Volume 26 Number 02
                      Produced: Tue Feb 11 21:45:29 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Apologetics for Cheating
         [Steve Bailey]
Diqduq and Pronunciation
         [Lon Eisenberg]
K'zayis / Reviis
         [Gedaliah Friedenberg]
         [Shimon Schwartz]
         [Meir Shinnar]
Pronounciation and Kavana
         [Carl Sherer]
Why do they Cheat
         [Russell Hendel]


From: <zilbail@...> (Steve Bailey)
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 17:49:28 +0200
Subject: Apologetics for Cheating

While Dr. Hendel and I share common interests, I have to disagree
strongly with his view of the roots of cheating in yeshivot (Vol.25
#93). According to the research in the field, including my own, he is
naive to think that cheating can be attributed to issues of family
dynamics of trust, etc. It is simpler than that: kids cheat because it
works -- regardless of family dynamics. As I mentioned in a previous
postings, our challenge is to effectively transmit the message that
despite the reinforcing outcome of successful cheating, it violates a
higher order principal of honesty, integrity and respect. That is the
essential message of Jewish values.

Dr. Steve Bailey
Senior Educator, Lookstein Center, Bar Ilan Univ.


From: Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 1997 08:25:38 +0000
Subject: Diqduq and Pronunciation

<Klugerman@...> (Tszvi Klugerman) wrote:
>I was wondering, now that many more people are becoming aware of the
>intricasies of dikduk (grammar), does a person reading from the torah
>have to be careful to read the dagesh chazak as a held letter or the
>shva na as a vowel? Or do we view these as academic rules of grammar but
>that have no bearing on the actual pronuncation?

My understanding (based mostly, but not exclusiviely, on studying the
Mishnah Berurah) is as follows:

There are two kinds of mistakes a ba`al qeriah [one reading from the
Torah] can make: correctable, non-correctable.

Any mistake that changes the meaning of the word is correctable; this
includes (in many cases) stressing the wrong syllable, particularly in
verbs, where the tense may be changed.  A mistake in vowels that does
not change the meaning (e.g. saying segol instead of kamaz with an
etnahtah or sof pasuq) is not correctable (and the ba`al qeriah should
not be sopped).

Any mistake relating to the consonants is correctable (IMHO, this
includes 'aleph vs. `ayin), even if the meaning isn't changed
(e.g. keves vs. kesev [lamb]).  Although it is correct to be careful
about doubling a letter containing a daghesh hazaq, I don't believe not
doing so is a correctable mistake (since the correct consonant was
pronounced).  The same should apply to shewa na` vs. shewa nah.

Lon Eisenberg   Motorola Israel, Ltd.  Phone:+972 3 5658422 Fax:+972 3 5658345


From: Gedaliah Friedenberg <gedaliah@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 97 09:18:47 EST
Subject: K'zayis / Reviis

Does anyone know what Reb Moshe's measurements of a k'zayis (minimum
amount of solid food necessary to make an after-blessing) and a reviis
(minimus amount of liquid food) are?




From: Shimon Schwartz <shimmy@...>
Date: Sun, 02 Feb 1997 21:13:19 -0500
Subject: Re: Plagiarism

>From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
>I have a very strong feeling that due to the "Frum" view that secular
>studies are "really" a waste of time -- hence it is is but a short step
>to syaing that it is OK to cheat/plagiarize, etc.  Witness what appears
>to be the "dumbing down" of secular studies in the "frum" Yeshiva High

My conclusion, if the trend described over the past few months
continues: We can look forward to employers and universities quietly but
categorically rejecting applications from those with frum backgrounds.
It will become common knowledge that the "real Orthodox" do not take
secular knowledge or civil ethics seriously.

As far back as 1981, MIT had followed Brandeis University's model of
rejecting "transcripts" from Israeli yeshivot.  It was common knowledge
that such transcripts were completely bogus.  Indeed, a rav at yeshiva
that I was attending offered to issue me a transcript if I wanted one.
(My transcript from Haifa University was accepted without question,
presumably after MIT had verified that Haifa was an accredited

I have no problem with those Jews who reject secular knowledge.  It is a
valid line of Torah reasoning, though I personally follow a different
one.  But those who falsely claim to have completely secular studies
have only themselves to blame when no one wants them as employees.

