Monday, September 24, 2007

Watch your language!

Ed said, "I was gearing up my arsenal to face a hoard of frummie-blood-seeking Srugies, . . ."

Sigh. I repeat, for the 4,564 time (see here and here): Not every Jewish blogger or J-blog reader has had the privilege of receiving a yeshiva education. For some of us, untranslated Hebrew, Yiddish, Aramaic, and/or "Yeshivish" (also known as Yinglish) might as well be Mandarin.

Here are a few (attempted) definitions, for the rest of us (corrections and/or clarifications appreciated):

Frum [Yiddish]--Orthodox Jewish. In this particular case, Ed seems to be using the diminutive (and, from what I've heard, not always considered the most polite) term "frummie" to indicate someone toward the rightward end of what I call the "Orthodox observance spectrum." (For clarification of that term, see my two-part series, "Little House on the Prairie, Part 2.")

Srugie--A Modern Orthodox Jew, someone toward the leftward end of the "Orthodox observance spectrum." Derived from the Hebrew "kippah s'rugah," meaning "knitted skullcap/yarmulke," this term refers to the tendency of many Modern Orthodox Jewish men to wear crocheted kippot/yarmulkes rather than the kippot of woven material (such as velvet) and/or the black hats more commonly worn by right-wing Orthodox Jewish men.

Thanks to the efforts of Mark/PT, AidelMaidel , and their sister and fellow contributors Ayelet (host of a by-invitation-only blog), and Avromi (host of more blogs than you can shake a stick at :) ), you can find more definitions of Jewish terms here.

But I could also use some Israeli political definitions. Would someone please explain to me the difference between dati leumi and mamlachti dati? How many versions of "Religious Zionist" are there, anyway? Oh, and let's not forget Chardal (Chareidi leumi? [correction from an anonymous commenter: Chareidi dati leumi], Fervently-Religious Zionist ).

Last (for now), but far from least: When one fulfills a religious commandment, as, for instance, by reciting the Sh'ma at the proper time, one is said to be "yotze." I'm sorry to say that I don't know how to spell that word. I'm even sorrier to say that, in over three years of blogging, I have never seen that word spelled in the feminine. (Yotze-et?) Do we women have no commandments that we are required to fulfill, that the glaring absence of a feminine form of that adjective from discussions on the Jewish blogosphere seems to have gone completely unnoticed by every J-blogger of my acquaintance?


Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

dati le’umi is an ideology or sociological category. mamlakhti dati is the government-run religious school system correlated with the dati le’umi communities.

yotzei’ ~ yotzeit.
I think the issue is that when borrowing Hebrew words into Judeo-English, we apply English's general lack of gender, and use the Hebrew "default" masculine indiscriminately. You can say yotzei’, yotzeit, yotz’im, yotz’ot, wherever applicable if you want, but people generally just don't.

Tue Sep 25, 10:45:00 AM 2007  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Shira: One could easily say, "Yatz'a yedey chova"...of course there is a feminine way to say everything in Ivrit.

And I'll try to translate more often...

Chag Sameach! A Wonderful sukkot...

Tue Sep 25, 10:57:00 AM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Steg, thanks for the clarification, not to mention the "conjugation" lesson. (Does the word "conjugation" apply to non-verbs?) "Yotzeit," eh? Well, I would say that I'm yotzeit for today's Shacharit/Morning Service (including tallit and tefillin, all at the proper hour per the Orthodox Union's online z'manim/proper times calendar), but someone is bound to comment that, as a female, I'm not obligated to pray Shacharit in the first place. :)

Tue Sep 25, 11:05:00 AM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Jameel, you're stuck with Ms. Literal-Translator: Yatz'a yedey chova = fulfilled the hand of obligation???

For you and Steg the Grammar Guy: Is "yatz'a/yotzei/yotzeit," etc., from the verb "latzet," to go out? If so, how did it come to mean "one who has fulfilled one's halachic (Jewish religious legal) obligation?"

Tue Sep 25, 11:27:00 AM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Ah, yes, before I forget: Chag sameach! May we all enjoy eating in a sukkah and waving a lulav and etrog. "V'samachta b'chagecha (And you will be glad on your holiday. . .)"

Tue Sep 25, 11:39:00 AM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

In my dreams, I would love to be in Israel on Sukkot. It must be wonderful to wonder down the street and see sukkot by the score set up in front of and behind buildings and perched on open-to-the-sky balconies. What a trip!

