Volume 34 Number 86
                 Produced: Thu Jun 21  5:26:17 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Lashon Hakodesh (2)
         [Ira L. Jacobson, Andrew Klafter]
Pronunciation of Qametz
         [Perets Mett]
Repetition of Words in Prayer (2)
         [Ira L. Jacobson, Sid Gordon]
         [Russell Hendel]
Transliteration and Translation
         [Idelle Rudman]
Two types of the letter lamed (4)
         [Eli Lansey, Joel Goldberg, Rose Landowne, Rick Turkel]


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 16:28:58 +0300
Subject: Re: Lashon Hakodesh

Andrew Klafter wrote in mail-jewish Vol. 34 #79 Digest:

>1) We DON"T doven in Loshen HaKoydesh (LShWN HQWDSh for you academics--
>is that really easier to understand?!), which refers to the Hebrew of
>TANAKH, and not to the rabbinic Hebrew and Aramaic found in our

This is an interesting distinction that I had hitherto been unaware of.
I can't imagine why Biblical Hebrew should be more sacred than
post-Biblical, and only the latter rating the designation of leshon (not
loshon) qodesh.

Are you certain of this terminology?

Andrew continues:
>There are plenty of other word pairs which are homonyms or near antonyms 
>in modern Hebrew but not in Ashkenazi-Yiddish speaker's Hebrew.

And there are some in all Hebrews, such as qadesh-qadosh, tefila-tifla
and seikhel-sekhel.


From: Andrew Klafter <andrew.klafter@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 03:28:09 -0400
Subject: Lashon Hakodesh

HaMilon HaIvri Shel Avraham Even Shoshan (They Hebrew Dictionary by
Avraham Even Shoshan) gives the following definitions: 

"LASHON HAKOKDESH (The Holy Language): 1. An expression for the Hebrew
Language because of the fact that this is the language in which the Holy
Scriptues were written.  2. The langugue of the Torah, the Hebrew in
which the Holy Scriptures are written." 

"LASHON CHACHAMIM ("The language of the sages"): An expression for the
Hebrew Language in which the which was spoken by the sages of the Mishna,
and in which the Mishna, Tosefta, Braitot, and Talmudic expressions were
written, to be distinguished from LASHON TORAH, or LASHON HAKODESH."

Therefore, this dictionary (the Israeli standard) explicitly says that
the Hebrew of the Mishna is NOT lashon hakodesh.

Here are some less explicit but more traditional sources:

In Moreh Nevuchim, part III, Chapter 8, Maimonides says the following: 
"I also have a reason for calling our language the holy language--do not
think it is exaggeration or error on my part, it is perfectly correct. 
The Hebrew language has no special name for the organ of generation in
females or in males, nor for the act of generation itself, nor for semen,
nor for secretion.  The Hebrew has no original expressions for these
things, and only describes them in figurative language and by way of
hints, as if to indicate thereby that these things should not be
mentioned, and should therefore have no names;...." [goes on to quote
biblical passages at length which illustrate these points

(I do not read Arabic.  Above is M. Friedlander's English translation
from Arabic.  I also have Rav Kapach's Hebrew translation, which is by
far much clearer and has some significant differences, including in the
passage quoted here.  However, it gets a little silly if I translate a

So, Maimonides is clearly pointing to Biblical Hebrew.  Medieval Hebrew
and Modern Hebrew have plenty of "dirty words" in them.  Moreover, they
are grammatially distinct from Biblical Hebrew.  They are really
different languages.

In the Michlal, by Rabbi David Kimchi (RADAK's text on Hebrew language
and grammer), he says the following in his introductory poem. 

"May He be blessed and may He be exaleted... He chose Israel from among
all the nations, and the Hebrew language from among all the languages,
and in it [i.e., in Hebrew] He was revealed to His people on one of the
mountains."  This book ONLY describes Biblical Hebrew.  The language
rules, grammar, vocabular, etc., in his book could not be describing
any other form of Hebrew.

This is not a CHIDDUSH on my part.  This is a common expression to
distinguish Biblical Hebrew from other forms of Hebrew.



From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 16:45:36 +0000
Subject: Re: Pronunciation of Qametz

Can I add a comment on Mark Steiner's otherwise excellent observations?

> In the Ashkenazi (non-Litvak) traditions, the oo qametz is with an
> open syllable, and the o qametz is with a closed syllable
> (e.g. oodom)--this is the Galician pronunciation; the Dutch one is
> slightly different, but using the same rules.

