Thursday, October 22, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #225

  1. At Rechovot, defending Israeli exceptionalism:
    In general, the point about Exceptionalism is valid. My problem, though, is that in addressing the Middle East Cohen resembles the carpenter who only possesses a hammer – to him, every problem looks like a nail.
    To my mind, blaming the problem on Exceptionalism is simply wrong. Sometimes you are paranoid, but sometimes they really are out to get you.
  2. At the Weekly Standard, the Persecution of Belmont Abbey.

  3. Hirhurim on saying Shema better. I wonder if such focus on whether a particular sheva merachef should be na or nach, where either means precisely the same thing, is really what Chazal meant. And even if so, whether such punctiliousness would not detract from efforts at kavanah.

  4. In the Pink about headaches and hair covering. More on this topic later, bli neder. This is an important topic.

  5. Baruch Pelta interviews Dr. Lawrence Kaplan about Daas Torah, at the Seforim blog.

  6. Daf Notes on daf Yomi, and how
    The Chavos Yair (responsa: 152) quotes the Rema who writes that it is well known that Rav is in fact Rav Abba, the chosen disciple of Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai. And everytime that the Gemora says, “Rav was quiet,” it does not mean that he was silent because he did not know; rather, he knew how to answer according to “sod” – the hidden secrets of the Torah, and he did not want to reveal them.
    And whether this is lehalacha. While it may be well known, can we confirm this? Rav was a first generation Amora / quasi-Tanna, but I don't know of any evidence from the gemara that Rav studied under Rabbi Shimon. Indeed, Rav was a student of Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi and Rabbi Chiyya, which was one Tannaitic generation later than Rashbi. And Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi wanted to marry the widow of Rabbi Eleazar, the son of Rabbi Shimon. Were Rav and Rashbi even alive at the same time?

    See Vikuach al Chochmas Hakabbalah, where Shadal makes similar points.

  7. At Life In Israel, how Ariel Sharon could wake up any day now. This will likely excite the kabbalists and their followers, as certain kabbalists predicted Ariel Sharon would be Israel's last Prime Minister, and there has been more than one since then. They could now claim that this was a reference to some future time in which he will be reelected.

  8. What do you do when you like an idea, or a joke, and would like to forward it in frum circles, but it has some negative aspect that just won't go over well? One could edit it. This instance was innocuous, but we see this over and over with inspirational stories such as "I almost sold a Yid for a quarter" and "The Difference a friend could make."

    Compare the comic below, at Achas Lemaalah, with the one I borrowed from Life In Israel.

  9. Here on parshablog, moral lessons from parshas Noach, and how the dinosaurs missed the boat.


Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>I wonder if such focus on whether a particular sheva merachef should be na or nach, where either means precisely the same thing, is really what Chazal meant

You mean if there were two such vowels, or at least two which had been isolated and identified, in the time of Chazal? Or that it doesn't matter, because it simply isn't the sort of didkuk in pronunciation they meant.

joshwaxman said...

i was thinking in terms of the latter, but now that you mention it, the former is also an interesting question. is there any discussion of shevas in Chazal, such that they would have been thinking in terms of this?


Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>is there any discussion of shevas in Chazal

Obviously not by name, but putting that aside, after mentally surveying my vast knowledge and employing my erudition in all of rabbinic literature I don't think there is.

In fact, I once posted (mainly cribbing ideas from an HUCA article by Werner Weinberg) which called into question about whether there were BGDKPT kefulot, or if there were, were they necessarily even aware of it.

I wish I could rewrite these posts now, as I think I know a bit more about it, but the basic premise still stands. I would guess that they were likely to have been much less aware of the sheva than the kefulot. Of course this probably also ties in with the age of the Sefer Yetzirah.

yaak said...

It's a sad commentary on our generation that many of us don't have a mesora on how to pronounce words of Keri'at Shema, something that we do twice a day (at least), and that we need to check various Siddurim for the correct pronunciations.

Artscroll/Koren have become our fathers/Rabbanim.


Very interesting about Ribbi Abba and Rav.
You seem to be correct that Rav was alive much later (born in 175 ce according to Wikipedia) than Rashb"i (died in 160 ceaccording to


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