Volume 34 Number 17
                 Produced: Sun Jan 28 23:27:00 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Russell Hendel]
Biblical Grammar
         [Leona Kroll]
Drinking on Simchat Torah
         [Russell Hendel]
         [Stan Tenen]
Nun Sofit with Vowel
         [Scott Seltzer]
Umevi Goel
         [Baruch J. Schwartz]


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2001 22:44:07 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: BGD KFT

In mjV34n12 I laid down two rules that SHOULD govern BOTH dagesh Chazak
and Dagesh Kal. I however did not state this assumption and made several
comparisons which appear sloppy. Several people wrote me off list(Some
cc-ing) mail Jewish.

My basic idea on liasons comes from a Minchat Shai Dt06-05 which is not
talking about DAGESH but rather about word pairs that end and begin with
the same letter. Minchat Shai insists that BeChaL LeVavChaH (Dt06-05) in
the Shma SHOULD be pronounced BeChaLLeVavChah (one word!!). Other
comments of the Minchat Shai can be found in his essays (MAAMAR)
sometimes published in the Mikraoth Gedoloth. Let me therefore reclarify
my position

* The term DAGESH refers to a >DOT< placed in a letter
* This >DOT< can affect pronunciation in at least 3 ways
  -1-It DOUBLES ordinary letter eg Dt01-01 HaD De Va Rim (Dagesh in D)
  -2-For the letters BGDKFT it BOTH doubles the letter and also
     makes the sound harder (v becomes b, f becomes p etc)
     eg Lv01-01 Vay DaB BeR  (Dagesh changes V to B & doubles it)
  -3-At the beginning of word following a connective punctuation
     (cantillation) it creates a liason and makes the two words
     one (eg And God spoke to Moe SheL LayMor)

All authorities agree on #1 and #2. However there is controversy on
#3--that is, there is controversy on how the DAGESH in a beginning word
changes pronunciation.

I personally (as a Baal Koray) follow #3. I do not follow #3 because
certain authorities legitimize it but rather I follow it because it is
based on a consistent application of sound rules of pronunciation
---speakers tend to slur/liason words in a phrase into one word ---this
is especially true if the first word ends on an open syllable Note,
these rules of LIASON apply equally to BOTH DAGESH KAL/CHAZAK

In a nutshell,it is easier to say >Moe SheL Lay Mor< then >Moe She Lay
Mor< and it is easier to say >May ViG Goe AyL< then >May Vi Go AyL<

Thus I do think my position on the Artscroll is defensible but I would
have to acknowledge Prof Schwartz that other views are tenable

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
Dept of Math; Towson Univ
Moderator Rashi is SImple


From: Leona Kroll <leona_kroll@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 23:33:32 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Biblical Grammar

I did't mean to imply that there is no such thing as Biblical grammar,
only that we can't always rely on a quote from a pasuk as proof of a
form being grammatically correct. Stated more simply, if a non-standard
form appears in a pasuk, before quoting it as proof that such a form is
really grammatically correct i would look into the mephorshim on that
pasuk and see if they view it as correct or rather as a deviation from
correct grammar which is meant to tell us something.


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2001 18:10:30 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: Drinking on Simchat Torah

Mordechai & Perry in v34n7 responds to Chaim Shapiro regarding
treatment of holy days. 
>>Think of what a Christian might think if you told them about Simchas
 Torah.  My guess would be that you would find many aghast at the idea
 that people drink and act crazy on the day that celebrates the finishing
 of the law!<<

The juxtaposition of >law< and >drinking< reminds me of two laws in
Judaism: (a) The straps of the Head tefillin (symbolizing spirituality)
must descend to the navel area(Symbolizing physicality) Rav Hirsch
explains that we must use the holiness we obtain in the spiritual area
to sanctify our physical life (b) The Holy of Holies in the Temple was
guarded by two cherubim that were >intertwined in an embrace< (Again,
although this is symbolic of the relationship of love between God and
Israel, I would take it as symbolic of the fact that the purpose of the
Temple is to help people in their marriages).

