Saturday, December 29, 2007

מקור ברוך- האם השבח שבכתביו אינו מגיע לכזביו

Of late several harsh criticisms have been directed against the works of R’ Baruch Halevi Epstein including accusations plagiarism and of "manufacturing stories". For the moment, I will focus on the latter complaint. I hope to focus on some of the other complaints in future posts.

As part of a series analyzing various “Sippurei Tsadddikim”, Mr. Y. Mondeshein has provided us with a through (according to his lights) analysis of various inconsistencies in R’ Epsteins work.

The majority of his criticisms merely prove that R’ Epstein availed himself of a small amount of artistic license. Hardly a devastating criticism given that (to the best of my knowledge) R’ Epstein never intended to produce an academically accurate history.

Mondeshein cites only two proofs to support his insinuation that these stories are a complete fabrication. Namely,

1. אבל הסיפור בכללותו סותר את המקובל בקרב חסידי חב"ד, שאביו עזב את ליובאוויטש בחרון-אף על אשר אחד מגדולי החסידים נהג בו שלא בכבוד המגיע לו לדעתו

2. אנחנו ידענו את הרב רש"י זוין ע"ה, שנסמך להוראה גם על-ידי בעל 'ערוך השולחן', והקשרים ביניהם נמשכו גם לאחר מכן. האם הרב זוין סיפר בהזדמנות כלשהי על "כללי ההוראה" שקיבל מ'ערוך השולחן' בשם אדמו"ר ה'צמח צדק'?! האם בעל 'ערוך השולחן' לא מצא לנכון להשמיע באזני אברך עילוי זה, חסיד חב"ד, עוד סיפורים מאשר שמע במאות שעות שיחותיו עם ה'צמח צדק'?! וכלום לא נזדמנה ל'ערוך השולחן' הזדמנות נוספת כלשהי לספר על אותו חודש מאושר שזכה לו במחיצת ה'צמח צדק'?!

And it is precisely complaint number two that causes Mondeshein's entire house of cards falls. For a close talmud of the Aruch HaShulchan does in fact record some of these conversations. R’ Y. L. Maimon (Fishman) in his books Sarei HaMayos (V. 6) describes several such conversations that “the Aruch Hashulchan himself has told me when at the request of some of the (Chassidic) townspeople he went to visit the Tzemach Tsedek.” Their first conversation involved a discussion of the disagreements between Chassidim and Misnagdim…." (See at length there)

Of course for a conspiracy theorist of the like of M. (he writes that R’ Epstein invented these tales to get Chassidim to accept the Pesakim of his father, to put all sorts of strange anti-Chassidic statements in the mouth of the Tzemach Tzedek [1] , etc. ad nauseum) this presents no difficulty. He will simply extend the conspiracy to a vast Misnagdik – Tsionist (R' Maimon) conspiracy to discredit Lubavitch. This may be amusing material for a pulp novel but hardly constitutes good scholarship. [2]

It also seems eminently reasonable to suggest that the AS received Kabbalistic knowledge from the Tzemach Tzedek (Something that M. thinks unlikely). See the study of the AS's unique use of Kabbalah here.

As far as the first comment, it is clear that the AS had very positive relations with the Chassidim of his town. Proof of this is the enthusiastic approbations given to his Ohr LaYesharim by the Rebbe of Chernobyl and his son (The Tzemach Tzedek had passed on at that time). The AS printed these to his own detriment. This enraged the misnagdim who ripped the haskamos off of the work. (See the account in Maimon ibid. He obtained a copy of the work with Haskamas at great expense. Undoubtedly a study of these Haskamas will yield important information to a more serious scholar then M.)

Note also that R’ Epstein brother-in-law Meir Bar Ilan records somewhat similar information on this in his book. Many of R’ Epsteins stories are corroborated there.

Dan Rabinowitz’s has a far more balanced discussion in Tradition (Rayna Batya…An evaluation of R’ Baruch Halevi’s sources). Lacking access to a Mayin Ganim I cannot refute his sole proof [3]. Still being as her son R’ Chaim Berlin (and presumably other people who would have know her well) alive, R’ Baruch could not have entirely recreated her personality. This holds good for many of R' Baruch's accounts.

I am therefore somewhat surprised that a historian of the caliber of Dr. Marc Shapiro should write:

“While in many cases the stories told are strange and one wonders whether they are accurate, in some cases it can be determined with virtual, or even complete, certainty that they are false. Yehoshua Mondshine has authored a number of articles showing the falsehoods in (mostly) hasidic stories. Among the non-hasidic works he takes aim at is R. Barukh Epstein’s Mekor Barukh.[16] Mondshine’s prime concern is with the famous story recorded by Epstein about his father’s meeting with the Tzemah Tzedek, and Mondshine attempts to show that there is no reason to believe the report.To this I would only add that, knowing Epstein’s reputation as a plagiarizer and how he manufactured stories, one should not take seriously any of his “recollections.” I know the feminists will be upset with this, but we must assume that the entire dialogue between him and Rayna Batya,[17] which shows her as a proto-feminist, is contrived and has no historical significance other than revealing that Epstein himself wanted to call attention to the sad fate of talented women who are not permitted to study Torah In the unlikely event that he does accurately portray Rayna Batya, all I can say is that the punishment of one who tells tall tales is that even when he tells a true story he is not believed”

(Dr. Shapiro neglects to mention that this a quotation from TB Sanhedrin. See however S. Friedmans study of Talmudic proverbs here.)

As I think I have shown, M.’s study is deeply flawed and proves nothing at all. I hope to deal with the issue of Epstein's supposed plagiarism in a future post.

I would also like to put to rest any doubts on "the idea that the Netziv C"V read newspapers". The Netziv's full page article in support of Chovivei Tzion as well as some letters to the editor can easily be accessed here. (Republished and annotated in an isue of HaMaayan)

תבנא לדינא השבח שבכתבי ר' ברוך מגיע הרבה למעלה מכזביו (אם אכן יש כזה דבר שכלל אינו ברור אצלי) ותאלמנה שפתי שקר וכו

[1] R’ Epstein in fact shows a rather friendly face towards Chassidim - See for example his account of Avigdor M’Pinsk in Mekor Baruch.

[2] Some originality in this area would be quite a good thing. At present, the Charedi novel is largely a product of plagiarism. Compare for example Y. Weinstocks Calculated Risk and Agatha Christie’s Destination Unknown. The plotlines are almost identical except for the substitution of female characters with men (Somewhat in the manner of the ancient Greek and the English thespians) and an extended discussion of the dangers of computers as an “outside influence”.

