Volume 24 Number 26
                       Produced: Sun Jun  2 17:20:13 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Census Counts -- literal?
         [Stan Tenen]
Common davening mistake - pet peeve
         [Micha Berger]
How many Blessings can Intervene?
         [Jay F Shachter]
J. D. Eisenstein
         [Zvi Weiss]
         [Yitz Weiss]
         [Art Werschulz]
Tefillah Errors
Unknown Rules of Laining
         [Russell Hendel]


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Thu, 16 May 1996 07:46:33 -0700
Subject: Census Counts -- literal?

Avi Feldblum points out that "the  text is not removed from it's simple 
meaning."  This is true.  But, what exactly is a "simple" meaning?  What 
is simple to one person or situation is not so simple to another person 
or another situation.  In fact, whenever you try to examine more than 
the most superficial meaning (superficial is not the same as simple) the 
supposed "simple" meaning is no more simple than "common" sense is 

Without the Sod level, the simple meaning is incomplete and, if it is 
represented as the whole and complete meaning, then it is in error.  
This is especially true when dealing with numbers in Torah because 
numbers in the ancient world had far more significance than they do 
today.  Today a number is a mere quantity.   But in the ancient world - 
including the Torah world - numbers had philosophical and spiritual 
significance.  Not only that, but numbers, to a mostly uneducated 
public, were inherently impressive, even miraculous.  So when a number 
is mentioned in Torah, it may not be the quantity that it represents 
that is most important.  The number may represent a metaphor that 
includes more important matters than mere amount - and, if that is the 
case, then the actual literal amount might well be modified somewhat to 
make the more important philosophical or spiritual point.  This is 
certainly the case with the census figures.  The actual number of 
persons - down to the individual - might not have mattered very much, 
but the relationships expressed by the numbers could well tell us 
something of greater importance. 

For example: Is the most important thing about the Pentagon that it is 
5-sided?  Of course not.  Yes, it did start out as 5-sided and it still 
mostly is.  But there have been additions and changes, it has many other 
features, and, most importantly, hardly anyone cares that it is a 5-
sided building when they refer to it.  The Pentagon means something very 
different than 5-sided.  This is natural.  Only in recent times, among 
persons who believe that only words carry meaning, have numbers been 
relegated to mere counting ciphers.  I believe that our sages were wiser 
than this.

I believe that Torah Judaism will be far more appreciated and far more 
functional in the world when issues like these are researched.  I would 
not lose sight of the "simple" meaning and I would not diminish 
traditional studies one iota, but to exclude honest investigation of the 
Sod level of Torah is, in my opinion, detrimental to all of Torah. 



From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Thu, 30 May 1996 09:18:20 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Common davening mistake - pet peeve

Something that bother's me to an irrational extent is the common
phrasing of Shabbos & Yom Tov Shacharis' Kedushah.

The text should be read:
    az, bikol ra'ash gadol adir vichazak, mashmi'im kol
which I would translate as:
    Then, in a sound that is noisy great mighty and strong, they make heard a
    sound (or, in English idiom: they make a sound)
This is the phrasing shown in Every siddur I've seen - from Artscroll to
Nusach Aleppo.

What most chazanim say, and is enforced by the traditional tunes is:
    az bikol, ra'ash gadol, adir vichazak mashmi'im kol
By moving "mighty and strong" to a phrase that has no other subject,
it would be read as the subject - i.e. "A Mighty and Strong One".

This phraseology then becomes:
    Then in a sound, a great noise, they permit a Mighty and Strong One
    to hear a sound

Who are the angels to permit Hashem or deny Hashem anything? And then,
what is this "*A* Mighty and Strong One" -- wouldn't it read *THE*, with
leading hei's? (As is the case in "Hakeil Hagadol Hagibor viHanorah.)

But what bugs me about it is that unlike some other errors, I can't
picture a mistranslation that would justify placing a comma in the
middle of a list of adjectives.

The common "melech kel chei, ha'olamim" I assume is an attempt to say
"King, Living G-d (G-d of Life?), of all the universes (worlds?)".
Instead of the correct "King, G-d, Life Giver of the Universes".

I don't want a chazan who isn't even trying to think about the simple
meaning of the words. If someone can explain to me what the typical
chazan thinks he's saying, I'd appreciate it.

