Volume 38 Number 37
                 Produced: Wed Jan 22 22:42:46 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The 9 people who entered Gad Eden ALive
         [Russell J Hendel]
Cloning: Attitude vs Law
         [Russell J Hendel]
Kaf and Qof
         [Stan Tenen]
         [Andrew Klafter]
Transliteration of Shema into English?
         [Sammy Finkelman]
         [Stan Tenen]
Transliterations (Qof vs. Kaf)
         [Tom Rosenfeld]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 22:41:37 -0500
Subject: The 9 people who entered Gad Eden ALive

Yeshaya Halevi (v38n24) mentions that

>>The Derech Eretz Zuta flat out said that Eliezer was so worthy
>>that he was one of less than a dozen human beings who ever entered
>>Paradise alive.

I recall reading in some Midrash that there were 9 that entered Gan Eden

Does anyone (a) know the exact source (b) know where this source can be
found (ie is it a separate book, in back of certain Shas editions)...
(c) know the DERIVATION that these 9 entered Gan Eden alive.

Russell Jay Hendel; RASHI:http://www.RashiYomi.com/
WEB:   http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RashiYomi_Job/
EMAIL: <RashiYomi_Job-subscribe@...>


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 22:42:15 -0500
Subject: Cloning: Attitude vs Law

There has been some discussion about the halachic permissability of
clones (eg v38n28--why are they different than pacemakers and Gilads
rebuttal of the so called Golem story)

I think this an important topic.

I think the discussion could be made smoother if we distinguished
between halachah and haskafa.

There is certainly nothing wrong with cloning or using pacemakers.

However there is a general problem that if you run around cloning people
indiscriminately then a) it might facilitate adulterous relationships b)
it might deprive people of their sense of individuality.

Traditionally society has gone ahead with science and THEN discussed
problems WHEN they arrived.

I think a proper approach would be to DISCUSS problems before hand and
then legitimize activity. I also dont think we shouldn't confuse
Hashkafa and halacha.  In other words, if there is a concern with
peoples identities or marital statuses then why not simply state so--why
bring in halacha to something that is attitudinal.

That being said what should our attitude towards cloning be. Should we
ignore all possible problems? This is certainly not like a
pacemaker. Suppose someone hated person X and made 15 copies of X and
trained some of them to mar his name. Are these considerations that we
should worry about.

I think such a thread would be more useful

Russell Jay Hendel; RASHI:http://www.RashiYomi.com/
WEB:   http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RashiYomi_Job/
EMAIL: <RashiYomi_Job-subscribe@...>


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 09:21:00 -0500
Subject: Kaf and Qof

With regard to our alphabet, the development described by R. Nosson
Scherman in the Appendix to Rabbi Munk's "Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet"
(Artscroll) seems to me to be fair, considered, and likely correct.

With regard to the Kaf and Qof, Karl Menninger, in "Number Words and
Number Symbols: A Cultural History of Numbers," MIT Press, 1958
(German), 1969 (English), shows a chart on page 265.

Apparently Kaf derives from an Egyptian hieroglyph showing an open palm,
and a Phoenician form which is a kind of backwards "K-shape".  Menninger
shows its development directly linked to the Greek "K", Kappa.  Both Kaf
and Kappa also take the numerical value of 20.

The same chart shows no Egyptian origin for Qof, but a Phoenician
"circle-and-line" glyph, which is carried forward in our Hebrew Qof, and
in the Greek Koppa.

The numerical value in Hebrew is 100.  The numerical value in Greek is
90 (because there is no Greek equivalent to our Zadi, which equals 90).

The Greeks, being a conquering people, added and dropped phonetic
symbols from their alphabet, depending on local phonetic needs.

For example: Our Vav, the Greek Digamma (which is drawn just like an
English letter "F"), was dropped when the phoneme was not needed.  But
when the "PH" phoneme was needed again, a new Greek letter, Phi, was

There appears to have been no confusion in Hebrew, and Kaf and Qof have
always been distinct.

Diringer, another classic source, shows a Canaanite-Phoenician Kaf that
looks a bit like an English "Y" with an extra central tine, and tracks
this back to Ras Shamra Cuneiform, as a sort of triangular shape,
composed of three cuneiform wedges.

Diringer shows our Qof extending back to the Canaanite-Phoenician "line
with a circle on top", and a Ras Shamra Cuneiform of just two wedges.
(Page 146.)

Georges Ifrah, in "From One to Zero: A Universal History of Numbers,"
Penguin 1985, gives a chart of the development of the alphabet on page
260, which similarly shows Kaf and Qof to have been independent
throughout their usage.

There is no doubt that Kaf becomes our English "K", and Qof becomes
English "Q".

In the ancient world, and in classic scholarly sources -- until very
recently -- there is a 100% consistent audit trail for both letters, and
there is never any confusion between them.

Apparently, modern scholars, not familiar with their own sources, and/or
not caring of the needs of scholarly communities other than their own,
have gone their own way, and created their own set of difficulties where
none previously existed.

Kaf has always referred to the palm of the hand, and thus, to the use of
a palm to cup and cap, as well as to shape itself in the likeness of
what it holds.  Thus, our meaning for the word "Kaf".

Qof has always referred to the skull and brain-stem.  That's why it's
always drawn as a near-vertical line with a circle on top.  Because it
is the physical container of our brain, and is not the content of our
mind, we associate this lower physical brain with monkey-consciousness.
Thus, Qof can refer to a skull or a container in general, or to a
monkey, or to copying (aping -- what a monkey does).

It's this "copying" function that has led to confusion with Kaf.
"Copying" and "likeness" are not so far apart at first glance.



