Position of Upper Taamei Mikrah

gohebrew's picture

I am creating a set of OpenType fonts for professionally typesetting Biblical Hebrew.

Unlike previous generations of computer-based typeface software, placement of upper taamei mikrah (or taamei mikrah positioned above the Hebrew aleph-beis characters) is no longer determined by the user of the left-to-right typesetting program. Even is cold-type, hot-type, or even computer-based film-type, placement was determined by the operator annd/or the typesetting program. The actual typeface was passive, and did not determine the exact positioning of the various diacritic markings, such as the nikkud, the taamim (trop), the meteg, or the shva-nah, etc.

However, in the newest generation of Biblical Hebrew typesetting, the operator/typesetter and/or the typesetting program does not determine the placement of the diacritic markings. The actual well-crafted OpenType Biblical Hebrew font determines the placement of the diacritic markings.

Since that is the case, I seek to know if there is a rule or wisdom governing the correct positioning of the placement of upper taamei mikrah.

I have noticed in pre-computer age Biblical Hebrew books of the Hebrew Bible, the placement of upper taamei mikrah were often determined by where they would fit best. In most post-computer age Biblical Hebrew books of the Hebrew Bible, many recent books have made the placement of upper taamei mikrah on the far left hand side of Hebrew aleph-beis characters, in order to allow certain symbols to be placed above the Hebrew aleph-beis characters in the center.

It seems then that there are no hard rules or wisdom governing the correct positioning of the placement of upper taamei mikrah. Or, the earlier typesetters or typeface creators/programmers simply were unaware of any hard rules or wisdom governing the correct positioning of the placement of upper taamei mikrah.

Does anybody know if there are rules or wisdom governing the correct positioning of the placement of upper taamei mikrah? Pease share them with me, or inform me of the contacts with the appropriate scholars who do know.

Similar, I am interested in the various rules for shva-nah, shva-nach, komatz katan, komatz gadol, hataf komatz katan, hataf komatz gadol, and any other grammaticalrules governing Hebrew.

William Berkson's picture

Israel, it is not well known that Reform Rabbis don't know of the kamatz katan, it is false. Therefore what you are doing is lashon hara. And if you think it is well known because others in your circle are saying it, they are also committing lashon hara.

For a start, there are several examples of a kamatz katan in the Shabbat Kiddush, which Reform also recite regularly, and I always hear it correctly from the lips of Reform Rabbis. Reform Rabbis have extensive training in Hebrew, including a year in Israel. Also, just checking the curriculum at huc.edu, there are several semesters of required studies in dikduk. I am not saying that their Hebrew is as good as a well educated native speaker, like David, nor do they pretend it is, but it is certainly way above what you indicate.

Also the reform movement has been growing, not shrinking, which is I think inconsistent with what you say. Also I don't find your last statement credible, nor the 'statistic' in it. Can you cite a credible source for it?

gohebrew's picture

William,

> Also the reform movement has been growing, not shrinking, which is I think inconsistent with what you say.

According to my limited understanding (I haven't been Reform for close to 30 years), Reform is in deed growing, but the born Jewish element is shrinking. Children of Reform parents are not becoming Reform, like their parents, by a very high percentage. Affiliation is any organized group is getting smaller, if we consider Jewish people as a whole.

Only Chabad House and Friends of Lubavitch is growing by big numbers. I'm not tooting my own horn, but Chabad representatives seem to have discovered the secret ingrediant to appeal to the mainstrean, and even to gentiles. Without compromise, with black hats and scaggly untrimmed beards.

> Also I don’t find your last statement credible, nor the ’statistic’ in it. Can you cite a credible source for it?

I saw it myself on PBS, during the big debate about the very unpopular 'Who is a Jew?' issue of the very late eighties and very erly nineties. I'm sure PBS has a written text of that interview, if not the actual recording. Even as a Chassidic Jew, I was very moved by his crying and shocking statement. He said: "Our children don't want to be Reform; soon, we'll only have the converts."

> Therefore what you are doing is lashon hara. ... Reform Rabbis have extensive training in Hebrew, including a year in Israel

I hope you're right and I am wrong. I prefer to think that Jews know, as we are the "people of the book".

I don't think this constitutes lashon hora. I will ask some experts.

William Berkson's picture

On lashon hara, you don't need an expert. You should know that if you report a false rumor that it is lashon hara. After all, it is a direct prohibition in the Torah. And in my opinion, and that of Rabbi Telushkin (Orthodox) you have an obligation to check on the status of any rumor before you pass it on. Only if it has good grounds and would be a danger if people don't know it should you pass it on.

gohebrew's picture

William,

> a false rumor that it is lashon hara.

I beg to differ. A false rumor is not lashon hora. It's simply a mistake.

If the intent is malicious, it's not nice, even mean.

If it's embarassing, or causes people to think less of Jews, it may be Chillul Hashem, an embrassment to G-d's stature.

I think if an outsider reading this thread is not caused to think poorly of Judaism or G-d. The person simply realizes that Reform Judaism and its rabbis are not representative of mainstream Judaism, the Torah, or G-d.

Hence, it is not a Chilul Hashem; it is rather a Kidush Hashem, a way to show G-d is special and holy.

I know that you regard Reform Judaism in a high regard, but in both Orthodoxy and the Conservative Judaism, it is regarded in a very low light (mainly because Reform Judaism claims it replaces Orthodoxy - the issue of dramatic compromise or even the promotion of anti-Halachic practices is not a reason to reject Reform Judaism - in halacha this is called 'horaat shaah', temporary laxity due to the circumstances).

I did ask about lashon hora and knowledge. The first reply that I received was that even if it would not be lashon hora, intonation is a major factor. Here, however, everything is written only. So, the determining factors is limited to words in writting.

William Berkson's picture

Israel, are we reading the same Torah? Exodus 23:1 says "You shall not carry false reports."

