Volume 57 Number 70 
      Produced: Sun, 03 Jan 2010 10:16:29 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A grammatical query 
    [Martin Stern]
A liturgical conundrum 
    [Martin Stern]
An unfulfilled prophecy? 
    [Martin Stern]
GEN 3-12. Eve did poke Adam 
    [Russell J Hendel]
Prayer for Women Murdered by Their Spouses (2)
    [Yael Levine  Eitan Fiorino]
Rav Soloveitick Notes on Gemora Berochos from Moriah 
    [Joel Rich]
Spousal Abuse 
    [Russell J Hendel]
Whose siddur contains "shelo asani nachri"? 
    [Binyamin Lemkin]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 31,2009 at 07:01 AM
Subject: A grammatical query

There seem to be two forms of the third person plural suffix for plural
feminine nouns:

-oteihem (-oteihen in fem.) as in lemishpechoteihem (Gen. 8,19)

-otam (-otan in fem.) as in lemishpechotam (Gen. 10,5 et al)

Do they have any different nuances of meaning?

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Jan 2,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: A liturgical conundrum

Subject: A liturgical conundrum

Somebody asked me about the 'Keill erech apayim' said on Mondays and
Thursdays before taking out the Sefer Torah. Apparently he had a travelling
siddur which omitted it together with the order of reading the Torah,
presumably because this would not be possible while travelling. His question
was whether the 'Keill erech apayim' was really connected to it or not.

My researches so far have revealed that this short insertion is first
mentioned in the Machzor Vitry but I have been unable to find out much more.

Some suggest that it is a kind of addition to tachanun on those days like
the extended 'VeHu rachum' but this is difficult for two reasons:

(i)  it is said after the chatsi kaddish concluding tachanun,

(ii) it is only omitted (according to Minhag Ashkenaz) on the more
restricted set of dates when 'Lamnatsei'ach' is omitted and not on all days
when tachanun is not said.

The other possibility, that it is somehow connected to reading the Torah is
difficult to understand since there seems no obvious connection.

Can anyone throw any light on this liturgical conundrum?

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 31,2009 at 06:01 AM
Subject: An unfulfilled prophecy?

At the beginning of Vayechi (Gen. 48,6), Ya'akov says "Progeny born to you
after them (Ephraim and Menasheh) shall be yours; they will be included
under the name of their brothers with regard to their inheritance."

AFAIK Yoseph did not have any other sons. Can anyone shed light on this?

Martin Stern


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Fri, Jan 1,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: GEN 3-12. Eve did poke Adam

There have been many postings on Gen 3:12 which states that Eve gave Adam the
forbidden fruit and he ate. One commentary states the truth that "Eve poked him
with branches of fruit". One discussant suggested this as an example of spousal

A long discussion ensued discussing who is who in commentaries and follow up
questions (Why did Adam let himself be hit)

I have spent my life identifying the simple meaning of the Biblical text with
the exegetical meaning of the text when it is justified. I thought at this point
I should make a few points which have not yet been made. I emphasize my
conclusions beforehand.


Now for the principles by which I judge texts. First: I **never** ask WHO said
something but rather WHY they said it. Indeed there are clearly exegetical
comments in the Talmud which are said tongue and cheeck; there are clearly good
comments in modern day writings. You cant be sure something is correct based on
"who said it." True someone like Rashi gives the simple meaning 100% of the time
(perhaps another mj thread if someone doesn't believe it). Nothing productive is
accomplished by asking WHO said it and if they have enough stature. WE KNOW

Second: What are the exegetical principles. I have my lists. You can find 10
principles conveniently boxed in blue on my weekly rashi newsletter at
http://www.Rashiyomi.com/rule.htm. You can also find various peer reviewed
articles discussing midrash on my article list at

Third: I would advocate two principles here ALIGNMENT and NOUN REPETITION. Gen
3:12 states "Eve who you gave with me  gave me FROM THE TREE and I ate," while
Gen 3:6 states "Eve gave to her husband with her and he ate." Notice the capped
words FROM THE TREE. They are present in one verse but not the other. I call
that an ALIGNMENT because if you LINE up the two verses you can blatantly see
the inserted extra words. Differences in ALIGNED verses is one punchy method of
justifying Rashi. ALIGNMENT is frequently used in Jewish education (Chumash
teachers are taught to use it). I believe it was popularized by Dr Haramati
during the 90s. Because of these extra words we have an emphasis: she didn't
just give him fruit, she gave him FRUIT FROM THE TREE. The simplest explanation
is that she ripped  a small branch with fruit and teased him. "Adam you want
some fruit?" Adam: "No"...She then poked him lightly (Which is why he didnt hit
back) and said "Nothing will happen". This happened daily until he gave in This
type of teasing turned abuse by daily repetition is very common.

