Volume 63 Number 83 
      Produced: Sun, 29 Apr 18 04:14:23 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A punctuation problem (3)
    [Alex Heppenheimer  Elazar Teitz  Sammy Finkelman]
Egg Matzo 
    [Jack Gross]
Removing tefillin on Chol Hamoed 
    [Martin Stern]
Sifrei Torah 
    [Joel Rich]


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 26,2018 at 04:01 PM
Subject: A punctuation problem

Yaakov Shachter (MJ 63#82) wrote:

> Martin Stern wrote (MJ 63#81):

>> From his reply "Ve'achalti chatat hayom" (Vay.10:19) it is deduced 
>> that the chatat that was burned was the regular Rosh Chodesh one and 
>> not either of the two one-off dedication chata'ot brought only on that 
>> specific occasion, i.e. his words should be translated "How can I eat 
>> today's sin offering (the one brought because of the day rather than 
>> the inauguration ceremonies)?".

> This is not pshat, and it is obvious that it is not pshat, to anyone who has
> an elementary knowledge of Hebrew.  The heh in "hayyitav" is vocalized with a
> pattax, not a xataf pattax, and the yod has a dagesh xazaq, so it is obvious
> that the heh is the heh haydi`ah, not the heh hash'elah.
>"V'akhalti" is accented on the penultimate, not on the ultimate, so it is
> obvious that the verb is in the perfect tense ("I ate"), not the imperfect
> tense ("if I were to eat").
> The pshat of this verse is: I ate from the sin-offering, today, that which
> was pleasing in the eyes of the Lord -- i.e., the minimum amount required by
> halakha --  and burned everything else, because, considering the events that
> befell me today, I had no appetite for anything more. 

> Anything else is drash.

See Ibn Ezra's commentary on this verse. He had more than "an elementary
knowledge of Hebrew," and he does cite such an explanation in the name of "yesh
medakdekin [some grammarians]", but he then notes that it's unusual ("hi zarah")
to have the definite article before a future-tense verb, as this explanation
would require.

So he brings - as an explanation equally justifiable grammatically as pshat -
the explanation of Chazal ("hama'atikim"), that the hei here introduces a
question ("would it be pleasing...?"), and that "ve'achalti" is a conditional.
(For the first point, that the following letter has a dagesh, he grants that
it's also "zarah" but indeed it's far from the only such example in Tanach; see
Num. 13:19-20. For the second, he notes a similar form in Proverbs 30:9.)

Although it is true that "chatat" and "hayom" are separated syntactically, so
it's "the sin-offering today," not (as Martin argued) "today's sin-offering."

Kol tuv,

From: Elazar Teitz <emteitz@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 26,2018 at 07:01 PM
Subject: A punctuation problem

In response to Jay Shachter (MJ 63#82):

There were three chataot (sin offerings) brought that Rosh Chodesh Nissan: two
as part of the miluim (dedication ceremony) and one for Rosh Chodesh. It is
indeed a d'rasha using the words "chatas hayom" not as "a chatas today," but as
"the chatas of the day" (i.e., the one which was of a function of the date, not
of the occasion), albeit there is an indication from the pasuk itself that such
was the case, since it states that "*the* chatas-goat" was burned, rather than
"*a* chatas goat."  The use of the definite article certainly indicates that it
was a one-of-a-kind sacrifice, not one of a pair.

However, the "p'shat" of the verse offered by Dr. Shachter is even further
from its simple meaning.  He is correct that "v'aCHALti" is past tense,
though his understanding of what constitutes perfect tense is imperfect, to
say the least. ("I ate" is imperfect; the perfect is "I have eaten.")

However, the rest of his interpretation is a flight of fancy.  

(1) The pasuk states that Moshe thoroughly inquired (darosh darash) about the
fate of the goat, and "behold it was burned," after which he accosted the
kohanim to inquire why they had not eaten it.  Certainly, the obvious
interpretation is that it was completely burned, and not that some part of
it had been eaten.

(2) There is no minimum amount for the mitzva of eating sacrifices (other than
the korban Pesach); the mitzva is to eat all the meat that is not offered on
the mizbeiach, and so long as it is permissible to eat it, it may not be burned.
To accuse Aharon of violating the obligation to eat and the prohibition to burn,
merely because he lacked appetite, and then to state that such acts found
favor in Hashem's eyes, is to cast Aharon as a sinner and as presumptuous; it
would certainly not have found favor in the eyes of Moshe, as the pasuk says it

(3) To the best of my knowledge, a hei hay'dia is never followed by a verb in
past or future tense.   If it does mean "that which is pleasing in Hashem's
eyes," it should have read "katov b'einei Hashem," as we find in, e.g., Esther
8:8, and not "hayiytav."

(5) What is the meaning of "today' in Aharon's reply, if all he was saying is
that he did eat?  It would have sufficed to say "I ate the chatas;" the word
"today" is superfluous. 

(6) It casts Aharon as a sinner for having eaten sacrificial meat while an onan
(a mourner in the interval between death and burial of the relative being mourned).

