Volume 37 Number 89
                 Produced: Sun Dec  8 12:01:43 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Censorship of the Gemara
         [Michael Kahn]
"Correct" Hebrew word for "Sunrise", Heneitz? HOneitz! Redux (2)
         [Michael Frankel, Mark Steiner]
The Miracle of the Oil (4)
         [Frederic H Rosenblatt, Ben Katz, Shalom Kohn, Avi Feldblum]
Speaking on Phone when it is Shabbat on one side (2)
         [Carl Singer, Zev Sero]


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Fri, 06 Dec 2002 02:02:04 -0500
Subject: Re: Censorship of the Gemara

>This seems to me to imply that an official censor had to approve each
>volume *before* publication.

I've heard that some times meshumadim/apostates used their knowledge of
Judaism/Hebrew to censure Sforim.  You can take a look, for example in
the introduction to the Aruch Hashulchan where he praises the czar about
how kind he was to the Jews. Perhaps that was done to help it get by the
censors.  Another famous thing written in the beginning of sforim is
that when the term goy is used its referring to ancient idol worshipers
not to the wonderful monotheistic gentiles of today... That was clearly
written for the censors.

I recently saw that written in the name of Rav Dovid Cohen points out
that the Maharshal ruled that it is forbidden to falsify Torah even for
pikuach nefesh. (I think his proof is from a Gemara where a gentile
asked a Jew what the Halacha is if a Jews ox gores that of a gentile and
vise versa. The Jew told him that when the Jews ox gores the gentiles he
is exempt while in the opposite case the gentile must pay. The gentile
got so upset he wanted to kill him. Why didn't the Jew just lie to make
the gentile happy, asks the Maharshal? He answers that from here we see
one may never falsify a din even for pikuach nefesh. I'm not sure of the
exact points of the Gemara. I'm writing from memory.) From the fact that
the mchabrai sforim wrote that Halacha pertaining to goyim don't refer
to present day goyim shows that obviously Klal Yisroel wasn't mkabel the


From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Thu, 05 Dec 2002 23:14:35 -0500
Subject: Re:"Correct" Hebrew word for "Sunrise", Heneitz? HOneitz! Redux

I normally know better than to dispute the distinguished Dr. Steiner on
a linguistic matter, (if only because he could always get his kid
brother to beat me up, linguistically speaking) but the matter of henetz
vs honeitz bears further examination.  Mark has (again) made the always
cogent observation that one ought not impose grammatical biblicisms on
the-stand-on-its-own-feet structure of mishnaic Hebrew and the Kaufmann
codex of the mishna unambiguously points the word with a segol,
i.e. henetz rather than the honeitz which would reflect a biblical
hif'il form.  This is fair enough as far as it goes - but perhaps it
doesn't go quite far enough to resolve the issue.

1.  One caution is the late date of the pointing of the Kaufmann codex
which Mark cites. It obviously must have waited at least until the
invention of the Tiberian pointing system. i.e. the segol Mark points to
is probably separated from the speakers of Mishnaic Hebrew by at least
seven hundred years and written into the codex by somebody a lot closer
to the time of Rabbinic Hebrew speakers than Mishnaic Hebrew speakers.
But that is only a caution.  A true objection is the following.

2.  While it is true that the Kaufmann Mishnoh B'rochos 1:1 which Mark
cites unambiguously points heneitz with a segol, other citations in the
Kaufmann codex would seem to point it with a (drum roll) qometz!  Thus
if you follow the mareh moqom URL that Mark provided to Ta'anis 3:9, you
will find the very same Kaufmann codex pointed HOneitz, with a qometz,
twice - see right hand column middle of page.  Similarly if you go to
P'sochim 4:5 (actually had to go to the next page to find it, the
numbering system in the Kaufmann not identical to ours) you again find
it pointed with a qometz.

3. After finding the above internal s'tiros in the Kaufmann, I checked
my copy of Yalon's (should have done that first) Movoh L'niiqud
Ham'mishnoh where, sure enough, on p. 44 he offers a brief discussion of
heneitz vs honeitz and concludes for honeitz on the basis of the same
argument I made above, but also adding a citation from Kaufmann Nidoh
9:9 which I didn't bother to check.  He also adds the evidence from the
other early pointed Mishna, the Parma Codex, which also has it as
HOneitz. He also cites other early MS and printed editions which have it
as HOneitz, and for good measure even adds a source with a Babylonian
pointing which again has it HOneitz.

