Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 3:5-6

Genesis 3:5-6
 
ה כִּי יֹדֵעַ אֱלֹהִים כִּי בְּיוֹם אֲכָלְכֶם מִמֶּנּוּ וְנִפְקְחוּ עֵינֵיכֶם וִהְיִיתֶם כֵּאלֹהִים יֹדְעֵי טוֹב וָרָע:
ו וַתֵּרֶא הָאִשָּׁה כִּי טוֹב הָעֵץ לְמַאֲכָל וְכִי תַאֲוָה־הוּא לָעֵינַיִם וְנֶחְמָד הָעֵץ לְהַשְׂכִּיל וַתִּקַּח מִפִּרְיוֹ וַתֹּאכַל וַתִּתֵּן גַּם־לְאִישָׁהּ עִמָּהּ וַיֹּאכַל:
 
Translation:    For Gd knows that on the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like Gd, knowing good and evil.  The woman saw that the tree was good for food and a desire to the eyes and the tree was pleasant for enlightenment and she took some of its fruit and the woman also gave to her husband with her and he ate.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
נִפְקְחוּ
Shall be opened
עֵינֵיכֶם
Your eyes
עֵינַיִם
eyes
תַאֲוָה
Desire
נֶחְמָד
pleasant
לְהַשְׂכִּיל
To enlighten
 
“Opened” has two features.  One is that the nun at the start shows that it is the passive nifil which goes with the paal.  The binyanim work like this:
 
 
Active
Passive
Simple
paal or qal
nifil
Habitual/repetitive
piel
pual
Causative
hifil
hufal
Reflexive/repetitive
hitpael
 
 
The second thing about this word is that the root is pe qof chet  and that root not only means “to open,” it also means sharp of senses or in one’s right mind.  Once she saw that she hadn’t died, she was ready to keep listening.
 
Also notice that the serpent copies the verbage in the original commandment, using that intensive construction.  When somebody is trying to pervert how you think about things you have been told, copying the construction of the phrase disguises the fact that what follows is incorrect. 
 
“To enlighten” comes from a verb used in the 1700s as a movement for people to come up to date in culture with the nations of Europe while remaining Jews.  It was supposed to be rationalistic and to do away with European prejudices against Jews.  Unfortunately it seemed only to increase the assimilation rate and to confuse Jews about what Judaism really was.  At least that’s my opinion.  There’s no reason observant Jews shouldn’t know everything everybody else knows, because it can help defend Judaism against illogical and unfactual claims, but to change Judaism to conform to non-Jews isn’t really Jewish.  A century after the Haskalah movement, R. Samson Raphael Hirsch said the same thing.  Only he was criticizing Maimonides for insisting that you had to understand Aristotle's Physics to understand a mystical subject in Judaism; this was brought to my attention by a tweet from a Chabad Chassid I know from the internet.  And that's also the lesson of the snake; he was an outsider pretending to be an insider, and look what happened!

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Outdoors -- that time

The sun came in my back window yesterday and made a streak of light on the back closet door.
The redbud is just going off, the dogwood is on.
The blue jay is nesting in the same tree as last year.
I think I know where the mockingbird is nesting -- SHHHHH.
I've seen my robin with nesting material in his beak.
The bees have been out for a couple of weeks now.
I spent some time snapping the flower ends off my daffodils so the leaves would send all that food into the bulb.
We've had our spring, it's time for summer now.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

DIY -- bedding

Because I post on knitting, you might wonder if I quilt.
Yes I do.
I'm finishing my 11th or 12th quilt.
According to colonial tradition, that means I'm eligible to marry.

A classic Amish quilt can run you $1000.
You can make one for $20 or something.
The simplest quilt is to buy exciting fabric at least 90 inches wide; buy a piece at least 2 yards long.
Remember that you're going to have to wash this quilt so I would recommend not using silk or satin, but there are cotton fabrics in sassy prints that would be perfect.
Buy batting the size of the fabric.  There are different thicknesses which give different levels of warmth.
Buy muslin or flannel the size of the fabric or a little bigger; you can cut off the extra.
Buy assorted buttons.
Buy quilt binding; measure the perimeter of your fabric and buy slightly more binding.
Buy needles and thread.
Put the muslin or flannel on the floor and smooth out the wrinkles.
Layer the batting on it and smooth it out.
Layer the cool fabric on top of that.
Use your needle and thread to baste them together with LONG stitches or they will crumple and the quilt won't look nice.
Use scissors to even up the edges and sew on the binding with mitred corners.
There are Youtube videos that demonstrate this.  Some of them misspell "mitre".
Now lay the quilt back on the floor and plan where to put the buttons.
Sew the buttons to the quilt through all three layers of fabric to keep them smooth.
Take out the basting stitches.
This is a button or tied quilt.
It's a great project to do with your kids.  Let them pick the top fabric if it's going on their beds.
Have fun and discover your artistic side!

