Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Back in the days when typesetting was extremely tedious manual labor

Especially in mixed right-left and left-right text. The final footnote of פנחס‏ מארדעל, אמות ותנועות (Phineas Mordell, “Mothers and Vowels”), Leshonenu 2 (1929-30), p. 256 (click on image to expand it):

BTW, the title “Mothers and Vowels” isn’t as zany as it may sound; Hebrew letters that are used to indicate vowels (such as vavs used as vowels, and final heys that don’t have dots in them) are called imot haqeri’ah, or “mothers of reading.”

Monday, June 13, 2011

His pointless mishnah

I'm trampling in the Dikdukian's territory here. In Haftarat Beha'alotekha is a place where an ignored dagesh will change the meaning. Zechariah 4:1 ends
אֲשֶׁר־יֵעוֹר מִשְּׁנָתוֹ

meaning, "who is awakened from his sleep." If the dagesh is ignored, it means "whose mishnah is awakened."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Question that some of you may know the answer to, although everyone I've asked doesn't

Given that one should be very careful when pronouncing shem Hashem, why does the official pronunciation swallow the alef when a prefix is attached? For example, why do we say "hodu ladonai ki tov" instead of "hodu l'adonai ki tov"?

Thank you.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Nietzsche and Jewish tradition

Notes on a talk by R' Dr. Michael J. Harris. Thank you, Lethargic Man.

Also of possible interest: Allan Nadler, "Soloveitchik's Halakhic Man: Not a Mithnagged," Modern Judaism 13 (1993): 119-47.