Volume 65 Number 85 
      Produced: Sat, 10 Sep 22 16:27:47 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Defender of [the] Faith 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Haftarah problem 
    [Martin Stern]
Is Geirus deOraisa? 
    [Chana Luntz]
Maqef problem 
    [Immanuel Burton]


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 8,2022 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Defender of [the] Faith

In his "special prayer" on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II Rabbi Mirvis
writes, in the English version, in the 13th line, that she was a "defender of
faith" yet the Hebrew version reads "k'meginat ha-emunah" which translates as
"defender of the faith". That could be taken as a reference to Christianity as,
for example, Wikipedia notes that:

"Defender of the Faith (Latin: Fidei Defensor or, specifically feminine, Fidei
Defensatrix;) is a phrase that has been used as part of the full style of many
English and later British monarchs. The earliest use of the term appears in
1507, when King James IV of Scotland was granted the title of "Protector and
Defender of the Christian Faith" by Pope Julius II. The title was conferred on
James IV by the papal legate ..."Defender of the Faith" has been one of the
subsidiary titles of the English and later British monarchs since it was granted
on 11 October 1521 by Pope Leo X to King Henry VIII."

Should Rabbi Mirvis have used that title at all? Should the Hebrew have been
aligned with the English?

Yisrael Medad


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Sep 10,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Haftarah problem

This year Rosh Chodesh Ellul fell on Shabbat Re'eh so most kehillot read the
haftarah for Rosh Chodesh instead. So as not to miss one of the Sheva Denechamta
[seven haftaras of consolation], many read the haftarah of Re'eh in addition to
that of Ki Teitzei since it follows it in Sefer Yeshayah and most chumashim have
a note to this effect. While, for those who read the haftarah from a megillah
this presents no problem, it is awkward for those reading (and following) from a
chumash who have to turn back. Why don't chumashim simply add that the combined
haftarah is the same as that for Noach (on page ...)

Martin Stern


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 8,2022 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Is Geirus deOraisa?

Yisrael Medad (MJ:65#84) very kindly answered my two questions:

> Chana Luntz asks me two questions (MJ 65#83).
>> a.	Do you believe in the Oral Torah i.e. what does that term mean to you? 
>> b.	If you do, what is in it and how do we know what is in it?
> Answer: yes and it means that God provided Moshe - and he started the chain of
> what we know as Rabbinic interpretation - with various details of how to fully
> inform Jews how to perform commandments that are found in the Written Torah. 
> One example: circumcision. 

Brilliant, that is a great example.  The mitzvah of circumcision can be found in
the written Torah (Vayikra 12:3) where it says "On the eighth day the flesh of
his foreskin 'yimol' [which can be translated as shall be circumcised]".  But
nowhere does it give details of the procedure or much of a clue as to what in
fact circumcision entails beyond this.  For that, as is correctly stated, we
need the Oral Torah.  A key part of the Oral Torah was written down in Mishna
Shabbat perek 19 and there are even more details found in the Gemora,
particularly Chapter 19 of Talmud Bavli Shabbat, which is what enables the
various Codes, such as the Shulchan Aruch to give more detailed instructions.

I am now going to zero in on a specific Oral Torah requirement of circumcision
(but I could have chosen other aspects) that set out in the Mishna in Shabbat,
perek 19 mishna 6:  The Hebrew is "Mal v'lo para ki'ilu lo mal" [if he
circumcised but did not do what is called priah, it is as if he did not
circumcise), i.e. without what is called priah, the circumcision is invalid. 
So, while the written Torah makes a reference simply to circumcision [mila], the
Oral Torah elaborates on the "how", and makes it clear that without priah there
is no d'oraisa [from the Torah] form of mila.

Now while the Mishna gives this statement regarding the need for priah straight,
in the Mechilta d'Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (a midrash halacha), we can see this
same requirement linked to a pasuk, not the one in Vayikra but Shemot 12:48 -
where it is set out in the typical midrash halacha form:

"'And any uncircumcised person shall not eat [from the korban pesach]' - from
this, I only know a completely uncircumcised person shall not eat; one who is
circumcised but not had priah from where [do I know it]?, the Torah says 'and
any uncircumcised person shall not eat'".

This is the standard format for linkage of Oral Torah to written Torah, and is
part of what is underlying the Mishna.

> An example of something not found in the Written Torah in any clear fashion
> is conversion.

But it works exactly the same way as circumcision!  On the pasuk in Shemot 12:48
it also says  "and should a Ger live with you he shall make the pesach
sacrifice to HaShem, all his males shall be circumcised and then he may draw
close and make it and he will be like a native of the land".

And on this pasuk that very same Mechilta d'Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai says:

"'He shall circumcise all his males', I only know that one who is completely
uncircumcised - from where that one who is circumcised but has not immersed
... it prevents him from eating the korban pesach the Torah teaches 'he shall
circumcise all his males', and he will be like a native of the land, just
as a native did not enter into the covenant except with three things, with
circumcision, with immersion, and with a korban so a Ger does not enter into
the covenant except with three things: circumcision, immersion and a korban".

