Saturday, February 28, 2009


ה אדר.

Alas! A Quarter Century!

An entire Quarter Century of Shlomo and neither he nor the world around him have changed in any positive way since he was born!

I was not expecting to find myself in this sort of situation at this point in my life.

If I had known that so little would become of myself I would obviously have done something, ...everything quite differently, though it is much too late for that now.

I mean, I would very much hesitate to call this a "failed existence", though I would hesitate more to call this an "accomplished existence"!

It would be difficult for me to verbalize exactly how I feel about things at this point in my life, although if I did have to render it into words, I'm afraid it would exclusively contain four-letter words describing things like excrement and fornication.

One protruding example that has been a disturbance to me recently is my recent realization of the fact that my mind, personality and actions have changed so very little since I was a small child. When I was younger I felt like I had come so far, yet now I feel as if I haven't gotten anywhere. Any accomplishment I may have had seems like some kind of fanciful illusion.

I also feel that the years between 20 and 25 didn't really happen. What were supposed to be some of the most eventful years of life were some of the most eventless. Now I feel like I have to "make it up" or something, ..which, of course, is somewhat impossible, due to the fact that this is the age to "settle down" in life, get married, and get in the same gear as many of my comrades are. This temporal paradox itself is a source of some displeasure.

Another example has been the issue of peers; how I feel that most of my peers have gone beyond me, which for me has become a source of jealousy in recent times.

Though it is also unsettling to me that many of those I see around me are upset and frustrated about the way their existences seem to be leading them. I cannot hide the fact that at times I feel their frustrations are minimally justified in comparison to my own.

Yet I, friends, am a believer in the logical basis for the notion of Divine Providence, and the idea that G_d has a plan for every man. It is my opinion as well, friends, that G_d has something of some particular purpose in this world to be fulfilled by myself and none other.

I therefore pray to He who gives life to all to overlook my trespasses, and lead me into a coming quarter century of great fulfillment, purpose and accomplishment, Amen.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I recently started reading Oliver Twist for the first time. A little late for that, I know (I even had a collection of all the famous pieces of eighteenth century English Literature in my house when I was a kid, though I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to read them!).

It could be said though, that a book like Oliver Twist wasn't quite meant for very young readers. Reading through it, it seems he supposes his reader to be mature and somewhat opinionated about, and experienced in, life. Dickens also has a writing style that younger people might find a bit rigid and lengthy.

One thing I found really funny was towards the beginning of the book Oliver supposes that "the Jew" (Fagin) and his gang are employed making handkerchiefs. And for quite a little while there is a complete lack of communication in using the word "work". Oliver supposes they mean handkerchiefs, and it actually seems they understand him to understand that they mean robbery.

For example in chapter 9:

"‘You’d like to be able to make pocket–handkerchiefs as easy as Charley Bates, wouldn’t you, my dear?’ said the Jew.

‘Very much, indeed, if you’ll teach me, sir,’ replied Oliver."

"At length, he began to languish for fresh air, and took many occasions of earnestly entreating the old gentleman to allow him to go out to work with his two companions.", and many similar passages.

This is funny to me because such a lengthy misunderstanding once happened to me with Israeli charity collectors in regards to the word work. I once came to Montreal (from Israel) with the intention of working with an acquaintance of mine in the dry cleaning industry. I had intended to stay in the free lodging intended for Israeli charity collectors, and had mentioned to the owner on the phone before I came "אני מגיע לשמה לעבוד". I was surprised the next day when the Israelis told me things like "הולכים לעבוד, אתה מגיע?י".

