Volume 17 Number 69
                       Produced: Wed Jan  4  8:16:42 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Eduyoth (Mishna 1:4,5,6.)
         [Andrey Belenkiy]
         [Adina B. Sherer]
Modern Hebrew is not Sefaradic
         [Joseph Steinberg]


From: <belenkiy@...> (Andrey Belenkiy)
Date: Thu, 29 Dec 94 23:49:30 PST
Subject: Eduyoth (Mishna 1:4,5,6.)

Foreword. I composed this commentary a year ago, trying to understand two
seemingly different problems. One was a statement made last year by R.Goren 
and addressed to the Israeli soldiers: "not to follows the orders of 
military or civil authorities which contradict to the Torah."
Another one was a Halakhic Status of the Reform Movement.
Now, a year ago I understand that both problems are far from being purely
academic. To solve the second problem I need to know who were the first
Reform Rabbis or: were Reform Rabbis who wrote the first Reform Charter in 1840
in Berlin properly ordained? Here historians might give a decisive answer.
Knowledge of German here is essential which I do not have (born after ...).
Those who will see in the arrangement of my commentary in the "geometrical" 
or "axiomatic" order influence of Spinoza will increase their "academic"
score but not practical. I'd like you to check my references to Meiri,
Judah Halevi and Rabad which I borrowed from some books. Enjoy.

A possible application:   Legitimacy of the Reform Movement.

Definition of the High Court which is greater in wisdom than Talmud Court:
1. General understanding is that "wisdom" is wisdom of Ab of Beth Din.
2. Another version: at least 3-4 judges understand 70 languages
0. The major problem is: why Mishna 1:5 discusses stipulations "greater 
in wisdom but not in number or greater in number but not in wisdom"  - 
to reject them as never tenable or to hint that they are valuable under 
some circumstances? 
1. Rabbinical Gezerot and Takkanot (e.g., Prosbul) against the Torah. 
Does it mean that decisions of Moses'Court (70 elders) were overturned?
2. In Gittin,36a, Shmuel said that "would he have been in the position 
of Hillel he would reverse the law on Prosbul". Gemara discusses Shmuel's 
statement vaguely. 
3. Two contradictory statements of Rambam: "any later Court can overturn 
a decision of the former" (Mishnei Torah, Mamrim,2:1) and "statement 
in Eduyoth means that a minority opinion can be used to overturn a decision 
of the former Court, based on this minority opinion" ("Commentary to Mishna").
4. What was rejected opinion of R.Judah in Mishna 1:6 - a possibility to use 
a single opinion even it is strong and valid or: even it is weak and untenable?
5. Why does Mishna 1:5 mention a situation when "a court is greater in wisdom 
but not in number or greater in number but not in wisdom"?
6. What did Meiri mean under the words "Court of importance" which "can 
base its decisions on the opinion of minority"?
7. Judah Halevi in Doroth, 1:200, and Tosaphot, Yom Tov, argued that, using 
a single opinion in Talmud, it is possible to put aside a decision of the 
former Court by any subsequent Court even it is not greater in wisdom and 
8. In Aboth, 5:7, there is an explanation of what it means to be "greater 
in wisdom [and number]". The last word "number" can be met in some versions. 
Its very appearance in this place cause a question:  it can be either 
independent on the word "wisdom" and mean,e.g.,a number of Sages who support 
a person or dependent on the word "wisdom" and mean,e.g.,an age of Sage. 

Relevant remarks.
1. Answer of Rav Ashi to Ravina in Sanhedrin,33a, "Are we reed-cutters in 
the bog?" (which makes the whole Talmud indisputable) is challenged by 
another reading, where the same phrase is attributed to earlier Sages Rav Huna 
and Rav Sheshet (which makes Talmud indisputable only up to a certain level). 
2. Rab in  Aboda Zara,36a, was  ready to overturn an opinion of the Court 
of Rebbe Judah ha-Nassi because the latter "did not make a proper research 
and violated a decision of the previous Court of Daniel".
3. Rav Nachman in Gittin,36b, was ready "to strengthen an opinion of 
the (Hillel's) Court on Prosbul" and "to make it as if it was written"!!
4. Raba in Baba Bathra, 130b, said that "judge should be led by his own eyes". 
Versus a discussion about a rebelious Elder in Sanhedrin,88a.
5. Rabad probably had another reading of the Mishna - (Parma Manuscript, 
De Rossi 138). He compared it with a Tosefta (which compiles Mishna 5 and 6 
and repeats arguments of the Mishna and renders a definite conclusion on 
impossibility to use an opinion of minority) but argued that this Tosefta  
disagreed with Mishna (which means that Mishna was in favor of use of the 
opinion of minority!) and considered this interpretation as major! 
As an argument Rabad said that there are many places in Talmud where Amoraim 
decided to establish the Law in accordance to minority opinion of Tannaim. 