For those of you with *valid* secular backgrounds: what effects do you
think this will have on your careers?

Steven (Shimon) Schwartz
With Rebecca, Forest Hills, NY: <shimmy@...>
NYNEX Science & Technology, Inc., White Plains, NY: <schwartz@...>


From: <meir_shinnar@...> (Meir Shinnar)
Date: Tue, 04 Feb 97 08:11:55 EST
Subject: Pronounciation

Some comments and  additions to the recent thread on pronounciation.

First, one interesting source is a book, S'fath Emeth and Sifthe Cohen:
Mivta L'shon Hakod(th)esh Kahalacha, by Benzion Hacohen.  The author
brings many traditional sources for how different letters and vowels
were pronounced.  His thesis is that there was a universally accepted
mode of pronounciation which we can recover.  I am not sure that I
completely buy his thesis, but he brings good evidence that there was
far more unity than is apparent today, and that current Ashkenazic
pronounciation is of recent vintage.

Second, different opinions have been brought down about whether one
should, or is even allowed, to change one's pronounciation.  One source
is Rav Henkin, zt"l, in Edut Lyisrael siman 60, where he gives rules for
pronounciation.  He argues that traditional sources clearly show that
the Ashkenazic pronounciation of consonants is wrong (specifically ayin,
vav, qoph, heth, thaph (rather than saph), and says that one should try
hard to change that pronounciation.  With regard to the vowels, he holds
that there is less clearcut evidence, and one therefore should not

Third, one poster suggested that the pronounciation of daled without a
dagesh as aspirated th (as in the) is a borrowing from the Arabic rather
than native Hebrew.  In the book S'fath Emeth he brings down different
kehillot that had the tradition of saying a daled that way.  For
example, in Bagdhad, they used to pronounce the daled in shem hashem and
in ehad in shma this way.  This latter one is the only way to follow the
dictum of the gemara that one should lengthen the daled.

With regard to this, about two years ago someone briefly showed me a
preprint of an article about a poem (I think just discovered) of Even
Gvirol.  In the poem, he says that we should learn about the unity of
Hashem from the bee, because ehad should be ehaththththth....  The
article then discusses whether indeed in Even Gvirol's time they
actually pronounced the daled like that.

Lastly, with regard to a humash distinguishing the different shvas and
qametzim.  I agree with the poster who said that the problem is that
there are too many different shitot.  For example, even the idea that if
there are two consonants together, the shva on the first shva is na is
not universally agreed.  In Aharon ben Asher Dikdukei Ha Teamim, he
specifically says that unless there is a gaia(accent), that shva is
nakh.  Example brought by him - rivvot Ephraim (Devarim 33:17).  Most
people do not follow ben Asher in this, but this is illustrative of the
depth of the problem.

When one comes to the controversies over tnua kala, shva after a tenua
ktana with a meteg, or even after a tnua gdola, it becomes highly

There have been siddurim published which follow one shita.  Differences
between them are striking (compare Habad's Tehillat Hashem with
Artscroll).  Humashim may be supposed(?) to reflect fewer differences
between kehillot, which may explain why no one, to my knowldege, has
published a humash according to at least one shita.

Meir Shinnar


From: Carl Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 1997 08:07:32 +0200
Subject: Pronounciation and Kavana

Seth Kadish writes:

> When it comes to Israelis, however, one more factor comes into play:
> Even if someone who makes aliya from the US was brought up using
> Ashkenazic Hebrew, if he eventually becomes truly comfortable with
> Hebrew as a spoken language then there is reason to change.  Some
> participants in the mail-jewish discussion (I forgot whom) mentioned
> their children, who grew up in Israel, using Ashkeniazic
> pronunciation. Obviously, such children are not enrolled in Israeli
> public schools, and it is questionable how involved they are in
> wider Hebrew-speaking Israeli society.  But even if they are
> confined to an Israeli yeshiva community, the question still comes
> up: It makes absolutely no halakhic sense for an Ashkenazic Israeli
> yeshiva student, who speaks Israeli Hebrew all day long, to suddenly
> switch to Ashkenazic Hebrew when he prays or reads the Torah.  The
> only it could possibly make sense is if we say that his
> pronunciation is determnined ONLY by his tefilla and NOT AT ALL by
> his day-to-day conversation.  But day-to-day conversation is, in
> fact, what determines a person's pronunciation according to the
> teshuvot of former Chief Rabbis Uziel zt"l, Unterman zt"l, and
> Ovadia Yosef, shlit"a.  The references and a discussion of them will
> appear in my book, God willing, in late spring of this year --
> Kavvana: Directing the Heart in Jewish Prayer, Jason Aronson, Inc.