It is false that Reform rabbis know so little Hebrew that they are not aware of the kamatz katan. If you don't believe me, just ask any Reform rabbi, and check the HUC.edu site on their education.

Either you made it up, in which case it is slander, and also clearly against Torah, or you have reported a false rumor and also against the Torah.

I just don't like seeing Jews bad-mouth other Jews, which is what you are doing here. Please stop it.

gohebrew's picture

William,

You make a clear assumption to declare that one lacks knowledge of something, even if it's untru, is slander.

To support your assumption, you cite a verse.

You do this over and over and over, regardless of my repeated replies that this is not a given.

You might be right, and I made a mistake; or, you might be wrong, and repeated errors can not simply be a mistake.

Instead of thinking you are correct, and no other possibility can exist, why don't we be a little humble, and seek the oipinions of those greater in wisdom than us.

I am not an expert in the laws of lashon hora, nor are you. Or are you?

I know some Reform rabbis, and will inquire simply about a one paragraph definition of a komatz katan. I will ask ten rabbis. If the majority (6 or more) answer correctly, it warrants my seeming besearching of the holy Reform rabbis shlit"a. If 6 or more fail to reply, or reply incorrectly, then it would seem it is not untrue.

Do you agree on my trial litmus test?

gohebrew's picture

William,

> Exodus 23:1 says “You shall not carry false reports.”

I reviewed the most fundemental commentary by Rabbi Shlome Yitchaki,. known as Rashi, and failed to find any reference to a definition of lashon hara as any statement about a person not knowing something difficult (even where the person knows it) as slander.

This discussion reflects a response that you made earlier elsewhere, and my father a"h made many times, that one is strongly perturbed by an indication of ignorance among the Reform.

Komatz katan is a difficult to describe difference to that of an ordinary komatz, the komatz gedol.

Would you like to clearly and succinctly explain komatz katan in a paragraph or two?

If the graphic form of komatz katan, the small komatz, is that the middle vertical segment is elongated, why is it call 'katan', small?

If the graphic form of the komatz gadol, the big komatz, is that the middle vertical segment is shorter, why is it call 'gadol', big?

gohebrew's picture

William,

> Exodus 23:1 says “You shall not carry false reports.”

I reviewed the most fundemental commentary by Rabbi Shlome Yitchaki,. known as Rashi, and failed to find any reference to a definition of lashon hara as any statement about a person not knowing something difficult (even where the person knows it) as slander.

This discussion reflects a response that you made earlier elsewhere, and my father a"h made many times, that one is strongly perturbed by an indication of ignorance among the Reform.

Komatz katan is a difficult to describe difference to that of an ordinary komatz, the komatz gedol.

Would you like to clearly and succinctly explain komatz katan in a paragraph or two?

If the graphic form of komatz katan, the small komatz, is that the middle vertical segment is elongated, why is it call 'katan', small?

If the graphic form of the komatz gadol, the big komatz, is that the middle vertical segment is shorter, why is it call 'gadol', big?

david h's picture

Oy Israel, Israel....

We were laughing this morning (i was in a meeting with teachers, cantors, rabbis).... Why laughing? Oh, this one is good:

> used by all schools and appears in Hebrew nikkud books, then the next generation will understand it well, and pronounce Hebrew correctly.

Do you think that the Hebrew langauge is only shva & kamats? Come on, Israel, give me a break please.

Back to the secular world: Cut to the chase.

1. > You’re right, it isn’t the chirik which is the determining factor, rather the preceding letter joined with a chirik.

How did you get that? where did I say that? The answer is morphological or etymological. And that sample is/was an answer to your statement: "since we are dealing with defineable rules. That’s what grammar is all about."

2. > Komatz katan is distinguished by.... secular publishers.

Name one publisher! Name one book! Do you have an example?

3. > Komatz katan is distinguished by both Orthodox

Not all the time. EVEN if this is the same publisher. Do you have Yeִhavveh Daat (Rabbi Ovadia Yosef)?
As a type designer and typesetter you need to know what is going on out there.

4. > most Reform rabbis do not know this either.

Why do you say that? Do you know?

5. > as you see that really only David knows what’s flying here

Thank you; studied that for a long time. And still studying. BTW, studying is not just reading books. But my point is that I'll never say "Reform rabbis do not know", or "Orthodox rabbis do not know". A little bit of respect to their faith and way of life. Now with you, Israel, this is a different story :^) you're a special case :^) (e.g. the shva na case).

6. > I know some Reform rabbis, and will inquire simply about a one paragraph definition of a komatz katan. I will ask ten rabbis. If the majority (6 or more) answer correctly, it warrants my seeming besearching of the holy Reform rabbis shlit”a. If 6 or more fail to reply, or reply incorrectly, then it would seem it is not untrue.

Do you know what is kamats katan? Do you have samples?

gohebrew's picture

שבת שלום

Shabbat Shalom!

gohebrew's picture

David,

> Do you think that the Hebrew langauge is only shva & kamats?

I lived in Israel, and spoke Hebrew. I have made over 100 Hebrew fonts, with Hebrew letters, nikkud, and taamei mikra. I have studied many hundreds of Hebrew language books in the original.

Do you really think this? If yes, I really held you in much higher regard. Did I make a crude mistake?

> The answer is morphological or etymological.

You may be a knowledgeable Hebrew grammar teacher, and a fine Hebrew type designer, but I believe here you are incorrect.

Morphology (linguistics), the study of the structure and content of word forms. -Wikipedia

Etymology is the study of the history of words — when they entered a language, from what source, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. -Wikipedia

I think that the difference between declaring a shvah as either a shvah-nah or as a shvah-nach is purely grammatical. It neither relates to the structure and content of a word's form, or to its history.

For an intelligent person as yourself this is merely a way to save face, and pretend you know, when you really do not.

Look at William, when he does not know something, he searches and finds out.

Pirkei Avot declares that one who is shy does not learn, because he's afraid to ask. In order to learn, you must admit that you do not know, and seek out knowledge.

