Volume 8 Number 50

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Color of T'chelet
         [Zvi Basser]
Dead Sea Scrolls - Orthodox Approach
         [Rabbi Benzion Milecki]
Ellis Island
         [Alan Stein]
Original meaning of "lev"
         [Arnold Kuzmack]
Stam Yainam
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
The Missing Nun
         [Kibi Hofmann]
The Missing Nun/Blessed be He
         [Shaul Wallach]
Women and Judaism -- Correction
         [Anthony Fiorino]


From: <fishbane@...> (Zvi Basser)
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 93 19:55:22 -0400
Subject: Color of T'chelet

It is not true that all sources claim techelet is blue--

Rambam = blue (techlet is like the sea which is like the _sky_)
Rashi = green (stresses the sea part-- the sky part is a succesive
       approximation and not the color of techelet.)
Ibn Ezra = black.

Zvi Basser


From: <benzion@...> (Rabbi Benzion Milecki)
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 93 15:56:23 -0400
Subject: Dead Sea Scrolls - Orthodox Approach

I have been asked by a congregant for material on the Orthodox approach to
the Dead Sea Scrolls. Any help appreciated.

Rabbi Benzion Milecki
South Head & District Synagogue, 15 Oceanveiw Ave., Dover Heights. 2030. NSW.
Australia.  Tel: +612 371 7656    Fax: +612 371 7416


From: <astein@...> (Alan Stein)
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 93 19:14:47 -0400
Subject: Re: Ellis Island

Ellis Island has indeed been turned into a museum, but I'm not sure
whether the kind of information you're looking for is available there.

Alan H. Stein                     <astein@...>


From: <lkuzmack@...> (Arnold Kuzmack)
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 93 03:43:24 -0400
Subject: Original meaning of "lev"

In v8n47, Simon Streltsov asks:

     I recall hearing on the one of R.Miller tapes, that "lev"
     (like in "behol levaveha") should be understood as a
     reference to intellect, albeit "heart" in most languages
     refers to emotions.

I remember a lecture by Prof. Nahum Sarna that referred to this.  In
discussing the difficulties of literal Bible translation, he used, as an
example, Psalms 7:10: uvohen libot ukhlayot elohim tsadiq (literally,
G-d examines the heart and kidneys of the righteous) and explained that
the heart was considered the seat of the intellect and the kidneys of
the emotions.  The commentary in the Soncino edition of Psalms gives the
same explanation.

The citations of "lev" in the Mishnah in Jastrow's dictionary are closer
to the Western usage as the seat of the emotions.  Perhaps this was
Greek influence.

Arnold Kuzmack
<lkuzmack@...> (my wife's Internet account)


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 93 23:33:03 -0400
Subject: Stam Yainam

I am at a loss, because I am right now away from home and seforim,
but I believe that the Stam Yainam issue is discussed explicitly in
Reb Moshe and in Reb Shlomo Zaalman's Minchas Shlomo, and I have
already noted the Melamed L'Hoil. When I get home I will iy"h explore
further and attempt to respond to Prof. Balbin's note in greater
detail, BUT IN THE MEANTIME  please do ask your LOR for details on non
orthodox Jews touching your wine.


From: Kibi Hofmann <hofmanna@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 93 10:40:52 -0400
Subject: Re: The Missing Nun

Shimon Schwartz writes:

> (1) There is a verse beginning with the letter Nun:  
>     Ne'eman Elokim bid'varav v'chasid b'chol ma'asav
>     (G-d is faithful to his word and righteous in all his deeds).
>     This letter is omitted from our version of Ashrei, ostensibly
>     because Nun is the first letter of a negative verse elsewhere
>     (perhaps the moderator can recall which verse).

The gemoro in B'rochos (4b) says the reason why Ashrei is so important is:-
1) It is ordered by alef-bais AND
2) It contains the posuk "Poseach es yodecha..." [that G-d sustains the 
whole world].

The gemoro asks why there is no verse with Nun and say it is because of the
posuk (in Amos 5) also starting with Nun which talks about the "fall of
(the enemies of) Israel" [a euphemism for the same phrase without the words
in brackets].

The "offending" posuk is "Nofloh lo tosif kum besulas yisroel" which roughly
translates as "The virgin of Israel will fall, never to rise".

The gemoro goes on to say that in Israel they used to punctuate the posuk
in a way which would give it a nicer meaning, basically putting a pause
after the word 'tosif' not the word 'nofloh'.

