Response to Yehezkel Italqi

As a response to my “Open Response to Itzhak Shapira” Yehezkel Italqi posted a lengthy comment in defense of Shapira. Here is my response to Yehezkel.

Yehezkel

So in your opinion if someone “undermines the simple meaning of the word shachar” then his writing is rendered “cheap entertainment.”

Using your yardstick where does Shapira land up?

Yes I did stress, and I continue to stress, that Shapira mistranslated a verse from the Bible.

The entire thrust of my critique of Shapira is to demonstrate his lack of competence. Now my question to you Yehezkel is this. Did Shapira realize that the most natural translation of “k’shachar” in Joel 2:2 is “like dawn”? Perhaps he realizes this truth now, but at the time that he wrote his book I believe that he did not. If he realized that the natural meaning of the word “k’shachar” in context of the Metzudat David is “like dawn” then why would he run to the JPS to translate the word in a way that completely violates the point the Metzudat David is trying to make? If Shapira would have been capable of reading the verse in the original Hebrew he would not have used the JPS in this instance.

In case you believe that Shapira is truly capable of the understanding Bible I suggest that you watch his video presentation entitled “Response to Objection 2: “Hebrew 101″ – Blackness vs. Dawn. An Answer to R’ Blumenthal objection.” In this presentation he presents two verses from the Bible in his effort to justify the JPS translation of “k’shachar” with the words “as blackness.” He quotes Isaiah 8:20 and Isaiah 14:12. In both of those instances the Metzudat David together with the JPS translate the word “shachar” as “dawn” or “light” and not as “blackness.” If this is not a demonstration of incompetence then what is?

Incidentally, the Yerushalmi you quoted proves that “shachar” refers to the first rays of light and NOT to the blackness of night.

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19 Responses to Response to Yehezkel Italqi

  1. If I mistranslated the verse in the Bible, then the JPS is as guilty of that as me and this is the bottom line! If you read BTW Joel 2:2 IN CONTEXT:

    ב יוֹם חֹשֶׁךְ וַאֲפֵלָה, יוֹם עָנָן וַעֲרָפֶל, כְּשַׁחַר, פָּרֻשׂ עַל-הֶהָרִים; עַם, רַב וְעָצוּם–כָּמֹהוּ לֹא נִהְיָה מִן-הָעוֹלָם, וְאַחֲרָיו לֹא יוֹסֵף עַד-שְׁנֵי דּוֹר וָדוֹר. 2 A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, as blackness spread upon the mountains; a great people and a mighty, there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after them, even to the years of many generations.

    The translation of the word כשחר as “blackness” makes sense. Now this is not a rocket science, you claim that I mistranslated a word that I did not, why would you do such thing? IN CONTEXT the sentence should not read “as dawn”! It uses the words חושך and ערפל, you are picking up a fight that is baseless!
    Answer these few questions:

    1. Why Ibn Ezra stated
    עד עלות השחר –
    עד סור שחרות הלילה

    2. Why R’ Shimishi declared
    וכן כאשר הקב”ה יתעורר להאיר לכנסת ישראל יאיר מתחילה כמו שחר שהוא שחור, ואח”כ ‘יפה כלבנה’ ואח”כ ‘ברה כחמה’ ואח”כ ‘איומה כנדגלות’ כמו שאמרנו

    3. Why the Midrash connecting Shachor to Shachar:
    “In the verse “For the Leader; upon the hind of the dawn” (Ps. 22:1), Scripture speaks of the generation of Mordecai and Esther, [a time that was more dark than] the night. For though it is night, one has the light of the moon, the stars, and the planets. Then when is it really dark? Just before dawn! After the moon sets and the stars set and the planets vanish, there is no darkness deeper than the hour before dawn, and in that hour the Holy One answers the world and all that is in it: out of the darkness, He brings forth the dawn and gives light to the world.”

    I have made it clear even yesterday, that כשחר can mean “as dawn”. Consider that one of my family members is שחר , which is not meaning “Blackness” in this context, I think that I understand it. Your assumption that I don’t understand/know what is שחר is based on pride, arrogance, or pure denial. I stress for you yet another invite to stop hiding behind this blog and debate me in public ideally in Hebrew.

