Volume 33 Number 97
                 Produced: Sun Dec 31 13:24:52 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chag Sameach
         [Leona Kroll]
Chanuka (2)
         [Gershon Dubin, Carl Singer]
Chanuka Greeting
         [Mark Symns]
Hag Sameakh
         [Alexander Seinfeld]
Hanuka Candle/Candles
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
Live in Chicago?
         [Catherine S. Perel]
Opening page of Vilna Shas
         [David Herskovic]
Respect For, and Adherence To, the Grammatical Forms of Lshon HaQodesh (2)
         [Barak Greenfield, Mark Steiner]
Snow on Shabbat
         [Daniel Mehlman]
         [Eli Turkel]


From: Leona Kroll <leona_kroll@...>
Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2000 10:10:55 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Chag Sameach

I thought that "Chag" applies only to the shalosh regalim, and not to
Rish Hashannah, Yom Kippur, or- obviously- Shabbos, though all three are
Holy Days mentioned in the Torah, and I've never heard anyone say "Chag
Sameach" on these days.  It's interesting that people don't make that
mistake, nor have I ever heard anyone say "chag sameach" on Purim but
only on Chanukah. Any idea why?


From: Gershon Dubin <gdubin@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 16:45:56 -0500
Subject: Chanuka

From: Rabbi Reuven P. Bulka <rbulka@...>
<<The wish of "Hanukkah Sameah" is the most correct expression>>

	Surely you meant semecha?


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 12:55:55 EST
Subject: Re: Chanuka

<<  From: Rabbi Reuven P. Bulka <rbulka@...>
 The wish of "Hanukkah Sameah" is the most correct expression.  >>
A freilechin Chanukeh.

Carl Singer


From: Mark Symns <msymons@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2000 00:27:37 +1100
Subject: Re: Chanuka Greeting

"...The wish of "Hanukkah Sameah" is the most correct expression..."

Shouldn't it be "Hanukkah S'mecha"? (or "Hannukat Simcha")

Mark Symons
Melbourne Australia


From: Alexander Seinfeld <aseinfeld@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 12:23:40 -0800
Subject: Re: Hag Sameakh

> I know that there is a reflex within the community to say "Hag Sameah"
> for Hanukkah, but that is erroneous.
> Hag is an appellation for a Torah based holy day, excluding Hanukkah.
>                                     Rabbi Reuven P. Bulka,

Interesting - what is your source for this definition? I'm familiar with the
Torah sources for the word; but when it was written, all hags were
Torah-based. How do we know that the word should not also apply to
rabbinical cyclical festivals?

Alexander Seinfeld


From: Yeshaya Halevi <chihal@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 15:04:27 -0600
Subject: Hanuka Candle/Candles

        This may be a no-brainer to most folks, but I ever learned it I
forgot it.  So: Why do we recite the Hanuka candle bracha (blessing) in
the singular form ("lihadleek ner") and not in the plural ("lihadleek
nayrot") -- especially when we immediately follow up by saying "Hanayrot
halalu" ("These candles")?

      Yeshaya Halevi (<chihal@...>)


From: Catherine S. Perel <perel@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2000 00:14:38 -0600
Subject: Live in Chicago?

I will be in the hospital in Chicago for a number of months.  I am
looking for help in obtaining kosher food as the hospital uses kosher
frozen dinners which would otherwise be fine if they were not prepared
by those wearing latex gloves, but they were.  There are also food
allergies.  If you think you can help, please let me know as soon as
possible.  I am due in Chicago by 22 January.  When I'm an outpatient, I
can make do.  Once admitted, though, I'll need help.  Also, I may be
there during Pesach.

Catherine S. Perel


From: David Herskovic <crucible@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2000 00:03:43 -0000
Subject: Opening page of Vilna Shas

 From where is the architecture that is depicted on the opening page of
some (all?) Vilna Gemores?


David Herskovic


From: Barak Greenfield <DocBJG@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 23:18:54 -0500
Subject: RE: Respect For, and Adherence To, the Grammatical Forms of Lshon HaQodesh

Jay Shachter writes (on Mark Steiner's comment):

> > As a matter of fact, the expression `ayin hara` appears in Avot
> > 2:11, where it is vocalized exactly that way in ancient mss. of the
> > Mishnah...
> Mr. Steiner, essentially, is
> arguing for the correctness of forms which appear in "lshon xakhamim"...
> But there are many incorrect forms -- incorrect by any
> standard -- to which lshon xakhamim consistently attests.