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Knitting -- sock test

I said I'd report on the socks I made in 100% Peruvian highland wool.
They're still soft after about six washes in cold water and castile soap.
They're still that soft pink color, meaning that the color is nice and fast (it doesn't wash out).
They're still warm.
A soft yarn sometimes wears out quickly.
One sign of wear in yarn is pilling where bits of rolled yarn stick out.
You get less pilling if you wash once before wearing but you'll still get it.
Most of the pilling will happen where there's friction -- underarms, elbows.
In socks, it's at the heels where you slide your foot in and out of shoes.
That's exactly where these sock are pilling, but they still look sturdy.
If you have a sock pattern you love, you might want to try one pair in Wool of the Andes worsted; they have almost 100 scrumptious colors.
My crew socks pattern takes 3 balls.  At $10 a pair, it might be more cost effective to make a new pair than darn the heels of the old pair.
That's because I would need yarn from the same dyelot, or the darned heels would be a slightly different shade from the rest of the socks.
You'll have to make your own decision: buy 4 balls so you have some of the same dyelot to darn with, or buy 3 balls and plan to make a new pair when the old ones wear out.
(BTW it takes 15 or 16 balls to make the pullover sweater pattern I posted so if you buy 20 balls you can make both socks and pullover, and have yarn leftover for darning.)
See how it works out!

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fact-Checking the Torah -- legal levels

It is also an urban legend that am ha-arets refers to non-Jews.  This urban legend came up during the Mendel Beilis blood libel trial which I translated to English and blogged.
Among Jews there were several levels of practice.  One was the am ha-arets which literally means “people of the land.”  In Talmud this always means Jews who don’t observe all the details of tumah. 
Such Jews had economic limitations imposed on them.  Merchants would watch out for them and prevent them from handling merchandise because that would mean the merchant could only sell that merchandise to another am ha-arets.  A fully observant Jew would not buy it.  Considering that most people in a community had known each other all their lives, the merchants knew who was who.  Also we’re not talking about modern self-serve supermarkets.  Merchants served the customers personally and counted the merchandise out to them. 
If somebody among the am ha-arets got tired of this second class status, he could take an oath to obey all the enactions of the courts and was called a chaver.  But he had to avoid associating with any am ha-arets, or he would give the impression that he didn’t mean it when he took the oath, or that he had backslid.
There were two levels of ger, strangers associated with Judaism.  A ger toshav accepted the Noahide laws, about which you will find plenty of information on the internet, in front of a court.  The payoff was that he got certain protections and privileges. 
A ger tsedeq, on the other hand, undergoes full and complete conversion out of sincere conviction.  If a man, he undergoes circumcision.  The ger tsedeq is required to uphold all the 613 commandments as defined by halakhah. 
And that’s the rub, as it always is with legal systems.  A man is sitting in jail in the U.S. right now, and will be until 2045, unless he gets parole.  He obtained U.S. citizenship, which means he promised to obey U.S. law.  Then he acted according to the norms of the country he came from.  His daughter ended up dead as a result. He obviously was interpreting “murder” in the sense that he didn’t commit a murder, but U.S. law says he did.  When a person converts to Judaism and then tries to live as if its terms meant what they mean in secular society (for example, that free speech red herring I wrote about), the convert gets a rude awakening.
Jewish law is what Jewish experts in Jewish law say it is.  That is based on Torah, as Gd’s word.  There is no possible combination of numbers of laypersons from outside the Torah-based tradition that can change things.  That would be like allowing the European Union to change the U.S. Constitution.  There’s no sense getting upset about it, any more than there’s any sense in getting upset over the laws of physics.  In fact anybody who espouses the U.S. Constitution and its first amendment religious freedom, has to admit that Orthodox Jews must be permitted to hold to their own legal system in matters like who is really a convert.  The first amendment isn’t just about freedom not to be religious.  It’s also about freedom to be religious. 
So it doesn’t matter if people think Judaism is a religion – in which case it’s covered by the first amendment – or understand that it’s a whole culture, just like the U.S. is.  There is no logic in objecting to Judaism running its own system.  Even with bases in similar principles, legal systems differ, the same as everybody has DNA, but they all have different DNA. 
And now that discussion about logic.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 3:3-4

