Avodah Mailing List

Volume 01 : Number 008

Sunday, July 26 1998

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Date: Thu, 23 Jul 1998 20:06:52 -0400
From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel)
Subject: RE: Tzitzith and Kitniyoth

This is in response to [Miller].

* Wearing a Tallis and abstaining from Kitniyoth are both rabbinical
* Hence as [Miller] points out unusual circumstances can lead to
lenient rulings.

* The above successfully answers [Millers] request for "other mitzvoth"
like Tzitzith which aren't fulfilled sometimes (for Tzitzith..they aren't
worn till marriage)

* Of [Millerr] other 3 questions I don't have answers.
* The only Biblical obligation is to put Tzitzith on a four cornered
garment. There is only a rabbinical obligation to wear a Tallith

* There is only one mitzvah of Tzitzith. I don't know why there are
2 blessings

* The excellent comments made on the 2 parshiyoth of Tzitzith probably
requires a whole posting in itself (Similar to all double Parshas)

Russell Jay Hendel; PHd ASA RHendel @ mcs drexel edu

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Date: Thu, 23 Jul 1998 20:18:48 -0400
From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel)
Subject: Learning vs Action

[Levi] [Avodah #6] is correct that we both agree that action is
more important than deed.

But I believe we may disagree on whether there is a SEPARATE 
COMMANDMENT OF TALMUD TORAH even if there are no deeds.

I cite a beautiful interpretion of a midrash I once heard
from Rabbi Joseph Baer Soloveitchick.

>>A king asked some servants to fill pails with water
>>The pails had wholes in the bottom
>>The foolish servants said "Why fill them --water will come out"
>>The wise servants said "We will fill them--even if the water
>>is not retained at least the pails will be cleaned"

So too for talmud torah..Their is learning to "retain in the mind"
so that we may perform acts

But their is learning where we don't retain (>>in one ear and out
the other<<)..the purpose is to "cleanse the soul"

As an example if I learn the laws of the rebellious son (which never
happened) I have intrinsic reward and cleansing of my soul even if
there is no action

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA RHendel @ mcs drexel edu

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Date: Thu, 23 Jul 1998 20:24:42 -0400
From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel)
Subject: Why Can One Do work on Chol Hamoayd

Steve Katz [Bt#137] asks >>
		if Chol Hamoayd = Yom Tov = Symbols of God Sovereignty
			(And hence we don't wear tefilin)
		Chol Hamoayd SHould equal Yom Tov with regard to prohibition from work

The answer is simple: The BIBLE explicitly differentiates between 1st-7th
day and the other 5 with regard to work (ie. Kedushah). It makes no
such distinction with regard to the holidays essence (which is commemorating
the exodus).

It is the EXPLICIT Biblical verse which gives the answer

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA RHendel @ mcs drexel edu

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Date: Thu, 23 Jul 1998 21:10:03 -0400
From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel)
Subject: RE: The Mesorah

To: Avodah@AishDas.Org, , RHendel, , AlSilberman@Juno.Com
Subject: RE: The Mesorah

I thank Al/Moshe Silberman for continuing the discussion on the Mesorah
We both agree on many points. But it baffles me why he thinks answering me
an unimportant topic to discuss. Many people never read the mesorah
The debate going on between the two of us (me and moshe) should make
people aware of the ISSUES one encounters in Mesorah. Also it makes them
aware how the texts are so fragile. Thus I invite Moshe to continue
our discussion.

Moshe said so many things so quickly that it becomes hard to read.
ALthough I am writing from memory let me outline 3 areas: I think we
agree in the first 2 but not the 3rd.

There are 3 major points

Moshe and I both agree that MESORAHS *can* review deficient/full spellings
or study uses of a root (what I call semantic and Moshe morphology).

Thus I confess to >mixing< two Mesorahs on BIN. For indeed there
are two problems: The SPELLING of BIN and the MEANING of BIN.

So let me untangle what I created (Moshe, I am taking the blame on this
one..but we do agree THAT SOMETIMES a mesorah is semantic
and sometimes syntactic and I acknowledge that other terms are more

Moshe, Let us do the easy one first. 
Consider the word pronounced BiN.
Such a word occurs (without a preceding vav) in
			* all occurences of Yehoshua Bin Nun 
			* Dt 25,2
			* The Two occurences in Jon 4:10
			* Prv 23:1
			* Prv 30:1
There are also two Danielic occurence which have a preceding vav (OOVin)..
(Note: Neither Moshe not I am surprised that these two are NOT in the list
..but to those just learning the Mesorah this is a normal "list rule"..
since Moshe and I are use to seeing Mesorahs we both know this)

MOSHE and I BOTH AGREE on the above list.
WE also aree that two appropriate ways of "recording this list" are
		>>Prv 23:1---No other Full (spelling)<<
		(Indeed Prv 23:1 is the only BiN spelled with a yud)


		>Four Bin--One full; 3 deficient; and all Bin Nun like it<

For those who never saw the mesorah these are characteristic forms and
both Moshe and I agree.

Note the 3 characteristics of these mesorahs
		* they are "spelling (vs semantic) lists" of 
		* words pronounced BIN
		* the count verses (5 occurences in 4 verses)
		* they list the ONE FULL spelling
This is how the mesorah preserved our text

Moshe..if I am not mistaken you and I agree on ALL that has been said
so far, both in turn of potential mesorahs, mesorah language, and 
the spelling issue of BIN

I don't believe Moshe and I necessarily agree here but I do believe I
have a case.

THE Mesorah Gedolah on Prv 23,1 states 
		>>7 Deficient Bin<<
It then lists 7 verses (Dt 25:2, Prv 23:1, Prv 14:9, Jon 4:10, Prv 30:1,
and the two Danielic ones--just for the record...I incorrectly cited
a wrong Danielic verse in my first posting and indeed my correction
in the second posting was due to Moshe)

BUT Moshe you must I think grant me that IF we believe the text of
the Mesorah to be correct it couldn't possibly be talking about spelling.
It is rather talking about DEFICIENT VERB FORMS.

Some of the verses CLEARLY mean BN=UNDERSTANDING (Like Prv 23:1 and 
the two Danielic verses)

The Baal Haturim Interprets Dt 25:2 as UNDERSTANDING

Several commentaries interpret Prv 30:1 as UNDERSTANDING.

So Moshe, of the 7 verses, we see that FIVE can be interpreted as
verbal NUNS.

Perhaps NOW you see what I suggested -- that this Mesorah was SEmANTIC

As for the word DEFICIENT I interpreted this not as DEFICIENT spelling
but as DEFICIENT VERB FORMS (weak letters)

All I had to do was deal with the remaining two verses:
	* So I interpreted Jon 4:10 as "built overnight"
		And now that I think about it "planned overnight"
		would be better (plan=understood=ByN)
	* I interpreted Prv 14:9---BayN as Bin(and that took a whole

All I am doing  is taking a mesorah that had 5 good out of 7 cases and 
tried to see what else is needed.

I then would interpret the 7 as verses not occurences etc.

Moshe, I believe there are real issues here. Could you kindly review
this and get back to us. Perhaps you would like me to further defend
Prv 14:9...The jewish people need more Parshanuth.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA RHendel @ mcs drexel edu

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Date: Thu, 23 Jul 1998 22:11:49 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Subject: Re: Learning vs Action

In a message dated 98-07-23 20:18:40 EDT, you write:

 [Levi] [Avodah #6] is correct that we both agree that action is
 more important than deed.
 But I believe we may disagree on whether there is a SEPARATE 
 COMMANDMENT OF TALMUD TORAH even if there are no deeds.

The Rav pointed out that in hilchot talmud tora the rambam formulated a number
of requirements about who is chayav etc and the all of a sudden in 1:8 starts
over with  "kol ish myisrael chayav btalmud tora....chayav lkboa  lo zman
ltalmud tora'  The Rav understood the 1st sections as dealing with information
gathering but 1;8 with setting aside time to learn irrespective of the result.

Shabaat shalom

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Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 16:15:00 -0400
From: "Pechman, Abraham" <APechman@mwellp.com>
Subject: RE: women's conference

> From: DAHLIA2@aol.com [mailto:DAHLIA2@aol.com]
> ...Chana Henkin said at the conference, in response to 
> her new program to
> train women to be "halachik decisors" (her words) in areas of 
> niddah,...

Does anyone know what types of questions these "halachik decisors" will
handle? Are they looking at bloodstains, or calculating vestos, or
finding kulos for a woman with a twelve day cycle?

Avi Pechman

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Date: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 15:48:11 -0400
From: alsilberman@juno.com
Subject: Reply to Russel - Part II

Russel wrote:
Thus the above mesorah (on BN)clearly lists VERSES (not occurrences), of
the SEMANTIC unit of BN (not the syntactic unit) and is indifferent to
spelling (actually associated mesorahs discuss spelling).

Ah! So now we KNOW that the MESORAH *must* have considered PRV 14:9
as an example of the semantic unit ByN (even though it is spelled
with Tzaray).

I: Tabular Summary of the BIN-BEN issue--Pros/Cons
The above might appear ad hoc. To fully appreciate we recap the 7 BINS
and WHY we shouldn't translate them as Ben:
        7),6),4) Prv 23:1 and the Two in Daniel--Clearly mean UNDERSTAND
        Prv 30:1--AGUR ben YAKEH..but Solomon was the author and there
                is no need to assume this is someone else. Also the
                works AGUR(Gather), YAKEH(Vomit) have strong picturesqe
                meaning. So BIN=Understanding fits in well(GATHERED
                UNDERSTANDING and then REGURGITATED IT)
        Dt 25:2--Attribute of "lashes" would mean "follows regulations"
                (negative commandment etc)>
                "BIN lashes" means -- medically examined and cleared
                for lashes (Which is the Halachah)
        Jon 4:10--Even if you translated it as BEN=ATTRIBUTE you still
          have to elliptically add (ATTRIBUTE that it WAS MADE overnight)
          Rashi simply bypasses BEN and translates it as "overnight
        Prv 14:9--As indicated, the parallel-chiastic form shows we are
                dealing with understanding not with the word inbetween
        JOSHUA BIN NUN--Linguistically emphasizes that Prophecy requires
                separation from family life and devotion to understanding


Russel follows in the footsteps of Rashi who follows the grammar of
Menachem ibn Saruq that roots can consist of two or even one letter. I
don't know whether or not Russel is familiar with the organization of the
Machberes Menachem. The machberes lists all the roots in Lashon Hakodesh
recognized by Menachem and within each root he gives the various meanings
which that root can have. This organization is exactly the same as in
current lexicons which follow the sephardi grammar of tri-literal roots.
Under both systems it is absolutely not true that "one root = one
semantical meaning". RSR Hirsch does try to make this equation but that
not the view of Menachem or Rashi or anyone else - at least for the
purposes of the masora listings.

For the root beis, nun Machberes Menachem says that it has five different
semantical meanings. There is, of course, son, attribute, understanding
building (or construction as Russel puts it). There is a fifth which is
rarely used and not germane here.

Construction and understanding are not of the same semantical meaning. If
"b'lishna" of the masora is not referring to form (Russel's claim) then
must be referring to meaning. Yet, according to Russel's statement above
there are at least two different semantical meanings encompassed within
these citations (understanding and construction). Thus, b'lishna of the
masora cannot possibly be referring to meaning.

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