Volume 25 Number 93
                      Produced: Fri Jan 31  6:51:39 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Micha Berger]
Artscroll's Sixth Commandment Mistranslation  Vol. 25 #88
         [Lewis Reich]
Dibber and Amar
         [Alan Cooper]
Hebrew Grammar Research Resource
         [Al Silberman]
Lo Tirzah
         [Eliezer Diamond]
She'hecheyanu on 2nd day of Rosh Hashana
         [Zev Sero]
Sistine Chapel
         [Gershon Klavan]
Translation of Sixth Commandment
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
Why Do Yeshiva Student's Cheat: A Possible Approach
         [Russell Hendel]


From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 1997 07:48:15 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Adoption

In v25n76 Steve White raises many questions about adoption, all of which
rely around an anacronism.

Under today's adoptive law, you have access to the child's backround,
mother's name, etc... In most cases your lawyer can talk to her lawyer
and resolve issues like the child's Jewishness, if they are of cohanim,
and at the time of shidduchim you can check for relationships.

Or, for that matter, if the woman was ever married in a way that might be
halachic to someone who might not be the father. This could have been
the biggest of the problems. A safek mamzer (someone who may or may
not be a mamzer, and we have reasonable grounds to be suspicious) can
marry neither another mamzer -- in case the heritage is "kosher", nor
a born Jew -- because the person might be a mamzer. They can only marry
geirim (converts), and their children can only marry geirim, and so on...

While I have the soapbox, I'd like to add that too many of our Rabbis
are busy advising based on this same historical information. The days
of sealed records, at least in the US and most western countries, are
behind us. However, we still have Rabbis advising that it is better
to adopt a non-Jewish child because of this very safek mamzer problem.

The problem with this advice is that it leaves the Jewish child nowhere
to go. They end up placed in non-Jewish or at best non-observant
homes. It's bad enough that Christian agencies try their best to
place our children in "good Christian homes" where they will be "saved".

BTW, if you are interested in adopting a special needs Jewish child,
my wife (Siggy Berger) always knows of more children than homes. She
can be reached at (201) 473-8113. I stress special needs here, as most
healthy white newborns end up being passed from lawyer to lawyer
without going through the system. 80% of her population has Downs.
The rest are typically handicapped in other ways. Every once in a few
years a Black or Hispanic healthy Jewish child ends up the system.

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3737 days!
<micha@...>                         (16-Oct-86 - 10-Jan-97)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
<a href=http://aishdas.org>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: Lewis Reich <lbr@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 1997 16:55:06 -500
Subject: Re: Artscroll's Sixth Commandment Mistranslation  Vol. 25 #88

I am inclined to agree with Aaron Gross that "murder" is a better
translation for what is prohibited by the sixth dibrah (and how is it,
by the way, that the Hebrew "dibrot" (utterances) has metamorphosed into
"commandments"?) than "kill".  If we are willing to go beyond one-word
translations, however, I think I would prefer "commit homicide".  That
would not be precise either (since homicide includes justifiable
instances like self-defense) but at least it would call attention to the
fact that we are dealing with something other than the usual senses of
"kill" and "murder".

Lewis Reich


From: Alan Cooper <amcooper@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 1997 07:59:34 -0800
Subject: Dibber and Amar

>From: <dj8qc@...> (Yisrael Dubitsky)
>Subject: Mosheh and Va-yedaber
> A friend recently alerted me to an intersting phenomenon on which I
>hope members of MJ may help shed light:
> There are about 80 times in the Torah when the following phrase occurs;
> "VA-YEDABER H' el Mosheh (ve-el Aharon) (le-mor)" While this occurs
>once with Noah and once with Yehoshua` it is never found with other
>prophets; instead the common phrase is "Va-yehi devar H'..." or
>"Va-Yomer H'...." (the latter, of course, often used with Mosheh as
> My friend opines (despite Rambam, Moreh I:65) that Va-yedaber reflects
>an intimate communique, worthy of only one whom H' can say "panim el
>panim ADABER." Va-yomer, apparently, reflects something less Divinely

There have been many attempts to distinguish the respective nuances of
amar and dibber, although the great lexicographer Ibn Janah argued
against any such distinction on the basis of Joshua 24:27 (Bacher
edition s.v. dbr, p.  104).  One well-known distinction is that dibber
implies the presence of an addressee, whereas amar does not.  See Rashi
on Genesis 1:26: How do we know that God isn't talking to himself?  Not
because of vayyomer [he said], but because of na'ase [let *us* make].
Vayyomer, in other words, need not imply the presence of an
interlocutor.  Another alleged distinction is that amar denotes mild
speech (Mekhilta to Exodus 19:3), while dibber is harsh (explicitly
Genesis 42:30).