The distinction between komats O and komats OO is not quite whether the
syllable is closed or open in the sense of classical Hebrew grammar. In

Komats is pronounced O
(a) for a closed syllable e.g. bOm, YitschOk, kOdshoi
(b) before a shvo no (actually a ShvOO) e.g. bOr(e)chu (actually bOrchEE)

Komats is pronounced OO
in all other cases

Perets Mett


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Subject: Re: Repetition of Words in Prayer  

Sid Gordon wrote in mail-jewish Vol. 34 #78 Digest:

>  How many of the readers of this list, when
>they see the chazan wrapped in his talit standing in front of the open
>aron kodesh, soon to be holding the Sefer Torah close to his heart and
>intoning Shema Yisrael, declaring the Oneness of G-d, and they hear him
>say "Baye, baye ana rachetz" suspect that he is secretly a Zoroastrian,
>praying to a dual-deity?

Interesting question, but not to the point.  If he said "Shema` Shema`,"
would you question his religion?  You would not, but we are nonetheless
bidden to silence him for such an act.  (And as I may have pointed out,
the conductor of the Israel Philharmonic is indeed a Zoroastrian, and
not a secret one.)

The logic of refraining from declaring "In Him, In him" (intentionally
not capitalised) is the same, if not even more pronounced, than in the
prohibition of declaring: "We thank, we thank," or "Hear, hear."

In other words, it's best to refrain from repeating words and verses
that are not supposed to be repeated.

>I'm not suggesting there's no validity to the view which opposes
>repetition.  But I expect a little respect for the traditions
>of those who see it as enhancing, in some cases, the beauty of the

"Traditions"?  That's a strange description for distortions of the
meaning of the prayers.

                 IRA L. JACOBSON

From: Sid Gordon <sid.gordon@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 18:30:47 +0200
Subject: Repetition of Words in Prayer


If I remember the g'mara correctly (and I'm far from an expert)
we silence him because we suspect him of the dual worship (or
wrongful worship, as in the case of one who says "ad ken tzipur
yagiu rachamecha").  It seems to me the point of the g'mara was
not formulaic, but specific.  These are clues which indicate that
the chazan might be invalid, chaza"l seem to be saying, there may
be others.  If a chazan doesn't repeat anything, but wears a cross
around his neck, I would have no hesitation in removing him.  But
since the repetition cases in question now are not placing the 
chazan under suspicion of not being Jewish, but rather just being
ignorant of halacha (l'fi shitatcha) is seemed to me inappropriate
to make the comparison of "baye, baye" to "modim, modim".

>And as I may have pointed out, the
> conductor of the Israel Philharmonic is indeed a Zoroastrian, and not a
> secret one.)
This is interesting but not really relevant -- he doesn't daven in my
shul :-).  Just as an aside, I was once sent by my company to a 
conference, where as a cost-cutting measure, they assigned employees
two to a hotel room.  So as not to startle my roommate, I explained
to him that I was an orthodox Jew and would be putting on tfillin in
the morning when I prayed.  He responded that he had no problem with
strange religious rituals -- he was a practicing Zoroastrian!  I asked
him a little about his beliefs and he told me, among other things,
that they worshipped fire.  I told him that was okay with me as long
as he didn't worship it in our hotel room (avoda zara is alive and well).

> "Traditions"?  That's a strange description for distortions of the meaning
> of the prayers.

That's a little strong.  Not all repetitions cause distortions (and certainly
those that do should be avoided).  And they *are* traditions, according to
the usual definition of the word.  Some of these tunes. including repetitions,
have been sung by (observant) Jews for many generations.


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2001 00:12:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Translation of ENDEARED LAND (ERETZ TZVI)

Netanel Livin asks in v34n76

< I am working on a translation of a hebrew text and I am stumped as to
how to translate the term "Eretz Tzvi."

Any suggestions? >

How about < ENDEARED LAND > (Note: The English ENDEARED comes
from the English DEAR similar to the two meanings of TzVI)

Russell Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/mj.htm (my Mail Jewish archives)


From: Idelle Rudman <rudmani@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 10:58:02 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Transliteration and Translation

Thre is a distinct difference between the two terms, translation and
transliteration.  As Dr. Klafter has indicated, within these two
entities there are differences as to accepted practices, custom and

In transliterating Hebrew into English, the Encyclopedia Judaica set
certain standards.  This made it easier for librarians and scholars to
set standardized citations for the benefit of all.  For those who do not
wish to accept this, or for material written before the standard was
set, there are "see references" so that one may find the appropriate

There is nothing religious about this, only in the eye of the beholder.
There are enough brickbats flying without using a simple mechanical tool
as a weapon in the religious wars.

