The kaballah of my name

The overt meaning of “Shaked” is “Almond Tree”.

The kabbalistic meaning is “One who makes divine puns.” This we derive from Jeremiah 1:11-12, which says:

11 The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”

“I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied.

12 The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am working to see that my word is fulfilled.”

This verse requires explanation.

The prophet Jeremiah, like all biblical prophets, is reluctant to do God’s bidding. This is understandable, as God’s bidding to prophets is usually to go visit a city full of evil people, berate them for their sinful ways, and tell them about all the terrible punishments God has in store for them. People who are evil and sinful by biblical standards (which accept Lot offering his daughters to be raped by the mob, or David killing two hundred philistines for their foreskins, as perfectly normal and acceptable) tend not to appreciate this.

God, however, has to convince Jeremiah to go through with this as quickly as possible, and decides to use the ole’ “make a pun off a random object” method of persuasion1. When Jeremiah points out a random almond tree (“Shaked” in Hebrew), God answers that he is “Working” (the other meaning of the word “Shaked”) to see that his word (in this case, “don’t worry, it’ll be fine) is fullfilled.

The prophet Jeremiah, reassured by this divine mastery of puns, happily goes forwards on his quest2.

The English meaning of “shake” can also be derived from God using an almond tree to shake Jeremiah up. This is not a coincidence, because nothing is ever a coincidence.

1. The other person famous for doing this is Ben Johnson, who claimed he could make a pun on any subject. When someone asked for a pun about the Queen, Johnson protested: “But the Queen is not a subject”.

2. Contrary to God’s reassurances, Jeremiah later proceeds to spend most of the book agonizing over the failure of his mission, consumed by bitterness at those who oppose or ignore him, and accusing God of betraying him.

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