0.Undisputable opinion in Mishna stands forever - except for the time of 
dire need.
1.Any Court can overturn a decision of the former (after Talmud) Court, which 
was based on opinion of the Minority in Talmud, to a decision, based on the
opinion of Majority.
2. Court which is greater in both - wisdom and number - can establish a new law
(make a precedent) which is not based on any opinion in Talmud and not only in
the time of dire need.
3. Court which is greater in one: wisdom or number - can establish a new law 
based on opinion of minority in Talmud or the Torah-Court of Moses.

1. Rambam in Mishnei Torah  referred to 2  and in  the Commentary to Mishna 
to Solution 1.
2. A necessity of a few repetitions of the words "greater in number but not 
in wisdom or greater in wisdom but not in number"  in Mishna 1:5 can be 
explained by Solution 3. 
3. Meiri's statement about "the Court of importance" also can be referred 
to Solution 3.
4. R.Judah' refuted statement was about "untenable" opinion - because further 
Mishna 1:6 says that "it is from the wrong tradition".
5. Shmuel in Gittin,36b, meant that he and his Court both were inferior to 
Court of Hillel and thus it was impossible to overturn the latter decision. 
Gemara (Abbaye?!) suggested that Shmuel considered his Beth Din as good as
Hillel's (because Shmuel's Court in Nahardea was able to implement practically
the law on Prosbul,36b) but only himself inferior, and that he understood 
the second part of Mishna 1:5 in the stringent way. 
6. Rab in Aboda Zara,36a, thought that any later opinion, made by a weaker 
Court contrary to a stronger former Court, can be overturned back, referring
to Solution 1.
7. Halevi and Tosaphot spoke about "after Talmud" Courts and thus referred to 
Solution 1.
8. Rava in Baba Bathra, 130b, referred to Solution 2.

Ari Belenky


From: <adina@...> (Adina B. Sherer)
Date: Tue, 3 Jan 95 23:13:56 IST
Subject: Mezzuzot

I am forwarding the enclosed discusssion from Jerusalem1's tachlis
bulletin board which is generally a discussion group for aliya and
related issues.  We recently got onto halachic questions that must
be faced in making aliya, and I'd be interested in seeing people's
reactions to this discussion.

> > On Tue, 3 Jan 1995, Shmuel (Steve) Gale wrote:
> > 
> > > There is one topic that I haven't seen anybody else address --
> > > mezuzot. Here in Israel renters don't get a month's breather; you must
> > > put them up right away.  Also you cannot assume that the next tenant
> > > will be a non-Jew; it is more problematic to take them down when you
> > > move.
> > > 
> > > Shmuel (Steve) Gale
> > 
> > I was under the impression that this only applied to Yerushalim, IH"K.
> > -Avraham Guttmann
> > 
> I have another point on this one.  When we left our house in America and
> sold it to another fruhm couple we were told that beacuse they intended
> to paint the house, we could take our mezuzos down (since the paint
> would jeopardize their future Kashrut) and take them with us.  We asked
> this shayla not of the LRO (I say this so that no one will try to figure
> out whose psak this was) but of someone who is known as one of the bigger
> poskim in America today.  
> On the other hand, when we moved to our present apartment we discovered
> that the baal habayit had never lived here and as a result all the mezzuzot
> belong to the tenants.  We of course returned the mezuzot to the previous
> tenants and put up our own, but since they moved out in April and we moved
> in in August, I assume that they had to go out and buy all new ones.  
> Has anyone out there heard of this "paint heter" and if so do you know of
> any reason why it might not apply in Eretz Yisrael (and in Yerushalayim)?
> Interestingly, the apartment was painted before we moved in, but the 
> mezuzot were still here (and many of the cases had been sprayed with paint
> which does not exactly strike me as proper kavod for the parshiyot).

