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Q: Can you pronounce the Names of Hashem in their "unedited" form (in Hebrew) when learning texts or singing zemirot (songs of praise) that include His Names?
A Rambam (Sh'vuot 12:9) rules that one who uses Hashem's Name in a sh'vuat shav (meaningless oath) or a b'racha l'vatala (an unwarranted blessing) violates the Torah prohibition to use His Name in vain. One who utters His Name without a purpose transgresses the lower level, Torah commandment to fear His Name (ibid.:11).In the latter case, the Rambam instructs one to rectify an improper utterance of the Name by adding words of praise of Hashem.
The gemara (B'rachot 22a) discusses what matters of holiness a ba'al keri (a man with a certain type of impurity, regarding which we are now lenient) may recite. One opinion allows him to engage in normal Talmudic study, as long as he does not utter Hashem's Names in the process. Rav Yaakov Emden (Sh'eilat Ya'avetz I 81)proves from here that people other than a ba'al keri do pronounce the Names normally. He related that his father (the Chacham Tzvi) scolded teachers who refrained from the real pronunciation of the Names during learning. (We are referring to the standard reading of A-D-O… for Hashem's main Name, not the reading of the letters.)
There are some attempts to deflect Rav Yaakov Emden's proof; however, they are not convincing (see Yabia Omer III, OC 14). The Mishna Berura (215:14) indeed rules that one may pronounce in the normal manner the Names that are found in the p'sukim one reads from the gemara. However, the Igrot Moshe (OC II, 56) points out that although one may pronounce the Names, there is little indication that he must do so. He argues that the only reason to mandate proper pronunciation is that it is improper to end a pasuk in the middle, and effectively omitting a Name from the pasuk (by altering it) may be the equivalent. (We are unable to develop that topic in our present scope). However, if one is anyway not reciting an entire pasuk (as is common when learning), he may replace the main Name with "Hashem" (which means, the Name) and change other Names (for example, to "Elokeinu").
The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 215:3) says that children may accurately recite b'rachot they are learning even when it is not time to recite them. The Magen Avraham (ad loc.:4) infers that when an adult learns a text that contains a b'racha (which is more problematic than a pasuk), he may not mention the Names. What about t'filot (prayers) that are not in the form of a formal blessing? The Rama (OC 188:7) says that if one omitted Ya'aleh V'yavo in Birkat HaMazon, the correct practice is to not recite it later because it contains Hashem's Names. The Magen Avraham (ad loc.:11) argues, pointing out that we use His Name in personal prayer seven when not obligated. The Biur Halacha (ad loc.) reconciles the apparently contradictory practices. One may, on his own, invoke Hashem's Name in prayer when he does so voluntarily. One may not recite a set, obligatory t'fila like Ya'aleh V'Yavo when it is unwarranted.
As the aforementioned Rambam hinted, it is likewise permissible to use Hashem's Name to praise Him, including in Shabbat zemirot and other liturgy. Indeed, some (incl. Rav Sh. Z. Orbach) pronounce the Names normally. (The rhyming in some zemirot indicates that the liturgist also did so.) However, many have the custom to alter the Names (Nefesh HaRav, pg. 160 reports that Rav Soloveitchik did not utter the Names in zemirot). The explanation of this custom is apparently that we are concerned that we will not be in the proper frame of mind (B'tzel Hachuchma IV, 52) or may stop in the middle of a phrase (see Igrot Moshe, ibid.) or otherwise disgrace the Name. [Ed. or overly repeat phrases in singing the Z'mirot.]
In practice, one can choose either to pronounce normally or change Hashem's Names when reading Torah texts, saying informal prayers, or singing zemirot. When studying b'rachot, he must change the Names; when reading a whole pasuk, it is proper to pronounce the Names accurately. [Ed. When practicing for Torah reading, one should read the names as they are read in the Torah.]
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From A Candle by Day by Rabbi Shraga Silverstein
Every nation has an angel that represents it on the level of ideas. The individuals who make up a nation are always changing; yet the nation continues to exist as long as the idea that unites it remains. Life in every land other than the Land of Israel (Taanit 10a) is sustained by God through the mediation of the particular, limited national idea that defines the nation and its land. As a result, even individual existence is colored by the limiting nature of the life-sustaining forces outside of the Land of Israel.
