Volume 28 Number 17
                      Produced: Tue Nov 10  7:07:34 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Greetings after Birkat Kohanim
         [Joshua M Hoexter]
Hebrew as American Language
         [Jeffrey Friedman]
Hebrew on college seals
         [Ezra L Tepper]
         [Eliyahu Teitz]
Magen Avot, etc.
         [Yosef Gilboa]
Second and Third Person in Brachot
         [Richard Schultz]
Second/Third Person in Blessings
         [David and Toby Curwin]
         [Andy Goldfinger]
The Switch (2)
         [Joseph Tabory, Alexander Heppenheimer]
Wedding Invitations (2)
         [AJ Gilboa, Arie Weiss]
Wedding invitations
         [Alexander Heppenheimer]


From: Joshua M Hoexter <hoexter@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Nov 1998 17:31:29 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Greetings after Birkat Kohanim

> From: David and Toby Curwin <curwin@...>
> A number of years ago I read a responsa, I believe by Rav Tzvi Pesach
> Frank, which said that a kohen should not reply "baruch ti'hiye" to a
> person greeting with him with "yishar koach" after birkat kohanim. The
> reason stated was the prohibition of "bal tosif", not to add to a
> biblical commandment.  Since the mitzva is for the kohen to bless a
> specific number of times, the use of an addtional "baruch" by the kohen
> is a problem.
> . . .
> So now, as a response to "yishar koch'cha" after
> birkat kohanim, I reply: "koch'cha yishar".

The Lubavitcher Rebbe once said that in Cheder they used to say that the
reason a Jew answers the greeting of "Sholom Aleichem" by saying
"Aleichem Sholom" is because a Jew's nature is to do the opposite.

But actually, I see in Leket Tziunim Vhaoros Lshulchan Aruch Admor
Hazoken a comment on Shulchan Aruch HaRav that says the opposite, and
may bring the same source. (?)

The Shulchan Aruch HaRav says in Orach Chayim 128:40 that "If he adds,
he transgresses 'bal tosif' if he says [additional verses or blessings]
during 'nesias kapayim' and while he turns his face towards the nation
(and therefore they say 'hashkifa etc' [an additional verse that the
Cohanim say, asking for blessing] because they've already lowered their
hands and turned their faces [away from the congregation])"

The Leket Tziunim Vhaoros says "And therefore it is 'mutar'
[permissible] for a Cohen to say when he's walking after Birkas Cohanim
'baruchim tihiyu' and there's no 'bal tosif' - and see Shaalos uTshuvos
Harei Tzvi Chelek Orach Chayim Siman 62."

I don't know, but is it possible that Harei Tzvi is Rav Tzvi Pesach


From: Jeffrey Friedman <jff@...>
Subject: Hebrew as American Language

 >The introduction to the book _Jewish Contributions to the American
 >Way of Life _ (http://www.dorledor.org/bookintro.html) says that
 >"pre-Revolution leaders debated whether Hebrew might replace
 >English" as the official language of the land and that Benjamin
 >Franklin, Thoms Jefferson, and John Adams urged that the image of
 >the children of Israel escaping Egypt should symbolically appear on
 >the official seal of the United States.

Thank you for the web site reference.

This web site, like all other references to the supposed consideration
of Hebrew, does not include a reference to any 18th century source
for the claim.  Where are the minutes or reports of this debate?
Did they discuss how many people were available to teach Hebrew, or
where teachers could be found?  Did they consider the availablity or
possibility of producing Hebrew typefaces to print government acts and
reports?  The founding fathers were not Luftmenschen.  When Alexander
Hamilton wanted to start a National Bank, he produced a long, detailed
proposal and there were bitter debates of principal.  Repeating
a rumor of a debate is not the same as producing a source document.
There are thousands of pages of the debates of the Continental
Congress and Constitutional Convention.  I have never seen any on
the topic of American people actually learning Hebrew.  If they exist, they
would make a wonderful item to introduce in Jewish schools.  I would
love to read them.  Where are they?

Jeffrey Friedman


From: Ezra L Tepper <RRTEPPER@...>
Date: Sun, 08 Nov 98 18:04:13 +0200
Subject: Hebrew on college seals

When attending Columbia University in the early 1960's, I noticed that
the Hebrew proper name of God (Y.H.W.H.) was in a giant copper seal
set into the marble floor of the main library building.

I initially felt sort of troubled walking into the library building. However,
on taking a better look at the Hebrew letters I noticed that both of the
hei letters were actually chet. Don't know why that was so. Perhaps thousands
of footsteps. But the actual printed seal has the correct spelling.

Ezra L. Tepper


From: <EDTeitz@...> (Eliyahu Teitz)
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 16:26:14 EST
Subject: Re: Kedusha

Recent posters wrote:
 >(I might add that the almost universal practice
 >among Ashkenazim is for the congregation to say the prelude to kedusha
 >(n'kadesh, na'aritz'cha) before or with the hazzan even though it is
 >clear that this is meant to be an invitation (zimun) to the tzibbur

 In fact the German custom (minhag Frankfurt) is not to say this prelude,
 but rather to stand silently while the shatz says it.   

