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Volume 37: Number 78

Tue, 01 Oct 2019

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Alexander Seinfeld
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2019 09:24:34 -0400
[Avodah] Mishna Berura on bentching

In Siman 187.1.2, Mishna Berura quotes Be?eir Heitiv in the correct form of
several specific words in the Birchat HaMazon (blessing after a bread meal).

For example, he says, one should say ?sha?atah zahn? and not ?sheh?atah

2 questions:

1. What?s the difference between  ?sha?atah zahn? and ?sheh?atah zahn??
2. Why doesn?t he bring all of the nusach issues mentioned in the Beir
Heitiv, such as ?hu heitiv, meitiv, yeitiv lanu??

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2019 12:40:56 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Mishna Berura on bentching

On Wed, Sep 25, 2019 at 09:24:34AM -0400, Alexander Seinfeld via Avodah wrote:
> In Siman 187.1.2, Mishna Berura ...
> 1. What's the difference between "sha'atah zahn" and "sheh'atah zahn"?

I can talk about this one, if not your second question.

It's the same as in Modim. Ashkenaz has "Modim anachnui La sha'Atah" and
Sephradim say "she'Atah". And there are other cases of "sha'Atah", eg
in Emes veYatziv.

In the Torah, you will not find a "she-" prefix. HQBH uses "asher". (Nor
the "kishe-" for when / whenever.)

In early Navi, you'll find "sha-". Not too often, but one case is in
Shofetim 6:17, when Gid'on refers to Hashem as "sha'Atah". (Another is
the two occurances of "shaqqamti" in Shiras Devorah, 4:7.)

Joshu Blau of the Academy of the Hebrew Language says that this was the
Northern contraction of "asher", but the Southerner's "she-" eventually
wins out. (Phonology and Morphology of Biblical Hebrew, pg. 183) Except
that Devorah was in Bet-El, so unless she borrowed northern coinage to
make the poem work...

Tefillah used to tend toward Mishnaic Hebrew in both Ashk and Seph.
With exceptions like the masculine "lakh" in "Modim anachnu Lakh".
But when the printing press made publishing a siddur with nequdos
possible, some hypercorrections went into Nusach Ashkenaz by experts
convinced we're all saying it wrong.

These tended to be makilim, as few else in Ashkenaz were studying diqduq.
One prominant name is R' Shelomo-Zalman Hanau (Razah). Research seems
to indicate his diqduq rules were employed by Lubavitch's Alter Rebbe
in making Nusach Ari. But that has been debated here in the past. In
any case, somehow, people managed to buy into the idea of changing
large chunks of the vowelization of their davening in a comparatively
short time.

Although, the medieval manuscripts indicate that we were using Mishnaic
Hebrew all along.

These corrections made the Ashk siddur a lot more biblical. It began
the debates between "morid hagasham" vs "morid hageshem", since in
Mishnaic Hebrew there is no "hagashem", even if it's the last word of the
sentence. And in earlier Ashkenaz, they said "vesein chelqeinu besorasakh,
sab'einu mituvakh" -- just as Seph still say.

The presence of "sha'Atah" in Shoferim meant that that became the form
in Ashkenazi in the past 2-3 centuries.

In addition, it is possible that the "sha-" is the usual contraction for
when one word is taking both the "she-" and "ha-" prefixes. That Gid'on
was calling G-d "The You", and this is what we're imitating in davening.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 In the days of our sages, man didn't sin unless
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   he was overcome with a spirit of foolishness.
Author: Widen Your Tent      Today, we don't do a mitzvah unless we receive
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF    a spirit of purity.      - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Message: 3
From: Allen Gerstl
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2019 22:32:16 +0000
Re: [Avodah] Rambam Sefer Hamitzvot

On  Wed, 18 Sep 2019 20:17:08 +0000 R' "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com> wrote:
> Do we know what the Rambam's organizational principal was in the order
> that he presented the mitzvot?

Please see the book, Taryag by the late Abraham Hirsch Rabinowitz.

Rav Rabinowitz mentions what I believe is a compelling argument by
another author that the Rambam arranged his sefer to correspond with
a different intended order for the Mishnah Torah for which the Sefer
Hamitzvot forms an outline; but the Rambam decided to change the order.


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Message: 4
From: Micha Berger
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2019 10:04:19 -0400
[Avodah] The Most Regrettable Feature of Human Nature

This struck me as too seasonably appropriate not to share.

JRR Tolkien started writing "The New Shadow", a sequel to Lord of the Rings.
13 pages in, he decided that it was too "sinister and depressing" to continue.
But in the letter he wrote to his editor about stopping, he included
this sentence, which I think deserves much thought:

    Since we are dealing with Men it is inevitable that we should be
    concerned with the most regrettable feature of their nature: their
    quick satiety with good.

What do you think, is it "the most regrettable feature of [our] nature"?


Micha Berger                 What we do for ourselves dies with us.
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   What we do for others and the world,
Author: Widen Your Tent      remains and is immortal.
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF                      - Albert Pine

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Message: 5
From: Cantor Wolberg
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2019 15:08:31 -0400
[Avodah] Tidbits for R"H

The Torah portion for the first day deals with the barrenness of Sarah and the Haftorah deals with the barrenness of Chanah.  
Nevertheless, they finally conceived and gave birth to great people. So it is with Rosh Hashanah.
Though we may have been barren with a lack of mitzvos or with an abundance of aveiros, 
HaShem can also cause a miracle for a rebirth in our lives, providing there is the proper kavana.

The question has been asked why we did the apple into honey.
The standard answer is to symbolize a sweet year.
But why honey? Why not something else sweet.
The answer I learned many years ago was because the bee works for the honey.
And if you want a sweet year, you have to work for it!

A healthy, fulfilling and meaningful 5780

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Message: 6
From: Micha Berger
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2019 15:50:19 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Tidbits for R"H

On Fri, Sep 27, 2019 at 03:08:31PM -0400, Cantor Wolberg via Avodah wrote:
> The question has been asked why we did the apple into honey.
> The standard answer is to symbolize a sweet year.
> But why honey? Why not something else sweet.

R' Meir Shapiro (the Lubliner Rav, not the more recent RMS) has another
a nice answer:

Honey is unique in being a kosher food has a non-kosher source. It is
therefore an elegant symbol of teshuvah.


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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2019 15:10:59 -0400
[Avodah] Shema before Shkiah

It is now typical for a minyan that is davening Maariv before sheqi'ah
that at the end someone announces a reminder to repeat Shema.

I am not sure the MA would have seen the need.

Here's the maqor. The SA (72:2) prohibits taking the meis out for
qevurah immediately before the time for QS.

The MA (s"q 2) says that while this sounds like it is including both
morning and evening Shema, he would be meiqil by Q"Sh shel aevis,

The AhS (OC 72:2) says that since zeman qeri'as Shema is the whole night,
the minhag is to wait until after the qevurah, and then say Shema. After
all, there is basically no risk of not having time to say it after
qevurah. And oseiq bemitzvah patur min hamitzvah.

But this isn't until after he cites Magein Avraham s"q 2, who says that
if it's after pelag haminchah, it is better to say Shema before the

So, apparently to the MA, saying Shema before sheqi'ah is less problematic
than pushing it off.

Not sure that means your gabbai's reminded is overkill, since we aren't
noheig like the MA anyway. (For the AhS's definition of "we".)

Which brings me to something else I found intriguing. What does "ve'ein
haminhag kein" mean in this context? Were people being brought to qevurah
just before sunset frequently enough to maintain a stable minhag? Doesn't
it sound like the kind of rare question the chevra would ask a rav, rather
than do what we always do?


Micha Berger                 Friendship is like stone. A stone has no value,
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   but by rubbing one stone against another,
Author: Widen Your Tent      sparks of fire emerge. 
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF                - Rav Mordechai of Lechovitz


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