Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Interesting Posts and Articles #268

  1. Rafi G. of Life In Israel weighs in on the recent dispute in Bet Shemesh about plots of land. As well as about a bunch of girls who asked the gedolim what they could do for shidduchim, as they were holding out for the "best boys" but the best boys only will take someone who can provide a dira. The solution was to pray, or pray more.
  2. The Muqata on game theory and negotiations with Arab countries.
  3. Emes veEmunah responds to an article in the Trusty Shovel (TM) on the Modern Orthodox response to the Rubashkin and Slonim issues.
  4. Ishim veShitos regarding some Italian rabbis, and their beards.
  5. A guest post on Hirhurim criticizing a position, and speech, given by Professor Sperber, about drinking during the 9 days.

    What was the supposed erroneous basis for the ruling in the Shulchan Aruch? A passage in theYerushalmi in tractates Pesachim and Ta’anit reports the custom of certain women to refrain from certain activity (למשתייא) from Rosh Chodesh Av until the fast of the 9th. Sperber demonstrated that theShulchan Aruch understood the Yerushalmi to be reporting that these women refrained from drinking wine during this time period, and based on this understanding the Shulchan Aruch codified his ruling. However, Sperber pointed out that the word למשתייא in Palestinian Aramaic means “to weave,” not “to drink,” which would be למשתי. Moreover, he noted that if the custom was to refrain from drinking, it is not clear why this custom would be specifically attributed to women, and not men.
    Yes, there are other versions cited of gemara which has למשתי חמרא, but I would strongly guess that Dr. Sperber knows this. This may well be an issue of methodology. While many would be hesitant to prefer one girsa over the other and be choshesh for both, I would agree that למשתייא is the much more likely original reading. When considering two variants, either A came from B, B came from A, or A and B both came from C. The word למשתי is a much more common word, and so an errant scribe is much more likely to emend the text to the common word from the unknown Galilean Aramaic word. Then, to clarify, the word חמרא could be added. (Update: I see from the comment thread that this retelling did not capture much of Dr. Sperber's point; he had claimed that חמרא was אמרא, wool.) The word למשתייא is exceedingly uncommon, and a scribe would be unlikely to change from the more common to this less common word. And if he would do so through corruption, it is exceedingly unlikely that he would happen across this word which works so well with the specification of women, rather than men, because it is the women who are doing the spinning, while it makes less sense regarding drinking of wine. So it is not just that the text makes more sense with regard to women, it is an application of lectio difficilior to choose the more likely original girsa. (Add to this that the Mishna on Taanis 30a only forbids drinking wine on erev tisha b'av, which Rav restricted even further.)

    All this is of course said without looking at the gemara inside, since no one said what daf it was on. Also, see this. Also, the Cairo Geniza has למשתיא, weaving, rather than drinking.
  6. Matzav is upset that they are delaying building the Barzilai Emergency room as they relocate an ancient tree:

    Though chareidi representatives spoke out and waged an unbending campaign at the behest of gedolei Yisroel shlita, dozens of graves were unearthed in a high-speed operation conducted by the Antiquities Authority...
    Now the construction work on the reinforced emergency ward is being delayed because of an “ancient” sycamore tree growing in the middle of the site. The same figures who backed the disinterment of the graves, explaining that it was a matter of “pikuach nefesh” and public safety, are now holding up the project for several weeks to accommodate the tree, which is said to have “nostalgic” value.
    If this is accurate, it does not bother me, nor strike me as hypocrisy. They are not cancelling the building, they are delaying it, just as they delayed it for the graves. The Pikuach Nefesh had to do with the distance of a relocated emergency ward. And they likely rushed in relocating the graves because so long as the graves were in the process of being moved, certain chareidim were staging protests, burning garbage bins, trying to interfere with the work, and so on and so forth. etc.
  7. And also via Matzav, Rav Malkiel Kotler blasts Hamodia for printing a memorial for Rabbi Dr. Bernard Lander. Except of course it is an unnamed paper with a memorial for an unnamed person. Silly.


Nosson Gestetner said...

Any chance some of my stuff will come into consideration? :)

S. said...

>the Trusty Shovel (TM)

I guess it could be the Trusty Pooper Scooper™, but that wouldn't be sufficiently respectful of its Torah source.

joshwaxman said...

"any chance..."

i'll try to keep it in mind.

Nosson Gestetner said...

Thank you sir!


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