Paraprosdokian Sentences

A student sent me the following: A paraprosdokian (from Greek meaning “beyond expectation”) is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to re-frame or reinterpret the first part. She included a number of examples such as:

The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on the list.

If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.

Those who enjoyed the Kirtan chanting workshop with Rabbi Andrew Hahn this past week, also heard a wonderful example of a paraprosdokian. He quoted it in the name of Ram Dass (aka Richard Alpert) who said: “I’m Jewish on my parent’s side.”

What does it mean to be Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or an adherent of any religion?

If we reflect on the answer: “on my parent’s side,” we are led to a profound insight as to religion as an identity.  So, on what other side do we exist?  On the Divine side, we are all simply the same—human beings who can strive to fulfill themselves through their religious identity on their parent’s side and their humanity on God’s side.

I invite you all to hear Rabbi Joe Black’s talk tomorrow evening (Kabbalah Live!) as he reflects on the Seeker and the Spiritualist. We will see from which side his metaphor emerges.

We’ll leave the heat on for you.

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