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  9. There's not only an error in the Hebrew, there's also one in the Greek. At the top of the picture you can see the two letters Λ (Lambda) and Ω (Omega). Now unless I'm unaware of some religious secret code, I'm pretty sure this was meant to be 'A' and 'Ω', or Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, referring to God as 'the Beginning and the End'.

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  10. He's not totally without hope. Add a bar to make the A and there is some room to squeeze in the Vav. Still risky, and instead of a Vav, he might get a Num Sofit! What would that make?

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