[3] Also cited by M. Note that in his magisterial (an adjective that extends to all his writings) work על חינוך הבנות in Ohr Hamzrach. Dr. Meir Hershkowitz z”l arrives at the same conclusion as that of the Mayin Ganim (R’ Archivolti) using standard halachic sources. This being the case I see no reason that Archivolti (who was Leon Modena’s teacher (see Adelmans thesis on Modena) cannot be cited כתנא דמסייע

Friday, December 28, 2007

On Theodicy and its counterarguments

ברכות ז: -אמר ר' יותנן משום ר' יוסי.... בקש (משה) להודיעו דרכיו של הקב"ה ונתן לו שנא' (שמות לג) הודיעני נא את דרכיך אמר לפניו רבש"ע מפני מה יש צדיק וטוב לו ויש צדיק ורע לו יש רשע וטוב לו ויש רשע ורע לו אמר לו משה צדיק וטוב לו צדיק בן צדיק צדיק ורע לו צדיק בן רשע רשע וטוב לו רשע בן צדיק רשע ורע לו רשע בן רשע:

אמר מר צדיק וטוב לו צדיק בן צדיק צדיק ורע לו צדיק בן רשע איני והא כתיב (שמות לד) פקד עון אבות על בנים וכתיב (דברים כד) ובנים לא יומתו על אבות ורמינן קראי אהדדי ומשנינן לא קשיא הא כשאוחזין מעשה אבותיהם בידיהם הא כשאין אוחזין מעשה אבותיהם בידיהם אלא הכי קא"ל צדיק וטוב לו צדיק גמור צדיק ורע לו צדיק שאינו גמור רשע וטוב לו רשע שאינו גמור

רשע ורע לו רשע גמור"

I'd like to propose a theory that would explain the difference between הו"א and the מסקנא. It would at first appear that whoever proposed the first explanation seemed to have forgotten an obvious Passuk - דבר שאפילו תשב"ר יודעין בה

In truth, the word "Ben" does not necessarily mean son. It can also be used to denote profession (e.g. the popular term Ben Torah, R' Yochana bar Nafcha (but cf. Rashi)), birthplace (e.g. R' Abba bar Mamal as explained by Shir - Divrei Shalom V' Emes), or to describe certain character traits[1].

If so then the original Tanna in referring to a צדיק בן רשע actually intended to say צדיק שאינו גמר (i.e. a Tsaddik with some traits of a Rasha)- the מסקנא of the Gemara. The שו"ט of the Gemara is based on a misunderstanding of the term "Ben". (The term ה"ק is generally not meant to be a new formulation but rather an explanation of the original formulation.)

I suggest that many sugyos in which the הו"א of a Gemara seems to be saying an obviously incorrect explanation is in fact simply an unclear statement that needs to be properly interpreted ( A statement transmitted orally may convey certain nuances that are lost in print thus leading to misunderstandings, The meanigs of certain words may have changed over the 300 year period of the transmission of the Talmud , etc.)
והדבר צריך עוד עיון דו"ק ותשכח

[1] (In Mekor Baruch Vol. 3 - he suggests that the phrase Taanis 21b:

אמר ליה מוטב יבא מנה בן פרס אצל מנה בן מנה ואל יבא מנה בן מנה אצל מנה בן פרס

is not referring to his father (Why would he express humility at the expense of his father? What
of Kibbud Av?) but is rather describing himself as being incomplete - ( a loaf with traits of a half-loaf. See there for a more extended discussion on the meanings of the term "Ben".)

The Pinner Talmud

I'd like to call attention to a rather important source that R' Chaim Rapoport rather disingenuously ignores in his recent (altogether rather disingenuous) article on Artscroll. R' Rapoport cites various Gedolim who supported a certain handbook to aquaint laymen with the Talmud but unaccountably fails to mention the controversial Pinner Talmud. R' S. has already brought most of the relevant information here . Much of the relevant documentation is recorded in R' Y. Y. Greenwalds Otzar Nechmad (pg. 81ff.)(See also the interesting chapter on the CS and Shir - אריא דבי עילאי).

I was quite surprised to see that R' Yaakov Kaminetzky refused to give a Haskamah to a Talmud with Nekkudot [1] for rather similar reasons to those advanced by R' Gorelick.

1. Previously every Am Haaretz knew he was an Am Haaretz, now every Am Haaretz will believe that he also "knows and understands".

2. They placed seperation marks between questions and answers - something that is frequently unclear and subject to disagreements among the Rishonim.

3.They removed several letters writing- סכה (with nekkudos) instead of סוכה and even the letters in Shas have holiness.

4. Their Dikduk was wrong.

במחיצות רבינו- דף לא

A helpful footnote from R' Shmuel Kaminetsky informs us that "this isn't relevant to the Artscroll Shas of our days because they print the standard text of the Gemara across from the translation." (Note: So did the Pinner Talmud)

A copy of the Pinner Talmud is available on the second floor of the Samuel Abrams Research Library - והמבין יבין

[1] Manuscripts fragments from the Genizah contain Nekkudot (in the Babylonian style of punctuation). See here - . See also Dov Zlotnicks article in the Journal Ancient Near Eastern studies (JANE) (should be online somewhere)

Friday, December 21, 2007

אפילו שיחת חולין של תלמידי חכמים צריכים תלמוד - ר' יעקב קמנצקי זצ"ל והכוללים

I recall reading in his biography (by Y. Rosenblum. I regret that I have as yet been unable to obtain The Making of a Gadol) that R' Yaakov considered it important to "stay in learning" the first two years after marraige.

It is well known that everything R' Yaakov did or said had its roots in Chazal (See B'Mechitzos Rabbenu for more examples). I would like to propose a possible explanation.

The mishna in Avot provides the following program -at 5 yrs. Mikra (Tenach), at 10 yrs. Mishna, at 15 Gemara. The reader wil see that the amount of time necessary to receive a complete knowledge in any subject is 5 yrs. If at the age of 18 a boy is to be married there remain two more years for which he has to complete his 5 years of Talmud (and after this כל ימיו בעמוד והחזר). And it is from there that R' Yaakov must have reached his conclusion that the first two years after marriage should be devoted to Torah study.

I also recall reading that a certain businessman, who already kept a rigorous learning schedule, wanted to retire and devote all his time to learning. R' Yaakov told him to stay in work saying "After retirement - one starts spending more time with a newspaper and coffee." The learning will not necessarily increase.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Truth of Yaakov - towards an intellectual portrait of R' Yaakov Kaminetsky Zt"l 5- Minhagim

Mekorei Minhagim

The final aspect of R’ Yaakov’s work that we will discuss here is his analysis on the sources of certain Minhagim. One can find these in the comments to EY SA (מפי השמועה).

In the end of Pesukei D’ Zimra we recite a passage starting ויברך דוד in the middle of the passage אתה הוא השם לבדך there is a separate paragraph starting וכרת. R’ Yaakov notes that וכרת is the middle of a Passuk. The Talmud writes that – "כל פסוקא דלא פסקי משה אנן לא פסקינן ליה" (מגילה כב,א. וש"נ). [1] - it is forbidden to break up a Passuk?

