250x300_01 . Buy School Clothing Square New . VocalReferences jpg 250x250_1 .

Mar 21, 2007

Kitniyot is now muttar!!!

As you can see here, Rav David Bar-Hayim, head of the Bet Ha'Vaad Beis Din in Jerusalem (he spells things differently - I am spelling it more phonetically practical for your ease of reading) has come out with his long awaited psak.

Rav Bar-Hayim holds that the decree against eating kitniyot is a ban that should be repealed.

Discussing the custom he says, "According to Rav Bar-Hayim, the custom grew up in some Jewish communities during the Exile, but no one is quite sure how it began or why. Some say it started in Medieval Europe as a response to sometimes finding wheat grains in sacks of rice. This is a problem, as rice cannot become Chametz (leavened) whereas wheat certainly can--and the consumption of Chametz is strictly forbidden during Pesah by the Torah. Others have suggested that it was to avoid confusion with the five grains that can become Chametz.

"This was a localized custom in parts of Germany, which later moved eastwards to Poland and Russia with the waves of Jewish emigration", states Rav Bar-Hayim. "The explanations offered for the custom are unconvincing. You don't find wheat in rice today. It was never accepted by Jews worldwide. Whatever the origin of the custom, Ashkenazi Jewish commentators have struggled to find good reasons for the ban. Some authorities, such as Rabbenu Yeruham, called it a ‘foolish custom'".

Over time, more and more items were arbitrarily added to the list: beans and peas, and more recently soya beans and even peanuts. Few Ashkenazi Jews today would eat peanuts or use peanut oil on Pesah, but as recently as 40 years ago peanuts were permitted by all Rabbinical authorities. Often there were economic interests at work behind the scenes, pushing for ever more stringent definitions of Kitniyoth, in order to create a market for a particular product. Products that were previously kosher were banned. Very expensive oils such as walnut oil replaced other oils that were previously acceptable and the focus of the holiday shifted from avoiding Chametz to avoiding Kitniyoth.

"We learn from the Mishnah and the Talmud that customs are connected to a particular place. When one moves permanently to another locality, one is to adopt the local custom," explains Rav Bar-Hayim. "The custom of abstaining from eating Kitniyoth during Pesah has never been the prevailing practice among all Jews in Erets Yisrael, and is therefore not binding upon Jews living in Israel. A person may choose to continue adhering to his custom, but no one has the right to enforce his custom on others."

According to the ruling, the variety of customs forbidding different foods creates divisiveness that the Torah prohibits. "The Torah specifically instructs us not to act in a divisive fashion; the Jews in a particular place should follow the same customs" says Rav Bar-Hayim. "This is the opinion of Rambam and other authorities who state that we should not have more than one beth din (religious court) or groups practicing different customs in the same city. This leads to a lack of societal cohesion. Today we see that this is all too true. We hope that this ruling will serve as the beginning of a process that will unite the Jewish People.""

I like the idea behind it. Over the years we have become more and more machmir as to what is considered kitniyot. As he writes, many items are no longer used today despite never having been included in the ban.

Some of Rav Bar-Hayim's talmidim will eat kitniyot this year, I am sure. I am not a talmid of his and will therefore continue refraining from eating kitniyot, until my rabbonim decide otherwise.

But who knows - maybe this psak of Rav Bar-Hayim's will open the file on kitniyot and spur halachik debate among the rabbonim on the issue. Maybe this is the beginning of a general change.

18 comments:

  1. A friend sent me a similar idea from a completely different source: a Sefardi Rabbi outside of LA. At his website www.koshertorah.com he writes:

    Concerning Halakha, many have been taught that the strictest way is the right way and that anything less is undesirable. Indeed, the impression is given that if one does not accept this then such one is to be looked down upon or otherwise scorned. This is the first wrong that needs to be made right.

    Torah students must relearn Halakha, from scratch; learn well its intended meaning and parameters of observance. Gemara study is not enough. One must learn the Poskim, Rishonim, Shulkhan Arukh and Aharonim. In order to become a captain (Rav) along the Halakha river, one must know its flow, and its streams, knowing the difference between the two. Only in this way does one truly know Torah from Sinai. Halakha is the foundation of Torah and life force in the soul of every Jew. One must know what is Torah and what is culture and separate the two.

    When Torah is studied and embraced in this proper fashion, any intelligent student will quickly see that while the strictest way of interpretation and practice may be acceptable, it is by no means obligatory, and in many circumstances, it is not even recommended or desirable. With a comprehensive understanding of Halakha, the barriers of prejudice separating those who hold differing views can be penetrated and a newfound respect for differences in proper Torah observance can be established.

    Cultural norms of identify of who is and who is not religious must also come to an end. No one is more religious because of their adoption of antiquated and outdated European cultures of dress and language. This is only a prejudice, and all prejudice is forbidden under Torah Law.

    One can be as observant of Halakha in jeans and a baseball cap as one can be in a cheap Italian suit and a 40’s style fedora. One can be as religious in a large knitted kippah living in Eretz HaKodesh and serving in its army as one can be in Mea Shearim or Benei Brak wearing his European long coat, beaver fur hat and rejecting both army and State. Hebrew is our holy language, not Yiddish, not Ladino and certainly not English.

    Today, in all due respect, we no longer have any real Ashkenazim or Sephardim. These were the names of Germany and Spain and referred to those who came from those places. This was the reality 500 years ago. It has radically changed over the last century. Today Ashkenazim and Sephardim both live in lands that once were exclusive to the other. Both communities today live side by side in new lands and develop new traditions together in their new homelands.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The psak in Hebrew (not the press release) is in the process of being submitted to a forum of Rabbanim for serious discussion by Rav Wasserman. This psak was not made for grand standing, but rather to shift the paradigm so Am Yisrael focuses less on the small issues like kitniyot and on the big ones like bringing Korbanot to one of Rafi G's favorite spots.

