Volume 52 Number 38
                    Produced: Wed Jul  5  5:49:25 EDT 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Claims about AgriProcessors
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
A Conceptual Approach to study of Bible (Was Ashtei Asar)
         [Russell J Hendel]
Dagesh and Trop (4)
         [Orrin Tilevitz, Russell J Hendel, Michael Poppers, Russell J
My New Sefer
         [Rabbi Ari Enkin]
New Online: Learn Hebrew - with audio and transliterations
         [Jacob Richman]
         [Robert Israel]
PETA letter to Arafat
         [Leah S. Gordon]


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 11:04:22 -0400
Subject: Re: Claims about AgriProcessors

> From: N Miller <nm1921@...>
> Let me pose an additional question.  How does it happen that questions
> of ritual and ritual variations should be of such stupendous importance
> that they crowd out any discussion at all of such matters as the charge
> of unfair labor practices at AgriProcessors in Postville, Iowa?

Since the issue has been raised, I refer you to Nathan Lewin's article
in the Jewish Press (though I typically take the Jewish Press with a
grain of salt, Nathan Lewin is a very well-respected attorney):


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


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 22:29:56 -0400
Subject: A Conceptual Approach to study of Bible (Was Ashtei Asar)

In v31n52 a long discussion is presented on the difference between 2
Biblical terms for 11: Achad Asar vs Asthey Asar. The APPROACH used is
a) there is no difference in meaning b) a comparison to other languages
where remnants of old ways of talking about numbers exist

My APPROACH to Biblical questions (Following such people as Chazal who
used BINYAN AV, Inductive Generalization) and Rav Hirsch is to view
Biblical phenomena as similar to real world phenomena which should be
studied in a SCIENTIFIC fashion in order to find patterns.

It is sometimes amazing how easy these patterns are to find. WE DONT

Upon looking up 11 I found 2 references to Achad Asar (11 children of
Yaakov and 11 day Journey Gn32-23 Dt01-02) and 6 references to Asthay
Asar (Nu07-72 Nu29-20 1C12-13 1C24-12 1C25-18 1C27-14) which deal with
the enumeration of the gifts of the 12 princes, the enumeration of the
descending sequence of the succoth sacrifices and the enumeration of
various Levite functions in the TEmple.

Bingo...it stares us in the face....ASTHAY ASAR is used on occasions of
going thru a list 1st, 2nd 3rd....11th then 11th is asthay asar. If you
are simply stating a number without an enumeration use Achad asar. This
is similar (but not identical) to cardinal vs ordinal numbers.

As I indicated...I dont think the issue is explaining this particular
phenomena. I think the issue is our ATTITUDE and APPROACH to Biblical

Comments? Discussion? Agreement? Dissent? Please continue the thread.

ALso...you do NOT need several hundred dollars to purchase the Bar ilon
cd rom You can download a free search engine on Tanakh, Talmud, Rambam
at http://www.mechon-mamre.org.

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


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 10:41:16 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Dagesh and Trop

Thank you to Mechy and Russell for clarifying that the presence or
absence of a meteg does not change how "chatzotzerot" is pronounced, and
thank you to to Russell for reassuring me that softening consonants to
conform with how I'm actually leyning would not be blasphemous.  I find
problematic some of the other things they say.

1.  Rabbi Breuer was trying to reconstruct the trop and vocalization of
the missing portions of the Aleppo Codex.  He does so by comparing four
other manuscripts (where he had them) and, where there are
discrepancies, he sides with the majority; he claims that when one does
this for portions of the Tanach for which we have the Aleppo Codex, his
method nearly always yields a text that conforms with the latter.
However, he says, for the placement of the meteg, he relied exclusively
on the Leningrad Codex.  So I still don't understand why there are
discrepancies between the Breuer Tanach and the Leningrad Codex in
regard to the meteg, but I guess it isn't worthwhile losing sleep over.