He provides the following ingenious explanation. On days when there was a Bris the congregation would stop to sing at this point and the Shaliach Tzibur would have to pause. It is for this reason that the printer of the Siddur (AKA the Bochur Ha’Zetser who, as is well know, was generally far from being the greatest Talmud Chacham) divided this passage into two paragraphs.

"מצווה להתענות יום שמת בו אביו או אמו" - רמ"א, יו"ד ת"ב י"ב. Today the Minhag has become to make a Kiddush on this day [2]. R’ Yaakov explains that this Taanis, like the Taanis Bechorim on Erev Pesach, could be interrupted by a Seudas Mitzvah like a Siyum. Therefore someone with a Yahrtzeit would make a Siyum and provide a Kiddush. As time passed, explains R’ Yaakov, the Kiddush was remembered but the Siyum- forgotten.

These are only two examples out of many [3]. R' Yaakov's incisive logic is the equal of even the most advanced scholar in this field[4].

[1] For the Halachic details, see the relevant discussion here. In addition see also שו"ת חתם סופר או"ח סי' י

[2] See R’ Yitchok Alfasi – Ha’Chassidus V’Ha Shulchan Aruch:
החסידים נהגו ביום ה"יאהרצייט" לתת "לחיים" ולשמוח, כי הנשמה עולה מדי שנה בשנה, אם כי
קבעו גם לימוד פרקים ידועים במשניות. כן נהגו לפי קבלת האר"י להתפלל מוסף בשבת שלפני ה"יאהרצייט" ומעריב במוצאי שבת. אצל "יאהרצייט" של צדיק, אף נהגו לסעוד סעודה גדולה עם אורות גדולים ורבים ואין אומרים תחנון. עיצומו של ענין מ"ההלולא" שהיו עושים על קברו של רשב"י. קובע רבי דוד משה מטשורטקוב: לכן צריכים בני הצדיק, ותלמידיו, לעשות יום טוב ביום פטירתו, כי באותו היום מתעלה נשמת הצדיק בכל שנה ושנה למדרגה עליונה ביותר והוא דומה ליום שנעשה בו נס לאבותיו". ("דברי דוד" ע' כ"א

[3] More of these can be found on the bottom of EY on SA (culled from various conversations with different people – R’ Neustadt did a truly amazing job collecting this fascinating storehouse of information). It is interesting that R’ Yaakov didn’t find these points to be of sufficient interest to write down. Mention should also be made here of במחיצות רבינו an enthralling collection of observations and conversation of R’ Yaakov from one of his Talmidim - R’ Michoel Yaakov Jacobs

[4] In the introduction of the expanded version of EY on Chumash is son-in law writes that R' Chaim Heller who was a good friend of R' Yaakov told him that - "Your father-in laws knowledge of Tenach exceeds that of several well known professionals in the field". R' Yaakov used to say that R' Chaim Heller was a יחיד in Emunah in this generation. The present writer would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to HaRav Mordechai Ben R' Shimshon Breuer Zt"l who more then anything else was a גדול in יראת שמים. The spirit of pure emunah that is imbued in his writings speaks far louder then the intellectual arguments alone would have. זכר צדיק לברכה

The Truth of Yaakov - towards an intellectual portrait of R' Yaakov Kaminetsky Zt"l 4- Etymology


One can find a list of some words that R’ Yaakov analyses in the index of the expanded edition of Emet L’ Yaakov on Chumash. For now I will focus on one significant example.

Shabbos 33b: (בראשית לג) ויחן את פני העיר אמר רב מטבע תיקן להם ושמואל אמר שווקים תיקן להם ור' יוחנן אמר מרחצאות תיקן להם

Rashi finding it difficult to relate the word Tikkun to the word Va’Yichan suggests that the Gemara refers to the next Passuk (Did Rashi have a different Taamei Ha’Mikra here?)
וַיִּקֶן אֶת-חֶלְקַת הַשָּׂדֶהֹ - VaYikan according to Rashi is related to the word Tikkun.

The Maharsha comments that “this is difficult since we only find the term Tikkun in Kohelet [!!!] and never without the Tav which is a root letter.”

R’ Yaakov comments on this that we do in fact find letters in Rabbinic Hebrew with a Tav that lack a Tav in Tenach. He cites as in example the word Terumah which in the Chumash is written וירם without the Tav. [1a]

I am exceedingly surprised that both the Maharsha and R’ Yaakov noted the frequent use of Mishnaic Hebrew in Kohelet and passed over it without comment. [1]

[1a] I recall the term Terumah being used as a prime example of the differences between Biblical and Rabbinic Hebrew in one of the "Wissenschaft das Jedentums" works but I have forgotten where I saw this. Can anyone recall what this might have been?

[1]See the introduction to the standard Mishnayot on the nature of Mishnaic Hebrew and in the footnote there – רק בקהלת והטעם ידוע למשכילי עם . Surprisingly this disgustingly snide comment has not been removed from the new Zecher Chanoch edition.

See also R’ Chaim Dov Rabinowitz in his interesting From Nechemia to the Present: A History.. In one of the discussions there he writes how upset he is that this article was included in the Mishnayos. R’ Rabinowitz’s writes that Tenach uses a higher Hebrew and therefore does not contain all of the words used in daily life. This according to his view, accounts for all the difference between Biblical .and Rabbinic Hebrew. That R’ Rabinowitz was aware of at least some of the issues of Bibical criticism is obvious from his introduction to Daat Soferim - Isaiah and various other apologetics scattered throughout his work. See also the Radziner’s scathing review in HaDarom complaining (among other things) of the apologetic tendency in the Daat Soferim.

The Truth of Yaakov - towards an intellectual portrait of R' Yaakov Kaminetsky Zt"l - 2- History


In his Haskamah [1] to the בינו שנות דור ודור of R’ Nosson Dovid Rabinowitz, R’ Yaakov praises the fact that “now Bnei Torah will have access to a knowledge [of history] of which they heretofore knew nothing at all” and that it is good that he is focusing on the Second Temple period of which heretofore each historian had written כאדם העושה בתוך שלו but “now they will see that it is impossible to write on this period without a clear knowledge of the Talmud” [2].

One example of this is in Megillah 9a in reference to the translation of the seventy wise men - instead of Ex. iv. 20 (on a donkey), "Set them on a porter (man-carrier)". R’ Yaakov asks, Why the great emphasis on which animal was involved? It seems a minor irrelevant detail.

He refers us to Josephus’s Contra Apion , wherein it is written that the Jews were accused of worshiping an ass. He further points to the predominance of the donkey in the Bible (The Messiah is a “poor man riding on a donkey”, Abraham “saddles up his donkey” traveling to the Akeidah, etc.) to explain the source of this slander [3].