Genesis 3:3-4
 
ג וּמִפְּרִי הָעֵץ אֲשֶׁר בְּתוֹךְ־הַגָּן אָמַר אֱלֹהִים לֹא תֹאכְלוּ מִמֶּנּוּ וְלֹא תִגְּעוּ בּוֹ פֶּן תְּמֻתוּן: ד וַיֹּאמֶר הַנָּחָשׁ אֶל־הָאִשָּׁה לֹא־מוֹת תְּמֻתוּן:
 
Translation:    From the tree that is in the middle of the garden Gd said you shall not eat from it or touch it lest you die.  The serpent said to the woman you will not actually die.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
תִגְּעוּ
touch
פֶּן
lest
 
“Touch” has the root nun gimel ayin which means that the nun disappears in the future and the related imperative, which is what we have here. 
 
Notice that the original commandment didn’t say anything about touching.  The rabbis comment that after the serpent said this remark here, he pushed her against the tree and when she saw that she hadn’t died, she was ready to keep listening.
 
Also notice that the serpent copies the verbage in the original commandment, using that intensive construction.  When somebody is trying to pervert how you think about things you have been told, copying the construction of the phrase disguises the fact that what follows is incorrect. 
 
I’ll say more about these verses at the end of this course, because they have to do with information I didn’t have until 2014 that revolutionized how I understand Biblical Hebrew.   Be patient.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

mobile users

I just ran the mobile-friendly test on this blog and passed.  Phew!  Glad to know you'll be able to find me! 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

DIY -- bare essentials

DIY cooking does not mean spending a ton of money on kitchen stuff.
You can use your search engine and find lots of recommendations.  Here are mine.
You need a skillet.  This is for pot roast, chili mac, and lots of other things, not just frying.
That means you need a flipper, and a large spoon for both stirring and serving.
You probably also want a large, two-prong meat fork because you will use it to hold a roast down while you cut, but you also need it for getting the chuck out of the pot roast onto the serving plate.
You need a soup pot.  You will use this for cooking spaghetti as well as soup and stew.  You can also use it to blanch vegetables for freezing and, if it's big enough, to boil bagels before baking.
You want a ladle to serve soup and stew.  You want a wire strainer for pasta because you can also line it with cheesecloth to drain the whey out of yogurt for yogurt cheese.
You want a small saucepan for hot chocolate, white sauce, single servings of leftovers, rice, and a ton of other things.  In fact, I should have put this first.
You want a large spoon for guiding things as you pour from this, or to get rice out.  The stirring spoon will be too big.
You probably also want a medium-sized saucepan to make a batch of sauce like tomato or alfredo, or for boiling a lot of potatoes to mash.
The saucepans and skillet all have to come with lids. 
I recommend Revereware because it's high quality and lasts a long time and you don't have to worry about a non-stick surface getting damaged.
You probably want a big casserole with a lid for some recipes, which need to cook in the oven.
You want a serving plate but you can probably use a dinner-sized plate for this until you build up to making whole turkeys.
At that point you want a roaster pan which usually is enameled and black.  It will double for chickens, ducks, and roasts of beef or veal (and pork and lamb if you're that way inclined).
You want a really large mixing bowl for bread.  It will also mix your croutons or farfel and herbs for stuffing that turkey later, and hold a large amount of salad for the whole table.
You want a manual can opener.  That way it doesn't matter if the power goes out.
You want a manual mixer that doesn't use electricity.  It will take a long time to make mayonnaise with this, but you don't want to eat a lot of mayonnaise because it's pure fat.
You want a small knife for paring and cutting small vegetables.
You want a big knife for tough vegetables like squash and for roasts.
You want a manual peeler that can also core apples.  It's safer than a small knife for some things.
You ought to get a bread knife if you're going to make your own. 
You want a cutting board.  It will double as a bread board for kneading.  YOU HAVE TO KEEP THIS SCRUPULOUSLY CLEAN otherwise germs from meat and chicken will get into other foods.
You want three or four oven mitts to protect your hands.
You want hot pads to protect your table from serving dishes.
You want two or three kitchen towels for your hands, and you can also use them for covering bread while it rises, and to dry dishes if you're using castile soap on them.
If your area has drinkable tap water, you want a water jug to store it in the fridge.  This will save you hundreds of dollars over its lifetime compared to bottled water -- which sometimes is just tap water from somewhere else.
You want some way to boil water; you can use a saucepan for this but being a tea-freak, I have a nice singing teakettle.  And a little fine-wire strainer to put the leaves in while it brews.  You won't need the strainer if you like bag tea; I'm way too spoiled for that.
You need a set of plates and bowls to eat from, and a set of flatware to use instead of your fingers, and some glassware to drink from.  Four place settings are probably enough unless you have more roommates than that.  Just remember, you have to wash them or you'll run out.  They will save huge amounts of money and space in landfills.
You probably need at least one microwaveable dish for carrying lunch to work.  Even if you pack a sandwich, you can put it in this dish and you will save hundreds of dollars a year on food. 
You will also save money on plastic bags and plastic wrap.
You will also save the landfills, plus some places are cracking down on those non-decaying packages that fast-food places use.
At some point you will probably like to get a tablecloth and cloth napkins, say, in time for your first home-made Thanksgiving dinner, to put on the dog a little for your guests.
You can get all the nice-to-haves later: butter dish; creamer and sugar bowl; storage canisters (for now, keep things in their bags); skewers; chef's knife for fine chopping; pastry brush; double-boiler (for melting chocolate squares and a few other things); other sizes of mixing bowls; soup tureen to serve the soup at table instead of dishing up in the kitchen; thermal mug to make coffee at home & take in the car (instant coffee is hundreds of dollars cheaper than Starbucks every year).
That's a long list but it will get you through many months of cooking that saves you money and protects the environment.  And those are two things that DIY is all about.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fact-Checking the Torah -- how law works