Yalon used to be sold as an introductory volume - which most people
skipped since they correctly perceived it as dreadfully boring - as part
of the popular six volume Albeck edition of the Mishna. (with the white
paper covers).  Yalon's was a seventh volume that came with the set in a
yellow cover, though no one knew why it was included since they were
just trying to buy a set of mishna with modern Hebrew peirush.  Once
Kehati started eating Albeck's lunch, I suspect even the few people who
might have glanced into Yalon no longer did so.  In any event, while
Mishnaic Hebrew l'chud and Biblical Hebrew l'chud, perhaps not
everything in the Bible was linguistically dated as soon as it closed.

Mechy Frankel			H: (301) 593-3949
<michael.frankel@...>		W: (703) 845-2357

From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 07:54:03 +0200
Subject: Re: "Correct" Hebrew word for "Sunrise", Heneitz? HOneitz! Redux

    Yasherkoah (another rabbnic form, preserved by Yiddish, cf. the last
Rashi on the Torah for the play on words asher/yasher, and my article on
this subject on mail-jewish a while ago) to Mechy (a Rabbinical form of
Michael, with the hiriq going to segol as in mekah umemkor, medrash, etc?)
for his research.  Serves me right for giving away the URL for the Kaufmann.
    Rechecking my posting I am thus relieved to note that I did not say that
henetz is the ONLY valid Mishnaic form for "sunrise".  I assumed that henetz
conforms to a standard verb form in Mishnaic Hebrew, as in heter, henef
(this is quite similar to henetz by the way--my brother pointed out to me
that the Albeck Mishnah, cited by Mechy, vocalizes the word "henef" not
"honef" as in Biblical Hebrew), hefker, heqter, he`lem, etc., etc.  However
Mechy could well be right--my brother wrote me--that BH forms persisted into
the Mishnaic period, causing a "true" inconsistency in the actual Hebrew of
the period.  Another possibility is that the vocalization does not reflect
an accurate tradition--thus Mechy's caution in believing the vocalization of
the Kaufmann would work "against" him, i.e;. that the vocalization sometimes
"Biblicizes" the word henetz to honetz.
    My brother points out that the word "hesev" (recline as in the seder) is
preserved in the Yiddish word "hesebet" (=hesev bet) which is what my zeyde
used to lean on during the seder.  This is a point I have been making for a
long time: Yiddish forms of Hebrew are not to be considered automatically
"incorrect" just because they violate BH grammar; on the contrary, Yiddish
preserves ancient forms of Mishnaic/Rabbinic Hebrew.


From: Frederic H Rosenblatt <fredr@...>
Date: Thu, 05 Dec 2002 09:28:04 -0800
Subject: Re: The Miracle of the Oil

>From: Jonathan Traum <jont@...>
>Many a rav has rhetorically asked and answered the question "Why do we
>celebrate Channuka for eight days?  After all, the oil was supposed to burn
>for one day, so the fact that it burned on the first day wasn't
> ...
>Are there any sources that explicitly discuss the physical nature of the
>miracle of the oil -- whether the miracle was that the oil was consumed
>more slowly than usual, or whether it continued burning after the oil was

There is a third possibility.  Looking at the other instance of a
miracle with oil (by Elisha Hanavi) we see that the originally existing
vessel remained full no matter how many other vessels were filled from
it, and only ceased when there were no more vessels to fill.  Under this
scenario, the Chanukah menorah would also be filled for the whole 8 days
from the remaining vessel of oil found.