[Update: Ephraim notes that this explanation has already been noted by Maharat"z Chajes in his Imrei Binah (Siman 15). I responded by noting that R' Yaakov actually indirectly refers to Imrei Binah at one point (EY Taanis 31b). He attempts to refute Chajes's position that the Rashi commentary on Taanis was not written by Rashi by pointing out that Tosafos somewhere else cites a Rashi that is identical to the Rashi on Taanis. Since as far as I can recall R' Chajes actually deals with that objection (and answers by saying that Rashi wrote a parts of a commentary that was later incorporated into the larger pirush), I think that R' Yaakov never really read Imrei Binah but saw Chajes's view in his Hagahos to Taanis. ]

See also his explanation of the encounter between R’ Yochanan and the Sadducees (Bava Basra Ch. 8) on the discussion of "ירושה בקבר" in light of the Sadducees denial of the afterlife (cited here).

See EY Yoma 84b in which he cites a Rosh (explaining the Rif) that says that matters of Pikuach Nefesh should not be done through woman and children but rather through Gedolei Yisroel , the Rosh says that this is to prevent מינות. R’ Yakov explains this in light of the Christain slander that the Pharisees valued the law over human life [4]. He approvingly cites the Dorot Ha’Rishonim’s work on this point

In Samhedrin 58b: Resh Lakish also said: A heathen who keeps a day of rest, deserves death, for it is written, And a day and a night they shall not rest, and a master has said: Their prohibition is their death sentence. Rabina said: Even if he rested on a Monday

Rashi notes that he mentions Monday to exclude the Christains who rest on Sunday. R’ Yaakov wonders about this for an Babylonia, as opposed to Israel, Christains were not a significant sector and Ravina should not have found it necessary to phrase his statement to exclude their day of rest? [5]

Despite all this I see no evidence that R’ Yaakov placed a special emphasis on learning history. His knowledge was of the superficial sort that can be picked up by a vague perusal of Josephus, Dorot Ha’Rishonim and the like. (Cf. R’ Herzog’s analysis of Mar Shmuel cited here that shows an in depth knowledge of the Sassanian dynasty.) Although R’ Yaakov appreciated the value of history to help better understand the Talmud, he never made any systematic attempt to acquire such knowledge.

[1] Compare the other Haskamahs none of which stress the importance of the study of history - (note that the Rambam writes in Pirush Ha'Mishnayos that the study of History is a waste of time- apologetics like that of Ze'ev Yavetz (History- vol. 12) that claim that in the Rambam's times "history" was all of the "Arabian Nights" variety has been disproven by the discovery of accurate historiography from that period.) See also the Haskamah of R’ Moshe Feinstein to Toledot Am Olam.

[2] The reader will see that in this R’ Yaakov was influenced by the writings of the Dorot Ha’Rishonim (on this see further below). This book is a worthy successor in both excellence of scholarship (Rabinowitz is clearly proficient in the relevant literature) and regrettably, also in the vicious polemical style. On Halevy’s polemics see Mordecai (ben Yitzchok) Breuer שלש גישות למדעי יהודות and further the criticism of the Seridei Eish in SE vol. 4 דרכו של רי"א הלוי בחקר המשנה This article was censored in the Sefer Zikaron L’ R’ Yitchok Isaac Halevy (See the review in HaMaayan of this sefer.)

[3] See also the story that Agrippa 1 relates to the mad Casear Caligula to avoid having a statue placed in the Beis Hamikdash (I saw this in the -not entirely accurate- Claudius novels by Robert Graves.)

[4] R’ Yaakov is clearly referring to the story of the Good Samaritan - Luke 10:25-37

[5] In this R’ Yakov was mistaken – See here

The Truth of Yaakov - towards an intellectual portrait of R' Yaakov Kaminetsky Zt"l - 3 Linguistics


A fascinating feature of R’ Yaakov’s work are his linguistic studies. For example, he attempt to create an Egyptain etymology by pointing out that most Egyptain names contain as root letters the פ ר or ע (EY – Parshas Vayechi) See the discussion here.

He also notes that the letter ד must sound similar to the English “th” (as in “the”) as the Yemenites pronounce it for otherwise it would be impossible to lengthen the word “Echad” in Shema as the Halacha states (the d – dalet sound- cannot be lengthened and would sound like a d plus an extended a) (E”Y on SA in the notes). [1a]

An extensive discussion is in his בענין דקדוק קריאת שמע בכל לשון in EY to Seder Zeraim. There based on several diyukim in the Rambam demonstrating his usual critical style, he creates an extensive linguistic structure.

He correctly notes that there is a connection between the Latin and Hebrew alphabets [1] which he demonstrates like this:
ג ב א


Noting that the Gimel lines up with the C – He first suggests that the correct pronunciation of the Gimel corresponds with the s sound of the C [3](This he does based on the Gemara that compares Gimel to Tsadi – לא גמין צדיין)

However noting that the Latin C is spelled in Hebrew with a ק (Compare- Caeser – קיסר Ocean-אוקיינות Cedar-קדרום ) and therefore corresponds to a guttural G sound he recants. Instead he interprets the Gemara (acc. to the Rambam) as referring to the Greek names of these letters [4]. He also interprets the line of the Gemara לא פיפין טיתין (whose Hebrew letters show little similarity) as referring to Theta and Pi [5]. He writes that one cannot write Payin in Hebrew (for grammatical reasons) and therefore it is written פיפין.

In this a in his knowledge of History we see that despite a good grounding in the information on the subject, R’ Yaakovs sound innate critical sense alone suffices for him to make brilliant observations in an area far from his expertise.

(On a side note I refer you to the writings of HaRav Shir who suggests that the R was confused with an L among the Greeks (An example of this is the Chinese who pronounce an L as an R). See his interestng observations on Deucalion here. He further suggests that the Hebrew Ari became the Greek Leo. Again I can find no evidence to support this.)

[1a]In a somewhat similar deduction, R' Baruch Epstein observes that the Sefaradim are correct in pronouncing certain letters with a dagesh - else why would the Talmud need to warn that one pause between words with similar endings and beginnings (ליתן ריוח בין הדבקים) in the like of HaKanaf Pesil. The F and the P sounds are very different.

[1]He would have been better served by making use of the Greek alphabet which is the intermediary between Hebrew (more correctly Paleo-Hebrew) and the Latin (Roman) alphabet. See this chart which I will make use of in my analysis.) Obviously lacking access to a Greek phonetic chart he had to make use of the Latin alphabet.

