Volume 13 Number 23
                       Produced: Sun May 22 10:13:31 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Artscroll and Modim D'rabbanan
         [Meylekh Viswanath ]
Artscroll Bashing and Modim Derabbonon
         [Mark Steiner]
Cholov Yisrael
         [David Charlap]
Gun control
         [Gedalyah Berger]
Jack Reiner's Farewell
         [Aryeh Frimer]
         [Bob Werman]
Pronunciation problems in Kriah
         [Sam Juni]
Yeshaya 28:14
         [Danny Skaist]


From: Meylekh Viswanath  <PVISWANA@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 1994 17:31:03 EST5EDT
Subject: Re: Artscroll and Modim D'rabbanan

In a recent issue, somebody complained of the Artscroll translation of
the last sentence in modim d'rabbanan.  The last sentence is translated
 ..We thank you for inspiring us to thank you.  Since this is preceded by
a request for certain favors from God, the writer felt that a bargain
was being made in the prayer: you give us these things and we will thank
you (I am paraphrasing the posting).  The Artscroll translation was
presumed to represent a form of Political Correctness; it was alleged
that Artscroll couldn't stomach the idea of a bargain with God.

However, a look at Sotah 40a where the modim d'rabbanan is discussed
shows that the Artscroll translation is quite defensible.  The gemara
there brings down the practices of several rabbis in terms of the modim.
Our version is a concatenation of all of the different versions.  The
version of Rava says (more or less): modim anakhnu lakh, hashem
elokeynu, al she anu modim lakh.  Clearly no hint of any bargain.  How
else could one translate this but in the Artscroll way?  The gemara also
brings down similar versions (without a bargain)of several other rabbis.
The final version has the ending that our shemoneh esreh has.  But there
is no hint that this last rabbis is kholek on the previous ones, just
that he is adding some requests to the previous rabbis' versions.

P.V. Viswanath, Rutgers University
Graduate School of Management, 92 New St, Newark NJ 07102
Tel: (201) 648-5899  Fax: (201) 648-1459  email: <pviswana@...>

[Similar responses from:
 <saul@...> (saul djanogly)
 Ezra L Tepper <RRTEPPER@...>


From: Mark Steiner <MARKSA@...>
Date: Sun, 22 May 1994 06:33:35 -0400
Subject: Artscroll Bashing and Modim Derabbonon

[Ezra sent his directly to Mark, but is basically the same points as
Meylehk makes above. Mod.]

     As a result of Ezra Tepper's reply to my posting concerning
modim derabbanan, I would like to moderate my criticism of
Artscroll for their translation.

     The Talmud (Sotah 40a) contains a number of Amoraic versions
of this prayer, all of which end `al sheonu modim lokh.  The
shortest one is that of Rav (I use x for het; w for vov): modim
anaxnu lokh hashem elo-heinu `al sheanu modim lokh; on that
version, Rashi comments, we thank Hashem for inspiring us to thank
Him.  The longest version is roughly the one we say, but in that
version the identical phrase `al sheonu modim lokh means: because
we have the merit of thanking you, continue to preserve us (ken
texayenu...), as the Bais Yosef to the Tur 127, s.v. garsinon,
points out.  Artscroll's translation merely copies Rashi to the
other version of the modim, i.e. the one we don't say.  This
weakens the theological explanation I gave for their translation,
and I therefore retract it, though I continue to hold that the
translation is mistaken.

     Rashi does say in Sotah that the different versions of modim
derabbonon are cumulative: i.e. each Amora added something to the
previous versions.  And the Bais Yosef (ibid.) says that Rashi can
be understood as meaning that the framework of Rav's version is
maintained.  In that case, in our version of modim derabbonon every
word from "sheatto hu" until "ul`ovdekho belevov sholem" should be
understood, as Ezra understands it, as one huge parenthetical
remark (the only way to justify Artscroll's version--and by the
way, it is not clear from their translation that Artscroll
understands this syntactical point).  There is no need to saddle
Rashi with this incredible interpretation however, since all Rashi
means by "cumulative" is that each Amora added words to the
previous versions, not that the words retained their identical
meaning and reference under the additions.  (I believe that this is
what the Bais Yosef also means to do: i.e., interpret Rashi, not
correct him.)

     A somewhat similar case is the berokho "borei nefoshoth
rabboth."  This is a composite of a number of similar berokhoth
mentioned in Chazal: for example, R. Tarfon, before drinking water,
said: ...borei nefoshoth rabboth (Mishna Berokhoth 6:8).  The
Yerushalmi Berochoth 6:1 records the following berokho said after
eating eggs or meat: borukh...borei nefoshoth rabboth lehaxayoth
bohem nefesh kol xoy...  The Yerushalmi makes clear that the
"nefoshoth" in question are the eggs and the meat, which come from
living animals.  "Water," of course, is not a nefesh (soul); in R.
Tarfon's berokho the nefesh is that of the drinker.  Accordingly,
a number of versions of that Mishna add the word we-xesronon, "and
what they lack" to R. Tarfon's berokho (cf. also Tosefta Berokhoth
4:16, Lieberman's edition, and fn. 63 there).  Our practice is to
say the berokho borei nefoshoth...we-xesronon *after* drinking
water, as well as after eating eggs or meat, so that the "we-
xesronon" makes it clear that we are referring to people, not to
the food.  Moral: when one version of a prayer in Chazal adds words
to another, the original words need not retain their original

Mark Steiner


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Thu, 19 May 94 11:00:30 -0400
Subject: Re: Cholov Yisrael

<Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb) writes:
>...for that matter, what Cholov Yisrael is intended to prevent?