2.  Russell is correct that the Gemarra says something like "kol pesuka
de-lo paskei Moshe anan lo paskinan" (we don't break up any verse that
Moshe didn't).  It is not entirely clear what this means.  For one
thing, AFIK, the trop and the vowels, while perhaps classified as torat
moshe misinai, were not written down until 8th or 9th centuries CE.  For
another, I distinctly recall a Gemarra (in Megilla, perhaps?) implying
that Chazal's Torah had more verses than ours, and thus that some verses
were divided up differently.  (The passage in Yoma 24 - I think - about
the five places in the Torah, and maybe more according to Tosafot, where
we don't know how to pause in the middle, might be relevant to this
discussion as well.)  Unless Russell has some empirical evidence to the
contrary, it does not seem implausible that the minhag to read in pairs
the verses in Behaalotecha and Masei was handed down with the trop, the
equivalent of taam ha-elyon/taam hatachton.  (And while Russell's theory
about alleviating congregational boredom might work for Masei, I do not
see how it works for the much shorter passage in Behaalotecha.)

From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 22:35:27 -0400
Subject: Dagesh and Trop

To respond to Orrin who asked a question on what Mechy (not I) said: I
already stated the NOTATIONAL rules of METEG are NOT observed EVEN in
the Aleppo. We know from internal evidence that the Aleppians DID
PRONOUNCE as if there was a secondary accent. So I strongly disagree
that Breuer settled accent issues by counting codexes. I repeat what I
said last time (Would be happy to elaborate): Accents are determined
EITHER BY RULES or by CODEXES. What the later codexes do (Starting with
RVVH) is to NOTATIONALLY insert all ACCENTS. This is an innovation in
ACCENT not in PRONUNCIATION (I will be happy to slowly go over my
arguments again is anyone wants)

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

From: <MPoppers@...> (Michael Poppers)
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 00:14:11 -0400
Subject: Re: Dagesh and Trop

In mail-jewish Vol. 52 #28 Digest, RJH wrote:

> Next Orrin brings up the issue of "exotic cantillations" like the
> Shirah cantillation in journeys. First some halachah. Strict halahchah
> prohibits us from changing any pauses or end-verses that Moses did not
> change. So I for one would like to see this minhag of singing verses
> in pairs ended.

I assume Russel is referring to "kol pasuq d'lo pasaq Moshe," in which
case perhaps a better translation would be that we shouldn't "define"
what Moshe didn't "define." In any case, I don't understand his logical
leap from Talmudic and Rishonic discussions on reading verse fragments
(for detail on these discussions, see
http://www.chaburas.org/halfverse.html) to a custom which doesn't create
fragments but rather, at the most, treats a sof-pasuq like an esnachta.

Tangentially, the German reading custom for the masa'os groups most of
the verses in the first two parshiyos of P' Mas'ai into threes rather
than twos and doesn't use the same tune as is used for Shiras haYam.

> Why did this rule develop in the first place? Presumably people were
> talking during these aliyoth listing journeys because they are
> boring. So to counteract the boredom someone sang them unusually and
> paired them to get thru them quickly.

Knowing Russel's unique leining style, I suspect his listeners are never
bored. Maybe, according to this breathtaking rationale, all of us other
ba'alai qriyah should utilize special tunes more often :-).

All the best from
--Michael Poppers via RIM pager

From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 19:37:31 -0400
Subject: Dagesh and Trop

In response to Michael Poppers: My understanding that COMBINING two
verses into one is a violation of "All stops that Moses didnt do we
shouldnt do"

In regard to "Russell's way of leining"--I developed my way of leining
to curtail talking during leining

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


From: Rabbi Ari Enkin <rabbiari@...>
Date: 29 Jun 2006 03:20:06 -0700
Subject: My New Sefer

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To order a copy reply to this email.....

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  every reader with something of interest -truly a worthwhile
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  Dayan, Beit Din of America

Rabbi Ari Enkin
Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 21:56:46 +0200
Subject: New Online: Learn Hebrew - with audio and transliterations

Hi Everyone !