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3448 days!
<AishDas@...>                     (16-Oct-86 -  1-May-96)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
<a href=http://haven.ios.com/~aishdas>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: <jay@...> (Jay F Shachter)
Date: Sat, 1 Jun 1996 23:24:53 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: How many Blessings can Intervene?

I have a followup to my own posting, in which I asked people to
construct the maximum number of benedictions which can intervene between
reciting a benediction over food and consuming said food.

First, I have to correct an obvious typographical error.  I wrote about
a festival eve that falls on Friday night.  Obviously I meant a festival
eve that falls on Saturday night.

(I actually tried to fix this by sending our moderator a corrected
version of the article, but it was too late.  Our moderator, with his
characteristic lightning-fast responsiveness, had already posted the
flawed original.)

Second, I found a ninth benediction for the qiddush scenario -- the
benediction of "hallah".  I'm rather embarrassed that I didn't think of
it earlier.

Also, for those of you who can't think of a way you can be eating
sacrificial bread on a Saturday night, I am changing the sacrificial
bread to the showbread.

Here is the scenario: a farmer grew some grain and gave some of it as
Truma to a Kohen, or a Kohenet, or the mother of a Kohen.  The person
who received the Truma grain then made flour from it, and dough from the
flour, at which point she separated Hallah from the dough, and gave it
to a Kohen.  This Kohen donated the Hallah to the Temple, where it was
baked into the showbread.  The following Saturday night, which happened
to be the eve of Sukkot, the showbread was used for Qiddush by a priest
who had no wine.  We have nine benedictions in this scenario (I am
unsure whether the benedictions marked with an asterisk are in the right
order, because I can't find them in my prayerbook).

1)  hammotzi lehem min ha'arets
2*) asher qiddshanu biqdushato shel 'Aharon vtsivvanu le'ekhol truma
3*) asher qiddshanu biqdushato shel 'Aharon vtsivvanu le'ekhol halla
4*) asher qiddshanu biqdushato shel 'Aharon vtsivvanu le'ekhol et
    lehem happanim [I think there should be an "'et" in that benediction]
5)  mqaddesh yisra'el vhazzmannim
6)  bore' m'orey ha'esh
7)  hammavdil beyn qodesh lqodesh
8)  asher qiddshanu bmitsvotav vtsivvanu leyshev bassukka
9)  sheheheyanu vqiyymanu vhiggi`anu lazzman hazzeh

I don't want anyone to tell me that the first night of Sukkot can't be
on a Saturday night, because it isn't true.

It doesn't seem plausible, though, that you can get as many benedictions
out of qiddush as you can get out of the consummation of a marriage,
where you start out with seven benedictions free of charge.  There ought
to be something creative you can do with the marriage scenario that
gives you more benedictions, but I can't think what it could be.

			Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
			6424 N Whipple St
			Chicago IL  60645-4111


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Sat, 11 May 1996 22:55:06 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: J. D. Eisenstein

> From: <Gideon_Miller@...> (Gideon Miller)

> In MJ vol. 23 #82, Asher Breatross requested information on
> J.D. Eisenstein and his works.  I have always admired his works- I have
> tried to get my hands on a copy of my favorite, Otzer Vicuchim, a
> collection of Judeo-Christian polemics, for many years.  Once, in the
> Yeshiva University Library, I came across a book of his entitled
> "Commentary on the Bible", published after his death by his grandson,
> Ira.  While I have always been impressed with his prolific and eclectic
> style, I have found dissappointment in some of his interpretations.  One
> such interpretation is in the aforementioned work, where he states that
> Moshe wrote Bereishis from historic scrolls that had been passed down

 While I have not seen the "Commentary", I recall coming across 
Midrashim that stated that while in Mitzrayim (Egypt), the Jews *did* 
have some sort of Traditional material that they were able to study and 
keep up their faith with.  Perhaps, this was what the "Commentary" was 
referring to...  Not that Moshe did not receive the Instructions from G-d 
but that part of those instructions -- as received from G-d -- to make 
those "scrolls" an officila part of Torah Shebichsav -- i.e., that G-d 
(in effect) dictated (or redictated) the material that the Jews already 

> from generation to generation.  That is not exactly the tradition I was
> taught in Yeshiva day school.  Another questionable interpretation that
> a friend showed me, is in his Otzer Haminhagim.  In discussing the four
> death penalties carried out by Bais Din, he twists a phrase " zo mitzvas
> haniskalin" from Sanhedrin 7:1 to mean that R' Shimon held there were
> only three types of punishment.  The misreading is "Neusneresque".  The

I do not have his Otzar Minhagim -- but I have seen it... Given the 
ratehr straightforward discussion in the Gemara about the *4* modes of 
execution, it is more than a bit surprising that Eisenstein would repsent 
soemthing that appears so at variance with our Gemara... Perhaps, there 
was a misunderstanding of what Eisenstein wrote??

