Volume 65 Number 08 
      Produced: Thu, 21 Oct 21 12:16:37 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Dangerous Sukkos & Simchas Torah Frivolity (2)
    [Martin Stern  Sholom Parnes]
Hebrew Pronunciation (4)
    [Martin Stern  Haim Snyder  Irwin Weiss  Michael Frankel]
Selichot time 
    [Perry Zamek]
Teshuva gemura  
    [Joel Rich]
Visitors at a minyan 
    [Martin Stern]
Was Daryavesh II the son of Queen Esther? 
    [David Tzohar]
When can 'worms' be eaten? 
    [Yisrael Medad]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 17,2021 at 10:31 AM
Subject: Dangerous Sukkos & Simchas Torah Frivolity

Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 65#07):

> ...
> I once served as shaliah zibbur (prayer leader) for Simhat Torah musaf when
> during middle of the repetition, a couple of guys came, picked me up and moved
> me to another part of the shul, all while I continued with the repetition.
> They thought it was in keeping with the fun mode of the day. I thought it was
> degrading to the tefilah.

Disgraceful. IMHO these persons should be banned from attending in future.

Martin Stern

From: Sholom Parnes <sholomjparnes@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 17,2021 at 10:31 AM
Subject: Dangerous Sukkos & Simchas Torah Frivolity

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 65#07):

> What took an inordinate time was that everyone got an individual aliyah
> though there were three parallel readings which cut time a bit. I do not like
> this custom which is just plain boring.

Yes, I could not agree more.
See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 669 paragraph 1 where the Ramah writes that "the
number of Aliyot may/should be increased". It does not say anywhere that
everyone must receive an Aliyah. When the Gabbai wanted to give me an Aliyah, I
quoted this Ramah and said 'no thank you' (it did not have much of an affect, I
probably caused the service to end 45 seconds earlier).

Sholom Parnes


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 17,2021 at 10:31 AM
Subject: Hebrew Pronunciation

Shlomo Di Veroli wrote (MJ 65#07):

> I am Sephardi and I differentiate between a seghol and tzere as I also do with
> a gimmel dagush and rafui (non-dagush). Similarly with teyt and Taw dagush

I hope Shlomo can also distinguish between an alef and an ayin, a heh and a
chet, a chet and a khaf rafui, a kaf dagush and a kuf, and a samekh and a
sin. After all, we can assume that when the alefbet came into existence, each
letter represented a distinct sound and there was no duplication.

Also, what about a dalet rafui and a dalet dagush?

Martin Stern

From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 17,2021 at 10:31 AM
Subject: Hebrew Pronunciation

Orrin Tilevitz (MJ 65#05) claims "in modern Sefaradi Hebrew, a tseire is
pronounced as a segol; there is no distinction between the two". Whereas in most
cases this is true, there are others where it is not.

The word "tzayray" itself is not pronounced "tzehreh" (I use that spelling to
show the pronunciation in a form that cannot be misinterpreted) and the month is
pronounced Tishray, not Tishreh. This is not an exhaustive list, but these
should be sufficient to prove my point.

I belong to a congregation called "Tz'iray Yisrael Kfar Ganim" and in the minyan
I attend, our baal koray (2 other cases in point) doesn't repeat "zecher".
However, we have been known to have people who use Ashkenazi and/or Aydot
Hamizrah pronunciation and/or cantillation read the maftir.

Haim Shalom Snyder
Petah Tikva

From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 17,2021 at 10:31 AM
Subject: Hebrew Pronunciation

Chaim Casper (MJ 65#07) comments on transliterations, in particular the "th" in
words like "Bereshith."  

The "th" remains somewhat common in Baltimore.  We have shuls like "Beth
Tefiloh". However, a large girls' school is Bais Yaakov.

Once I saw a siddur from Holland. The Dutch Jews, among others, pronounce an
Ayin with a guttural sound, and it is thereby distinguishable from an Aleph.

The siddur was 99% in Hebrew, with a few key phrases transliterated. The
transliteration for the Shema, had the first word as "Shemang". 