This week I launched a new website called:
Learn Hebrew 

Learn Hebrew is a free, on-line, educational resource to learn Hebrew
words. The flash site incorporates 46 topics, along with over 1,700
Hebrew words and phrases. Each Hebrew word is presented as an image with
nikud [vowels]. When you click on a word or phrase you can hear it
spoken. The high quality audio was created in a sound studio.

The site is multilingual. The menus, transliterations and translations
are in four languages: English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Both the student and the teacher will find the site easy to use and very
educational. As mentioned, the site is free to all.

Feedback is welcome.

Please forward this message to anyone that may be interested in learning
Hebrew. Thank you!

Have a good day,


From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 09:21:42 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: PETA

Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...> wrote:

> One question that arises is how to validate secular facts.  One is not
> to use anti semitic hate groups as a source for information.  The
> website Reb Gold quotes is for Peta, People for the Ethical Treatment of
> Animals.

> PETA is as anti Jewish as any organization can be.  An example of this
> was their response to the PLO using animals to deliver bombs to kill
> Jews.  They sent a letter to Arafat, not condemning the killing of Jews
> that was OK, but condemning the killing of the animal used to kill Jews.

I am not a fan of PETA, but this should be put into perspective.  PETA
as an organization is concerned with the welfare of animals, not of
people.  As far as this organization is concerned, any moral, political
or religious questions that do not have to do with the welfare of
animals are irrelevant.  So in the case mentioned above, PETA had no
opinions to express about the people being killed.  They wouldn't care
whether the target was Jews, Muslims or atheists - their concern was
about the animals.  Because of their lack of concern with issues not
having to do with the welfare of animals, many of their campaigns have
offended people, both Jews and non-Jews.  One might call them
"anti-human", but I don't see any way they can be considered

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


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 03:18:19 -0700
Subject: PETA letter to Arafat

I'm no great fan of PETA, but in response to the claim that:

>They sent a letter to Arafat, not condemning the killing of Jews
>that was OK, but condemning the killing of the animal used to kill Jews.

I would not characterize their letter that way.  They never said
"killing of Jews ... was OK".  Here is the text of the letter (from

"February 3, 2003

"Yasser Arafat, President
Palestinian National Authority
Ramallah, West Bank
Palestinian Authority

"1 page via facsimile: 972 7 282 2365

"Your Excellency:

"I am writing from an organization dedicated to fighting animal abuse
around the world. We have received many calls and letters from people
shocked at the bombing in Jerusalem on January 26 in which a donkey,
laden with explosives, was intentionally blown up.

"All nations behave abominably in many ways when they are fighting their
enemies, and animals are always caught in the crossfire. The U.S. Army
abandoned thousands of loyal service dogs in Vietnam. Al-Qaeda and the
British government have both used animals in hideously cruel biological
weaponry tests. We watched on television as stray cats in your own
compound fled as best they could from the Israeli bulldozers.

"Animals claim no nation. They are in perpetual involuntary servitude to
all humankind, and although they pose no threat and own no weapons,
human beings always win in the undeclared war against them. For animals,
there is no Geneva Convention and no peace treaty-just our mercy.

"If you have the opportunity, will you please add to your burdens my
request that you appeal to all those who listen to you to leave the
animals out of this conflict?

"We send you sincere wishes of peace.

"Very truly yours,

"Ingrid Newkirk
President, PETA"

   Now, if you want to be annoyed with PETA, consider their "Holocaust
on your plate" campaign.  However, they did use Jewish artists and give
reasonable credence to the actual Holocaust.  Their point is that
"animals are people too" and that is what rubs a lot of people the wrong
way.  (See http://www.peta.org/mc/NewsItem.asp?id=3021)

Supposedly PETA is not against kosher slaughter in particular (aside
from the fact that they are against all slaughter).

--Leah S. R. Gordon


End of Volume 52 Issue 38