While when it gets to the Gemara, you see in Kritut 9a  - it is linked to a
slightly different pasuk that talks about a Ger, namely B'Midbar 15:15 which
says "just like you, so it will be for the Ger": 

"Rebbe said: 'like you' [B'Midbar 15:15]- like your forefathers, just as your
forefathers did not enter into the covenant except with circumcision, immersion
and the acceptance of blood [of a korban], so you do not enter into the covenant
without circumcision, immersion and the acceptance of blood."

So just as the Orthodox way of understanding circumcision as mentioned in the
Torah is that the "how" is detailed in the Oral law, and one example of the how
is priah which is understood to be included in the word mila in the written
Torah, despite the earliest writings we have of this requirement being in the
midrash halacha and the Mishna, so too, the traditional Orthodox way of
understanding the term Ger in the pasuk in Shemot 12:45 and B'Midbar 15:15 is
that it means a convert, and that the Oral Torah details the "how" - namely the
three requirements set out in the midrash halacha and in the Gemara.

Another example I thought you might have brought was tephilin, as there is only
a vague reference to "totafot" in the written Torah, and the details are in the
Oral Torah, and I was assuming I would do the same analysis with tephilin. 
Fairly obscure reference in the written Torah - full details of "how" in the
Oral Torah (but this post is already long enough).  I know I can do the same
analysis for tephilin - and, assuming my knowledge stretches far enough (which
it might not do), should be able to do exactly the same analysis for anything
agreed to be in the Oral Torah.  Because it will follow exactly the same pattern.

And by the way, the academic position is the same for both circumcision and
tephilin as it is for conversion - they reject the idea of the Oral Torah, so
are only prepared to credit any of these details to the time of the Rabbis as
that is the first writing on it we have.

I wrote:

> No.  That construct is not in the written Torah.  Only if you do not believe
> in the Oral Torah can you say that it is not in the Torah as the Torah
> comprises both the Oral and Written Torah.

to which Yisrael Medid responded: 

> I admit: she lost me there and I am having difficulty fathoming her intention.

Unfortunately (presumably because of the way the list works), while I had
underlined the word "written" in the above sentence, that did not come out on
list. [This is precisely what happened - our system does not allow for bold,
underline etc. - MOD] And without the underlining I may have not phrased it
clearly enough.  So let me rewrite it with capitals so that it is hopefully
clearer [My advice to all members is to ONLY use capitals for emphasis - MOD]:

That construct is not in the WRITTEN Torah.  However it can be found in the ORAL
Torah. Only if you do not believe that the Oral Torah is a part of the Torah can
you say that it is not in the [TOTAL] Torah.  If you believe that the Torah
comprises both the Oral and Written Torah (i.e. two halves of a whole) then it
is indeed in the Torah. 

By that I meant the kind of details I have now put above.  That the Oral Torah
specifies three requirements for conversion, which it links to psukim in the
written Torah which use the term Ger.  I agree that the term Ger in the written
Torah does not specify exactly what it means, and could be considered vague, so
unless you read the written Torah together with the Oral Torah, you won't see
that understanding.  Just as you won't see priah in the written Torah definition
of circumcision unless you read the Oral Torah with it.  And so on for all
aspects of the Oral Torah.  Hope that is clearer now. 




From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 8,2022 at 10:17 PM
Subject: Maqef problem

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 65#84):

> Immanuel Burton wrote (MJ 65#83):
> ...
>> According to Weingreen, two or more short words closely associated in 
>> meaning may be joined together using a maqef, and then, for grammatical 
>> purposes, they are considered as being virtually one word. I would suggest 
>> that being joined for grammatical purposes means that for other purposes 
>> they are still considered separate words.
>> ...
> I think Immanuel is reading too much into Weingreen's comment. He was 
> writing a book on Hebrew grammar so to deduce that he meant to be that 
> specific is questionable. He may only have meant that their separate identity 
> is not COMPLETELY lost.

The point I was trying to make was that even if two words joined by a maqef are
treated as a single word from a grammatical point of view, they are still,
indeed, two separate words, and so, for word counting exercises such as the
number of words in Shema, or finding a passuk with 7 words to count the windings
of one's tephillin, these words are counted individually.

According to The Laws and Customs of Krias Hatorah by Rabbi Mordechai Fishman
(Israel Bookshop, 2021, chapter 5, section 16), the spacing between words in a
Sefer Torah should be approximately the size of one letter. If one is unsure if
enough space has been left, then a child should be asked to read the words. If
the child reads them as one word, then the Sefer Torah is not kosher.

Would this same rule apply to words joined by a maqef, i.e. would not leaving a
space between two words joined by a maqef render the Sefer Torah not kosher? If
it does, then I would suggest that, whatever function a maqef has, it does not
affect word counts.

Immanuel Burton.


End of Volume 65 Issue 85