    Let me help your Hebrew a bit ……the word שחר is root of many words:

    שחר Dawn
    שחור Black
    להשחיר Blacken
    לשחור To take interest
    שוחר To Seek
    להשתחר To become Black

    For your to make such an irresponsible statement in your biased review shows that you are not a seeker of a discussion or the truth, but merely to protect your Biased view against ישוע מלך ישראל

    אבא, תפתח את עיניו של ישראל בלומנטאל לאמת, תראה לו את האמת על בנך יחידך ישוע המשיח בחזיון על טבעי. כן יהי רצון

    הרב שפירא

    • Jim says:

      Mr. Shapira,

      All of these definitions and roots are beside the point. A word may have different meanings, but its context will largely define the meaning.

      The word “ground” in English has various meanings. One is the dirt beneath our feet. Another use of the word is as a verb, to impose a punishment on a child, wherein the child loses a privelege for a short period of time. Another is also a verb, describing a pilot or a plane being disallowed to fly.

      Now, if I say that I grounded my daughter for a week, and in translation, someone said
      that I disallowed her from flying, or rubbed her face in the dirt, neither translation would be good. And all the pointing to the dictionary would be to no avail, because the word I used may have those meanings, but not in this context.

      R’ Blumenthal has pointed out to you that the context of Metzudat David does not allow the meaning you accept from the JPS. The context determines which definition fits. The other definitions are not relevant. If someone points out to me that “grounds” is not a verb only, but a noun referring to pulverized coffee beans, that is irrelevant.

      You have not answered the argument.

      Jim

  2. Tzachi
    Did you notice how you keep on avoiding my direct question to you? What do you think the Metzudat David was trying to teach with his comparison of Malachi 3:20 to Joel 2:2?

    • I will address this in upcoming video Yisrael. That was not the point of the video or the objection, I simply answered one of your objection to the point that stated that I have mistranslated something that I have not from the bible! You go after me with so much venom instead of assuming the best of me. This is not a very Jewish way to act. Sadly, now that I had time to sit down, and read your words, I will respond. You have done it over and over in your original review as you like to “assume” a lot of things about me, and in your zeal you are willing to go after my character, my abilities, and anything that you can in trying to discredit me. Let the truth be presented. I sent this verse btw to 30 Hebrew speakers last night, and asked them if I mistranslated it, 24 out of the 30 said NO btw.

  3. Tzachi
    One more thing – I articulated many times why it is that I do not believe in the venue of the public debate for this type of argument – You can read about it here:
    https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/response-to-line-of-fire-13-dispelling-a-myth/

    • This is a hypocrisy . What do you think that your blog is? (public debate). You keep on hiding behind “Rabbi Shapira’s Hebrew is a 3rd grader” (Now you moved me to 6th grade btw, thank you!” There is an easy way to settle it, we can have an open public debate in Hebrew, we will take the costs of putting it together and translate it to English so the world can see who’s Hebrew is on the 6th Grade level. These personal attacks are silly and plainly Stupid. Do you honestly believe your own writings that I did not know that כשחר can mean “as dawn”? I tried not to mistranslate a verse in the bible and this is why I copied it straight from JPS 1917!

  4. Annelise says:

    To Yehezqel-

    I wrote this in reply to something Itzhak said on FB, and I want to also put it here.

    “Tzahi I’m not willing to argue about all this, however I want to say one thing to your main point. I know Rabbi Yisroel quite well as a teacher and have observed his integrity with a critical eye and heart (as much as possible), when I was a Christian, and with more and more respect having got to know his way of speaking. I offer my personal feeling as a character witness. If Rabbi Yisroel says that in his two reviews he meant exactly the same thing (i.e. in ‘School of Matthew’ he was responding to how your translation showed a misunderstanding of Metzudat David)… then in light of all the other evidence I have at hand regarding his honesty, he should be given the benefit of the doubt on this point.

    Blessings.”

    In light of this… proving one thing or another about an ambiguous word like Shachar does not mean anything about a Rabbi’s credibility to be a teacher in the righteous remnant of observant Jews. As you slander Rabbi Yisroel’s response here, you slander them and all that they stand for.

    • I am sorry Annelise, but there is no integrity in this statement: ““On page 191 Shapira presents a translation of Metzudat David. In this translation he mistranslates a verse from the Bible. Shapira renders Joel 2:2 as if it said ‘as blackness spread upon the mountains” when in fact it says “as dawn spread upon the mountains.’” It is simply false.