A second approach is to use Malbim's principle of REPEATED NOUNS. NOUNS should
never be repeated - rather the text should use pronouns. If the Biblical text
does not use pronouns then we should see the REPEATED NOUN as creating some type
of emphasis. With this in mind go back and read Gen 3: Aha! Gn03-06 repeats TREE
twice and Gn03-11:12 repeats tree twice. The second repetition in each case
could have been indicated by a pronoun. Hence the emphasis. (Notice the clarity
by which the repeated noun principle makes the exegetical comment a CLEARLY
implied NUANCE intended by the Author of the text)

Fourth: Someone has been waiting to tell me: "But the baal turim did not say
that...he said she HIT him." OK that is my fourth principle. I learned this from
Rabbi Haramati, my high school Bible teacher (who now gives two delightful
shiurs per week in Silver Spring!). Rabbi Haramati emphasized "Read the text
first and the commentary second!" Rabbi Haramati's point was that the commentary
is not an end in itself; it is a means to understanding the text.  So I have
explained the text above. I have used my own logic to suggest that the TEXTUAL
EMPHASIS indicated by FROM THE TREE refers to POKING (not hitting). So at this
point I NOW read the Baal Haturim. I find the word HITTING to strong and I amend
the Baal Haturim text. 

Some people are infuriated with me when I go against established commentaries.
But this is normal in learning (It almost never happens with Rambam and rarely
happens with Rashi but it happens more frequently with Radaq, Ibn Ezra, and baal
Haturim). All I ask people to do is to read my above arguments. I can support
them from other biblical texts. For example the classical case of male spousal
abuse is Samson and Delilah. Notice the explicit biblical text Judges 16:15-16
"...how can you tell me you love me and not do this....and so it happened when
she TEASED him for MANY DAYS".... This **is** the way men become abused....(as
taught by a professional!).

I have said enough. I believe my arguments are cogent and logical. I simply
refuse to answer anyone who ONLY brings arguments of authority (But I am happy
to continue the thread)

I would like to thank the person who brought this. It is the true simple meaning
of the text. And it does shed light on how physical abuse can happen in a marriage.

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d. A.S.A.;http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Yael Levine <ylevine@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 31,2009 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Prayer for Women Murdered by Their Spouses

Ira L. Jacobson objects to the fact that I referred to him by his last name, and
claims that he has never seem this. Contrary to what he wrote, this is totally
accepted in writing and in publications, and is not at all derogatory.

Ira further wrote: 
> Other than this, Yael Levine seems not to have noticed my questions, 
> although I have repeated them twice.

You again say that are not aware of
synagogues who recite the prayer. There are ways for you to research this. I'll
say in general terms that the prayer is recited in many dati leumi shuls
throughout Israel,  - obviously not in haredi shuls, and likewise it is
widespread abroad.

Contrary to what Orrin wrote, the author of the tefilla for Medinat Yisrael is
well known to all - Shai Agnon, perhaps with a small amount of editing by Chief
Rabbi Herzog. 

As I see it the topic is totally exhausted. 
Yael Levine

From: Eitan Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 31,2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Prayer for Women Murdered by Their Spouses

From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
> AFIK, the tefila for medinat yisrael, for tzahal, and for the 
> American army were all unattributed group efforts.

> Writing a Tefilah is a serious business. Part of reciting a 
> tefilah is invoking its author.

I do not seek to insert myself into this somewhat heated discussion, but I will
just comment on what appears to be an inconsistency in Orrin's posting.  First,
he makes the point that tefilot written for recitation betzibbur may be, or
commonly are, "unattributed group efforts."  Then he goes on to say that "part
of reciting a tefilah is invoking its author."

I find these comments difficult to resolve.  Unless you are saying that even
when we are reciting something composed by an anonymous group, we are
nevertheless "invoking its authors."  But I don't even really understand what
that means . . . Speaking for myself, as someone with a very active interest in
the historical development of tefila, I am interested in questions of authorship
from an academic perspective - who wrote this, in what place and historical
context, what zeitgeist informed the composition, what was the theological
agenda and what other agendas (historical, polemical, etc) can be discerned,
etc.  But when I am reading a text qua tefila (that is, when I am praying), I
find neither questions of authorship nor of the authors entering my mind.  Same
is true for prayers recited on behalf of the tzibbur.  The words may do a better
or worse job of capturing what I wish to express - but I never find myself
listening intently to the chazzan reciting the tefila leshlom hamedina and  at
the same time asking myself "who wrote this anyhow?"  (Regarding that question,
much ink has been spilled; Joseph Taboory has an article on it in Liturgy in the
Life of the Synagogue, a book edited by Ruth Langer and Steven Fine.  Of
tremendous relevance to this conversation is Jonathan Sarna's piece in the same
volume about the history of Hebrew prayers recited for the US government).