I’m discussing differences between Jewish and American law.
Another urban legend is that Jewish law is inflexible.  That ignores Deuteronomy 17:8-13 which explicitly allows every case with no precedent to be referred to the legal experts of those days.  This is the essence of a common law code as opposed to a civil law code.  The judges in a common law code have the ability to create remedies for situations even if the law doesn’t specify one, and they also have the right to take local custom into account.  In western law, this capability first appeared under Henry II of England in the 1100s CE, 20 centuries or more after it became a cornerstone of Jewish law.
Jewish law will not accept arguments from non-experts in both text and practice.  This is no different from the Supreme Court denying certiorari to a brief from an individual who clearly doesn’t understand the constitutional purpose and practice of the Supreme Court. 
Jewish law also doesn’t accept the ruling of the majority of the laity.  This resembles the Supreme Court overturning DOMA.  DOMA violates a principle in the Constitution, and it doesn’t matter how many sessions of Congress adopt it by what size majority, it violates states’ rights and the Supreme Court will always reject it.
What later legal experts cannot do is overturn Torah.  When in Mishnaic times the birds needed for certain closure rituals for tumah became very expensive, the court adopted one expert ruling that did not overturn the need for the birds, but reduced the demand.  The price fell by 75% that very day.  This is the reason tameh animals can never be reclassified as tahor.
Mishnah further codifies that no court can repeal a prior ruling unless the later court has more members and more expertise than the court which issued the prior ruling.  Thus if you remember the issue about burning at the stake, Mishnah explicitly says that the court who issued the order to burn the witch alive lacked expertise. 
This is also the reason why a criminal court, where the death penalty might be imposed, starts by consulting the opinion of the youngest or least experienced judge first.  Once the top expert gives his opinion, nobody can argue with him.  (That’s in Mishnah.)
Since Jewish law is based on Torah, and Torah was issued by Gd, no human court can overturn anything that Torah requires or prohibits.
While stare decisis allows systems like Jewish law to avoid unfairness when the facts of the case are identical, fairness also requires flexibility and Jewish law recognizes that.  Where local custom does not conflict with halakhah, Jewish law says local custom must be followed by all permanent residents and everybody who comes to live in that community for a long time, as opposed to a quick trip.  But it does not allow “paskening for yourself,” and you’ve seen situations in previous lessons where the person who paskens for himself winds up in worse shape than if he consulted an expert.  That happens in other cultures as well.  When I was studying for a legal studies degree we discussed situation after situation in which somebody refused to spend $400 an hour on an attorney and wound up with thousands of dollars in court and other costs. 
No society can get along without a legal system, and the individual who pretends she is exempt from the legal system of the society she lives in will generally run into situations that are financially ruinous at best and may include jail time or worse.  That’s because human society has millennia of experience that the whole community suffers when one person decides she is an exception from the law.
And another urban legend next week, one that had legal consequences in 1913.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 3:1-2

