Guest post by Prof. Shlomo Karni
Shlomo Karni was Professor of Electrical Engineering and Religious Studies at University of New Mexico until his retirement in 1999. His books include Dictionary of Basic Biblical Hebrew:Hebrew-English (Jerusalem: Carta, 2002).
Ahh! “Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer.” So kick off your shoes, sit back and enjoy a few entries from Midrash “lite”, alternately known by its original name as עוּרְבָא פָּרַח — a random collection of true historical events, gleanings from such sources as
א.דְרוֹיַאנוֹב, סֵפֶר הַבְּדִיחָה וְהַחִידוּד, תל-אביב: דְּבִיר
the ubiquitous author Anon, and personal notes.
- Shlomo Goren, the first Chief Rabbi of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), was once invited by a unit of paratroopers to join them on a difficult mountainous trek. He declined politely, saying, “It is written “אֶשָׂא עֵינַי אֶל הֶהָרִים” not אֶשָׂא רַגְלַי…” (Teh. 121:1)
- Of the numerous miracles that happened at the Crossing of the Sea of Reeds, one is curiously missed (until now, that is…), even though it is written explicitly אָז יָשִיר מֹשֶה… (Shem. 15:1) Moses’ speech impediment was completely cured! Additional evidence is to be found in the small number of times that Moses spoke before the Exodus, i.e., וַיּאמֶר מֹשֶה, וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶה by comparison to the large number after it.
- A Halakhic affirmative note about women serving in the military: אִשָּה כְּלֵי זֵינָה עָלֶיהָ (Avodah Zarah 25b)
- In small towns in the old country, the roles of חַזָּן and שוֹחֵט (others say חַזָּן and מוֹהֵל ) were filled by the same man, as it is written “רוֹמְמוּת אֶל בִּגְרוֹנָם וְחֶרֶב פּיפִיוֹת בְּיָדָם” (Teh. 149:6)