Idol Chatter

One of my favorite moments of last night’s Oscars show was Ben Stiller’s “Avatar” spoof, when he presented the award for best makeup in blue-face (and blue-tail) Nav’i get-up, with his speech mixing English and, of course, Na’vi. Alas, all but the most die-hard “Avatar” fanatics or sharpest-eared Jews out there probably missed the fact that Stiller’s Na’vi was anything but pure: Mixed into his alien tongue were a few Hebrew words familiar to any observant Jew: “Pesach… borei p’ri hagafen.”

To translate: The first word, Pesach, is the Hebrew word for Passover, while the rest of the phrase represents the closing words of the traditional blessing over wine, which praises God for “… creating the fruit of the vine.” The blessing is recited every Friday night and Saturday (the Jewish Sabbat), and on holidays, including, of course, Passover.

Na’vi? Not quite. Random? Yes. But not untimely: Perhaps Stiller is as obsessed with preparing and cleaning for the upcoming Passover holiday as many others in his tribe.

And maybe Hebrew isn’t totally out of place in the Na’vi lexicon. “Navi,” after all, is the Hebrew word for profit prophet. (Thanks to alert reader Kauko for pointing out my unintentional typo there!)

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