    ReplyDelete
  3. let's hope so - this religion that we practice nowadays has turned into one of restrictions, -"what can we assur". This is certainley not what the chachomim meant when they said "asu siyag latorah".

    ReplyDelete
  4. and before anon jumps on me, I won't be eating kitniyot yet until my rov says it's ok either.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree with most of the ideas expressed in the article. Of all the accepted Humrot out there, kitniyot has one of the least amount of backbone. On the other hand, Minhag Avoteinu Beyadeinu is a strong concept that we shouldn't just throw out the window. It would require a large consensus of Sanhedrin-caliber leaders to annul the Minhag.

    Also, were you aware of the attached blog to this?:
    http://kitniyot.blogspot.com

    And while we're on the subject, here's another kitniyot-related point that I made 2 years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  6. If this does become the accepted psak, then I can finally have read stuffed cabbage (with rice) on Pesach!

    ReplyDelete
  7. if kitniyot comes back for ashkenazi jews, it will be one of the largest paradigm shifts in the jewish world since the state of israel was formed.
    i dont think it will happen...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Louis - I agree with what you write. I always have this dilemma whether minhag eretz yisrael supercedes my own minhagim. And that is only referring to modern day minhag eretz yisrael which is based on the minhagim of the gra. It is even more difficult to co-exist with older minhagei eretz yisrael. I have some minhagim that I have been told to drop de to the precedence of minhag eretz yisrael, such as tefillin on hol hamoed.

    Rav Ovadia Yosef, if I am not mistaken, is famous for saying that ashkenazim in Israel should be following sefardic customs, as eretz yisrael is traditionally and even majority sefardic.

    The greatest effect this can have is to spur the debate.

    shaya - that is what Rav Bar Hayim is trying to change.

    social - as I wrote in the post I will not.


    yaak - I have seen that blog. I see he also posted the info. I was going to say that your comment on kitniyot is not valid because you eat kitniyot, but then I see that is what you linked to.. :-) . Pesach is a time when lots of people want to be sefardic. Then they think about getting up at 4 am the whole month of elul and decide they prefer to suffer a week with no rice rather than a month of 4 am selichot. :-)


    Neil - his whole discussion is only based on Eretz Yisrael. I do not know if it would apply in Chicago.

    whats - I don't think it will happen either. For sure not any time soon.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I believe the reason sfardim get up and say selichos all of elul is not because of kitniyos... its because they eat matza ashira :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. i think sefardim get up early that whole month of elul is because that's when all that kitniyot is finally "on the move"!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Rav Bar-Hayim is one of this generations' great visionaries. May his vision soon be realized. His amazing and fascianting Torah can be found at www.machonshilo.org

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nahthan ben Yosef Dawidh HaCohenMarch 24, 2007 7:32 PM

    bs'd

    I'm happy to admit that I'm a talmid of Rav Bar-Hayim (RBH), and therefore look forward to eating qitnioth again this year as I did last year. It's all worth it just for those great, soft, peanut butter macaroons I got last year - like Lay's potato chips - you can't eat just one (or four, for that matter)! Almost makes you want to become Sephardi (well, guess you don't have to anymore - see p'saq...). By the way, RBH mentioned to us that the author of the Chayeh Adam, a Rav who wrote a condensed compilation of Jewish Law a few generations ago, actually added POTATOES to the ever-expanding list of qitnioth no-no's in his first edition (some wise editor removed the potato entry from the second edition...).

    (NOTE: I will be transliterating Hebrew into English based on the way that RBH personally received the "correct" pronounciation from Rav Ben-Zion Cohen, an expert on Hebrew pronounciation, who wrote two books on the issue. For example, the consonantal Vav is pronounced like a "w", and the Tof without a dagesh is pronounced like a hard "th" as in "think". "Mitzvot" therefore becomes "MissWoTH", etc.).

    Rafi & Shaya G. - show the p'saq to your Rabbonim and see what they say - maybe their decision will be to let you decide for yourself on this one. Send us any comments, both for and against, to MachonShilo.org.

    Yaak - I was also concerned about this idea of minhagh avothenu b'yadenu (literally, "our father's custom is in our hands"). RBH says that the whole concept is found only in Ashkenazi sources, originating in several places in Tosefoth on the Talmudh Bavli. It is itself not necessarily a halachic (legal) concept, but rather a device developed to guard the Torah in Ashkenazi locales where the Torah was severely challenged and threatened, much more so than in Sephardi areas.

    I would add that even if you do hold by it, which "Avothenu" should one go by? Your own parents? Their parents or grandparents, who may have been either more or less observant than them? Or maybe your ancestors going all the way back to where you came from in the lands of exile - should you go wash your clothes by the river once a week because they did? My wife actually has a friend who won't use anything that came into being after the time of Rav Soloveichik, the Beth HaLewi, over a hundred years ago. His son now has a damaged heart because he didn't let the boy's mother give him antibiotics when he had strep throat - now he has to take them for the rest of his life. Here's another more generally pertinent example: I asked a local English speaking Chassidic Rebbe what he thought about the rediscovered Techeleth (blue dye for Ssissith). He said that "we have a mesorah (tradition) that the techeleth won't reappear until Mashiach comes, and our ancestors didn't wear it, so we won't either". Ignoring reality, seems to me. See MachonShilo.org for more on techeleth also...).

