Volume 48 Number 53
                    Produced: Mon Jun 20  6:17:30 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Feminism and Men
         [Russell J Hendel]
Second Job / Volunteering
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Yiddish (2)
         [Mark Steiner, Martin Stern]
Yiddish with Hebrew/German Roots (5)
         [Perets Mett, Frank Silbermann, Martin Stern, Bernard Raab,
Robert Israel]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2005 20:29:50 -0400
Subject: RE: Feminism and Men

The following interesting statement was made by Leah: (v48n50)
>>Certainly you are correct that a woman who goes into a dark alley
>>wearing a miniskirt is not to blame if a rapist attacks her; the
>>rapist is to blame, 100%.  I was thinking more along the lines of
>>"everyone, men and women, avoids dark alleys".

This is an interesting fallacy. Let us sort it out. First we must all
agree that a rapist is always responsible for his actions (irrespective
of where it happens and what the woman was wearing).

Because of the truth of this last statement Leah fallaciously states
that you cant tell a woman it is dangerous to go into a dark alley
(wearing a miniskirt) since that places blaim on her.

Before I explain the fallacy let me cite Jewish sources which show that
we SHOULD AND DO warn women (not men) from going certain places. In the
classical discussion of a rape case in Dt22-25 "And if the women was
found in the field (and was raped)...then only the man is put to
death". Rashi on the spot explains: The exemption of a rape victim from
a death penalty (for an adulterous union) applies in the field or
elsewhere--the Torah simply gave a TYPICAL example" (more on the word
TYPICAL below)

Rambam (laws of forbidden intercourse) and the code of Jewish law go a
step farther---one woman is prohibited from being alone with one
man. THe Rambam explains that SECLUSION is big determinant for sin (No
one wants to sin or rape in front of others). The Shulchan ARuch
heightens the point by contrasting the case of say 10 women being alone
with one man in a room: Under normal circumstances this is permissable
but if not if these are the type of people you dont trust(These laws are
complicated and my point in citing them here is not to give definitive
halachic practice but to point to the issue of trust and avoidance)

We can now return to explain the fallacy: There is a biblical law
prohibiting placing a stumbling block before the blind. Given that a
rape happens it probably happens in a secluded vs a frequented
area. This is a statement about probability. Therefore women have an
obligation to stay away from secluded areas (Fields, dark alleys etc).
The reason for this prohibition is probabilistic in nature.

If a women does go into a dark alley and gets raped then a) the rapist
is fully responsible for the rape but b) the women has violated not
placing a stumbling block before the blind (This in no way detracts the
rapists full responsibility).  By bringing in two prohibitions: rape vs
stumbling blocks we are able to blaim BOTH the women and rapist without
at all detracting full responsibility from the rapist.

Now a more serious question is how far does this go (And this has been
discussed on mail jewish and elsewhere many times): Should women never
go hiking in fields? SHould they never wear miniskirts? Do they have to
avoid everything because rapists are more likely to rape them in
seclusion? Why should the women abstain because a criminal might rape

While I can NOT fully answer this last question (I believe I did answer
the first question: Women should not go into dark alleys because they
are placing a stumbling block before the blind--nevertheless if
something happens it is the rapists fault totally) I can suggest an
avenue of approach: I dont believe (I really dont know) if more rapes
happen to women in miniskirts than to fully dressed people. As far as
Jewish law is concerned, SECLUSION is listed as a provocation before
blind people (not all men just rapists) and hence women must abstain
from secluded places.  If women are about equally likely to get raped
whether wearing miniskirts or not then there is no reason to prohibit
them (Except for general modesty)

Finally: As to the question why women not men: Again: rape more
frequently happens on women then men...hence women must abstain from
secluded places but not men. True: Women are restricting themselves
because of what criminals do but we can at least articulate clearly the
reasons for it.

As to women going on hikes....It would appear to me (perhaps this would
generate some discussion) that a woman should not go alone on field
hikes (Though with other female friends it is ok)

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d. Http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 11:37:18 -0400
Subject: Second Job / Volunteering

I was wondering whether there were any thoughts on the halachic issues
related with second jobs or with volunteering on the side.  At what
point are you stealing from your primary job?

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2005 01:28:45 +0300
Subject: RE: Yiddish

In answer to Dr. Katz' queries (I have expanded this posting to new
points as well):

1. I discussed "yasherkoax" in volume 11, number 90, 1994--I am amazed
to see that over 11 years have passed since then.  I wrote this piece
during the long strike of the professors in Israel, when I had plenty of
time.  A number of readers have pointed out that the preferred form is
"asher koax"--this is what the Mateh Ephraim holds, apparently on the
basis of the same arguments I used.  (Cf. ashru hamotz from Isaiah.)  I
argued, however, that asher and yasher are variant forms of the same
word.  Interestingly, "asherkoyekh" is what the old men said in the shul
I grew up in (Bronx, NY) and I'm amazed once again at how "illiterate"
Jews preserve ancient Hebrew forms.