Perhaps more interesting in the present context is the idea that dibber
introduces a general topic, whereas amar refers to the specifics.  See
Bahya b. Asher to Leviticus 1:2: DABBER el benei yisra'el ve-AMARTA
aleihem [speak to the Israelites and say to them].  Dabber, according to
Bahya, refers to the sacrificial laws in general, whereas ve-amarta
means "in detail," and Bahya concludes by generalizing, "everywhere in
the Torah, dibbur refers to the mitzva in general, while amira refers to
its details" (in Chavel's edition, vol. 2, p. 384).

Whenever questions of apparent synonymy come up, one should consult the
sources that have been collected in such standard references as Malbim's
Ya'ir or and Wertheimer's Bei'ur shemot ha-nirdafim.

Alan Cooper


From: <asilberman@...> (Al Silberman)
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 1997 10:40:59 -0500
Subject: Hebrew Grammar Research Resource

For my own studies in Hebrew Grammar I have long desired a specialized
database to aid me in my learning. My search for such a database was
fruitless. I, therefore, spent a great deal of time and effort in creating
one for my own use.

I have called this a "Vowel Sorted Tanach Database". Every word in Tanach
was gathered and sorted by its nekudos (vowels). Thus, all similar vowel
combinations are co-located and easily viewable. This allows me to see, for
example, all nouns of the form "Schwa, Chirik" at a single glance. I can
see whether a hypothetical vowel combination exists, etc, etc.

I don't know whether such a database is of any interest or use to anyone
else but if someone would like to obtain it, I will gladly make it

Unfortunately, there are many issues involved in transferring this database
to other platforms, operating systems, fonts, displays, etc. Interested
parties can write to me at:


and I will try to accommodate the request.


From: Eliezer Diamond <eldiamond@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 1997 12:35:00 -0800 (PST)
Subject: RE: Lo Tirzah

Re: The appropriate English translation for "lo tirzah:" 

Gerald Blidstein discusses this problem in his article, "Classical
Punishment - THe Classicla Jewish Discussion," which originally appeared
in Judaism, Vol. 14 and was reprinted in Menahem Kellner's Contemporary
Jewish Ethics. He proves, to my satisfaction, at least, thet the verb
rzh means "killing", authorized or otherwise, both in bilbical and
rabbinic literature. He takes to task those biblical translators who
render "lo tirzah" as "You shall not murder." Blidstein sees the
undifferentiated Hebrew usage as possible evidence of a general aversion
to killing, even of the guilty.  On the other hand, Artscroll certainly
should have provided a footnote explaining its translation.

Eliezer Diamond


From: Zev Sero <zsero@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 1997 01:20:01 -0800
Subject: Re: She'hecheyanu on 2nd day of Rosh Hashana

> [...] as has become the common minhag, eat a pri chadash -
> a fruit we have not eaten in the past year.  Then, when saying kiddush,
> have the fruit on the table and specifically have in mind that the
> b'racha of She'hecheyanu will also cover the required she'hecheyanu on
> the new fruit.  That works out reasonably since kiddush is part of the
> meal and the fruit will be eaten during that meal, the b'racha at
> kiddush can take care of the fruit during the meal.
>  However, licht bentchen is not ordinarily considered part of the meal
> and thus might raise a problem: Even holding,as the Mishna B'rura
> apparently does, that it is all right to allow women to recite
> she'hecheyanu while lighting candles, what do we do when there is a
> sh'aila if she'hecheyanu is to be recited at all?  (This is especially
> so since we pasken safek b'rachos l'kula- if uncertain whether a b'racha
> need be recited, we don't say it.)  To get around this it would seem to
> me, although I do not take it upon myself to pasken halacha, that, at
> the very least, the woman should bentch licht immediately before kiddush
> (which works out ok since the second day of Rosh HaShana cannot fall on
> Shabbas) and the pri chadash should be on the table where candles are
> lighted and kiddush said.  Perhaps (?) it would be preferrable to
> suggest that she wear something new which would kick in the requirement
> for she'hecheyanu.
>  I would like to hear any reaction to this final point.

