1

Given that so many Ashkenazi and Sephardi Rabbis throughout the centuries have mixed Yiddish and Romance words with Hebrew script, I am somewhat inclined to expect, by way of analogy, that it was probably never [strongly] forbidden; however, given the proverbially rich diversity present within historical Jewish thought, I am not really or entirely sure, which is why I had to ask.

I was wondering what the Rabbis had to say about mixing left-to-right with right-to-left writing within the same page of text. Has this topic ever been addressed, if only superficially, by a relatively respectable or well-known authority?

2

Mishna Gittin 9.6

שְׁנֵי גִטִּין שֶׁכְּתָבָן זֶה בְצַד זֶה וּשְׁנַיִם עֵדִים עִבְרִים בָּאִים מִתַּחַת זֶה לְתַחַת זֶה וּשְׁנַיִם עֵדִים יְוָנִים בָּאִים מִתַּחַת זֶה לְתַחַת זֶה, אֶת שֶׁהָעֵדִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים נִקְרָאִין עִמּוֹ, כָּשֵׁר. עֵד אֶחָד עִבְרִי וְעֵד אֶחָד יְוָנִי, עֵד אֶחָד עִבְרִי וְעֵד אֶחָד יְוָנִי בָּאִין מִתַּחַת זֶה לְתַחַת זֶה, שְׁנֵיהֶן פְּסוּלִין:

[With regard to] two bills of divorce that one wrote side by side , and two witnesses sign in Hebrew under the one, and continuing under the other and two witnesses sign in Greek under the one and continuing under the other, whichever has the first witnesses read along with it is valid. If one witness signed in Hebrew and one witness in Greek [and another] one witness signed in Hebrew and one witness in Greek under one continuing under the other, they are both invalid.

The Bartenura explains the Mishna following my understanding. I hope to write further Rashi interpretation of the Mishna in which the wall Mishna deals with Hebrew writing.

  1. שני גיטין שכתבן - בשני דפין זה בצד זה, two bills are written side by side, on two juxtaposed pages.

  2. ושני עברים חתומים מתחת הגט הראשון לתחת השני, שם העד תחת הראשון ושם אביו תחת השני . Two witnesses have signed below, between the two bills. The "first name" of the first witness is written below the first bill, and the first name of his father below the second bill. The case when witnesses signed between the two bills generates an ambiguity and to make the desambiguation we searh the place of the first name of the witness.

  3. וכן עד שני תחתיו, equally, the second witness signed below the first.

  4. וחזרו וחתמו תחתיהם שני ישראלים הדרים בארץ יון, afterwards, two witnesses, who are Jews who lives in Greece have signed. They write differently

  5. וחתמו בכתב יוני, they signed with a Greek writing

  6. ודרך הכתב יוני שהולך מן השמאל אל הימין , the Greek writing begins from the left side

  7. נמצא שם העד תחת הגט שני, The result is that the first name of the witness is written below the second bill (the lefter)

  8. ושם אביו תחת הראשון. and the name of his father below the first bill (the righter)

  9. את שהעדים הראשונים נקראים עמו כשר. The bill with which the first witnesses are congruent is valid

  10. אם העברים חתומים למעלה, for instance, if the Israeli witnesses signed first, in the two first lines for signatures (as when we full out a form for the school of a son, there are special boxes for signature of the father, for the signature of the mother)

  11. שדרך כתב עברי שהולך מן הימין אל השמאל, the Israeli writing is from right to left

  12. ונמצא שם העד תחת הגט הימני, the first name of the witness is below the right bill (the first name is the most important)

    13.ושם אביו תחת הגט השמאלי, the name of the father is below the left bill

  13. הימני כשר. So, the right bill is valid

  14. ואם. היונים חתומים למעלה, If the Greek witnesses signed in the first lines where witnesses sign

  15. השמאלי כשר. In consequence, the left bill is valid

  16. ששמות העדים תחת השמאלי הם. Because the first name of the witnesses are below the left bill

  17. וטעמא, דחיישינן שמא העדים האחרונים הפכו את כתבם לסדר שכתבו העדים הראשונים, The problem is that it's feared that there was a confusing. Perhaps the witnesses who signed in the second step inverted their habit to be congruent to the habit of the first set of witnesses

  18. שאם העברים היו חתומים למעלה example given, if the first set was Israeli

  19. שהם הולכים מן הימני אל השמאלי who write from right to left

  20. וחתמו על הגט הימני, and did sign for the right bill

  21. כשבאו שני היונים לחתום תחתיהם הלכו גם הם מן הימני אל השמאלי כסדר כתיבת העברי when the Greek witnesses came, the did sign from right to left as the Israeli witnesses

  22. ונמצא שארבעתם חתמו על הגט הימני. The result is that the 4 first name are below the right bill

  23. וכן אם היונים חתומים למעלה, If the Greek witnesses came first

  24. שמא הפכו העברים שבאו אחריהם סדר כתב עברי, perhaps the Israeli witnesses who came afterwards changed their habit to be congruent to the first group

  25. והלכו מן השמאלי אל הימני and signed from left to right

  26. ונמצאו ארבעתם חתומים על השמאלי: The result is that the 4 first names are below the left bill

  27. ה"ג עד אחד עברי ועד אחד יוני, ועד אחד עברי ועד אחד יוני באים מתחת זה לתחת זה שניהם פסולין. When every witness came alone, one Israeli, one Greek, one Israeli, one Greek, both bills are not valid