The absurdity grew even more when I informed them that I met with some trouble with the Immigration Officers at the airport when I told them I had come "to work" (I had not known it was not officially allowed for an American without papers). The Israelis thought this was a complex play on words and ideas when they told each other "הוא אמר להם שהוא מגיע לפה לעבוד!י" (obviously with the understanding that I meant charity collecting, but I was using the word "work" which is often used to refer to it, to make it sound more legitimate, not knowing that "working" is just as prohibited for an Israeli in Canada as soliciting!). It turned out, by the way, that if the owner had not understood me to mean charity collecting, he might not have let me stayed there...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


הזכרתי לפני זמן מה את התנגדותו של האדמו"ר מחב"ד לרצונם של אוהדי הרב הירש באמריקה להשתמש בדרכיו של הרב הירש ביהדות למטרת קירובם של הרחוקים מיהדות למסורת אבותם. האדמו"ר, כמובן, בחר לנקוט בהגותם של אדמור"י חבד, ובפרט את רעיונו של ה "מבצעים" לקרב את הנוער האמרקני ליהדות. בפיו טענה לזה, שאפילו שבלי ספק דרכו של הרב הירש הצליח מאד בזמנו ובמקומו, היות והנוער שגדלו באמריקה הרבה פחות מעוניין בחקירות פילוסופיות, טעות יהיה לשום בפניהם מכשול של ביקורות של כל האפיקורסים ושונאי התורה במטרה לפרוך את ראיותם. מוטב, אומר האדמו"ר, ללמדם את הטוב שביהדות, ובפרט את המצוות המעשיות החשובות שידעו לפחות את אופן עשייתם. י
אפילו שתמה אני על יותר מאחד מטענותיו, באופן כללי הייתי יכול לומר שאע"פ שחייבים אנו לקבל את תורתם של חכמי חב"ד כמו כל דברי תורה של שאר חכמי ישראל, אפילו הכי אפשר לצדד שרעיונות כמו אלו שמטיפים, שמסתמכים מאד על מטאפיזיקה והנחות קבליות, מובן שיתקבלו יותר על חלק מהנוער האויברסטאי שפחות מעוניין ומתעניין בחקירות ודרישות על הדת ועל החיים. על כאלו אזניים "מבצעיהם" של חסידי חב"ד, השמים דגש על בחינת הפעילות של מצוות הפולחניות, יעשו יותר רושם וישפיעו עליהם לטובה. כי ספרי חסידות חב"ד נכתבו במזרח אירופה בעידן ולקהל היותר קרוב לאמונות טפילות, כגון ה"בעל-עגלה" האגדי, וליהודים אלו פעילות אדמו"רי חב"ד עשו פרי. י

אבל לא כולם דומים זה לזה בדעתם, ויש מהם הנמשכים אחר ההיגיון הצרוף והמדע הטהור, וכל רעיון אשר לא עבר את השיטה המדעית יתרחקו מעליהם. לבחורי ובנות ישראל אלו לא הייתי מתמהמה לומר שדרכיהם התורניות של אנשים כמו רב הירש, רב סולובייציק וחכמי ספרד, וכל מי שילך בדרכים אלו בפירושי היהדות, אם יועברו באופן יעיל, יעשו פירות יותר מה"מבצעים". כי דתינו אינה אופנה חולפת מה"עידן החדש", רוב ככל האמונות העיקריות ביהדות אינם נפרדים מן הדעת וההיגיון. לנוער היותר מעוניין צריך, לא, חייב, להיות יותר מתפילין ומיסטיקה לקרב את לבם לאספקטים של הדת היותר מתיישבים על הדעת. י
בעיני עיקר החילוק בין שני מיני הנוער האלו, מתבטא טוב במילים שבהם משתמשים על קבלתם הסתפקות ממה ששומעם או קוראים. החלק הראשון משתמשים בביטוי "התפעלות" בתארם "דיבור" טוב: "מאד התפעלתי משיעור זה". אבל חחלק השני היו אומרים משהו כמו "הספר הזה מאד מתודולוגי" או " הרב הזה היה מאד סביר, מובן, הגיוני". י

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

פן תשכח

מי ימר דלא מחייב כל איניש להדר על הלכות דעות להרמב"ם זמנין סגיאין. "מילתא דלא רמיא עליה דאיניש לאו אדעתיה" כתיב. י

