Volume 25 Number 85
                      Produced: Sun Jan 26  9:08:09 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Artscroll's Sixth Commandment Mistranslation (3)
         [Jonathan Abrams, Aaron D. Gross, Alan Cooper]
English Translation Inconsistencies
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Nekudot (vowels) in Artscroll Siddur
         [Steve Albert]
Nekudot (vowels) in Artscroll Siddur / Tiqun with qamatz qatan
         [Rick Turkel]
Samekh and sin
         [Joshua W. Burton]
The cholom & Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz
         [Marcus Weinberger]


From: Jonathan Abrams <cont4y31@...>
Date: 13 Jan 1997 09:52 EST
Subject: re: Artscroll's Sixth Commandment Mistranslation

Responding to Aaron D. Gross's posting:

Over the years I have been in touch with Rabbi Avraham Bidderman at
ArtScroll on a number of subjects, one of which is the exact issue that
Aaron brings up.

I am going on memory here so any errors or inconsistencies are mine
alone and not Rabbi Bidderman's.

As I remember it, Rabbi Bidderman explained that the staff at ArtScroll
had met on this subject of how to translate the word "tirtzach" (murder
according to most translations).  The reason they rejected the "murder"
translation is because it is not 100% accurate.  The example he brought
up was when someone kills someone accidentally it is NOT murder but yet
it is still forbidden under the commandment "Lo Tirtzach".  Since this
type of accidental killing is also forbidden and since it is not murder
per se, ArtScroll decided that it was better to stick to a more
encompassing translation like "kill" rather than a very specific one
like "murder" which does not include the concept of accidental killing
according to my semantic understanding of the word.

Personally, I have always felt that the best translation for "Lo
Tirtzach" (You shall not ...) is -You shall not shed innocent blood-.
Although somewhat wordy, I feel that this seems to cover all bases as it

Again I am going on memory here.  I hope I have gotten our discussion
correct and I apologize to Rabbi Bidderman at ArtScroll for any errors
in relaying our discussion.  As an aside I cannot overemphasize how
grateful I am, to H_shem and ArtScroll, along with so many B'alei
T'Chuvah (Returning Jews) for the tremendous contribution ArtScroll has
made to not only the english speaking world for Torah Literature, but
the world in general (They have Russian/Hebrew volumes available as well
and perhaps others).

Hope this is helpful,
Best regards and T'Izcho L'Mitzvos
Jonathan Abrams.

From: Aaron D. Gross <adg@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997 10:23:22 -0800
Subject: Artscroll's Sixth Commandment Mistranslation

>A distant second place for famous mistranslations is "virgin" for 
>"almanah", but thankfully Artscroll didn't do that!

I wrote the above and realized my mistake as soon as I sent it.
Whoops!  Please refrain from a slew of corrections.

"Dyslexics of the world, untie!"

From: Alan Cooper <amcooper@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997 11:39:16 -0800
Subject: Artscroll's Sixth Commandment Mistranslation

Aaron D. Gross <adg@...> wrote:

>Has anyone ever heard an explanation why Artscroll consistantly
>translates "lo tirtzach" as "You shall not kill" instead of "You shall
>not murder"?  This is in all their siddurim, the Stone Chumash, and
>everything else I've seen of theirs.  I just don't get it.
>The former is probably the most widespread mistranslation in Tanach, and
>widely used by hostile critics to demonstrate how inconsistant and
>arbitrary the Torah is (chas v'shalom!), "See!  Even YOUR Bible says not
>to kill, now explain why the Israelis don't disarm."
>There is a significant difference between killing and murder, and the
>English language even has accurate terminology making this easy to
>describe (on the other hand, explaining the difference between avodah
>and melacha is more difficult in English).  Why didn't Artscroll use
>"murder" when that is clearly the more accurate translation?

I cannot speak for Artscroll, obviously, but would defend their
translation on traditional grounds.  The second table of the "Ten
Commandments [dibberot]" does not comprise "laws" as such, but
statements of the basic principles that underlie the Torah's
jurisprudence.  The normal exegetical tendency, therefore, is to seek as
*broad* an application as possible for each dibber, not a narrow
technical meaning.  Thus, for example, Malbim takes "lo tirtsach" as a
general admonition against committing any act that would cause bodily
harm to another person (possibly leading to bloodshed or death).  In
like manner, "lo tignov" forbids transgression against the property of
another (not just "theft" or "kidnapping" in some technical legal
sense).  The idea is to make each dibber into the rubric for a broad
range of mitzvot.  The "correct" translation of lo tirtsach would be
something like "do nothing that might lead to another person's death."
In that light, even "You shall not kill" is too narrow!

Alan Cooper


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 1997 16:18:15 -0500 (EST)
Subject: English Translation Inconsistencies

Russell Hendel poses the question (MJ 25#78) of the different
translations to the word NA. He states that there are 8 times in Chumash
when the word NA is said by GOD.  (BTW; there are 9 times, the 9th being
in Ex 12:9 where NA means uncooked meat.)