If that is so, then from which sources does Mr. Shachter approve of
learning Hebrew grammar? May we only learn dikduk from the Torah, or
Tanach? It would be absurd to base one's entire understanding of a
language's grammar from such a small group of texts.

> It should not be necessary at this point to digress into a
> side-discussion that attempts to define precisely the meaning of the
> term "grammatically incorrect".

It is quite necessary, because if you are going to tell us that the
Torah is grammatically correct while the Mishnah isn't, you will need to
provide the definitions upon which that assertion is based.

> That a term appears in an ancient and revered literature does not make
> it correct.

And similarly, the fact that a term appears only in less ancient or in
modern literature does not make it incorrect.

> Finally, all these arguments apply to languages of all kinds.  But
> Hebrew is more than just some randomly chosen language. Hebrew is
> Lshon Haqqodesh.

Be that as it may, Hebrew must still be permitted to develop as any
other language has done. One cannot artificially arrest the evolution of
the language by arbitrarily assigning to a certain very ancient set of
rules the appellation "correct Hebrew grammar" and ignoring the
developments that have taken place since then. When studying English
grammar, we do not confine our analysis to works of Chaucer. That
mistake should not be made with regard to Hebrew, either.

Barak Greenfield

From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2000 10:42:49 +0200
Subject: Respect For, and Adherence To, the Grammatical Forms of Lshon HaQodesh

    There is much to say concerning Jay Shachter's ideas on lashon
xakhamim, "correct" Hebrew, and lashon hakodesh, to say nothing of his
philosophical ideas on the connection between language and world view.
(About his views on the Peano Postulates, though I disagree with them
also, and I have spent many years studying (and teaching) these
Postulates, I'll say nothing on this particular list.  My views, and
those of other experts on the foundations of mathematics can be found on
the so-called "fom" list.)

Here are a number of comments on his ideas:

1.  The idea that lashon xakhamim attests "incorrect" forms of Hebrew
(though once prevalent, particularly outside Orthodoxy) has been
rejected as biased by all Hebrew scholars I know, including all Orthodox
Jewish scholars as well as secularists.

2.  In fact, Mishnaic Hebrew (MH) is today recognized as a true dialect
of spoken Hebrew with its own grammar.  For a nice statement of this,
cf.  the article in Journal of Semitic Studies, vol.  37, no.  1, 1992,
11-26, to which I will refer below.

3.  In this and other articles (see the extensive bibliography there),
the point is made that MH or lashon xakhamim has its roots in the Tanakh
itself.  For example, the article in the JSS I referenced shows that the
strange (and "incorrect"--in BH) noun "hadibber" in Jer. 5:13,
occasionally emended by Bible Critics, is actually the same as (or
prefigures) MH "dibber" whose plural is the "incorrect" "dibberot" (as
in the Ten Commandments, which in Biblical Hebrew are the "devarim," Ex
24:38, Deut 4:13, 10:4).

 Since Jay mentioned the "incorrect" plural yod-nun, as in "madlikin",
recall that Eicha 1:4 attests "shomeimin".  Are you saying that
Yirmiyahu (the author of the megillah, according to Hazal) didn't know
"correct" Hebrew in this particular nevuah/lament?  Did he see the world
through the eyes of "goyim"?  And what about the yod-nun plural in Ju
5:10, Mi 3:12, 1Kgs 11:33, 2 Kgs 11:13, Ezek 4:9, 26:18, Prov 31:3, Job
24:22, 31:10 (and more than a dozen instances of millin in Job), Lam
4:3, Dan 12:13?  (A list compiled by the "goy" Gesenius, not me.)

 When sefardim every day say "umvarkhin...uma`aritzin umaqdishin" are we
to say that their davening is not kosher lemehadrin (another "incorrect"
plural) because it violates some imaginary standard of "correct"
grammar?  In fact, the siddur (all versions) is written basically in
lashon xakhamim and the way it is vocalized by all the different
segments of our people violates in many cases Biblical Hebrew.  (Would
Jay emend the beautiful Rosh Hashana prayer from "uvriyot bo yipaqedu"
("incorrect" Biblical Hebrew) to "uvri'ot bo yipakedu" since the root is
bet-resh-alef ?  What can you do, MH CONSISTENTLY conjugates lamed-alef
verbs as in BH lamed-he!)

