Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Aruch HaShulchan on Pitom falling off, part i: a definition of terms

The Aruch HaShulchan
As a followup to the preceding post, it is fitting to provide some background into the sugya. And for this, a wonderful place to turn is naturally the Aruch HaShulchan, Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein:

סימן תרמח סעיף יז[עריכה]

יש באתרוג שני מיני עצים דקים:
  • האחד בסופו העוקץ, שהוא תלוי בו בהאילן כבכל הפירות, והוא הזנב של הפירי בתחתיתו. ובלשון המשנה הוא "עוקץ" (לד ב). ואצלינו ההמון קורין לזה פיטום, והוא יושב עמוק בתוך האתרוג, עד שאם ניטלנו כולו מעיקרו – תשאר גומא.
  • והשני מעבר האחר בראש האתרוג, כפרח שבמיני תפוחים. ובאתרוג יש שאין להם זה כלל, ויש שיש להם. ונקרא בלשון המשנה "פיטמא", ובלשונינו "שושנתא", מפני שהיא מייפית את האתרוג כשפת פרח שושן. והיא אינה נכנסת בעומק האתרוג, אלא בראשו.
ולפי שהלשונות מתחלפות בזה, לכן בארנו זה: שיש לדעת שהעוקץ הוא התחתון הנכנס בעומק, והשושנתא הוא העליון. ויש אתרוגים שאין להם שושנתא כלל, והיינו אתרוגי קארסיק"א – אין להם שושנתא. וכן אתרוגי ארץ ישראל – יש שיש להם, ויש שאין להם. ואתרוגי קורפו וגינובא ומאראקא – כולם יש להם שושנתא.
ועתה נבאר דיניהם לפי דיעות רבותינו בסייעתא דשמיא.

"There is in the esrog two types of small stems. One is on its end, the Uketz, by which it hangs from the tree as is the case by all fruits, and it is the tail of the fruit on its bottom. And in the language of the Mishna it is the עוקץ (Sukkah 34b). And by us we call it the Pitom [!], and it sits deep within the esrog, such that if we take it all out from its base, there would be a furrow left.

The stalk connects to the tree. The calyx on
the bottom is the outer floral envelope.
And the second is on the other end, at the head of the esrog, like a blossom in types of apples. And among the esrogim, there are some which do not have it at all, and there are some which have them. And this is called in the language of the Mishna Pitma, and in our language Shoshanta, because its beautifies the esrog like the lip of a lily. And it does not enter the bottom [עומק] of the esrog, but rather at its head.

And since the languages can readily be accidentally switched, one for the other, therefore we have explained this: For there is to know that the Uketz is the bottom which enters into its depth, while the Shoshanta it the upmost part. And there are esrogim which do not have a Shoshanta at all. And these are the esrogim of Corsica -- they do not have a Shoshanta. [Josh: Corsican citrons are sweet.]

Corsican esrogim

And so too the esrogim of Eretz Yisrael, some have them [Shoshantas], and some do not have them. And the esrogim of Corfu, Genova, and Morocco, all of them have a Shoshanta.
Morrocan esrog
And now we will explain their dinim accordin to the opinions of our Rabbis, with the help of Heaven."

Perhaps to be continued...

My pittom broke -- now what?

Note: Consult your local Orthodox rabbi for any practical halachic advice.

This year I decided that my hiddur mitzvah for esrog would be in the realm of chinuch. And so I bought a second set for Junior, who is still a few years shy of bar mitzvah, but would still get something nice out of being responsible for, and possessing, his very own lulav set.

His esrog is pictured to the right. On the second day of Yom Tov, he dropped it on the floor, and the pittom broke. You can click to zoom.

To explain, and define the terms I plan on using in this post: At the top of the esrog is a short stem, called the dad. This is not where it attaches to the tree -- the stem which attaches to the tree is called the uketz, and is on the bottom of the esrog. So we are referring to the dad. The dad is thin, vertical, and yellow, and emerges from the top of the esrog. And at the top of that dad is a decoration, brown in color and perhaps somewhat crusty, alternately called the pittom or the shoshanta.

