Volume 48 Number 68
                    Produced: Mon Jun 27  5:38:06 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

EY vs WY language development
         [Phillip Minden]
Lashon/leshon - Correction
         [Mark Steiner]
Mishnaic Hebrew (7)
         [Martin Stern, Mike Gerver, Ira L. Jacobson, Mark Steiner, Ira
L. Jacobson, Phillip Minden, Phillip Minden]
Origin of the Word Daven (3)
         [Martin Stern, Y. Askotzky, Russell J Hendel]
Sources for stress shift
         [Mark Steiner]
Vayvorekh Dovid
         [Perets Mett]
Yiddish etymology
         [Bernard Raab]


From: Phillip Minden <phminden@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 08:42:09 +0200
Subject: EY vs WY language development

Martin Stern pointed to some interesting peculiarities of Yiddish:
> For example the EY 'davennen', under current discussion in m-j, was  
> replaced by 'oren' in WY

I know we had that before, and Martin probably was speaking
metonymically, but to avoid a common misconception: 'Oren' was replaced
by 'davenen', not the other way around, as show the older sources.

> a 'siddur' was called a 'tefilloh'

(Tefille, tfille or pfille, actually, not tefilloh.)

> and 'challah' was called 'baerches' or 'tatche', derived from words in  
> the pasuk 'birkhas HaShem ta'ashir'.

This is one popular of several proposed etymologies for
'berches/barches' and 'taatsher', resp.

ELPh Minden


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 17:12:03 +0300
Subject: Lashon/leshon - Correction

        I hypothesized that the expression lashon (not leshon) hakodesh
is good Mishnaic Hebrew.  Upon further research, I see this is wrong, or
at least unsupported, because the expression leshon hakodesh appears a
number of times in Mishnah Sotah.  We therefore have to adopt my
brother's suggestion that lashon hara` (and Yiddish loshn hore) is NOT
semikhut, but a gender shift from feminine to masculine as we move to

        I stand by the posting on bri'ah ---> biryah --> (Yid.) berye as
we move from BH to MH to Yiddish.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 21:59:01 +0100
Subject: Re: Mishnaic Hebrew

on 26/6/05 9:42 pm, Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> wrote:
> This is why Israelis don't know whether to say "kruv memula"
> or "kruv memuleh"; the first is BH, the second MH.  They also
> made up a phony distinction between karu' "invited" and karuy
> "called."
> There is nothing "phony" here.  Language develops.

This last phrase 'Language develops' implies a value judgement that the
later form is an improvement on the earlier one though I don't suppose
Ira meant it as such. Perhaps it would have been better to have written
'Languages change in time'.

Martin Stern

From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 17:14:07 EDT
Subject: Mishnaic Hebrew

Mark Steiner, discussing the influence of Biblical Hebrew and Mishnaic
Hebrew on modern Israeli Hebrew, says, in v48n65,

      Israeli Hebrew simply dumped both "layers" onto the speakers, who
      don't realize that they are speaking two dialects of the same
      language.  (I would not call this a "development.") This motivates
      them to search for an imaginary distinction between equivalents.

This sort of thing often happens in languages that inherit words from
closely related languages or dialects. When the Danes invaded England,
Danish and Anglo-Saxon (Old English) were still closely enough related
so that they were somewhat mutually intelligible, and many Danish words
came into English when the related Anglo-Saxon word was also being used,
for example "skirt" and "shirt." Their meanings, which may have been
identical originally, were forced to move apart, so that people could
make sense of the fact that there were two different words.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 21:23:50 +0300
Subject: RE: Mishnaic Hebrew

At 13:57 24-06-05 +0300, Mark Steiner stated the following:

              Why look at dictionaries, when we can look right at the
      thing itself: e.g., Mishnah Kelim 24:17 in the vocalized Kaufmann
      Codex, for example, has biryah as the singular, as the word kiryah
      in BH.  The vocalization in this manuscript is highly respected by

I note that this codex does indeed have birya, as Mark states, but it
has a double yod.  Thanks to Mark for pointing this out.