[2] In a note he mentions that according to this chart the Vav corresponds with an F (unclear in the chart). He then points out that the Sheimos HaGittin consistently spells names of the like of Freidel which should apparently be spelled with a soft Pey פ as וריידל with a Vav implying that a vav in fact had an F sound. He then points out that a German W is pronounce in English as a V and the German V as an F showing the overall relationship between these letters. And then explains the in Hebrew the W as in Vilna or Warsaw is spelled with two Vav’s – possibly similar to the W (double V)

[3] As you can see from the chart this is incorrect as the Greek Gamma in fact has a G not a C sound.

[4] The Gamin refers to Gamma. I do not know which letter he refers to with Tsadin. There is in fact no common greek letter corresponding to Tsadi – See the chart.

[5] I see no obvious similarity between these two letters. It would appear R’ Yaakov knew the names of the letters without being aware of the shapes. R’ Menachem Kasher in his analysis of the anointing of the Kohen Gadol with the Greek Chi in Horiyos (originally in article in a Sefer HaYovel whose name escapes me for the moment, also in the addenda to Torah Sheleimah Va’Yakhel) made use of the Shiltei Gibborim of Avraham HaRofe to identify the letters. I will include his analysis here for it is of interest in its own right –

He points to the Gemara in Horiyos that mentions the anointing of the Kohen Gadol in the shape of a Greek Chi (an X). (There some discussion if an X or some other shape see there). Why X? In Kesav Ivri (Phoenician) an X is a Tav, The Gemara in Shabbos mentions G-d telling the angels to paint a letter Tav on the foreheads for Tamus and Tichya. At the time of the anointing they were demonstrating to the Kohen Gadol that if he follows the correct procedure he will live if not he will die. Since there is no X in Ashuri they referred to the Greek letter instead. See also R’ Shaul Lieberman “Greek in Jewish Palestine” Pgs. 185- 190. My thanks to R’ S for directing me to this source.

R’ Yaakov also discusses this Gemara (See EY on Horiyos there) but lacking a complete knowledge in the Greek Alphabet is unable to find a good answer.

The Truth of Yaakov - towards an intellectual portrait of R' Yaakov Kaminetsky Zt"l - 1

Over two decades have elapsed since the passing of R’ Yaakov Kamenetzky Zt”l. Although he has been the subject of two extensive biographies, surprisingly little has been written about his scholarly work. His work has not been the subject of any academic papers to the best of my knowledge, and more surprisingly, in the so called “yeshiva world” [1] his chiddushim are rarely studied and certainly not discussed and expounded on in any shiur.

The lions share of R’ Yaakov’s legacy is undoubtedly his chiddushei torah in the traditional sense and I hope to expand on these in a future post. A good illustration of R’ Yaakov’s methodology can be seein in the note of the publisher in the introduction “We had to omit some of R’ Yaakov’s chiddushim because they were found to be identical with that of Rishonim that had not yet been printed in his lifetime.” The relationship between his Emes L’Yaakov and the works of the Rishonim can be seen both in his writing style (R’ Yaakov wrote in a very clear concise writing style never adding in extra word – See the introduction to EY on SA) and his methodology. The older and newer (Brisker) pilpulistic style is almost entirely absent from his work and in its place we have the more direct approach in the style of the Tosafists, the Aruch LaNer and the Netziv.

R’ Yaakov was possessed of an extremely sound (albeit unscientific) critical sense. He paid special attention to the intention of the author in writing his book [2], to the particular writing style of the author [3], and a very careful textual criticism [4]

His chiddushim focus on Gemara, Rif, Rosh and Rambam. He rarely cites the Talmud Yerushalmi or any of the later Achronim. Apropos of the name of the sefer, truth is the hallmark of all his writings. He avoids forced questions and fanciful, convoluted explanations. All of his answers are faithful to the text and its authors. To paraphrase the Seridei Eish, his work undoubtedly represents the historical Rambam and not simply his own Rambam [5].

For the moment I would like to focus on several of the more diverse, colorful elements
that R’ Yaakov makes use of in his Chiddushim. These include a knowledge of history, some fascinating amateur linguistic studies, knowledge of grammar and in interest in the origin of certain Minhagim

[1] See some interesting comments from R’ Yaakov on the modern Yeshivos here.

[2] He notes for instance that the Taz wrote his sefer originally on both the Tur and the Sulchan Aruch and for this reason some of the notes of the Taz are on the Tur and not on the SA (See Emet L’ Yaakov (henceforth EY) on SA – 66,7 and see the note there that corroborates this from the inscription on the Taz’s Tombstone). He also notes that the Rosh was originally written as a Pirush on the Rif (EY on Shas – I can’t reacall exactly where at this moment).

[3] He notes that the Posekim – specifically the Rambam, always phrased their Halachas in the manner of לא זו אף זו and in this manner he finds nuances in Halacha or in the Rambam’s interpretation of the sugya that would otherwise not be noted. (I myself have once made use of this כלל to good effect as I hope to demonstrate in a future post come Purim). He notes when the Rambam changes from the order of Shas or omits something that he should have cited. And in the same manner he analyses other seforim (in particular the Mishna Berurah for which he had great respect. See the introduction to EY SA and see my earlier post on one aspect of this.)

[4] This can be seen on almost every page. He carefully examines variants between the Rif’s text, the Rosh’s text and the Gemara, textual errors in the Rambam, conjoined Dibbur Ha’Maschils in Rashi , and the like. In this he is a worth successor to the Bach, Maharshal and the Gr”a He generally tries to back this up by speculating what might have caused the error. See for example EY Chullin 60b. In almost every case his emendation were validated by the new Oz' V' Hodor Talmud or the Frankel Rambam.

[5] Although R’ Neustadt has generally done an excellent job in producing his grandfather's (in-law really) seforim, in this he erred greatly. He ought to have placed the chiddushim on the Rambam in a separate volume so that they can easily accessible to those studying the Rambam. At the very least he ought to have included an index to the relevant material. As it is besides for several references in the Frankel Rambam his chiddushim are virtually inaccessible (and therefore unknown) to those studying the Rambam.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

על משיחי שקר בכלל וישו בפרט

בבלי חולין סג.