    How about going all the way back to your ancestors who lived in Israel in the time of the Temple - I don't think that they had any problem with qitnioth. Or maybe we should go back to the original Avoth (and Imahoth) Avraham, Yisshak, Ya'aqov, Sarah, Rivqah, Rachel & Leah. Why don't we have more than one wife like Ya'akov did (we are named after him after all - Yisrael!).

    My point is that the whole idea of minhagh avothenu is subject to much interpretation, and can therefore be used and abused by anyone to promote almost any activity that they want to promote that was once customary somewhere. It's true that the Rabbis have the permission, and even the obligation to "make fences for the Torah", but there IS a limit, and not every fence made by anyone who calls himself a Rabbi, or even by any group of Jews, should be left standing.

    And even more than that: "minhagh avothenu b'yadhenu" literally says that their custom is "in our hands" - it doesn't say that we have to KEEP it! Something being in your hands means that you took it or received it, and you now have the choice to either keep it, give it away or discard it. In the Song of the Sea that 'Am Yisrael sang after witnessing the destruction of the pursuing Egyptian army (Sh'moth/Exodus ch.15) they sang, "Zeh Eli w'anwehu, Eloheh avi w'aromemenhu" - This is my God and I will build Him a Sanctuary; the God of my father and I will exalt Him" (15:2 - translation from Artscroll Stone Edition). I have to both relate to God according to the tradition and example that I recieved from my forebearers, and also (according to the verse, primarily) according to who I am and what the reality of my life is right now. This doesn't mean, of course, that I can do anything I want - past present and future all have to be taken into consideration.

    I just thought of a good example of this right from the Torah. Moshe Rabenu recieved the luchos (tablets - cubic, by the way) directly from Hashem in order to give them to 'Am Yisrael. But when he saw what they were doing down the mountain in his absense, he let them go from his hands, and they shattered. The Torah from Sinai had suddenly become irrelevant, so it had to be let go until the Jews were worthy of it again. If this was true of the actual Torah from Sinai itself, then all the more so is it true for customs that have a questionable basis and that are already accepted to be irrelevant.

    Neal Harris - Why wait for this (allowing qitnioth) to become the "accepted p'saq"? You can accept it for yourself right now! The p'saq states that while you can still refrain from eating qitnioth if you want to, nobody can force you to do so. Who's stopping you? You can accept RBH as your Rav, at least regarding this issue. Or ask your Rav what he thinks.

    Whatsinaname - qitnioth will only "come back for Ashkenazi Jews" (AJ's) if individual AJ's like yourself bring it back one-at-a-time. True, it would be easier and faster if the Gedolim would just come out and make a proclamation allowing qitnioth, but maybe they're waiting to see what the people will do first, seeing that it's pretty well accepted that the minhagh has no real basis anymore (if it ever did - see the p'saq), and it is only being perpetuated out of inertia, social pressure and fear of change. Large paradigm shifts often start with small ones (kitnioth, by the way, means "little things"!!).

    Rafi G. - Wearing tefillin on Chol HaMoedh is another one of the issues that RBH has dealt with. He basically says that until the Zohar forbade tefillin on Chol HaMoedh, EVERYBODY was wearing it. The Gra in particular took the lead of the Zohar and likewise forbade it, or at least allowed it to be abandoned based on the Zohar's precedent. The validity of the Zohar, or at least parts of it, is known (to those who know or want to know) to be questionable (Heaven protect me for saying such apikorsis), so it is not at all clear that one should base halachic practices on it, especially to forbid a misswah from the Torah like wearing tefillin (which could and perhaps should be worn all day anyway). (It could be argued that if the Gra had known some of the history about the development of the Zohar, he would not have been so enthusiastic in supporting it...).

    And what about taking tefillin off for Musaf of Rosh Chodhesh? Again - questionable halachic basis. We, in our minyan with RBH, wear tefillin both on Chol HaMoedh (which some still do) and during Musaf of Rosh Chodhesh (which virtually nobody does).

    The Rav's main emphasis, besides redeeming the Torah from it's exiled state, is to, like the Nike shoe people say, "Just do it!". It's not enough to just learn about what to do - you have to then DO IT (as long as the "it" is the right thing to do)..

    If this p'saq and the Rav's outlook and methods interest you, check out our site at MachonShilo.org. You can address queries or comments to the Rav, Louis (Ariel) or myself (Nahthan). It may make you feel better about the Torah than you ever have (if you let yourself be open to a new way of looking at it...).

    Rafi G. - thanks for letting me post such a long posting. Hope it was interesting for everyone. Chag Kasher w'sameach (hashanah hazeh 'im qitnioth!).

    ReplyDelete
  13. Shauva tov. I wanted to say thanks for Rafi G. for posting this an opening up what BE"H will be real halachic debate. BTW, the Beth Din has specifically paskined for Benei Erets Yisrael.We admit that the issue is more complicated in the USA or Ashkenaz where the custom is more of a minhag hamakom. BTW, in the last 3 days, we have had more than 50K hits to www.machonshilo.org.

    Chag Sameach!

    ReplyDelete
  14. nathan - the one thing you guys gotta fix is your spelling. it has to be more readable to people if you want people to actually read the articles! Even if according to the pronunciation it is more correct one spcific way, if people are turned away by the weird spelling, yatza s'charo b'hefsedo..

    Anyway, thanks for your long comment. I particularly liked your explanation of minhag avoteinu....