> Name one [secular] publisher

When I began making Hebrew fonts back in 1988/89, I read documentation from Apple Computer, Inc. about Hebrew encoding standards, and inspected Hebrew system fonts from Apple with a bit map font editor tool.

I found a komatz katan, and wondered what it was. I never saw one before, nor in ulpan years before no discussion centered around it.

As a Lubavitcher chassidic, I prayed daily, and knew that on Saturday night we recited a prayer called "Vetayn Lecha" that featured the final version of chof with a komatz and a dagesh, and a final version of nuhn with a komatz. But there was no komatz katan in the entire prayerbook.

I was an authorized Apple developer and called Apple in Cupertino, California. In those days, you could talk to someone. The person that I spoke to was the Hebrew language manager, a former Israeli (chiloni - secular).

I questioned his decision to encode kometz katan, but not character ligatures used in a prayerbook.

He answered that he never read in a prayerbook, and was unaware of these character ligatures... that no one prayed anyway... and that komatz katan was used in schools teaching children to read.

I replied that in a few years, many more religious people, children, teenagers, and adults, will use computers, and secular will eventually dwindle in number and know Hebrew poorly (as we see already beginning today).

> [about Reform rabbis not knowing things like katan] why say that? Do you know?

I don't know much for sure. I hope that there are a small percentage that know. Most Reform rabbis or students who were making their career to be Reform rabbis, know very little about Torah, Judaism and Hebrew, sad to say. They knew a lot about social issues, politics, movies, and how best to inspire people. They would make great social workers or therapists.

> Do you know what is kamats katan?

Like shvah-nah and shvah-nach, hataf-komatz katan and komatz katan, and an ordinary komatz (gadol), I understand the issue pertains to pronunciation.

Nah means moving; nach mean resting: when a shvah-nah appears we only slightly pronounce the sound of the consonant above the shvah; when a shvah-nach appears we do pronounce (a little more than slightly) the sound of the consonant above the shvah.

Katan means small; gadol means big: a consonant with a ordinary komatz (gadol) below it is pronounced with a big, full sound; a consonant with a komatz katan below it is pronounced with a small, shorter sound; a consonant with a ordinary hataf-komatz katan below, quicker sound.

I may be wrong. I am a type designer, not a grammaratarian, nor a Reform rabbi. :)

> Do you have samples?

I don't have my books here. I will ask one of my sons for some.

Rabbi Winefield of Shay Lemorah publishers has it all. He also wrote the Shay Lemorah commentary. It appears he's a gigantic scholar that only appears only after many generations.

david h's picture

We've reached the point of a pointless conversation.
Good day.

gohebrew's picture

shtikah zu hodaah - the Talmud

It means that when one does not respond, this then is an admittance or agreement with the previous statement.

In American law, this is also a statement.

David, it's a shame that you feel that this is a "pointless" conversation.

It seems that you think too highly of yourself to engage in conversation. Like everything in life, I fweel this is an opportunity to learn.

Eizehu chacham, halomayd mekol adam.

Good night.

William Berkson's picture

>I am not an expert in the laws of lashon hora, nor are you. Or are you?

Israel, not an expert, but I am a student of those who have been expert, as I read their books. And one of the first things I learned is that accusing someone of professional incompetence is serious lashon hara.

But I see you are impervious to correction, so I'll stop.

gohebrew's picture

William,

> accusing someone of professional incompetence is serious lashon hara.

I think that you believe that not knowing a thing as rare as a komatz katan is professional incompetence for a Reform rabbi. I don't believe that not knowing a thing as rare as a komatz katan is certainly not professional incompetence for any rabbi.

> But I see you are impervious to correction...

I am not impervious to correction at all.

Rather, you feel that there is nothing except your view. And hence you draw only one conclusion, refusing to consider that you may be incorrect, and that another possibility exists.

Although I am frum, and considered narrow-minded by many secularists or non-frum people, when a person refuses to consider more than one possibility and that only he or she is correct, then this is clearly being narrow minded.

This recent display of stubborn shallow thinking convinces me that secular or non-frum attitudes is in deed lacking a lot. No wonder so many reject it.

Let's remember that I simply am seeking to better understand the usage of shvah-nah, komatz katan, hataf komatz katan, and even the meteg accent mark, in order to incorporate these grammar rules into a crefully crafted OpenType Hebrew font, like SBL-Hebrew.

Instead of assistance or encouragement, a debate has ensued about the merits of Reform Judaism, its rabbis, and I have been accused of lashon hora for speaking sharply about Reform Judaism and against Reform rabbis.

The very fact that the inquiry about these Hebrew grammar topics have produced very little shows how very little we know about them, besides their names.

William Berkson's picture

>I don’t believe that not knowing a thing as rare as a komatz katan is certainly not professional incompetence for any rabbi.

Israel, you are not getting it. Conservative and Reform congregations these days pray using the Israeli pronunciation of Hebrew (with an American accent). In it, a patach and kamatz are pronounced the same, but a kamatz katan is pronounced differently. Thus in order to pronounce the prayers properly, you have to be aware that 'kol' (all) is pronounced that way rather than 'kal'. So Reform kids today in elementary school are taught about the existence of the kamatz katan in their early Hebrew classes. And that's why some prayer books for Reform and Conservative print the kamatz katan differently. That's why your statement that 98% of Reform Rabbis don't know of the existence of the kamatz katan is so absurd.

Now do you understand?

gohebrew's picture

William,

> a kamatz katan is pronounced differently...Reform kids today in elementary school are taught about the existence of the kamatz katan in their early Hebrew classes...

Fascinating explanation.

I don't think that you are correct that this distiction is so widespread throughout the movement. I would like to do some researchg. Your statement might be as accurate, as it is plausable. (As I abhor lashon hora, I believe in limud zchus, like the American legal rule of "innocense until proven guilty".

If your explanation is in deed accurate, then every Reform rabbi should know the basics of komatz katan (pronunciation) in order to pray.