I believe the intent is to ensure that no non-kosher ingredients gets
in the milk.  In Europe, it was (and may still be) fairly common for
milk from non-kosher animals to be sold as "milk".  As far as I know,
"Chalav Yisrael" means Jewish supervision of the milk-production, from
milking to bottling - sort of "shmura milk".

The heter regarding milk in the USA is the FDA's strict labelling
laws.  In the US, it is very illegal to sell anything but cow's milk
as "milk" without labelling the package as such.  And any additives
must be printed on the carton.  (Ever wonder why it always says (in
the US) "Vitamin A & D milk" on the package, instead of just "milk",
when nearly every brand contains the vitamins?)


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Sat, 21 May 1994 22:29:35 -0400
Subject: Gun control

> Most American Jews seem to be in favor of any and all gun-control
> proposals, but Torah seems to support the opposite position.Below are
> three paragraphs from "What Does the Bible Say About Gun Control?" by
> Larry Pratt (not Jewish).  Any comments?/Frank Silbermann
> <fs@...>

To bring proofs about gun control in 1990's American cities from the 
times of Moshe and David is absurd.  If there were ever a case where 
one could point to different metzi'ut [situation, circumstance, facts] as 
a reason for different attitudes/pesak/outlook, this is it.

Kol tuv,
Gedalyah Berger
Yeshiva College / RIETS


From: Aryeh Frimer <F66235@...>
Date: Sun, 22 May 1994 02:26:09 -0400
Subject: Jack Reiner's Farewell

I was very moved by Jack's Farewell and I trust Avi got the Message that
the hours he contributes to the editing of Mail-jewish ARE appreciated.
As to the question of how to say Farewell in Hebrew you can try the
    Lehitra'ot (See ya') or Lehit' for short
    LeHishtame'ah (Hope to hear from you)
    Kol Tuv (all the Best)
    Tihiyeh (or Heyei) li bari (Be well) - Probably from the Yiddish
    Shalom or Shalom, Shalom  (the "music" that goes with this word is
       Critical to its understanding)
    In Modern Hebrew one often hears: "Lehit' bye"


From: <RWERMAN@...> (Bob Werman)
Date: Sat, 21 May 1994 15:30:07 -0400
Subject: Re: Lecho-Dodi

In Mail.Jewish Volume 13 Number 18 Reuven Cohn writes:
> I recall growing up davening with Rav Soloveitchik that one year he
>announced that the appropriate way to recite the last paragraph of lecha
>dodi was to face not the back of the shul, but rather the door wherever
>it might be located.  I think that this was an instance not of received
>minhag on his part, but rather an intellectual analysis that led him to
>change his prior practice.

When I first moved to Jerusalem I would sometimes daven layl Shabbat at
a synagogue [Bet ha-Student, no longer exists at that location or in
that form] that had a large portrait of a major contributor on the back
wall.  At the last verse of Lecha Dodi, the entire audience turned to
that portrait and bowed.

The door was not in the back and the custom, whose meaning was lost,
took precedence.  No longer are all synagogues entered from the back.

Showing the greatness of the Rav, in yet another way, zl"b.

__Bob Werman    <rwerman@...>    rwerman@vms.huji.ac.il


From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Wed, 18 May 1994 13:11:32 -0400
Subject: Pronunciation problems in Kriah

     With the recent discussions regarding the proper enunciation of
words in Kriah, I though it would be relevant to raise a politically
incorrect issue.

     We have a wide range of pronunciations and enunciations of Hebrew
in our communities based on country (and even town) of origin. The
differences are such that if, for example, an ashkenazi Baal Koreh
would inadvertently pronounce a "Saf" as a "Taf", we would shout him
down with corrections. How then does one fulfil his obligation of
Kriah when the reader hails from a different Hebrew base?

     So long as I am being politically incorrect, how is is that we
allow Baalei Kriah to officiate when they feature lisps or other such
transpositions in their speech? Indeed, there are entire communities
who cannot pronounce certain consonants. (E.g., The ancient Ephraimites
could not pronounce "Sh"; the entire Lodz community, in Poland, pro-
nounced "L" as "W".) Did the town of Lodz have to import a stranger to
read the Meggila for them?

    My memory is getting a little sketchy, but I think I once asked R.
Yaakov Kaminetsky Zt"l about the first problem -- listening to a Baal
Koreh with a different pronunciation style due to nationality -- and I
think all I got from him was a wide smile and no response.  I can't
begin to explain the nuances of that smile, since I used to get them
often from R. Yaakov, but, loosely speaking, I believe it translated
into: "Don't go scaling up straight walls (again)!"

   I wonder about Hallachic sources in this area.

    Dr. Sam Juni              fax: (718) 338-6774
    N.Y.U.   400 East
    New York, N.Y.  10003


From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Sun, 22 May 1994 06:50:38 -0400
Subject: Yeshaya 28:14

>Mitch Berger
>I found Targum Yonasan's reference to peace treaties with terrorists to
>be somewhat erie, particularly since Rash"i was reading the Targum when
>he assumes the words refer to the pre-messianic era.
>Yeshayah 28 : 14 - 16:
Did it strike you that the DOP was signed in Wash on Sep 28th which was on
14 Tishre in Israel. (7 hours later)                     ^^



End of Volume 13 Issue 23