Lone Star Sidur Project – Eilu D’varim, part II

First, an update on Sidur Eilu D’vareinu, the sidur that I have been working on since June: Finals over, I am now deep in the throes of draft five. Many changes are afoot, due largely in part to the serious thought I have forced myself to put into writing through the Lone Star Sidur Project.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the portion of Shacharit that deals with Torah study. I determined at some point that I would examine the actual texts that we are intended to study in this section in their natural habitat. The quote from Torah? Check. It’s good. The quote from Mishnah? Check. Tov m’od. The one from Gemera? Hold the phone. Not so good.

As it turns out, this is not a quote! It is an amalgamation of the similar statements that two separate Rabbis make on page 127a (that’s 127a[4] for those of you playing along at home with your Schottenstein edition).

I suggest as a replacement, the two actual sayings of the Rabbis being “quoted” in the sidur:

שִׁשָּׁה דְבָרִים אָדָם אוֹכֵל פֵּרוֹתֵיהֶם בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְהַקּֽרֶן קַיּֽימֶת לוֹ לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא וְאֵֽלּוּ הֵן: הַכְנָסַת אוֹרְחִים, וּבִקּוּר חוֹלִים, וְעִיוּן תְּפִלָּה, וְהַשְׁכָּמַת בֵּית הַמִּדְרָשׁ, וְהַמְגַדֵּל בָּנָיו לְתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה, וְהַדָּן אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ לְכַף זְכוּת.
אֵלּוּ דְבָרִים שֶׁאָדָם עוֹשֶׂה אוֹתָם וְאוֹכֵל פֵּרוֹתֵיהֶם בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְהַקּֽרֶן קַיֶּימֶת לוֹ לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא וְאֵֽלּוּ הֵן: כִּבּוּד אָב וָאֵם, וּגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים, וַהֲבָאַת שָׁלוֹם שֶׁבֵּין אָדָם לַחֲבֵרוֹ, וְתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה כְּנֽגֶד כֻּלָּם.

These are six things, the fruits of which a man may enjoy in this world, but the principal reward for which remains in the world to come: Welcoming the stranger, visiting the sick, concentrated prayer, rising early to visit the house of study, and raising children learned in Torah, and judging a friend fairly.
These are things, which a man does, the fruits of which a man may enjoy in this world, but the principal reward for which remains in the world to come: Respecting one’s father and mother, acts of kindness, bringing peace between a man and his friend, but the study of Torah is equal to all of these.

4 Responses to Lone Star Sidur Project – Eilu D’varim, part II

  1. Lauren December 20, 2007 at 9:39 am #

    Interestingly enough, we just studied “word pairs” in our biblical Hebrew class, and I was struck by a contrast between the Hebrew grammar of the first list of Mitzvot and your translation. “Welcoming the stranger” is literally “(the) causing of strangers to meet.” We were taught that a “word pair” is indefinite unless the second half of it is preceded by the definite article. (This of course presumes that “hachnasat” is the construct state of a noun “hachnasah” and not simply the gerund form of a verb. In the latter case, “ha-” indicates the causative form and not a direct noun.)

    The reason I find this significant is that “welcoming strangers” and “visiting ailing ones” strike me as universal, “do-able” instructions. “The stranger” and “the sick” sound like formal descriptions of populations and imply (at least to me) that they must be defined by some “official” body. As if there is less value in visiting someone not on the synagogue’s Mishaberach list or welcoming an unknown guest to a non-Jewish function.

    Given the inference I have drawn from your separation between the two comments in the Gemara: (i.e. that the study of Torah is NOT necessarily equal to the first 6 Mitzvot) a clear impression of “proper” performance in those cases becomes more significant to determining my “reward in the world to come.” (On a more universalist level, “the principal reward for which remains in the world to come” could be interpreted as causing the rise of “the world to come” to be hastened or intensified. In other words, moving the goal of doing these particular deeds away from personal reward and toward the repair of the world.)

    Of course, I should hasten to say that I heartily agree with your decision to include both quotes, despite the redundance of their opening lines. My alternate suggestions for interpretation are meant to emphasize other ways in which they might fulfill tenets of reform Jewish worship. (I also fully expect and accept harsh criticism of my fast and loose grammatical construction from those more learned than I!)

    L

  2. davidamwilensky December 20, 2007 at 2:18 pm #

    To be honest with you, Lauren, my litrugical Hebrew vocab may be pretty good, but I have basically no notion of grammar. When I translate Hebrew, the grammar that comes out is not to be trusted.

    Lots of good observations! And that’s the point anyway. This is meant to be a studiable text and–thank God–you’re studying it!

  3. Lauren December 20, 2007 at 8:23 pm #

    Yasher koach! (to both of us)

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