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This too shall pass

April 30, 2011

The new tattoo

This is my new tattoo- ‘gam zeh ya’avor’ = ‘this too shall pass’.

You might, like my fella, wonder why in the world I decided to get this stamped permanently on my body and in Hebrew of all the languages in the world! …

Well, this has been pretty much my mantra for the last year. Since Philipp came into the world, almost a year ago, there’ve been so many ups and downs. The downs, I’ve learned are transient, however shitty; and the ups, I’ve learned to treasure because they too don’t last forever, though I’d love to hold onto all those special moments (they grow far too fast, those small Humans!)

As for the language- I have no deep connection with Hebrew. One of the friends who introduced me to H speaks it… er….OK:  The origin of the phrase is a little foggy and has been attributed to several historical figures (incidentally, this was also apparently Abraham Lincoln’s mantra). My favourite is a parable from Jewish folklore:

King Soloman chooses to test his most loyal and trusted minister, Benaiah Ben Yehoyada, by asking of him an impossible task. The King asks Benaiah to find him a ring with magic powers, knowing full well that the ring does not exist. “If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy,” he tells him. He expresses his desire to wear the ring for Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), which is six months away. After months of searching, Benaiah finds himself, the night before Sukkot, walking through the poorest neighborhood of Jerusalem. He happens upon a jeweller, who, when asked if he’s heard of such a ring, produces from his pocket a plain gold ring, to which he adds an engravement. Benaiah returns just in time on the eve of Sukkot to give the king the ring he has requested. When the king looks at the engraving, he reads four words: “gam zeh ya’avor”, which translates to, “This too shall pass” or “This too will pass”. At that moment, Solomon realizes that his wisdom, tremendous wealth, and power are fleeting things, for one day he will be nothing but dust. (Thanks to Hitting Send for this)

So hence the Hebrew script. It also looks pretty and is shorter than the English. Plus if I get bored of explaining the meaning, I can always lie and say it means something else… 🙂

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2011 20:33

    Always love a good tattoo 🙂 Like the meaning too.

  2. May 4, 2011 21:39

    I’m gonna have the same tattooed in my shoulder this week!


  3. May 8, 2011 15:38

    I like. Many hugs beautiful. Once I am working again I shall come visit again xx

  4. Dam permalink
    November 20, 2012 21:04

    It is actually a proverb very common is persian poems and stories and that is where it originated from. I have been debating whether I should get it in Hebrew, English, or Farsi.

  5. Sharon honey permalink
    October 13, 2013 20:40

    I’m Israeli and speaking Hebrew if you wanna do another in Hebrew I can help.. Btw very nice one!

    • Mama-L permalink
      October 14, 2013 08:30

      Thanks Sharon but I have my very own Israeli Hebrew speaker here in Berlin 🙂

  6. March 18, 2014 05:08

    I’ve been meaning to get that inked on my skin for some time now but I still haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve had the design file in my computer for years but since I haven’t verified if it’s correct—because it’s a language and writing system (I had it written in Rashi script) that’s alien to me, I’m afraid of becoming one of those tattoo horror stories :P. Yours look great and I’m happy to hear your connection to the phrase. I live it or at least try to.

    • Mama-L permalink
      March 18, 2014 13:37

      Thanks for the comment! It’s difficult when you’re getting something that will last forever, isn’t it? I’m looking for my next tattoo now! Maybe I’ll go for an image for the next one though…
      Best of luck with yours!

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