Volume 25 Number 64
                      Produced: Wed Jan  1 11:13:11 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Tisha B'Av Cantillation on Shabbat
         [Baruch J. Schwartz]
Yissakhar Once Again
         [S.Z. Leiman]


From: Baruch J. Schwartz <SCHWARTZ@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 96 06:41:06 IST
Subject: Tisha B'Av Cantillation on Shabbat

Tisha B'Av Cantillation on Shabbat

This topic came up in a few posts this summer, and the responses
indicate that a number of people are interested. Therefore I have
decided to share the following, which I have also shared with the writer
of the original post.

A few years ago, the rabbi of our community proposed abolishing the
custom of singing Lecha Dodi on Shabbat Hazon to the melody used for Eli
Zion Ve-areha on Tisha B'Av, so as not to exhibit public mourning on
Shabbat.  There was quite a stir, and a number of concerned members of
the community conducted independent research on the matter. I was
designated to write up the results in the form of a "teshuvah," though
it was really more of a letter to the rabbi, indicating all of the
reasons for the existing, time-honored custom to be preserved. The rabbi
agreed with our findings and withdrew his proposal. Readers interested
in the full Hebrew text may receive it from me by contacting me
(<schwartz@...>). What follows is a summary of the main

1. The Maharil writes (cited in Orah Hayyim 619:1 and explained by the
Mishna Berura): "A person may not change the customs practiced in the
city, even the tunes or piyyutim recited there." Respect for minhag, in
the area of prayer and even prayer melodies, is not only a matter of
common sense and nostalgia; it is the halakah.

2. The use of melodies belonging to the various seasons of the year on
Shabbat is widespread throughout the tradition. Mournful melodies are
used, for instance, in the Lecha Dodi sung in Sefirat Haomer, and this
had never been considered to be inappropriate. Musical preparation for,
or expression of, the festivals and fasts is an integral part of Jewish

3. Whenever the halakah is concerned with mourning on Shabbat, the issue
is always one of actual mourning practices: wearing shoes, eating meat
and wine (in the 9 DAys), sitting in one's regular seat in shul,
etc. Prayer melodies do not belong to the category of mourning practices
(mourners are not obliged to "sing" or "chant", or not to sing or chant,
anything); therefore they are not in the category of public mourning on

4. The piyyutim recited during sefirat ha-omer in the shaharit prayer on
Shabbat (at the "zulat" section) are all kinot--laments, elegies.
Though it is true that many congregations no longer recite these
piyyutim, this is not because they are expressions of mourning, but
rather because of the general trend to do away with piyyutim on Shabbat.

5. The haftarot of the three weeks are haftarot of lamentation and
rebuke.  These haftarot are mandated by the halakah, and they even
override Mahar Hodesh and Rosh Hodesh, even though they have nothing to
do with the weekly parashah. No one ever thought of abolishing them
because they are expressions of mourning on Shabbat.

6. Moreover, at Orah Hayyim 282:14, the Magen Avraham writes that on
Shabbat Hazon the rabbi is called up to recite the haftarah "because he
knows how to lament" (she-hu yodea lekonen) (see Mishna Berura 282:31).

7. Of course, as we all know, the haftarah is therefore recited (most of
it) in the cantillation of Echah, as is the Verse beginning with the
word Echah in the Torah portion (Devarim). On the latter point, note
that the stopping points in the Torah-reading have even been adjusted in
order for this to take place. That is, these are essential practices of
Shabbat Hazzon and may not be changed.

 From all the above it emerges that it is necessary to distinguish
between two concepts: Avelut "mourning" and Kinah
"lamentation". Mourning, at least in public and according to some
authorities even in private, is forbidden on Shabbat. Lamentation, on
the other hand, is not only permtited, it is required, even in public.

For readers with a historical inclination, it should be interesting to
learn that the melody in question is NOT a Tisha B'Av melody which has
been transferred to Shabbat Hazon. Rather, it was originally a melody
for Lecah Dodi itself, sung during the three weeks. It is mentioned by
r. Eliahu of Hanover (1743), by whose time it was already ancient, and
is used on Tisha B'Av not only for Eli Zion Ve-areha but also for
Terahem Zion Ka-asher dibbarta. In other words, it is a pure Lecha Dodi
melody, originally designed for this time of year.

This melody, by the way, comes up again on the shalosh regalim. In the
musaf, it is clearly audible at the words "beneh vetcha kevatehilla
vechonen mekdashcha al mechono". This too indicates that lament and
supplication for the destruction and rebuilding of the Temple are an
integral part of our prayers, even on the happiest days of the year when
there is a biblical command to rejoice. How much more so on the Shabbat
preceding Tisha B'Av.

For an interesting confirmation of all this from the life and practices
of Rav Soloveitchik z"l, see the book Nefesh Harav, page 196.

I would caution all those who might tned to think that innovative new
ideas to "improve" the prayer service should always be checked and
double-checked, halakically and historically. Minhagei tefillah are no
one's private domain. In the case at hand, the lamentation practices of
Shabbat Hazzon should certainly be left intact, and may we remember what
is promised to all those who participate in the commemoration of the

Baruch J. Schwartz


From: S.Z. Leiman <szlyu@...>
Date: Wed, 1 Jan 1997 10:17:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Yissakhar Once Again

[Note: This posting will also be added to the Special_Topics page on the
mail-jewish web site. Mod.]