It seems to me that the various appendages that have been made to shabbat tefila
- and by these I mean various prayers, misheberachs, etc - all carry a
sociopolitical agenda that has nothing to do with statuatory prayer requirements
- this is true whether recited for cholim, for political figures, for
governments, for kings, for martyrs, for prisoners, for women who create
textiles for ritual use in the synagogue (recited in Italy reflecting a long
tradition of such activity), or, in this particular case, for women murdered by
their spouses.  In this context, for me at least, questions of authorship may be
particularly interesting from an academic perspective, but particularly
irrelevant from the prayer and tzibur perspective.  Other questions are much
more relevant - do I agree with the sentiments of this prayer?  Am I compatible
with a tzibbur that recites this prayer?  It could have been written by Hallmark
for all I care . . . Taking again a familiar example - some kehilot recite the
tefila leshlom hamedina; some don't.  Some people won't pray in a place in which
it is recited, and some won't pray in a place in which it is not recited.  None
of this has anything to do with authorship.

I have to add, just to satisfy my personal myth-busting agenda, that despite the
claims of the Or Zarua which begin with the Tosafist, paytan and crusdade
witness R. Ephraim of Bonn, unetana tokef was not composed Rabbi Amnon of Mainz;
there was no Rabbi Amnon who was martyred in early medieval Ashkenaz.  The text
of this prayer has been found in Cairo geniza documents that predate the period
in which the martyrdom of the imaginary Rabbi Amnon is said to have taken place.
 It is a Byzantine eretz yisrael composition, part of a much larger pituy, I
believe written by Yanai.  Exactly how this story got associated with this
fragment of a lrger piyut I do not know.



From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 31,2009 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Rav Soloveitick Notes on Gemora Berochos from Moriah

There are also many excellent English shiurum of R. Soloveitchik there as well
as at http://www.ericlevy.com/Recordings/Recordings.htm. In particular,
IMHO, if you only listen to one audio Shiur in your entire life, this should be
it.  I can still remember listening to it for the first time and realizing that
I was in the presence of an intellect that dwarfed my own (not really that much
of a challenge, I suppose) and a master communicator.

Joel Rich


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Fri, Jan 1,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Spousal Abuse

Two Rabbis are busy discussing on mail jewish a PARTICULAR tragic case of male
agunim. I would like to suggest that the Rabbinate has failed (independent of
any particular story).

I first give an analogy from mathematics. In 1986 mathematicians had the famous
"Tulane" conference on Calculus. The argument presented there was the
following:"If the national passing / failure rate of Calculus is 50% then the
problem can't be the poor student preparation...if the failure rate is that big
the problem lies with us the teachers....we must change our method of teaching
to remedy the high failure rate." In the past 25 years numerous attempts have
been made to provide totally different approaches to teaching calculus.

The analogy is the following: If we have the type of cases that Jeanette
Friedman mentions (and we do) then the Rabbinate has failed. Jeanette clearly
states the problem in her posting: She went to a typical high school and took
typical courses and was never prepared for the things that people dont talk about! 

It is TOTALLY irrelevant to me whether the Rabbinate executes all divorces
properly. Big deal! What about the cases that dont come too court. What about
the cases that end in murder. What about the cases that come too court only
after severe abuse.

 Here is one story (Told before (by me) on mail jewish): I know a young woman
who asked for a divorce after 6 weeks of marriage. Rav Moshe told her she had to
give the marriage more of a try. He changed his mind when she fainted (My point
here is that I dont care if the divorce was properly given....who gave Rav Moshe
the right to wait till a woman faints to give her a divorce) AND I dont want to
be told that I dont know all the facts of the case. The women who fainted in his
office told me the story personally. Women should have a right to ask for
divorce in dignity and obtain it.

There are numerous problems that can be addressed including: a) simple
techniques to avoid abusive situations in many (not all) marriages b) providing
jobs for women so that they can leave a marriage with dignity c) creating
hotlines for abusive couples (This is done in my city) as is #a above), d)
pulpit speeches and highschool classes on these things e) improved
chathan/kallah classes that discuss things besides family purity.

I could go on. All I can say is that the Rabbinate like the mathematicians
should realize with the agunah/agunim/divorce rate that high the problem is no
longer in "society" in "non jews" or in "lack of faith of Jews." The problem
lies in the Rabbinate itself. They are not doing their job. 

I am publicly requesting (as a follow up to Jeanettes posting) that the  Rabbis
discussing these agunah cases exhibit some humility and acknowledge that there
are things that should be done but are not and the Rabbinate must take  part of
the responsibility for what is going on today.

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d. A.S.A. http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Binyamin Lemkin <lemkin@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 31,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Whose siddur contains "shelo asani nachri"?

I know that there was at least one siddur which contained this
nusach-anybody know which siddur or sidurim this was?

Binyamin Lemkin


End of Volume 57 Issue 70