Volume 44 Number 03
                    Produced: Mon Aug  9 21:37:11 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Arnold's (dairy) bread
         [Israel Caspi]
Cryptic Torah
         [Mike Gerver]
Font Size in Siddur
         [Haim Snyder]
Gematria/ Ktav Ivri
         [Michael Poppers]
Hammurabi Code
         [Eli Turkel]
Mixed Weddings
         [Shayna Kravetz]
One more time: Rashei- vs. Roshei-
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]


From: Israel Caspi <icaspi@...>
Subject: Arnold's (dairy) bread

Arnold's Bakery produces a line of parve bread under the OU.  They also
have a line of (dairy) bread which is marked "K-dairy."  When I inquired
about the supervision of the dairy line, Arnold's claimed that all their
baked goods are produced in facilities which are under OU supervision.
But in spite of the fact that all the ingredients in the dairy bread are
kosher, and the production is supervised by the OU, the OU will not
allow its symbol to be used on the packaging because of the dairy issue.
The OU has declined to confirm or deny the validity of Arnold's claim
that their line of dairy bread is, in fact, under OU supervision and
that, for those who accept that the products' "K-dairy" label is a
sufficient siman to overcome the halachic objection to dairy bread, the
bread is kosher.

Does anyone know anything further?

--I. Caspi


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 11:11:04 EDT
Subject: Cryptic Torah

Eli Turkey writes, in v43n96,

      Perhaps the most famous is "an eye for an eye". As many have shown
      this is exactly what appears literally in the code of Hammurabi.
      So at the of Matan Torah it would have been easy to accept this
      literally.  Our problem with a literal acceptance is the change in
      morality over the centuries.  In fact the Talmud spends pages
      trying to prove that this should not be taken literally. The
      length of this discussion indicates that it was far from obvious
      that the text should not be taken literally.

The fact that the Talmud spends pages trying to prove that it should not
taken literally proves only that it was far from obvious at the time of
the Talmud that the text should not be taken literally. But it doesn't
prove anything about what was obvious at the time of Matan Torah, or at
the time of Hammurabi.

About 30 years ago, I visited an archeological museum on the campus of
the University of Chicago, which had an exhibit about Hammurabi.
According to this exhibit, "an eye for an eye" meant monetary
compensation even at the time of Hammurabi. Although Hammurabi lived a
few hundred years before Matan Torah, he did live about the time of
Avraham, and his kingdom included Ur Kasdim, so the Avot and their
descendents would have inherited the legal tradition of the Hammurabi
code, and would have understood the terminology used. If we can believe
what the exhibit said (and I think it is very plausible, as I will
show), then there would have been no need for the Torah to explain that
"an eye for an eye" did not mean literally taking someone's eye out if
he caused someone else to lose his eyesight. The Jews who were receiving
the Torah would already have understood that this phrase was legal
terminology specifying that someone who damages someone else's eye has
to pay just compensation.

The innovation of the Torah over Hammurabi's code was NOT that the Torah
prescribed monetary compensation instead of literally taking someone's
eye out. Rather, the innovation was that the Torah, unlike Hammurabi's
code, did not allow monetary compensation in cases of murder, but
required capital punishment. In Hammurabi's code, "a life for a life"
was also understood to mean monetary compensation. If a wealthy man
murdered a poor man, he could simply pay something to the poor man's
family, and go unpunished. A poor man who committed murder, and could
not afford to pay compensation to the victim's family, would be put to
death. This fits with the stratified class structure of Babylonian
society in Hammurabi's time, and with the fact that the upper classes,
who made and enforced the laws, could literally get away with murder, if
the victim was lower class. The Torah says no-- every human life is
infinitely valuable, and only the death penalty is an appropriate
punishment for deliberately killing someone, whether the murderer is
rich or poor.

It follows from this that at the time of Matan Torah, Jews would have
understood "a life for a life" to also mean monetary compensation, and
indeed it does mean that in Lev. 24:18, where it is talking about
someone who causes the death of an animal that belongs to someone
else. That's why Lev. 24:17 has to say, explicitly, that someone who
commits murder must receive the death penalty.

