Wednesday, July 23, 2008

In the right time

I recently overheard a friend of mine expressing his wish that the ברית of his baby boy should be בעיתו ובזמנו. This is one of my pet peeves. Being a Dikdukian in his own right, I explained my gripe: The way I see it, when we wish ויזכה להכניסו בבריתו של אברהם אבינו בזמנו we are wishing that the father merit to give his son a ברית on the eighth day. We are wishing the best of health upon the baby so that this may be so. That said, what we are hoping is that the ברית take place in its proper time. Therefore, I suggest that it should be בעיתה ובזמנה. Apparently, Artscroll does not agree with me as this is not the path they chose in the מי שברך in their גבאי handbook. However, the other version has meaning as well. It means we are wishing that the ברית take place at the proper time for the child, that he be healthy and not have any complications due to the ברית. As such, I would suggest that even if the baby is not well and the eighth day has passed, it is still appropriate to wish that the ברית be בזמנו, in the baby's proper time.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Singers and Gatekeepers

I recently came across a גמרא whose grammar puzzled me.

(:מיתיבי משורר ששיער ומשוער ששורר אינן במיתה (ערכין י"א

The גמרא is discussing the לוים and the two different jobs they held in the בית המקדש - to sing and to be the gatekeepers. Each לוי was designated as either one or the other. The question at hand is the punishment involved for a לוי who performs the other duty which is not his. What puzzled me is that the word שיער would seem to be in the past tense - a singer who "gatekept." But the word שורר seems to be present tense - a gatekeeper who sings, rather than a gatekeeper who sang. Is this correct? Why would the גמרא change tense? But then again, what would be past tense of שורר?