רחם זו שרקרק א"ר יוחנן למה נקרא שמו רחם כיון שבא רחם באו רחמים לעולם אמר רב ביבי בר אביי והוא דיתיב אמידי ועביד שרקרק וגמירי דאי יתיב אארעא ושריק אתא משיחא שנאמר (זכריה י) אשרקה להם ואקבצם א"ל רב אדא בר שימי למר בר רב אידאי והא ההוא דיתיב בי כרבא ושרק ואתא גלל אפסקיה למוחיה א"ל ההוא ביידא הוה

ברור שיש כאן רמז למשיחי שקר בכלל ואולי גם לישו הנוצרי בפרט וצריך לפרש כל השו"ט כאן ע"פ זה. ודו"ק

Sunday, December 9, 2007

על כותים במשנתו של הרמב"ם

רמב"ם ברכות א,יג כל השומע אחד מישראל מברך ברכה מכל הברכות כולן--אף על פי שלא שמע הברכה כולה מתחילתה ועד סופה, ואף על פי שאינו חייב באותה ברכה--חייב לענות אמן; ואם היה המברך גוי, או מין, או כותי, או תינוק המתלמד, או שהיה גדול ושינה מטבע הברכה--אין עונין אחריהן אמן

This is {partially) based on the Mishna in Berachos Ch. 8 - ועונין אמן אחר ישראל המברך ואין עונין אמן אחר כותי המברך עד שישמע כל הברכה כולה

The difficulty with this Rambam is that it contradicts a Tosefta that clearly states that one should answerאמן after the Beracha of a Gentile: ה,כב עובד כוכבים המברך בשם עונין אחריו אמן כותי המברך בשם אין עונין אחריו אמן עד שישמע את הברכה כולה

And a Yerushalmi [1] that says the same:
תני עכו"ם שבירך את השם עונין אחריו אמן. בשם אין עונין אחריו אמן. א"ר תנחומא אם בירכך עכו"ם ענה אחריו אמן דכתיב (דברים ז) ברוך תהיה מכל העמים. עכו"ם אחד פגע בר' ישמעאל ובירכו. א"ל כבר מילתך אמורה. אחר פגע בו וקיללו. א"ל כבר מילתך אמורה. אמרו ליה תלמידוי רבי היך מה דאמרת לדין אמרת לדין אמר לון ולא כן כתיב (בראשית סו) ארריך ארור ומברכיך ברוך

The Rambam is clearly לשיטתו in פירוש המשניות here:

ובכאן אפרש לך עניין הכותים. העם שהביא סנחריב מכותה, והושיבם בערי שומרון, העיד הכתוב בהם: "את ה' היו יראים ואת אלהיהם היו עובדים" (מלכים ב יז). אבל באורך הימים למדו התורה וקבלוה על פשוטה, והמצוות אשר החזיקו בהן – היו מקפידים עליהם וישימו ליבם עליהם מאד. והוחזקו שהיו מאמינים בדתינו ומיחדים ולא יעבדו עבודה זרה, עד אשר חקרו עליהם חכמים ומצאום מכבדים הר גריזים, וחקרו על הדבר ההוא ומצאו להם בהר ההוא דמות יונה, וידעו שהם עובדים עבודה זרה, אז החזיקום בחזקת גויים גמורים לכל דבריהם.
וכל מה שתמצא במשנה מן הדברים מעניין הכותים, אשר תבין מהם שהכותים נכבדים מן הנכרים ופחותים מישראל, כמו שאמרו: "מזמנין עם הכותי" (ברכות פרק ז משנה א), ו"כותי המברך" (משנה כאן) וזולתו, לא אמרו זה אלא קודם שחקרו עליהם; אבל מעת שחקרו עליהם ומצאו אשר זכרנו, הם פחותים מן הנכרים מאד. ועל כן דע אותו ולא נצטרך לשנות לך זה העיקר, בכל מקום שנזכר כותי.

Clearly the Rambam holds that this that one answers אמן to a כותי after hearing the whole Beracha is as a result of a special status but to a Gentile that does not have this status one should not answer his Beracha. This clearly knocks off the first answer of the Kesef Mishna that this Halacha of the Rambam was said if one does not hear the entire Beracha and the Yerushalmi refers to one who does hear the whole Beracha (See also the objections of the Lechem Mishnah there), and the second answer that points to the Tur’s citation of the Rambam w/o the word Gentile (the Bach there writes that in ספרים מדוייקים the Tur also has the word Gentile.) and the Gra’s insistence that there must be some mistake in the Rambam. (Did the Gra and Kesef Mishna not have access to the Pirush Hamishnayos??)

The צפנת פעניח refers us to the Rambam ה' ע"ז

טו [י] כל השומע ברכת השם, חייב לקרוע; ואפילו על ברכת הכינוי, חייב לקרוע: והוא, שישמענה מישראל …..אבל השומע מן הגוי, אינו חייב לקרוע
Although this is a very nice לשיטתו this cannot be the מקור of the Rambam as the Rambam doesn’t cite Halachos that don’t have a direct source [2].

The אבן האזל suggests that the Rambam is saying that one isn’t required to respond אמן whereas the Yerushalmi is saying that one is permitted to respond. He points out that in Halacha טו the Rambam uses the word אסור whereas here the Rambam simply says that one doesn’t answer. The difficulty with this is 1- the diyuk is in any event weak as the Rambam is simply citing the language of the Mishna (as the Migdal Oz repeatedly points out) which uses this wording. 2- The ברכה of a מין is assumed to be with intention of ע"ז . It is impossible to say that it is permitted (but not obligated) to answer אמן to such a Bracha [3].

The most viable source I’ve seen is the כסף משנה who says that the Rambam is accepting the simple explanation of the Mishna against that of the Yerushalmi since the Bavli makes no mention of it [4].

The יד פשוטה tries to answer by reinterpreting the Yerushalmi. He points out that according to the interpretation that we are referring to a ברכת הודאה the story of R’ Tanchum cited right after appears irrelevant. He therefore suggests that the Yerushalmi is referring to Gentiles blessing of a Jew. He cites a variant reading of the תוספתא כפשוטה that would conform with this explanation. This would still require the Kesef Mishna’s point for a source.

The עלה תמר points out that the curious juxtaposition in the Yerushalmi of את השם and בשם is hard to understand [5]. He therefore suggests that one of them is a variant reading (הגהה) that made its way into the main text and the Rambam paskens like the second one since this is accords with the simple understanding of our Mishna. (This still leaves the Tosefta without explanation.)

The point that really fascinates me is that this is the only one of two places that the Rambam refers to כותים. The other place is in עבדים ו,ו
ובזמן הזה, שהכותים כגויים לכל דבריהם, אנו למדין מהן לצדוקיין: שהצדוקיין בזמן הזה כמו הכותי באותו הזמן, קודם שיגזרו עליהם שיהיו כגויים לכל דבריהם

Since they were given the status of גוים the Rambam has no need to refer to them anywhere else. Why then does he mention כותים here? Why further does he first make his decision on כותים known in this Mishna as opposed to "מזמנין עם הכותי" (ברכות פרק ז משנה א), which preceded it?

It would seem clear that this is one of the missing pieces of the puzzle but I have no idea as yet how to make use of it.