The other mishna in which the word birya or beriya appears, Bikkurim
4:5, is not present in the Kaufmann Codex at the Hebrew National Library
site, at least as well as I can determine.  So what we are left with is
a single instance of the word in the entire Mishna.  I personally have
trouble with samples of this size, but I suppose that is my problem.

Regarding the question of why refer to dictionaries, I hope to deal with
that another time b"n.

IRA L. JACOBSON         

From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 23:39:06 +0300
Subject: RE: Mishnaic Hebrew

I actually have the Kaufmann Bikkurim in my house in old-fashioned book
form (a facsimile edition of course), and it is biryah there too.  The
double yod is standard for consonantal yod in MH orthography.  The
double yod also causes people to think that yasher koax is yeyasher or
yiyshar etc. as in BH.

From: Ira L. Jacobson <iraeljay@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 09:07:43 +0300
Subject: Re: Mishnaic Hebrew

At 21:59 26-06-05 +0100, Martin Stern stated the following, initially
quoting my remark

      > There is nothing "phony" here.  Language develops.

      This last phrase 'Language develops' implies a value judgement
      that the later form is an improvement on the earlier one though I
      don't suppose Ira meant it as such. Perhaps it would have been
      better to have written 'Languages change in time'.

Perhaps.  I don't think that "develops" has any value judgment to it.
There are positive developments and negative developments, such as when
a benign tumor develops into a malignant one, lo aleinu.

But I do think that perhaps adding nuances to words to differentiate one
from another and to enrich the language is a positive development.

IRA L. JACOBSON         

From: Phillip Minden <phminden@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 08:50:28 +0200
Subject: Mishnaic Hebrew

Mark Steiner wrote:
> BH kri'ah = MH kiryah  (the "correct" pronunciation in Ashkenazic  
> pronunciation is "kiryas shema`", Mishnah Berakhot 2:6 in Kaufmann, not  
> BH kri'as shema`

Ever since I became aware of this, I wondered why we say 'krishme',
which is easily explained from 'kriyes shma', but less so from 'kiryes
shma'. As a rule, colloquial forms continue the state before it was
artificially biblicised. Maybe this is simply an exception.

ELPh Minden

From: Phillip Minden <phminden@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 08:52:47 +0200
Subject: Mishnaic Hebrew

Mark Steiner remarked:
> In historical time, BH evolved in MH

Not only that; MH might well be based on a different regional dialect of
Hebrew than BH.

Phillip Minden


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 22:12:42 +0100
Subject: Re: Origin of the Word Daven

on 26/6/05 9:42 pm, Robert Schoenfeld <frank_james@...> wrote:

> There is a forth source for Yiddish words in addition to Hebrew, German,
> and Slavic and that is Northern Rustic Latin Daven is one of those that
> came from Latin. 

This is essentially old French as used by Rashi in his loazim.

Incidentally, the nusach hatephillah used in North and East Germany and
the Slav areas to its east usually called Minhag Ashkenaz, but known as
Minhag Polen in Germany to distinguish it from that current in South and
West Germany known there as Minhag Ashkenaz, has many similarities to
the old North French minhag. This might suggest that these communities
were established predominantly by refugees from the 14th century
expulsions from France, unlike those of the Rhineland which preserved a
slightly different tradition. This might also be the reason that such
Romance words as daven were incorporated into Eastern Yiddish.