Irwin Weiss

From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 20,2021 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Hebrew Pronunciation

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 65#07):

> In response to my query (MJ 65#05) about how a baal keriah who does not
> distinguish between a tzeire and segol deals with what I called the
> "questionable minhag" of reading both "zeicher" and "zecher" in parshat 
> zachor, Mechy Frankel launches into an irrelevant discourse (MJ 65#06) about 
> how "zeicher" is the only correct pronunciation.

Huh.  And here I thought I was providing incisively terse clarification of
self-obvious contextual relevance.  While at least Mr Tilevitz perceives a
launch into peripatetetic blather.  Go figure.  And of course i was careful to
explain that correct only meant it replicated the intent of the 8-10th century
baalei mesorah.  Were they were correct themselves? (in the sense did they
preserve the much earlier hebrew renditions of the tanach?), still remains a
matter of much current academic dispute.  (There is even a group of purists at
Oxford who wanted a new critical edition of tanach, the Oxford Hebrew Bible - I
think since renamed) still in progress, be published without any nequdos since
vowel sounds were a later invention and can't be certain to reflect earliest

> Of course it is (among other reasons, R. Breuer demonstrates that "zeicher"
> is what appeared in the Aleppo Codex), and that is one reason I called the
> practice a "questionable minhag". 

R. Breuer did NOT demonstrate zeicher in Aleppo codex which he never saw in the
course of his work (and which, in any event, has that part missing).  Rather he
developed his nusach based on Leningrad and other exact codices.  And then
claimed the eclectic version he developed turned out to be, miraculously,
identical to the Yemenite torah (which was almost but not totally true). If
anyone should be cited for demonstrating zeicher in Aleppo, it is Penkower, who
discovered a printed incunabula chumash (1490) in the JTS library that had been
corrected about a hundred years later with marginal notes by a fellow conducting
a side-by-side comparison with Aleppo codex in front of him.  

Also Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 65#07):

> Michael Frankel (MJ 65#04) wants to say that havarah Ashkenazit (Ashkenazic
> pronunciation) is the least authentic 
> ...
> Due to their community's isolation from the rest of the world, the Temanim 
> pronounce consonants most probably as was done in the time of the gemara and
> earlier, thus with the least amount of corruption.  

I regret I must disagree with almost every assertion in the note by R. Casper.
The notion that Yemenites' preservation of consonants "due to communal
isolation" is more authentically ancient, is highly questionable.  For one
thing, Yemenites certainly weren't isolated from an Arabic speaking public in
which they were embedded for well over a millenium and whose language usage they
internalized every day. Why would you possibly think that didn't have significant
influence? (Some believe Yemenite at least replicates speech of Gaonic Bavel,
while others do not).   Secondly, it is quite common for all languages to evolve
over time, even without such external influences. Hebrew surely is not immune -
although there are good reasons (mainly not being a spoken language) it may not
have evolved as much as, say, English.  Third, we have plenty of evidence of
evolution of consonants  during the course of mishnaic-talmudic times alone
(e.g. Back in the 30s, A. Sperber demonstrated change of consonantal value of
alef, ayin and ches over course of just a few hundred years by examining
transliterations of proper names from earlier and later entries of the
Septuagint as well as the Hexapla and Eusebius).  So claims of preservation of
an ancient form (but which ancient form?) all seem rather dubious to me.  (Also,
I didnt assert there were three main Hebrew pronunciations - that was R. Caspers

> AndAshkenazim pronounces the vowels the most authentically (while they tend to
> accent the penultimate syllable). See for yourself.  

As for Ashkenazim pronouncing vowels "most authentically" I would think that the
four present current realizations of the Ashkenazi vav (oh, au, oy, ay), or
differing articulations of shuruq (oo, ee). qomotz (aw, oo) would be more than
enough to dismiss such a notion. And I have previously stated my understanding
that although Ashkenazim do distinguish 7 vowels as do the baalei mesorah, that
is more or less an accident, perhaps due mainly to their embed in german-yiddish
environment for many hundreds of years rather than an instance of any historical
continuity, as the early language of ashkenaz basically resembled sefardic.  
> Sepharadim and Temanim do not distinguish between the tseirei (the two
> horizontal dots) and the segol (the three triangular grouped dots) while the
> Ashkenazim do differentiate between these two vowels. That indicates a real 
> long term mesorah (tradition).  

