Volume 26 Number 07
                      Produced: Thu Feb 13 23:00:12 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Dikduk and Pronounciation
         [Mark J. Feldman]
Hebrew (was Going Waay Back)
         [Yisrael Medad]
Little Black Box
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
         [Chaim Wasserman]
Drawing conclusions
         [Brandon Raff]
Repeated book titles
         [Perry Zamek]
Sephardic Minhag-CLARIFICATION
         [Michael Shoshani]
Simanei Taharah and Wallabies (2)
         [William Page, David Kaufmann]
The Results of Cheating
         [Stan Tenen]
Trup Question
         [Stephen Colman]


From: Mark J. Feldman <MFeldman@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 18:33:48 -0500
Subject: Dikduk and Pronounciation

Lon Eisenberg wrote in MJ 26:02:

<<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.  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.  >>

Although I agree with you in general, there are cases where an incorrect
shewa nah will change the meaning of a word.  For example, in Parshas
B'shalach: "vayir'i'oo" (they feared), not "varyiroo" (they saw).  Can
anyone come up with other examples?

Kol Tuv,


From: <isrmedia@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 94 14:01:28 PST
Subject: Re: Hebrew (was Going Waay Back)

Yeshaya Halevi wrote:
>Also, Mishnaic Hebrew differs from Torah Hebrew in structure
>and vocabulary, to cite another obvious example.  
>Hebrew is a living language, and as such, changes are the norm.

While not disputing the above, what is remarkable is that even
a non-religious Sabra today can more than adequately read and
understand the Hebrew spoken by our forefathers 4,000 years ago.
No other people can do that.
And moreover, as I know from publications of the HaAkademia LaLashon
HaIvrit, there is almost no new word created today that a Hebrew
parallel cannot be found for it, from a Hebrew root.
Maybe I have trouble understanding my Yeminite brethren (not to
mention the Efraimites), but that's a pronounciation problem,
not a linguistic one.

Yisrael Medad
E-mail: isrmedia


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 20:45:08 +0200 (WET)
Subject: Little Black Box

The reason that tefillin shel yad should be covered is that the pasuk
says: vehaya lecha l'ot al yadcha (it should be to you as a sign on your
hand) - to you and not to the outside. Therefore it should be covered.
This is not a pesak. If one does not cover his shel yad:
1)maybe he has a minhag
2)his sleve is too narrow, his shirt is short sleve & he is without a
jacket, or his sweater is a pullover......
One can solve the problem - wear kosher for tefillin shirts etc.
      Menashe Elyashiv B.I.U. Lib. 


From: <Chaimwass@...> (Chaim Wasserman)
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 14:34:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Plagerism

What consitutes plagerism, al pi halachah? Would the following passages
qualify when compared?

"The new Pharaoh - probably Thothmes III, founder of the Eighteenth
Egyptian Dynasty at the beginning of the 15th century BCE - afraid lest
the Israelites join enemy forces to plot his downfall, initiated a
policy of oppression by reducing them to slavery. Under the supervision
of cruel taskmasters the Israelites were forced to build the fortresses
and store cities of Pithom and Rameses on Egypt's frontier (to protect
the country against possible invasion). Pharaoh's plans to weaken them
proved ineffective...."
 SOURCE: Isadore Fishman, From Sabbath to Sabbath, Vallentine Mitchell,
London, 1965, p. 36.

Compare the above with what follows:

"The new Paroh, fearful that the Israelites might join with enemy forces
to overthrow him, initiated a policy of oppression by reducing the
Israelites to slaves. Supervised by cruel taskmasters, the Israelites
were forced to build the fortresses and storage cities of Pithom and
Ramese on Egypt's frontier.  However, Paroh's attempts to reduce the
Jewish population numerically proved ineffective."
 SOURCE: Mordechai Katz, Lilmod U'lelamed: From the Teachings of our
Sages...., JEP Publications, Brooklyn, NY, 1978, p. 63.

