Kenneth Cohen

Different Translations

The warning in the Torah for abandoning the Mitzvot, comes with the words, והלכת עמי בקרי, “If you will walk with me in KERI.” This word is very difficult to translate.

I found four different translations in various Chumashim. They range from, “stubbornness, indifference, casualness, and contrary.”

This shows how great the miracle of translating the Torah into Greek was. Seventy two wise men of Israel, gave the exact same translation. And here is an example of one word with four different translations.

The Keli Yakar adds yet another interpretation to this word, קרי. He takes it to mean, במקרה, by chance. He points out that it is a very dangerous thing to assume that what transpires in our lives is random.

Such thinking diminishes the fact that Hashem is running the world. It distances ourselves from Him and makes us feel that we are in control of our own destiny. It ultimately leads to violating the commandments of the Torah, which leads to being banished from the land.

Regardless as to how we translate the word, קרי, the message is clear. We must never allow ourselves to be distanced from Hashem.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at