Martin Stern

From: Y. Askotzky <sofer@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 00:07:03 +0200
Subject: Origin of the Word Daven

I heard in my youth from someone who heard from Rav Michel Twerski that
the word daven comes from the Aramaic word, D'avuhon, from our fathers.

kol tuv,
Yerachmiel Askotzky

From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 21:43:59 -0400
Subject: RE: Origin of the Word Daven

I heard this from Rabbi Steinsaltz who spoke in Baltimore a year ago:
- Daven comes from the word DAF (Page)
- The davener PAGES thru the Siddur
(Rabbi Steinsalts point was that we should emphasize what we have in
our heart vs how many pages we have davened)

In passing there is a beautiful midrash (OK They are all beautiful) on
VETHCHANAN listing the 10 words meaning prayer. Rashi's point is that
prayer is not a single entity but rather a collection of entities that
have in common dialogue adn request from God

Russell Jay Hendel;http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 09:10:24 +0300
Subject: Sources for stress shift

I am told by a reliable source that the famous linguist, Prof. Kutscher,
held that the stress shift in Hebrew occurred in the ancient period.  I
also heard from another linguist that he believes this too, perhaps on
the basis of Kutscher, perhaps independently.  I am not at liberty to
disclose names.  If I get written sources, I will pass them on.


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 18:29:06 +0100
Subject: Vayvorekh Dovid

A correspondent wrote:

      and in
      vayyevarekh david

Does that imply a dogesh in the yud? I am not familiar with an edition
of Divrei Hayomim which has such a dogesh. The 'usual' rule is that
after a pasekh-vov or pasekh-hei prefix an initial shvo-yud does not
take a dogesh.

Hence "vay- vorekh dovid"

Perets Mett


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2005 17:51:47 -0400
Subject: Yiddish etymology

>From: N Miller <nmiller@...>
>Bernard Raab writes:
>  >It seems likely to me that the meaning you cite for 'shtadlones' is a
>  >corruption of the original meaning of "shtadlan" as someone who
>  >appeals to government power. Unless you have a Hebrew source for this
>  >word, I would still suspect the German origin is correct.
>Very well, here's the evidence so far:
>shtadlan is listed as a Hebrew word in Even-Shoshan, the Megiddo, and
>the Avinoam.  It is listed in the Niborski-Neuberg and Jacobson
>dictionaries of Yiddish words of Hebraic-Aramaic origin.  Finally, it is
>listed in Ernest Klein's magisterial etymological dictionary of Hebrew
>as follows:
>shtdln m.n. MH interceder, intermediator, pleader.  [Short for mshtdln
>or hshtdln, from hshtdl (=he strove , endeavored; he made an effort),
>Hith. of shdl.  For the ending see agential suff. _n. cp. shdln.]
>Derivatives: shtdlanut, shtdlni.

Yikes--what a revolting development! A pile of dictionaries actually
supporting my dinner companion's assertion that the word derives from
the Hebrew hshtdl, which I have been deriding (in my own mind) for so
many years! Nevertheless, how probable is it that that word became
associated with those whose efforts were directed toward government
powers exclusively, without the German root "staat" to guide it in that
direction. For example, the early pioneers from eastern Europe who
settled the "kibutzim" and "moshavim" were known as "chalutzim", not
"shtadlonim", no matter how much they strove, endeavored, etc.  And BTW,
yasher koach on a prodigious research effort!

>So much for Hebrew sources.  But it seems only fair to apply the same
>test to Bernard Raab's 'Staatlan'.  Alas, I look for it in my Duden and
>find it not.  I make inquiries and receive blank stares.

Yes, my ancient German dictionary from college days also does not
contain this variant. But of course it is far from the unabridged
version, and I get the blank stares as well. Yet the word was found in
history books of a certain era. Although the idea of German origin might
have been my own conceit, I am sure I would have remembered any
suggestion tied to the Hebrew hshtdl.

>So the matter comes down to this: it's perfectly possible that shtadlan
>is a gussied-up faux-Hebrew word that stems from Bernard Raab's
>non-existent or at best hypothetical German word.  Lexicographers are
>known to copy from one another, so one can't rule out that possibility.
>As the ancient Jewish joke went: it's the uncertainty of it all!

Or it was a neologism invented at the time to describe a species of
Zionist which no longer exists, and so neither does the word in its
original meaning...

b'shalom--Bernie R.


End of Volume 48 Issue 68