Volume 50 Number 45
                    Produced: Wed Dec  7  4:49:06 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

lach vs. le'cha (3)
         [Mark Symons, Martin Stern, Arie]
Last 8 vs 12 verses of Torah
         [Aryeh Gielchinsky]
Rabbi's keeping hours
         [Carl Singer]
Rashbam (3)
         [Tal Benschar, Russell J Hendel, Avi Feldblum]
That's really the Friday night half-kaddish
         [Stephen Phillips]


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Tue, 06 Dec 2005 21:59:04 +1100
Subject: lach vs. le'cha

From: <Danmim@...>
> what criteria does the torah use for distinquishing between the
> vocalization of lach vs. le'cha?

As I understand it, the basic rule is that lach is either feminine, or
masculine pausal form - ie sof pasuk or etnachta, occasionally
zaqef-qaton; le'cha is masculine in all other cases.

Mark Symons

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 06 Dec 2005 11:33:50 +0000
Subject: Re: lach vs. le'cha

Lach is always used for the females and, for the males, in a pausal
position (etnachta or sof pasuk).

Martin Stern

From: <aliw@...> (Arie)
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2005 18:47:25 +0200
Subject: Re: lach vs. le'cha

as a rule, lach is feminine, lecha masculine. but at an etnachta, or a
sof pasuk, lecha will often become lach even in the masculine, and there
is use of poetic license as well, as in "chalila lach hashofet kol
haaretz" a few weeks ago, refering to Hashem.



From: Aryeh Gielchinsky <agielchinsky@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2005 14:38:42 -0500
Subject: RE: Last 8 vs 12 verses of Torah

>Furthermore the accusations which Rabbi Teitz made against me are
>simply not true.  I ***DID*** identify myself as the source of
>Ignorance. I did not attack Chazal on this section.

The following are quotes which I found disturbing.

From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>

> With this background I must attack RASHBAM on 3 grounds: a) He was
> INTELLECTUALLY wrong in assertng that the simple meaning of the text
> is EVER different from what Chazal (our Talmudic sages) said the text
> meant; b) he was MORALLY wrong....

Here Dr. Hendel has called Rashbam morally and intellectually wrong.
When Rishonim argue with other Rishonim they usually aren't that harsh,
and as Rishonim they have the knowledge and right to argue with their

From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
>I for one never understood this Talmudic statement and I regard IE as
>illuminating why the statement doesnt make sense.

There is a difference between saying "I never understood..." and "I
never understood ... the statement doesn't make sense". If one doesn't
understand Chazal it is because he doesn't understand them, not because
they don't make sense. If a lower level math student had told you "I
don't understand integration so therefore it is incorrect" you would be
upset that that student could not recognize the brilliance of calculus,
and even more upset that that student had the gale to declare calculus
incorrect based on his minimal understanding of math.

Aryeh Gielchinsky
President of the Yeshiva University Physics and Engineering Club, retired


From: <casinger@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 2005 06:26:30 -0500
Subject: Rabbi's keeping hours

A common complaint about "part time" Rabbis - -and in our community most
have daytime jobs iand are thus "part time" -- is their availability for
Shailehs.  Especially in a community of young marrieds, questions of
Nidah which are often very time sensitive (among other things) are
expected to be answered NOW.

So a part-time Rabbi who has spent, say 3 or 4 hours dealing with the
needs of another congregant BUT isn't available when Plony calls with a
shialeh is by definition "Never available when we need him!"

A sensible solution is to establish a specific time (say 1 specific hour
each evening) that he is available to deal with such matters.
Similarly, to set up specific hours eruv Pesach when he will deal with
Pesach related issues, etc.