With regard to the cherubim we are told in the talmud that when the
Romans entered the temple and found the Cherubim they asked aghast >Is
this what the Jews place in their temple<. This is similar to the
hypothetical reaction of Christians to Simcath Torah posited by

I think this is a fundamental doctrine of Judaism (That sprituality
should uplift physicality) and I think we should be proud of it

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
Dept of Math; Towson Univ
Moderator Rashi is Simple


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2001 08:18:00 -0500
Subject: Re: Maqom

At 11:02 AM 1/16/01 +0000, Mark Steiner wrote:
>    Concerning the expression "maqom" as used by Hazal:
>Russell Hendel is definitely correct that the term maqom in the Torah
>is understood by Hazal as referring to the Temple Mount, and through
>that, to the Almighty Himself.
>The midrash on the verse Russell quotes, Gen 28:11, understands the
>term maqom to be a reference to Hashem, shehu meqomo shel `olam [he is
>the "place" of the world, but the world is not His place].  At the same
>time, Hazal understood the place Yaakov saw the dream to be the place
>of the Holy Temple.  Hence, it is reasonable to add another reason to
>the expression "hamaqom", referring to Hashem, and say that it is a
>euphemism (kinuy) based on the Temple Mount.  This fits into other such
>expressions such as hakodesh, ha-`avodah [the temple service], etc.,
>which are euphemisms for Hashem.

The "maqom" is not the place of the Holy Temple in a _dream_ -- that's
the flat translation.  It's the place of the Temple at the top of the
Temple Mount in Pardes -- that is, as in Rabbi Akiba's Pardes

In the meditation, there is an unreachably high central point.  It is
identified with Hashem.  It's called Maqom.  It's the tip of Mt. Moriah,
the place of the Temple, and inside the Holy of Holies.  All of these
are arrayed like layers of an onion, at the central meditational point
in the Pardes-Orchard.  The Pardes meditation itself takes the form of a
t'puach, which is usually translated as "apple".  The Maqom is the
seed-center-womb in the apple.

When Newton refers to discovering the laws of gravitation while sitting
under an apple tree in an orchard, he's alluding to the Pardes model in

>In the story of the Akeida (binding of Isaac) in Genesis, Gen 22, the
>term "hamaqom" [the Place] appears in verse 3, 4, 9, and 14--Hazal
>regarded the Place as the Place later designated for the Holy Temple
>(cf. verse 14).  Note that the expression hamaqom does not mean the
>Mountain, but rather the Place on the Mountain.  (This provides a
>beautiful exegesis for the very difficult verse 14: the Place was
>called Hashem Yir'eh (an allusion to verse 8; another connection
>between the Place and the Almighty), about which it is now said, "It
>[i.e. the Place] can be seen on the Mount of Hashem."  (This pshat does
>not appear in any of the classical commentaries that I'm familiar with,
>but I saw it in the Festschrifft for my wife's grandfather, R. Yaakov
>Freimann, of blessed memory.))

This is all correct.  But it's not so much the place where Hashem can be
seen -- rather it's the place from which seeing itself emanates.  (If
you "see" Hashem in Pardes, you do not come back from the meditation,
because no one can see Hashem and live.)

The mountain, of course, is Mt. Moriah in the Pardes meditation, and
thus, that's also the place of the Temple in the Heavenly Jerusalem.

The Pardes meditation itself is of course not something that Akiba made
up or dug up or heard in Egypt, etc. etc.  Instead, Akiba looked into
Torah, and following the path of the letters in his mind, climbed the
holy mountain to the Maqom in order to draw down Moshiach.

If you examine the word "maqom" you can get a good sense of its meaning.
The Mem, of course, refers to the source of what follows.  The Qof is a
vessel, skull-like, which is actually the container of Pardes.  The Vav
indicates that this place is turning and extending, as a Vav does (pin,
spine, etc.)  and the final Mem tells us that this is a great expanse
(yoM, sea, expanse).  The word "maqom" may be related to the word
"aqom," Ayin-Qof-Vav-Mem.  "Aqom" can refer to a particular kind of
spiral.  This is the spiral that's generated algebraically when the
Sh'ma is turned into an equation.  When Hashem is represented by radial
extent (the Vav in maqom-aqom) and Elokim is represented by angular
expanse (the final Mem) and they are set equal to Echad, unity, the
reciprocal spiral is generated.  This spiral is also known as the Ibur
-- Ayin-Bet-Vav-Resh -- or embryonic spiral.  When projected into 3D,
this spiral forms a hand-shaped "tefillin strap" which generates all of
the Hebrew letters.

This "tefillin-strap" enables the Pardes meditation to be read
letter-by-letter from B'reshit as a meditation in the mind, because a
tefillin-strap, or whatever else is held in the hand, can always be seen
immediately in the mind's eye.

>In Deut 26:9, we have "He has brought us to this maqom"--Rashi, based on
>the Sifrei, comments: this is the Holy Temple.

This the Holy Temple in the Heavenly Jerusalem in Pardes.

>I think it is not irrelevant that maqam in Arabic means a HOLY place.

The Arabic alphabet letter-system is derivative of, and directly
parallels, the Hebrew system.  The Arabic letters are formed from a
slightly differently-shaped "tefillin strap" and they can be used for
meditation just as the Hebrew letters can.  In Arabic, this leads to the
Sufi dances and meditations.