''הרי השולחן והרי הבשר והרי הסכין לפנינו ואין לנו פה לאכול'' (קידושין, מו, ע''א)

[1] I quoted the Yerushalmi in Sukkah 3:10 because this appears to be the best reading. The Yerushalmi Berachos (End of Ch. 8) is missing the words בשם אין עונין אחריו אמן. See also Yerushalmi Megillah 1:9 and Bereishis Rabbah 61. An interesting side note, the Alei Tamar notes that Yerushalmi Sukkah seems (at least in part) to be composed of excerpts taken from other Mesechtos and is not an independent work. This accounts for the especially “jumpy” nature of this Mesechta.
[2] See the Rambam’s letter to R’ Pinchas Dayan. See also R’ Shlomo Yosef Zevin’s review of הרמב"ם והמכילתא דרשב"י in Seforim V’ Soferim
[3]In this the אבן האזל was mislead by the censor who switched אפיקורס for מין. The Taz says something similar סי' רט"ו..See also שו"ת תשובה מאהבה סי' סט in an interesting Teshuva on whether one can answer Amen to the Bracha of a Sabbatian. He takes it as a given that one cannot answer to the Beracha of an אפיקורס. (The Teshuva M’ Ahavah was a lifelong foe of the Sabbatians, he even authored in anti-Sabbatian work Ahavat Dovid.)
[4] This is dependant on the (incorrect) view of the Rif (end of Eiruvin):
"הסוגיא דידן להתירא ולא אכפת לן במאי דאמרי בגירסא
דבני מערבא. דעל גמרא דילן סמכינן, דבתרא הוא ואינהו הא
בקיאי בגמרא דבני מערבא טפי מינן ואי לאו דהוו ידעי דהא
דבני מערבא לאו דסמכא הוא, לא הוו קא שארי לה
אינהו" (אלפס סוף עירובין

See also the גר"א who questions this and אבן האזל who explains that since the Mishna had to specify Yisroel this implies that to a gentile one doesn’t answer.

[5] See the classical Meforshim there. See also the Tevunah’s Toledot Yitzchok pirush (this is his Tosafos) which I have not cited since it is dependant on the censor’s גירסא of עכו"ם instead of גוי.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Aryeh Kaplan bio info-in need of sourcing

A deleted portion of the Aryeh Kaplan page - looking for a source:

Aryeh Kaplan briefly worked as a lab assistant. Thereafter he served as a rabbi in Conservative congregation Ohav Shalom in upstate NY near Albany [citation needed] (although he was not conservative). Afterward, he served as the rabbi of the Dover, New Jersey synagogue in 1971 and 1972. He then spent a year full time in abstract painting [citation needed]. Rabbi Kaplan also spent a year as a first grade teacher in Louisville [citation needed].

Friday, December 7, 2007

על דרך כתיבתו של ספר משנה ברורה

באמת ליעקב על שו"ע סימן ש"מ תוך דיון הלכתי מעיר כלאחר יד ש-כל מקום במשנה ברורה שלא מובא שם המחבר בשערי ציון אלא מציינו בסוגרים כזה [קרבן נתנאל] זה מורה שבעל המ"ב אינו מסכים כ"כ לדינא בשיטה זו רק מביא הדבר בשם אומרו- (ע"ש ואולי טעיתי בפירוש דבריו כיון שבס' מובא רק חלק מהמכתב).

ואם קבלה הוא נקבל אבל אני בעניי לא מצאתי כי הרי המ"ב מביא גם דברי הרמב"ם והרא"ש והב"י (בכדי לפרש דברי השו"ע) בסוגרים והאם נוכל לומר שהמ"ב אינו מסכים עם פ' ב"י לשו"ע, אתמהה! גם כי מאופן הכתיבה הרבה פעמים משמע שהוא כ מסכים לההלכה שהוא מביא. ולא ציינתי מקומות כי בכל דף יכולים למצוא דוגמאות דו"ק ותשכח.

אבל באמת נראין כי בכל מקום שהמחבר מובא בסוגרים יש כאן פרט נוסף בהלכה שלא כתוב בתוך השו"ע ולפיכך המ"ב בחר לציין את שם מחברו בסוגרים כי אין זה פ' לשו"ע אלא הלכה בפנ"ע. וכשהוא מביא פ' על ענין שכתוב בתוך השו"ע סותם ומביא
מחברו בשער הציון וגם זה לאו כללא הוא ועדיין צ"ע.

וכאן המקום להתרעם על המו"ל של כתבי בעל האמת ליעקב שלא עשא מלאכתו באמונה.

א' - כבר לפני חמש שנים (או יותר) קראתי בהנאה מרובה את הפ' של אמת ליעקב על שני פרקים ראשונים של ספר שמואל בכת"ע ישורון ושמחתי לראות ש"המו"ל עומד להוציא את כל ס' אמת ליעקב על נ"ך "בקרוב". והנה אני יושב ומצפה ליותר מחמש שנים ואין יוצא ואין בא ופשוט מה הוא סיבת העיכוב ואכ"מ וכדי בזיון וקצף

ב' - באמת ליעקב על הש"ס נכלל גם חידושיו על הרמב"ם (שבהם רואים חוש הביקורתי הנפלא של הגאון ר' יעקב בכל תקפו איך שמדיוקים דקים וקלים (הוא מרבה להשתמש בכלל שכל דברי הרמב"ם נכתבו באופן של לא זו אף זו ובזה סתר כמה פירושים של המפרשים קדמונים ומבאר לנו פ' האמיתי) יש ביכלתו להוציא פ' שהוא לא רק אמת ל"אמיתו של תורה" אבל גם אמת לאמיתת ההיסטורית של הרמב"ם.) מפני שהם נוגע לפ' הסוגיות. וכל זה יפה וטוב אבל סבר לתקן ולא תיקון כי עכשיו יפה כח הבן מכח האב וללומדי הרמב"ם עצמו חסר להם דברי הגאון. והמו"ל אפ' לא חיבר מפתח לבסוף כי הרי שוב "עומד להוציא חי' על הרמב"ם בקרוב" ולא היה וחוששני שגם לא יהיה. ובמקצת חידושיו מצויין במפתח לרמב"ם פרנקל אבל כ"ז איננו מספיק.

The mystery of the missing פך שמן

There is no mention of the miracle of the פך שמן:

In Sefer Hamaccabim [1]
In Josephus [2]
In Jossiphon
In the Raavad's Sefer HaKabbalah
In the Al Hanissim Tefillah
In הנרות הללו
In the Megillat Taanis [3]
In the Pssikta D' Rav Kahana

The פך שמן makes its first appearance in the Baraisa added to Megillas Taanis and in the Megillas Antiochus.

