Volume 13 Number 93
                       Produced: Tue Jul  5 23:24:13 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Mike Gerver]
         [Robert Ungar]
Hebrew / English Word Processors
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
Hebrew Standard
         [David Charlap]
Spelling of Halcha
         [B Lehman]
Time to end Fast
         [Jeffrey Woolf]
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Transliteration of Hebrew 13/87
         [Neil Parks]
Transliteration, my 2 pence   Take 2
         [Mitchel Berger]


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 1994 4:09:39 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Codes

This posting is in reply to Rabbi Freundel in v13n36, and Sam Juni in

After seeing Rabbi Freundel's comments on my posting in v12n86,
regarding the possibility of testing the ability of the codes to make
predictions of the future, I looked over my original posting and
realized that I did not express certain points very clearly. This is an
occupational hazard of us late night people.

When I said that people are twice as likely to die on some dates than on
other dates, I did not mean that this happens in the natural course of
events. I meant that this is what you would conclude from the
correlations found by Witztum et al, between names and yahrzeit dates.
It is, of course, very surprising, that's the whole point. Which dates
are more likely would depend on what your name is. Someone on the chevra
kadisha would not find that the number of deaths in the whole community
was twice as great on certain days. But he might notice (if the
correlations applied to average people who live now, not just to
rishonim and acharonim) that people named Avraham, say, were twice as
likely to die on certain dates than on other dates.

My point, though, was that this correlation between names and dates,
though very surprising, is rather weak, and cannot be proved with only a
few people. If I claimed that someone were twice as likely to die on an
odd date as on an even date, say, and lo and behold he did die on an odd
date, this would hardly be strong evidence that my claim was correct. A
single case like that could easily be coincidence. Even with thirty
pairs of names and dates, it's only significant on the two sigma level.
Of course, thirty pairs of names and dates correspond to about six
people, since the date can be expressed in different ways (Tammuz 17,
17th of Tammuz), and different names can be used for the same person
(Rabbi Yosef, Mechaber).  With ten people, it would be significant on
the three sigma level, about the same as the data for the top quark.
Definitely interesting, but not overwhelming.

Rabbi Freundel also thinks it is safe to assume that people currently
alive would not have their date of death influenced by knowing which
dates the codes would predict as more likely dates for them to die,
since you need a computer to figure out which dates those are, and no
one would bother to do that. I wouldn't be so sure. Wouldn't you be
curious to know which dates you are more likely to die on? It wouldn't
be hard to find someone capable of doing the calculation. If you did a
study of ten living famous rabbis, and found after they died that the
same correlations applied to them as to the rabbis used in Witztum's
paper, it would certainly be interesting, but I think you would have to
consider this self-fulfilling prophecy effect as an alternative

By the way, I am not an MIT person anymore, although I was until five
years ago, and I still have an e-mail address there.

Sam Juni's posting in v13n64, in reply to my "bat kol" analogy in
v13n46, is pretty convincing, I can't really argue with it. Certainly it
would be very upsetting to find a code that said "Change the Sabbath to
Sunday," even though we would know not to act on it halachically, and
Sam explains why it would be upsetting. If someone did claim to find
such a code, the most likely explanation, as in the case of a false
prophet, would be trickery.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: <robert.a.ungar@...> (Robert Ungar)
Date: Sun, 3 Jul 1994 03:18:00 -0400
Subject: Geneology

I have a friend, Dov Kahan, who is a direct descendent of RABBI YEHUDA
KAHAN (abridged from Kahana), author of the KUNTRES HASFEIKOS.
Presently, he has taken an interest to create a family tree of Rabbi
Yehuda Kahan. Anyone who is a descendent or has helpful related
information please contact me.

Robert Ungar


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Sun, 3 Jul 1994 02:03:24 -0400
Subject: Hebrew / English Word Processors

Since we seem to have stumbled lately into this area, I finally
remembered to post a relevant personal question. For my Hebrew Word
Processing needs I use a relatively archaic but simple program for DOS
called Chiwriter by Horstmann Software out of San Jose, CA. This program
is better known for its Math/Technical version which was recently
updated. Their less well known Greek/Hebrew Version is the one I use and
there are no current plans to update it. The program came with two
unscalable Hebrew fonts which are not bad looking, but I would like to
add more Hebrew fonts if at all possbile. I know little to nothing about
Computer technicalities, but I do know that this program does allow for
custom modification and even design of new fonts, so I assume that there
must be a certain type of font one can tack on to this program. If
anyone out in MJ land knows of anything available that is suitable for
me I would appreciate any and all info.


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 94 21:16:42 -0400
Subject: Re: Hebrew Standard

eisenbrg%<milcse@...> (Lon Eisenberg) writes:
>Transliteration used: ' b g d h w z x t y k l m n s ` p c q r sh $
>(If any of b,g,d,k,f,$ has no daghesh, it is followd by 'h')

This is getting a bit rediculous, IMO.  While I agree that a standard
for transliterations is a good thing, using unpronouncable symbols
(like $ for the Tav - I keep pronouncing it as an "S" instead of as a
"T") is silly.  And appending an "h" for any letter without a dagesh?
Now, the letter doesn't sound anything like what you're reading - a
"bet" without a dagesh is pronounced like a "v", but you'd write it
"bh", which doesn't sound at all like the real thing, etc.

If your goal is to get something that has a 1-1 correspondance with
the Hebrew alphabet, you've got it.  (Almost, what if a "heh" follows
one of your non-dagesh letters?  How do you know what's been written?)
But if (as I thought) the purpose is to make the words easier for
everybody to read and understand, you've failed - this requires far
too much thought for casual reading.