Carl Singer


From: Tal Benschar <tbenschar@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2005 12:12:57 -0500
Subject: Re: Rashbam

> Someone recently cited the Rashbam as roughly stating "I simply give the
> simple meaning of the text which might deviate from the talmudic
> meaning.  But Talmudic law does hold."
> A famous line in a jewish musical states "If I bend back that far I
> break." I have recently defended Ibn Ezra. I also spend much time
> defending Rashi and have written articles defending Rambam. With this
> background I must attack RASHBAM on 3 grounds: a) He was INTELLECTUALLY
> wrong in assertng that the simple meaning of the text is EVER different
> from what Chazal (our Talmudic sages) said the text meant; b) he was
> MORALLY wrong (that is, he violated numerous Biblical prohibitions,
> listed below) to assert this (that is, what he did is not a point of
> view but wrong) and c) he seriously hurt Judaism and Jewish scholarship."

The problem with this whole line of thinking is that it presumes that
there is only one level of meaning in the text, and therefore one is
bound to Chazal's interpretation.  As I understand it, the phrase ein
mikra yotzei miydie peshuto means that there are multiple levels of
meaning in the text -- including peshat and derash.  The practical
halakha may well follow the derash, but the peshat may also have some
importance for a moral message.

For example, the famous "Eye for an Eye."  The Rambam in Moreh Nevukhim
states that this should be understood literally; the monetary payment is
a derash of Chazal.  Rather difficult Rambam, no?

But Rav Aharon Soloveichik, z"tl once explained it beautifully.  The
Rambam in Hilchos Nezikin brings down a derasha -- lo sikchu kofer le
nefesh rotzeach -- le nefesh rotzeach lo sikchu, aval le nefesh ha
mazika, sikchu.  The Torah forbids one to take "kofer" -- an expiation
payment -- for a murderer, but permits it for a tortfeasor.  This is the
basis of our system of monetary payments for physical injury.

The meaning, therefore, is that morally, a person SHOULD have his eye
put out (or tooth put out, or whatever).  A person was careless and
caused another person to lose his eye for life.  That is a serious
consequence, and the tortfeasor had better take it very seriously.  The
strict midas ha din would require the same to be done to the tortfeasor.

But the Torah permits monetary payment in lieu of this harsh penalty.  

(Rav Aharon also brought down a Yerushalmi, I believe, that state that
Midas ha Din said to take out the person's eye, but Midas ha Rachamim
said to let him pay damages.  This part I may not be citing correctly.)

The point is, the Torah has multiple levels of meaning, BOTH of which
are being conveyed by the same verse: (1) You were careless and caused
another to suffer bodily injury, and that should, strictly speaking
happen to you and (2) we will let you off by paying damages, which the
dayyanim are obligated to make you pay (i.e. Hilkhos Nezikin).

There are many Rashbams which can be understood this way.

From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2005 00:19:47 -0500
Subject: Re: Rashbam

First let me thank Benchar for asking a SPECIFIC question on this
Peshat-Derash issue. Such a question allows focus on issues and
continued dialog. I for one would like to encourage CONTINUATION of this
thread. At the very least Benchar has identified one focal point of
controversy: I **do** believe that there is one AND ONLY ONE unique
meaning to every Biblical verse. THere are no layers.

Rather then take the example given (EYE FOR EYE) I am taking the worst
Rashi I know on chumash: Ex13-17d Ex13-18c states that "...the Jews left
Egypt CHAMUSHIM." Now CHAMUSHIM ***does*** occur elsewhere in the Bible
and ALWAYS means ARMED. It would thus appear that at the very least a
reasonable interpretation is "..the Jews left ARMED..." Rashi however
states/cites that "...the Jews left fifth-ed" that is, CHAMUSH comes
from CHet-Mem-Shin(5) and indicates 1/5--so only 20% of the Jews left

This Rashi appears as a secondary forced homiletic meaning different
than the simple meaning of the text. But Rashi used a principle of
language well known in modern times that the meaning of 50% of all words
of an adult (roughly) are learned by CONTEXT not by dictionary. If I
tell a foreign friend in America that "I went to the supermarket and
bought gala, Mcintosh and DELICIOUS apples" then even if that person
NEVER heard DELICIOUS used as an apple type (but always meaning tasty)
he is fully justified FROM CONTEXT in inferring that DELICIOUS is an
apple type.

