Thursday, March 29, 2012

Translation Truth Troubles Torah-man

Two weeks ago, Rabbi Meyer Lubin wrote a letter to the FJJ, on which I blogged about here:

This week, a Kollel Yungerman in Flatbush responded:

Truth in Translation

I am writing in response to Rabbi Meyer
Lubin’s letter. First and foremost, if one truly
wants to remove a stumbling block from
the path of his people, he should state what
he feels to be the correct translation. Many
people want to know the actual translation,
yet they are uncomfortable calling someone
they don’t know. Therefore, I ask that you
submit your translation of “arneves” to the
Without getting into the rights and
wrongs of using English translation, take
Artscroll, for example. Besides for the fact
that Artscroll has very choshuve translators,
their editors, one of them being Harav Nosson
Sherman, Shlita, are all venerated and
well respected talmidei chachamim. For you
to go out on a limb and argue against their
translation, is wrong on your behalf. If you
feel that you are on the level to argue on
these esteemed Rabbonim, you should at
least put in your “correct” translation with
a source.
Until you are benevolent enough to
state your translation, arneves will remain
translated as a hare, as stated in the Artscroll
chumash. As a side point, Artscroll was endorsed
by many prominent Roshei Yeshiva
and Rabbonim (for the right purpose, of
Being Moche for the Kavod of our Rabbonim,
A Kollel Yungerman in Flatbush

Firstly, AKYiF states that Rabbi Lubin should state what the arneves is, rather than requiring people to call him. Now I am not sure why Rabbi Lubin didn't reveal this great secret in the paper, but I am aware that he published an article in Intercom magazine in 1973, and more recently he republished this essay among others in a booklet with R' Herschel Schacter's Haskomo. Therein, he proclaims the arneves to be the bactrian camel and the shafan to be the llama and it's cousins (alpaca, vicuna and guanaco).

His proofs are pretty ingenious and they work well with the past, present and future tenses of the pesukim in vayikra 11 3-7...hifris, hifrisa, yafris. I would imagine that due to the complexity of the issue, he refrained from naming the animals in his brief letter to the editor, and would rather explain this to his callers. Of course this is only conjecture.

Secondly, I don't know why AKYiF assumes that no one may argue on Rav Nosson Scherman and Artscroll. As pointed out in my other post, Rav Shamshon Rafael Hirsch questioned the translation of shafan and arneves meaning rabbit/hare/coney since the Torah says that the shafan/arneves chew their cud, yet the rabbit/hare/coney don't.

Finally, just because rabbonim have endorsed Artscroll, that doesn't mean that they agree with every single thought or translation contained therein.

Being Moche for the Kavod of Rabbi Meyer Lubin (no I am not him!).

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Applesauce Awareness at an Advanced Age

Kudos to The Partial View, who was able to give up his addiction to the Jewish weeklies.

While it may be a noble endeavor to revert to the days of yesteryear, when families interacted with each other face to face, rather than electronically, there nevertheless are many redeeming values to the keeping up with the weekly Jewish periodicals.

Jewish publishing has come a long way in the last few decades. Whereas years ago the yeshiva grad had to content himself with the weekly Jewish Press and the monthly JO (and Olomeinu for children), nowadays Hamodia publishes daily. Additionally, we have the Yated, Mishpacha, Ami, Binah etc.; in addition to every locale creating their own news print.

We also have countless online sites, vying for our attention.

This of course has it's pros and cons. I think that all would agree that now that we have our own media, we need rely less and less on secular magazines. Time, Newsweek and US News and World Report, which were a common staple in many Frum homes a decade or two ago, have slowly disappeared. Commuters now have alternatives to the NYT, The Daily News and the NY Post.

Of course there is some value to being part of the world, yet the decadence and news slant of the aforementioned newsprint justifies the expense of keeping up with the Jewish media, where one can find inspiration and Hashkofo more to one's liking.

This past week I read a story where a daughter goes on occasion to feed her elderly mother. The daughter contends with the applesauce dribbling down her mother's chin. When the mother notices the discomfort of the daughter, she ask her to bring her the mother's diary she wrote when she was a young mom. The daughter had not known about this diary, and could not contain her curiosity to read about her own childhood in the mother's eyes.

The mother asked her to turn to page 32. On page 32 the daughter started reading about how the young mother was experiencing the joy and pain of feeding applesauce to her young daughter for the first time. Full circle inspiration that one doesn't often find in the secular media.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Paper Patron Protests Parsa

Some time ago I posted on the topic of Emunah and Proofs, promising some day to revisit the topic. Well, that day has partly come.