From: <BLEHMAN@...> (B Lehman)
Date: Thu, 30 Jun 1994 23:13:32 -0400
Subject: Spelling of Halcha

There is a saying in Hebrew... "im kvar az kvar" roughly translated it means
if already you do some thing do it all the way.
  I'm no expert in spelling (I join the moderator in thanking the person who 
invented spell check) but as far as I know, the sound of the Hebrew letter 
"chet" is spelled with Ch not Kh. Correct me if I am wrong.

[I don't know if there is a "correct", but the Encyclopedia Judaica
transliteration rules has kh for "khaf" (not "het" for Halakha). Since I
have the page open, here are the Encyclopedia Judaica rules: 

General:    _ b v g d h v z h. t  y k kh l m n s _ p f z. k r sh s t
Scientific: ' b v g d h w z h. t. y k kh l m n s ` p f z. q r s* s t t_

where _ in general means not transliterated, h., t., z. is the letter
with a dot under it, t_ is a t with an underscore under it, and s* is
some funny s that is not part od starndard ascii. If we are going to
take some form of "standard", I would suggest we consider one of the
above, since it is one that is "agreed" upon by many people. Mod.]


From: Jeffrey Woolf <F12043@...>
Date: Sun, 3 Jul 1994 03:18:02 -0400
Subject: Time to end Fast

As far as I recall, the Rav told other people they could end their fast
about 20 minutes after sunset and that 40 minutes was as humra for
ending Shabbat,Yom Tov and Yom Kippur.

                   Jeffrey Woolf


From: eisenbrg%<milcse@...> (Lon Eisenberg)
Date: Sun, 3 Jul 94 10:10:11 IDT
Subject: Transliteration

Transliteration used: ' b g d h w z x t y k l m n s ` p c q r sh $
(If any of b,g,d,k,f,$ has no daghesh, it is followed by 'h')

I can appreciate some of Mike Gerver's feeling that some of my
conventions are awkward.  I believe that some could be changed; however,
I don't agree with most of his proposals as far as to what they should
be changed.  In have tried to avoid using two Latin characters to
indicate a single Hebrew character; the only place I've done this is for
"shin", which should perhaps be changed.  It causes a problem when there
is a daghesh xazaq, when we really should write the letter twice, e.g.
ShaBBa$h, kiSHSHeph [bewitch].

As far as "v" instead of "w", that would probably be okay, but the
standard transliteration used "w", since "waw" is really not a "v"
sound; that probably came from Yiddish, via German, where the "w" is
pronounced like "v" in English.  I think the "w" is more accurate.

A xe$h certainly doesn't have a "ch" sound (besides the problem of
double letter), since "ch" really should be used in names or moder words
to indicate the same sound as in the English word "chuckle".

I chose the "c" for "cadi", since a soft "c" is fairly close to the
correct sound: no, again it is not "ts" or "tz", which probably comes
from Yiddish, through German, for the German "z" sound, a truly double

As far as not needing the "h" after some of the "bgdkf$" letters, since
most dialects don't distinguish the sound with or without the daghesh,
the object is to make this work for all dialects.  Yes, "gimel" and
"daledh" do have different sound with or without a daghesh.

How about the following:
' b g d h w z x t y k l m n s ` p c q r $=shin,&=sin ^

Perhaps even more awkward, but no more double for shin and no problem
distinguishing sin


From: Neil Parks <aa640@...>
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 1994 18:03:45 -0400
Subject: Transliteration of Hebrew 13/87

 >><GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver) says:
 >>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.

I respectfully disagree.  To use such a system, even if I remember
offhand whether a word is spelled with an aleph or an ayin, or have a
source handy to look it up in, I'd also have to memorize which
non-intuitive symbol stood for which (silent) letter.

Scientific transliterations are excellent for scientific journals.  But
when posting to a popular forum such as mail-jewish, my concern is not
so much being scientific, but rather to convey an approximate idea of
what the word sounds like, the way I would pronounce it if I were saying
it out loud sted writing it.

If someone reading my "pronunciation" can't tell what word I'm trying to
say, that's an indicator that I'm pronouncing it wrong.  And I'd welcome
the opportunity to have my mispronunciations corrected.

Where spelling is significant to the discussion, it's a fairly simple
matter to spell out a specific word or two.

NEIL PARKS  <aa640@...>


From: Mitchel Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 1994 15:09:41 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Transliteration, my 2 pence   Take 2

I spent alot of time on the subject of transliteration, and in
particular, comming up with a transliteration that can be unambiguously
translated back to hebrew. I wrote a preprocessor for TeX that takes
transliterates words and correctly converts them to hebrew (with proper
boxing to insure word wrap is correct).

I used:
' b g d h v z ch T y k l m n S ` p tz q r sh t
Vav could be written with a "w" instead of a "v", particularly useful for
cholum malei and shuruq (e.g. Towrah, Qiybuwtz).

But I'd like to see any human tell me that
	Towrah tzivah lanuw Mosheh, mowrashah qehillath Ya`aqov
is more readable than
	Torah tzivah lanu Moshe, morashah kehillas Yaakov
The malei's look really bad, and some words already have pretty standard
transliteration (like Moshe, sans trailing hei).

I have another suggestion. How many of us have 8-bit clean mail readers.
Could we standardize on Latin-8 (iso8859-8) - an ISO standard extended
ASCII with Hebrew support? Hebrew quotes tend to be short. Manually
typing left-to-right - a worst-case scenerio - isn't as painful as the


End of Volume 13 Issue 93