Sunday, August 07, 2005

Saplings of Hatred

I just spent Shabbos in my adopted upstate community.

I was not the only visitor there, however — there were a group of yeshiva bochurs (bachurs? bahhurs? bokhers?) who were sent there for about a week (starting this immediately-past Shabbos and ending after Tishabav) to help invigorate the community with extra Torah learning and exposure to "the Yeshiva world". This was all made possible by a program that does this in many small communities, sending out Yeshiva students and kollelniks during their "bein hazemanim" break.

I'm not very impressed. It's a great idea, don't get me wrong, but it just seems to not be helping. The very little I've seen of what these yeshiva guys teach amounts to Antigoyist bigotry. One of them gave a devar tora at šalešudes whose point amounted to "Jews rock, because we have respect for life. Goyim suck, because they don't."

Around the same time last year, I visited for another Shabbos when these guys were there, and one of them gave a shi‘ur whose point amounted to "Jews rock, because we're good parents. Goyim suck, because they aren't."

Double-U Tee Eff?

First of all, going out into small communities and teaching them contempt for their neighbors isn't just morally reprehensible, it's stupid. And based on the reactions of the community members I talked to after the speech — one of whom poked halakhic and hashqafic holes through it, and the other who commented "they don't seem to get out much, do they?" — I fail to see how these kinds of 'lessons' are supposed to invigorate the community with Torah or expose them to the Yeshiva world. Maybe expose them to the slimy underbelly of the Yeshiva world, but somehow I doubt that's what the founders of the program were thinking.

Hopefully, the two speeches/lessons I heard are not typical of the things they teach. But considering that I only heard one lesson each year, and they both had the same Antigoyist theme, I'm not feeling very hopeful.

אהבת חינם: זאת ההלכה היחידה
Well, not the only one, but you get the point.
Speaking of Antigoyism, I have no words to express the anger and shame I feel at ‘Eiden Natan Zada's act of terrorism in Shefar‘am (Šafā ‘Amr). Anyone who tries to justify him is no better than those who try to justify Palestinian terrorism. Kol Yisra’eil ‘areivim zeh lazeh — the entire Jewish People is accountable for each other, and we just did something unthinkable.


Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Racism sucks. So do generalizatons and assumptions about other Jewish movements.

What do I mean? Why is it that on the Orthojudeoblogosphere (or is that Orthojudeoblogosephira?), if I want to say "I leyned at my mom's shul this past Shabbos, and since the people there are Conservative, they do things slightly differently from the way we do, but are still basically frum", I need to give all sorts of halakhic explanations? Even when I give the explanations, I get a barrage of people telling me: "I don't think you're supposed to do that, because they are koferim and stand for kefira." If I had merely said "I davvened at Chabad", I would not have received such a response, even though people (including me) dislike Chabad. Why can't people leave me alone about the fact that I davvened in a place that was somewhat different from our usual davvening atmosphere?

I realize that I'm rambling on a slightly off-topic issue, but I see what you mean when you say that many people in Orthodox communities teach intolerance, whether to nokhrim or to other groups of Jews.

8/07/2005 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a lot easier for some people to take in a religion if they're constantly being told they're special (and better than *those* poor folks over there) than to actually attack their complacencies and demand that God wants them to *become better people* through hard effort and sacrifice on behalf of others.

Unfortunately, in a lot of places today, people relate a lot better to Artscroll's "Ain't it great to be a frum Yid?" commentary motif than to the spoken word challenges of the nevi'im canonized to become Haftarot in at this time of year.

Apparently these bochurim are heralds of a self-serving religion. I'm confused they'd try that message in such a small community, that deals with non-Jews on a personal level constantly. It makes me worry that that's their (the bochurim's) only understanding of Judaism and their only way to relate.
-alan scott

8/08/2005 7:18 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

You're right in your outrage.

MG - I hope you didn't feel attacked. I treat this question of C as an open one, and was partly taking advocatus diaboli positions for argument's sake.

bOchrim or bOcherim. It's an exception, the expected would be bachUrim.