Genesis 3:1-2
 
א וְהַנָּחָשׁ הָיָה עָרוּם מִכֹּל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־הָאִשָּׁה אַף כִּי־אָמַר אֱלֹהִים לֹא תֹאכְלוּ מִכֹּל עֵץ הַגָּן: ב וַתֹּאמֶר הָאִשָּׁה אֶל־הַנָּחָשׁ מִפְּרִי עֵץ־הַגָּן נֹאכֵל:
 
Translation:    The serpent was wiser than all wild animals that **** Gd had made, and he said to the woman, even if Gd said you shall not eat of every tree of the garden.  The woman said to the serpent, we may eat from the fruit of the trees of the garden.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
נָּחָשׁ
Serpent
עָרוּם
Wise, wily
 
Notice that “wise, wily” has the same root letters as “naked” from the preceding verse, ayin resh mem.  But there is no rabbinic commentary on this.  One reason is that Torah was passed along orally during most of its  history.  Only when it was written down did the letters come out this way.  That was no later than the Babylonian Captivity as far as I can tell.  By then it was fixed in people’s minds that these were two different words, not a pun.
 
Notice that the serpent doesn’t finish what he’s saying.  There’s also no comment on that.
 
Finally, notice that the serpent has gotten the woman alone.  It’s a historical truth that when somebody is trying to talk you into something, the best way to do it is to get you alone, isolated from everybody who could identify what’s wrong with the claims being made.  If Adam had stuck with Chavvah as he was supposed to, this whole situation would never have come up.
 

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

DIY -- dairy decisions

You know I make my own yogurt if you've been reading this page.
It's $1 less per quart of product, plus I save even more because it makes a great dip.
I also said cheddar cheese probably wasn't cost effective.
Now sour cream -- that might be cost effective.
A recipe I found calls for 4 quarts of heavy cream at $4 a quart, plus a $2 packet of culture.
For $17 you can get a well known brand of sour cream.
You can see that you won't save much.
And it does go bad if you keep it too long in the fridge.
But you can freeze it for up to six months.

NOW: commercial sour cream can contain lots of chemicals:
modified food starch, sodium phosphate, sodium citrate, guar gum, carageenan, calcium sulface, potassium sorbate (preservative), xanthan gum and locust bean gum.

So it depends on why you DIY. 
But once again, you're going to need that big pot to hold that gallon of cream. 
If you can save money on also making cottage cheese ($4 for 3/4 quart at the store vs. $4 for a gallon of milk)
and paneer ($5 for 8 ounces versus $4 for a gallon of milk),
you might want to add sour cream to your repertoire.
I mean, Shavuot is coming and dairy foods are the tradition for this time of year.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Outdoors -- call me Euell

Euell Gibbons was famous for his book Stalking the Wild Asparagus, about eating wild foods.
Today I went out in the nice warm sun and fresh air and went hunting dandelions.
I don't use chemicals on my lawn, they're illegal in my town, so this was perfectly safe.
Don't use Roundup or other chemicals with 2,4 dimethyl, or you deprive yourself of an extremely nutritious food.
Dandelion is full of vitamin C and fiber, also calcium and iron.
If you have a chemical free yard, go out today. 
Find the pointy toothed leaves that gave the plant its American name.
Now look for flower buds and stalks.  The leaves of a plant that has budded are extremely bitter, like most greens getting ready to flower.  If you blanche them you might be able to get them down, but since these are free goodies, I wouldn't bother.
So you have your leaves, and the next thing you have to do is pick out the grass and other stuff you won't eat.  I got both English ivy and  ground ivy leaves in this batch.
Rinse them in cold water.
Now fry up some diced potatoes nice and brown, add the dandelion, and some India spices like garam masala, with a pinch of cayenne.  You can use eggplant instead of potatoes.
Or use your search engine for "wilted dandelion" for a hot dressing to use with them.
Cook them with mushrooms or chorizo or both.
Mangia!