      I presented a translation of Metuzdot that had a verse as the JPS Translated it. I have made it clear on page one of the book that I am using JPS. His personal attacks of me are nothing but L’eshonot R’ahot and slander. Either way, I will continue to pray for him.

      In addition, a Rabbi who has integrity does not write “Your book promote slander that is a breeding-ground for hate and more”. Accusing me of being Anti-Semitic? Anti-Jewish? Hateful? What is worse? I have shown this quote to my ORTHODOX family in Israel and asked them if this is the way Jews act and speak (Yes they know about the book). They are so angry with R’ Blumenthal for saying this as he clearly knows nothing about me.

      I am sorry, but this is not the face of integrity nor the core of being a Jew. If a person start with a false assumption about another person (in this case R’ Blumenthal assume falsely a lot of things about me), he can prove anything.

  5. Yehezqel Italqi says:

    Yisroel:

    “So in your opinion if someone “undermines the simple meaning of the word shachar” then his writing is rendered “cheap entertainment.”

    Using your yardstick where does Shapira land up?”

    My yardstick was in your backyard, not Tzahi’s. If you are offended at my choice of words to describe your review as “cheap entertainment” then I have no problems in apologizing for offending you. I decided to start in your backyard simply because you are supposed to be the real rabbi.

    “The entire thrust of my critique of Shapira is to demonstrate his lack of competence. Now my question to you Yehezkel is this. Did Shapira realize that the most natural translation of “k’shachar” in Joel 2:2 is “like dawn”? Perhaps he realizes this truth now, but at the time that he wrote his book I believe that he did not.”

    He did inform me that he did know the difference. At the same time, did you “know” if Tzahi knew “that the most natural translation of “k’shachar” in Joel 2:2 is “like dawn”?” You assume the answer is no, but let us be careful about assuming as the old adage goes about those who assume.

    “In case you believe that Shapira is truly capable of the understanding Bible I suggest that you watch his video presentation entitled “Response to Objection 2: “Hebrew 101″ – Blackness vs. Dawn. An Answer to R’ Blumenthal objection.” In this presentation he presents two verses from the Bible in his effort to justify the JPS translation of “k’shachar” with the words “as blackness.” He quotes Isaiah 8:20 and Isaiah 14:12. In both of those instances the Metzudat David together with the JPS translate the word “shachar” as “dawn” or “light” and not as “blackness.” If this is not a demonstration of incompetence then what is?”

    I have not seen the video yet. I will watch later when I have some free time.

    “Incidentally, the Yerushalmi you quoted proves that “shachar” refers to the first rays of light and NOT to the blackness of night.”

    Why am I not surprised by your response. Give somebody an inch and they’ll take a mile.

    The reason I mentioned the Yerushalami is because in relation to the pasuk of Yoel (יום חשׁך ואפלה יום ענן וערפל כשׁחר פרשׂ על־ההרים) you originally claimed:

    “On page 191 Shapira presents a translation of Metzudat David. In this translation he mistranslates a verse from the Bible. Shapira renders Joel 2:2 as if it said “as blackness spread upon the mountains” when in fact it says “as dawn spread upon the mountains”.”

    יום חשׁך ואפלה:A day of darkness and gloominess
    יום ענן וערפל:a day of clouds and of thick darkness
    כשׁחר פרשׂ על־ההרים:as the dawn spread upon the mountains

    The Gemara I quoted expressed what constitutes dawn. Is there blackness at dawn? According to the Gemara yes. As I mentioned before when quoting the Gemara:

    “‘Rather, what is אַיֶּלֶת הַשַּׁחַר? It is somewhat like two horns of light that rise in the east and gradually broaden to illuminate the sky.’

    Here the Gemara refers to what is called the zodiacal lights, also known as false dawn. These are two faint beams of light that are visible in the east come time before dawn, in favorable atmospheric conditions. Unlike true dawn, which spreads across the horizon, the zodiacal lights shine upward from the point on the horizon where the sun will later rise. ”

    Cf. this with the Bavli in Yoma 29a where אַיֶּלֶת הַשַּׁחַר is considered a special light that shines in the darkness of dawn which is before sunrise. This idea is based on the pasuk in Tehillim 22:1 that states: למנצח על־אילת השׁחר מזמור לדוד. The Gemara explains that the darkness of dawn is like exile and redemption from exile is likened to emergence from the darkness of night to the light of day, which occurs gradually but with steadily increasing intensity.

    Juxtaposed to this concept the Gemara introduces the inscription of Mordechai’s deed in the king’s chronicles which seemed insignificant at that time, since it preceded Haman’s decree, but it is what triggered Haman’s downfall. Chareidim explains that this is analogous to אַיֶּלֶת הַשַּׁחַר, which he explains is “a barely discernible ray of light on the horizon that precedes dawn.”

    So to go back to your quote about the Yerushalami “Incidentally” mentioning “shachar” that it refers to “the first rays of light and NOT to the blackness of night,” is quite elementary my dear Yisroel. The Yerushalami is trying to determine what “constitutes” day from night as juxtaposed to discussion of ayeles hashachar and hanetz hachama is bein hashmashos.

    To say that the Gemara does not refer to אילת השׁחר as the darkness of dawn is wrong, because it clearly does as I have just explained. Furthermore, after the Gemara is done defining what אילת השׁחר is, it explains the halakhic measurement from ayeles hashachar to hanetz hachama, which is from the darkness of dawn to sunrise of dawn.

    The Gemara explains that ayeles hashachar and hanetz hachama is as long as the amount of time it takes an average person to walk a distance of 4 “milin” (plural of “mil”). According to most poskim, it takes 18 minutes for an average person to walk a distance of one mil, and therefore 72 minutes to walk 4 milin. As a result, they hold that ayeles hashacha occurs 72 minutes before sunrise. Others say it takes 22.5 minutes to walk a mil, and therefore 90 minutes to walk 4 milin. Accordingly, ayeles hashacha occurs 90 minutes before sunrise. Either way, ayeles hashacha refers to a specific point in the gradual transition from night to day.

    With this said, Yoel is referring to the breaking of light in the blackness of dawn. His description of יום חשׁך ואפלה יום ענן וערפל, is a echo of 1) the cloudy darkness in which Mount Sinai was enveloped, when HaShem came down upon it in the fire (D’varim 4:11 – חשׁך ענן וערפל); and 2) the darkness which fell upon mitzrayim as the ninth plague is called אפלה (Sh’mos 10:22 – חשׁך־אפלה).

    To try to justify that the Yerushalami refers to אילת השׁחר as sunrise of dawn and not the darkness of dawn is stretching it. I will end there. And will once against offer my apologize if I offended you in my criticism.

    Kol Tuv

    • blasater says:

      Here is Yehezqel and Tzahi butchering the Chazal and Mesorah.

      • Yehezqel Italqi says:

        Sorry sir but to waste energy on my keyboard to respond to your character assassination attempts is a waste of my life span. Posting 10 min clips to subject matter which exceeds 10 mins shows how much of a troll you are.

        Listen B, come to Toronto and sit in some my 2 hour shiurim then we can talk. The main goal of those video’s with Tzahi were introductions to subjects that needed more explanation. In other words they were short previews to a longer video sorta like video trailers to movies. But seeing that your an internet troll whose IQ is equivalent to boomhauer on King of the Hill I don’t see the need to address everyone of your post.

        • Jim says:

          Mr. Italqi,

          Are you saying that Blasater truncated your video and posted something in an edited form? Or is this how it appears on your website?

          Jim

          • Yehezqel Italqi says:

            Jim,

            These video clips are only a preview to a longer video. To pass judgment on a 10 min video clip without hearing the full material is foolish.

        • Jim says:

          Mr. Italqi,

          One other question. It’s the same I give to Mr. Shapira. You are both rather thin-skinned about how you think your words are taken out of context. (Of course the insults you sling around here do not make you a troll, only those who post videos you’ve made freely available, unless I’m mistaken.)

          Since you are so offended that someone might misrepresent your teachings, where is that same zealousness in defending the holy words of the Most High. When the NT distorts and corrupts Tenach, where are you defending the precious words of Moses, David, Hosea, Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc?

          In short, why is God’s honor less dear to you than your own?

          Jim

          • Yehezqel Italqi says:

            Jim,

            Thin-skinned is a poor assessment to describe me when you don’t even know me. Nothing I said on this site has been thin-skinned. My bluntness should be taken with a grain of salt. I have no respect for spiritually immature people who want to waste other peoples time. My involvement on this site has been going back and forth with Yisroel, not the barking poodles who want to act like attention whores regarding trivial matters.