(Interestingly, in West Yiddish, the word is baacher, probably a remnant of pre-Ashkenazic baher with kometz = pasech. The meaning is a bit different as well; more like a young itinerant melamed.)

8/08/2005 8:31 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Re: baacher: In "Hebrew" (i.e. Biblical Hebrew-- sorry), doesn't this word occasionally have qamets in the first syllable?

(Usually, of course, it has pathaH in the first syllable, with virtually sharpened Heth: baH(H)ur. Steg, here is where your practice of using hh for Heth can run into problems. Howe would you indicate virtual sharpening-- bahh(hh)ur? or perhaps bahhhhur? This is beginning to look like Godol's parodies of us!)


8/08/2005 8:50 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Well, i wouldn't represent virtual sharpening, certainly not in my 'simple' transliteration style.

Maybe in a more technical one, but what i usually do is simply reëncode the Hebrew in Latin letters — and if the Hebrew doesn't mark "virtal sharpening" (what is that, anyway? I haven't heard the term before... simply an expected gemination that's not there?) then i don't need to either ;-) .

8/08/2005 9:49 AM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

It'd be nice if we could feel good about ourselves without feeling the need to put others down.

Just my 2 cents.

Steg, I'm gonna have to get you out to milwaukee one shabbos. The rich assortments of accents in this one shul would keep you busy for years.

8/08/2005 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Self-)righteous indignation is chemically addictive.
How can you tell you're really fighting the good fight?
As somebody who feels like he has real things to complain about and oppose, that fact/question bothers me immensely.
-alan scott

8/08/2005 10:52 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

In BH, בָּחוּר always has kometz, but kometz wasn't distinguished from pasech in Pre-Ashkenazic Hebrew; both were a. I don't think it is a compensatory lengthening of a CaC:uC, rather the paradigm of CåCuC, but I didn't check.

The ח is pronounced like ה in Pre-Ashkenazic Hebrew, so the grammarian Elia Levita was Elje Baher.

8/08/2005 12:12 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Everything just comes back to diqduq with us, doesn't it?

I remember reading once about how in pre-Ashkenazic times the Jews of what would become ‘Eidot Hatzafon divided themselves into "Beney Hes" and "Beney Khes" depending on whether they pronounced hhet as /h/ (=hei) or /x/ (=khaf).

(name based on here)

8/08/2005 12:29 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Actually, the Benei Reynes (precursors of Ashkenazim in the narrower sense, or Western Ashkenazim) pronounced הי"ת, and the Bene Estraich (precursors of Pôlishe and later on Litvishe etc.) pronounced כֿי"ת.

בני חת are Hittites, in case you didn't follow Steg's link. (I imagine our mediaeval ancestors giggling about this joke of theirs.)

Everything just comes back to diqduq with us, doesn't it?

Sure :-) , but I posted this only as a footnote to my agreement with your posting. (I can understand that some readers are annoyed by every topic being chanelled into a discussion of dikduk if they don't have an interest in that, but I honestly don't think we lose our view for the essential.)

8/08/2005 1:12 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

The four guttural א, ע, ח, ה, in consequience of their peculiar pronunciation, have special characteristics, but א, as the weakest of these sounds, and sometimes also ע (which elseqhere as one of the harder gutturals is the opposite of א), differ in several respects from the stronger ה and ח.

1. They do not admit of Dageš forte, since, in consequence of a gradual weakening of the pronunciation (see below, note 1), the strengthening of the gutturals was hardly audible to the Masoretes. But a distinctioin must be drawn between (a) the complete ommission of the strengthening, and (b) the mere echo of it, commonly called half doubling, but better, virtual strengthening.

