Volume 19 Number 02
                       Produced: Tue Mar 28  7:30:40 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Afterlife Metaphysical
         [Steve Scharf]
Cantillation of the Torah and Haftarah
         [Mordechai Nissim]
Midrashim on unnamed women
         [Richard Friedman]
Trope from Sinai? (2)
         [Israel Botnick, Mechy Frankel]
Yeyasher kochecha
         [Lou Waller]


From: <StevenS667@...> (Steve Scharf)
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 1995 20:22:24 -0500
Subject: Afterlife Metaphysical

Neil Parks states:
>I agree wholeheartedly with the last point.  Our concern has to be how we 
>live in this world.  That's one of the things that makes us different from 
>the non-Jews who spend much more time speculating on the nature of a life 
>after death than we do.  Our limited imagination couldn't possibly do 
>justice to the world to come.

There have been a number of responses to this.  On one level, it is true
that normative Judaism is concerned with this world (olam hazeh).
However, the great Jewsih mystics of the past and for that matter the
present, clearly see a metaphysical connection between olam hazeh and
olam haba.  We do not need this to obey the mitzvaot, which are the
channels which allow the light of shamayim (the spiritual world) to
enter our world for us.  However, there are causes behind causes,
galgalim (wheels) behind wheels for those interested in probing further.
While we cannot claim to be the first to recognize the concept of
reincarnation (I think), the mystics plced great stock in gelgul
neshamot, literally the wheels of the soul, the cycle of the soul
through life and death to achieve tikkun.

The Torah speaks with 70 voices, perhaps on 70 different metaphysical levels.
 *All the world is a narrow bridge, the main thing is not to be afraid*
(Bratslaver rebbe).  No matter what metaphysical insights other rligions have
come up with, we have it all.

Steve Scharf


From: Mordechai Nissim <CHANM@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 1995 11:38:39 GMT
Subject: Cantillation of the Torah and Haftarah

> I have been intrigued by this subject, but have not found the answers to
> these questions in any commonly available source. When did the trope
> originate, and who was involved in its' production? Is this known?

The trop is part of the TORAH MISINAI, which was passed onto Moshe at Mt
Sinai.  The ARIZAL explains the 4 different levels involved in the Torah
Reading (MIKRA). They are Tagim(crowns), Nekkudot(punctuation),
Ta'amim(Tunes, TRIOP), OTIOT(letters).  Each of these affect the laws of
Reading the Torah, as is taught in SHULCHAN ARUCH ORACH CHAIM.



From: Richard Friedman <RF@...>
Date: 22 Mar 1995 13:53:13 GMT
Subject: Midrashim on unnamed women

In reply to Esther Nussbaum's question, yes there are midrashim.  One in
particular focuses on bat-Par'oh (named Bitya in the midrash), and says
she alone of all the first-born _women_ in Egypt did not die in the 10th
plague.  (This midrash is cited by those authorities who say that
first-born children who are women should participate in Ta'anit (or
Siyyum) B'chorim.)  A helpful aid to finding such midrashim is
Ginzberg's Legends of the Jews, especially the index volume and the
footnote volumes.  Also, a friend of mine has been studying the precise
subject of unnamed women in Tanach; I am supplying her name to
Ms. Nussbaum by separate post.

Richard Friedman


From: <icb@...> (Israel Botnick)
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 95 11:35:59 EST
Subject: Trope from Sinai?

Regarding the origin of the taamei hamikra (cantillation notes), the
opinion of some rishonim, is that the they were given to Moshe at
Sinai. The book of mitzvoth of the Yeraim holds this opinion and he even
proves that the prohibition of stealing from a non-jew is a biblical
prohibition, based on the rules of taamei hamikra.

The Meiri to Nedarim, Rav Tzvi Hirsch Chajes(Imrei Binah),and others,
hold that the taamei hamikra were not given at sinai but were instituted
by Ezra the scribe as a means of punctuation so people would be able to
read the torah properly.

