Volume 50 Number 43
                    Produced: Tue Dec  6  5:02:55 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Article about English and Hebrew Origins
         [David and Toby Curwin]
Chanukah on the J Site and 140 holiday links
         [Jacob Richman]
Hebrew "origins" of English words
         [Mark Steiner]
Hebrew source of English words
         [Jeffery Zucker]
lach vs. le'cha
Neits vs. Haneits
Og Melech HaBashan
The Term "homophobia" and Some Questions
         [Leah S. Gordon]
That's really the Friday night half-kaddish
         [Baruch J. Schwartz]


From: David and Toby Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 2005 08:04:59 +0200
Subject: Article about English and Hebrew Origins

This article, from this week's Forward, relates to the the issues being
discussed recently on Mail-Jewish about the origins of Hebrew and
English words:



From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Sun, 04 Dec 2005 20:59:33 +0200
Subject: Chanukah on the J Site and 140 holiday links

Hi Everyone!

Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is observed for eight days,
beginning on the evening of the 25th day of the Hebrew month of
Kislev. This year Chanukah starts at sundown, Sunday, December 25, 2005.
Chanukah is a wonderful holiday of renewed dedication, faith, hope and
spiritual light. It's a holiday that says: "Never lose hope." Chanukah
commemorates the victory of a small band of Maccabees over the pagan
Syrian-Greeks who ruled over Israel.

The J Site - Jewish Education and Entertainment 
has several entertaining features to celebrate Chanukah:

Jewish Trivia Quiz: Chanukah

What does the Hebrew word Chanukah mean ?
What type of foods do we specificaly eat on Chanukah ?
What activities are forbidden during Chanukah ?
Are woman obligated to light the menorah ?
How many candles do we need for all of Chanukah ?
Which family was Judah the Maccabee from ?
How many branches did the menorah in the temple have ?

The above questions are examples from the multiple choice Flash
quiz. There are two levels of questions, two timer settings.  Both kids
and adults will find it enjoyable.

Additional Chanukah resources and games on the J site include:
Free Chanukah Clipart (including New graphics added this week)
The Multilingual Hangman Game (English / Hebrew)
The Multilingual Word Search Game (English / Hebrew / Russian)
My Hebrew Songbook (Hebrew Song Lyrics)
My Jewish Coloring Book (online / offline)

The J site has something for everyone, but if that is not enough, I
posted on my website 140 links about Chanukah, from laws and customs to
games and recipes.  Site languages include English, Hebrew, Russian,
Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Italian.

All 140 links have been reviewed / checked this week.
The web address is:


Please forward this message to relatives and friends, so they may
benefit from these holiday resources.



From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2005 13:08:54 +0200
Subject: RE: Hebrew "origins" of English words

An interesting coincidence is the pair: bur in Mishnaic Hebrew, and boor
in English, which seem to mean exactly the same thing, yet the linguists
seem to deny a Hebrew influence, and derive boor from Boer.

Mark Steiner


From: Jeffery Zucker <zucker@...>
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 2005 10:36:05 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Hebrew source of English words

Bernie Raab wrote [referring to a posting by David Charlap on the
non-silence of the letter 'ayin']:

> Which also explains why "Yaakov" is pronounced "Yankov" in Yiddish,
> "Jahn" (pronounced "Yahn") in Dutch, "Johan" (pronounced "Yohan") in
> German , and "John" in English.  So many of the early Dutch settlers
> in America were named Jahn, Americans became known as Yankees, which
> is the equivalent of the Yiddish "Yankel", the diminutive of "Yankov".
> Thus "Yaakov" is the quitessential American name, whose English
> version can be either Jacob or John, which incidentally explains why a
> coomon nickname for John is "Jack", a variation of "Jake".

This is not quite accurate.  The name "John" derives not from "Yaakov",
but from "Yochanan".  To discuss these two names and their derivatives
in more detail:

(1) YOCHANAN: In the Latin Vulgate Bible it becomes "Iohannes", and
thereafter: in Italian "Giovanni", in French "Jehan" or "Jean", in
Spanish "Juan", in German or Dutch "Johan(nes)" or "Jan", in English

(2) YAAKOV: In the Vulgate "Iacobus"; in It. "Giacopo" or "Giacomo",
Fr. "Jacques", Sp. "Jaime" [or "Diego"!], Ger./Du. "Jacob(us)",
Eng. "James" (as well as "Jacob").