> above examples, as well the path taken by his decendants, has left me
> skeptical about Eisenstein's own background and affiliation.

 It is not necessarily fair or proper to categorize someone because of 
the choices that his children chose to make.....



From: <YitzW@...> (Yitz Weiss)
Date: Wed, 29 May 1996 23:06:33 -0400
Subject: Laining/Tikkunim

I agree wholeheartedly with Steve Albert who recommended preparing
laining from two different tikkunim. I do the same. I find it easier to
remember the trop from year to year if I don't associate it with a
particular location in the column. My favorite tikkun is the "Tikkun
LaKorim" put out by Mishor in Bnei Brak. It has an incredibly clear
 Yitz Weiss


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Wed, 29 May 1996 09:54:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Layning/Tikkun

Hi all.

Let me mention another mistake in the blue (Ktav) Tikkun: Look at
Devarim 21:19, in parshat Ki Tavo.  On the *Torah scroll* side, you'll
see that the "tav" that ends "tashchit" is a "heh".  The side with
vowels and trop is OK on this one.

Art Werschulz (8-{)}   "Metaphors be with you."  -- bumper sticker
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
Internet: <agw@...><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~agw/">WWW</a>
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7061, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


From: Anonymous
Date: Sun, 02 Jun 96 14:08:00 EDT
Subject: RE: Tefillah Errors

A common mistake in davening is made when we return the Torah to the ark. 
 After the Chazzan says "Yehalelu", the congregation should say "HODO al
eretz v'shamayim" (His glory is on earth and in heavan).  It surprises
me to hear how many learned people say "HODU".  (We should acknowledge
him on earth and in heavan).

While we must acknowledge G-d on earth, we do not have access to heavan
to acknowledge Him there.


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Tue, 28 May 1996 15:48:31 -0400
Subject: Unknown Rules of Laining

A common fallacy is to assume that 

THEORY 1: The SOLE purpose of the Teamim is to create pauses where the
MEANING requires it.

As many excellent books (written by religious people) on Teamim point
out (e.g. Breuer, Taamay Hamikrah, now in its second edition) the real
purpose is

THEORY 2: Teamim have 2 purposes:
       To indicate pauses in MEANING
       To create either pauses for breathing or combine small phrases into one.

In response to several comments on Teamim in MJ let us examine a verse
quoted [Pickholtz, V23 #96 also see V24 #12] in Exodus 3:15. VAYOMER
HASHEM OD (And God said further (to Moses).

There are *Three* possible ways to read the verse:
      Version 1: Vayomer (pause) Hashem OD
      Version 2: Vayomer Hasem (pause) OD
      Version 3: Vayomer Hashem Od (with no pause anywhere)

The rules of the Teamim are very clear...A telishah ketanah has a status
of a "liason" punctuation (while a Telishah Gedolah has a status of a
pause).  Therefore Versions 1 and 2 are *both* incorrect while version 3
is correct.  Personally, I find it difficult not to pause after a
Telisah ketanah (because of the way it is chanted in our practice) so I
deliberately phrase all three words together (the technical musical term
is I believe Legato referring to a slur of different notes).

It is incidentally an unsolved problem with a rich literature as to how
the two purposes of Teamim (meaning pause, breathing pause and small
phrase combinations) work in unison.

While the above discussion is technical it raises the highly
nontechnical question of when we allow an explanation to contradict the
sense of the Teamim (on this there is a rich but varied
literature...unfortunately I have never seen it gathered in one place
nor have I ever seen discussion of "what is right" or which rishonim
believe what).

I of course welcome comments on sources for "how to use teammim in your
daily Tenach learning"

Russell Hendel, rhendel @ mcs . drexel . edu


End of Volume 24 Issue 26