2.  Though Dr. Katz is undoubtedly correct that the formal commemoration
of the yohrtsayt began in the Middle Ages, there are at least nine
references in Hazal (Bavli, Yerushalmi, Midrashim) to "yom shemet bo
aviv" as a fast day.  This is quite a mouthful, and a Hebrew word could
easily have been coined, but it seems that it was Yiddish that coined
it.  By the way, I believe that the word "yortsayt" is in use among
Moroccan Jews!

3. On pareve: though it may be true (I have not checked this) that the
Israel Academy of the Hebrew Language offers "stami" as a Hebrew
substitute for pareve, the only time I have seen this unsucessful word
anywhere in Israel in 28 years here is on certain pots in kibbutzim of
the Poel Hamizrahi.  Certainly not on the labels of supervised foods...
Probably it would be much better to admit: pareve has become a Hebrew
word derived from Yiddish, just as there are very many words in Yiddish
derived from Hebrew.  In MH, when the Rabbis wanted to say pareve, the
used a paradigmatic case: fish, as in the famous: dagim she`alu

4. The influence of Yiddish on Israeli Hebrew--on every phase of syntax
and semantics--is extremely profound.  There are thousands of examples,
but I'll list two: The word for "chicken" (meaning the dish served on
shabbat or at weddings, most usually roasted chicken) in Israeli Hebrew
is `of, though this word in Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew is a general
word for all fowl, kosher or not.  It is in Yiddish that the word oyf,
oyfes--though derived from Hebrew--has the narrower extension.  The word
"kevar" in Israeli Hebrew has become equivalent to Yiddish "shoyn", so
that whereas in MH kevar refers to something done in the past, in
Israeli Hebrew it can refer to something not yet done, as in "ani kevar
ba."  (When an Israeli tells you that, you can expect to wait a half
hour.)  Something similar has happened in "Brooklyn English" to the word
'already' which has been identified with the Yiddish word shoyn, but in
the U.S. this use of "already" has been labeled by the OED as a
"non-standard idiomatic use" in "Yiddish influenced speech" to denote
"emphasis, exasperation...; frequently 'now' as "Enough, already."
Another example given is "Give me the watermelon already," from D.
Greenburg's How to Be a Jewish Mother.

5. The dual derivation of Yiddish words from Hebrew/Aramaic on the one
hand, and Medieval German on the other (also the Slavic Languages, and,
in Jerusalem, Arabic), allows distinctions pertaining to Jewish/halakhic

	(a) seform/bikhlakh--both mean books, but only the first means
sacred books. The second is a disparaging diminutive meaning nonkosher
books.  I'm not aware of such a distinction in Hebrew, where you have to
say "sifrei kodesh" to make this distinction.  The Mishnah speaks of
"gilyonot", probably referring to the Gospels, but I am not sure that
this, like the abovementioned "dagim," is a paradigmatic example.
	(b) niftr/geshtorbn--the first refers to righteous Jews
specifically.  This distinction probably exists at least incipiently in
MH.  Another kind of distinction that doesn't exist in Hebrew is:
	(c) gut shabbes/a gutn shabbes The first is said as a greeting
and the second as a good-bye wish that the interlocutor should HAVE a
good shabbes.  The first, therefore, can be said only on shabbes; the
latter can be said on Thursday as a farewell to someone whom we won't
see on shabbes.  This distinction may even have halakhic significance
since R. Akiba Eger (to O.H. 271) is said to hold that "gut shabbes"
counts as fulfillment of the Biblical commandment of "lekadsho",
i.e. kiddush hayom.  I doubt that "a gutn shabbers" would so count,
since it could be said before shabbes as well.  In Israeli Hebrew
"shabbat shalom" translates both "gut shabbes" and "a gutn shabbes."

6.  On the Yiddish word loshn (=MH "lashon"), my brother pointed out to
me that MH lashon hara` need not be semikhut, since the word lashon in
MH suffered a gender shift and is masculine.  I had thought that the
verse "netzor leshonekha mera`" indicates that the word ra` in lashon
hara` is a noun.  In any case this also shows that Yiddish reflects
MH--but I can also change the example to "loshn koydesh" which is a
perfectlly grammatical expression in MH, where lashon can also be the
semikhut form of lashon.