The geonim write that even the paragraphs between the p'sukim are intended
only for the chazzan, leaving the tzibur to say only the p'sukim.

Eliyahu Teitz


From: Yosef Gilboa <bfgilboa@...>
Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 13:48:59 -0800
Subject: Magen Avot, etc.

Thank you for elaborating on my earlier comments. It seems to me that
Sfaradim and Temanim are also careful about remaining silent during the
prelude to kedusha although, in Israel, some are becoming rapidly
"corrupted" by us Ashkenazim.

I should add that, in the case of kedusha, there is some justification
for the congregation's reciting the prelude IF n'kadesh is construed to
mean "we SHALL sanctify" rather than "LET US sanctify". Nevertheless,
there is still the problem of "davar she-bikdusha ba-i zimun". So is the
congregation responding to the "zimun" BEFORE hearing it? Nobody would
say: "baruch hashem ham'vorach ..." BEFORE hearing "bar'chu"! So I stick
to my original conjecture that this minhag and that of singing magen
avot before or with the sha"tz (rejected by the Gaon and other purists
for good logical reasons) is not based on logic but on the "illogical"
desire of the tsibbur to participate actively in the musical rendition
of t'filla.

Perhaps this is another case of "hanah lahem l'yisrael ...".

Yishar koah,
Yosef Gilboa


From: <schultr@...> (Richard Schultz)
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 19:09:29 +0200
Subject: Second and Third Person in Brachot

In m-j 28 #13, <CHIHAL@...> wrote

: When we say most brachot for food -- Hamotzi for bread, boray
: pree ha'aitz for fruit, etc. -- we begin by saying "Blessed are You,
: Hashem, Who brings forth/creates."  In these cases the "You" correctly
: matches the verbs, tenses and so forth.  We are directly "talking" to God.
: But when we say a "She'hakol" we begin the same way as the others, with a 
: "Blessed are You," then switch to talking *about* God, as it were, by
: saying "because all exists in His words."  All of a sudden, in the middle 
: of this bracha, we've gone from "You" to "His."
:   I'm puzzled, and welcome an explanation.

Actually, all brachot (at least, all of the ones I can think of) have
this switch from second to third person.  In the case of "borei p'ri
ha`etz" and the like, it is ambiguous because the participle (borei,
shomea, rofei, etc.) is the same in the second and third person.  But
there are plenty of other brachot that clearly make the switch:
"baruch atah hashem, ga-al [not ga'alta] yisrael."  ("Blessed are
you, hashem, who redeemed (3d person) Israel.")  Or the blessing on
the Torah:  "asher bachar banu" (who chose us, third person), and so on.

The explanation I have heard (perhaps there is a better one) is simply
that that is the rhetorical style.  Certainly, one can see that even in
the Bible.  For example, Psalm 92 starts out in the third person:  "tov
l'hodot lashem" (it is good to give thanks to hashem), immediately 
switches to the second person: "ulzamer lshimcha" (and to sing to *your*
name), stays in the second person for the rest of the psalm, and 
concludes in the third person "tzuri v'lo avlata bo" (my rock in whom
[literally "in him" -- not "in you"] there is no unrighteousness).
Or consider the last two verses of Psalm 33:  "Ki *vo* yismach libenu,
ki v'shem *qodsho* batachnu.  Y'hi *chasdecha* hashem `alenu, ka'asher
yichalnu *lach." -- Our heart is happy in *him*, for we trust in *his*
holy name.  May *your* lovingkindness be on us, hashem, for we hope
in *you*.

					Richard Schultz


From: David and Toby Curwin <curwin@...>
Subject: Second/Third Person in Blessings

For an interesting discussion of the relation between the second and
third person in blessings, look at the following articles:

"HaBrachot BeYahadut", by Rav Joseph Soloveitchik (in Hebrew), printed
in "Yemei Zikaron"

and "Blessings -- The Gateway to Prayer" by Rabbi Pinchas Peli (in
English), Tradition, Fall 1973.

Since Peli translated a number of Rav Soloveitchik's works, there is an
obvious similarity in the ideas in both articles. One source that Peli
quotes is from the Jerusalem Talmud (Brachot 9:1) where there is a
disagreement between Rav and Shmuel as to whether the formula for
blessings should be "Blessed are you" or "Blessed be the Lord".

On a side note, I have done a lot of research into the
religious/theological questions involved in man "blessing" God. If
anyone is interested, I can provide sources and/or post a synopsis to
the list.