William Berkson's picture

Israel, I accept your statement that you abhor lashon hara and believe in the principle of judging "l'chaf z'chut". But judging by this thread, you don't recognize when you are violating both principles, regularly.

As the Talmud makes clear, judging "l'chaf z'chut" means that you try to put a good construction on what the other person does, or in other words try to view their action with the best interpretation, in the most favorable light.

But here you say you have had no contact with Reform for thirty years, but are willing both to judge in the worst light and than to say publicly that 98% of Reform Rabbis have never heard of a kamatz katan. If that is judging 'l'chaf z'chut,' and avoiding lashon hara, then I'm the Pope of Rome.

gohebrew's picture

Pope of Rome (he might know komatz katam even better),

Actually, I am using "l'chaf z'chut" in a very broad sense, more than its "geder", limitations in Jewish law. The law of "l'chaf z'chut" applies only in a limited context.

Really, if you reread my statement, you will see that I was obly referring to you and your claim; I was not referring to the subjects of your claim. Dai lemayveen - an allusion suffices for the wise.

You repeatedly taunt "lason hora, lashon hora", like school kids sing: "nah, nah akish, kish". You even claim expertise in the subject, having studied well the pertinent books.

1. If so, please cite at least a single source in an expert's book on lashon hora that supports your claim.

2. Do you know for sure what Reform rabbis know and don't know across the country to substantiate your claim?

3. Do you know for sure that children in Reform school recite a Hebrew letter with a komatz katan differently than an ordinary komatz?

My guess is that matters in the Reform movement have only decreased in matters of Judaism, its laws, language, and custom, in the past thirty years. So, it stands to reason if I never was taught in a Reform Hebrew school for about ten years even the existance of a komatz katan, it is unlikely that Reform reformed (sic).

I think I have my old Reform books on Hebrew. No komatz katan.

gohebrew's picture

Pope of Rome (he might know komatz katam even better),

Actually, I am using "l'chaf z'chut" in a very broad sense, more than its "geder", limitations in Jewish law. The law of "l'chaf z'chut" applies only in a limited context.

Really, if you reread my statement, you will see that I was obly referring to you and your claim; I was not referring to the subjects of your claim. Dai lemayveen - an allusion suffices for the wise.

You repeatedly taunt "lason hora, lashon hora", like school kids sing: "nah, nah akish, kish". You even claim expertise in the subject, having studied well the pertinent books.

1. If so, please cite at least a single source in an expert's book on lashon hora that supports your claim.

2. Do you know for sure what Reform rabbis know and don't know across the country to substantiate your claim?

3. Do you know for sure that children in Reform school recite a Hebrew letter with a komatz katan differently than an ordinary komatz?

My guess is that matters in the Reform movement have only decreased in matters of Judaism, its laws, language, and custom, in the past thirty years. So, it stands to reason if I never was taught in a Reform Hebrew school for about ten years even the existance of a komatz katan, it is unlikely that Reform reformed (sic).

I think I have my old Reform books on Hebrew. No komatz katan.

gohebrew's picture

Pope of Rome (he might know komatz katam even better),

Actually, I am using "l'chaf z'chut" in a very broad sense, more than its "geder", limitations in Jewish law. The law of "l'chaf z'chut" applies only in a limited context.

Really, if you reread my statement, you will see that I was obly referring to you and your claim; I was not referring to the subjects of your claim. Dai lemayveen - an allusion suffices for the wise.

You repeatedly taunt "lason hora, lashon hora", like school kids sing: "nah, nah akish, kish". You even claim expertise in the subject, having studied well the pertinent books.

1. If so, please cite at least a single source in an expert's book on lashon hora that supports your claim.

2. Do you know for sure what Reform rabbis know and don't know across the country to substantiate your claim?

3. Do you know for sure that children in Reform school recite a Hebrew letter with a komatz katan differently than an ordinary komatz?

My guess is that matters in the Reform movement have only decreased in matters of Judaism, its laws, language, and custom, in the past thirty years. So, it stands to reason if I never was taught in a Reform Hebrew school for about ten years even the existance of a komatz katan, it is unlikely that Reform reformed (sic).

I think I have my old Reform books on Hebrew. No komatz katan.

gohebrew's picture

Pope of Rome (he might know komatz katam even better),

Actually, I am using "l'chaf z'chut" in a very broad sense, more than its "geder", limitations in Jewish law. The law of "l'chaf z'chut" applies only in a limited context.

You on the other hand are using "l'chaf z'chut" as a general rule, applicable everywhere, to everyone, and at all times. Halacha limits it though because it's in a person's best interests to not be "l'chaf z'chut" everywhere, to everyone, and at all times.

Really, if you reread my statement, you will see that I was only referring to you and your claim; I was not referring to the subjects of your claim. Dai lemayveen - an allusion suffices for the wise.

============

You repeatedly taunt "lason hora, lashon hora", like school kids sing: "nah, nah akish, kish". You even claim expertise in the subject, having studied well the pertinent books.

1. If so, please cite at least a single source in an expert's book on lashon hora that supports your claim.

2. Do you know for sure what Reform rabbis know and don't know across the country to substantiate your claim?

3. Do you know for sure that children in Reform school recite a Hebrew letter with a komatz katan differently than an ordinary komatz?

My guess is that matters in the Reform movement have only decreased in matters of Judaism, its laws, language, and custom, in the past thirty years. So, it stands to reason if I never was taught in a Reform Hebrew school for about ten years even the existance of a komatz katan, it is unlikely that Reform reformed (sic) and teaches it now.

I think I have my old Reform books on Hebrew. Let me check. No komatz katan.

gohebrew's picture

I just sent some email inquiries to the a) Reform high school in Cincinnati, b) the Hebrew Union College language department, c) the Reform Judaism head office in charge of the Union and its rabbis, and d) their Ask A Rabbi service with Rabbi Sharon L. Sobel.