    Louis - keep sending me those articles...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Nahthan ben Yosef Dawidh HaCohenMarch 29, 2007 2:11 AM

    Rafi G. - I also thought that it was a good chiddush about yadenu, that mihaghim could be taken or left. Rav Bar-Chaim (RBH) didn't think so, though - he said that "MABeyadhenu clearly implies that we must continue (keeping the minhagh)". He also reacted to my posting saying that
    "It is also worth pointing out that many poseqim were opposed to this minhagh. And that there is such a thing as minhagh ta'uth" (mistaken custom).

    About the weird spelling: My first contact with RBH was through a friend who knew that I was interested in proper pronounciation of Lashon HaQodhesh. He told me about RBH, and b'qitzer I davened with him two-and-a-half years ago on Rosh HaShanah. I felt like it was the first time that I had ever heard the Torah really read right, and the prayers really said right.

    We are defined by our ability to speak (the four categories of physical creation: inatimate, vegetative, animal and "medaber" -us speaking beings). To change such a defining quality in us is difficult, challenging and even frightening. But the way we pronounce Hebrew 'aint the right way. And the only way to change it, barring a direct Divine reprogramming of the language portion of our brains, is to just start changing it.

    So I think that even though some people might be turned off by it, it's more important for me to use that spelling to awaken and inspire those others who will be awakened and inspired.

    Some of the changes are not so hard: "q" instead of "k" (qitnioth, p'saq, Ya'aqov) - we are already familiar with such spelling in the names "Iraq" and "Bezeq" for example. The harder part is to get the difference in pronounciation: it's like saying the "k" sound farther back down in your throat - like a hard 'Ayin, -like saying a "k" from the place that you gargle!

    Of the six dagesh-able letters (BG'D KF'T - letters that can have a dot in them), three already have two known spellings and sounds: B/V,K/Ch, and P/F. The distinction in the other three is either ignored (G and D) or mistaken (T). The soft G is like pushing the air out from the same place as a hard G instead of popping it out; the soft D is like a soft "th" (that); the soft T is like a hard "th" (think).

    The soft T is very common, especially at the end of words (examples from my other posting: qitnioth, Tosefoth, Avoth, ssissith). This soft T also shouldn't be so hard for people, because we already find it in the English-ized versions of several words, i.e. Sabbath, Bnei Brith, "Beth" in the names of shuls, etc. This is a case of the English version actually preserving the original and correct pronounciation!

    The soft D is less common, but perhaps more important for two reasons. Firstly, we are supposed to extend the D at the end of the first verse of Shma' in the word Echadh. This can't be done properly with a hard D - it can easily be done with a soft D / soft "th" sound (try it!).

    Secondly, we are not allowed to pronounce the four-letter name of G-d as written, so we pronounce it as "Ado-nai" instead. But if you check everywhere (I believe) that the word "Ado-nai" is spelled out as ADNY, you'll find that the D (Daleth) is never spelled with a dagesh. So it isn't "Ado-nai", but rather "Adho-nai", which sounds like "Athonai" (soft th). I assume that that's how it should be said in place of the Shem HaMeforash also.

    The way we spell these three letters is really easy - just add an "h" to the letter. g/gh, d/dh and t/th. There is already a precedent in English for this: c/ch (although the english ch is pronounced differently), and p/ph, as in "telephone" and "phonetic". So I therefore wrote words such as "minhagh", "moedh" and "chodhesh". It's not so hard, is it?

    The most drastic change is in the "vav". It's not V because the soft B is the V sound, and there are no two letters that sound alike, except Samech and Sin. The "vav" is really a "waw" ("wow"!) and, in consonantal usage, is pronounced like a W. This may actually explain why a W is called a double U: Waw as a vowel is often U (oo), so by doubling it, i.e. hardening it, it becomes a W sound!

    The Waw is hard to read, and hard to change in speech. "Mitzvah" becomes "mitzWah", and "mitzvotav" becomes "mitzWothaW"! For other Cohanim out there like myself, you don't say "panav" - you say "panaW". And David becomes DaWidh.

    There are other letters that are different: Cheth, Teth, 'Ayin and Tzadi. Hey has also recently developed problems. They are a little trickier, and not for now.

    I am willing to compromise on the Tzadi and not write it as "ss" - we'll keep "tzitzith" instead of "ssissith" for now. Anyway, by spelling it "tz", at least you know that it's a Tzadi, even though it doesn't sound like "tz" (OK, I'll tell you how to say it: it's like an S, but with the tongue a little farther back and vertical so that the sound is like bad whistling, or like storm wind blowing).

    Some of the vowels are also a little different. The worst offense is the characteristic Ashkenazi "oy" instead of a simple "oh" sound (that one bothers me the most, anyway - sounds like we're saying "oy-oy-oy" or "oyvey" all the time!). The only two major examples of where the oy sound is correct are, of course, Ado-noi (although it's actually Ado-nai according to some), and "oyev" and "oyvim" - enemy/ies. It's therefore shalom, not shaloim, Melech Ha'Olam, not HaOilam, Sefirath Ha'Omer, not HaOimer, etc. I think that the worst violation is in one of the berachoth of Shemonah 'Esreh, where, instead of saying that Hashem is "Ohev Hamishpat" - The Ultimate Lover of justice, I have heard many times the Ba'al Tefilah say "Oyev Hamishpat" - Enemy of justice, G-d forbid (committed by those that also drop the "Heh", an increasingly common omission - I often have to correct my own Israeli daughters when they do it).

