Volume 11 Number 74
                       Produced: Tue Feb  8 23:56:46 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Misrepresenation of Halakha
         [Percy Mett]
Pronunciation (2)
         [Alan Cooper and Tamar Frank, Dr. Moshe J. Bernstein]
Proper Pronunciation
         [Harry Weiss]
rov vs. rav
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Tircha D'tzibburah
         [Elie Rosenfeld]
variants of birkat hagomel
         [Dr. Jeremy Schiff]


From: <btanenb@...> (Robert J. Tanenbaum (Programmer))
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 94 11:22:18 EST
Subject: Re: Misrepresenation of Halakha

Rabbi Aryeh Frimer requests examples of cases where rabbinic authorities
misrepresent the halacha -- deliberately forbidding the permitted --
for some social purpose which they want to promote.

An example comes to mind that in Kashrut, rabbis will often declare
something "not Kosher" because of extraneous reasons.
It was common in Europe to forbid "Schitat Chutz" (Meat from out of town
butchers) in order to ensure that the local butcher would stay in business.
They didn't just say, "It's kosher, but you should patronize our local
butcher." The rabbis specifically termed the meat "not kosher".
There are many examples of rabbis declaring meat "not kosher" because
the purveyors had unethical business practices or were charging too much.
The Boston Va'ad HaRabonim declared grapes and lettuce "not kosher" if
it was picked by non-union labor during the farm-workers boycot of the
early 70's. The situation of declaring food "not kosher" because of
over-pricing is discussed in the halacha seforim -- and I think the Gemorra
as well.

So yes, there are cases where the rabbis over-state the issue and deliberately
misuse halachic terminology in order to strengthen their ruling.
Sounds strange but it's true.

Ezra Bob Tanenbaum	1016 Central Ave	Highland Park, NJ 08904
home: (908)819-7533	work: (212)450-5735
email: <btanenb@...>


From: <P.Mett@...> (Percy Mett)
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 94 12:51:04 -0500
Subject: pronunciation

>From: <leora@...> (Leora Morgenstern)
>5. rav, not rov     (when the word is used to mean Rabbi)
> No, no, this is not yet another case of a disagreement about how
>to pronounce the kamatz.  The point here is that the word is vocalized
>with a patach.  (rav is spelled resh-vet, with a patach under the resh.)

It is the easiest thing in the world to say that "...they're just using
Hebrew incorrectly". However when a foreign word is imported into the
language it acquires an identity of its own, and tends to be pronounce as
if it were part of that language. Rov (and many other "Hebrew" words) have
come into English via other languages (frequently Yiddish). It is not
necessarily 'incorrect' to pronounce them differently in a foreign context
from a Hebrew context.

The word rav/rov has in any cases several  pronunciations . German Jews
tend to say "rav" whereas Eastern European Jews say "rov". (Not to mention
that Polish Jews pronounce the latter as "roov")

Perets Mett

From: Alan Cooper and Tamar Frank <Alan.Cooper@...>
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 94 13:29:17 -0500
Subject: Re: Pronunciation

In the recurrent discussion of "proper" accentuation of words, I think
that it is sensible to avoid superciliousness towards views other than
one's own.  When a poster comments that "we have quite clear traditions
as to where words are accented," he makes the point unintentionally and
ironically: he has restricted the "we" to those who share his point of
view.  The statement is correct, in principle, of course, but *what* the
"clear traditions" are depends on who the "we" is--as an eloquent
posting on behalf of Litvisher yeshiva pronunciation made abundantly
clear.  Also, the notion that pristine Hebrew pronunciation was
corrupted by galut flies in the face of the variations among the
Masoretic traditions, not to mention the inconsistency between Tiberian
and Samaritan pronunciations.  Or were the Samaritans corrupted by
galut? ;-)

Alan Cooper

From: Dr. Moshe J. Bernstein <mjbrnstn@...>
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 94 19:35:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Pronunciation

to presume that we perpetrate "incorrect" pronunciation of Hebrew and 
Aramaic in order to show our solidarity with litvishe masora is not quite 
right. we may pronounce it "wrong" despite knowing what is right in order 
to maintain our link with tradition. there is a big difference between 
assuming that it is right, and for an ideological reason reading what is 
wrong although i know better.  when i teach Aramaic to students at YC 
and Stern, i very carefully remind them that when "learning" they should  
continue to read the way that their rebbeim do (because their rebbeim may 
not take kindly to grammatically accurate reading and etiquette demands 
that they be sensitive to this). this is how i was taught to read by my 
teacher of Aramaic (my father, z.l.).
we also should not assume that all of these "yeshivishe" pronunciations are 
wrong, although some certainly are. the "correct" vocalization of RBY may be 
either Ribbi or Rebbi as found in vocalized manuscripts of the mishnah 
and ancient grave inscriptions (there's one which reads duo rebbites!)
on the other hand, i recall hearing from my father an incident when R. 
Mendel Zaks z"l [the Hafetz Hayyim's son-in-law] who was the bohen 
[examiner] at Yeshiva commented to him once about the phrase which is 
generally read "kol da'alim gevar", remarking [i don't recall the 
Yiddish] "it really should be kol de'oleim govar, shouldn't it?" (which 
it perhaps is; the difference is between perfect tense and participles); 
he realized that the traditional reading was not accurate.
On the other hand, to reject the work of Jastrow because he was not 
mishelanu is patently absurd, and that is the mildest formulation which i 
can think of, and i should not have to cite kabbel et ha-emet mi-mi 
she-amaro to validate it. Jastrow was not trying to uproot or destroy 
anything when he wrote his dictionary, merely to make certain texts 
easier to read. there is no tendentiousness in his dictionary, and, _even 
if he relied on anti-Semitic scholars_ the important issue is whether 
they were right or wrong about the point at issue.
the crux of this entire matter is whether one is interested in truth or 
not, for the meaning of a word is either right or wrong, true or 
false, and where i come from truth takes priority, by far, over rhetoric, 
and no number of gedolim, litvish or otherwise, can make it different. 
[and if that isn't shitat haGra, you've missed some of his main points!]