-David Curwin
Kvutzat Yavne, Israel


From: Andy Goldfinger <GoldfAD1@...>
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 10:03:01 -0500 
Subject: Singing

Herschel Ainspan writes:

"I've experienced Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur davenings where the
chazaras hashatz literally cannot be heard, not only during the piyutim,
but during core sections such as kedusha and the extended bracha of
hamelech hakadosh ("u'vchein," etc.), because of the loud "na,na,na,
b'doom, doom, doom" of the tzibbur trying to sing along with the shatz"

In my shul, we are m'dakdek to sing "bam, bam, bam, ..." so as to follow
what is said in the pasuk "V'debarta Bam."

Please reply to: <Andy.Goldfinger@...> 


From: Joseph Tabory <taborj@...>
Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 16:35:00 -0500
Subject: Re: The Switch

The answer to this question is both simpler and more complicated than it
seems.  The theory is that all blessings begin in second person and
continue in third person. The participial closing (such as: who creates
the fruit, etc.) was considered to be third person. the explanation for
this, given by the rashba, is that we express both our closeness to G-d,
by beginning in I-Thou relationship, and our awareness of his
transcendence by continuing in third person. A historical explanation of
how this apparent discrepancy might have been created is that the
original blessing form did not contain the word "attah" (you) and thus
would easily be understood as third person. The amora rav is credited
with being the one who demanded to include "attah" in the blessing
form. Note, for example, that the traditional aramaic substitute for the
blessing over bread "brich rahmana", does not have "attah" (or its
aramaic equivalent). However, there are a lot of blessings which do not
fit the pattern. Thus, we find in the morning blessings, in some
versions, that you have fulfilled all my needs", a continuation of the
second person. The blessings do not fit all the rules.

From: <Alexander_Heppenheimer@...> (Alexander Heppenheimer)
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 11:33:26 -0500
Subject: Re: The Switch

Actually, when you stop to consider it, all the other berachos have that
switch-in-the-middle as well: in the berachos for mitzvos, the verbs used
are "kiddeshanu... vetzivanu" ("Who has sanctified us... and commanded us")
- where the proper second-person forms would be "kiddashtanu" and
"vetzivitanu." And even in the berachos for food, a verb such as "HaMotzi"
or "Borei" is ambiguous on its own - it can be used for first, second, or
third person (examples can be found, respectively, in Shemos 6:7; I Divrei
HaYamim 11:2; and Devarim 8:15) - and would have to be clarified with a
"she'attah" ("for You are the one Who...").

I seem to remember having learnt a Chassidic explanation for this back in
my Yeshivah days, which boils down to that we begin by trying to approach
Hashem directly and familiarly, so to speak - "attah... Elokeinu" - and
then shrink back in awe for Him (Yir'as Shamayim), realizing that we're
puny in comparison to Him, and that therefore we can speak to Him only in
the more respectful third person. If anyone out there has the source for
that, I'd appreciate it!

Kol tuv y'all,


From: AJ Gilboa <bfgilboa@...>
Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 13:31:46 -0800
Subject: Re: Wedding Invitations

> From: <DaPr@...> (Y. Prero)
> He saw a wedding invitation which, in the Hebrew section, used the terms
> "Im b'chiras libo, im b'chir libah" between the names of the Chasan and
> Kallah. He was under the impression that "b'chiras" is a word that could
> be used in both masculine and feminine conjugations, and therefore the
> "im _b'chir_ libah" is not in accordance with proper Dikduk.
> Any grammarians out there who want to comment? or any one who has seen
> differently (besides the "im bas gilo" which I am familiar with)?

It seems that the confusion here is that "b'hira" is both the abstract
noun meaning "choice" (as in "b'hira hofshit") and the feminine form of
the noun "b'hir" (chosen one). I think the meaning here is more likely
"chosen one", therefore, "b'hir" (m.) and "b'hirat" (f.) are

Yosef Gilboa (not a grammarian).

From: Arie Weiss <aliw@...>
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 19:14:18 +0000
Subject: Re: Wedding Invitations

to Y. Prero on wedding invitations (28 #12)
(hi, Yehuda !)
The base word is BACHIR which means chosen, or choice (as a noun).
Its s'michut form is b'chir in the masculine, b'chirat in 
the feminine. Lev is masculine, but that's irrelevant. So a woman 
referring to her man would refer to (his being the) b'chir liba, while a man 
referring to his woman would refer to (her as) b'chirat libo. I am purposely 
avoiding the other usages in today's troubled times.(and I haven't 
seen one of THOSE invitations, yet).

From: <Alexander_Heppenheimer@...> (Alexander Heppenheimer)
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 11:10:17 -0500
Subject: Re: Wedding invitations

The word "b'chiras" has two meanings: (1) "choosing" (a gerund); (2) "the
chosen one" (f.). It's true that meaning (1), like any gerund, is neither
masculine nor feminine; but the writer of that invitation evidently meant
meaning (2) and its parallel masculine form, which is indeed "b'chir."

An example of this can be found in II Shmuel 21:6: "Shaul b'chir Hashem,"
meaning: Shaul, Hashem's chosen one - exactly paralleling the usage in the

Kol tuv y'all,


End of Volume 28 Issue 17