It is a legitimate question to ask why NA is being treated differently
in these 8 cases, but it will be equally legitimate to ask the more
macro question about the OVER 100 NA in the Chumash. Indeed, one cannot
make a distinction between the 8 and the 100, and any solution must deal
with them all.

Generally translation to a foreign language is a tricky problem. The
LXX's translators already faced some of the questions, and there are
many inconsistencies there too. The structure of every language is
different, and if there is subtle difference in the meaning in the
Hebrew word, such as the word position in the sentence, the tense,
teamim etc.  these words might legitimately require a different
rendering in a foreign language.  Also, some foreign words have double
meaning or such as that some words have within them the politeness or
crudeness, and in this case it will be legitimate not to designate a
word for words like NA whereas in other cases, when the word does not
designate an attitude, it will necessitate inserting a word for it.

Many of the translation of the Bible were done by a group of
translators, where the individual books assigned to an individual
person. Do not look for a complete uniformity in such projects.

There is a JQR article discussing the first JPS translation process of
1915, and there is a book by Harry Orlinsky discussing his recollection
of the next translation.  Both are dealing with some of the translation
problems. If I remember correctly, Moses Mendelsohn, in the introduction
to his translation of the Chumash to German, touched upon some of these
issues too and so did Buber and Rosenzweig early in our century.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: <SAlbert@...> (Steve Albert)
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997 20:37:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re:  Nekudot (vowels) in Artscroll Siddur

Jonathan Katz (MJ v. 25 #78) asked why the Artscroll Siddur doesn't
distinguish between kamatz katan ("aw") and kamatz gadol ("ah"), given
that it does mark voiced and silent schwa and syllable accents that
don't fall on the final syllable.  I think it's probably because
Artscroll is using / thinking in Ashkenazi rather than Sephardi terms;
to my knowledge, in Ashkenazis there's no difference in pronunciation
between kamatz katan and kamatz gadol, but the things they do mark *do*
make a difference.  Rinat Yisrael, in contrast, comes from Israel, where
most people pronounce things Sepharadit (or at least the Israeli version
thereof :-), where a distinction is made between kamatz katan and kamatz
     Anyone actually know, or have any other suggestions?
Steve Albert (<SAlbert@...>)


From: <rturkel@...> (Rick Turkel)
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 1997 11:20:56 -0500
Subject: Nekudot (vowels) in Artscroll Siddur / Tiqun with qamatz qatan

Jonathan Katz <frisch1@...> wrote in m.j 25#78:

>The Artscroll siddur has markings which distinguish a sh'va na from a
>sh'va nach, and a marking which indicates when the stress in a word is
>NOT on the lfinal syllable. Yet, with all that, they do not have a mark
>(like the Rinat Yisrael siddur does) which distinguishes a kamatz from
>a kamatz katan.  Does anyone know (or can they suggest a reason) why?

My guess would be that Artscroll's editors chose (for whatever reason)
to relate only to Ashkenozis pronunciation (see, for example, any of the
transliterations they provide), and there is no distinction in
pronunciation between qamatz gadol and qamatz qatan in Ashkenozis.
Their conspicuous omission of the Mi-shebeirach for Israeli soldiers and
the Prayer for the State of Israel in their regular editions (although
both are found in their Gabbai's book and, if I'm not mistaken, in the
RA edition of the Siddur) may point to a reason, but perhaps I'm reading
too much in the way of politics into it.

I have always felt that the Artscroll Siddur is a wonderful source of
information for learning _about_ the prayer service, but I find all the
English notes amid the Hebrew text too distracting to use it to daven
from.  I haven't been a child in over 40 years, and I find it annoying
to be reminded three times a day that I need special kavana (intent)
when I say the line beginning "Poteach et yadekha" in Ashrei.  That note
_ruins_ my kavana, thank you very much.  In addition, their innovative
marking of the passages to be read aloud by the chazan/shaliach tsibur
(leader), especially that in the paragraph after the third paragraph of
the Shema, resemble those in no other siddur I've ever seen.  Also,
their inclusion of Vidui (Confessional) in Tachanun (penetential
prayers) in the Nusach Ashkenaz siddur is, IMHO, inappropriate - I've
never been in an Ashkenaz shul outside of Israel where it is said, and
if they include it for use in Israel they should also include the two
prayers cited in the preceding paragraph.  All of the above plus their
grammatical errors in Hebrew (e.g., "'arukhim" with a cholem male' and a
khaf instead of a cholem chaser and a kaf in the Prayer for the New
Month) make me prefer Rinat Yisrael.

A related question that has always puzzled me is why no one in Israel
(or elsewhere, for that matter) has produced a Tiqun (book for preparing
the chanting of Torah portions) which marks qematzim qetanim.  Knowing
the rules for the qamatz qatan (a closed, unaccented syllable) helps,
but it isn't always obvious even to those with a moderate knowledge of
diqduq (Hebrew grammar).  I know there are other sources for this
information, but a Tiqun incorporating it would be a godsend for those
who lein (chant) in Sefaradit.  Are you out there, Shlomo Tal (editor of
the Rinat Yisrael Siddur and Machzorim)?