    I'm interested to know if this unusual spelling really turns anybody off. I imagine that people can get used to it. And you know what? They SHOULD!
    Rafi G. - I also thought that it was a good chiddush about yadenu, that mihaghim could be taken or left. Rav Bar-Chaim (RBH) didn't think so, though - he said that "MABeyadhenu clearly implies that we must continue (keeping the minhagh)". He also reacted to my posting saying that
    "It is also worth pointing out that many poseqim were opposed to this minhagh. And that there is such a thing as minhagh ta'uth" (mistaken custom).

    About the weird spelling: My first contact with RBH was through a friend who knew that I was interested in proper pronounciation of Lashon HaQodhesh. He told me about RBH, and b'qitzer I davened with him two-and-a-half years ago on Rosh HaShanah. I felt like it was the first time that I had ever heard the Torah really read right, and the prayers really said right.

    We are defined by our ability to speak (the four categories of physical creation: inatimate, vegetative, animal and "medaber" -us speaking beings). To change such a defining quality in us is difficult, challenging and even frightening. But the way we pronounce Hebrew 'aint the right way. And the only way to change it, barring a direct Divine reprogramming of the language portion of our brains, is to just start changing it.

    So I think that even though some people might be turned off by it, it's more important for me to use that spelling to awaken and inspire those others who will be awakened and inspired.

    Some of the changes are not so hard: "q" instead of "k" (qitnioth, p'saq, Ya'aqov) - we are already familiar with such spelling in the names "Iraq" and "Bezeq" for example. The harder part is to get the difference in pronounciation: it's like saying the "k" sound farther back down in your throat - like a hard 'Ayin, -like saying a "k" from the place that you gargle!

    Of the six dagesh-able letters (BG'D KF'T - letters that can have a dot in them), three already have two known spellings and sounds: B/V,K/Ch, and P/F. The distinction in the other three is either ignored (G and D) or mistaken (T). The soft G is like pushing the air out from the same place as a hard G instead of popping it out; the soft D is like a soft "th" (that); the soft T is like a hard "th" (think).

    The soft T is very common, especially at the end of words (examples from my other posting: qitnioth, Tosefoth, Avoth, ssissith). This soft T also shouldn't be so hard for people, because we already find it in the English-ized versions of several words, i.e. Sabbath, Bnei Brith, "Beth" in the names of shuls, etc. This is a case of the English version actually preserving the original and correct pronounciation!

    The soft D is less common, but perhaps more important for two reasons. Firstly, we are supposed to extend the D at the end of the first verse of Shma' in the word Echadh. This can't be done properly with a hard D - it can easily be done with a soft D / soft "th" sound (try it!).

    Secondly, we are not allowed to pronounce the four-letter name of G-d as written, so we pronounce it as "Ado-nai" instead. But if you check everywhere (I believe) that the word "Ado-nai" is spelled out as ADNY, you'll find that the D (Daleth) is never spelled with a dagesh. So it isn't "Ado-nai", but rather "Adho-nai", which sounds like "Athonai" (soft th). I assume that that's how it should be said in place of the Shem HaMeforash also.

    The way we spell these three letters is really easy - just add an "h" to the letter. g/gh, d/dh and t/th. There is already a precedent in English for this: c/ch (although the english ch is pronounced differently), and p/ph, as in "telephone" and "phonetic". So I therefore wrote words such as "minhagh", "moedh" and "chodhesh". It's not so hard, is it?

    The most drastic change is in the "vav". It's not V because the soft B is the V sound, and there are no two letters that sound alike, except Samech and Sin. The "vav" is really a "waw" ("wow"!) and, in consonantal usage, is pronounced like a W. This may actually explain why a W is called a double U: Waw as a vowel is often U (oo), so by doubling it, i.e. hardening it, it becomes a W sound!

    The Waw is hard to read, and hard to change in speech. "Mitzvah" becomes "mitzWah", and "mitzvotav" becomes "mitzWothaW"! For other Cohanim out there like myself, you don't say "panav" - you say "panaW". And David becomes DaWidh.

    There are other letters that are different: Cheth, Teth, 'Ayin and Tzadi. Hey has also recently developed problems. They are a little trickier, and not for now.

    I am willing to compromise on the Tzadi and not write it as "ss" - we'll keep "tzitzith" instead of "ssissith" for now. Anyway, by spelling it "tz", at least you know that it's a Tzadi, even though it doesn't sound like "tz" (OK, I'll tell you how to say it: it's like an S, but with the tongue a little farther back and vertical so that the sound is like bad whistling, or like storm wind blowing).

    Some of the vowels are also a little different. The worst offense is the characteristic Ashkenazi "oy" instead of a simple "oh" sound (that one bothers me the most, anyway - sounds like we're saying "oy-oy-oy" or "oyvey" all the time!). The only two major examples of where the oy sound is correct are, of course, Ado-noi (although it's actually Ado-nai according to some), and "oyev" and "oyvim" - enemy/ies. It's therefore shalom, not shaloim, Melech Ha'Olam, not HaOilam, Sefirath Ha'Omer, not HaOimer, etc. I think that the worst violation is in one of the berachoth of Shemonah 'Esreh, where, instead of saying that Hashem is "Ohev Hamishpat" - The Ultimate Lover of justice, I have heard many times the Ba'al Tefilah say "Oyev Hamishpat" - Enemy of justice, G-d forbid (committed by those that also drop the "Heh", an increasingly common omission - I often have to correct my own Israeli daughters when they do it).