  28. וטעמא, דחיישינן שמא העד עברי הראשון חתם על הגט הימני הראשון כפי סדר כתב עברי, because it's feared that the first, an Israeli signed from right to left

  29. והעד היוני השני חתם על הגט השמאלי השני כפי סדר כתב יוני שמתחילין מן השמאל, but the second Greek witness perhaps did not change his habit and signed his first name below the left bill

  30. והעד השלישי העברי הפך כתב העברי והתחיל גם הוא מהשמאל כמו היוני שלפניו, the third witness, an Israeli, wanted to imitate the second who was Greek, and signed from left to right

  31. ונמצא גם הוא חתום על הגט השמאלי, so he signed below the left bill

  32. והעד היוני האחרון חתום כדרכו מן השמאל אל הימין וגם הוא חתום על השמאלי, the second Greek witness did not change his habit and signed below the left bill

  33. ונמצאו ג' עדים חתומים על השמאלי, ואחד בלבד חתום על הימני. The result is that 3 witnesses signed below the left bill and 1 below the right. And a bill is not valid with less than 2 witnesses

  34. או בהפך שהעד השני היוני הפך כתבו לסדר כתב עברי והתחיל מן הימין אל השמאל כמו שחתם העד עברי הראשון, there is an other possibility of problem. Perhaps the second witness who was Greek did imitate the first who is Israeli. and signed from right to left

  35. והעד עברי השלישי חתם כדרכו מן הימין, and the third witness who was Israeli did not change his habit and signed below the right bill

  36. ונמצאו שלשתן חתומים על הגט הימני הראשון, והעד היוני האחרון לבדו חתם כדרכו על הגט השמאלי. The result is that 3 witnesses signed for the right bill

  37. ומשום דלא ידעינן בהי מינייהו חתימו תלתא ובהי מינייהו לא חתים אלא חד, שניהם פסולין: ‏ and because we don't know which one of the bills has 3 witnesses and which one has one only, both are not valid. Additional explanation: There is a confusion what is the name of the witness and what is the name of the father. Do we don't know on which bill is targeted the name of the witness.

But if I remember correctly, the comment of Rashi the two witnesses, who are Jews who lives in Greece have signed. They also write in Hebrew but their custom is to begin with the name of the father. When people from Israel write Reuven Shimeon son's, people from Greece write Shimeon son's: Reuven. In the bill, there is a place to write the name of the father of the witness, and a place to write the name of the witness. For instance in France when you fill out a form, you begin by last name and in the second box last name. In America (I see this in internet forns) when you fill out a form, the first box is for first name. In Hebrew we have Bileam Beno Beor that is equivalent to Bileam Ben Beor. Example given, nowadays, in some cases first name and last name may be confusing, Isaac Moses or Moses Isaac, if you don't know the habit of the writer, you don't know what is the first name.

Anyway I'm pretty sure that this has not to do with Kilayim.

  • I wish I could upvote this answer twice. Thank you kindly for your time and effort. – Lucian Apr 24 at 22:10
  • This seems only out of confusion - it's not clear who signed what. there's no prohibition to write husband's Greek name alongside his Hebrew name within the Gett. – Al Berko Apr 25 at 9:56
  • There is a confusion what is the name of the witness and what is the name of the father. Do we don't know on which bill is centered the name of the witness – kouty Apr 25 at 10:00
  • @Al Berko makes sense, see comment and edit – kouty Apr 25 at 10:02
  • @kouty: Anyway, I'm pretty sure that this has nothing to do with Kilayim. - See my discussion with Al Berko in the main comment section for why I initially thought that maybe it might. – Lucian Apr 25 at 15:16
1

There is absolutely no problem with writing two such languages.

I was thinking maybe you can bring proof from the stones that Moshe rabbeinu wrote the Torah (or mitzvos) on in 70 languages (I think that is the plain meaning of "languages" although could be it refers to something else).

I think it was 12 stones (don't know for sure). Even if not I think the חזקוני says they were all stuck together.

Comes out it has to be there was more than one language on each stone.

Unless you're asking specifically about right to left being on the same page. Then maybe you can say it was right to left on one part and left to right on a different part. But that won't help according to the חזקוני.

  • As I wrote in the very last line at the end of my post, and as can be safely surmised from the label sources-mekorot , I am actually curious to find out whether this topic has ever been addressed, even if only half-jokingly, by a relatively respectable or well-known authority. – Lucian Apr 24 at 2:06
  • @Lucian oh I see. I edited my answer with something to add – Chaim Apr 24 at 5:32
  • Are you saying that, within the writings of Hezekiah ben Manoah, their author references a pious tradition (with which I personally am unfamiliar) about Moses writing or translating the Torah into the seventy languages traditionally associated with the number of Gentile nations, per a certain reading of Exodus 1:5, from which the Septuagint also derives its name ? Locating that specific passage would be great. – Lucian Apr 24 at 6:02
  • 1
    The source for writing in 70 languages is Sota 7:5 but I'm not sure what you're getting at with the Chizkuni. @Lucian – b a Apr 24 at 14:30
  • @ba: Ancient cuneiform, for instance, was written from left to right. Since it was still employed as late as the first century CE, this indirectly answers my question. – Lucian Apr 24 at 22:09

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