(In British history, the Jacobite Rebellion refers to the rebellion of
the followers of King James VII.  Jacobean furniture refers to the
English style current in the reigns of James I and II.)

Interestingly, the English name "Jack" (unlike Jake) is a familiar
by-form of "John" (apparently from the Old English diminutive "Jankin"),
although some claim it (also?) derives from the Fr. "Jacques".



From: <Danmim@...>
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 2005 10:49:17 EST
Subject: Re: lach vs. le'cha

what criteria does the torah use for  distinquishing between the
vocalization of

lach vs. le'cha?                                                                


From: <ISSARM@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2005 19:35:06 EST
Subject: Neits vs. Haneits

In Volume 50 Number 40, Martin Stern <md.stern@...> writes:

> By the way, neits is the name of a non-kosher bird, usually translated
> as hawk or falcon, which was the symbol of the Egyptian sun-god. So
> talking about neits hachammah might be bordering on acknowledging an
> avodah zarah."

I always assumed that sunrise is referred to a the naitz for the same
reason it is also referred to as z'richah.  Both terms refer to spreading
or shooting out as do the sun's rays at sunrise.  Probably the tail
feathers or the like of the naitz bird resembles that as well ergo the
Egyptian idol.  But the word naitz haChamah remains unscathed.


From: <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 2005 18:17:49 -0800
Subject: Re:  Og Melech HaBashan

> I don't know of any record for Og's age at death, but it should be
> easy to figure out: The mabul was in the year 1656, Og was killed in
> the final year of Am Yisrael's wandering in the desert, which was
> 2488, which is 832 years later. As Og was the last of the "Nephillim",
> which are mentioned at the end of Parshat Noach, we should predate
> Og's birth by at least 100 years to the Mabul, (the age of Shem at the
> time of the Mabul).
>  Thus he would have been at least 932 years old at the time he was
> killed, perhaps older, and could have exceeded Metushelach's life
> span.
> Was he "real"? I don't understand the question.

If one is going to insist on using the years mentioned, than questioning
the existence of one Og Melech HaBashan being the same being that was
with Noach and Moshe is completely legitimate. It is not at all the same
as questioning about the existance of Bilam or Avraham, though it could
probably be close to questioning as to when Bilam and Avraham lived.
Among those who do not accept the years given in the first paragraph is
the RAMBAM (see the introduction to how Avoda Zorah started and the
discussion of Avraham and also how the Migdal fits in)


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Sat, 03 Dec 2005 19:44:26 -0800
Subject: The Term "homophobia" and Some Questions

Andy Goldfinger writes:

> the dictionary meaning of the word, but the term is clearly perjorative
> in tone.  It conveys the impression that the "homophobe" has some sort
> of defect, and has a definitely negative connotation.
> "Calling people such as myself (who do not discriminate against
> homosexuals, but definitely regard their sexual acts as morally wrong)
> by a perjorative name is an example of bigotry, pure and simple."
> ..

I respectfully disagree with Mr. Goldfinger.  Frankly, I think people
who regard other people's very selves as "wrong" when there is no
evidence of any "acts" and we're talking about things like
health-insurance-benefits (ala Starbucks) -- *deserve* to have negative
connotations attached to their views.  Yes, indeed, the "homophobe" has
a defect.  This defect is called the failure to give benefit-of-doubt to
one's fellow human beings.

This is an interesting new twist, to accuse me of 'bigotry' for calling
out actual bigotry!  How would you like it if you referred to a view as
'anti-semitic' and were accused of bigotry for using such a term?  It's
exactly equivalent.

"asaper" writes:

> We should in this forum avoid ever using the term 'homophobe.'"
> ..

I will await a decision from our moderator.  I think that the term is
useful and specific in meaning, as well as being necessary for very
relevant conversation.