Basically, like the diagram to the right, but with Pitom being a synonym for Shoshanta rather than encompassing both the Dad and Shoshanta.

When Junior dropped it, half of the shoshanta broke off, and a diagonal cross section of the dad broke off as well. You cannot really tell this so well from the image (click to zoom in), because a new brown crusty layer formed over the break.

So what happens, then? Is the esrog now passul?

I looked it up in my Mishnah Brurah, and the conclusion is that it is not pasul bedieved. Even had the entire shoshanta broken off, it would have been kosher bedieved. And as for the stem (the dad), so long as some of it still exists, and it was not broken off in such a way that there is an furrow in the actual fruit below the stem, it is not considered chaser (deficient) and also is kosher bedieved. See Mishna Brurah siman TaRMaHH (548) inside for the details, but they essentially match what I said above, with some nuance in just what bedieved means in this case. Should one ideally borrow (or acquire) someone else's esrog if available? It seems so, based on what he writes... [I am not so convinced by the imperative to be choshesh for all possible opinions, as is the general directive of the Mishna Berurah.]

To see this inside, let us start with the Shulchan Aruch:

7) If its dad was taken off -- and this is the small head upon which the shoshanta exists -- it is invalid. Rema: And some are stringent if its shoshanta -- which is that which we call pitma is taken off (Ran). And it is good to be stringent

in the case where it is possible. However, as a matter of law, one should not invalidate unless the dad, which is the step upon which the top, the pitma is upon it, and the top is called the shoshanta (haMaggid). And all of this is specifically where it is taken off. But, if it never ever had a dad, it is valid. And so are most of the etrogim which they bring in these countries (the Rosh).

[Beer Hetiv: 11) its dad -- this is the step on the top of the etrog, and the shoshanta is upon it. And see the Taz.]

Mishna Berura:
"29: if its dad was taken off: this is the stem on the top of the etrog, like the tip [nipple] of the breast, and it is inserted into it [the etrog] and the shoshanta is upon it.
30: it is invalid: For it is like it [the etrog] is deficient. And behold, from the language of 'the dad was taken off', the implication is that the stem was taken off, even that which is embedded inside the etrog, such that it is made like a depression, and therefore it is invalid. However, if only that which above the etrog is taken off, there is not to be stringent, and so the Taz agrees as a matter of law. However, there are some of the decisors who side with the idea of being stringent, even if only that which is above the etrog is taken off, and they maintain that this is within the scope of 'deficient' as far as it is concerned. And, if there is left from the stem above the etrog even the slightest amount, the opinion of the Magen Avraham is that one should not be stringent in this.
31: where it is possible: this is where it is possible to take [aquire?] a better one than this. But if this is the best, one should not be stringent because of the shoshanta. And still, it appears that this is just if it is missing the shoshanta, but if it is missing as well some part of the stem, even if there is still some part of the stem above the etrog, it is better to take a different one, if it is possible, since there are those who are stringent as well in this."

End quote.

There is also an interesting discussion of this in Aruch Hashulchan, here. Maybe fodder for a follow-up post.

See also Halachipedia on the topic, which gives a much more negative outlook on it. More encompassing than my post above, but also omitting some important detail and thus nuance in the Rema, for example. And they also use the term pittom differently than I defined it above for the sake of this post.