Unfortunately, my husband has college classes to teach during Chol HaMoed, so I don't see us getting to Israel at this time of year anytime soon. Sigh.

Tue Sep 25, 12:07:00 PM 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we're sticking to the literal, one 'takes' the lulav, the waving is but a subtext. "al n'tilat lulav" not "lnanot et halulav"

Tue Sep 25, 12:17:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Anon., thanks for the correction.

I've always found it interesting that we use almost exactly the same brachah/blessing for the ritual washing of the hands. I would think that, since our hands are attached to the rest of us, literally "taking" them is not exactly an accurate description. Why isn't that brachah phrased, ". . . and commanded us concerning *the washing of* the hands" rather than and commanded us concerning *the washing of* the hands?"

Tue Sep 25, 12:41:00 PM 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If so, how did it come to mean "one who has fulfilled one's halachic (Jewish religious legal) obligation?"

what it means is that you have been "freed" from the obligation incubent in the performance of the mitzva by doing it (you have been released from the clutches of the obligation - a better translation - less literal - more fealty to the meaning
this whole PC language thing has spun out of control. I was at a seminar and the keynote speaker, some crunchy nutty rabbi wanted to attribute something in general so he mentioned how important isd was to say sowords of Torah "B'shem omro and b'shem omra" I pointed out to him that he sacrificed grammatical correctness on the altar of political correctness since it was "b'shem omrato" - the "O' described the words of Torah - not the gender of the speaker

Tue Sep 25, 01:07:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Anon. (same as Anon. 12:17 PM?), thanks for the clarification.

And thanks for the anti-PC rant. :) Occasionally, one can go too far with politically-correct speech. As some semblance of a language maven/expert (B.A. in French), I object vehemently to the use of the term "herstory." The word "history" is of Greek origin ("historia"), and does *not* mean "his story"!!! Sexism is bad enough where it *does* exist--why make it worse by seeing it where it *doesn't* exist?

Question: To what does "omrato" refer? "Torah" is n'kevah (feminine).

Tue Sep 25, 01:38:00 PM 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chardal is chareidi - dati - leumi, the more outwardly observant srugim in Israel. Also mustard in Hebrew. Chardalim are politically extreme right wing, they wear large kipot and their women dress more modestly than regular srugot.

Tue Sep 25, 02:05:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Two comments:

Dati leumi women are also referred to as "s'rugot?" But they don't wear kippot!

"their women"? Okay, maybe it's my turn to be a bit PC, but I think "Chardalot" (if such a word exists) or "women of the Chardal persuasion" might have been better word choices.

Hmm, I just had a thought: Knitted kippot with mustard on them--what a tasty dish. :) :) :)

Tue Sep 25, 05:23:00 PM 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> Question: To what does "omrato"
> refer? "Torah" is n'kevah

Of course if the antecedent was really 'Torah', the correct forms would be 'beshem omra' and 'beshem omarta' (both with mapiq hey).
However, the original epithet was 'kol haomer *davar* beshem omro', and 'davar' gets the masculine.
Interestingly, the word 'davar', meaning 'thing', is a completely general term, underscoring the fact that the value of proper attribution is not something which is particular to Torah, but rather it is a universal value which is applicable in every circumstance and discipline.

Tue Sep 25, 05:45:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Thanks, Avi. I figured that there had to be a zachar/masculine word missing of which I wasn't aware.

Amen to proper attribution! I was never a big fan of plagiarism, to say the least.

Tue Sep 25, 06:14:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Eek! I must have been asleep at the keyboard. That comment, a while back, should have said:

Why isn't that brachah phrased, ". . . and commanded us concerning *the washing of* the hands" rather than and commanded us concerning *the taking of* the hands?"

Tue Sep 25, 10:30:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Ah, here we go, straight from my Birnbaum Machzor L'Shalosh R'galim (Prayerbook for the Three Pilgrimage Festivals): "The expression n'tilat yadayim (literally 'uplifting the hands') is derived from the custom of lifting up one's hands immediately after washing them as a symbol of purification."

Let me take this opportunity to express my appreciation of the late Phillip Paltiel Birnbaum's wonderful, enlightening commentaries in both his prayer books and his haggadah. His commentaries often tend to be more "just the facts, ma'am" and much less ideologically-driven than those in ArtScroll publications, and consequently, in my opinion, reach a broader "audience."

Sun Sep 30, 03:35:00 AM 2007  

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