8/08/2005 1:29 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

In the former case, the short vowel before the guttural would stand in an open syllable, and must accordingly be lengthened or modified. For a distinction must again be drawn between the full lengthening of PathaH into QameS-- mostly before א (always under the ה of the article, see section 35), as a rule also before ע, less frequently before ה, and least often befroe ח-- and the modification of PathaH to Seghôl, mostly before a guttural with QameS. In the other case (virtual strengthening) the Dageš is still omitted, but the strengthening is nevertheless regarded as having taken place, and the preceding vowel therefore remains short. This virtual strengthening occurs most frequently with ח, usually with ה, less frequently with ע, and very seldom with א. Examples of (a) מֵאֵן, הָאָדָם, הָעָם, הָהָר, יֵחָבֵא (for yiHHābhē'); also אֶחָד, הֶחָג, הֶהָרים, הֶעָנִי (see more fully on the pointing of the article before ע in section 35).
[Of course, in the print version of Gesenius, all the appropriate vowels had methaghim, but on this computer, I couldn't put them in my transcript.]

Of (b) הַחֹדֶשׁ, מִחוּט (from minHuT), הַהוּא, בִּעֵר, נִאֵץ, &c. In all these cases of virtual strengthening the Dageš forte is to be regarded at least as implied (hence called Dageš forte implicitum, occultum, or delitescens).

8/08/2005 1:31 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Now you know what virtual sharpening is-- or, as GKC calls it, virtual strengthening.

In any event, in the singular form without suffixes, the word which was originally baHHur undergoes compensatory lengthening: בָּחוּר. However, whenever it has suffixes, it undergoes virtual sharpening: בַּחוּר־. Weird. Or, as I would spell it, wierd.

8/08/2005 1:33 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

PS: I usually pronounce a slight gemination in a virtually sharpened consonant, though I worry that there might be halakhic problems with this. (I spoke about this the my Hevruso, and he said: "We don't know whether or not the Masoretes pronounced doubly the virtually sharpened consonants, so you're probably fine." I said: "If so, why didn't they write in a dagesh." I think that he replied: "Because the doubling of the gutturals is not so strong, and is barely audible."

When I pronounce the Hebrew word בחור, I usually pronounce it as baHHur (with pathaH and slight gemination in the Heth). However, when I pronounce the Yiddish (or Yeshivish English) word בחור, I say bokher (with a komets, and an ungeminated fricative k for the Heth.)

8/08/2005 1:37 PM  
Blogger Mis-nagid said...

It's not so much that you heard two vile speeches, but that such a worldview is becoming so dominant in the yeshivish world. It's not just those two, it's disturbingly prevalent. Lakewood has, and has had, a huge effect on the yeshivish world, and they're the ones who put out a Saadya Grama:

It's not a coincidence.

BTW, I'm a little jealous of the dikduk skill. Not only am I nowhere near as good (an understatement!), I sometimes intentionally scramble my transliterations to hide my educational background. Around you guys, I look like an idiot.

8/08/2005 2:23 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...


only people that don't know what they don't know look like idiots.

8/08/2005 2:43 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

MG - I hope you didn't feel attacked. I treat this question of C as an open one, and was partly taking advocatus diaboli positions for argument's sake.

Lipman-- It's not for myself that I feel offended. It's for the millions of Conservative Jews who associate with a movement that you called minūs, עד כדי that you would deem it forbidden to davven in one of their shuls. You and I may disagree with the C Jews regarding specifics, but we are all comitted Yidden. Remember, for every Conservative Jew whom you want to disqualify as a min, there is a Chareidi Jew who wants to disqualify you as a min

I don't know this for sure, but there are probably chareidim who believe that it is forbidden to davven in our shuls. Let us recognize that there is a continuum of approaches to Judaism that range in all different directions; if we do not realize this, then every individual will draw the dividing-lines between "us" and "epiqorsin"/"fanatics" just inches to the right/left of him or herself.

Ve`odh-- if the Conservative Movement (or parts of it) did not believe in a Torah that somehow derives from God, or in the absolutely binding nature of halokho, I wouldn't be frum. As it is, I was raised by my parents to believe that we are bound by Torah and halakha. When I got older, and lerned the Torah which they cherished, I found that the halokho, as it issues from SHA"S and poseqim, included many restrictions on which they were not maqpidh. However, on things for which they did have mesoroth, my parent were (and are) very maqpidhim.

If I ever want to learn how to do מְלִיחָה, I'm not going to go to a stranger-- I'm going to go to my own mother, to find out what my own masora is. For with regard to this matter, my mother is maqpidha.