From: Andrew Klafter <aklafter@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2003 09:59:26 -0500
Subject: Transliteration

      The signs near the Israeli town of Petah Tikvah that read "Petah
      Tiqwa" may be read correctly by an expert in Oriental studies, but
      look plain silly to the rest of us.

That's because it is plain silly.  Transliteration is supposed to convey
a phonetically reasonable pronounciation of a foreign word.  It's aim
should be that non-speakers of the foreign language will be capable of
pronouncing the word.  The nutty system introduced by academics is of no
use to people who don't already know Hebrew.  Because I know Hebrew, I
will realize whether the "CH" refers to a Het or a Khof because I know
the words being transliterated.  Chadesh, Hadesh and XadeSh are all the
same word for us who know Hebrew, so why make it ineffable for those who

If anyone is familiar with the translation of the Babylonian Talmud
which was begun by a team of scholars headed by Jacob Neusner, you can
see that they instituted another New Transliteration System which only
was a representation of the Hebrew/Aramaic characters.  For example
Shevat (the month) would be "ShBT" and shevet would also be rendered
"ShBT."  There is no utility in such a system of course.  It would make
more since to simply spend $150 and purchase Dagesh or DavkaWriter, and
then type the word or phrase with Hebrew fonts!  This is the direction
that the current, wacky, academic standard is heading toward.  The X for
Het is really annoying ot me.

I believe, and I am not kidding, that such a transliteration system
represents an unconcious expression of weakly repressed hostility and
arrogance toward non-Hebrew speakers.

There is another silly phenomenon which has arisen in all of this:
Tranliterations of Hebrew phrases or titles which are transliterations
into Hebrew from foreign languages in the first place.  For example, a
previous mail-jewish contributor once astutely remarked:

Saul Davis, in v34n42, mentions that the Mehoqeqey Yehuda was written by
"Yehuda Liv Qarinsqy."  While I admire Saul's dedication to following a
consistent system for transliterating Hebrew, wouldn't it be less
confusing (especially since his middle and last name are not Hebrew) to
refer to him as "Yehuda Leib Karinsky?"

I actually think it is preferable to not follow any system too precisely
for the following reason.  Sefaradim from Arab lands, Ashkenazim in the
diaspora, and native speakers of Modern Hebrew born in Israel all
pronounce differently If we are writing something and wish to convey
with transliteration how something will sound (and again, this is the
ENTIRE PURPOSE OF TRANSLITERATION), it would make sense if there are
differences which correspond to the dialect or accent of the speaker.



From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Jan 03 00:03:00 -0400
Subject: Transliteration of Shema into English?

Can someone tell me is there a transliteration of the Shema into
English, printed somewhere or on the Internet? Someone asked me to do
it. I think this is for someone (about age 13?) of Russian Jewish
background. To do by hand is difficult and I thought maybe of doing only
the beginning at least at first.

This brings up the question of if a person can say less and should it be
in a language he knows and what precisely is the obligation?

In Berachos there are two places something about Shema is mentioned and
one place it says it from the Torah and the other not. A Rabbi told me
theer is a dispute but I can see it another way.

 From the Torah is only to speak wordss of Torah in the morning and the
evening. Also maybe to remmeber the presence of God. Rabbi yehuda
Hanasoused to say only the first verse. The two Gemorahs could be
explained that in one case the man said Bircas HaTorah and three
PPusukim (Birchas Cohanim) so that to say Shema before 1/3 of the fday
is not from teh Torah in the other case he did not say that before.


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 10:03:10 -0500
Subject: Transliterations

An email acquaintance asked me about the pronunciation of the
Four-Letter-Name.  So I provided the usual explanations.  We discussed
that it's not to be pronounced, and we discussed the various academic
and non-Jewish substitutes, such as "Y-H-W-H" and "Yah - Weh", and the

This drew my attention to something that might be of interest in the
current discussion on the proper transliteration of Hebrew into English,
or related modern alphabets.

I was wondering if anyone knew how this came about historically: In
Spanish, the word for "chief" is "jefe".  This is a near-direct
transliteration of Y-H-V-H, particularly when we remember that "I' and
"J" weren't differentiated in Latin, and may not have been in early
Spanish either.  (I don't know the dates on the distinction between "I"
and "J".)

Well, here's the comparison:

Yud --  I (J)
He  --  E
Vav --  F
He  --  E

Thus, our Four-Letter Name for "Lord" becomes the operational equivalent
of the modern Spanish word for "chief".  (And I think even ordinary
linguists would probably agree that "chief" and "jefe" are also the
same, but by a different -- phonetic drift -- path.)

This is an example of where the _phonetic_ equivalents all fail, and
where the _operational_ equivalents that I've been suggesting bring
clarity and elegance.

Does anyone have more info on this?  Did "jefe" come into use in Spanish
during the Islamic period?  Are there other equivalents in other
languages that also derive from "lord" in Hebrew?


From: Tom Rosenfeld <trosen@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 15:21:25 +0200
Subject: re: Transliterations (Qof vs. Kaf)

Caela Kaplowitz wrote:

>>Using the letter Q for a kuf (19th letter of alef-bet, but not a kaf,
>>11th letter of the alef-bet) should not look too strange. Both letters
>>derive from the same letter in the ancient semitic alphabet (Phoenician
>>alphabet) which looked like a circle with a vertical line going through

In my (admittedly limited) reading on the subject, I have not seen any
references to these 2 letters having a common root. The shape of Qof
came the eye of a needle "Kof Makhat" (or a monkey according to some)
while Kaf (11th letter) came from "Kaf" as in "palm of a hand" and was
drawn similarly.



End of Volume 38 Issue 37