Monday, September 23, 2013

posts so far for parshat veZos Habrachah

  1. veZos haBracha sources, 2012 edition -- begun in 2008 as links by perek and aliyah to an online Mikraos Gedolos. Then, added more than 100 commentaries on the parasha and haftarah. Further expanded in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
  2. An alternate explanation of ה מִסִּינַי בָּא -- The second pasuk of Zos Habracha reads: וַיֹּאמַר, ה מִסִּינַי בָּא וְזָרַח מִשֵּׂעִיר לָמוֹ--הוֹפִיעַ מֵהַר פָּארָן, וְאָתָה מֵרִבְבֹת קֹדֶשׁ; מִימִינוֹ, אשדת (אֵשׁ דָּת) לָמוֹ.
    While the famous traditional explanation of the pasuk "Hashem miSinai ba..." is about mattan Torah, and Hashem offering the Torah to various nations first, the Ramban offers a competing explanation. The Tur follows in his path, quoting and excerpting the main points. This post presents the Tur, in his long commentary, where explains most of it as referring to Hashem's manifesting His Presence through the stay in the midbar.

  3. Eshdat Lamo as a reference to אַשְׁדֹּת הַפִּסְגָּה -- And if so, then neither the reisha nor seifa of the pasuk is speaking about mattan Torah.
  4. Who buried MosheAccording to Ibn Janach, Moshe, via a miracle. Then he retracts to say that it was Hashem.
  5. Zos Habracha and biodynamic agriculture -- Are there plants which grow, and fruits which ripen, based on moonlight, rather than sunlight?


  1. Multivalence in Asher's blessing -- An interesting example of multi-valence in the Sifrei's interpretation of Asher's bracha, in parashat veZos haBeracha. Does themi mean "more than" or "with"? Or does it mean both simultaneously? Also, why I believe Rashi's girsa of the Sifrei is better than Ramban's variant.
  2. How could Rabbi Yehuda respond regarding the complete TorahThe famous dispute about the last eightpesukim in the Torah.
  3. If pre-describing Moshe's death is a problem, why isn't the land of NaftaliBrooklynWolf asks this excellent question. And here is a few ways one might, and some did, answer it.
  4. Why to Kohanim and not KingsConsidering a suggestion of Chasam Sofer as to Rashi's choice in bringing onemidrash of two. Does Rashi specify that the daughters of the tribe of Asher married kohanim gedolim, rather than kings?
  5. The Chasam Sofer on the last eight pesukim, or the last twelve pesukim -- Does the Chasam Sofer actually hold like Ibn Ezra on this?!
  6. Who buried Moshe? and what this has to do with post-Mosaic authorship -- A most straightforward local reading of the pasuk is that an unspecified human being buried Moshe. Considering the context, why this is difficult to say, and why midash, Rashi, Ibn Ezra, and the Karaites all say otherwise. And how the alternative is avery late authorship for the last eight pesukim.

  1. Reuven and viyhi metav mispar; should it be, or should it not be? The dispute between Rashi et al. and Ibn Ezra et al on whether al applies to this second clause.
  2. Here is a link to an article at the Leiman Library, by Dr. Richard Steiner and Dr. Shnayer Leiman, about the meaning of eshdat in parshat v'Zot HaBrachah.
  3. Considering Ibn Ezra and the secret of the last eight pesukim. And how he maintains that the last eight pesukim of the Torah, as well as other psukim throughout, were written by Yehoshua rather than Moshe.
  4. Binyamin with three yuds! An interesting masorah mentioned by Minchas Shai, and why we should not be concerned with it.
  5. Were Moshe's eyes not dim before or after his death? A stira in Rashi, or in two midrashim he cites. Is one meant as peshat and the other as derash?
  6. The last eight pesukim in Chumash -- why assume Moshe didn't write them? Explaining Rashi and his sources, as well as just what in the pesukim besides Moshe's death indicates post-Mosaic authorship.
  7. On the same topic, Ibn Ezra and the secret of the twelve pesukim. From parshat Devarim.

