Thursday, November 18, 2021

TIL "Kwisatz Haderach" is basically a Jewish phrase

From Yair Rosenberg's new newsletter titled "The Incredible True Story Behind TV’s Strangest Space Jew" and subtitled "An eight-year investigation to explain why a religious Jew appeared in one of contemporary science fiction’s most celebrated shows":

The science-fiction genre has long been inflected by Jewish influences, whether audiences realize it or not. Take this past month’s blockbuster Dune, adapted from the famed Frank Herbert novel. The film’s main character, Paul Atreides, is a messianic figure who goes by many mystical names, including one that undoubtedly confused many moviegoers: “Kwisatz Haderach.” The reason this term sounds like nonsense in English is that it’s not English. It’s Herbert’s rough transliteration of the traditional Jewish term kefitzat haderech (קפיצת הדרך), which means the “shortening of the way” or “leaping of the path.” The messiah, in other words, is the one who propels humanity forward to its ultimate destination. 

(Just an FYI, it's an interesting, even uplifting story, but it does take a sad turn.)