Volume 65 Number 09 
      Produced: Tue, 26 Oct 21 12:57:03 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

An odd assortment of korbanot 
    [Martin Stern]
Hebrew Pronunciation (3)
    [Orrin Tilevitz  Perets Mett  Arthur G Sapper]
Pouring of the leftover blood 
    [Martin Stern]
Teshuva gemura 
    [Yisrael Medad]
When can 'worms' be eaten? 
    [Michael Rogovin]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Oct 23,2021 at 03:17 PM
Subject: An odd assortment of korbanot

I don't know if anyone else has noticed that the mishnah in Eizehu mekoman which
lists the ashamot [guilt offerings] lists six types but that they seem to be
very different. The first three - asham gezelot, asham me'ilot, asham shifchah
charufah - are as an atonement for specific sins, whereas the next two - asham
nazir, asham metzora - are part of the purification process where no explicit
sin is involved (OK I know there are various derashot Chazal but they are
essentially aggadic). Finally there is the asham talu'i which is a kind of
insurance policy for someone who might have been liable for a chatat [sin
offering] but does not know for certain that he had done the sin that required it.

Can anyone shed light on this odd assortment of korbanot? Is there any common
factor that links them?

Martin Stern


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 21,2021 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Hebrew Pronunciation

Michael Frankel wrote (MJ 65#08):

> 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).

1. For the record, R. Breuer's introduction to his TaNaCH states that he didn't
have the Aleppo Codex "keshehitchalnu lehatkin et hanusach letzorech hamadurah
hazot" (when we began to prepare the text for purposes of this edition). And, in
fact, photographs of various pages of the Aleppo Codex are appended to the TaNaCH.

2. True, that part is missing. But as I recall -- it's been several years since I
read it -- R. Breuer's article on zeicher/zecher quotes a 19th-century
correspondence between a rabbi in Eastern Europe and the custodian of the Aleppo
Codex, asking and answering questions about how the Aleppo Codex reads in
numerous specific places. One of those places is the end of parshat ki teitzei,
and the Aleppo Codex custodian wrote that the word there is "zeicher". So while
we don't have the text of ki teitzei, we have testimony as to exactly what it says.

BTW, my rav, R. Yaakov Kret zt'l, told me that we read zeicher/zecher not
because of a purportedly different nusach per se, but based on (as a recall R.
Kret's explanation) a RaShbA in Bava Batra, which explained that King Saul let
live non-adult-male Amalekites because he read the verse in Ki Teitzei as "macho
timche et zechar (similar to zachar - male) Amalek".

From: Perets Mett <pmett99@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 21,2021 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Hebrew Pronunciation

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 65#08):

> 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?

Dalet rofui is pronounced like th in the English definite article 'the'.


From: Arthur G Sapper <asherben@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 24,2021 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Hebrew Pronunciation

I have an interest in, and some non-professional knowledge of, ancient Hebrew
pronunciation, and I have been following the discussion with some interest.
It seems to me that the discussion has established that --

(1) there is good reason to believe that all current pronunciations have been
corrupted by Exile (exposure to non-Hebrew languages and phonemes), but that

(2) nevertheless we have a pretty good -- not always perfect -- knowledge of
what the pronunciation was like in Second Temple times or at least in Masoretic
times, and that

(3) each different consonant or vowel had, at least at one ancient time, a
different sound.

I would also add my own observation that the loss of phonemes in a language (in
Israeli Hebrew, the loss of the ayin, the teth, the gimel rafuyah, the daled
rafuyah, the qoof, the cheth, the tav rafuyah and the kometz) impairs the
language's information-carrying capacity and results in distortion of the
language to compensate.  (Consider the (extreme) length of Hawaiian words versus
their cognates in Polynesian tongues; the lengthening was caused by the loss of
phonemes as Polynesian explorers migrated east.)

The tav (rafuyah) is an excellent example of points (1), (2) and (3) above. It
was preserved by not only the Yemenites but also the Romaniots and the Baghdadi
community.    It seems to have been used by Ashkenazim until a (continental)
Germanic consonant shift resulted in the unvoiced th sound previously used in
continental Germanic shifting to s, z or t.   (The previously unvoiced "th" is
preserved in Neanderthal (the Neander valley (thal)), now spelled Neandertal in
modern German.)

