Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Toch K'dei Dibur

One the reasons I like gmail is that after sending an email, you have a few seconds to hit a "Cancel" button, which stops the sending process and lets you reconsider if you should really send that email or not.  I am looking forward to "Google Mouth"... I could really use a cancel button when talking...

For years I thought that halacha also had something like that also, known as "tok'd'dibur".  I didn't know Hebrew at all and was hearing a lot of new terms that people just threw around.  So I figured "tok'd'dibur" was just Hebrew for cancel, or reset, or whatever.  I knew it was 2 or 3 seconds, but was a bit in wonder that it was defined as the amount of time it takes to say "Shalom Aleichem, Rebbi" and some say "Shalom Aleichem, Rebbi u'Mori".  "Good greif!", I thought, "If it's two or three seconds, what difference does it make whether you say u'mori or not?"  Just another confusing detail.  At least I knew that whatever I said, as long as I corrected it within a couple of second, I was good to go.

Except, of course, I wasn't good to go.  First I found out it doesn't always work.  For example, you are holding a cup of (what you think is wine) and say the appropriate bracha.  As you are about to drink, you see you have Diet Coke!  You say "she'hakol n'h'ye bidvaro" right away and you can drink.  On the other hand, during the summer if you say (in bareich aleinu) "v'sein tal u'mater livracha" and immediately add "v'sein bracha" -- sorry, it didn't work; go to the beginning of the bracha.  Confusing!  Second I found out that there is no Hebrew word "tok'd'dibur"; it's a phrase: "toch k'dei dibur" -- "within the time of speaking".

Ah; so that's why it is defined via a phrase, because it depends on the speaker.  Why this phrase?  I have never seen anything, but I will venture a guess that this is the kind of phrase that one says carefully.  It comes out, then, that "toch k'dei dibur" is not really a cancel button.  Instead, it really means that you haven't finished talking.  Now we can (with the help of Halichos Shlomo) understand why it seems to work differently in  different situations.  The way it works is that "toch k'dei dibur" allows you to tack on additional information and have it considered as part of the original statement.

In the first example, then, you ended up saying "baruch atah HaShem, elokeinu melech ha'olam, borei pri hagafen, she'hakol n'h'ye bidvaro".  That is, you didn't say anything wrong, just ended up adding an additional phrase in the middle of the bracha.  You can't do that l'chatchila, but b'di'eved it works.  In the second example, however, getting rain in the middle of summer can actually be damaging, so the whole phrase is ruined and you have to go back to the beginning of the bracha.

Glad to have that clarified.  I still could really, really us a cancel button on my speaking.  Really.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…