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Jungle

One of my first posts on this blog, dear readers (I like saying that. Sue me!), stated that I wished to have one blog for ideas that may come to me, and one about my life. For various reasons the one that was supposed to be about my life was seldomly posted on, and ultimately abandoned. I also seem to have already written many posts on this very blog that are directly concerned with events in own petty, sorry and pointless existence. It is also very tiring to see the same post displayed for too long if I have nothing pressing to blog about. It is for these reasons that I, at times (now being one of them) take the liberty to say a few words about myself:

I've recently, on a fanciful level only, been considering the prospect of returning to the slaughterhouse I worked at in Green Bay (or one of the others in Minnesota or Nebraska) once again, while taking Accounting on online college. It might very well be impossible and unwise for me, but it is an idea my whims have found attractive. It's not bad there, and I'm not doing too much here anyway.

I was doing some Google searches for "our companies" plants, and I saw some of them listed, but only in Animal Rights sights complaining about kosher slaughter. One of them said something I found to be untrue. It said "A slaughterhouse, under the best of conditions, is a grim and terrible place. That can never change." I actually found it to be surprisingly pleasant! I guess it's just because I'm not a "people person". I'd rather be killing cows than dealing with children (especially with mental disabilities. ...sue me! ...oh, you already have..). It's surprising how accommodating dead cows can be. The only problems are the monotony of factory work, and of course, the fact that cow blood and excrement often find their way to your face.

In regards to the social aspects of the factory though, I found them to be very commendable. The morale there was exceptionally high considering the living standards of the employees (and considering most of them are escorted back to prison at night!). Most all of them are in perpetual good cheer, and can always be found laughing or joking about something or another. Employee relations are very good, and each section of the plant has it's own social circle. I don't know...I found that to be very interesting in a way. And best yet, due to the fact that many of the workers are female, even romantic interests are taken up in the plant!

Not that that's necessarily cloud nine for me, but the pay is very good, the rent is free, the hours are few, it's a nice local, and the "chevre" are decent. For Israelis they're pretty refined. I had some meaningful conversations here and there (especially with my elderly "philosopher" friend. He told me I was the only one who "spoke the same language" as him. ..?), and had with whom to do fun local stuff with.
And what is here for me in Brooklyn? Don't answer that! But seriously, shidduchim? Who would marry a penniless bloke like me in this situation anyway? So..yeh...I've been looking into the possibilities..

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Lost Gemara

As you can see, dear readers, ....."reader"? ; ), I have been trying to categorize my past posts through the usage of labels, which of course is somewhat difficult, since it's hard to say what many of my posts are "about". Not to mention the difficulty of correcting my grammar and syntax errors, which would take weeks to complete.

Anyway, I was on the subway recently (as I often am), and I was considering all the things that I've written in the past that have become lost to me (mostly Gemara notebooks). I tallied it all up, and all together there are:

  • 5 notebooks on פסחים.
  • 2 notebooks on בבא מציעא.
  • 2 notebooks on בבא קמא.
  • 1 notebook on קידושין.
  • 1 notebook on סוכה.
  • 1 notebook on כתובות.
  • 1 teaching notebook on ברכות.
  • 1 teaching notebook on קידושין.

that I've lost. (When there's more than one it means I studied the same tractate at different periods). Some of these notebooks were b'iyun (in depth, as heard from the Rosh Yeshiva), and some were b'kiyut (basic outlines and conclusions of studies from later chapters in a given tractate).

Here it may seem a bit negligible, but in my eyes it's a big loss. These in essence were my "blog" before my blog. My writings and my thoughts on the tractates I was able to study. If I had more time with them I could have even rewritten them or typed them up in a way that might have proven useful to me in the future.