There is little doubt (really, no doubt) that the absence of the dagesh was
meant by the Masorites to signify the unvoiced "th" sound.  And speakers of
English are blessed with the native ability to speak it (it is a rare sound
among languages; English is one of the few to have it).   The same is true of
the soft daled (rafuyah) - the voiced "th" sound, which English has also preserved.

So why not restore them?  Why should we be speaking Hebrew like Germans? Why
should we pronounce Hebrew in a way we know is corrupted by Exile and  that
results in dead letters in our language?

I have seen accounts of Ashkenazic rabbis in the Late Middle Ages or
post-Rennaissance (but before Reform), upon their exposure to certain
pronunciations preserved by Sephardim, adopting those pronunciations.  I also
once had the distinct surprise and pleasure of being present in a
Sephardic/Mizrachi congregation when the chacham (rabbi) urged his tzibbur to
adopt the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the qometz.  In other words, there has long
been a respectable line of authority (especially pre-Reform) that one may, even
should, reform one's pronunciation if possible to what is a more authentic
pronunciation -- and by that I mean a shift from a pronunciation known to have
been corrupted by Exile to one that draws upon a mesorah by a Jewish community
and results in different consonants/vowels being pronounced differently.

It is true that post-Reform, Orthodoxy put its foot down against innovation. But
what about restoration?  Why not abandon pronunciations that we know are
corrupt and adopt a pronunciation that draws upon a mesorah by a Jewish
community and results in different consonants/vowels being pronounced
differently?  Why should the perfect be the enemy of the good, or at least the
better?  There may be reasons not to do so, and they may be good reasons.  But
are they good enough reasons?

Art Sapper


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Oct 23,2021 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Pouring of the leftover blood

In Eizehu mekoman, it states regarding the chata'ot penimiot (sin offerings whose
blood was brought into the heichal - temple proper) that after the various
sprinklings - all of which were indispensable to their effectiveness - any
leftover blood was poured "on the western base of the outer altar" but, if this
was not done then the offering was post facto valid.

However, regarding the chata'ot chitzonot (sin offerings whose blood was applied
to the 'horns' of the outer altar), the leftover blood was poured "on the
southern base of the outer altar" but there is no statement that, if this was
not done, then the offering was post facto valid.

Does this mean that the pouring of the leftover blood was an essential part of
the offering?

Martin Stern


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 21,2021 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Teshuva gemura

Joel Rich asks (MJ 65#08), basing himself on the Rambam's Hilchot Teshuva:

> Should one put oneself in being in the exact same circumstances and committing
> the same sin to accomplish teshuva gemura?

To coin a phrase - A criminal always returns to the cirumstances of his crime.

Yisrael Medad


From: Michael Rogovin <michael@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 22,2021 at 11:17 AM
Subject: When can 'worms' be eaten?

Yisrael Medad asks (MJ 65#08) if we can eat certain worms in fish.

It seems that the Talmudic rabbis believed in spontaneous generation, though I
am not sure about Rambam, and this would appear to be the logic behind this
ruling, though I am happy to be corrected. Notwithstanding our greater knowledge
of science, I believe that we maintain this ruling, and that is why the OU's
posek, the late Rav Belsky z"l, permitted us to eat fish, since almost all fish
contains worms (some of which are actually visible if you know what to look
for). Others, of course, disagreed, saying that now that we know they are not
spontaneously generated from within the fish, they are prohibited, but that of
course would prohibit nearly all fish.

It is best to freeze such fish to kill any parasitic worms, but it is not
otherwise unhealthy. IMHO, all of this goes to show that the halachic intent is
to not deliberately eat insects as a source of food, not to get rid of tiny,
insignificant insects or other sheratzim found on all foods, animals and plants.
Hakira published a great article that says that the way we wash plants today is
far beyond the actual halachic requirement.

Michael Rogovin
<michael@...>  |  201.820.5504  |  www.linkedin.com/in/michaelrogovin


End of Volume 65 Issue 9