So too for Rashi....the previous verse has stated that the Jews were so
afraid of war that God didnt even want them to see the PHilistines.
Clearly then they were not armed. So context prohibits this
interpretation. Rashi like my foreign friend does NOT NEED PRECEDENTS
and does not care if ALL other occurrences of CHAMUSHIM means
ARMED. Rashi knows that CONTEXT overrides precedent and is justified,
ney, forced to interpret the word as meaning 1/5th=20%.

Note: I do not regard this text as corrupt and in need of midrashic
interpretation to clarify it. Rather Rashi is inferring from the text
that CHAMUSH ALREADY had a meaning of 20% but by coincidence there are
no other examples in the BIble.

Now let us return to the Peshat-Derash issue. The INTENDED MEANING of the
text is that the Jews were 1/5th when they left (Just as 1/3 of the Jews
survived Nazi Germany). It is not relevant to anybody to note that the
word CHAMUSH by itself means armed. No one cares about the meaning of
the word. We care about the intended meaning of the text.

Now I can reiterate several positions I have maintained: First: I **do**
believe there is only one INTENDED MEANING to this text andI call that
intended meaning the PESHAT. I dont regard the literal meaning of
CHAMUSH as a POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE or as even relevant to anything. I
dont see different layers in the text. I see one meaning.

Furthermore there is a vast difference between a commentator who says
CHAMUSH means 20% and one who says it means armed. The 20% commentator
is encouraging me to READ IN CONTEXT..to lookup other nearby verses
while the other commentator is not so encouraging me. Clearly then the
"20%" commentator is challenging my reading and learning ability
more. In this precise measurable sense I see the other commentator who
translates the verse as ARMED as depriving me of my full capacity to
develop my intellectual skills. I would not want such a commentary
printed in my Chumash. I would prefer to use the space for commentaries
that past this measurable test of continuously challenging my mind.

Enough said: I believe this example clearly shows some of the deep
issues in the INTENDED-HOMILY dialogue going on. As I indicated I would
really encourage furtherance of the thread. I for one have lots to say

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

From: Avi Feldblum <avi@...>
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2005 00:19:47 -0500
Subject: Re: Rashbam

I find a number of Russell's points above to be ones that I, for one,
cannot agree with. Based on how presented, I do not even know if there
is any room for discussion.

> I **do** believe that there is one AND ONLY ONE unique meaning to
> every Biblical verse. THere are no layers.

>From a purely theoretical point of view, this is an interesting concept
to contemplate. I find nothing theologicaly wrong with it, but I also
find nothing theologicaly wrong with the idea that even from an absolute
sense there may be more than one unique meaning to a Biblical verse.

The problem is when we go from the theoretical to the practical. If
Russel is correct above, only haShem knows what the ONE UNIQUE meaning
is. We here on earth have no way of determining that. We can study the
commentaries of the various reshonim and acharonim on the Torah, and we
may find one that resonates more with us than another. But I do not see
how one of us can have the audacity to say that reshon A is correct and
that reshon B is wrong. When one gets to the point that one feels
comfortable saying that reshon B's commentary is of such little value
that it should not even be printed in the Chumash with various other
commentaries, I do not see that there is value in continueing the

I personally think that the commentaries of the Rashbam as well as the
choice of commentaries that the Toras Chaim Chumash has chosen to put on
their page are ones that I appreciate having and studying. 

Avi Feldblum


From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2005 10:47:45 +0000
Subject: That's really the Friday night half-kaddish

> From: Baruch J. Schwartz <schwrtz@...>
> 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.

In our Shul (Kingsbury, London) on Yom Tov we use a different Nusach for
the end of Leyening to that of Ma'ariv. On Shabbos the same is used, but
that's because none of us (the Ba'alei HaBatim daven as we have no
Chazzan) know any better! :-)

Stephen Phillips


End of Volume 50 Issue 45