Actually, what Teimanin don't distinguish is between patach and segol "a
continuation of the Babylonian Masoretic tradition.  They do have a vowel for

> You can see that Rashi and Rabbenu Tam said "Bereshith" and not "Bereshis".
> (The change from a "th" sound to an "s" sound for the letter tav occurred
> slightly after Rabbenu Tam or the 12th-13th centuries as the Europeans could
> not say "th" like the Temanim; they had to substitute "s" for that.) 

First I've heard of this one.  What is evidence Rashi etc. articulated a "th"?

> Another somewhat more recent change in Ashkenazim consonant pronunciation is
> the Litvaks/Lithuanians of which I am a descendent couldn't pronounce a sin...

Quite so - many decades ago I spent a year in shiur with the late R Dovid
Lifshutz z"l who suffered from that linguistic infirmity. Perhaps Litvaks are the
last identifiable descendents of Ephramites.  Yet another reason not to correct
a baal qoreh with shin-sin dyslexia.

> ... Yet they got their vowels correct.

Alas, per above remark about lack of historical continuity between baalei
mesorah and ashkenozis and, inter alia, the four contemporary realizations of
vav, I do not believe they do.

Mechy Frankel



From: Perry Zamek <perryzamek@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 17,2021 at 10:31 AM
Subject: Selichot time

Shlomo Di Veroli (MJ 65#07) wrote: 

> There is the ancient Spanish/Portuguese custom (pre-Luranic qabbala) to recite
> selihot immediately after arvit when the congregation are still around.

I actually encountered this at a Portuguese synagogue in Paris, near my hotel,
something like 23 years ago in Ellul. I went to Mincha and stayed for Arvit, and
then they started what sounded like selichot, and I (with my knowledge of
halacha shaped by the kabbalistic frowning on reciting the 13 middot before
midnight) had no idea what was going on. 

Thank you for clearing this up after so many years.

Perry Zamek


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 20,2021 at 12:17 AM
Subject: Teshuva gemura 

The Rambam in Hilchot Teshuva describes teshuva gemura as being in the exact
same circumstances and committing the same sin. Should one put oneself in this
position to accomplish teshuva gemura?

Joel Rich


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 17,2021 at 10:31 AM
Subject: Visitors at a minyan

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 65#07):

> Our morning minyan has about 25 people (regulars). From time to time someone
> who has a yahrzeit arrives, whom try to accommodate by giving him an aliyah
> (Monday & Thursday).
> The concern is whether or not this individual should daven as sheliach tzibur.
> Our concern is "quality" and pace.  Our minyan is paced to END at a specific
> time so several of the balabatim can catch public transportation to work.
> Thus, allowing a guest to daven potentially inconveniences many of our
> balabatim.
> Any suggestions -- halachic or social - as to how we should act

If he asks to daven as sheliach tzibur, he should be given a precise timetable
for the various parts of the davenning. Should he be unwilling to commit to it,
then he is eino merutzeh letzibbur (not acceptable to the congregation) and
cannot have the amud.

Martin Stern


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 17,2021 at 10:31 AM
Subject: Was Daryavesh II the son of Queen Esther?

There is a peirush in the Zohar that Hashem brought a "sheidah" (a female demon)
to sleep with Achashverosh in the place of Esther. This is a teirutz for "Esther
karka olam haita" that is Esther was forced into cohabitation with Achashverosh.
It also explains the negative description of Daryavesh in the gemara. Of course
according to this peirush, Daryavesh was not the son of Esther but the son of
her demonic avatar.

David Tzohar


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 17,2021 at 10:31 AM
Subject: When can 'worms' be eaten?

The Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Sefer Kedushah, 2:17 reads:

"When, however, salted fish becomes worm-ridden, the worms in it are permitted.
This is comparable to fruit which has become worm-ridden after it has been
separated from the earth. It is permitted to eat them together with the worm
that is in them. Similarly, if water in a utensil produces teeming animals,
those teeming animals are permitted to be drunk together with the water,"

So, do we eat these 'creatures'?

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 65 Issue 8