I asked about the little known and little used komatz katan, an alternative form of the ordinary nikkud known as komatz.

Is this taught?

Is it known and used in Reform temples by Reform rabbis?

Or is it a relic of Jewish history, language, and culture, just a thing of the past?

Let's see what are the replies.

William Berkson's picture

I know what the answers will be as I have taught in Reform and Conservative religious schools, and have heard a lot of reform rabbis across the country, and have looked at the HUC curriculum.

But the answers don't matter to my main point: you have shown you are willing to disparage people when admittedly you don't know the truth about them. That is lashon hara however you slice it. I repeat my accusation, because it's true, and according to Torah I have the obligation to rebuke, but only three times. So I'm done.

gohebrew's picture

William,

> disparage

To know or not know komatz katan is to disparage? Come on!?!

This sounds like grade school, and the teacher catches a kid with a comic book, shouting: "Ah, hah, do you know that this act could lead to World War III?!?"

> I repeat my accusation, because it’s true, and according to Torah I have the obligation to rebuke, but only three times.

Accusation, true???

Everything in Jewish law, known as halacha, has a context and a "geder" - a framework, of where the rule applies, and where it doesn't.

When you study Jewish ideas and rules, you learn these matters, possibly even in depth, but your vast knowledge lacks understanding a rule's "geder".

I think that this is the case of your understanding of "limud z'chus" and "lashon hora".

> but only three times. So I’m done.

This is childish, and immature.

First, this rule of three times has a "geder" too. It refers to three different scenarios, not three each the same, as here. You must take me aside in private, say by private email, and do this three times, in different contexts or scenarios.

Second, the laws of rebuke also have a "geder". No one can simply rebuke anyone. Basically, you may not rebuke those "younger" in knowledge, or "older" in knowledge. You may only rebuke a person of equal standing, who you can influence for good. Here, age is not measured by calender years, but by knowledge of Torah and practice of halacha (although age is a strong factor for honor even if the person lacks knowledge of Torah).

Why is this?

If the other person is not on equal standing with you, then your rebuke will not influence them for good. And if this happens, the "aveira", the resulting transgressions, are your fault too, not only that person's fault.

So, we see that giving a rebuke is complicated.

Regarding those that are "younger" in knowledge, or "older" in knowledge, the correct way to rebuke is by educating the person.

If the person is older and wiser, like a rabbi or teacher, one says: "But didn't we learn such and such in (and then cite the source?)?

If the person is younger and less knowledgeable, like a child or ignorant (in Torah knowledge) person, we explain kindly and patiently.

If the person is of equal standing, and the rebuke fails to have an impact, we are not allowed to feel: "So I’m done." Rather, then, one is obliged to confront the two person's respected authority figure, and report that the other person committed such and such offence, was rebuked in such and such manner, but failed to change.

Then, one's done.

This is clearly explained in the Codes of Jewish Law, and even translated in English by a few different parties.

It is unfortunate that these ideas in halacha are learned, but their "geder" is ignored.

gohebrew's picture

> > a kamatz katan is pronounced differently

In Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niqqud in deed the pronunciation difference of modern Hebrew between a regular kamatz (an "ah"-like sound), and a kamatz katan.

When I was a boy, and learning in a Reform Judaisn Sunday school, the prononciation taught to us was not for modern Hebrew, or Sephardic. Rather, Ashkenazic pronunciation was taught, and this distinction was not taught at all, as it was not not necessary.

Also, in various ulpanin (schools of Hebrew language in Israel), where I was taught pronunciation for modern Hebrew, no distinction was taught. Similarly, on a kibbutz-ulpan, at college age, I never was taught about the kamatz katan.

Only in my late twenties, when I became a professional type design on the Apple Macintosh computer, did I discover the existance of a kamatz katan. I learned that it was sounded like a kamatz, but was shorter in the length of its sound, and hence called the "small kamatz".

gohebrew's picture

I received the following very explicit statement from "Ask a Rabbi" at the Reform Judaism web site.

...please be advised that the "kamatz katan" is a very important part of Hebrew grammar... It IS taught as part of the Reform Movement's Hebrew curriculum...

Rabbi Sharon L. Sobel
Executive Director
Canadian Council for Reform Judaism and ARZA Canada

According to this statement, Reform Judaism schools clearly teach use of the kamatz gadol "as part of the Reform Movement's Hebrew curriculum".

Hence, I was incorrect in stating that Reform rabbis do not know kamatz katan today.

In my defence, I clearly recall that when I was a child in a Reform Judaism Sunday school never learning about it. Also, in interacting with both many Reform rabbis in the USA over the years, and with many Reform rabbinical students in Jerusalem, I didn't find them knowledgeable understandingly about issues of Jewish law (halacha) or the Hebrew language.

If Rabbi Sharon Sobel is correct, perhaps Reform has reformed during the past three decades, or the movement and certain affiliate temples and schools embrace this knowledge, but the bulk is much less knowledgeable.

According to William's explanation that a kamatz and patach represent an "ah" sound, like the Sephardic-style puctuation used in Israel, and the kamatz katan represents the "oh" sound, how did Askenazic Jews traditionally distinquish between there "oh" sounding kamatz and kamatz katan?

gohebrew's picture

I received the following very explicit statement from "Ask a Rabbi" at the Reform Judaism web site.

...please be advised that the "kamatz katan" is a very important part of Hebrew grammar... It IS taught as part of the Reform Movement's Hebrew curriculum...

Rabbi Sharon L. Sobel
Executive Director
Canadian Council for Reform Judaism and ARZA Canada

According to this statement, Reform Judaism schools clearly teach use of the kamatz gadol "as part of the Reform Movement's Hebrew curriculum".

Hence, I was incorrect in stating that Reform rabbis do not know kamatz katan today.

In my defence, I clearly recall that when I was a child in a Reform Judaism Sunday school never learning about it. Also, in interacting with both many Reform rabbis in the USA over the years, and with many Reform rabbinical students in Jerusalem, I didn't find them knowledgeable understandingly about issues of Jewish law (halacha) or the Hebrew language.