In any event it would seem clear that the פך שמן only became an important feature of Chanukka at a much later date. [4]

Two possible suggestions for this new focus for Chanukka are:

1- The Chasam Sofer (and somewhat similarly Kaufmann Kohler in his JE article), suggests that the reason why there is little mention of Chanukka in the Mishna is because Rebbi who belonged to the house of the Nossi and was a descendant from Dovid Hamelech (אנן מן הזכרים) resented the usurpation of the Malchus by the חשמונאים. To put it more plainly perhaps the Pharisees unhappy with the Saducee influenced- כחי ועוצם ידי- חשמונאי rule decided to downplay their military achievements and focus on a more spiritual aspect of Chanukka.

2- R' Reuvain Margolies (See my section in Wikipedia Mishnah on this) suggests that as the Mishnah was redacted after the Bar Kochba revolt, Rabbi could not have included discussion of Hanukkah which commemorates the Jewish revolt against the Syrian-Greeks (the Romans would not have tolerated such an overt display of nationalism). If so possibly at that time the נס of the פך שמן was given as the main reason for the celebration so as to avoid giving the Romans a reason to suspect revolt (similar to the reason that Shofar blowing was pushed off to Mussaf).

[1] See the article מאי חנוכה in the periodical אור מזרח wherein the view of Yaakov Reifmann is cited that the non-jew who translated it from the Hebrew deliberately left it out because it seemed to him incredible. See בינו שנות דור ודור who pints out that Maccabees II which generally focuses on miracles is in its original language.

[2] "From that time onward unto this day we celebrate the festival, calling it 'Lights'" (Φῶτα, Ant. 12:325). He explains that the festival acquired this name because the right to serve God came to the people unexpectedly, like a sudden light (ibid.).

[3] Actually our version of Megillat Taanit does mention the נס but in the critical addition it is noted that this is a later addition (scholium). The Megillas Taanis (and the Pesikta) appears to say that the נס was that they found pure שפודין to make into the Menorah.

[4]The fact that the נס isn't mentioned earlier should not cause significant doubts over its veracity for according to the account of Maccabees II it would appear that ניסים in the ביהמ"ק were commonplace (or at least considered so by the populace) and would not have been the centerpiece of the Festival.

[Edit: I missed this article at JPost . His main arguments -

"We see that it assumes that the high priest was a person of impeccable integrity. Second Maccabees tells us quite clearly that this man was Menelaus, a rogue of the first water.


They did not know that the High Priest at the time the Hasmoneans forced their way into the Temple was Menelaus, who was guilty of bribery, stealing the Temple gold, and murdering the former high priest Honia. If they had known that, would they have seen the seal of the high priest as a guarantee of purity, would they have seen a miracle in a cruse of oil sealed by such a high priest."

His proof would depend on the nature of this seal. There may have been ways of identifying which seal was placed by which Kohen Gadol. If so they may have been able to identify that the seal belonged to an earlier righteous Kohen Gadol. Alternatively - Who said Menelaus was involved in the production of oil at all? He seems to have had other concerns on his mind. I doubt he would have been much concerned about procuring and sealing pure oil. All in all his thesis still has a long way to go.]

Saturday, December 1, 2007

בזכות שמך הגדול (דיקרנוסא גי' חת"ך) הממונה על הפרנסה

Chacham Yosef Faur - Anti-Maimonidean Demons [1]

"A most solemn prayer pronounced at the end of the Sephardic services (but not of the Spanish and Portuguese!) the night of Rosh ha- Shanah invokes the “great and holy name dicarnosa” (wulma’an ha-shem ha-gadol vehaqadosh diaqarnosa) that is supposed to be encoded in the subtexts of two Scriptural passages. This superlative magical name is nothing more than the Spanish “dea carnosa” or “fleshy”—probably in the sense of “portly”—“goddess.” Let us not forget that, until recently, only plump ladies were regarded as sexually attractive. I once casually brought this point to the attention of an acquaintance. Upon realizing the gravity of the matter, he wished to request from the rabbi removal of this conjuration from the prayer. I remember telling him that since nobody, including the rabbi and cantor, had the foggiest idea of what they were saying, there was no point in removing it."

Note: A similar name (Edit: I leave it to ny readers to guess who Dionysum might be) is also encoded in the prayer said after the "ישא ה'" of Birkas Kohanim. (As an aside the first two Tefillos - from the Talmud Berachot to "sweeten" bad dreams - end of ותחנני ותשמרני ותרצני- Note that each ending corresponds to a different Bracha (יברכיך...וישמריך,יאר...ויחניך,ישא ה' פניו אליך (שתפלתינו(?) יתקבל לרצון לפני ה'-ותרצני ) apparently the original intention was to add only the ending that corresponds to that Bracha - According to this the Dream prayer was meant to be said all three times (It would be worth checking the earlier editions of the Siddur) and the Kabbalists inserted the third prayer on their own. The same name is found in the Tefillah for Parnosoh that can be found in the Tefilloh for Parnosoh on the bottom of שומע תפלה in Shemona Esrei and other places. (Edit: This tefillah is always accompanied with dire warnings not to say the name in the parenthesis - perhaps whoever wrote this wanted to prevent straoghtforward idol-worship. Note also that Artscroll unobtrusively removed this name from their version of the Tefillah.)

In the sefer Ha-kemea Haivri they write "מלאך הפרנסה. בגימטריה 431, כמו באותיות המודגשות ב-"פותח את ידך"

The following is also relevant - taken from

Some Chassidim and men of deeds have a custom to purchase a new knife, Erev Rosh Hashanah (Nitei Gavriel 11:10)

QUESTION: What is the reason for the custom of purchasing a new sharp knife before Rosh Hashanah

The final letters of the words, "Potei'ach et yadecha" - "You open up your hand" - spell the word "chatach" - "cut" - which is the name of the Angel in charge of parnasah - livelihood. Also, the word "u'masbe'a" - "and satisfy [the desire of every living being]" - which follows afterwards in the pasuk (Psalms 145:16) has the numerical value of four hundred and twenty-eight which is also the numerical value of "chatach." Thus, the acquiring of a new sharp knife is considered a "segulah" - something spiritually propitious - for parnasah, which we request on Rosh Hashanah for the entire coming year.

See also Mitpachat Soferim from R' Yaakov Emden on the Zohars term for Shul אש נוגה is actually the Portugese Esnoga (Synagogue) (See also the Mevo to Mekor Baruch wherein he talks about the different terms for Shul's - typically - ער מאכט זיך נישט ויסענדיק )to which the Ittur Soferim responds with the implausible and impossible assertion that "maybe the Portugese took the word from the Zohar rather then vice-versa."

See also the section I added to Wikipedia -Arguments for an earlier dating והבוחר יבחר

[1]- I was highly surprised that Chacham Faur for whom I have the greatest respect produced such a flawed biased article. If possible I will demonstrate this at another time. Suffice it to say that he matches Graetz at his most venomous. See Reuvein Margolies's article on the Raavid (Peninim U' Margolyet) for a clear refutation of Faur on the Raavad's reason for writing the Hasagot.
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