  1. Esh De-At Lamo -- where I take it as an Aramaism, de + at, "which comes".

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Succot-related posts

Nothing new on Succot (yet) this year. Here are posts from past years:

YU's Sukkot To-Go, 5774

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

masechet Rosh Hashanah: disappearing midwives and individual shofar blowing during the silent Amidah

Two days before Rosh Hashanah, in honor of Rosh Hashanah, I learned through maseches Rosh Hashanah on the train. I used an illustrated one that I picked up at last year's YU Seforim sale, Mishnayos Meiros, and it was nice.
There were plenty of illustrations, perhaps to excess. Some masechtos really require many illustrations to get the point across, e.g. Succah and Shabbos. And then, when something is not illustrated, you chance not understanding it. Other masechtos don't really lend themselves to illustrations. For Rosh Hashanah, as I said, there were plenty. Some unnecessary. E.g. if the Mishna mentions a fruit tree, need I really show a tree with fruit, because otherwise we would not know? Where the regalim are mentioned, need we really have a picture of a Matza, and Mountain, and a Lulav, to show Pesach, Shavuos, and Succos? I was amused, but still, it is better to err on the side of more pictures.

One thing then stuck out like a sore thumb. A Mishna (2:6) detailed people to whom we grant techum Shabbos at their destination, and naturally, every case is illustrated:

ב,ו  בראשונה, לא היו זזים משם כל היום; התקין רבן גמליאל הזקן, שיהו מהלכין אלפיים אמה לכל רוח.  ולא אלו בלבד, אלא אף החכמה הבאה לילד, והבא להציל מיד הגיס, מיד הנהר, מיד הדליקה, מיד המפולת--הרי אלו כאנשי העיר, ויש להן אלפיים אמה לכל רוח.

Well, except one. Can you guess which?

Yes, they skip right over החכמה הבאה לילד. I suppose they thought it would not be tzniusdik to show a woman in labor. But they did not have to show the baby crowning. They could have the pregnant woman in the background and the midwife rushing to help her, just as the fellow in the picture above is rushing towards the fire. Unless they won't show any pictures of women at all, because of tznius considerations...

I also had an interesting (and compelling) thought about the very last Mishna:

ד,ט  סדר תקיעות, שלוש של שלוש שלוש.  שיעור תקיעה, כדי שלוש תרועות; שיעור תרועה, כדי שלוש יבבות.  תקע בראשונה, ומשך בשנייה כשתיים--אין בידו אלא אחת.  מי שבירך, ואחר כך נזדמן לו שופר--תוקע ומריע ותוקע, תוקע ומריע ותוקע, שלושה פעמים.  כשם ששליח ציבור חייב, כך כל יחיד ויחיד חייב; רבן גמליאל אומר, שליח ציבור מוציא את הרבים ידי חובתן. 

"Just as the Shliach Tzibbur is obligated, so is each individual obligated. Rabban Gamliel says: The Shliach Tzibbur fulfills the obligation on behalf of the community."

The standard commentaries and translations render this as referring to the obligation to say the Amidah. This in light of the gemara on the Mishna, which cites a brayta which elaborates.

However, based on the surrounding context, it really seems like pashut peshat in the Mishna is that it is referring to blowing the shofar. That is, the Amida involves the blessings of Malchuyot, Zichronot and Shofarot, which are accompanied by shofar blasts. One might think that since the individuals are saying this in their private Amida, they should also blow the shofar. And indeed, this is what the Tanna Kamma says. But Rabban Gamliel argues and say that the Amida + shofar blasts in chazaras haShatz covers them.

To support this idea that each individual was blowing the shofar, see the previous Mishna for more context:

 אין מעכבין את התינוקות מלתקוע, ומתעסקין עימהם כדי שילמדו.  והמתעסק, לא יצא; והשומע מן המתעסק, לא יצא.

Why is chinuch of children to blow the shofar so important, if it is done by only a single person on behalf of the community? But the children are engaged in blowing the shofar, and people are engaged in teaching them to blow. This indicates that there is widespread shofar blowing going on. (Not necessarily in the course of prayer, though.)