"asaper" continues:

> The word trades falsely on the definition of the term "phobia" in
> clinical psychology, which is "an irrational fear or an obsessive
> dread."  ("Phobos" originally meant "panic" in Greek.)  As Wikipedia
> puts it, the term is part of "an attempt to disempower [opponents of
> homosexual conduct] by artificially medicalizing a legitimate point of
> view."  Homosexuals have come to employ the term to imply (without
> actually saying so) that there are no rational criticisms of
> homosexual conduct, and to slanderously imply that opposition to
> homosexual conduct is a medical illness."
> ..

This is unfortunately misleading.  First, in case anyone is unaware,
'Wikipedia' is freely edited by any and all comers, so on
"controversial" issues these definitions often toggle between various
extremist (inaccurate) definitions.

Furthermore, I find it very interesting to read the accusation of
"medicalizing" one's opponents.  Isn't that the very thing that errant
psychiatrists did for years to gay/lesbian people?  Anyway, I think I've
said it before on M.J - it makes about as much sense to go back to the
Greek "phobos" root and start pontificating, as it does to talk about
whether someone can be an 'anti-semite' if they don't hate other Semites
like Arabs.

But lest anyone think otherwise, I actually *do* think that "there are
no rational criticisms of homosexual conduct" as asapper correctly
accuses me.  I think there are only irrational criticisms, some of which
may be justified by religion, and some of which may be justified by my
own religion.  But they are not in any sense rational.  (Neither is
kashruth!)  But anyway, when someone starts saying that there are
"rational" reasons to disapprove of other people when so little is known
about those people - then I think there is definitely bigotry/fear going
on there.

As for:

> maintain, the term insults Jews who dispassionately follow the Torah,
> which not only bans homosexual conduct but calls it further 'an
> abomination,' and those of many religions who follow similar
> principles."  
> ..

I think we have discussed at length on this very list that such a
statement is a gross generalization and cannot be made as written above.
(Because of variation in gender, particular acts, meaning of
'abomination' etc.)

I'm not so sure that this meanness to gays is about "dispassionate"
following of the Torah...or else why not save some of that dispassionate
discrimination for people who violate other commandments?

I guess I'm asking people who disagree with me to answer clearly:

1. Do you have any reason aside from personal prejudice that you would
focus on gay/lesbian issues as being worth shouting about, instead of
any other "sin" that many more people violate (e.g. shabbat)?  And
including other "abominations"?

2. Do you think (and if so by what justification) that your personal
*religious* views ought to inform either State/Federal secular policy or
private corporations' positions?  And if so, have you lobbied for
e.g. only kosher (or at least no ever-min-ha-chai) food to be served in
school lunch programs?  And if not, what is the difference that you

3. If there's no "fear" of homosexuality, then what's with the major
objections that seem to be raised when other people you've never met
just want to live their own lives and mind their own business with their
choice of spouse?

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Baruch J. Schwartz <schwrtz@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2005 13:49:13 +0200
Subject: That's really the Friday night half-kaddish

Art Wertschulz (<agw@...>), in response to Deborah Wenger
(<debwenger@...>), asks whether she means the kaddish at:


or the one at


I think I can guess what's coming next.

I suspect (and I'll bet Art suspects this too, which is probably why he
asked) that she means the second one, but, as expert baalei tefillah
will probably attest, this melody for the half-kaddish properly belongs
to maariv on Friday night, preceding the amida, not to Shabbat morning
at all. It has been pointed out to me that this kaddish has only
recently begun to be sung on Shabbat morning, either after the leyning
or before musaf, or both (!), but only in North America--and even there,
not in shuls where the tzibbur is particular about nusah. To the best of
my knowledge, only the first of the two links above leads to the
authentic pre-musaf kaddish.

Comments from any other nusah freaks out there?

I'd be really happy if the same website (Virtual Cantor) had a rendition
of the pre-amida kaddish for maariv on yomtov (3 regalim), but alas,
this seems to be unknown to the cantor who developed this often very
helpful site.

Baruch Schwartz


End of Volume 50 Issue 43