Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Interesting Posts and Articles #312

  1. A nice rendition of the William Tell Overture:

  2. Haveil Havalim #311. And 312. And 313. And 314. Yup, it has been a while since I've posted one of these roundups. I have had extremely spotty Internet access. Still having some issues, due to the rain, but I'll hopefully get back to everyone soon.
  3. At the Seforim blog, about the proper nusach of Hadran:
    Did the creator of this prayer, Rabbi Nehunia Ben HaKana, or anyone from Hazalrecite this verse? (If so, there would certainly be a a good reason for it.) A survey of the sources reveals a resounding: no. Not only does it not appear in Gemara Brachos 28b, but it does not appear in any of the known manuscripts, Rambam[2], or any of the many poskim rishonim that quote the prayer. Early versions of the Hadaran prayer do not include the verse either! See the attached photo of the early Venice and Soncino editions of the Talmud.[3] Nowhere. Gornisht.
  4. At DovBear, Ten Questions for Dr. David Berger. For example:
    Do you eat Chabad shchita? I do not eat shechitah of Lubavitch shochtim unless I have reason to believe that the non-Chabad supervising agency is sufficiently concerned about the relevant issues that it is unlikely that the shochtim believe in the divinity of the Rebbe. I do not regard messianism alone as something that renders the meat unkosher bedieved (or, for the grammarians, be-di-avad). At the same time...
  5. On the Main Line on Mei Raglayim.
    Getting back to urine - it is interesting to take note of the fact that apparently the idea that urine could even have been considered in the first place was considered shocking, so there are traditions which deny that mei reglayim, in this context, meant urine. Probably most famously there is the Kol Bo (#38), which says the following:

    Namely, "some say that mei raglayim come from a certain spring called Raglayim; it is not possible to say mei raglayim literally (i.e., urine) since God forbid that it should enter anyone's mind to include urine in the making of the incense." According to this interpretation, then, what was proposed was that water from a spring called Raglayim might have sufficed for the incense. Since "water from Raglayim" is the same word/ name as mei raglayim, i.e., urine, then it would be wrong to use an ingredient with the same name as urine. But urine itself? Come on, don't be ridiculous.
  6. The Daily Daf, on Menachot, asks:
    So, it is only reasonable to ask – if the volume of a kometz, the amount contained under the middle three fingers when folded down unto the palm of the hand, is the size of 2 kezeitim, and twice the size of a kezayit, wouldn’t that make a kezayit pretty small?   I mean, wouldn’t that make a kezayit about the size of an olive?!  And then wouldn’t that mean that when it comes to mitzvot of eating – particularly the upcoming mitzvah of eatingmatzah – that even a pretty moderate amount would count as a kezayit?
    The obvious answer to these questions is yes – a kezayit is only the size of an actual olive. 
    He then links to Rabbi Natan Slifkin's article about the development of the size of the olive.
  7. Shirat Devorah on Speech Therapy, from the writings of the Ben Ish Chai.
  8. Divrei Chaim in favor of some level of dissembling in kiruv. Rabbi Nosson Slifkin, at Rationalist Judaism, against it. Perhaps related, I've often wondered if massive Modern Orthodox kiruv could be successful. It is hard to convey nuance, and often, that nuance is not as persuasive and exciting as many of the clear and straightforward messages found in more chareidi kiruv organizations. For example, one I remember from the Discovery seminar was a proof of the integrity of the masorah, such that there is only one difference between our Sifrei Torah and that of the Teimanim, for example. This would not stand up to critical examination by one versed, for example, in Minchas Shai. That there is now a standard text is due in large part to a regularization in line with the Rama's decisions. But otherwise, on every page in Minchas Shai, one finds many arguments in competing mesorot. And there is the famous midrash about the three Sifrei Torah found in the azara, where our modern Sifrei Torah are the ruling like the majority in each case, such that our Torot are not like any of them. Or instances, I've pointed out, in which Chazal darshen the Samaritan text rather than our own masoretic text. (For instance, here, here, and a followup to the last here and here.) Not to mention plenty of disputes in the trup. The truth is less encouraging / convincing. My sense is that in many of these cases, the presenters themselves are unaware of the nuance and the strong counter-arguments. Which is good, I suppose, in that they are not lying, but just presenting the exciting truth as they see it to be. Perhaps the next generation can become more modern Orthodox.
  9. Here on parshablog, why does Onkelos translate Yidoni as Zechuru?

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