Further, see Rosh Hashanah 29b:
1. (Rabah) Everyone is obligated to blow Shofar, but not everyone is competent to do so.
2. There is therefore a concern that a person might carry it on Shabbos to an expert for instruction.
3. It is for this reason that the Rabanan forbade Lulav and Megilah on Shabbos.

Note that he is bringing it to the expert for instruction. Not that he could hear it from the expert, but that he should be able to blow it for himself. If he could hear and fulfill, and this was an ideal situation, why the assumption that he should learn how to blow?

What about the gemara, and the brayta? I would say we should try to see if we can interpret the brayta in light of this understanding of the Mishna.

כשם ששליח צבור חייב כך כל יחיד ויחיד וכו':  תניא אמרו לו לרבן גמליאל לדבריך למה צבור מתפללין אמר להם כדי להסדיר שליח צבור תפלתו אמר להם רבן גמליאל לדבריכם למה שליח צבור יורד לפני התיבה אמרו לו כדי להוציא את שאינו בקי אמר להם כשם שמוציא את שאינו בקי כך מוציא את הבקי

"The learnt in a brayta: They said to Rabban Gamliel: According to you, why do the congregation pray? He said to them: so that the Shliach Tzibbur can arrange his prayer. Rabban Gamliel said to them: According to you, why does the Shliach Tzibbur descend before the ark? They said to him: So that he should fulfill for whoever is not an expert. He said to them: Just as he fulfills for the non-expert, so he fulfills for the expert."

So the context clearly seems to be prayer rather than shofar blasts. But try to interpret it otherwise. Namely, since the performance of the shofar blasts are part of the prayer, their individual prayer is nothing. So why pray? Answers Rabban Gamliel, to give the Shliach Tzibbur time to prepare.

He said to them: Why does the Shliach tzibur descend before the ark, if each individual must blow for himself as part of his prayer? They said: To fulfill for he who is not a baki, and expert.

Note the use of בקי, which should mean an expert in shofar blowing. [However, or also, see the discussion in the Yerushalmi over whether people should be expected to be experts in shofar blowing or the nusach hatefilla of Rosh Hashana specifically.]

This would make for a very interesting Rosh Hashana davening, I think, where everyone comes to shul with his shofar and blows during the silent Amidah.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Let them swing their chickens

Do you really think we are practicing the same religion?

I don't go around telling Christians how to practice their religion. I don't tell Muslims or Buddhists either.

So what business do I have telling e.g. Chareidim, or e.g. Sefardim, that their practice is superstitious? Or that they should specifically use money instead. Let us say I can harness rabbinic sources who blasted the custom? E.g. Rav Yosef Karo. They can also harness rabbinic sources who support the custom. E.g. the Rama.

Next we will have Reform and Conservative coming out and blasting Orthodox practices, and speaking for the entire religion to the world.

On an individual level, I might discuss the topic with someone and present them with the halachic options, and opinions. And I might even try to show why I think the practice is superstitious, or assur, and I might promote the use of money in its place. But I wouldn't presume to undermine the entire practice publicly, and be the wood of the ax used to chop down trees, on behalf of those who don't really value Judaism at all.  (e.g. animal rights activists have their own agenda, but can make use of Jews protesting kapparot.)

Not everyone holds like the same rabbis I hold by; and people give greater weight to what has been established for generations as a holy minhag; and people put great stock in kabbalistic reasons for doing things. (Not my cup of tea, but again, not my "religion".)

