Volume 42 Number 49
                 Produced: Fri Apr 23  6:17:20 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bi-gender nouns
         [Caela Kaplowitz]
Bnei Eretz Yisrael keeping one day of yom tov in chu"l (2)
         [Simon Wanderer, Carl Singer]
Internet Tanach
         [Eli Turkel]
Original Pronunciation of Hebrew (2)
         [Frank Silbermann, Michael Frankel]
Siddur/Haggadah Text (Unicode) (3)
         [Daniel Nachman, Binyomin Segal, Ken Bloom]
Was Aharon Ever Happy?
         [Richard Dine]


From: Caela Kaplowitz <caelak@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 06:52:20 -0400
Subject: Bi-gender nouns

Immanuel Burton said (referring to bi-gender nouns):

The Decalogue is commonly referred to as the Aseres Ha'dibros, whereas
the Torah itself refers to them as the Aseres Ha'devorim (Deuteronomy
10:4). [taking Ha'dibros as feminine from the seemingly feminine ending
-- although the number form "aseres" remains masculine -- my addition to
the posting]

The word "HaDibrot" is masculine, not feminine according to the
Even-Shoshan dictionary. There are two different nouns formed from the
word root d.b.r.  which have to do with speech but don't have exactly
the same meaning: 1) Divra - Divrot (feminine) -- saying, speech 2)
Diber - Dibrot (dagesh in the bet-masculine) -- strength of speech,
strength that is expressed through the mouth. Under this second entry is
"Aseret HaDibrot".

Caela Kaplowitz
Baltimore, MD


From: Simon Wanderer <simon.wanderer@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 10:44:41 +0100
Subject: Bnei Eretz Yisrael keeping one day of yom tov in chu"l

David Charlap wrote:
>Today, even though we have accurate calendars and instant communication,
>we still follow this as a custom, in order to comemorate what was
>necessary back then.
>Which is why I don't understand the practice of an Israeli only
>observing one day when visiting a foreign country, or of a foreigner
>observing two days when visiting Israel.
>Back when this practice was out of necessity instead of custom, they
>certainly wouldn't have behaved this way.  An Israeli traveling abroad
>would be just as much in doubt over the date of Rosh Chodesh as everybody
>else, and would therefore have to observe both days.  Similarly, a Jew
>from another country visiting Israel would not have any such doubt and
>would be able to observe only one day.
>So why don't we, in our comemoration of that practice, practice it today
>the way they must have had to practice it back then?

This is in fact the position of at least one important P'sak on the
issue (if I remember correctly, that of R' Shmuel Salant). It clearly
has some sense to it, but is, nevertheless, a minority opinion. Perhaps
the explanation is that since nowadays the reason for observing two days
is not a practical one but based on maintaining a vestige of the former
practice, the Takana was applied to *communities* (as this would have
the effect of retaining the basic form of the historic practice) and did
not incorporate every intricacy. 


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 06:24:06 -0400
Subject: Bnei Eretz Yisrael keeping one day of yom tov in chu"l

Someone posed this in shule.  

An Israeli in Israel finishes Pesach, makes Havdolah, has chometz ....
then boards a plane for, say, the U.S. and arrives on our "8th day"  ----

Carl Singer


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 2004 13:26:25 +0300
Subject: Internet Tanach

< see http://www.halachabrura.org/alephlink.htm>

Does anyone know a site where the Torah is available on the web in
"binary" form.  i.e. I want to be able to play with individual letters
in some language and not just do searches

Prof. Eli Turkel,  <turkel@...> on 4/21/2004
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 07:07:19 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Original Pronunciation of Hebrew

Mike Gerver (<MJGerver@...>, V42 N48):

>> spoken languages evolve, else we would still be speaking in s'faradit
>> accents as did card carrying Ashkenazim like Rashi and his generation.
> What are you basing that on? It seems to me there is strong evidence
> that before Hebrew developed regional dialects, the vowels, at least,
> were pronounced more as Ashkenazim do today.