    I'm interested to know if this unusual spelling really turns anybody off. I imagine that people can get used to it. And you know what? They SHOULD!
    Rafi G. - I also thought that it was a good chiddush about yadenu, that mihaghim could be taken or left. Rav Bar-Chaim (RBH) didn't think so, though - he said that "MABeyadhenu clearly implies that we must continue (keeping the minhagh)". He also reacted to my posting saying that
    "It is also worth pointing out that many poseqim were opposed to this minhagh. And that there is such a thing as minhagh ta'uth" (mistaken custom).

    About the weird spelling: My first contact with RBH was through a friend who knew that I was interested in proper pronounciation of Lashon HaQodhesh. He told me about RBH, and b'qitzer I davened with him two-and-a-half years ago on Rosh HaShanah. I felt like it was the first time that I had ever heard the Torah really read right, and the prayers really said right.

    We are defined by our ability to speak (the four categories of physical creation: inatimate, vegetative, animal and "medaber" -us speaking beings). To change such a defining quality in us is difficult, challenging and even frightening. But the way we pronounce Hebrew 'aint the right way. And the only way to change it, barring a direct Divine reprogramming of the language portion of our brains, is to just start changing it.

    So I think that even though some people might be turned off by it, it's more important for me to use that spelling to awaken and inspire those others who will be awakened and inspired.

    Some of the changes are not so hard: "q" instead of "k" (qitnioth, p'saq, Ya'aqov) - we are already familiar with such spelling in the names "Iraq" and "Bezeq" for example. The harder part is to get the difference in pronounciation: it's like saying the "k" sound farther back down in your throat - like a hard 'Ayin, -like saying a "k" from the place that you gargle!

    Of the six dagesh-able letters (BG'D KF'T - letters that can have a dot in them), three already have two known spellings and sounds: B/V,K/Ch, and P/F. The distinction in the other three is either ignored (G and D) or mistaken (T). The soft G is like pushing the air out from the same place as a hard G instead of popping it out; the soft D is like a soft "th" (that); the soft T is like a hard "th" (think).

    The soft T is very common, especially at the end of words (examples from my other posting: qitnioth, Tosefoth, Avoth, ssissith). This soft T also shouldn't be so hard for people, because we already find it in the English-ized versions of several words, i.e. Sabbath, Bnei Brith, "Beth" in the names of shuls, etc. This is a case of the English version actually preserving the original and correct pronounciation!

    The soft D is less common, but perhaps more important for two reasons. Firstly, we are supposed to extend the D at the end of the first verse of Shma' in the word Echadh. This can't be done properly with a hard D - it can easily be done with a soft D / soft "th" sound (try it!).

    Secondly, we are not allowed to pronounce the four-letter name of G-d as written, so we pronounce it as "Ado-nai" instead. But if you check everywhere (I believe) that the word "Ado-nai" is spelled out as ADNY, you'll find that the D (Daleth) is never spelled with a dagesh. So it isn't "Ado-nai", but rather "Adho-nai", which sounds like "Athonai" (soft th). I assume that that's how it should be said in place of the Shem HaMeforash also.

    The way we spell these three letters is really easy - just add an "h" to the letter. g/gh, d/dh and t/th. There is already a precedent in English for this: c/ch (although the english ch is pronounced differently), and p/ph, as in "telephone" and "phonetic". So I therefore wrote words such as "minhagh", "moedh" and "chodhesh". It's not so hard, is it?

    The most drastic change is in the "vav". It's not V because the soft B is the V sound, and there are no two letters that sound alike, except Samech and Sin. The "vav" is really a "waw" ("wow"!) and, in consonantal usage, is pronounced like a W. This may actually explain why a W is called a double U: Waw as a vowel is often U (oo), so by doubling it, i.e. hardening it, it becomes a W sound!

    The Waw is hard to read, and hard to change in speech. "Mitzvah" becomes "mitzWah", and "mitzvotav" becomes "mitzWothaW"! For other Cohanim out there like myself, you don't say "panav" - you say "panaW". And David becomes DaWidh.

    There are other letters that are different: Cheth, Teth, 'Ayin and Tzadi. Hey has also recently developed problems. They are a little trickier, and not for now.

    I am willing to compromise on the Tzadi and not write it as "ss" - we'll keep "tzitzith" instead of "ssissith" for now. Anyway, by spelling it "tz", at least you know that it's a Tzadi, even though it doesn't sound like "tz" (OK, I'll tell you how to say it: it's like an S, but with the tongue a little farther back and vertical so that the sound is like bad whistling, or like storm wind blowing).

    Some of the vowels are also a little different. The worst offense is the characteristic Ashkenazi "oy" instead of a simple "oh" sound (that one bothers me the most, anyway - sounds like we're saying "oy-oy-oy" or "oyvey" all the time!). The only two major examples of where the oy sound is correct are, of course, Ado-noi (although it's actually Ado-nai according to some), and "oyev" and "oyvim" - enemy/ies. It's therefore shalom, not shaloim, Melech Ha'Olam, not HaOilam, Sefirath Ha'Omer, not HaOimer, etc. I think that the worst violation is in one of the berachoth of Shemonah 'Esreh, where, instead of saying that Hashem is "Ohev Hamishpat" - The Ultimate Lover of justice, I have heard many times the Ba'al Tefilah say "Oyev Hamishpat" - Enemy of justice, G-d forbid (committed by those that also drop the "Heh", an increasingly common omission - I often have to correct my own Israeli daughters when they do it).