By the time of the Gemara, Jews had long forgotten Hammurabi's code.
Although they still knew, as they had known all along, that the halachic
meaning of "an eye for an eye" was monetary compensation, they no longer
thought this meaning was obvious from the text, so they felt the need to
spin all kinds of explanations for why the Torah used that phrase.

Given what I know about Babylonian society at the time of Hammurabi,
this explanation seems more reasonable to me than saying that the
Hammurabi code prescribed taking out the eye of someone who blinded
someone else.  If there are any experts in Old Babylonian history out
there who can confirm or refute this, I would like to hear from them.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: <Haim.Snyder@...> (Haim Snyder)
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 17:51:53 +0300
Subject: Re: Font Size in Siddur

In Vol 43 #96, Carl Singer wrote re Tachnun:

>I'm aware of the vagaries of font size in old (cut & paste?) siddurs --
>but even in new siddurs that seem to be freshly typeset, I've noticed
>that the introductory sentence (Vayomer David el Gad ....) is a smaller
>font.  Does anyone have an explanation?

If he is talking about the Rinat Yirael, the answer is that, in nusah
Askenaz, he goes largely according to Nusah Ha'Gra in his comments and
type sizing.  According to this nusah, that verse is not said at all,
therefore Rinat Yisrael (and some other Israeli siddurim) use smaller
type to denote this.

This is also true re the comment on V'shamru in the Maariv service for
Shabbat (Most congregations don't say this is the comment) and

Haim Shalom Snyder


From: <MPoppers@...> (Michael Poppers)
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 12:44:11 -0400
Subject: Re: Gematria/ Ktav Ivri

In M-J V43#95, ACooper responded:

> The "Hebrew" script either persisted or was revived by the Hasmoneans,
> who used it on their coinage (second-first centuries BCE).  More to
> the point, portions of Torah scrolls in that script were found among
> the Dead Sea Scrolls, most famously a Leviticus scroll from Qumran
> Cave 11.

Please read the previously-posted AishDas references (see
http://www.ottmall.com/mj_ht_arch/v43/mj_v43i86.html#CADL).  In answer
to Alan's and Nachum's points, k'sav Ivri was used for both sacred and
non-sacred purposes, but that's not relevant to a discussion of k'sav
Ashuris, which essentially was used only for sacred purposes.

All the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 19:13:45 +0300
Subject: Hammurabi Code

> About 30 years ago, I visited an archeological museum on the campus of
> the University of Chicago, which had an exhibit about
> Hammurabi. According to this exhibit, "an eye for an eye" meant
> monetary compensation even at the time of Hammurabi.

I have no idea what was in the museum. However, translations off
Hammurabi's code exist on the the internet. Using google I went to

   If a son strike his father, his hands shall be hewn off.
   If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out. [ An
eye for an eye ]
   If he break another man's bone, his bone shall be broken.
   If he put out the eye of a freed man, or break the bone of a freed man,
he shall pay one gold mina
   If a man knock out the teeth of his equal, his teeth shall be knocked
out . [ A tooth for a tooth]

So in general an eye for an eye is literal. There is money for a freed
man who seems to be lower even after being freed than a regular
(nonslave) person. By the way in reading the laws there is frequent use
of death for monetray crimes. In many case the person is thrown in the
river to determine guilt. An interesting aside is that if the wife
commits adultery than they get the death penalty but the husband has the
right to forgive the wife.

Hence, in the days of Matan Torah someone without access to the oral law
would have interpreted an eye for an eye as in #196 avove - literally

 Eli Turkel


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 11:00:02 -0500
Subject: Re: Mixed Weddings

After Martin Stern <md.stern@...> wrote that he

> would not attend either the ceremony or the reception [of a marriage
> between a Jew and a non-Jew]. At one time one sat shiva in such cases
> and, even if this is not done nowadays, to attend is to condone. B"H I
> have not been put in such a position, the nearest that I experienced
> was when relatives married a halachic Jew in a non-Orthodox
> ceremony. On principle I refused to attend the 'religious' part but
> did go to the reception when it was under reliable kashrut
> supervision.  On one occasion the family refused to have such
> supervision and I made it quite clear to them that, in such
> circumstances, I would not attend at all.