Translation is a field unto itself, and has nothing to do with
transliteration.  The Ramban discusses this in his introduction to his
exegetical work (a form of translation) on the Torah.  There he takes
exception to the methodology of R. Abraham ibn Ezra.  For a contemporary
difference, compare the differences between The Living Torah of the late
sainted R. Aryeh Kaplan, and the current ArtScroll translation.  They
use completely different sources for their respective translations.

As an interested student of academic Jewish studies, I would like to see
documented cases of Jewish studies academicians treating Gedolei Torah
with disrespect.  Most of the Judaic studies academicians out there are
Orthodox, and many of them are yeshiva trained.  Most exemplify the best
of Torah u-madda, or Torah im derekh erets.

There is no question that there are some who have shown some disrespect,
but that is certainly not the norm.

Anyone with a passing interest in rabbinics and the history of that
field, knows that there is a whole genre known as "rabbinic polemics."
Vitriolic and pretentious rabbinic writings have a long and
well-documented history. A famous example are the polemical writings of
various rabbinic leaders against Rav Kook, zatz"vk.

Judaic studies academicians may be pretentious, but then they are no
different then the rest of the population out there.

I think that an important point has been made in various postings.
Anecdotal material should first be vetted and ascribed to some source
that can be scrutinized by others

Idelle Rudman, MLS, MA, Librarian		    tel: 212-213-2230 x119 
Touro College, Women's Division                     fax: 212-689-3515
Graduate School of Jewish Studies	            <rudmani@...>
160 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY  10016


From: Eli Lansey <elansey@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 20:55:32 -0400
Subject: Two types of the letter lamed

Dani Wassner wrote:
<<<The one question that intrigued me was when he asked whether people
distinguish their pronounciation of the two types of "lameds". Until
then, I did not know that such a thing existed.
Anyone else heard of this?>>>

I believe that the lamed with a dagesh is a hard lamed, the way most
people pronounce it now, with the very tip of the tounge at the base of
the top teeth, sounding a quick, 'sharp', "L" sound.  Without a dagesh
is a soft lamed, with more of the tounge pressed up against the roof of
the mouth, sounding a more drawn out "LLL" sound, sort of a more nasal
sounding lamed (I think it is similar to the sound of the Arabic
equivilent).  (For anyone in Edison/Highland park who is really
interested I can give a demo of the two lameds.)


From: Joel Goldberg <joel@...>
Subject: Re: Two types of the letter lamed

As lamed is not one of the letters that takes a dagesh, perhaps this is
the difference between the "dark L" that ends syllables and the "light
L" that begins syllables.

(An example of what I mean is the German city of K"oln, which has a
"light L", and so is written "Cologne" in French.)

Joel Goldberg

From: Rose Landowne <ROSELANDOW@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 10:55:00 EDT
Subject: Re: Two types of the letter lamed

Could he possibly mean that in some sidurrim, where the lines are close 
together, sometimes a lamed is printed with the top bent over?

Rose Landowne

<<The one question that intrigued me was when he asked whether people
distinguish their pronounciation of the two types of "lameds". Until
then, I did not know that such a thing existed. >>

From: Rick Turkel <rturkel@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 20:09:50 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Two types of the letter lamed

	If I'm not mistaken, this is an artifact from Yiddish, which has
two different pronunciations of lamed.  See Weinreich's _College
Yiddish_ for details.  It seems to stem from the Slavic languages,
especially Polish and Ukrainian, in which the Yiddish-speaking community
was embedded in Europe.  Most Slavic languages have two "l" sounds, one
the so-called "dark l" of Polish, which is pronounced farther back in
the mouth than an English "l" and sounds like a "w" to an untrained ear,
and a palatalized "l" which sounds like a consonantal "ly."

	Hope this helps.

Rick Turkel      (___  _____  _  _  _  _  __     _  ___   _   _  _  ___
<rturkel@...>      )     |   |  \  )  |/  \ ein |navi| be|iro\__)    |
<rturkel@...>    /      |  _| __)/   | ___)    | ___|_  |  _(  \    |


End of Volume 34 Issue 86