	Adina and Carl Sherer
		You can reach us both at:


From: Joseph Steinberg <steinber@...>
Date: Sun, 1 Jan 1995 12:25:27 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Modern Hebrew is not Sefaradic

Akiva Miller wrote:

:in my pronunciation of Hebrew. Why do I feel social pressure to use the
:Sefard pronunciation in conversation? There is no pressure upon the
:British to adopt an American pronunciation when they are in America, nor

1) You are not using a Sephardic pronounciation. You are using modern
Hebrew which is a mixture of both. There is a 'tzadi' and a 'chet' in
modern Hebrew -- with few people pronouncing 'SSad' or 'khet' in modern
speech. Ayin is not normally pronounced properly in speech either. A true
Syrian, Persian, Yemenite, or Sephardic Jew would tell you that at least
some of the 'modern pronounciations of these letters' are Ashkenazi
pronounciations. Noone ever speaks with any difference between a gimmel
with a dagesh and a gimmel without a dagesh -- and hearing a 'wow' for a
vav in a conversation in Israel is very uncommon. My point -- modern
Hebrew is not Sephardic, Mizrahi, or Ashkenazic -- it is a mixture of all. 

2) There is no one Asheknazi Hebrew -- there are numerous different 
'brands'. The same is true for 'Mizrahi' Hebrew -- there are numerous 
flavors as well. One thing that is common in America is that (as in most 
European languages) people pronounce words on the first syllable and 95% 
of the time the words are being misread. One thing that so-called 
'Sephradic' Hebrew does do is stick to its own rules for grammar. How 
many Ashkenzaim who are following their fathers' pronounciations are 
reading the words with accents on the proper syllables. (If they are 
reading with proper pronounciations then chances are that they are 
reading differently than their fathers!). A cousin of mine once also 
explained that until Jews came to the USA there was never anyone who 
pronounced a cholam the way most American Jews do. If you listen to an 
American read Hebrew you will hear that it sounds very much like US 
English (with the exception of the chet). If you listen to a pre-war 
Eastern European Jew reading Hebrew -- it will sound very much like his 
Yiddish. I have heard that the theory is that in countries in which 
Limudei Kodesh are taugh into secular languages people will pronounce 
Hebrew like the local language -- in countries where the people can speak 
Hebrew because they learn Ivrit B'Irit (usually from Israeli shlichim) 
this is not the case.

3) If you want to get picky -- how often have you heard an Ashkenzai
reading in so-called Ashkenazit (Ashkenazis) properly read a dagesh
chazak?! (In modern Hebrew one rarely does this either, but various Edot
HaMizrach are very careful with this). Considering that this can CHANGE
THE MEANING OF A WORD this is quite significant... and as this is a part
of the Ashkenazi rules for grammar as well -- it seems that people just
ignore the rules... 

:being more authentic. First, that would apply to prayer too. Second, I
:don't beleive that the Ashkenazi pronunciation was affected by the
:Europeans any more than the Sefard was affected by the Arabs.

Yes, but Arabic is a Semitic language just like Hebrew -- i.e., they are 
very similar (almost identical alphabets, grammar, etc.). The European 
languages are TOTALLY different. The effect of Europen influence on 
Hebrew has devestated the language far more than Arabic ever could.
In fact, the Arabs have 'preserved' a lot of 'ancinet' Hebrew (e.g., the 
'w' for a 'vuv' which dates back to Bayit Rishon, etc.) My point -- 
Arabic is similar to Hebrew to begin with so many of the influences upon 
the Hebrew language were (1) very minor (2) positive influences. The 
opposite can be said for the European languages. Remembver, Hebrew began 
in the ancient Near-East and is a Semitic language like Arabic. It 
should sound a lot more like Arabic than French, English, or German.

There also remins the issue that various Edot HaMizrach and Sepharadim 
who had little if any contact for centuries and who were scattered far 
away from each other geographically read many things similarly.... This 
would seem to support the idea that this was a traditional way of reading 
before their dispursion...

There is no one correct way to read -- and G-d undestands them all. For 
conversation modern Hebrew prevails. 

For tefillah -- the bottom line is that a person should speak in a way in
which he understands the words -- that is far most important... as 
without understanding what you are saying, Tefillah is pretty much 
     _                      _
    | | ___  ___  ___ _ __ | |__      Joseph Steinberg
 _  | |/ _ \/ __|/ _ \ '_ \| '_ \     <steinber@...>
| |_| | (_) \__ \  __/ |_) | | | |    http://iia.org/~steinbj/steinber.html
 \___/ \___/|___/\___| .__/|_| |_|    +1-201-833-9674


End of Volume 17 Issue 69