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A Hebrew Interlude - Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
September 17th, 2002
02:36 pm

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A Hebrew Interlude
I beg the pardon of my non-Hebrew readers, this is a brief question in Hebrew/Aramaic grammar, and cannot be asked meaningfully in English.

האין הביטוי "מדאורייתא" עילג משהו? האין המ"ם מיותרת לפני הדל"ת הארמית? הרי "דאורייתא" הוראתה "של התורה" כשלעצמה, ואין צורך במ"ם הזו. אולי אני טועה? אבל אני רואה יותר מדי פעמים את הביטוי "מדאורייתא" בכתב, כולל בדברי דפוס, עיתונים וספרים, בצירופים כגון "מצווה מדאורייתא" או "איסור מדאורייתא". חבל.

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From:avva
Date:September 17th, 2002 04:37 am (UTC)

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It's the behemoth stuff all over again. One language does not recognize another language's morphological whatchamacallees.

Even when it's Hebrew and Aramaic, so close and intertwined, there's always a natural inclination to treat the Aramaic word as a black box, instead of weaving its morphology into syntactical structures of Hebrew.

Or so it seems to me.
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From:ijon
Date:September 17th, 2002 05:07 am (UTC)
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Yes, I realize that is the likely explanation for this widespread mistake, and yet, the people who use that term mostly dedicate their lives to studying the Gemara, written primarily in Aramaic. Presumably, that should have given them a good-enough grasp to avoid that mistake. Or perhaps the "perpetrators" of this form are the less-diligent, less-educated sectors of the religious population?

This raises another question: how old is this form? Perhaps it's attained a status of tradition by now...
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From:khatul
Date:September 17th, 2002 05:33 am (UTC)

As I already said (below)...

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...this form is old enough to be authentic - it's good Talmudic Aramaic from the Amorai's mouth.

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From:lukkke
Date:September 17th, 2002 04:44 am (UTC)

עילג

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אבל כמעט כל שילוב ארמית בעברית יוצא עילב משהו, לדעתי.

עדיגי ברת-המזל.


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From:ijon
Date:September 17th, 2002 05:03 am (UTC)

Re: עילג

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אני מניח ש"ברת-המזל" נועד להדגים את טענתך, כן?

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From:lukkke
Date:September 17th, 2002 05:43 am (UTC)

אכן.

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ל"ת.

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From:ukelele
Date:September 17th, 2002 05:09 am (UTC)
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Alas, and I am so fond of grammatical questions, too!
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From:ijon
Date:September 17th, 2002 05:26 am (UTC)

Oh well...

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Aww, alright. I'll make it up to you with a similar phenomenon, which may be less obscure, as it is not a strictly-Jewish term: in spoken Israeli Hebrew, car brakes are called breksim. There exists a perfectly decent proper Hebrew term for brakes (מעצור), but it never won the people's hearts for some reason. Now, breksim comes from breks, a Hebrew pronunciation of the term "brakes" (which was common in Palestine under the British Mandatory rule), with the plural Hebrew suffix -im. So we have a Hebrew plural suffix pasted onto an English term already in the plural number. Language is funky like that.

My original question was about a current Hebrew form of a Jewish term (מדאורייתא) meaning "from the Torah" (i.e. a tradition, law, or prohibition originating in the Pentateuch itself and not elsewhere in Jewish tradition), which is based on an Aramaic phrase (דאורייתא) meaning "of the Torah", with a Hebrew "from" prefix (-מ) added to it, making a rather nonsensical composite. As opposed to the breksim case, though, the correct form (the pure Aramaic term) is in wide use, alongside the incorrect form.

Now look what you did -- I ended up explaining it in English after all...
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From:khatul
Date:September 17th, 2002 05:29 am (UTC)

Reply

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As far as I understand, this usage is legitimate. To begin with, it commonly occurs in the Talmud itself.

There is a sharp semantic difference between -ד and -מ. Approximately it can be said that דאורייתא means "of the Torah", while מדאורייתא means "from what is written in the Torah".

An איסור, thus, can only be מדאורייתא, not דאורייתא.

-מ itself is naturally used in Talmudic Aramaic in the sense of מן, and I am not really sure it can be considered a Hebraism at all.

The difference can be illustrated by the following paragraph (oh, an online Talmud is a blessing!):

[מסכת גיטין, פרק ה', דף מח,ב גמרא] מפני תיקון העולם דאורייתא היא דכתיב (שמות כב) מיטב שדהו ומיטב כרמו ישלם אמר אביי לא צריכא אלא לרבי ישמעאל דאמר מדאורייתא בדניזק שיימינן קמ"ל מפני תיקון העולם


Here I understand תיקון העולם דאורייתא as "correction of the world's ways by the Torah as a whole".
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From:ijon
Date:September 17th, 2002 05:57 am (UTC)

Re: Reply

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Thanks! It's interesting to learn that this form dates back to the Talmud itself. We cannot but accept it as legitimate, then.
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From:novartza
Date:September 17th, 2002 03:51 pm (UTC)

מדאוריתא

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אני (ואנשים שאני מכיר) אומרים באמת בדרך כלל "דאוריתא", "דרבנן", בלי מ'.
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