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2002 18:05:06 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: The Miracle of the Oil

All readers of this list should be aware that there is no
contemporaneous mention of the miracle of the oil re Chanukah.  It is
not in I or II Macabees (apocryphal works, not found in the Jewish
Bible, but occassionally quoted by rishonim; I Macabbes is considered
nearly contemporaneous to the events described.  II Macabees has a more
"miraculous" nature to it [angels helping n the battlefield] and still
has no mention of the miracle.) Joesphus calls Chanukah a Festival of
Light but not because of the miracle (which he doesn't mention).  Also,
all careful daveners will realize that we do NOT mention the miracle in
al hanissim, only the great victory.  The mishna does not mention the
miracle (nor much else about Chanukah).  The first mention of the
miracle is in the Talmud, in the famous sugya of may chanukah in
masechet shabat.

        Why this is the case is more speculative, but these are the
facts.  Therefore to ask questions about the nature of the miracle is
not productive.

        BTW, the reason Chanukah is 8 days according to II Macabees is
that it was modeled after Succot.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph. 773-880-4187, Fax 773-880-8226, Voicemail and Pager: 3034
e-mail: <bkatz@...>

From: Shalom Kohn <skohn@...>
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2002 21:24:25 -0600
Subject: The Miracle of the Oil

	Please see Rambam, Hilchot Temiddim, 3:12, which describes the
process of "dishune hamenorah" which says that if the menorah flame goes
out, the Kohain is obliged to clean out the menorah cup and refill it
with a different wick and different oil, while if the flame does not go
out, he simply fine-tunes it ("me-takno") so it would burn more nicely
(see Lechem Mishna) -- i.e., the Kohaim would not extinguish the flame.

	Given this halacha, it must be assumed that after the first day
of what is now Chankah, the menorah flame was not extinguished --
because if it had been, the Kohain would have had to find different oil
to accomplish the "dishune," and of course there was no other oil.  It
follows that the wick kept burning, and that the miracle was that this
occurred without the flame having consumed the normal quantity of oil.
(It is also simpler to assume that all the oil was still present, rather
than 7/8, so the Kohain did not have the problem of finding additional
oil to fill the deficit.)  Thus, the miracle of the oil was also evident
on the first day.  I have not seen this analysis elsewhere, but submit
it as a straightforward response to the traditional question of why we
also celebrate the first day of Chanukah.


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 11:41:56 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: The Miracle of the Oil

On Thu, 5 Dec 2002, ben katz wrote:

> Therefore to ask questions about the nature of the miracle is not
> productive.

While Ben correctly points out that there is no early sources for the
miracle of the oil mentioned in the Gemara (and why that is so may be an
interesting topic of discussion), I would suggest that Ben and others that
may be concerned about the historical record should view this discussion
in the light of le'shetaso - according to their opinion. The Gemara that
brings this incident as the reason for lighting the candles on Chanuka,
how do they derive from the nature of the miracle that the holiday is 8
days not 7.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2002 19:52:13 EST
Subject: Re: Speaking on Phone when it is Shabbat on one side

      From: Chaim Tatel <chaimyt@...>
      A similar question would be: "Can I read Jerusalem Post online on
      Friday (I live on the US West coast - GMT-8) since it it Shabbos
      in Israel?

I don't think this is similar.  No one is doing work on their Sabbath as
part of your reading the Friday paper.  You might ask if you could read
the Monday issue if there's some presumption that someone worked on
their Sabbath to produce it / transport it to you.

Carl Singer

From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2002 15:46:45 -0500 
Subject: Re: Speaking on Phone when it is Shabbat on one side

Chaim Tatel <chaimyt@...> wrote:
> A similar question would be: "Can I read Jerusalem Post online on Friday
> (I live on the US West coast - GMT-8) since it it Shabbos in Israel?

Not at all similar.  When you access an Israeli computer, you are not
causing anyone on the other end to do any work.  The computer is allowed
to work on shabbat - it's black letter law (dvar mishna) that `you are
not commanded to have your inanimate possessions rest'.

The only question that arises is that *if* a story was entered or
updated on shabbat, by a Jew, and you read that story, then you would be
benefitting from a Jew's work on shabbat; but you don't know that any
such thing in fact happens - perhaps no work is done on the web page
once shabbat starts (and even if it is, perhaps it is only done by
writers who aren't Jewish).  In any case, if you look up when shabbat
starts in Jerusalem, and check the timestamp on `news flashes', avoiding
any ones written after that time, then I can't see a problem.

Zev Sero


End of Volume 37 Issue 89