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  5. "Know where you came from and…

"Know where you came from and where you are going."

Translation:דע מאין באת ולאן אתה הולך.

June 22, 2016



This is a part of a very famous Mishna in the tractate "Avot", and was said by Rabbi Akavia son of Mahallal'el (lived during the 1st century): דע מאין באת ולאן אתה הולך ולפני מי אתה עתיד ליתן דין וחשבון. מאין באת - מטיפה סרוחה, ולאן אתה הולך - למקום עפר רימה ותולעה, ולפני מי אתה עתיד ליתן דין וחשבון - לפני מלך מלכי המלכים הקדוש ברוך הוא. [Know where you came from and where you are going, and before whom you are to report and to stand for judgment. Where you came from - from a drop of stinch (referring to the male sperm), and where you are going - to a place of dust, maggots and worms, and before whom you are to report and to stand for judgment - before the king of kings of kings, the holy one blessed be he. (yeah, you got it right: that's God)]

This is actually rather terrifying, and a very religious text. Anyway, every Jewish funeral includes it, right before the burial.


you guys put a lot of wisdom in those sentences, i love it!


What's wrong with "דע מאין אתה בא ולאן אתה הולך"?


אתה בא - present באת - past


It's like saying: know from whence you come from Instead of know from whence you came.


Why is מאין באת without אתה and then לאן אתה הולך with אתה? Is always opcional?


Where you came from מאין באת is the past tense. It is most natural to leave out the pronoun when using a verb in the past tense. Saying אני אמרתי is superfluous since the ending of the verb tells you who is the subject of the verb. You can, of course, use the pronoun to add emphasis. However, the pronoun is not often left out for the third person, so you should always try to say: הוא אמר/היא אמרה הם/הן אמרו But you cannot omit pronouns in the present tense.


Da me'ayin bat ve-le'an ata holech.


I think it's Da me-ayin báta u-le-an ata holekh.


true, a pronunciation "bat" is for a feminine singular you came and "bata" for a masculine singular you came and "ata holekh" is a masculine singular you are going, so it should be "bata".

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