Linguistically, too, the "p'shat" will not hold up.  "Yiytav" is future; it
cannot mean "that which is pleasing;" it means "will be pleasing." Actually,
although Dr. Shachter may not approve, "hayiytav" *is* interrogative. It may be
that this verb is an exception to the rule that the interrogative invariably has
a chataf patach rather than a full one, as witness "haheiteiv chara l'cha" in
Yona 4:9, which is another form of the same verb, and which lends itself to no
interpretation than as a question; it, too, has a full patach.   I doubt that
there is anyone knowledgeable who interprets "hayiytav" as anything other than a
question, from Onkelos in his translation two millennia ago to Mandelkern in his
concordance a century ago.

The simple p'shat of the verse is,  "After what befell me, had I eaten a chatas
today, would it find favor in Hashem's eyes?"  It is past (perfect) tense, the
word "today" is germane, and it shows Aharon as properly fulfilling the
obligation to refrain from eating sacrificial meat in his state of mourning.


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 27,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: A punctuation problem

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 63#81):

> From his reply "Ve'achalti chatat hayom" (Vay.10:19) it is deduced that the
> chatat that was burned was the regular Rosh Chodesh one and not either of
> the two one-off dedication chata'ot brought only on that specific occasion,
> i.e. his words should be translated "How can I eat today's sin offering (the
> one brought because of the day rather than the inauguration ceremonies)?".

I had this as an aliya the week after Pesach and I have trouble understanding
the whole inyan, although you wouldn't think it should be so hard. I am not sure
there is anybody who has this clear.

> There is one problem with this translation - the trop [punctuation] has a
> pashta on the word 'chatat' - and it is a disjunctive - implying that
> Aharon's words must be translated "How can I eat a sin offering (i.e. any sin
> offering) today?"
> Can anyone give an explanation of this?

I can say this: His question here involves something that's not correct. I don't
think the idea that we are talking about a regular Rosh Chodesh chatat is
deduced from those words nor are they translated that way.

The entire drush occupies just about the entirety of Zevachim 101 (both a and b)
and the deduction that it is the Rosh Chodesh sin offering doesn't come from
those words. It comes from the use of the heh haydi`ah in verse 17, which means
only one and from the idea that the purpose of the chatat is to bear the
iniquity of the congregation.

There's a problem with that too, as the Silbermann/Rosenbaum point out in their
commentary on Rashi 10:17 note 1 page 42 (continued in appandix page 158). But
you can distinguish it from the Korban Ha'am by the fact it consisted of 3
animals, and the Korban Nachshon by saying it was a different atonement.

Now maybe you heard somewhere that this is based on the word "hayom". If so, it
would be the first hayom in verse 19, which is an isolating trop, and you might
notice there's a big pause there.

Yaakov Shachter wrote in response (MJ 63#82):

> The heh in "hayyitav" is vocalized with a pattax, not a xataf pattax, and the
> yod has a dagesh xazaq, so it is obvious that the heh is the heh haydi`ah,
> not the heh hash'elah.

That Aharon is making a statement and not asking a rhetorical question makes a
lot of sense; however everybody since the Rishonim (and maybe Onkelos too) seems
to translate it that as a question, for instance over here:


> "V'akhalti" is accented on the penultimate, not on the ultimate, so it is
> obvious that the verb is in the perfect tense ("I ate"), not the imperfect
> tense ("if I were to eat").

Rashi to "V'achalti" says "v'im achalti - and IF I ate it, which is the start of
a question and I think Onkelos is following the same idea. But the Gemorah in
Zevachim doesn't actually say this is a question.

There are some problematical things with the whole drush, which assumes
questions and answers, and with the idea that the mishkan was assembled and
disassembled for seven days before and that this took place on the first of
Nisan, but this seems to have become accepted by the time of the drush, but it
doesn't read those words as a question. That mistake came later.

I had understood it as Aharon saying 'would this be "Tov V'yashar" in the eyes
of Hashem', that is going beyond the din, and Moshe agreeing, but this is quite
different from the drush which has Aharon arguing he did right and Moshe
admitting Aharon was right (or justified) In the gemorah one idea is that maybe
it became posul because of the service being done by an onan, but that's not

I tried to check the Ramban, but evidently here he doesn't anything original to say:


The Rashbam says the korban in question is that of Aharon mentioned at 9:2
(which is also I think what Rabbi Hertz says). The Torah seems to give a blow by
blow account of all the korbanos leading up the actions of Nadav and Avihu,
and there's nothing to indicate something was offered after that.

I think the Rashbam doesn't even go along with this idea that this took place on
Rosh Chodesh Nisan.  But if it was the 8th of Nisan you'd still have the korban
of Gamliel ben Pedahzur. But it may make sense if the first of Nisan was the day
the Nesi'im brought carts and attempted to offer one very big korban. The 12
days may have started later - the 9th of Nisan or even later,


From: Jack Gross <jacobbgross@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 26,2018 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Egg Matzo

Menashe Elyashiv wrote (MJ 63#82):

> All matza ashera [sic] are non-mehadrin.