The talmud Nedarim 37b discusses the question of whether one can charge
money for teaching taamei hamikra. Many commentaries to the Gemara there
explain that the issue is the origin of the taamei hamikra.  If the
taamei hamikra were given at Sinai then one cannot take money for
teaching them (As one cannot take money specifically, for teaching any
of the Torah that was given at Sinai). If the taamei hamikra were
instituted later, they wouldn't fall under this prohibition.

If anyone is interested in more sources on this topic, there is a
section on this in the encyclopedia talmudit.

Israel Botnick

From: Mechy Frankel <frankel@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 1995 15:40:24 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Trope from Sinai?

1. B. Fogel inquired about sources for the trope accent notes,
expressing some doubt that they were of Sinaitic origin as suggested by
a previous poster. His doubts are well taken.

2. Firstly, it is important to differentiate between the institution of
the graphical cantillation signs in the form we currently recognize, and
the existence of trope as a oral musical masora. In brief, just about
everybody (with some caveats cited below in par. 3) dates the
introduction of these symbols to a time after the closing of the
Babylonian Talmud, Yeivin's choice of somewhere betweeen 600 and 750 CE
being quite representative.  It is generally agreed that they were
introduced in close temporal proximity and as a natural complement to
the introduction/invention of the graphical form of the nekudos which
the masoretes formulated to preserve the pre-existing oral masora of
correct pronunciation of the sacred books. Trope signs are then
analogously introduced to preserve the pre-existing oral musical masora
to describe the proper chanting of the same books. Which came first is
debatable and no doubt proper grist for deservedly obscure Ph.D theses.

3. An early and clear articulation of this appreciation that the
graphical trope symbols were introduced only as part of the
post-talmudic masoretic activity is given by the Machzor Vitri who
states explicitly "hasimonim sofirim tiknum" i.e. the the post-talmudic
scribes invented them (commentary to Avos, 424 - this is particularly
telling since the Machzor Vitri is also one of the few rishonim who does
believe that the oral musical tradition captured by the trope was given
at Sinai). Another early source affirming that the trop symbology is the
invention of late masoretes is in the sefer "Tuv Taam" of R.  Eliyahu
HaMidakdeik".  Similarly see the intro to the torah commentary of R.
S.D. Luzatto where this is discussed. The Chi'da, however, (in Shaim
Hagidolim) seems to hold the position that both the form of the accents
as well as the traditional nekudos (pointing) are a halacha
misinai. There is seemingly also some other support for this view from
kabbalistic sources including the Sefer Hapardes of the Ramak which has
R. Shimon bar Yochai already learning secrets from the form of the
symbols, and similar indications from the Zohar and Tikunei Zohar.

4. Buttressing appreciation of the post-talmudic origin of the graphical
trope symbols is the simple fact that nowhere in talmudic or related
literature are any of the trope symbols described or identified by
name. The one apparent exception, the mention of an esnachta in
Bireishis Raba 36/8, is more generally interpreted as discussing the
requirement for a reading pause in the verse under discussion, rather
than referring to the later graphical symbol of that name. (of course
those holding to the traditional view of the zohar's authorship may cite
it as a counterexample while others may use it as yet one more proof of
its late authorship). Additionally, though everybody presently uses
Tiberian notation, the development of distinct Palestinian, Babylonian,
and Tiberian trope systems and orthographic forms would argue for a
later development indiginous to the distinct communities, as contrasted
with the torah text itself, which pre-dates these communities and is
thus preserved by each in identical (well, almost) versions.

5. The question of the origin of the oral musical mesora of taamim
(which tradition is much later recorded by the invention of trope
symbols) is more controversial. They certainly predate the gemara since
there are numerous references to "pisuk hataamim" or "taamei mikra" in
the Talmud (e.g. Nedarim 37a, Megila 3a, Eruvin 21b, Chagiga 6b - though
it is also clear that not every reference to taamei torah means trop -
in context it may mean parshanus of verses) however chazal generally do
not seem to ascribe this musical tradition to sinaitic origins.  Thus
the Gemara in Nedarim 37a, in a discussion of the appropriateness of
accepting payment for teaching torah, suggests that it would be OK to
teach taamim for pay since these are not d'oraysa.  While there is a
suggestion in Nedarim 37b by a later amoraic (or savoraic) editor that
perhaps the reasoning of Rav (who offered a different reason for the
practice of acceptance of pay for teaching) was in fact because he did
hold that taamim were of sinaitic origin, this view is clearly rejected
by the halacha. e.g. see the Piskei HaRosh to Nedarim 37a where he
clearly states that the trope is not d'oraysa, and the approving
concurrence with his father on this point by the Tur (Yoreh Deah
246). We have previously cited Machzor Vitri and Chi'dah however as

