Mis-Dakdek

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

מעשה רב

I posted this in a comment thread on Hirhurim a few months ago. (Ah, those were the days! DiqduqGeeks had just started, and Steg, Lipman, and I were spending about 20 hours a day pouring diqduq into the comment-threads on the big-time blogs.)

Lipman hath encouraged me to re-post this comment as a post here, so I am doing so:

Gil wrote:

>ma'aseh rav

This reminds me of two things:

1. We usually understand this phrase to mean "the action of a rav". If this is the correct understanding of the phrase, then it should be vocalized מַעֲשֵׂה רַב, with a tseire under the shin semŏlith (a letter that is more popularly known as sin, but we try to avoid sin in Judaism.) And indeed, that is how I pronounced the phrase for many years. However, I recently came across a passage of Tosofos (on `Avodha Zara 66b) where this phrase is used as an independent sentence: בלאַ בלאַ בלאַ בלאַ בלַא ומעשה רב: blah blah blah blah blah and מעשה רב. I realized at once that the phrase was to be vocalized as וּמַעֲשֶׂה רַב, with a seghol under the shin semŏlith/sin, and an ever-so-slight pause between the words. (If the Tosafistic passage had טעמי המקרא, there would be a tifhā on the word ומעשה.) The meaning of this two-word phrase, when used as a sentence, is: and an incident is great, or an incident is significant [in determining pesaq].

2. On Shabbos (July 30th), I was having a conversation with my good friend TK. At one point, TK mentioned that he had heard stories of rabbis in 19th-century Europe who could not determine the proper blessing for sugar, and therefore refrained from eating it. TK did not like this attitude; he said: "In halakha, we have an answer to the question of what you don't when you don't know the proper berakha for a certain food. The answer is NOT don't eat the food; rather, the answer is say She-hakkol. I said: "Well, I'm not so sure that their action was so bad, after all. Haven't you ever seen pictures of some of these rabbis? It would probably do them good to avoid sugar."

27 Comments:

Blogger Habib said...

I don’t quite understand no. 2. In what possible circumstance might one eat sugar with it being the ngiqar rather than the tafel? The only instance that springs to mind is the Russian/Litvak tea-drinking method in which the sugar is inserted into the mouth, and the tea drunk through it.

11/20/2005 7:47 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

They're not Litvaks; they're from Veisrussland.

Those 19th-century Soviet Rabbis!

Anyway, let's try to steer back to diqduq issues.

11/20/2005 10:47 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Part of Belaurs is in the Lithuanian Jewish culture zone; after all, my patrilineal ancestors lived in Slonim, [present-day] Belarus after having moved to the Russian Empire from "Someplace With White Pine Trees", Germany, and they were Litvaks.

11/21/2005 8:01 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

WHAT?! You're not a Litvak at all, you shameless Byelorussian imposter!

Just look at the map.

11/21/2005 8:28 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

moved to the Russian Empire from "Someplace With White Pine Trees", Germany

Now that we're talking about different `êzôs of Ashkenazzim, I'd like to present a survey question to the blog-members:

What are the last five words that (each of) you say immediately before ברוך אתה יי מקדש השבת in the Tefillo of Shabbos?

11/21/2005 9:08 AM  
Blogger Habib said...

What are the last five words that (each of) you say immediately before ברוך אתה יי מקדש השבת in the Tefillo of Shabbos?
va'yanuhu vah....
I guess you're trying to gauge Ari-istic influence?

Talking of differing Ashkenazzi `edoth, I am trying to unlearn the Israeli-eastern Ashkenaz half-torah trop that I was taught in my youth, and replace it with the proper Anglo/West-Ashk version. Does anyone have a recording or such-like?

11/21/2005 9:37 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

What are the last five words that (each of) you say immediately before ברוך אתה יי מקדש השבת in the Tefillo of Shabbos?

You guessed correctly.

11/21/2005 10:02 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Does anyone have a recording or such-like?

Lipman, can you make one? I know WA trop [sic] pretty well, but not entirely. If I want to start leyning at KAJ (which I do want), I should probably listen to a recording. So that makes two of us.

By the way, let me fill out the nôsach question on the survey:

I say וישמחו בֿך ישראל אוהבי שמך.

11/21/2005 10:13 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

I say וישמחו בֿך ישראל אוהבי שמך.

Good boy.

As you guessed, I say בּך for the time being. How about בְךָ and שְׁמֶךָ vs. בָךְ and שְׁמָךְ?

11/21/2005 10:20 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

trop

That'd be feasable.

11/21/2005 10:27 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

As you guessed, I say בּך for the time being.

But you say the correct consonantal text, I presume?