4.  When I say that MH or lashon xakhamim is a true dialect of spoken
Hebrew, I mean that it was spoken by the masses of people including
gedolei yisroel, the tannoim.  We are not speaking of a slip of the
tongue or error by one or two people, like Shakespeare (assuming that
Shakespeare's deviations were actually mistakes).  The discrepancies
between the grammar of their dialect and that of the Torah were regular
and predictable and, as Jay himself points out, the gedolim were quite
aware of this.  This is true also of the question of smikhut.  When
gedolei yisroel wrote and learned the mishnah and medrash, (not
"midrash") they said "lashon" even in smikhut.  This was not a
"mistake", has veshalom.

5.  Since the expressions "lashon hara`" "`ayin hara`" etc. appear in
Chazal and not in the Tanakh, it is certainly not incorrect to vocalize
these expressions as they did.  Speakers are free to vocalize these
expressions as in Biblical Hebrew.  But I was responding to a post
asserting dogmatically that lashon hara is categorically incorrect.

6.  It is perfectly ok to define "lashon hakodesh" as the language of
the Torah (Chumash), but we then must realize (in light of the above
evidence which is but a drop in the sea of what could be cited) that
some of the other books of the Tanakh contain either "mistaken" lashon
hakodesh or, alternatively, correct Hebrew of some other dialect.
Incidentally, since the expression "leshon hakodesh" is itself a phrase
of lashon xakhamim, it should be vocalized "lashon hakodesh" as it is in
Yiddish "loshnkoydesh."  In my humble opinion [and this is the only
opinion in this post that does not express the consensus of all Hebrew
scholars, but is rather my hypothesis, of which I'm proud], the
expression "lashon hakodesh" does not mean "the holy language" or "the
language of holiness" but rather "the language of G-d".  Because in
lashon xakhamim the term kodesh is used as a "kinnuy" (euphemism) for
the Almighty.  (The Biblical expression "hakadosh" referring to Hashem
was transformed into "Hakodesh" in MH, and it so appears in the Sifra
hundreds of times (in the Vatican Codex, the earliest surviving rabbinic
ms.) in the expression hakodesh barukh hu and in the kaddish "kudsha
[not kadisha] brikh hu".  The term "kodesh" may be a reference to the
beit hamikdash, (in the spirit of Hanukkah and recent current events
concerning Har Habayit) since there are a number of ways Hazal referred
to Hashem using references to the Har Habayit and Mikdash, as Abba
Bendavid hypothesizes in his wonderful book on lashon xakhamim.).  And
this is exactly what Jay is saying.  On the other hand, lashon xakhamim,
being after all very close to the language of the Torah, is sometimes
referred to as lashon hakodesh despite the "incorrect" forms.  Professor
Bernard Septimus of Harvard has documented this as I learned by
attending his valuable seminar on my recent sabbatical.

7.  From a religious point of view, I would call BH the holy language in
which Hashem speaks to us; MH is the holy language in which we speak to
Hashem and study His Torah.  (And as Jay so beautifully pointed out,
Yiddish was for a millennium the holy language in which we spoke to our
children.)  It is crucial to learn the dikduk of both languages, lest we
fail to understand both the Written and the Oral Torah.  We dare not
undermine the authenticity of either language.  When we ask "mah
nishtanah" on Pesach Eve, let us not be deterred by the BAD "kashye"
that maybe this expression is not "correct" lashon hakodesh, and maybe
we should say "mah hishtanah"--lo bashamayim hee, say our Sages


From: Daniel Mehlman <Danmim@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2000 10:32:02 EST
Subject: Snow on Shabbat

what is the halacha? is it allowed to shovel snow on shabbos?
1. with a shovel or with a  ashinui.
2 if the snow fell on shabbos or before shabbos.
3 what issurim apply to this question?
     thank you


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 15:10:21 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Transliterations

> I think that it would be useful if the official, standard, Israeli
> system of transliterating Hebrew into English be used in this forum. It
> is simple and avoids confusions - but can look a little strange!!!
> Here are the letters in order of the alaf-beth:

I find it very disturbing when "standard" Hebrew words in English appear with
these official transliterations. recently, in israel all road signs use
an official transliteraion.
Thus, towns like Petach Tikvah no longer appear and instead Q's appear
all over these words.
When driving I find the signs disturbing.
I thought the purpose of signs was to help people find there way and
not to teach English speakers to formal academic transliterations.

Eli Turkel


End of Volume 33 Issue 97