7. Weinreich pointed out in an old article on Hebrew words in Yiddish
that even after German Jews stopped speaking (Western) Yiddish, they
preserved the Hebrew element in Yiddish in their daily speech, updating
only the German derived part of their speech to Modern German.  In some
cases they did this to create a Jewish code which Gentiles could not
understand.  In any case, "Yekkes" in referring to "counting the `omer"
say "aumern" a Yiddish word derived from Hebrew, while we Galitzyaners
say "tseyln sfire."  (The connection between aumern and cheesecake on
shavuot among the German Jews is that if you don't do the first, you
don't get the second.  Keyn khokmes nisht.  Khokhmes is, by the way,
part of the German Jewish vocabulary.)

[From a second submission. Mod.]

In thinking further about the Israeli neologism "stami," to replace the
Yiddish word "pareve," I suddenly realized that there is a great irony
here.  The Israeli word "stam" itself is actually a Yiddish word.  And
though of course the word derives from MH and Aramaic, the relevant
meaning (there are others, esp. "closed") there is "unspecified", where
as in Yiddish it means "ordinary, undistinguished".  Roughly speaking we
have a shift from the gavra to the heftza (ad hominem to ad rem).  The
term stami utilizes the Yiddish meaning of the term, so why not just say

From: <md.stern@...> (Martin Stern)
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 15:23:05 +0100
Subject: Re: Yiddish

Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> wrote:
>> Ben Z. Katz, M.D. stated the following:
>> 3. It is surprising that there is no Hebrew or Aramaic word for the
>> concept of pareve, a point I DO remember Dr. Steiner making in the past.

> There is a word, stami (from stam), but it is Modern Hebrew.

The fact that this word is modern Hebrew, in reality a back-formation
from parve, backs Ben's claim that it is surprisingly absent from
classical sources. Such modern coinages are essentially irrelevant to
linguistic considerations.

Martin Stern


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 15:50:35 +0100
Subject: Yiddish with Hebrew/German Roots

Sholom Parnes wrote:

> Further to Mark Steiner's post about Yiddishisms with Hebrew roots;

> I once heard that the Yiddish term "fahr-hiyert" meaning married (for
> females) is actually a corruption of "Harai Aht...."  mikudeshet li.

> So when one asks, is she "fahr-hiyert" ? , one is asking if she has
> gone through the Kiddushin ceremony.

> I have no idea if this is etymogically true. Comments ?

The Yiddish heyratn (to get married) and farheyret (married) are cognate
to German heiraten/verheiret.

Any connection to "harei at" is in the mind.

Perets Mett

From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 08:02:11 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Yiddish with Hebrew/German Roots

The German word for "to marry" is "heiraten".  "Married" would be
"verheiratet" -- pronounced roughly as "fahr-hiyeratet" (the German `v'
is pronounced like English `f', the `ei' is pronounced like the English
word "eye").

German has many diverse and strong regional dialects, so it would not
surprise me if some of them actually used "fahr-hiyert" insteat of

In any case, since Yiddish grew out of from medieval German, it seems to
me more likely that the word is of Germanic origen.

Frank Silbermann	New Orleans, Louisiana		<fs@...>

From: <md.stern@...> (Martin Stern)
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 15:08:23 +0100
Subject: Re: Yiddish with Hebrew/German Roots

With all due respect to Sholom, this folk-etymology is not correct.  The
Yiddish word 'fahr-hiyert' is almost identical, apart from spelling, to
the equivalent German word 'verheirartet' which means 'married' and is
certainly not of Hebrew origin.

Martin Stern

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2005 15:00:12 -0400
Subject: RE: Yiddish with Hebrew/German Roots

Sorry but this is certainly from the German word for "married":
verheiratet (the German "v" is pronounced as an "f")--but a good try

I am reminded of a dinner party long ago in which one of the guests
asked where the Yiddish word "shtadlan" came from. This is a word, now
only found in history books, which was used to describe those Zionists
who thought that a Jewish state could be achieved by appealing to the
various heads of governments. One of the guests pronounced very
confidently that it came from the Hebrew "l'hishtadel", for those who
were willing to "try" anything. Of course it is just the German word
"staatlan", meaning "establishmentarian". But he spoke with such
assurance, he even convinced me for a moment, long enough so that the
conversation moved on to other matters and the correction was never
offered.  A good rule for seeking the etymology of any Yiddish word:
first check the German.  

b'shalom--Bernie R.

From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:06:06 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Yiddish with Hebrew/German Roots

I doubt it.  I think it corresponds directly to the German "verheiratet"
meaning married, from "heiraten" to marry.  And I'm told that comes from
the Gothic "heiwa" = household + "rad" = condition.

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel 
University of British Columbia            Vancouver, BC, Canada


End of Volume 48 Issue 53