Which Askenazim do you have in mind?  It seems to me that each group of
Askenazim has their own way of pronouncing the vowels.  For example, I
cannot understand the Bal Koreh at the shul where I daven because Chabad
custom is to use different sounds for the vowels than the pronunciation
described in Askhenazi Hebrew instruction books.

From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 00:21:50 -0400
Subject: Re: Original Pronunciation of Hebrew

From: (Mike Gerver):
  Mechy Frankel writes, in v42n47, 
  > spoken languages evolve, else we would still be speaking in s'faradit 
  > accents as did card carrying Ashkenazim like Rashi and his generation.

>What are you basing that on? It seems to me there is strong evidence that 
>before Hebrew developed regional dialects, the vowels, at least, were 
>pronounced more as Ashkenazim do today. For one thing, Ashkenazim make more 
>distinctions between vowels, and originally all vowels were
>presumably pronounced differently from each other. Also, the concept of the 
>kamatz katan (a kametz pronounced by Sephardim like an Ashkenazi kametz) 
>only originated around 1100 CE, suggesting that Sephardim pronounced all 
>kametzes like an Ashkenazi kametz before then. This is
>further supported by the fact that Yemenites still pronounce kametz more or 
>less like Ashkenazim do. If all you are talking about is the stress 
>patterns, then I agree with you.

Nah. For one thing I doubt there was ever such a before dialect period
or a single "original" pronunciation of Hebrew.

I've received a number of off-line queries similar to Mike's, i.e. what
do I base it on. So let me expand a bit on my previous response.  We've
previously mentioned the rashi on omein chatufoh in b'rokhos 47a, but
there are also a host of documents spanning the 10th-13th centuries,
more than twenty different transliterated copies of t'hilim sections
with the qomotz always realized as "a", a glossary of Hebrew-french with
s'fardic Hebrew, medieval Hebrew-Latin transliterations, a poem from
R. Tam confusing qomotz and patach, a copy of pirqei ovos without qomotz
or segol to be found, similar indications from both Rashbam and Rosh.
Ibn Ezra writes that only in t'veryoh and egypt do people correctly
pronounce the qometz (i.e. like ashkenazim presently do) conspicuously
leaving out europe - with which he was quite familiar and where he had
traveled extensively while another author (qirqisani? - I remember this
point from an article I read a long time ago) wrote explicitly that
nobody in Europe knew how to pronounce qometz like the tiberians
do. There are a slew of published articles on this subject by authors
like Yalon, and Weinrich and those interested in pursuing it further
should have no trouble tracking some down.

Then we also have the linguistic usage clues even in today's language.
Everybody says yad, yam, k'lal u'f'rat, p'shat,sh'tar - these of course
are really yod, yom, k'lol, p'shot etc.  but these are not "mistakes"
but rather are widely assumed to be stubborn linguistic survivors in
ashkenaz from our s'faradic days.

The only real scholarly question is not whether Ashkenazim spoke
s'faradit until the 13th-14th century or so.  It's why did it change to
what we've got now? The two main theories are 1. it reflects the final
infiltration of the tiberian pointing and pronunciation system into
Europe, via either italy or bovel, superseding existing usage because of
its greater prestige, or: 2.  nothing to do with tiberias.  It's a
matter of local "yiddishization" of Hebrew accompanied by both vowel and
stress shifts.  Like a usage shift from "das" and Yiddish "dos".  And
thus happenstance that we come out reflecting tiberian articulation or
sounding like a yemenite qomotz - which latter everybody agrees stems
from bovel (though apparantly a s'faradic - i.e.  early eretz yisroel
-qometz was also used in bovel).  but early s'faradim didn't speak
ashkenazic, except for a very few communities who may have been
influenced by tiberias or from some regions of bovel.

As for the notion that Ashkenazim distinguish more vowels means that
Ashkenazi vowellization is older, this has little to commend itself and
much to dispute.  For one thing the seven different vowels in the now
regnant Tiberian pointing system was not the only pointing system
developed.  Babylonian niqqud had six vowels while the "other"
Palestinian pointing system had five.  Many feel that the Palestinian
system pre-dates the Tiberian system and reflects the common language in
southern Palestine while Tiberias represents the northern dialect - or
possibly just the academic and artificial language "reconstructed" by an
elite group of masoretes in T'veryoh, though it is clear that it was
spoken in the t'veryoh area.