If Rabbi Sharon Sobel is correct, perhaps Reform has reformed during the past three decades, or the movement and certain affiliate temples and schools embrace this knowledge, but the bulk is much less knowledgeable.

According to William's explanation that a kamatz and patach represent an "ah" sound, like the Sephardic-style puctuation used in Israel, and the kamatz katan represents the "oh" sound, how did Askenazic Jews traditionally distinquish between there "oh" sounding kamatz and kamatz katan?

gohebrew's picture

I received the following very explicit statement from "Ask a Rabbi" at the Reform Judaism web site.

...please be advised that the "kamatz katan" is a very important part of Hebrew grammar... It IS taught as part of the Reform Movement's Hebrew curriculum...

Rabbi Sharon L. Sobel
Executive Director
Canadian Council for Reform Judaism and ARZA Canada

According to this statement, Reform Judaism schools clearly teach use of the kamatz gadol "as part of the Reform Movement's Hebrew curriculum".

Hence, I was incorrect in stating that Reform rabbis do not know kamatz katan today.

In my defence, I clearly recall that when I was a child in a Reform Judaism Sunday school, I never learning about the kamatz katan. Also, in interacting with both many Reform rabbis in the USA over the years, and with many Reform rabbinical students in Jerusalem, I didn't find them knowledgeable understandingly about issues of even basic Jewish law (halacha) or the Hebrew language.

If Rabbi Sharon Sobel is correct, perhaps Reform has reformed during the past three decades, or the movement and certain affiliate temples and schools embrace this knowledge, but the bulk is much less knowledgeable.

According to William's explanation that a kamatz and patach represent an "ah" sound, like the Sephardic-style puctuation used in Israel, and the kamatz katan represents the "oh" sound, how did Askenazic Jews traditionally distinquish between there "oh" sounding kamatz and kamatz katan?

I know that William felt strongly that the honor of Reform rabbis or even the entire movement was lowered from my remark. This certainly was not my intention. So, I apologize if anyone thinks less of Reform rabbis because I said they sdon't know the meaning of kamatz katan.

Honestly, I admit that I am unsure, too. William said that it's an "oh" sound. So, too, say Wikipedia on the Internet. Is this for Ashkanazim, too? So, does that mean its just another vowel, and not a grammatical issue?

If it's another vowel, and not the result of a grammatical rule, then it is not possible to program itsappearance into OpenType, unless it follows some definable pattern. Strike kamatz katan.

William Berkson's picture

I am also interested in whether there are any rules concerning the komatz katan, though this is just curiosity in my case. One possibility is that it evolved in Sfardic pronunciation to disambiguate words that would otherwise be confused. But maybe it has a grammatical basis; I have no idea.

gohebrew's picture

> disambiguate

??? Boy, I'll have to look this one up.

gohebrew's picture

http://www.answers.com/topic/disambiguate

disambiguate

To establish a single grammatical or semantic interpretation for.

disambiguation dis'am·big'u·a'tion n.

david h's picture

Bill,

Kamats is katan in an unstressed & closed syllable. Simple, no? :)

What else do you want to know? :)

gohebrew's picture

> Kamats is katan in an unstressed & closed syllable.

Can you give two examples?

How is a syllable unstressed, how is it close?

Please explain.

It seems that according to this, it is a logical condition, and can be defined and programmed, and simply another vowel sound. No?

david h's picture

> How is a syllable unstressed, how is it close?

You don't know that yet?

"25.Aug.2008 5.25pm
In order to talk or to know what is shav na (and nach) we need to know about syllabic stress — mille’el & millera’; open & closed syllables; dagesh kal & hazak. And more, of course."
"And more...." — e.g. verb pattern groups.

Buy couple books — 99.999% have the same title: Biblical Hebrew An Introduction....; That said, you'll touch the basic, but this is better than nothing, or google/googling.

gohebrew's picture

Lamdeinu rabbeinu.

(This is a yeshiva catch phrase, meaning: "teach us, our teacher", asking one who knows how to turn on a switch to bring light into the room, to share that knowledge with others.)

I could do as you suggest and "grapple in the dark", but if you know this already, and clearly, why then can't you just share that knowledge?

For example, I am a professional type designer, plus a Lubavitcher chassid with smicha to boot. So, I can share knowledge about type design, and Judaism.

Your field is Hebrew grammar. Share your knowledge!

david h's picture

Again. Do you know the story (Talmud, Shabbat 31a) about Hillel, Shammai, and the gentile? You don't want to learn or study — just to know; the easy way.
So, give me a break with your Quotes of the Day: "Lamdeinu rabbeinu" , "shtikah zu hodaah"," Eizehu chacham, halomayd mekol adam"

> why then can’t you just share that knowledge?

With you? I don't have time for nonsense + Pearls of Wisdom:

> For an intelligent person as yourself this is merely a way to save face, and pretend you know, when you really do not.
> You may be a knowledgeable Hebrew grammar teacher [who said I was/am???] and a fine Hebrew type designer, but I believe here you are incorrect.
> it isn’t the chirik which is the determining factor, rather the preceding letter joined with a chirik.
> In the two examples that you cite, there is no shvah-nah.
> These six words do not feature the need for a furtive patach.
> I think that the difference between declaring a shvah as either a shvah-nah or as a shvah-nach is purely grammatical. It neither relates to the structure and content of a word’s form, or to its history.

Clear and Sharp?

gohebrew's picture

It apears that your reluctance to share your expertiose in Biblical Hebrew grammar stems from either of two factors:

1. You think that it's just a waste of time to teach another this knowledge, because I am not a worthy recepient, or

2. that your opinion is that this knowledge can not be used to create a contextual replacement in OpenType, like success has been made with furtive patach.