..I guess it shows why it's a good idea to keep important stuff in safe places! Hopefully I'll review those tractates again, and come to clearer understandings and gain keener insight in them, having the amount of exposure to them I've had in the past. אכי"ר

Thursday, February 12, 2009

ה' אלו"הינו

I've just heard something which I found interesting which I know is one of those things that would fall away after a while like the other residue in my mind had it not been for the fact that I am so close to a computer. Praised be G_d.

I heard that monarchs and other rulers in the past were called and called themselves by the third person plural (for example saying "we" instead of "I") because they felt that in a sense, they encompassed in themselves the entire nation they were ruling over.

I was just thinking of how that might apply to some of the attribute names with which we refer to G_d at times in Hebrew. אלו"הים for example, is said to also mean judge (as אלו"ה wouldn't). In this case it would mean a judge who encompasses his judged. Is that somehow eluded to when referring to G_d as a judge in this ancient Hebrew third person plural?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Anything Goes!

Although it is not my way to consistantly critisize Jewish communities in this blog, as on other blogs, and although this point has been mentioned too many times already, but just to follow up on a point I made earlier in passing:

It has recently been the opinion of Chassidic and other ultra-orthodox groups that the proper way for Jewish girls and women to dress is with skirts that reveal ones ankles (when covered with stockings). To me it is quite evident from the Cole Porter song "Anything Goes" that in the past it was unheard of to have dresses or skirts that exposed ones ankles.

To me it can be presented in no clearer way that having that part of the body revealed is a thing of attraction, and is a new phenomenon, and therefore it should at least not be advertised as the "traditional" or "proper" way of going about things. The (most) proper way to dress in this situation is undoubtedly the way of many women whom the fear of G_d has touched their hearts dress; wearing clothing that covers their ankles. (Although as was previously mentioned, from a purely halakhic perspective it's ok to have ones lower legs revealed, even without stockings or any other form of socks).
(The link to the video is on the lyrics. The whole lyrics are here).

Monday, February 9, 2009

On Blogging: "פרי עמלו של הבטלה"

הנא בדור בו אנו חיים, הכרוך בכריכה הדוקה באמצעי תקשורת משוכללים רבים "אשר לא ידעו אבותינו", המייצרים אפשריות חדשות רבות להפצת מידע, יש כאלו אנשים אשר נמנעים מלהרבות דברים וייצוג באמצעי תקשורת מסוימים (כגון האינטרנט) בהיות שאם כן היו עושים, היה הדבר מראה על ריבוי בטלתם, ושאין להם תכניות יותר ...סבירות על סדר היום שלהם. י

אי אפשר היה לי להגיד שאינני חש לאפשרות שכך אני מראה את עצמי, מ"מ לא היתה האשמה כזאת כזב לחלוטין(!). ובין כך מתוך צירוף תחושת הבטלה הנזכרת, ותחושת רצוני להפיץ רעיוני הקצרים למקום שמור יותר ומפורסם יותר מדפים ממשיים, כמעט ומוכרח אני לכתוב. ואם באמת ככה אני מוצג, "יהיה אשר יהיה", ו"כאשר אבדתי אבדתי", כי לחסום מעניינות המחשבה עבירה היא, עבירה שאין ברצוני לעבור! י

(Written on the subway, after admiting to someone that I blogged!)


כנגד מדת הסתרתו של דבר, כך מדת ההמשכה אליו. י

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Man, the University, the Mystery!

Do you recognize this man?

I decided to turn my attention to a man who has gained a great amount of popularity during his lifetime for his Torah, charisma, soul-stirring discourses and never-ending efforts for the sake of strengthening Judaism in America and the world-over; רבי מנחם מענדל שניאורסון (a name, I recently discovered, which was once changed from "שניאורי", which obviously meant "son of שני-אור", after שני-אור זלמן מליאדי).