From Rabbi Eli Mansour, on why Sefardim practice Kaparot with a chicken:
However, it has been revealed that the Arizal (Rabbi Yishak Luria of Safed, 1534-1572) indeed followed and strongly encouraged the custom of Kapparot. We, of course, treat all the customs and practices of the Arizal with the utmost seriousness and respect, as they reflect the customs of the Kabbalistic tradition, which we follow. Therefore, we do not accept Maran's ruling on this issue, and we follow instead the custom of the Arizal to perform Kapparot with a chicken. This practice is also codified by the great Rabbi from Halab (Aleppo), the Eretz Haim Sutton, and by the Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909).
Here is an article by Rabbi Eliyahu Fink on why to not do kapparot with a chicken, bringing arguments as well as a diyuk from the Aruch Hashulchan. Though I would point out that not everyone holds like the Aruch Hashulchan.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

YUTorah Rosh Hashanah To-Go for 2013

Download Yeshiva University's Rosh Hashana To-Go 5774 at
Download The Benjamin and Rose Berger Rosh Hashana-Yom Kippur To-Go 5774
which contains the following articles:
download rosh hashana to-go
A Serious Birthday Celebration 
Rabbi Reuven Brand 
(Rosh Kollel, YU Torah Mitzion Kollel of Chicago)
U’Netaneh Tokef: Will the Real Author Please Stand Up 
Rabbi Kenneth Brander 
(Vice President for University and Community Life, YU • The David Mitzner Dean, Center for the Jewish Future)
Thoughts on the Concept of Tekias Shofar 
Rabbi Shlomo Drillman z"l 
(Rosh Yeshiva, RIETS)
Yom Kippur: When Less is More 
Mrs. Chaya Batya Neugroschl 
(Head of School, Yeshiva University High School for Girls)
"And he saw the place from afar": Avraham's Journey to the Akedah
Mrs. Deena S. Rabinovich

(Director, Legacy Heritage Scholars/Jewish Educators Project, Stern College for Women • Instructor, Stern College for Women)
In Every Generation 

Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner

(Rosh Beit Midrash, YU Torah MiTzion Zichron Dov Beit Midrash of Toronto)
Practial Halacha Supplement: A Guide to Eiruv Tavshilin 

Rabbi Joshua Flug

(Director of Torah Research, Yeshiva University's Center for the Jewish Future)

Plus 5 more years of Rosh Hashana To-Go issues with additional articles and divrei Torah

Sunday, September 01, 2013

posts so far for parshat Haazinu


  1. Haazinu sources -- begun in 2008 as links to an online Mikraos Gedolos, by aliyah and perek. In 2009, added more than 100 meforshim on the parsha and haftorah. In 2010, further improved and expanded. In 2011, even more sources. For instance, many more meforshei Rashi and meforshei Onkelos.
  2. Rabbi Avner the apostate in a Haazinu Torah Code -- Except of course that it is a likely a bubbe mayseh, and it is no Torah Code.
  3. Is Pikei'ach Nefesh docheh ShabbosNo, that is not a typo in the title.
  4. The 'peshat' in Shamayim, in Haazinu HaShamayim --  Tur vs. Tur, peshat vs. hanachon.
  5. The shaking, or shaken, earth --  Considering a krei and ketiv in the haftara, according to Meshech Chochma.
  6. YUTorah for parashat Haazinu