The first reason is subjective and personal. If I posted as a picture a bearded long-haired woman, with rings along the side of my face, and not a Chassidic Jew with a kipah, maybe you would be condescending and agree...

The second reason assumes you have a valid reason for your conclusion, but you have not demonstrated it.

===

When I worked professionally with the OpenType master John Hudson of SBL-Hebrew fame, I received greater respect and cooperation. He's a very proud Catholic and Biblical Hebrew expert.

I believe with a clear understanding of the applicartion of shva-na, kamatz katan, and hataf kamatz katan, similar achievements as were for the furtive patach can be accomplished.

I incorrectly believed that this understanding could be found here.

Instead, I mainly found opposition and narrow-mindedness. Good type design requires an open-mind, creativity, and an attitude of "I can". not the opposite.

david h's picture

> When I worked professionally with the OpenType master John Hudson of SBL-Hebrew fame....

Well, if John is your role model... why aren't you respectful, resourcefulness, knowledgeable, wise.... much like John, huh?

But I guess that reading a book or two is too much.

When you're going to understand that rules-shmules are nothing; you need to know:
1. the verb system
2. verb pattern groups: pa'al, nif'al, pi'el, pu'al, hitpa'el, hif'il, huf'al; verb tenses
3. root composition: week verbs & strong verbs / irregular & regular verbs
4. particles
5. the noun system
6. pronouns
7. biblical/cantillaion stuff

There are students that learn Introduction to Biblical Hebrew for two years (four semester course)!!! what do you think that I'm going to sit here and post 24/7? Get it?

About the rest of your post....There is nothing new Beneath the sun.

BTW, If I pretend to know, when I really do not ("this is merely a way to save face, and pretend you know, when you really do not") — what do you want from me, huh?

gohebrew's picture

David,

> If I pretend to know, when I really do not (“this is merely a way to save face, and pretend you know, when you really do not”)

This was in deed a rude statement. You clearly do know a lot about Hebrew grammar. So, this was uncalled for by me - I'm sorry.

Not to justify, but to clarify, I was upset by your initial statement: "So, give me a break with your Quotes of the Day: “Lamdeinu rabbeinu” ..."

This was actually intended as a compliment.
After you made little of it, I made little of your words.

> what do you want from me, huh?

Assist me to define an create a CSUB/CPOS rule in OpenType to address shva-na/shva-nach, kamatz-katan/hataf-kamatz-katan, somewhat like what John Hudson (and some other guy) did for the furtive patach.

Originally, you stated that this was not possible. Perhaps, you are right.

Paul Nelson, formerly of the Microsoft Typography Group refered me to Diane Collier, who expressed her view that she blieves that this is possible, based upon the information presented to her by me. So, perhaps, you are incorrect.

I sincerely believe that you hope that I find a way to do this.

The result will mean that a Hebrew text in Unicode without Unicodes for shva-na, kamatz-katan, and hataf-kamatz-katan will then automatically appear and print with glyphs for shva-na, kamatz-katan, and hataf-kamatz-katan.

gohebrew's picture

David,

> But I guess that reading a book or two is too much

Please give me a recommended reading list, prioritized from 1 to 5. Do you know if I can get them at the Barnes and Nobles web site, or from some other place?

I read and understand scholarly Hebrew.

Usually, older books on Hebrew grammar, particularly great works from the Rishonim are out of print. There is a book store in Boro Park, Brooklyn, that has almost every book imaginable made up of bound photocopies.

Do you know Beigleheisen (sp) on 15th Avenue?

I know about Beigleheisen by coincidense. About 12 years ago, I published for test marketing purposes volume 13 of the Talmud, with most of it newly typeset totally with a private set of Hebrew typefaces which replicated the classic Vilna, Lithuania fonts, of the Widow and Brothers Romm family.

gohebrew's picture

David,

> When you’re going to understand that rules-shmules are nothing; you need to know:
1. the verb system
2. verb pattern groups: pa’al, nif’al, pi’el, pu’al, hitpa’el, hif’il, huf’al; verb tenses
3. root composition: week verbs & strong verbs / irregular & regular verbs
4. particles
5. the noun system
6. pronouns
7. biblical/cantillation stuff

I know much of this already. I like knowledge, and believe in refresher courses.

I think the issues of shva-na, kamatz-katan, and hataf-kamatz-katan can be understood without any knowledge of "biblical and cantillation stuff.

Nevertheless, after learning matters in Jewish mysticism about nikkudot, taggim etc., I believe grammar, nikkudot, taggim, and taamim, are inter-related and one causes the other. Hence, I would like to understand grammar, nikkudot, taggim, and taamim, in depth, and this understanding would shed intense light on each subject.

gohebrew's picture

David,

> About the rest of your post....There is nothing new Beneath the sun.

What are you refering to?

In yeshiva, people often asked: "What's new?" with the Biblical phrase: "There is nothing new under the sun", "Mah chadash tachat hashemesh?"

I used to reply: "Babies".

gohebrew's picture

David,

> Well, if John [Hudson] is your role model... why aren’t you respectful, resourcefulness, knowledgeable, wise.... much like John, huh?

First, people think that I am very respectful etc.

I do respect John very much, and consider him both very talented and super-intelligent, but he is not my role model. Maybe, you define this term differently than me.

The Talmud teaches us that a wise person can learn from everybody. In that sense, everyone is my role model. John, William, even you ( :) just kidding).

Bob Dylan said that everybody sets an example, either a good one to emulate, or a bad one, not to follow.

As a chassidic Jew, my ultimate role model is the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe.

gohebrew's picture

David,

> There are students that learn Introduction to Biblical Hebrew for two years (four semester course)!!! what do you think that I’m going to sit here and post 24/7? Get it?

It is clear possible to absorb what takes others two years, to do this and even more within a much shorter time.

I am unaware if this understanding exists yet in secular knowledge.

Chassidic thought explains that every person is endowed with two sets of talents: kochot giluim, and kochot ne'ehlamim (tangible powers, and 'hidden' powers).