I was having a conversation with some gentlemen over at "Dixie Yid"s blog last week (very nice blog by the way) about the ruling of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Scheerson concerning the impropriety of university attendance. I countered with something that has always bothered me about Chabad Chassidim; the fact that they adhere to relatively fundamentalist viewpoints of "the Rebbe", while Rabbi Schneerson himself could have been seen as somewhat of a modernizer. In this example Rabbi Schneerson advised against university attendance, while he himself had attended a number of universities in both Germany and France. Other obvious examples include his comparative "modernity" of dress (in his circles what he was wearing was quite outlandish!), while the official dress of his Chassidim is of much more of a Traditionalist-Polish-Jewish fashion, and his including sources from secular knowledge into is discourses, while he, again, advised against the acquisition of such knowledge.

The gentlemen I was talking with responded that Rabbi Schneerson's university studies cannot be taken as an example to others, considering he was less susceptible to the undesirable influences of the university environment. One of them suggested that it wasn't even the idea of Rabbi Menachem Mendel at all, but that he was sent by his father in law, the Rebbe of Lubavitch.

I started to take a bit of interest in this seeming shift in interests of Rabbi Sheersohn, and tried to discover for what reason he attended in the first place (according to records Rabbi Schneerson first attended University of Berlin for little more than a semester, then attended a technical school in Paris where he received a licence for engineering, and then studied math at the Sorbonne until the war broke out).

From what I read online, it seems that Rabbi Schneerson, having studied Torah under his illustrious father and having received Rabbinical ordination from the famed Rabbi Yosef Rosen (צפנת פענח), harbored a keen interest in general knowledge and languages, having learned Russian on his own while still at home. He later visited the (then) Rebbe of Lubavitch for the first time (who had only daughters), and quickly became engaged to one of his younger daughters (the conditions of which are not clear). After the marriage his father in law was criticized for his son's dressing in modern clothing, and having somewhat of a secular education.

The couple then made their famous trip to Germany, where both Rabbi Schneerson and his wife would be able to continue their studies. Rabbi Menachem Mendel audited a few interesting courses at the University of Berlin, and his newlywed wife, Chaya Mushka (Musenka), took some classes at the "Deutsche Institute". It seems that Rabbi Schnerson was somewhat dismayed by the lack of seriousness among the students, and decided instead to spend his time acquiring knowledge (both secular and holy) on his own pace, in the university library and at Hildesheimer (Rabbinical Seminary). During this time he was said to have met with men who were to themselves become Jewish leaders in America. I'm speaking of course about Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveichik and Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner. They both attested to his piety and his keeping of strict religious practices in unlikely conditions. The couple was supported by her father, who, it's suggested, took interest in the idea of his son in law learning a reasonable trade, in order to support himself.

He allowed himself the liberty of this secularism, seemingly, because he was not in line to become the next Rebbe. The Rebbe's eldest daughter was already married to someone by the name of Rabbi Shemaryah Gur-Ari (a name slightly familiar to me from hearing Crown Heights people talk Chabad politics with each other), who spent all his time with the Rebbe, and produced a healthy son, something Rabbi Schneerson had yet to produce.

An even more informing proof that that Rabbi Scheerson had an acute desire to acquire knowledge, and did not think he would succeed his father in law, is that the couple subsequently moved to Paris, and lived in an upscale neighborhood with their brother and sister in law (where they were reportedly "very modern"). He succeeded in completing a two year course at ESTP (a technological college for construction and industrial engineering), and obtained a licence for electrical engineering (which he ended up taking advantage of for Tikun-Olam in America towards the end of the war). He then continued to register at Sorbonne, where he studied math until the war broke out (obviously not to obtain a degree of any kind).

It has become my conviction, though, that his opinions about modernism changed radically when he came to the United States, and was found to be a more promising candidate for Rebbe then that Rabbi Shemaryah fellow. His piousness, Torah knowledge, general knowledge and charisma really left Rabbi Gur-Ari no match for him, and he was eventually chosen (by some sort of general consensus it seems) to be the next Rebbe. Once he was the Rebbe, and the movement started growing tremendously under his leadership, I think the movement started taking on some Polish-style colourisations. Though the Rebbe didn't wear the traditional fur hat, his adherents started looking more and more "Polish". He began advising against university study and began to adhere to a more supernatural approach to things as a result of the responsibilies and possibilities of his post.