    I'm interested to know if this unusual spelling really turns anybody off. I imagine that people can get used to it. And you know what? They SHOULD!
    Rafi G. - I also thought that it was a good chiddush about yadenu, that mihaghim could be taken or left. Rav Bar-Chaim (RBH) didn't think so, though - he said that "MABeyadhenu clearly implies that we must continue (keeping the minhagh)". He also reacted to my posting saying that
    "It is also worth pointing out that many poseqim were opposed to this minhagh. And that there is such a thing as minhagh ta'uth" (mistaken custom).

    About the weird spelling: My first contact with RBH was through a friend who knew that I was interested in proper pronounciation of Lashon HaQodhesh. He told me about RBH, and b'qitzer I davened with him two-and-a-half years ago on Rosh HaShanah. I felt like it was the first time that I had ever heard the Torah really read right, and the prayers really said right.

    We are defined by our ability to speak (the four categories of physical creation: inatimate, vegetative, animal and "medaber" -us speaking beings). To change such a defining quality in us is difficult, challenging and even frightening. But the way we pronounce Hebrew 'aint the right way. And the only way to change it, barring a direct Divine reprogramming of the language portion of our brains, is to just start changing it.

    So I think that even though some people might be turned off by it, it's more important for me to use that spelling to awaken and inspire those others who will be awakened and inspired.

    Some of the changes are not so hard: "q" instead of "k" (qitnioth, p'saq, Ya'aqov) - we are already familiar with such spelling in the names "Iraq" and "Bezeq" for example. The harder part is to get the difference in pronounciation: it's like saying the "k" sound farther back down in your throat - like a hard 'Ayin, -like saying a "k" from the place that you gargle!

    Of the six dagesh-able letters (BG'D KF'T - letters that can have a dot in them), three already have two known spellings and sounds: B/V,K/Ch, and P/F. The distinction in the other three is either ignored (G and D) or mistaken (T). The soft G is like pushing the air out from the same place as a hard G instead of popping it out; the soft D is like a soft "th" (that); the soft T is like a hard "th" (think).

    The soft T is very common, especially at the end of words (examples from my other posting: qitnioth, Tosefoth, Avoth, ssissith). This soft T also shouldn't be so hard for people, because we already find it in the English-ized versions of several words, i.e. Sabbath, Bnei Brith, "Beth" in the names of shuls, etc. This is a case of the English version actually preserving the original and correct pronounciation!

    The soft D is less common, but perhaps more important for two reasons. Firstly, we are supposed to extend the D at the end of the first verse of Shma' in the word Echadh. This can't be done properly with a hard D - it can easily be done with a soft D / soft "th" sound (try it!).

    Secondly, we are not allowed to pronounce the four-letter name of G-d as written, so we pronounce it as "Ado-nai" instead. But if you check everywhere (I believe) that the word "Ado-nai" is spelled out as ADNY, you'll find that the D (Daleth) is never spelled with a dagesh. So it isn't "Ado-nai", but rather "Adho-nai", which sounds like "Athonai" (soft th). I assume that that's how it should be said in place of the Shem HaMeforash also.

    The way we spell these three letters is really easy - just add an "h" to the letter. g/gh, d/dh and t/th. There is already a precedent in English for this: c/ch (although the english ch is pronounced differently), and p/ph, as in "telephone" and "phonetic" (s/sh and maybe even w/wh are oher examples). So I therefore wrote words such as "minhagh", "moedh" and "chodhesh". It's not so hard, is it?

    The most drastic change is in the "vav". It's not V because the soft B is the V sound, and there are no two letters that sound alike, except Samech and Sin. The "vav" is really a "waw" ("wow"!) and, in consonantal usage, is pronounced like a W. This may actually explain why a W is called a double U: Waw as a vowel is often U (oo), so by doubling it, i.e. hardening it, it becomes a W sound!

    The Waw is hard to read, and hard to change in speech. "Mitzvah" becomes "mitzWah", and "mitzvotav" becomes "mitzWothaW"! For other Cohanim out there like myself, you don't say "panav" - you say "panaW". And David becomes DaWidh.

    There are other letters that are different: Cheth, Teth, 'Ayin and Tzadi. Hey has also recently developed problems. They are a little trickier, and not for now.

    I am willing to compromise on the Tzadi and not write it as "ss" - we'll keep "tzitzith" instead of "ssissith" for now. Anyway, by spelling it "tz", at least you know that it's a Tzadi, even though it doesn't sound like "tz" (OK, I'll tell you how to say it: it's like an S, but with the tongue a little farther back and vertical so that the sound is like bad whistling, or like storm wind blowing).

    Some of the vowels are also a little different. The worst offense is the characteristic Ashkenazi "oy" instead of a simple "oh" sound (that one bothers me the most, anyway - sounds like we're saying "oy-oy-oy" or "oyvey" all the time!). The only two major examples of where the oy sound is correct are, of course, Ado-noi (although it's actually Ado-nai according to some), and "oyev" and "oyvim" - enemy/ies. It's therefore shalom, not shaloim, Melech Ha'Olam, not HaOilam, Sefirath Ha'Omer, not HaOimer, etc. I think that the worst violation is in one of the berachoth of Shemonah 'Esreh, where, instead of saying that Hashem is "Ohev Hamishpat" - The Ultimate Lover of justice, I have heard many times the Ba'al Tefilah say "Oyev Hamishpat" - Enemy of justice, G-d forbid (committed by those that also drop the "Heh", an increasingly common omission - I often have to correct my own Israeli daughters when they do it).