6. While they did not generally seem to ascribe the muscal tradition to
sinai, it was undeniably already ancient by chazal's times and was
variously ascribed to either Ezra (in an exegesis of Nechemia 8/8) or,
in Eruvin 21b, to Solomon (exegesis of Koheles 12/9). The maharsha in
Eruvin 21b cites (with no source) a tradition that Shlomo actually had
25,000 trop notes - which very luckily for modern leiners seems to have
vanished. But it is worth mentionong that none of the early troped (?)
manuscripts contain any symbols which we don't continue to use today.

7. An indirect and interesting indication that chazal and most rishonim
and at least early acharonim did not view the trope as being from sinai
relates to the role of trop in parshanus. In a posting a few months ago
I cited a series of illustrative examples (Vol 17 #45, d"h
"MoreTrop-isms") where the trop signs influenced the simple
interpretation of the text. What I didn't mention at that point were the
many numerous examples where either chazal/targumim and the traditional
commentaries such as rashi, ramban, rashbam, abarbanel, and even ibn
ezra in fact specifically disagree with the "peshat" as indicated by the
trop, and offer differing interpretations, or readings, of the text. (I
say "even" the ibn ezra because elsewhere (sefer maaznaim) he is quite
emphatic in declaring that anyone who neglects the trop's
interpretations should not be listned to). If these parshanim had
believed that the trop was sinaitic one wonders whether they would have
considered themselves at liberty to disagree with it, even on the peshat
level. A number of examples of these disputes between the trop and the
commentators may be found in the intro to R. Luzzato's commentary to the
Torah (my copy was published by Devir).

8. Almost finally, it is also of interest to note that the torah is not
the only sefer to come with taamim. In manuscripts we have evidence of
mishna, targumim, and many other works with accented texts. This recalls
a primary purpose of application of a musical accompaniment to to the
text in the first place, which is pedagogical.  Most study involved the
memorization of large quantities of textual materials by heart, and
setting them to chants was the traditional way to help imprint them on
the students, thus it is not surprising to find that other,
non-tanachic, texts which no doubt also formed part of a course of study
were also set to music. Indeed, this either is making a comeback (we
didn't do this in my yeshiva kitana days) or perhaps never went out of
style, since my son's 2nd grade chumash class also learns in chants.

9. Finally, for leiners, it is worth reviewing the gemara in Berachos
62a, where the custom of making hand signals to indicate the taamei
torah is referenced. Thus the gabai on the bimah with you who always
starts making frantic hand signals trying to help you out when you
forget what you're doing up there by indicating ups, downs or pasuk
ends, should be apprised that he is following in an ancient and
honorable tradition going back to talmudic times and should make those
gestures con brio rather than furtively. Similarly, you are not just
bollixed up, but are rather consciously and reverently following in the
ancient traditions of a fraternity of people who, apparently even then,
did not always start preparing until the previous evening.  Just be sure
to tell the gabai to be careful to do it with the right hand.

Mechy Frankel			W: (703) 325-1277
<frankel@...>			H: (301) 593-3949


From: Lou Waller <Louis.Waller@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 1995 11:11:30 +1000
Subject: Re: Yeyasher kochecha

I was taught that the appropriate reply to "Yeyasher kochecha", after 
any public mitzva or kibbud (such as opening or closing the 
Aron(ark) ), is to say  "Baruch tihyeh " -"May you be Blessed."

Louis Waller

[Similar replies sent by (and sorry if I've left you out by error):

<ROSELANDOW@...> (Rose Landowne)
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<adina@...> (Carl Sherer)
<Jkupe@...> (Jeff Kuperman)
<Mike11210@...> (Mike Engel)
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End of Volume 19 Issue 2