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fact-Checking the Torah -- what laws do


All right, I think you’ve probably had just about enough of law for a while.  This is a summary and then I’ll start busting urban legends about archaeology and the Bible.
When I was getting my degree in legal studies, I had to take classes like political science and sociology, which I had avoided 25 years earlier getting my degree in Russian translation.  The sociology class made the point that all legal systems do four things for their societies:
      1. Define membership in the society;
      2. Regulate activities within the society;
      3. Socialize members and provide solidarity opportunities;
      4. Support the economy underlying the society.
         
It is easy to see that Jewish law governs a complete society or culture, not just a religion, because it addresses all four of these issues, not just the socialization and solidarity part.  About which I have said very little because, while there are plenty of urban legends about Jewish belief and ritual, you can find the truth on sites like myjewishlearning and judaism101.
The goal of the legal system in any society is to preserve that society according to its concept of its own nature or character.  Anthony Trollope’s Palliser political novels sometimes use the term “the British constitution” even though there is no fundamental written document about this constitution.  What he means seems more like what the British believe Britain should be like.  He often lauds “British liberty” which, from my reading, seems to be the idea that the crown cannot arbitrarily deprive British subjects of their property, which sometimes happened under the Tudor and Stuart kings.  What Americans mean by “liberty” adds freedom of speech and so on.
The goal of the Jewish legal system is to run a Jewish society or culture.  Individual whims do not count if they conflict with issues like rejecting gods who are not Gd.  This goes so far as to criminalize Jews who behave like non-Jews, which includes homosexual relations and witchcraft as well as idol-worship.  Jewish culture establishes liberty in the British sense, with the basic principle that if A wants to take something from B, A has the burden of proof that the transfer is correct.  This is the meaning of the story of the vineyard in Kings I chapter 21. 
The insistence on running a Jewish culture also means that modern concepts of “majority rule” don’t apply.  Jewish courts are not run by elected judges or juries, but by experts in the law who themselves operate by majority rule.  This doesn’t mean that non-experts are shut out of contributing to court cases.  Mishnah explicitly says that if somebody who is not already a judge and who also is not a witness in the case, speaks up in court on behalf of the defendant, the judges determine whether his statements are relevant, probative, and legally acceptable and then “they seat him among them.”
Next week I’ll discuss more differences between Jewish and American law.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 2:25

Genesis 2:25
 
כה וַיִּהְיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם עֲרוּמִּים הָאָדָם וְאִשְׁתּוֹ וְלֹא יִתְבּשָׁשׁוּ:
 
Transliteration: va-yihyu shneihem arumim ha-adam v’-ishto v’-lo yitboshashu.
Translation:    The two of them were naked, the man and his wife, and they were not embarrassed.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
שְׁנֵיהֶם
 The two of them
עֲרוּמִּים
naked
לֹא
No, not
יִתְבּשָׁשׁוּ
Were embarrassed
 
From now on, I’m going to assume you know how to pronounce what you’re reading so I’m going to drop the transliteration.  I will also give a link to an oral reading of material so that you can check yourself.
 
So next lesson, I will give just the text from chapters 1 and 2, which you have just finished, and links to the mp3s that read them out loud.  I’ll do that whenever I finish a chapter, and also at the end of an aliyah.  I’m emphasizing the difference because you have already seen one example of how it changes perceptions of what the Bible means, back with the aliyah that ended with creation of Shabbat.
 
Also, when there isn’t a lot of vocabulary and I’m not giving the conjugation for a whole verb, I’ll give you more than one verse.  If you’ve been doing one lesson a week, it is now a year and a half since you started using these lessons.  If I were you I would be getting pretty impatient by now.  But I kept up with this one lesson/one verse in most places because everybody has a different skill at learning languages.
 
So I’m picking up the weekly pace, but that doesn’t mean you have to do a whole lesson every week.  If you’re stuck in a time crunch, just go to the page where all the languages are listed so that you don’t miss any.  And then take all the time you need.
 
Here’s the audio for chapter 2 of Genesis:
 
 

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Outdoors -- that's it!