I was the one who wrote that my sons daven in Havara Ashkenazis, despite
going to Israeli schools (not public schools but not Chadarim either)
and I must take issue with what was written above.

As readers may recall, the original discussion began from a statement
that someone else made that Rav Soloveitchik zt"l noted that his Israeli
grandchildren could correctly daven in Havara Sfardit since they were
growing up in Israel.  I noted, however, that several members of the
Lichtenstein and Twersky families (although I may not have mentioned it
at the time, I should add that this includes Rav Aaron Lichtenstein
shlita himself) daven in Havara Ashkenazis, and I recounted having been
at a Twersky Bar Mitzva last year where the Bar Mitzva bochur, who has
lived most, if not all of his life in Israel, read and davened in
Ashkenazis, and where I heard Rav Lichtenstein's son Moshe, who has
lived most, if not all of his life in Israel, recite Kiddush in

It also goes without saying that virtually all of the so-called
"Litvishe Yeshivishe" community in Israel davens in Ashkenazis, despite
the fact that much of the conversation in the Chadarim takes place in
Sfardit (in fact, when our younger son went to Mechina in one of the
Chadarim in Yerushalayim, we had to specially request, along with
several other parents, that he be taught the difference between a Komatz
and a Patach when he was learning how to read).

At the very least I think it can be said that "yesh lohem al mi
lismoch."  (They have upon whom to rely).

-- Carl Sherer

Thank you for davening for our son, 
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya. Please 
keep him in mind for a healthy, long life. 

Carl and Adina Sherer


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 1997 19:11:37 -0500
Subject: Why do they Cheat

In a previous issue I examine the distinguishing criterian between 4
mitzvoth that do apply to non jews--theft, murder, robbery and weight
deception--and 3 mitzvoth that do not apply to non jews--charity, loving
them as ourselves and returning lost articles. I note that we are
obligated to act justly and fairly with non jews (hence the prohibitions
against theft, murder) but are NOT obligated to trust non jews (hence no
obligation to e.g. return their lost articles since we do not trust that
they will reciprocate).I use this perceived lack of trust to explain why
poor Yeshiva students cheat.

In v25n98, Carl Singer comments 

>>it may provide a sociological explanation, reason or excuse, but it
>>doesn't to me address an underlying issue in this forum--that of Torah
>>and midos>>

I thank Dr Singer for allowing me to restate the middoth only mentioned
in passing at the bottom of my previous posting.

>>Also the remedy to this problem (of cheating students) is NOT to call
>>them desecrators of G-ds name but rather to focus on their home and
>>work environments so as to provide them with a sense of equity in
>>which their desire to cheat would vanish

In other words, it is a bad Middah and non constructive to label every
cheating student as desecrating G-ds name. It is a Good Middah to try
and help them achieve a sense of security.

I might add that the approach of one of the giant later authorities, the
Chafetz Chaiim, who is known for this work on Midoth (character traits),
was precisely to do as I did in that posting: In many of this books the
Chofetz Chaiim has a chapter on "Why people sin" "Why people don't give
to charity" "Why people slander" etc. and the ideas can be used for self
improvement.  (See for example his "Love of LovingKindness" "The
Fortress of Faith" etc)

I might add that the approach used in my posting---conceptual
distinctions between technical Biblical laws--is not often used in the
therapy cases that Dr Singer himself sees..I (and other readers) would
be very interested to what extent (as Carl puts it) this Torah
explanation >>may provide a sociological explanation>> that is useful.

Finally, I plead guilty to not solving the WHOLE problem. As Dr Singer
points out: I haven't explained why people from rich families cheat. I
however do think I have made a modest contribution to ONE PART of the
subject and I invite people more experienced in counseling(like Dr
Singer himself) to enrich this forum with the insights they have gained
over the years about why people sin.  

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


End of Volume 26 Issue 2