  1. Why Chomsky went off the derech -- He fulfilled the first part of the pasuk, of שְׁאַל אָבִיךָ וְיַגֵּדְךָ, though his father did not know enough about the topic to inform him correctly. (Deep knowledge of Hebrew is different from deep knowledge of the relevant sugyot and the derivation of a halacha.) He should have followed up with זְקֵנֶיךָ וְיֹאמְרוּ לָךְ, by asking his grandfather.
  1. 'The Vile nation', censored out of Baal HaTurim.
  2. Har Sinai, the smallest of all the mountains -- and a good question from Junior.
  3. Is corruption His? Reading shiches lo as an accusation by the children of Israel.
  4. How many lines in Haazinu? Though the printed Rambams have encoded the number of lines as 70, in the good kitvei yad, the number is 67, and people just modified Rambam to accord with their local practice. And this let Cassuto to think that the Aleppo Codex was not for real.
  5. Teshi, with a unique small yud -- that does not appear elsewhere, because there should not be a small yud in Pinchas. And possible meanings of this unique small yud, from a midrashic perspective.
  6. Does parshat Haazinu include the promise that Israel will enjoy non-kosher fats?Ibn Ezra might be able to use this pasuk to bolster his assertion in parshat Tzav that really, the only forbidden fats are on animals that are actually korbanot, but on your typical animal of the same species, the prohibition is only derabbanan. Though Ibn Ezra does not cite this pasuk of Haazinu, Shadal brings it up and dismisses it as proof.
  7. Is vayin`atz a transitive or intransitive verb? Much like oved in Arami oved avi. Given that it is usually transitive, how do we explain it seeming to occur in an intransitive context in Haazinu?
  8. According to the number of the sons of... A difficult pasuk in Haazinu, with several of the many explanations offered given the traditional reading. And the reading of the Septuagint, of angels of God, and the fragmentary reading of the Dead Sea Scrolls, of bnei el-, which works out well with developed Jewish tradition as well as Ugaritic myth, in a way that neatly fixes up the entire "problem." Perhaps a broader discussion of this in a later post.
  9. The Natural Order, and the Sun in Giveon -- trying to figure out just what is bothering Ibn Ezra in his missing commentary on sefer Yehoshua, which he hints at in this week's parsha, and why the Moon standing still is somehow an answer to his problem. I think I figured it out.
  10. Alexander's ascent, via griffin or griffin-vulture -- related to the parsha, but discusses a Yerushalmi of Alexander ascending high into the air and seeing the world like a ball. Pnei Moshe says this was via his  nesher, basing himself on Greek accounts. In fact, in (some of?) those Greek accounts, it was via griffin.
  11. Is the second Pru Urvu a blessing or a command? A post on Bereishit, but an important principle is established from a pasuk in the tail-end of Haazinu, וּמֻת בָּהָר אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה עֹלֶה שָׁמָּה, where an imperative form is used for something outside Moshe's power. So too Pru Urvu.
  1. In Shadal's Vikuach, in the chapter on the age of trup, an interesting Rabbenu Bachya -- that despite the sof pasuk dividing the two psukim, it should be read as דּוֹר עִקֵּשׁ וּפְתַלְתֹּל with הַ לְיְהוָה, תִּגְמְלוּ-זֹאת. That is, "a generation crooked and perverse, Do ye thus requite the LORD?..."
  • Lech Lecha (2005): And I Will Make Your Name Great
    • Name as "Title," Name as "Renown." Towards the end, we turn to analyze כִּי שֵׁם ה, אֶקְרָא: {ס} הָבוּ גֹדֶל, לֵאלֹקֵינוּ, and claim this is a case of synonymous parallellism.
2003, 2004
  • Haazinu: The Shva Na/Nach Problem
    • A vocalization problem with Devarim 32:6: הַ לְיְקוָק, תִּגְמְלוּ-זֹאת. Is the shva under the lamed a na or nach? An interesting grammatical analysis.
  • The Shva Na/Nach Problem, Take 2
    • A reworking of the above, such that it is clearer, with more background. Additionally, an image of the Aleppo Codex is included, as well as a discussion of information provided by Ibn Ezra and Shmuel HaNagid on its pronunciation and way of writing it (with three different traditions). Also, I offer an explanation of the phenomenon. As we see in Targum, the הַ is not the heh expressing wonder, but rather a congnate of the Aramaic הָא, meaning hineh {=behold}. The open patach was initially allowed as an odd archaic feature of Biblical poetry, but then seized the lamed from the next word to close the syllable.
  • Related, at Lion of Zion: Ha'azinu's Homoeoteleuton (in Radak), 2008
  • A Source for ברכת התורה
    • Vayelech/Haazinu/ Vezot HaBeracha - A neat derivation, or hint, to the practice of saying a bracha, blessing, before and after being called up in shul for an aliya to the Torah.


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