Stop and consider.  Kitniyot, while off the menu for Bnei Ashkenaz, are Kasher
for others -- Lammehadderin min hammehadderim.  Go tell the Bet Yaakov girls I
see selecting green-beans erev pesach that they are "non-mehadrin".  

Same applies to Matza Ashira, if the procedure ensures that it contains
absolutely no added water: Fine without restriction for other than Bnei Ashkenaz
-- Lammehadderin min hamehadderim; fine without qualms among Bnei Ashkenaz for
those who need it.  

The avoidance of Matza Ashira among Bnei Ashkenaz is a chumra, combining Rashi's
opinion that a dough containing both water and Mei Peirot may rise faster than
with water alone, with a fear that some water may inadvertently get mixed in. 
Even if one were to combine flour, water and Mei Peirot into a dough, so long as
it is kneaded normally and not allowed to stand before baking, no one holds it
is "hametz gamur".

And as far as I know, the term "Mehadderin" is nowhere to be found in Shulchan
Aruch, other than with regard to the Chanukka lights.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 26,2018 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Removing tefillin on Chol Hamoed

Immanuel Burton wrote (MJ 63#82):

> In response to Martin Stern (MJ 63#81):
> In summary, the Shulchan Aruch writes in Hilchos Tephillin in 25:13 that
> tephillin are removed before Musaf on Rosh Chodesh.    The reason that
> tephillin are taken off before Musaf is on account of the Kedushah in the
> repetition of the Musaf that starts with the words "Keser yitnu lecho", and it
> is inappropriate to say this while wearing the keser [crown] of tephillin.
> I'm not sure why this reason applies in those communities where this Kedushah
> is not said.
> The Rema notes that this is the also the procedure for Chol Ha'Moed but the
> reasoning on Chol Ha'moed is slightly different.
> One does not wear tephillin on Shabbos or Yom Tov because those days are
> considered to be an "os", a sign, and wearing tephillin, which are also called
> a 'sign', on those days would be tantamount to saying that the sign of Shabbos
> or Yom Tov is insufficient, which would be disrespectful of Shabbos or Yom
> Tov.  It now boils down to whether Chol Ha'moed is considered to be a sign.
> ...

Since those communities who say the Kedushah starting Keter yitnu lecha both
on Rosh Chodesh and Chol Ha'Moed, I don't understand why a different
reasoning is necessary. At most the second reason is additional but the
first still applies so tefillin should be taken off before Musaf anyway.

> Rabbeinu Asher explains (Mo'ed Katan 19a) that things that count as a sign are
> a cessation on Shabbos, by eating matza on Pesach, and dwelling in a
> tabernacle on Succos. According to this, Chol Ha'moed is not a sign, because
> the Torah does not require a cessation of work on those days.  The sign of
> matza applies only on the first day of Pesach, as that's the only time when
> one is obligated by the Torah to eat matza, whereas the sign of a tabernacle
> applies for the whole of Succos, as the Torah requires one to dwell in a
> tabernacle for the full seven days.  The tephillin are removed prior to the
> part of davenning which addresses the sign of the day, which is Hallel on
> Succos, but Musaf on Pesach.

I must query this last point that "the sign of the day, which is Hallel on
Succos" on two grounds:

1. We say Hallel on Chanukah but do not remove tefillin beforehand

2. The shatz only unwraps the retzuah from his hand and wraps it round his
wrist on Succos, as someone doing hagba'ah does on any day (to avoid tircha
detzibbura [inconveniencing the congregation]). This does suggest that the
origin of the current custom was that, on Chol Hamoed Succot, people were
afraid (possibly based on incorrect grounds, as Immanuel wrote) that the
retzuah [strap] might be a chatzitzah [interposition] between the hand and
the lulav.

> It does seem to be the case that everyone is agreement that on the first
> weekday day (outside EY) of Chol Ha'moed Pesach tephillin are kept on until
> after leining, as the Torah portion on that day is two of the sections
> contained within the tephillin - Kadeish and Vehaya ki yeviachah.
> ...
> So, the logic seems to be that on Chol Ha'Moed Pesach one keeps one's
> tephillin on until Musaf, but on Chol Ha'Moed Succos one takes them off before
> Hallel, and indeed this is my personal custom.

In view of the above observations, I am not sure that this logic is correct.
Perhaps it would be more correct to keeps one's tefillin on until Musaf on
Chol Ha'Moed Succot (possibly unwrapping the retzuah from one's hand) as on
Chol Ha'Moed Pesach

> I have yet to determine why the widespread custom seems to be to take them off
> on Pesach before Hallel other than on that day, but have come to recognise
> that just because something is logical doesn't mean that people are going
> to do it!

This last point is certainly correct since one person's concept of 'logic'
often varies from someone else's, as a result of the influence of incorrect

Martin Stern


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 27,2018 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Sifrei Torah

Can anyone point me to information concerning the history of the difference
between the physical element of Ashkenazi (atzei chaim) and Eidot Hamizrach
(containers) Sifrei Torah and the differences in the timing and physics of hagba
and glila ?

Joel Rich


End of Volume 63 Issue 83