From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 94 16:45:13 
Subject: Proper Pronunciation

Lenny Openheimer addresses the fact that the reason by the YU/Mo
crowd has more correct pronunciation is due to their exposure to
spoke Hebrew.

The interesting thing to note is that frequently when a boy
transfers from a Modern Orthodox Yeshivah to a "black hat" Yeshivah
they soon attempt to mispronounce Hebrew in the "Yeshivish"


From: eisenbrg%<milcse@...> (Lon Eisenberg)
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 94 12:50:39 -0500
Subject: rov vs. rav

Perhaps, "rov" is just the way it is written in English to get the more
rounded sound.  Consider the English words "pod" vs. "pad".


From: <er@...> (Elie Rosenfeld)
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 94 02:56:06 -0500
Subject: Tircha D'tzibburah

Danny Skaist writes:

>I agree, (but I am no rabbi) let's start a movement for hachzakat "mitzvat
>tircha d'tzibburah".
>The only problem is, that even you said it's a "half-joking comment".  Here

I suppose I was trying to soften my language (not always standard procedure
here lately!)  But truthfully, this issue has been a "pet peeve" of mine
for a long time.

>is a mitzva that is Docheh [takes precedence over] Kavod hatorah [the honor
>of the torah] and it is still considered a "half joke" ???

Danny goes on to point out that even covering the Torah between aliyas is
considered tircha d'tzibburah.

And that act takes maybe three seconds!  The implications, in terms of the
model that halacha seems to have for a properly-run minyan, are astounding.
Apparently, even a tiny delay is expected to be noticeable.  What an awesome
responsibility for gabbaim, what an incredible level of efficiency seems to
be required!

>I suspect that the reason for the halacha is that people react to "tircha
>d'tzibburah" by coming later and later or not at all.

I'm sure many will respond by saying that those people's reactions are not
appropriate.  Yet, apropos of the concept of tircha d'tzibburah, I'd like
to turn that question around.  What is the _shul's_ responsibility to address
the tircha issue, so highlighted by those who "vote with their feet"?  How
do we tolerate keeping the letter of the tircha law in our Torah-covering
minhag, and yet totally ignoring it in so many other areas?

I'd be interested if anyone has heard a defense of the current practices.
My guess is that they have developed by basically ignoring the tircha issue,
rather than addressing it somehow.

Elie Rosenfeld


From: <schiff@...> (Dr. Jeremy Schiff)
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 94 17:49:30 +0200
Subject: variants of birkat hagomel

My five year old son was unfortunately hospitalized for a few days last
week (Baruch Hashem he has now fully recovered).  Alas it has been a
while since I last learnt siman 219 in orach chayyim, but I recalled
that there was at least an opinion that if person A goes through some
traumatic experience and person B is close to person A, then person B
can make a bracha similar to birkat hagomel, in thanks for person A
being saved.  (The nusach of the bracha is like birkat hagomel but it
isn't an obligation like birkat hagomel, it's something you can do if
you want). This seems to be the halachic basis for a husband making
birkat hagomel after his wife has recovered from childbirth, which in
some places is the minhag, though I think the minhag of the wife making
her own bracha is probably dominant these days.

This past Shabbat in shul I made the bracha "BA"H EM"H asher gamal 
livni kol tov". My final rationale was that  it was a safek as to 
whether I should make any bracha, and the appropriate action in
such a safek was to make the bracha ("safek brachot lekula" is 
a principle by birkot mitzva, and the "rules" of the bracha I
wanted to make are those of birkot nehenin - indeed I felt very
much that if I did not do something to mark the occasion I would
be violating the principle of "ain adam neheneh meolam haze belo
bracha" - one shouldn't have benefit from this world without
a bracha). In retrospect, this rationale is not sound.

My bracha set of a flurry of research amongst the congregation
(of about 25). It was quite clear the mishne brura agreed with
the principle of the bracha, but said that a father should not
make such a bracha for his son, only a son for a father or a talmid
for his teacher. The argument as to what the aruch hashulchan 
says continues....but the one person who said the aruch hashulchan
was against such brachot was fortunately the one person who had
heard such a bracha before, so I got to leave shul alive (but awfully

The halachic debate over these brachot is lengthy, and I don't
think I am qualified to present it. My questions for the mj world
are: Has anyone heard such a bracha being made before? Has anyone
else been in a position where they wanted to make such a bracha?



End of Volume 11 Issue 74