But whether "masoretic" Hebrew reflects actual spoken language or not it
is notable that the greek transliterations from mishnaic and talmudic
times in eretz yisroel -e.g Josephus, Origen's Hexapla, Hieronymous - do
reflect a "s'faradi" pronunciation of vowels. So "s'faradit" (perhaps
joined by a regional dialect of "ashkenazic", perhaps not) is far older
than the seven tiberian vowels.

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


From: Daniel Nachman <nachman@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2004 22:55:16 -0500
Subject: RE: Siddur/Haggadah Text (Unicode)

Michael Rogovin <rogovin@...> wrote:
> Does anyone know of the availability of the text of the siddur and/or
> haggadah (ashkenazic and/or sphardic nusach), with nikudot, for
> Microsoft Word/OpenOffice (Unicode)?

You can copy and paste the haggadah in unicode from this site:


If your browser won't copy & paste unicode properly, let me know and I'll
send you a MS word doc.

If you find a source for the siddur text, I'd also be interested.


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2004 22:55:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Siddur/Haggadah Text (Unicode)

I share Michael Rogovin's desire for unicode texts. Perhaps we could 
create a database of such texts for the MJ home page? (Avi?)

[I have been sent three different versions of the Haggadah in either
.rtf or .doc format, I will try and get them up on the mail-jewish web
page over the weekend. If people have any others they want put up, or
links to existing ones on the Web, I will be glad to do so. Mod.]

I have a number of resources, that I have pooled to make much
available. But I too was originally unable to find a unicode haggada
text. However, I had access to a Dagesh text, and a copy of Dagesh.
Dagesh does export into unicode format. (At least the version we have in
our school lab does).

So for me, I opened the Dagesh text in Dagesh on Windows, saved as
Unicode, transferred to my mac, and opened it in Mellel (A great little
word processor for the mac that is fully unicode compliant, including
multidirection etc.)


From: Ken Bloom <kabloom@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 09:11:16 -0700
Subject: Re: Siddur/Haggadah Text (Unicode)

> Does anyone know of the availability of the text of the siddur and/or
> haggadah (ashkenazic and/or sphardic nusach), with nikudot, for
> Microsoft Word/OpenOffice (Unicode)?

OpenOffice cannot do a good job with the nikudot - this is an
outstanding issue in OpenOffice's bug tracking system. Also, if you're
looking at this for Linux, I have found printing support in general to
be pretty poor for nikkudot (although on screen display is very good).

Surely they could use help if anybody here is an expert in the subjects
involved - I don't even know where to volunteer my services, let alone
how to do anything that might be involved. (Mozilla could also use help,
as they have virtually no nikud support.)


From: Richard Dine <richard.dine@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 16:31:23 -0400
Subject: Was Aharon Ever Happy?

We got into a debate Friday night on whether Aharon was every happy.
Our fifteen year old, in part based on our Rabbi's pre-Shabbat dvar
torah e-mail, took the position that Aharon was never happy:
Overshadowed by Moses during the Exodus (particularly painful in light
of our Rabbi's comment that the Midrash has Aharon as the prophetic
communicator to Pharaoh before the burning bush transition to Moses),
embarrassed by the golden calf, overshadowed by the princes who brought
their grand offerings to the Mishkan, then the loss of Nadav & Avihu.
My 12 & 9 year olds said no, Aharon was mostly happy:  he had to have a
positive outlook on life to be the great peacemaker among families and
to be (as Pirkei Avot describes him) Ohev et Hamakom & Ohev et Habriot
(in love but unhappy doesn't seem likely), G-d assured Moses that Aharon
would be pleased that Moses would have to do the heavy lifting during
the Exodus, Aharon got to be high priest which should be a fun job,
Aharon go to see his son succeed him as high priest.  Obviously Aharon
would be saddened by Nadav & Avihu's death but that would not have
rendered his entire life unhappy. 

Anybody out there want to weigh in on this debate?

Richard Dine
email: <richard.dine@...>


End of Volume 42 Issue 49