web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » Judaism

Speaking Only Hebrew?

Even Israel’s religious community today is a diverse one, and it’s my humble opinion that hearing different languages in the public thoroughfare adds to this beautiful tapestry.
hebrew

Photo Credit: YY

Share Button

But my main concern rests is my fourth and main concern when hearing the common “speak Hebrew” uttered frequently. As we all know, the Jewish months of the year have names, such as Tishrei, Cheshvan, etc., which make their way to our Jewish calendars as well as to formal Jewish legal documents, such as a Ketuvah. The Ramban (Shemot 12:2) is rather puzzled as the months in the Torah are numerated (i.e.- “First month, Seventh month” etc.), rather than named, and we are commanded to count the months from the first (our “Nissan”), something not possible when we brand names, rather than numbers to the months. But moreover, these names are not even Hebrew names, but rather Aramaic names that the Jews used in Babylonia of old! Accordingly, the Ramban askswhy do we use these non-Hebrew and non-Biblical names?

Responds the Ramban, our custom is to show that Jewish history didn’t end with the emergence from Egypt in that famous “first” month. Rather, years later, while so enriched in the Babylonian culture (so much so that we changed the names of the months to Aramaic), G-d still redeemed us yet again and brought us back to Israel. Thus, argues the Ramban, each time we use those non-Hebrew names, we are reminded of where we came from to get to where we are.

Those who have taken the huge step of Aliyah were not dropped from heaven into an Israeli neighborhood. Years of Torah and Zionistic learning and yearning, in their original home lands, and yes, not necessarily in Hebrew, led them to relocate to the Eternal Land, and be part of the miracle of a nation returning to their original land after nearly two thousand years.

It is suitable and expected to show proper gratitude to those before us, upon whose shoulders we stand to reach this milestone. I think it’s the most beautiful tribute to any Israeli to see the streets fill of Jews, speaking a multitude of languages, and thus knowing that their journey to walk the streets of the Holy-Land was a long and complex journey, starting far away from its shores. But more importantly, I would greatly fear that these precious additions to Israel society would not be able to communicate with their grandparents, parents and teachers, all of which have great “stock” in their current privilege of living in Israel.

Thrice daily, we plead that G-d “ingather our exiles.” Blessed is our generation seeing this happen before our eyes, with the diverse languages that fill the streets of Israel. I hope and pray that while they hopefully learn the language of the land, the land will continue to be privileged to hearing the languages of these dispersed returning to their borders, so that this miracle will be all the more felt and seen.

Share Button

About the Author: Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein is Director of training and placement at The Straus-Amiel Institute at Ohr Torah Stone.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

5 Responses to “Speaking Only Hebrew?”

  1. Stephen Leavitt says:

    Rabbi, that graffiti was put up a long time ago.

  2. Rebecca Carman says:

    For some reason the links to the articles you post (which I really enjoy) keep coming up error. Any suggestions?

  3. Yehoshua Grunstein says:

    Hi Steve, could be it was put up a while back, guess I just didn't take a walk on Shabbat for a while….

  4. Yehoshua Grunstein says:

    Hi Rebecca Carman, many thanks for your warm words. The link to the article I was referring to is here; http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/lets-connectdiversely-2/2012/07/19/

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
Arab rioters hurl objects at Israeli security personnel who use pepper spray to quell the violence emanating from the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount.
Arab Violence Closes Temple Mount to Visitors Again
Latest Judaism Stories

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries.

Haggadah used at the Passover Seder

“Who is wise? One who learns from each person” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

Rabbi Sacks

In Judaism, to be without questions is a sign not of faith, but of lack of depth.

“I’ll try to help as we can,” said Mr. Goodman, “but we already made a special appeal this year. Let me see what other funds we have. I’ll be in touch with you in a day or two.”

Rashi is bothered by the expression Hashem used: “the Jews need only travel.”

Reckoning Time
‘Three Festivals, Even Out Of Order’
(Beizah 19b)

Two husbands were there to instruct us in Texas hold ‘em – and we needed them.

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

A few background principles regarding the prohibitions of chametz mixtures on Pesach may provide some shopping guidance.

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Marror is the reliving of the bitter enslavement and matzah is the under-eighteen-minutes redemption.

Rabbi David Bar-Hayim argues it is time for Ashkenazim to abandon the prohibition against Kitnyot. What do you think?

More Articles from Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein
what me worry

Using the term “Halacha” for policies which are not in fact Halacha, delegitimizes those who differ and causes ill-will towards Jewish law.

Israelis wave flags and signs saying "Together We'll Win" during a demonstration supporting an Israeli ground operation in Gaza.

This past week should teach us one thing; in the eyes of the enemy, Israel is one Israel.

As the worse in now behind us, and yet with restorations efforts still ahead of us, I believe that the terms utilized so widely this week to describe a terrible predicament should force us to reconsider their use when, thankfully, tragedy doesn’t strike. Though my heart and soul are with those hurt by the storm, I am disturbed that so many of these very adjectives are commonly used to describe common occurrences, a far cry from the critical situation that so many Americans on the East Coast are facing.

A leisurely Shabbat stroll around town recently turned a calming experience into a rather upsetting one, as graffiti sprayed on quite a few buildings in my neighborhood defaced the beautiful Jerusalem stone with the words; “Dabru Ivrit/Speak Hebrew”!

“It is a Sabbath of Sabbaths for you, and you shall afflict yourselves, It is an eternal statute” (Vayikra 16:31). This is how our Torah sums up the upcoming experience of Yom Kippur: a Sabbath of all Sabbaths. Rather than use the more colloquially known “Yom HaKippurim,” The Day of Atonement, the Torah reading of Yom Kippur morning uses the above term to summarize the twenty-five hour experience we are about to step into.

You’ve seen the scene before – the congregants are silent, the tension can be cut with a butter knife, all eyes are peeled on the bimah in the center, two blessings are uttered, and the silence is pierced….by the most primitive horn one could find!

As the year is coming to an end, with endless days filled with doing the very same commandments, we besiege G-d on each remaining day, asking for one vital ingredient for the one yet to come: May we never get used to our routine.

I’d like to submit that anything Frequent in our life tends be Forgotten! Something we see every day does not rank high on our list of concerns, and therefore, we just naturally forget about it.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/speaking-only-hebrew/2012/10/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: