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April 15, 2008

Comments

Daniel

"...a disagreement between R. Chisda who accepts this principle and Ravina who accepts it (Brachot 20b.)"

Now that would be an interesting machloket indeed! R. Chisda denies it?

Micha

I could have seen arguing that even on the cognitive level, Hebrew pre-speech is different than that of other languages. The set of words and the grammar one has at one's disposal shapes thought. Not necessarily Worf-Sapir, I would instead argue more of a two-sided cyclic process, but that basic notion.

However, that would imply that if I said Shema in the original, but I do my thinking in English (i.e. my intent was based on a linear English translation) I wouldn't fulfill the requirement. An unpalatable result, but one I could see as logically meaningful.

Then again, it might make a difference whether I really think in English, or think in a heavily jargoned English such that my subculture already prefitted the English to Torah concepts.

On a different note, I could argue that the mitzvah is in the ear, which is why one not only has to say the words, but say them loud enough to hear them. IOW, it's not the action of saying the words as much as getting the full experience of saying them.

-micha

PS: You have a typo in which both R' Chisda and Ravina are said to "accept" the principle that thought = speech.

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