Yosef in Egypt had replaced the angel of Egypt, had subjugated the Egyptian national idea, becoming the conduit of a bounty not tainted by the Egyptian national character. Perhaps he was attempting to soften the blow to his father of leaving Israel when he asked his brothers to inform Yaakov of his role as "the ruler of all Egypt" (Bereishit 45:9).
But Yosef's rule was both tenuous and temporary.
Only productive life in the Land of Israel can establish a relationship with
God undiminished by the particularistic national influences of the Galut
(Shut Avnei Nezer, Yoreh Deah, no. 554).
The young man stood next to him and told R' Yisrael about how he afflicted his body. He drank nothing but water; he had nails in his shoes so that he should suffer pain when he walked; each day, even in the coldest weather, he rolled in the snow; and he had the shamash give him thirty-nine lashes.
Just then, a horse came into the courtyard, drank water from the pail lying there, and rolled in the snow.
"See," said R' Yisrael to the young man, "that
creature, too, only drinks water, has nails in its shoes, rolls in the snow,
and certainly receives more than thirty-nine lashes daily - and it is still
no more than a horse."
2) Par'o named Yosef TZAFNAT PANEI'ACH (41:45). Rashi explains that TZAFNAT means hidden things and PANEI'ACH means revealed. This is alluding to Yosef's ability to interpret the hidden meanings of dreams. If so, shouldn't his name have been PANEICH TZAFNAT which would mean "revealing the hidden" instead of "Hidden Revealing" as it seems to read now?
3) Why does the Torah bother relating the
seemingly insignificant details that Yosef was RUSHED from prison to Par'o?
2) The Sfat Emet suggests that Yosef merited to reach the level where he could interpret dreams because of his modesty and hiding his righteousness from those around him. Thus, because of his TZAFNAT, the fact that he hid his nature from others, he merited PANEIACH, to be person who could reveal things which other people could not understand.
3) The Seforno teaches that this indicates that
salvation from G-D can come at any moment in an instantaneous fashion. One
moment Yosef was sitting in his prison cell with no hope and the next moment
he was a free man standing before the king, himself. This is an important
message for us to internalize regarding our personal and national troubles.
With G-D in control, things can turn around at any moment.
In the part read on the Shabbat of Chanuka, Zecharia has a vision where he sees a Menora with seven branches, and two olive trees on either side. Zecharia's Menora is different from the one in the Temple: it has a GOLA, a bowl to hold the oil and seven pipes from which all the seven branches of the Menora get filled simultaneously (Me'am Lo'ez; similar to those Kiddush cup pieces designed by Michael Kupietzky where all the cups get filled at once).
Zecharia asked the angel to explain this vision to him. The angel told him that the vision was a sign to Zerubavel to work on rebuilding the Temple. The two olive trees represented the Kohanim and the Kings who were anointed with oil. The angel explains that the Temple would be rebuilt "not by might and not by power but by the spirit of Hashem", LO B'CHAYIL V'LO B'KOACH KI IM B'RUCHI A'MAR HASHEM. This is similar to the miracle of Chanuka which seems to be because of might and power, but was really because of a miracle - the spirit of Hashem. Our sages might also have chosen this particular prophecy to be read on Chanuka in order to rekindle our yearning for the rebuilding of the Temple.
In honor of the miracle of Chanuka and the oil
mentioned in the Haftara, here are two dip recipes that contain olive oil
that can be used to dip your Challah or cut up vegetables. The first one
comes from Egypt and the second one from Greece, two countries (nations)
mentioned in Maoz Tzur.
Although, according to Egyptian law, a slave could not be chosen for a high position, Yosef is appointed viceroy on account of his keen insight, analytical powers and managerial skills. More- over, understanding the importance of consensus, Par'o consults his courtiers before making any grand pronouncements. Only after their agreement was procured did he address Yosef directly.
Significantly, Par'o's reassurance to Yosef incorporates a reference to G-d, adding a double seal of approval, as it were. Unlike many of our contemporary leaders, the Egyptian ruler established clear lines of authority and division of labor. On the question of whether Yosef's previous prison sentence disqualified him from public service, we note that the arranged marriage to the daughter of Potifar clearly vindicated Yosef from the previous charges of assault on Potifar's wife.
Perhaps Yosef's most important qualities were commitment, closeness to the people and organizational acumen. In essence, however, we should not forget that Yosef was an emissary whose dreams were propelling him towards the unfolding of the Divine plan for the Jewish people. This is the true stuff of Jewish leadership.
Shabbat Shalom and Chanukah Sameach, Menachem Persoff