This is a letter sent by the Rebbe, for example, about the ideologies of Samson Raphael Hirsch about secular university, and why he feels Hirsch's opinions cannot be applied to the situation in the United States. I must say, while I do not disagree with many of the points in this letter (but do admit that some of the points are debatable), I feel that it is possible that his change in his public stance on these subjects came as a direct result of the responsibility he felt he had to Jewry as the Lubavitcher Rebbe (in other words it wasn't his personal opinion, but his "professional" opinion).

These are some some of the sites I used to gather this somewhat controversial info:

Wikipedia. (Of course!)


"Failed Messiah".

עבדא דמרא-

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Super Bowl Thoughts

A little late, I know.
Throughout the ages there have been many critics of pure Halakhic Judaism, yet among them the complaints that are attributed in the Gospels to Jesus stand alone. He is famous for having (been described as) spoken harshly against our relentless emphasis on unusually minute and meticulous details of the law, while we overlook more important, general principles. On מעשר: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these things ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel!". There are many, many more examples: "For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders..".

Yet these notions have not been expressed in the Gospels alone, for greater people have voiced similar concerns. Luzzatto (רמח"ל), for example, in the preface of מסילת ישרים says: "There are those who go more deeply into sacred studies, into the study of the holy Torah, some occupying themselves with Halachic discussions, others decisions. There are few, however, who devote thought and study to perfection of Divine service - to love, fear, communion and all of the other aspects of saintliness. It is not that they consider this knowledge unessential; if questioned each one will maintain that it is of paramount importance and that one who is not clearly versed in it cannot be deemed truly wise. Their failure to devote more attention to it stems rather from its being so manifest and so obvious to them that they see no need for spending much time upon it.. ...Is it fitting that our intelligence exert itself and labor in speculations which are not binding upon us, in fruitless argumentation, in laws which have no application to us, while we leave to habit and abandon to mechanical observance our great debt to our Creator?!".

So what, therefore, is the Pharisaic response to this? What logic is there to spend so much of our tax dollars to support people in Lakewood who discuss the intricacies of פיגול and נותר, according to the רב עקיבא איגר, רשב"א and רב שמעון שקופ? A profound response is given to this question in the beginning of ספר ליקוטי אמרים, by רבי שניאור זלמן מליאדי. In Chapter 5 he explains that since even obscure Halakhot are directly representative of the Divine will and wisdom in regards to our earthly lives, by thoroughly engaging our minds in such topics we are, in essence, receiving a direct emanation from G_d himself into our being; G_d, who otherwise would remain incomprehensible to us (a similar idea was expressed more concisely in רמח"ל's דרך ה; part 4:2).

Yet my own feelings about the subject have always been much more simplistic. On Sunday evening, in America's national yearly football competition (the Super Bowl), during the first few minutes (which is all I watched!), one of the players from the Pennsylvania teem, after a record run, accomplished crossing the ball itself into Arizona's goal line, but not before falling down (perhaps his arms and the ball were in the goal before he fell). There was a discussion by the judges, and that touchdown was not counted.

It would be illogical to suggest that the ruling for such a situation should be determined for the first time while millions of Americans are eagerly awaiting the results. To me it is obvious that rules were set down a long time ago about just such an event which might occur. Now, if Football has exact rules about the most minute details, and how they might affect the reality of the game, then קל וחומר, בן בנו של קל וחומר, אבי גיסו ואחותו הקטנה של קל וחומר in regards to life and religion! Of course the minutest details need attention! How could they not?!
Is loving thy neighbor, having a nice tree for Christmas and dressing up like the guy from the "Friday the 13th" film on Halloween all there is to religion?! Even praying daily, giving charity and other good deeds, how can they be part of a true law without rules and regulations? Even the most minute? This has been the argument for the very existence of the oral law by many of the Spanish Rabbis. It seems in the Torah itself that the author made references to laws which the reader should seemingly be otherwise aware of. And as was mentioned, having our minds engulf these ideas of G_d's will on earth in all it's details is, in essence, the best way to fulfil the biblical precept of "becoming nearer" to G_d.
עבדא דמרא-

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Re: Aramaic

*ugh*! Yes, yet another follow-up on petty points!