    I'm interested to know if this unusual spelling really turns anybody off. I imagine that people can get used to it. And you know what? They SHOULD!
    Rafi G. - I also thought that it was a good chiddush about yadenu, that mihaghim could be taken or left. Rav Bar-Chaim (RBH) didn't think so, though - he said that "MABeyadhenu clearly implies that we must continue (keeping the minhagh)". He also reacted to my posting saying that
    "It is also worth pointing out that many poseqim were opposed to this minhagh. And that there is such a thing as minhagh ta'uth" (mistaken custom).

    About the weird spelling: My first contact with RBH was through a friend who knew that I was interested in proper pronounciation of Lashon HaQodhesh. He told me about RBH, and b'qitzer I davened with him two-and-a-half years ago on Rosh HaShanah. I felt like it was the first time that I had ever heard the Torah really read right, and the prayers really said right.

    We are defined by our ability to speak (the four categories of physical creation: inatimate, vegetative, animal and "medaber" -us speaking beings). To change such a defining quality in us is difficult, challenging and even frightening. But the way we pronounce Hebrew 'aint the right way. And the only way to change it, barring a direct Divine reprogramming of the language portion of our brains, is to just start changing it.

    So I think that even though some people might be turned off by it, it's more important for me to use that spelling to awaken and inspire those others who will be awakened and inspired.

    Some of the changes are not so hard: "q" instead of "k" (qitnioth, p'saq, Ya'aqov) - we are already familiar with such spelling in the names "Iraq" and "Bezeq" for example. The harder part is to get the difference in pronounciation: it's like saying the "k" sound farther back down in your throat - like a hard 'Ayin, -like saying a "k" from the place that you gargle!

    Of the six dagesh-able letters (BG'D KF'T - letters that can have a dot in them), three already have two known spellings and sounds: B/V,K/Ch, and P/F. The distinction in the other three is either ignored (G and D) or mistaken (T). The soft G is like pushing the air out from the same place as a hard G instead of popping it out; the soft D is like a soft "th" (that); the soft T is like a hard "th" (think).

    The soft T is very common, especially at the end of words (examples from my other posting: qitnioth, Tosefoth, Avoth, ssissith). This soft T also shouldn't be so hard for people, because we already find it in the English-ized versions of several words, i.e. Sabbath, Bnei Brith, "Beth" in the names of shuls, etc. This is a case of the English version actually preserving the original and correct pronounciation!

    The soft D is less common, but perhaps more important for two reasons. Firstly, we are supposed to extend the D at the end of the first verse of Shma' in the word Echadh. This can't be done properly with a hard D - it can easily be done with a soft D / soft "th" sound (try it!).

    Secondly, we are not allowed to pronounce the four-letter name of G-d as written, so we pronounce it as "Ado-nai" instead. But if you check everywhere (I believe) that the word "Ado-nai" is spelled out as ADNY, you'll find that the D (Daleth) is never spelled with a dagesh. So it isn't "Ado-nai", but rather "Adho-nai", which sounds like "Athonai" (soft th). I assume that that's how it should be said in place of the Shem HaMeforash also.

    The way we spell these three letters is really easy - just add an "h" to the letter. g/gh, d/dh and t/th. There is already a precedent in English for this: c/ch (although the english ch is pronounced differently), and p/ph, as in "telephone" and "phonetic". So I therefore wrote words such as "minhagh", "moedh" and "chodhesh". It's not so hard, is it?

    The most drastic change is in the "vav". It's not V because the soft B is the V sound, and there are no two letters that sound alike, except Samech and Sin. The "vav" is really a "waw" ("wow"!) and, in consonantal usage, is pronounced like a W. This may actually explain why a W is called a double U: Waw as a vowel is often U (oo), so by doubling it, i.e. hardening it, it becomes a W sound!

    The Waw is hard to read, and hard to change in speech. "Mitzvah" becomes "mitzWah", and "mitzvotav" becomes "mitzWothaW"! For other Cohanim out there like myself, you don't say "panav" - you say "panaW". And David becomes DaWidh.

    There are other letters that are different: Cheth, Teth, 'Ayin and Tzadi. Hey has also recently developed problems. They are a little trickier, and not for now.

    I am willing to compromise on the Tzadi and not write it as "ss" - we'll keep "tzitzith" instead of "ssissith" for now. Anyway, by spelling it "tz", at least you know that it's a Tzadi, even though it doesn't sound like "tz" (OK, I'll tell you how to say it: it's like an S, but with the tongue a little farther back and vertical so that the sound is like bad whistling, or like storm wind blowing).

    Some of the vowels are also a little different. The worst offense is the characteristic Ashkenazi "oy" instead of a simple "oh" sound (that one bothers me the most, anyway - sounds like we're saying "oy-oy-oy" or "oyvey" all the time!). The only two major examples of where the oy sound is correct are, of course, Ado-noi (although it's actually Ado-nai according to some), and "oyev" and "oyvim" - enemy/ies. It's therefore shalom, not shaloim, Melech Ha'Olam, not HaOilam, Sefirath Ha'Omer, not HaOimer, etc. I think that the worst violation is in one of the berachoth of Shemonah 'Esreh, where, instead of saying that Hashem is "Ohev Hamishpat" - The Ultimate Lover of justice, I have heard many times the Ba'al Tefilah say "Oyev Hamishpat" - Enemy of justice, G-d forbid (committed by those that also drop the "Heh", an increasingly common omission - I often have to correct my own Israeli daughters when they do it).

    I'm interested to know if this unusual spelling really turns anybody off. I imagine that people can get used to it. And you know what? They SHOULD!

    ReplyDelete
  16. It does turn people off. And you know what - there is no mitzva to spell things a specific way when translating to English. I think if you wrote things more normal instead of trying to get the exactly proper equivalents, more people would read the articles.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...