            Once again Jim, to question my zeal because I accept the mesorah of the NT is foolish. If you did not have anything to add regarding my exchange with Yisroel (meaning in context to the topic) then please stop trying to be a deterrent.

            I will offer you the same offer to you as your friend blaster, come to Toronto and sit in one my shiurim to see how much of the Word of G-d I defend. Until then Jim, please refrain my trying to invade my virtual space.

          • Jim says:

            Mr. Italqi,

            If I am mistaken about your being thin-skinned, then I certainly apologize. However, your dismissive tone and insults continue to leave me with the impression that you are in fact, thin-skinned, and moreover, rude. You call yourself “blunt”, however I don’t see it. Being blunt means speaking the truth without softening the blow. Saying one has the intelligence of “boomhaeur on King of the Hill” isn’t blunt. It’s just an insult.

            You say you don’t like your virtual space being invaded. No one has done that. I did not seek you out on your website and pick a fight with you there. You came here, and I’m sure you did not get a golden invite. You are free to comment here. So am I, until R’ Blumenthal says otherwise. It is after all his virtual space I am invading, not yours.

            I can sympathize with how you feel, however. I share a similar feeling. I say, if you want to go worship a man, go worship him. Fine. That’s not my business. But don’t teach it. And don’t append your silly “mesorah” to the real mesorah. Do not make the testimony of the few into the equal of the testimony of the nation. Do not take the words of Torah, and come into my community and tell us how the Torah really has been pointing to this man all along.

            You say that my objections are off topic. I am not so sure. You see, I notice that with many Christians, who are the one’s beginning these debates with their proselytizing, get very upset if they think that they are being represented unfairly. Both you and Mr. Italqi have shown this tendency. However, Matthew misrepresented Tanach. This is what you should object to. If you did, then you would be consistent. If you were so careful with the words of the Torah as you are your own, then you would have a right to complain that your own are taken out of context.

            But you do not read the Torah to learn what it says. You read it as an apologist. You read into it your agenda. You impress upon it your own meaning. If I cannot be allowed to do that with your writings, then you certainly can’t with the prophets. And you shouldn’t with the rabbis who clearly disagree with you. Read to find out what they meant, and disagree with them if you must. But do not read them to find Jesus in their words. And if you are going to do that, then you can’t protest those who “twist” your words.

            This too I write with sympathy. I once worshipped the same man you do. I understand it’s attraction. However, truth has nothing to do with feelings or wishful thinking. So, I had to leave it behind.

            You can leave it behind too. And you should. Put your trust in Hashem. Do not waste your time with worshipping a man, Jesus or anyone else.

            Jim

          • Jim says:

            Mr. Italqi,

            I forgot one thing. You say that it is foolishness to judge a ten-minute preview. But that is what a preview is for. I cannot read every book that comes my way. I peruse the book a little to determine if it is worth my time or not. When I see an ad for a movie, I am doing the same thing. Will I be able to always peg a movie worth my time or not? No, some will look better or worse from the ad than they turn out to be. But it does give me an indication. And isn’t this what your preview is for? If so, it’s not foolishness at all to watch what you made available to see if it is worth my time.

            And it’s not, by the way. Watching the one Blasater posted on Psalm 22, it was clear that read the text with an agenda. It is inconceivable that you would mock the Masoretic text with the rather silly question: “Have you seen any lions in Israel?” David mentions lions quite a bit in the Psalms (including twice more in Psalm 22) and in I Samuel claimed he killed one. The implication of your question is ludicrous and shows one of two possibilities:

            1. You are ignorant about the Psalms and therefore unqualified to offer an opinion on them; or,

            2. You are dishonest. You will level any argument, no matter how absurd, to prove to yourself that your faith in Jesus is justified.

            So, your video serves its purpose as an advertisement. And I of course don’t need to watch two hours of such absurdity to know if I need to watch more. You reveal yourself in a short period of time.

            Thank your for your invitation to come to your congregation, but Toronto is a long way from South Carolina, and it’s not really feasible. Moreover, you’ve shown me enough to know that I don’t need to spend time with your “teaching”.

            One other thing. This comment–this is blunt.

            Jim

  6. Pingback: As the Sun Spreads its Wings | 1000 Verses

  7. Dina says:

    Watch your language, Mr. Italqi. Ladies present.

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