John Steinbeck introduced the word Timshel in East of Eden, reflecting the opportunity to resist the urge to sin. Research of the original Hebrew from which the word is derived highlighted an error in Steinbeck's transliteration leading to an intriguing investigation into the origin and meaning of the word, as well as Steinbeck's portrayal of the word in East of Eden and in a wood carving he made on the box lid he used to deliver the manuscript for the book. The biblical Hebrew context of the word that Steinbeck himself researched is reviewed together with a discussion of its continued use in popular culture. The article concludes with Steinbeck's own message concerning Timshel.

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