What's wrong with what is actually done - i.e. the fruit is on the table
when the candles are lit, and the woman has the fruit in mind when she
says shehecheyanu?  The obligation to say shecheyanu on new fruit is not
related to the eating - it occurs as soon as one sees the fruit for the
first time, but we delay saying it until it's eaten.  This is why many
poskim rule that shehecheyanu should be said before haetz or haadama.
Thus, when the woman says shehecheyanu on the candles, and looks at the
fruit, she is fulfilling an obligation that she currently has.  

And of course, the same applies to men as well.  I've never heard of men
not saying shehecheyanu on lighting candles; obviously one then omits
it in kiddush.

Zev Sero		Don't blame me, I voted for Harry Browne


From: Gershon Klavan <klavan@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Jan 1997 11:25:29 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Sistine Chapel

Rav Aharon Lichtenstein of Yeshivat Har Etzion and Gruss Kollel was
posed this question during one of his "press conferences" at the Kollel
in 1991-1992.  He related his story about his trip to the vatican and
how he "made a bee-line" for the exit after learning that the Sistine
Chapel was the next stop in his tour.  He asked a guard on the tour if
the chapel was still used at all for services and was told that it was
still used, if only on a very limited basis.

Incidentally, other versions of the story have Rav Lichtenstein jumping
out of the bathroom window (it seems that the tour goes only one way and
the only way to turn around was to feign going to the bathroom.)

Gershon Klavan
(Gruss Kollel 1990-1992)


From: <CHIHAL@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 1997 10:50:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Translation of Sixth Commandment

Shalom, All:
        Much debate has been engendered by Artscroll's mistranslation of
the Sixth Commandment: using "You shall not kill" instead of "You shall
not murder."  I propose a compromise language that I hope will satisfy
all sides.
       Simply translate this Commandment as "You shall not illegally
take a person's life."  This would encompass prohibitions against murder
and manslaughter etc., while at the same time avoiding the obvious
pitfall of translating it as "You shall not kill" when indeed there are
times we are commanded to kill; self-defense, certain kinds of war,
capital punishment under the very stringent restraints placed upon it
and so on.
    Yeshaya Halevi (<Chihal@...>)


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 18:59:15 -0500
Subject: Why Do Yeshiva Student's Cheat: A Possible Approach

Tova Taragin's question:"WHY do Yeshiva students cheat" has still not
been answered.  I would like to use analytic methods to suggest a
psychological answer.

We are not obligated Biblically to (1) give charity, (2) return lost
articles or (3)love our neighbor like ourselves (e.g. visiting the sick
of) non jews(Though to prevent social tension we are obligated
rabinically).A technical reason for this is that the Biblical statement
of these laws has words like "brother".  By contrast the laws of theft,
murder, deceipt and weights explicitly apply Biblically to both Jews and
non Jews. Why the difference?

The Torah did not obligate us to "trust" non jews but did obligate us to
be "ethical and just" with them.Thus we don't murder, rob, or deceive
them and if they don't reciprocate they will get caught. By contrast if
Jews always returned lost articles, visited their sick and gave charity
then there would be no way to enforce that non jews reciprocate IN A
LIKE MANNER and give us charity and return our lost articles and visit
our sick(instead of saying e.g. they are busy) If we gave them charity
but they didn't give us as much we would get hurt. Thus the Torah did
not obligate us to TRUST non jews but only to be FAIR with them.

But that is our answer to Tova. A yeshiva student who e.g. comes from a
big family which can't make ends meet and e.g whose father is say
discriminated on the job--this student does not perceive the world as
having ANY justice or fairness. EVERYTHING to this student is TRUST. I
can't permit him to cheat but I do understand where he is coming
from. Also, a way to remedy the problem is not to say he is mechallel
hashem but to help provide him (and his family) with a secure
environment where a sense of equity exists.

Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d, ASA, rhendel @ mcs drexel edu


End of Volume 25 Issue 93