My robin is marking his turf, calling while it is still dark.
The boreal chickadees and titmice are doing their thing.
The Carolina chickadees called for the first time this morning.
My grape hyacinths have come up along with my jonquils and star-of-bethlehem.
The hedges are starting to bud.
The forsythia has bloomed.
But the real thing I have been waiting for is when you wake up in the morning and open the window or the door,
and you get that first moist green aroma because plants are waking up and making oxygen.
And that happened today.
It's spring for real.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Monday, April 6, 2015

Fact-Checking the Torah -- advance notice

Archaeology postings for this page will begin in seven weeks, Gd willing.
From this week until then it will be how legal systems work and the main reason for the urban legends about Jewish law.

I know that you have been a regular reader of this page on the blog.
I've watched the numbers tick upward, especially on Thursdays and Fridays, so I know you're out there.
I'm glad you stuck with this, but I don't know why because there haven't been any comments.
This posting is a place for you to say.
Been rolling on the floor with laughter the whole time?  Let me know.
Having attacks of cognitive dissonance?
That means most of what you were taught is different from what I posted.
What and how different?
First exposure to the Bible?  Given the number of countries that have shown up as "audience," that doesn't surprise me.
So use this posting as the stage for your comments, which you held back until now because you never knew what curve I was going to throw you next.
Don't think you're alone.  Nobody is alone.
You'll find that out.
If you comment.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  



Friday, April 3, 2015

Fact-Checking the Torah -- What tithes?

For this week you were supposed to read Deuteronomy 8:8, Leviticus 19:9-10, Deuteronomy 24:19, Deuteronomy 14:23-29, and Numbers 18:21, 26.  These are the verses that discuss tithes other than animals.
The first urban legend to bust is that tithes were due to the priests from everything a person owned.  I apologize if that’s a strawman argument. Tithes were owed from whatever grew from the ground – fruit, grain, vegetables – and was food for people – unlike weeds, thistles, thorns – and was harvested all at once – unlike dark leafy greens which you pick as they ripen – and could be stored up – again, unlike greens which rot.  Mishnah clarified: the seven famous products of the Holy Land – wheat, barley, figs, dates, grapes (wine), olives, and pomegranates – plus spelt, oats, rye, carob, and nuts.
The second urban legend to bust is that the priests stalked the fields waiting for their tithes to be handed to them.  Mishnah gives the specification: the tithes for the priests were not due to them until “the pile was smoothed over,” that is, at the end of harvest.
I guess there’s really a third urban legend here, which is that the priests got their tithes first.  The first things to ripen are bikkurim and they don’t really count as tithes, they count as the firstlings of plants.
Jewish law counted as tithe things given to the poor: the corners of the fields that they reaped for themselves; the forgotten sheaves of grain or fruit on the trees; the gleanings from what the reapers dropped; the poor clusters of grapes.  Respectively these are called peah, shichkah, leqet, and olelot. These can account for up to 5% of grain and beans, fruit and vegetables, and 2.5% of grapes.
The priests and Levites get 10% of the remainder, and the poor get another 10% in years 3 and 6 of the seven-year shemittah cycle.  In years 1, 2, 4, and 5 the owner takes 10% to Jerusalem to eat.
Finally, and this goes with something I pointed out last week, if the priest claimed that somebody hadn’t given tithes, he had to prove it in court. 
The only sanctions for not taking tithes were a drop in sales.  If a person bought from somebody who wasn’t trustworthy about tithes, the buyer had to take out the tithes based on the quantity purchased.  Who is going to spend money and then have to give away part of what they buy? 
I guess that's enough of the specifics, now let's look at the philosophy behind laws.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- Vocabulary Review VII

As always, the words above the line are higher frequency.
 
זֹאת
this
אִמּוֹ
His mother
אָבִיו
His father
יִּבֶן

He built

אִשָּׁה
woman
בָּשָׂר
Flesh, meat
לִרְאוֹת

To see

יִּקַּח
He took
יַּנִּחֵהוּ
Set him
שָׁמְרָהּ
Guard it
יְצַו
commanded
עֵזֶר
Help (n)
לְבַדּוֹ
Alone, by himself

פַּעַם
time

עֶצֶם
Bone
נֶגְדּוֹ
Opposite to him
דָבַק
Stick to
צֵּלָע
Rib
לָקַח
He took
מָצָא
He found
יַּפֵּל

He caused to fall

תַּרְדֵּמָה
Sleep, trance
יִּישָׁן
He slept
צַּלְעֹתָיו
His ribs
יִּסְגֹּר
He closed
תַּחְתֶּנָּה
Below them
יָּבֵא
Brought, causative of “come”

 
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved