Volume 13 Number 87
                       Produced: Fri Jul  1 14:03:00 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Rabbi Frand on Balak
         [Hillel E. Markowitz]
Rabbi Frand on Parshas Pinchas
         ["Hillel E. Markowitz"]
Transliteration of Hebrew
         [Mike Gerver]


From: Hillel E. Markowitz <HEM@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Jun 1994 12:28:54 -0400
Subject: Rabbi Frand on Balak

This is a summary of the divrei torah Rabbi Frand gave on Parshas Balak.  
The Halacha shiur and the full chumash dvarim are on the tapes that he 
sells.  His phone number is (410) 358-0416.  I have no connection with 
the tapes, it is for information only.

The following is my paraphrase of what he said from quickly jotted notes 
and any flaws are mine.

The Pasuk says that Bilaam's donkey complained "Why have you hit me 
these thre times".  THe Hebrew used is "Shalosh Regalim" rather than 
"Shalosh P'amim".  Why does the Torah use this unusual language.  Rashi 
says that it is a remez [hint] to the three times a year that we are 
commanded to go up to the temple (oleh regel - ascending by foot).  
[That is why we call Pesach, Shavuos, and Succos the 'Shalos Regalim'].  
The donkey was saying, "How can you expect me to walk against those keep 
the Shalosh Regalim".

Rabbi Schwab says that this is referring to the "Schar Pesios" [reward 
for steps] that one gets when one goes to shul.  This refers to a gemoro 
that if one has a choice of two shuls, and goes to the farther one, he 
gets extra reward.  The Maharal points out that this is a unique 
mitzvah.  We don't get extra reward for going, for example, to a succah 
which is two blocks away rather than on in our back yard.  What is the 
difference.  The connection is with "Oleh Regel" going to the Bais 
Hamikdash three times a year [on foot].  Just as the shul is our mikdash 
meat [little sanctuary - our replacement for the temple] so too the act 
of walking serves as our version of being oleh regel and therefore 
deserves its own reward.


From: "Hillel E. Markowitz" <HEM@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Jun 1994 23:42:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Rabbi Frand on Parshas Pinchas

This is a summary of the shiur Rabbi Frand gave in Baltimore on
June 30 - Parshas Pinchas.  As always, it is written from
handwritten notes and memory so any mistakes are mine.

The Halacha shiur involved the halacha of when Tisha B'Av starts
on Motz'ai Shabbos (and is not nidche) for two reasons.

1. That is the case this year

2. This is the last shiur before the summer break.  He has
arranged for subtitues for the next five Thursdays.

Havdala this year is handled as follows:

1. The brocho on the candle - Borai Meorai Ha'aish - is made
immediately after Maariv and before Aicha (since that says that
we are sitting in darkness)

2. Since we do not make Borai minai besomim (the brocho on the
spices) on Saturday night, we do not make it at all.

3. We make the last two brochos - Borai Pri Hagefen (on the
wine) and Baruch Hamavdil (the final brocho) on Sunday night
after the fast is over.

Last week we learned how Pinchas was a "kanai" - a word which is
often translated as zealot - by taking the law into his own
hands and killing Zimri and his paramour Kazbi bas Tzur based on
the halacha "Kanaim pog'im bo" [a kanai should kill him].  This
weeks parsha begins with Hashem giving him his reward with
"Brisi Shalom" [My covenant of Peace].  This seems somewhat
contradictory as a "zealot" is usually the cause of disputes, so
how is peace an appropriate reward.  Further, there is a medrash
that Moshe was punished for NOT exhibiting this "kanaus" by the
fact that in next week's parsha it says that the site of his
grave is not known.  The medrash continues that this is an
example of Hashem being particular with tzadikim "like the
thread of a hair".  That is, that someone on Moshe's level is
punished for things which would not even be noticed with respect
to the rest of us.  Indeed, most of us would be forbidden to act
like Pinchas.

Rav Gifter writes that people tend to translate the word kanai
[zealot] as "extremist".  This is not correct.  The Rambam
writes that we don't appreciate extremism and we must keep to
"the middle path".  Kanaus is actually when a person is able to
sublimate himsel to the Ratzon Hashem [Will of Hashem} to such
an extent that he is ready willing and able to give up his life
for Hasem.  His personal agenda doesn't exist.  His willingness
to give up his life come from his total involvement in serving
Hashem.  If ANY other motives enter into it at all, it is not
Kanaus.  Thus, the appropriate award is "Brisi Shalom", not from
"shalom" - peace, but from "shalem" - perfection or wholeness.
He is literally as one with Hashem.

In next week's parsha, the medrash says that Moshe did teshuvah
for his "lapse" by showing his own "kanaus".  Hashem told Moshe
that as soon as he had completed taking revenge on Midian for
the sin of P'or, he would die.  THe medrash says that Moshe
could have delayed the time of his death by stretching out the
war.  Instead he exerted himself to complete it at the earliest
moment possible.  This was his own "kanaus", doing the will of
Hashem eagerly even though it meant his own death.

[A personal note, I remember a medrash that Pinchas would indeed
have been subject to the death penalty if it had not been for
the fact that Hashem Himself validated his action immediately.]

The Daas Zekainim in Parsha Vayigash discusses the machlokes of
the pronounciation of the name "Yissachar" [perhaps it should be
Yisaschar with two sins].  One of the son's of Yissachar is
shown as Yashuv, but in Vayigash it is shown as Yov.  The Daas
Zekainim says that up until this parsha the name is pronounced
"Yisaschar" (two sins) and from now on it is pronounced
"Yissachar" (one sin).  The reason is that is son "Yov"
complained that his name was now that of an avodas zarah [idol].
Yisaschar took a sin (shin) from his name and gave it to his son
who became Yashuv.

Rav Chaim Elazari asked what need was there to change the
father's name.  Why couldn't he have added a letter to his son's
name just as we add an extra name to a sick person.  Indeed,
we know of people who have multiple names without any problem.
Do we indeed need a letter donor?

Rav Gifter writes that this is an example of a father protecting
his son.  Does a father spare anything to protect his children?
[note - father is mentioned here because that is the case in the
parsha, it doesn't take away from a mother - hem].  The father
would not take any chances with the protection he wants to give
his child.  He gave him a letter from his own name because a
father is not satisfied with the protection given to a child
until he has done the utmost possible.

The gematriah of the word "ahavah" is 13

The Gematriah of the word "da'agah" is also 13

A parent's love for his child leads to and is shown by the worry
he/she feels.

Aleph - 1, Hei - 5, Vav - 6, Hei - 5:  Total 13

Daled - 4, Aleph - 1, Gimmel - 3, Hei - 5: Total 13

Shabat Shalom

And Happy fourth to the Americans on the list.


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 1994 4:24:43 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Transliteration of Hebrew

Lon Eisenberg's proposal for transliterating Hebrew has some appealing
features. I particularly like the convention of using a righthand single
quote, or apostrophe (') for aleph, and a lefthand single quote, or
back apostrophe as it might be called (`) for ayin. This has the advantage
of forcing people like me, who learned Hebrew too late in life to have
good spelling intuition, to look up words in the dictionary, which might
eventually result in my learning how to spell them. A second advantage of
this is that it slows down our writing, giving us more time to reflect
about flaming, to catch spelling and grammar errors, and other stuff that
Avi is always urging us to do.

I sometimes read mail-jewish on the hardcopy that Dan Goldish prints up
and brings to shul every Shabbat. I was doing this last week when I
noticed that in Lon's postings the back apostrophe (`) got changed 
everywhere to a regular apostrophe ('). Evidently this is done by the
software that Dan's computer uses for printing the files. I hope that
this is not a common feature of such software, since it would cause 
confusion if Lon's proposal were adopted. Lots of people might not even
realize that Lon was trying to represent aleph and ayin by different

Some of Lon's other proposed conventions seem awkward to me, mostly because
they look weird and would be hard for people to get used to. Perhaps they
can be replaced with other conventions that are less weird looking, but
still make the Hebrew spelling unambiguous.

"Vav" could be designated by "v" rather than "w".  I suppose the reason
for using "w" rather than "v" in the first place is in order to save "v"
for "veit," i.e. "beit" without the dagesh. But Lon's system uses "bh"
for this, and that doesn't seem too weird to me, although it might to 
other people who aren't amateur linguists used to seeing "bh" in Indo-
European roots.

"Tsadhe" could be symbolized by "tz" or "ts", which seems more natural
than "c" provided there are no Hebrew words with tet with a shva under it
followed by zayin, or no Hebrew words with tet with a shva under it
followed by samekh or sin. Is that true? I can't think of any.

If we don't use "c" for "tsadhe," then we could use "ch" for "cheth" 
instead of "x".

The weirdest looking of Lon's proposed symbols is $ for tav. For tav
without a dagesh, we could use "th" without ambuiguity, assuming that
there are no Hebrew words with "tet" with a "shva" followed by "he".
But using "t" for "tav" with a dagesh would not distinguish "tav" from
"tet". In any case, "th" for "tav" without a dagesh seems old fashioned.

A similar problem exists for "samekh" and "sin", both transliterated as
"s" in Lon's scheme. Maybe both problems could be resolved by using
double s or double t for one of the letters, and single s or t for the 
other, although that's not very aesthetic either.

Lon proposes to use "h" after "beit", "gimmel", "daled", "kaph", "pe" and
"tav" without a dagesh. This is not really necessary for "gimmel" and
"daled" where the dagesh doesn't affect the pronuciation for most dialects
of Hebrew.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


End of Volume 13 Issue 87