The gemoro says that despite this (I suppose both the nicer reading and
leaving out Nun in Ashrei) Dovid HaMelech still thought it necessary
to give some "support" to Israel, so the next verse after the missing one
is "Somech haShem ..." [G-d supports the fallen....]

I must admit that this gemoro puzzles me immensely. Leaving aside the
anachronism about Amos, why is this single "bad" posuk isolated as THE
one to avoid mention of? Why not some of the nasty stuff in Yirmeyohu
or even in the Torah itself? Why "avoid" it by avoiding its first letter
-what about its last letter, or any of the particular words? Anyway, wouldn't
it have been better for Dovid to write a "good" verse to "fix the damage"
or whatever? And why is it avoided only here, and not in all of the rest of

The Maharsho explains how leaving out the Nun verse somehow makes the 
"Nefila" (fall) incomplete, but doesn't explain what the basic problem was.

I'd really like to know if the Dead Sea Scrolls edition was the one used
before the gemoro "censored" it, or if it was just "made up" for the the
Essenes who might not have believed that Dovid wanted to leave a letter out.

> (3) Most of the text is written in an old script that resembles ours;
>     each occurrence of the four-letter name of G-d is written in a
>     geometric script that looks more Phoenician.

There was some discussion recently on m.j. about the two hebrew scripts
the ashuris which we use today and the ivris which was in use before Ezra's
time (and later). Before Ezra, the sifrei torah (and presumably all others)
were written in the "less holy" ivris, although the original ones written
by Moshe had been in the ashuris.
Ezra instituted that all the sifrei torah should be written in the ashuris
and this eventually caught on to be the main hebrew script. However, for some
time it was still considered too holy to be used for "normal" rather than
holy uses so we find letters (I think some of the Bar Kochba letters) written
in the ivris (or was it to keep them secret :-). Also it was used on coins
(or was this because it was easier to engrave than ashuris).

Possibly the reason the four letter name of G-d was written in the ivris
was because it was considered too holy to write in just any book (like some
seforim have a Heh, or "haShem" or two Yods or even aleph daled nun yod
which are all substitutes for writing the four letter name). Or maybe the
Essenes had their own ideas (I gather they had some idiosyncratic practices)

If anyone has better information, I for one would be fascinated to hear it.

Good Shabbos


From: Shaul Wallach <f66204@...>
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 93 15:56:28 -0400
Subject: The Missing Nun/Blessed be He

     See the Talmud (Berakhot 4b, bottom). The verse is Amos 5:2 -
"Nafala Lo Tosif Qum Betulat Yisrael ... " ("The virgin of Israel
has fallen and shall not rise again ...").

     R. Nahman Bar Yishaq adds in the Talmud (op. cit.) that David
restored the mising Nun with the Holy Spirit in the next verse after
the missing Nun (i.e. the one beginning with the Samekh), when he
said "Somekh H' Le-khol Ha-Nofelim ..." ("The Lord supports all those
who fall ...").

     If I remember correctly, the scroll contains additional
"psalms" after the last Psalm in our standard Tanach, indicating
that it was probably connected with a sectarian group. If so, we
should not be surprised that it contains deviations from our
standard text.

>(2) Each verse is separated by:
>    Baruch haShem uvoruch sh'mo l'olam va'ed
>    (Blessed be G-d and blessed be His name forever).
>    We have no analogy.

     This was the standard response to blessings that were recited in
the Miqdash (Temple), instead of "Amen", as the Talmud records (Ta`anit
16b). It could be that the scroll was used as sort of an ancient Siddur
containing Psalms to be recited or sung responsively in the Miqdash
(like our Psalm 136).

>(3) Most of the text is written in an old script that resembles ours;
>    each occurrence of the four-letter name of G-d is written in a
>    geometric script that looks more Phoenician.

     This is the ancient Hebrew script. If the hypothesis I presented
previously is correct, the Name was written in the old Hebrew script
so that the scroll would not have ritual sanctity (and perhaps not
defile the hands that touched it).

Shaul Wallach


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 93 18:05:30 -0400
Subject: Women and Judaism -- Correction

In my last posting (v8#46) I asked:

> have the decades which have passed since that time [since Brown vs.
> board of ed] shown that separate IS equal?  Not at all -- blacks still
> get a subpar education in this country. 

Obviously, what I meant was "have the decades which have passed shown that
_not_ separate is equal?"  My point was that desegregation perhaps
has not significantly impacted the inequality of black versus white
education in America; hopefully, this was clear in spite of my error.

Eitan Fiorino


End of Volume 8 Issue 50