How about בְךָ and שְׁמֶךָ vs. בָךְ and שְׁמָךְ?

Auj. I used to say the -okh forms, but ohr'd for at Ramath Orah once, and afterwards, the assistant Rabbi of the schul approached me, and said: "What's with all the feminine endings?" I said: "-okh is the masculine ending in PBH. The feminine ending would be -eikh in BH, and -ikh in PBH." He said: "Well, don't do it that way when you davven for the omed. It's not in ArtScroll, and not in Birnbaum."

So, I started to remove the -okh endings from my ohrn (or is that ohren?)*. I still am very careful to do them in lernen, though.

*Apparently, there's some evidence the -okh and -ékho are to be used בערבוביא in certain contexts, which mix various strata of the language. See H. Yalon, in the introduction to his מבוא לניקוד המשנה.

11/21/2005 10:30 AM  
Blogger Habib said...

for the sake of clarity, by half-Torah, I refer, in jocular fashion, to the haftaroth (as an infant, I assumed that haftorah was a mispronunciation of half-Torah).

11/21/2005 11:02 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Your wish is my command.

11/21/2005 11:16 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Habib--

What's your ngeda? You often transliterate Hebrew in a Dutch fashion.

11/21/2005 11:21 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Lipman wrote on Diqduq Geeks:

But this is an old form, not a "chareidi" invention or BT-speak like "We did some gemoire today" (cholile!). Irrefutable proof: I've seen it spelled "Haftorah" many times in 19th century German sforem (for
authenticity, kindly change your font to Gothic letters). (Not that I didn't suspect it to be a Christian-Jewish interpronunciation when I first
saw it.)

Secondary evidence: The BI CD_ROM has it in the following - I confine
myself to rishounem: Seifer ho-ittem, Machkem, Itter, Ravye, Kolbou, Minhogem (Tyrnau), Abudarham, Leket Yousher, Rambam (MT and Peiresh ham-mishnayes), Tur, Beis Yousef, Rosh, Tashbetz, Mahrel, Mabbi"t. Lots of achrounem use this writing as well, and only the Encyclopaedia Talmudica hits were really "happeturo".

So we have a range from Spain an Greece to Germany, but no traces before about 1100 GC.


I (MG) looked in the Ben-Yehuda dictionary last night, and found no reference to the spelling הפטורה.

11/21/2005 11:26 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

What does that imply? (serious question)

11/21/2005 11:28 AM  
Blogger Habib said...

Lipman:

Great thanks! Marvellous stuff.

MG:

Not Dutch (or even double Dutch).(Primarily) east Ashkenaz, actually.

11/21/2005 11:36 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

When i looked in the old siddurs here, they had veyismehhu bhekha yisra’eil ohavey shemékha. These are the same siddurs that i used to regraft -akh forms all over the place.

אלקינו ואלקי אבותינו רצה במנוחתנו
קדשנו במצווֹתֶיךָ
ותן חלקנו בתורתָךְ
שבענו מטובָךְ
ושמחנו בישועתָךְ
וטהר לבנו לעבדְךָ באמת
והנחילנו ה אלקינו
באהבה וברצון שבת קדשֶךָ
וישמחו בְךָ ישראל אוהבי שמֶךָ

11/21/2005 12:34 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Steg,

The defusim to which you refer seem to be evidence of the use of -okh, -ekho, and -ékho forms being used בערבוביא (as per Yalon).

Is that the text (and vocalization) that you in fact use when you ohr?

11/21/2005 1:50 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Is that the text (and vocalization) that you in fact use when you ohr?

Yup.

11/21/2005 2:48 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Not when i'm the ohrrer-forrer, though. Then i do whatever's in the siddur.

11/21/2005 2:48 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

As I told MG, when I ored fore the other day, I reassured our esteemed shammes I'd say every single mistake as it is printed in the Roedelheimer.

11/21/2005 2:55 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

19th-century Soviet Rabbis?

What dates, please, 19th-century Soviet?

11/21/2005 3:05 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

19th-century Soviet Rabbis?

Refers to this comment thread.

11/22/2005 1:00 AM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Ach zo. A proto-sobiyetishe mensh.
Vi Leib Davidovicz Bronstein.

If you'll excuse the horrific comparison.

11/22/2005 10:17 AM  
Blogger ADDeRabbi said...

Ma'aseh Rav is a relative term which indicates that action is a weightier halakhic source than an apodictic statement. IOW, the Talmudic equivalent of 'actions speak louder than words'.

12/22/2005 7:20 PM  
Blogger Moshe said...

You could have learned the same about Ma'aseh Rav from the Talmud -

See Shabboth 126B and Rashi there.

3/13/2006 12:42 PM  

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