Are we dealing with plagerism here or not?

chaim wasserman


From: Brandon Raff <brandon@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 1997 16:36:51 +0200 (GMT+0200)
Subject: re Drawing conclusions

> From: Rafi Stern <rafistern@...>
> A friend pointed out to me that it may be a mere coincidence but it
> started raining on the night that the Hebron agreement was
> finalized. Not only that, someone else later told me, but it all
> happened in the week of Parashat Bo where we read about Yetziat
> Mitzrayim (the Exodus from Egypt) - a departure from a very bad
> situation to much greater things. "A mere coincidence" I say?  Are there
> "mere coincidences"? Do we have permission to draw conclusions from such
> coincidences? Do we have permission not to?
> something for the rest of us to dabble in. However I am left a bit
> uneasy about these coincidences when they are presented as such,
> especially seeing as the relationship between rain and our deeds is very
> well established and more or less given into our hands by explicit
> verses. There is a certain tension between the command to be
> straightforward in our dealings with God, and the information that He
> gave us that if we misbehave He will mete out on us various
> punishments. Are we supposed to look for the reasons for these
> punishments or not? And if so, how? This is a wider question.

I have learned that we recieve rain for one of two reasons: a. we are
deserving of it or b) Hashem, in His abundance of Mercy, does not want
to be cruel to the animals, and so it is in the animals merit that we
get rain.

Further, as any movie critic will tell you, all sad moments or moments
of disaster, or moments of bad tidings - are always done when it is

About the connection of events in the Parsha and the events in the
previous week, was it coincidental that the assasination of Yitzchak
Rabin was on the motzei of Parshat VaEira ie the akeidat Yitzchak? Can
we read more into this?

And if the weekly Parshiot are reflected in the events of the week,
where do we draw the line? (if this is the case, it will be interesting
to note what events will transpire around the parsha of the golden calf
or the episode of the meraglim!)

For me, i would leave it up to the great Rabbis to decide.

Brandon Raff


From: Perry Zamek <jerusalem@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 23:57:40 +0200
Subject: Repeated book titles

One that was mentioned in passing, with an "I don't know who this is"
comment, is a sefer on the pronunciation of Hebrew called "Sfat Emet".

The author was Rabbi Ben-Zion Cohen, z"l, who passed away about 6 months
ago in Jerusalem. As far as I recall, he came from the Jewish community
of Djerba (an island off the coast of Tunisia), and the sefer reflects
the long-held tradition that the pronunciation of Hebrew as used in that
community is as close to "original" as possible (if I am not mistaken,
possibly due to periods of isolation from other influences).

Rabbi Cohen later authored a second sefer, entitled "Kosht Imrei Emet",
as an abridged version of his original sefer. [I had the honour of
assisting in the typesetting of this latter work.]

Perry Zamek   | A Jew should hold his head high. 
Peretz ben    | "Even in poverty a Hebrew is a prince... 
Avraham       |       Crowned with David's Crown" -- Jabotinsky


From: <shoshani@...> (Michael Shoshani)
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 06:55:54 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Sephardic Minhag-CLARIFICATION

Having scratched my head in wonderment this past week, I have finally
been alerted as to why the statement I made regarding Kol Nidre night
has caused so much consternation.  I said that Persians have the minhag
of lifting the Sefer Torah and making "sheheheyanu".  I failed to
clarify that Persians have the minhag of EACH MAN IN THE BEIT KNESSET
individually going up to the teva, individually lifting the Sefer Torah,
and INDIVIDUALLY making the "sheheheyanu" beracha.  EVERYBODY says
"sheheheyanu", but only the Persians say it one at a time, each man
saying it while lifting the Sefer Torah.  Everyone else makes the
beracha all at once, without the entire beit knesset going down to lift
the Sefer Torah one-by-one.  I apologize for the confusion.

Michael Shoshani


From: William Page <Page@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 08:24:46 -0600
Subject: Simanei Taharah and Wallabies

Mottel Gutnick, after observing that wallabies have one of the
two simanei tahara, yet are not listed in the Torah among the
animals with this characteristic, writes:
"The Torah is called a "book of life"; it is meant to teach us
how to live, not to teach us history or science, and even its
narratives should not be appraised as a history text would be
I heard a shiur recently that supports this view:  Why does
the Torah devote 400 verses to the construction of the
tabernacle but only 40 verses to the creation of the entire
universe?  Because the Torah is not coming to tell us how the
world was made; it is coming to tell us what to do.  And it
tells us we are to build a tabernacle, a place for Hashem to live
among us. 