This past week, Rabbi Meyer Lubin wrote an interesting letter to the Flatbush Jewish Journal.

I present the letter below, Page 59, with only the telephone number redacted:

Wrong Animal

There is a serous mistake in all the English
translations of Vayikra 11:5,6. The two
animals mentioned there are the shafan
and arneves. These two words have been
translated as “rabbit,” “coney,” or “hare.” But
these translations are impossible. The Torah
there clearly states that the shafan and
arneves have hooves. Hares have claws- like
cats. Shafan and arneves are maalei geirah chew
their cud- rabbits don’t. Gemara Hulin
lists on 59a shafan and arneves among
the b’haimos. A coney is a b’haimah?? It’s a
small chayala!!
If your readers want to know the
correct translations, please call me at
Rabbi Meyer Lubin
While I believe Rabbi Lubin has good reason to question the identification of these animals, I believe there are several minor errors in his thesis.

He first states that the Torah says clearly that the shafan and arneves have hooves.
Now, granted this may be true according to Rashi, but according to the Rashbam, and many others, the definition of Mafris Parsa means HOOVED, not HAS SPLIT HOOVES. So according to Rashbam, the Torah is saying precisely the opposite of Rabbi Lubin. That the shafan and arneves do not have hooves. Uparsa Lo Yafris, and Uparsa Lo Hifrisa mean precisely that...that they do not have hooves.

Secondly, I don't see how one can be so sure that the shafan and arneves can't be chayos. Beheima is sometimes used generically for both beheima and chaya, and the gemara at the bottom of the page brings the arod into the conversation, and the arod is clearly a chaya (mishna kilayim 8:6).

Notwithstanding these minor errors, I believe that Rabbi Lubin is correct that the rabbit/coney/hare option is not feasible due to the other issue that these animals don't chew their cud. At least not in the conventional sense.

Rabbi Shamshon Rafael Hirsch already pointed this out in his commentary to this topic (vayikra 11:3-7).

As for Rabbi Lubin's theory (stated elsewhere) that these animals are from the camel/llama family, that also does not fit well with the other sources in Tanach (Tehillim 104:18) which discuss the shafan hiding under the rocks, something that the llama family is clearly not capable of. Secondly, the gemara on 59a clearly states that the shafan/arneves have teeth on top of their mouths, something that the llama/camel family do not.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Frum Fight Fidler's Family-values

There is a special State Senate election taking place in Brooklyn today.

While this blog attempts to refrain from discussing people, public officials go into public service with the knowledge that their ideas and character will be discussed; and I've heard from a posek that certain halachos of LH do not apply in the case of public servants.

It seems to me that the fight here is one of values vs. pocketbook. In fact, the ads promoting Lew Fidler's candidacy are signed by "Askonim", whereas the ads in favor of David Storobin are signed by Rabbonim. Granted that there are Rabbonim on both sides of the aisle here, nevertheless this difference is striking.

Now there are those who argue that we take the "full man" when voting for a candidate. If 95% of what the man stands for aligns with our position, we can ignore the other 5%. However, the larger picture here is one of Chillul Hashem. Should the Orthodox come out in force for a person whose innate character is the antithesis of Torah Family Values?

Several months ago the Jews of Brooklyn made a huge Kiddush Hashem when they voted for the non-Jewish Bob Turner when he ran against a liberal Jewish opponent. Today, they once again are presented with the same opportunity. Please vote.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Harmonica Helps Harmonize Holiday

It's funny how some things change over time. When the Diaspora Yeshiva Band burst onto the scene in the 1970's, many were surprised by their audacious attempts to infuse rock-n-roll beats onto Jewish music.

Yet time moves on and today some of their melodies are considered tame and beautiful compositions, certainly compared to some of the alternative music of our day.

Electric guitars, banjo and even the harmonica join together to harmonize this beautiful Purim offering.

Perhaps the most classical of rock-n-roll songs combine the electric guitars with harmonicas to produce the most beautiful finger picking, cheek blowing music ever written. Think Bob Dylan and Neil Young, to name a few.

Although the aformentioned composers were able to play the harmonica and guitar simultaneously, I nevertheless humbly offer up this relic of yesteryear. Ish Yehudi.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thursday, March 1, 2012

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