I have a Jewish friend who claims that "sabachthani" does not mean "forsaken." Can you clarify?
Language, words, and translations can be a bit tricky. To claim that sabachthani does not mean forsaken is either right or wrong, depending on context.
Sabachthani generally means to have been abandoned or left behind, but it means to have been abandoned for a purpose or reason.
When we generally think of "forsaken," we think of an uncaring abandonment. The Aramaic word for being abandoned without care or because of being unwanted would be taatani. The Aramaic for being abandoned because of being forgotten would be nashatani.
In the context of Jesus on the cross, it is clearly a reference to being abandoned, but it does not imply that Jesus felt his Father carelessly abandoned him.
In some ancient cultures, in order to pass from boyhood to manhood, the young male would have to spend the night alone in the wilderness. Alone and in the dark, the young male might wonder, "Why did my father leave me in this place?" But the young male knows there is a purpose to being there and that his father knows what he is doing and is doing so with love.