Using our ordinary talents (kochot giluim, tangible powers), something like Biblical Hebrew may take two years to absorb. Using our unusual talents (kochot ne'ehlamim, 'hidden' powers), something like Biblical Hebrew can take even a short time to absorb.

raphaelfreeman's picture

Koreen Publishing was purchased by another firm. In addition to creating a special typeface only for their Bible (based upon drawings of Ashkenazic sources), contravercial rules for Hebrew grammar were introduced as well. This was attributed to Mr. Koren. You say differently. I think you’re right, and they’re mistaken, confusing the name of the company with the details of contraversy maker.

Just to set the record straight. Israel, please please please check your facts before posting on forums. I am going through all your posts to check for incorrect postings.

So firstly, Koren Publishers Jerusalem Ltd was bought out a year and a half ago. The typeface was created over 45 years ago. We are simply redigitising the font. It's identical to the original font created by Eliyahu Koren except rather than being cast in metal, it's being cast in OpenType :-)

The rules for Hebrew grammar that were used are the same. Nothing has changed for the past 45 years. The Bible was proofread for 10 years before being published.

As a fact, it is considered to be the most accurate Bible in Israel. Contrary to what Israel wrote, Charedim do not like Breuer. Breuer was an academic and actually it's the Modern Orthodox Gush Etzion Yeshiva bochurim that like Breuer. Charedim actually buy Koren. We have huge sales in Bnei Brak!

Finally you will find Koren Bibles in every shul, be it Ashkenaz, Sefard, Edot Mizrach, Moroccon or Yemenite. If anybody has a problem with the kriat hatorah, then the Rav of the shul, regardless of his ethnic, political or dress code, will invariably say, "what does it say in the Koren".

Regarding your comments on kamatz katan, shva na and furtive patach. Yes the furtive patach can be encoded (we have done so in the digital version of the Koren fonts). However, you cannot encode a kamatz katan or shva na. The reason is that there are so many opinions as to when a shva na should be put as well as a kamatz katan. I, when starting at Koren, also thought that this would be a simple grammatical process, but after months of understanding the complexities, I realised that you can't encode the entire Bible with all it's opinions into a font. It also serves no function. What are you going to do if Publisher B wants to print his Bible and disagrees with the opinions that you have relied on for the meteg vs gaaya thus changing whether it should be kamatz katan or shva na?

In terms of siddurim with shva na at the beginning of a word. The Koren siddur which came out in 1981 has a shva na and shva nach indicated in the non-Tanakh parts of the siddur and the first letter is indicated as a shva na. I thought that this was daft since obviously it's a shva na, but Israel, you have proved Mr Koren correct in that some people think it's a shva nach!

gohebrew's picture

Raphael,

>...it’s being cast in OpenType...

What does this mean?

Is this FontLab Studio limited OpenType? Adobe's code based tools known as the "Tool Kit"? Or MicroSoft "Visual Opentype L-something T-something? (Help, Simon)

When a person says OpenType, to which kind does he refer?

"Smart" OpenType, with GSUB and GPOS? The mediocre kind with Liga support? Or the candy wrapper kind that's no big deal?

gohebrew's picture

R.,

>Charedim actually buy Koren. We have huge sales in Bnei Brak!

No Cheredi buys a Tanach without at least Rashi and Onkelos, as Chazal advise.

It's well known that such Bibles are popular among IDF-nics, tourists - Jewish and Christian, and non-learners.

To who do you refer?

Granted, it is a sacred book, prepared meticulously, but rejected by most Charedim.

Ask a knowledgeable rabbi if one could buy a Koren Bible or one with Rashi and Onkelos, which one should he or she choose?

gohebrew's picture

Raphael,

I believe to create a set of fonts with automatic placement of kamatz katan and shva-na is possible.

In practicality, there are two systems; one is more generous with attributing a shva-na than the other; they do share 65% to 75% in common. although different context analysis is used for nikkud/meteg only data, than for Tanach data with taamim, because in Tanach data with taamim the meteg does not help determine certain shva-nas, but one of the taamim does this.

It's simple to generate two versions: Kehot=like, following Rav Henna's system, or ArtScroll-like folowing Vilna Gaon's system. What the customer pays for, the customer gets.

raphaelfreeman's picture

What does this mean?

Is this FontLab Studio limited OpenType? Adobe’s code based tools known as the “Tool Kit”? Or MicroSoft “Visual Opentype L-something T-something? (Help, Simon)

When a person says OpenType, to which kind does he refer?

“Smart” OpenType, with GSUB and GPOS? The mediocre kind with Liga support? Or the candy wrapper kind that’s no big deal?

Sorry. I should have simply said it was being done on the computer.

No Cheredi buys a Tanach without at least Rashi and Onkelos, as Chazal advise.

It’s well known that such Bibles are popular among IDF-nics, tourists - Jewish and Christian, and non-learners.

Again, you are talking without knowing the facts. I have our sales figues at hand, you don't. The army for the past few years has actually produced it's own illegal copy of our Bible so they haven't bought from us. Yes, tourists buy. And yes, even though you think you know what all Charedim in Israel do, it just so happens that you are completely wrong in this matter too and that we have very high volume sales of Koren Tanachim to Charedim here in Israel who need a pure text. But again, our sales have nothing to do with typography, but then again neither does Lubavitch Chasidism.

Let's stick to the topics at hand. I know you are desperate to create a font that has kamatz katan and shva na grammar rules according to once system programmed into it. Good luck, I hope you find a system that works. It didn't work for Koren, but where one person fails, another can succeed.

But please, Scott, I implore you, please please please, don't post things which aren't true. If you wish to state your opinion, state it as an opinion not as a fact. You have written time and time again incorrect things about Koren and I wonder what other incorrect things you write and this does a diservice to every one here. Finally, why are you asking about grammar rules of such an esoteric topic such as taamey mikra on a forum for typography? Aren't you completely off-topic?

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