From: <kaufmann@...> (David Kaufmann)
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 11:09:14 -0500
Subject: Re:  Simanei Taharah and Wallabies

>From: Mottel Gutnick <MottelG@...>
>Wallabies aren't kosher. No great revelation, you might say, but did you
>know that they chew the cud, which, of course, is one of the two simanei
>tahara (signs of a kosher animal) listed by the Torah?
>I didn't know that either -- until today, when I saw an ABC natural
>history documentary on research into the behaviour of rock wallabies in
>an area of Queensland which showed them doing this. This wasn't regarded
>as extraordinary; it was apparently known to be normal digestive
>behaviour for rock wallabies (and -- I'm not sure about this -- perhaps
>wallabies (and kangaroos ?) in general -- I don't know how broadly the
>comment was meant to be interpreted.) This gastronomic characteristic
>was depicted more in passing, its chief point of interest being only the
>rather dramatic abdominal convulsions and body movements associated with
>the regurgitation of the food.

I remain a bit skeptical. "Chewing the cud" has a specific halachic
definition, I would think. Does every act of regurgitation and
re-chewing fall into the proper category? Also, "chewing the cud"
halachically refers to mammals. (Do not some birds have a similar
process of regurgitation, for instance? (My biology classes were long
ago.)) Would marsupials even classify within the category, or would
other simanim be needed (just as a fish or bird does not have the same
simanim as a mammal)?


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 10:53:01 -0500
Subject: Re: The Results of Cheating

As a person trying to bring technical research (about Torah) to the
orthodox community, I have been shocked to discover that except for a
few technical specialists, far to many yeshiva educated Torah Jews are
utterly ignorant of the basic social and scientific facts of modern
life. (I am not suggesting measuring Torah against current social or
scientific fads.) One poster to m-j recently made absurd statements
about the number Pi. Our moderator did not notice, and did not see fit
to offer correction.

Cheating cheats us all.  My work cannot be evaluated by ignorant persons
who think they know all that there is to know. How much other work is
similarly dismissed by the ignorance of yeshiva educated persons?  How
much good is lost?  How many solutions to pressing problems are never

For example, when I have attempted to discuss my findings with sofrim, I
have discovered that the majority only know the rules for forming the
letters (Mishnah Sofrim) - and that they believe that that is all that
they need to know. (They believe this because they were taught this by
persons as ignorant as themselves.) When I try to discuss elementary
high school geometry, I get blank stares, disbelief, and disdain.  This
is the result of cheating and it leads to more cheating.  It also
explains why we have lost so much knowledge of Torah and Talmud even
while the physical Torah and Talmud are in our hands.  - Our sages were
not ignorant nor disdainful of any field of knowledge. (Including even
prohibited acts, idol worship, and pagan beliefs.)

These are the results of cheating - and the results of a general neglect
of non-Torah subjects among yeshiva educated persons - which is another
form of cheating.  When a person has a diploma, but the diploma does not
mean that they have learned what it certifies, then when that person
gains a position of authority they will perpetuate their uneducated
views on our community.

The result is incompetent leadership and incompetent Torah Jews mixed,
undetected, among us.  Are we incompetent?  Well, we do not seem to be
able to solve some of our most pressing problems.  We do not seem to be
able to understand cheating well enough to improve the situation.

We do not seem to be able to bring respect for Torah to most Israelis.
When we can enable the light of Torah to shine in Israel (and in the
world), then we will know that we are competent and not cheating.  Then
our children will not cheat either.



From: Stephen Colman <arbaminim@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 22:51:22 +0000
Subject: Trup Question

I have just come across the question asked by Russell Hendel (Vol 25 No
40) asking where in Tenach do we find a Zarkah without a Segol following

My good friend Sammy Noe of London has informed me that the only place
that a Zarkah is not followed by a Segol is in Yeshiah 45:1. The Gemorah
in Megilah 13:a speaks about that Posuk & Rashi in explaining the
discussion to that Posuk said that the phrasing of that verse must
specifically contain 2 consecutive Zarkah's without the subsequent Segol
otherwise the meaning will be clouded.

The Minchas Shai however on Yeshiah 45:1 made a very blunt statement
that a Zarkah must ALWAYS be followed by a Segol by which Mr Noe assumes
that the 2nd Zarkah should really be a Segol; in which case he appears
to be contradicting Rashi in his commentary in the aforementioned

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Henna in his classic Sefer Shaar Hazimra Hagodol
devotes almost entirely one chapter on the 6 specific situations in
which the Zarkah-Segol pairing must occur in Tenach, however he makes no
mention of the one occasion where the Segol does not follow the Zarkah

Question. Is either or both Zarkah and/or Segol a Melech and/or Meshorais

Stephen Colman (BeShaim Sammy Noe)


End of Volume 26 Issue 7