Aramaic Song: Why are these guys singing about me?! You gotta' hear this one!

Aramaic Song: My favorite Aramaic song (from the S'lih'ot) "מחי ומסי" (it's so emotional. ..mostly when you yourself are singing it though).


Yes, I guess essentially I'm still following up from the topic of "Jesus and his times" (in quotes due to my adherence to the myth theory):

While I was living in Orlando, I had the type of beard that made me look like an ambassador to Judaism or something (which, I admit, is fun!). I was once stopped on the street by a British Christian my age, who seemingly converted since he had dark skin (perhaps Indian). He asked me about prayer, and about what I thought of "the lords prayer". At that time I hadn't even heard of it though (something I was somewhat embarrassed of), and so he explained to me that it was that famous prayer about "give us today our daily bread" etc. I told him honestly I didn't have a preconceived opinion, as I hadn't given it much thought in the past.

I am not here to discuss the lords prayer, but rather Aramaic, since it is known that "Jesus spoke Aramaic", and if the prayer was uttered, it would have been in Aramaic, though in honesty it was probably traslated from the Greek origional.

I have always felt somewhat sorry for Aramaic, since most of the people I know who read it pronounce it in a way that's far from how it might have once been pronounced, and I'm one of those guys who, even though nobody else in the yeshiva reads Gemara that way, will strive to read it in a way that's more historically palatable. It has always been somewhat of a source of pride for me.

In the place and times in which the Talmud was penned though, most everyone spoke Aramaic, including the Christians of the Chaldean, Mesopotamian and Assyrian Orthodox Churches. How might the lords prayer, for example, or Aramaic in general, have sounded at that time in which some of our greatest ancestors lived? This is something I thankfully was able to hear almost daily, due to my living for a year in quite close proximity to the Syrian orthodox Church in the old city (as I mentioned). Here's a little snippet I found on YouTube, it's pretty much from 48 seconds till 1: 45. Don't worry, there's nothing in it that's subersive to Jewish theology!

For some clarification, I'm actually going to type it out(!) to aid understanding.

אבון דבשמיא
נתקדש שמך
תיתי מלכותך
נהבא צבינך
איכנא ד[ב]שמיא
אף [ב]ארעא

הב לן לחמן (סונכנן) יומנא
ושב[ו]ק לן חובין
איכנא דאף כנן
שבקן [ל]חייבין

ולא תעלין נסיונא, אלא פ[ת]צן מן בישא
מתון דדילך היא מלכותא, חילא ותושבחתא
לעלם [ול]עלמין

(Some interesting grammatical elements to this Modern-Eastern Aramaic:
פ רפויה is pronounced "P".
ב רפויה is pronounced "W".
ח is pronounced "כ".

In Western Aramaic the כ is pronounced "ch".
In Western Aramaic the קמץ is pronounced "oo").

Link Changes

Perhaps you have noticed, faithful readers (honestly, I don't know what possesses me to write that!), that I have somewhat modified the links to other blogs further down on this page. I have added and taken away from the main blogs I read, and have mostly added to the other blogs (I plan, perhaps, to add as many as I can. ..I suppose I'd just like to be able to access any one at any time, and not have to go looking. Perhaps I will find from among them one that is worth reading. Those that I find to be overly trivial, uninteresting or not updated often will be removed).

I have also added (with a bit of technical instruction from the Babysitter) the option which shows how long ago a blog was updated; another asset for one to whom saving time and patience are important.

Enjoy! ; )