(Posted also on my own blog; please post your response there.)

8/08/2005 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your use of the diaeresis is pretty nerdy too. Who do you think you are, the Atlantic?

8/08/2005 3:13 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Anonymous, whom are you addressing-- Steg, Lipman, or me? And where did one of us use a diaeresis?

8/08/2005 3:17 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


You're right, it is. And i usually hate the use of dieresis in English. I have no idea why i just used it myself :-P .

8/08/2005 3:18 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Re: בני כֿי"ת and בני הי"ת:

There's a good article about this, entitled "East and West, 'khes' and 'shin' and the origin of Yiddish", in the כמהג אשכנז ופולין, the Fetstschrift for Chone Shmeruk (1993).

8/08/2005 3:21 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Oh, I see--

Steg wrote "reëncode", instead of "re-encode".

8/08/2005 3:22 PM  
Blogger Mis-nagid said...

The only valid time to use it. :-)

8/08/2005 3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link, Mis-N. You brought back great memories of Deatht�ngue and Cr�onchy Stars!

8/08/2005 3:35 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


I was *so* just looking at that. Ärë ÿöü spÿïng ön më?
I got there through looking for the proper spelling of "diæresis" (surprise, it's a Leftpondian/Rightpondian mahhloqet).

(note: the ligature æsh is not nerdy at all)

8/08/2005 3:35 PM  
Blogger Mis-nagid said...

If you liked the link, you must see this movie (needs sound). Behold the power of wikipedia.

8/08/2005 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's nerdy when used by a left-ponder.

8/08/2005 3:40 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

But only people who don't know Latin (and 19th-century British dorks) use the æ ligature when writing Latin....

8/08/2005 3:42 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Änd whät äböüt "Haägen-Dasz"?

There was someone I used to know whose father was borderline psychotic. He was from Russia, and hated all Americans (as well as women, goyim, black people, and "stupid people" [i.e. people who disagreed with him]). He hated everything about American culture, democracy most of all.

In any event, his daughter told me that he had told his children that all American food was bad, but that Haägen-Dasz ice cream was good, because it was from Scandinavia.

In fact, "Haägen-Dasz" is meaningless in Scandinavian languages. I have heard that the company was founded by two frum guys from New Jersey, who needed to find a name to make their company sound cool....!

(As a joke, I sometimes pronounce the name of the ice cream as העגן-דּאַשׁ, but with a rounded vowel for the "eh-yin" (like German a-umlaut).)

8/08/2005 3:50 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Latin, shmatin. The best use of the letter Æ i've ever seen was a guy i knew in Israel who had the name Eli. Now, most people would read his name as Eh-lee or Ee-lie, when in fact his name was meant to be pronounced Ay-lee. So he would write it Æli instead.

8/08/2005 3:53 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

A Hungarian-born friend of mine invariably pronounces Dazs with a ž at the end (Hégen-Dázs, if you read Hungarian).

8/08/2005 4:19 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Latin, shmatin

What's that? East Coast Yiddish for 'conversion to Roman Catholicism'?

8/08/2005 4:21 PM  
Blogger Justine said...

I thought Haägen-Dasz was Dutch. But, its Bronxian, they say:

To clarify: does "left-ponder" mean someone who lives on the West coast of the USA?

8/09/2005 7:32 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Leftpondian refers to the English spoken on the Left Side of "the Pond", i.e. the Atlantic Ocean — American and Canadian; Rightpondian is British. As far as i know, these aren't standard terminology anywhere though, i just picked it up on geeky linguistics deiscussion groups online.

8/09/2005 8:02 AM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Holy Crap

8/10/2005 12:29 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

PT ?

8/10/2005 12:39 PM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...


I mean that in the kindest way ;-)

Can you guys get back to discussing the topic of the post. What was it, anyway...

8/10/2005 1:09 PM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

No more talk of dip-thongs and diuretics.

8/10/2005 1:10 PM  
Blogger Justine said...

PT you geek!

8/15/2005 10:05 PM  
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