This post was written with a prayer for a refu'a shleima for Baruch
Yosef ben Adina Batya Sherer.

Rick Turkel         (___  _____  _  _  _  _  __     _  ___   _   _  _  ___
<rturkel@...>)oh.us|   |  \  )  |/  \     |    |   |   \__)    |
<rturkel@...>        /      |  _| __)/   | ___)    | ___|_  |  _(  \    |
Rich or poor, it's good to have money.  Ko rano rani | u jamu pada.


From: Joshua W. Burton <jburton@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 97 19:20:33 -0600
Subject: Samekh and sin

Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...> writes:
> In MJ 25:74, Shlomo Godick mentional a baal koreh who made pains to
> distinguish tet from taf, vet from vav, chet from khaf, kuf from kaf,
> thaf from samech, daled from thaled, and gimmel from rimmel. I have
> often wondered if there is anyone, anywhere, who distinguishes between
> a samech and a sin.

When I'm in Rehovot, I frequently daven with a Yemenite family there who
`adopted' me during my first postdoc.  Besides learning that some
Teimanim were vatikim ba'aretz [old-timers in the country] a _long_ time
before the '50s airlifts (members of this family came in 1904) and that
not all Teimanim eat grasshoppers, nor even qitniyot (!), I have learned
a bit about the `pure' Yemenite pronunciation used in prayer.  (Their
shul sounded like a mosque to me the first time I visited; now it sounds
like `home from home'.)

Here are the highlights:

alef		Glottal stop, as in Cockney bo'l (bottle), or in uh-uh
gimel/jimel	With dagesh, as in gelt; without, as in jelly
daleth/thaleth	With dagesh, as in dog; without, as in that
waw		Between `v' and `w', like a Latino saying `Washington'.
		Still consonantal (woo) even with a shuruq.
heth		Breathy voiceless H, like Arabic Haa; throat constricted
teth		Tense T, with tongue back against palate
kaf/khaf	As in king, and loch, just as you'd expect
samekh		A regular s, as in sing
ayin		Just like heth, but voiced, like Arabic 'Ayn.
sadi		Tense S, tongue back and mouth full of cotton, NOT ts or tz
quf		Way back in throat, as in Arabic
resh		Spanish trilled R, as in barrio
shin/hsin	With dagesh, as in ship; without, the sound in the Chinese
		name Hsu, which nowadays they write Xiu.  Put your mouth
		in position to say `sh', and try to say `s'.  That's it.
taw/thaw	As in ticket, and thicket, again as you'd expect

There are some odd vowel shifts, too: a holem is like a German umlauted
o, or even `ay' as in day.  A segol is almost an `ah' as in father, and
I don't mean just in the pausal position.  And a patah is a short `aw'
as in bought, while a qamatz is between that an a long `o' as in only.
Takes a bit of getting used to, but they sure can _stretch_ that big
ayin and thaleth in the Shema, which all the rest of us necessarily fail
to do.

  ``You can't make an omelette without   +------------------------------------+
breaking eggs...but it is amazing how    |  Joshua W. Burton   (847)677-3902  |
many eggs you can break without making   |           <jburton@...>          |
a decent omelette.'' -- C. P. Issawi     +------------------------------------+


From: Marcus Weinberger <marcus.weinberger@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997 15:43:19 -0800
Subject: The cholom & Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz

Saul Mashbaum quoting Reuven Miller wrote

> Regarding the issue of the correct pronunciation of the cholem, there is
> a chapter about this in a sefer "Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz" which is a
> sefer that discusses variances among ashkenazic customs. (I'm not sure
> who the author is.)

<< I believe the author of this work is Dr. Yitzchak Zimmer, of the history
department of Bar Ilan University.>>

 I have the sefer right in front of me.  The author is Rav Binyomin
Shlomo Hamburger of, I believe, the Yeshiva Gedola in Toronto and not Dr
 At the beginning there are laudatory letters from Rabbi Simon Schwab,
New York, Rabbi J.  Dunner, London, Rabbi Chaim P.Scheinberg, Jerusalem
and Rabbi Eliezer Dunner, Bnei-Brak.
 The chapter on the cholom is some 32 pages long!	 

 Here is another example of the pronunciation of a cholom.  Near the
beginning of the Haftoro for Vayechi (KingsI 2,3) there occurs a word
which many people pronounce eydosov.  However, the meseg under the ayin
indicates that the shvo under the daleth is a shvo no.  Furthermore the
dot on the cholom is displaced to the left. The correct pronunciation
and so I have been told is eydevosov.

                                                     Marcus Weinberger

[Similar note on correct Author submitted by:
From: Eli Friedwald <eli@...>		Mod.]


End of Volume 25 Issue 85