Meru Foundation   http://www.meru.org   <meru1@...>


From: Scott Seltzer <juggler@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 11:39:20 GMT
Subject: Nun Sofit with Vowel

In parshat Shemot, verses 17-19 there are three instances of words with
nun sofits with vowels under them. Why is it like that? Nun sofit
shouldn't have a vowel under it. Why the weird spelling? Did a hey get
lost? Are there other examples of similar sofit letters with vowels in
Chumash or Tanach? Why are these three examples in consecutive verses
and presumably nowhere else?

Please respond to my email < <juggler@...> > as well as to this list.



From: Baruch J. Schwartz <schwrtz@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2001 16:14:56 +0200
Subject: Umevi Goel

I was surprised to read Dr. Russell Hendel's unusal response to Joshua
Heisenoff's question about the dagesh reportedly found in the gimel of
umevi goel in Artscroll. Dr. Hendel correctly cites the rule that the
dagesh qal in BKDKPT at the beginning of the word is absent "if the word
follows another word with (i) a connective cantillation and (ii) this
preceding word ends in A,H,V,Y" -- though a better way of putting it
might have been "ends in a vowel, i.e. an open syllable", since if the
word ends with, for instance, a nun, tav or kaf with a qamatz, this too
would cancel the dagesh qal in the following word, whereas final heh,
yod or vav serving as consonants rather than as matres lectiones (immot
qeriah, or vowel indicators) do not cancel it.

However, Dr. Hendel then goes on to illustrate the rule by adducing the
case of the dagesh in the lamed of va-yedabber Y. el-moshe lemor, saying
that "The ending HEY creates a connection and therefore the LAMED is
repeated". But this isn't an example of what he was trying to
illustrate, since since the word in question does end with a segol and
heh and does have a "connective cantillation". As a matter of fact, it
has nothing to do with the presence or absence of dagesh qal in BKD KPT,
since lemor begins with Lamed!

The phrase is traditionally thought to be a case of the dehiq and/or ate
merahiq, or "conjunctive" dagesh. However, not all authorities agree
that the conjunctive degeshim were intended to double the letter. Some
believe that they originated merely as word-separators (see A. Dotan in
Encyclopaedia Judaica, 16:1450). Among those who agree that they having
the doubling effect, some still exclude va-yedabber Y. el-moshe lemor
and argue that the dagesh in the lamed separates the two words rather
than joining them (I. Yeivin, Introduction to the Tiberian Masorah,
section 411). Thus, Dr. Hendel's unqualified statement that the "proper
pronunciation" is el-mosheL Lemor is not authoritative. Finally: even if
el-moshe lemor is indeed a case of conjunctive dagesh, it is still
unique and anomalous, since everywhere else in the Bible the conjunctive
dagesh occurs only in words which are accented on the first syllable
(excluding sheva), and lemor is not.

Thus, though it might be claimed that umevi goel is similar to el-moshe
lemor, there would be little point in arguing for the dagesh in the
gimel, since el-moshe lemor itself is an exceptional case.

A better argument might have been that there are a few exceptions to the
rule of BKDKPT (ga-o ga-a in Exod 15:1,21; mi kamokha in Exod 15:11,
etc.). Even so, Dr. Hendel's idea that the dagesh in the gimel is an
indication that we should read umeviG Goel would still be wrong; the
unexpected presence of the dagesh qal certainly does not double the
letter--it merely indicates the hard G (since ancient pronunciation had
a soft G for the gimel without dagesh qal).

But umevi goel is not in the Bible but in the prayer book. The presence
or absence of dagesh qal in the prayer book is determined by
analogy. One asks: if the same phrase occured in the Bible, what would
the cantillation marks be--according to the rules, not the unexplained
exceptions. If the first word would obviously receive a disjunctive
accent, the dagesh is present: kullanu ke-ehad; qiddeshanu
bemitzvotav. If it would obviously receive a conjunctive, the dagesh is
absent: atta vehartanu mikkol ha-ammim; malkhutkha ra-u vanekha. Clearly
umevi goel is in this category: if this were a pasuk and, for instance,
the etnahta were on avot, the word umevi would have mahpakh and goel
would have no dagesh. And of course, other than what reportedly appears
in Artscroll, this is precisely what we find in all siddurim.

It seems to me that the obvious answer to Joshua's question is that the
evidence of all the rest of the siddurim should be accepted and the
dagesh in Artscroll should be regarded as an error. Perhaps it will be
corrected in future editions, before too much energy is expended in
defending it!


End of Volume 34 Issue 17