William Friedman <williamf@...> replied:
>> Would Martin Stern advocate similar strictures regarding inviting
>> Sabbath-breaking relatives?  If so, what is his rationale for
>> excluding all non-observant Jews from religious s'machot?  If not,
>> then I fail to to see how singling out intermarriage (not necessarily
>> even a d'oraita, and certainly not worse than hillul Shabbat) has any
>> basis in halakha whatsoever.

I think that Martin Stern draws the line in the right place.  The
analogy breaks down in William Friedman's extension.  The purpose of a
wedding ceremony is precisely to make the transgression possible; the
intermarriage is not merely incidental, it is the whole point of the
event.  Moreover, the wedding ceremony is not merely facilitating the
marriage; it is celebrating it.  What is expected of a wedding guest is
not just acquiescence, it is rejoicing in the couple's choice and their
future together.  I think that, no matter how lovely the non-Jewish
spouse and how beloved the relative in question are as individuals, such
an event is overshadowed by the halachic conflict. Inviting
non-observant Jews to a simchah is not 'about' congratulating them on
their non-observance.

I think that a good analogy from current western culture would be to the
question of gay pride.  From an orthodox point of view, as I understand
it, the gay pride ideology is beyond the pale.  Whatever we think of
homosexual activity's halachic repercussions, an actively positive
response to it -- as opposed to mere passive tolerance (which is, of
course, a whole other issue) -- is not within halachic Judaism.

Shabbat shalom from
Shayna in Toronto


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 12:52:17 EDT
Subject: One more time: Rashei- vs. Roshei-

Martin Stern in the last several posting (the last one MJv43n89) argues
that it is Roshei Chodashim and not Rashei Chodashim. That is, he
contends that the letter Resh has a Kamatz Katan and not a Kamatz Gadol.
He explained his reasoning several times, based on rules. Martin's
principal error his that he based his conclusion on rules and not on the
reading Massoret (i.e., reading tradition). The starting point in the
Hebrew Grammar (and I assume in other languages as well) is the language
as spoken for thousands of years. Grammarian tried based on the used
language to formulate rules to explain the language. So, if Martin
formulate a good rule, but that rule applies 98% of the time, it is not
that the 2% is wrong, it is rather that the rule as formulated has some
exceptions. In the case of Rashei Chodashim, ALL the masorot that
differentiate between Kamatz Gadol and Katan has it pronounced as Kamatz
Gadol, and we need not change it to Kamatz Katan based on Martin's rule,
it is Martin who needs to rethink his rule. This is called a
methodological error.

So, for example, Martin wrote "The correct rule in Hebrew grammer is 'A
long vowel cannot occur in a closed unaccented syllable'". But the Bible
has numerouse example of words that do not follow this rule [e.g., umet
(Deut 32:50); vayanusu (I Sam 19:8); nuldu (I Chron 3:5, 20:8);
le'umim*2 (Isa 55:4)]. Does Martin suggests to fix all these examples
based on his rule, or rather that the rule needs to be revised?

Radak (Rabbi David Kimchi 1160-1235) based on his father the Ri"k and
his group, (Radak was one of the greatest Hebrew grammarians of all
times) developed the rule of Tenu'ah Arukah and Tenu'ah Ketzarah (a long
and short sounds of a vowel). More precisly they spoke on tenu'ot
gedolot and tenu'ot ketanot. This was a very sophisticated development
in the understanding of Hebrew grammar at the time, but even they knew
that this rule was not exhaustive, that is, they were many case where
the language worked different from their rule. The rule was deficient
(Blau, 1986, p.  137). They tried to refine the inconsistencies between
the rules and the language by further formulating the connection between
the syllables and the te'amim, and the proximity of the te'amim to the

Prof. Asher Laufer (whose ideas were incorporated above) from the Hebrew
Language Department of the Hebrew University suggested that for people
who are interested in the subject to use good Hebrew Grammar books to
study the subject and also use the article "nikud" in the Encyclopedia
Mikra'it by Shelomo Morag, as well as Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 13
1120-1145 also by Shelomo Morag as a good articles explaining the above.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


End of Volume 44 Issue 3