	I. Several postings in recent weeks presented information on how a
particular rabbi or community pronounced the name "yissakhar." Such
information, while certainly welcome, is not without its drawbacks. While
the reader learns about yet another tree, he (she) gets no sense of the
forest. Ultimately in halakhah one must give weight to various opinions,
and not merely list them. Knowing the contours of the forest helps place
the significance (or: insignificance) of a particular tree in proper
perspective. It may be useful, then, to offer a concise survey of the
evidence from antiquity to the present. Concise, but not exhaustive, for
the MJ format and my limited knowledge of the sources do not allow for
every base to be touched. Hopefully, enough bases will be touched so that
the contours of the forest will begin to emerge.

	II.  The early authorities (rishonim) knew nothing about a dual
pronunciation of yissakhar (for which see below, section V). It was read
consistently (in the Torah) with one pronunciation only. The authorities
differed as to what this pronunciation was. The best attested readings and
pronunciations (in the various masoretic handbooks and vocalized biblical
manuscripts) are:

	1. yissakhar	(Dagesh in first sin; kametz under first sin;
			second sin not pronounced.)

	2. yisakhar	(No dagesh in first sin; kametz under first sin;
			second sin not pronounced.)

	3. yisakhar	(First sin not pronounced; kametz under second
			sin; no dagesh in second sin.)

	4. yissakhar	(Both sins pronounced; first sin has quiescent
			sheva under it; second sin has kametz under it.)

	5. yishsakhar	(First letter after yod is shin with quiescent
			sheva under it; the shin is followed by a sin with
			kametz under it.)

	6. yisaskhar	(Both sins are pronounced; patah under first sin;
			quiescent sheva under second sin.)

	III. There is evidence for other pronunciations in the early
period, but these are textually uncertain or not attested in the
biblical manuscripts, hence not listed here. Regarding the
pronunciations listed above (section II), some differ significantly from
each other, and some differ only slightly. Some differ not at all, but
simply reflect different methods of graphically noting the same
pronunciation of yissakhar. What needs to be noticed is that no early
authority suggested a dual pronunciation of yissakhar, and no early
authority knew of a pronunciation:

	yisaskhar	(Both sins pronounced; kametz under first sin;
			quiescent sheva under second sin.)

	IV. The Aleppo Codex and many other vocalized biblical
manuscripts ascribe to Ben Asher pronunciation 1 listed above. All
Sefaradim and Yemenite Jews follow this pronunciation. R. Meir ha-Levi
Abulafia (d.  1244), known as the Remah, in his Masoret Seyag la-Torah
(Florence, 1750, p. 71b) and R. Yedidyah Shlomo Norzi (d. 1616) in his
Minhat Shai (Vienna, 1814, p. 8b) to Gen. 30:18 rule that this is the
correct pronunciation. In the light of the apparent Ben Asher, Remah,
Minhat Shai coalition, pronunciation 1 is clearly the preferred
pronunciation for anyone who has no particular kabbalah on this
matter. Indeed, a host of later authorities (see below, section VII)
would rule that the Ben Asher, Remah, Minhat Shai coalition overrides
any and all particular minhagim, however entrenched they may be.

	V. The later authorities added the following practices and
pronunciations to those listed previously in section II:

	7. yisaskhar always

			(Both sins pronounced; kametz under first sin;
			quiescent sheva under second sin.) First attested:
			nineteenth century (see, e.g., Bet Aharon
                        ve-Yisrael 3:5[1988], p. 133, note 40).

	8. yisaskhar first time only

			(At Gen. 30:18 pronounced as pronunciation 7; from
			then on pronounced as pronunciation 1.) First 
			attested: seventeenth century (see, e.g., R. Yair
			Hayyim Bacharach [d. 1702], Mekor Hayyim, Jerusalem,
			1984, vol. 2, p. 207).

	9. yisaskhar throughout Genesis

			(In Genesis pronounced as pronunciation 7; from
			then on pronounced as pronunciation 1). First
			attested: nineteenth century (see, e.g., R.
			Eliezer Auerbach, She'elot u-Teshuvot Tur ha-Even,
			Paritsk, 1818, number 8, end).

	10. yisaskhar until parashat Pinhas

			(From Gen. 30:18 through Numbers 26:22 pronounced
			as pronunciation 7; from Numbers 26:23 on pronounced
			as pronunciation 1.) First attested: seventeenth
			century (see, e.g., R. Ya'akov Zaslover,
			Nahalat Ya'akov, Sulzbach, 1686, pp. 21a and b). 

	11. yissakhar and yisaskhar

			(From Gen. 30:18 through Numbers 26:22 each verse
			containing yissakhar is read twice, once with
			pronunciation 1 and once with pronunciation 7; from
			Numbers 26:23 on each attestation is pronounced
			only as pronunciation 1.) First attested: twentieth
			century (see, e.g., R. Hershel Schachter, Nefesh
			ha-Rav, Jerusalem, 1994, p. 308; the claim
			here that these verses were repeated twice in
			Volozhin is not attested in earlier literature).

	VI. Each of the practices and pronunciations of the later
authorities -- none of which is mentioned by the earlier authorities --
can be defended with difficulty. All are attempts to come to grips with
one or more of the following issues:

	1. A basic rule of masoretic Hebrew is that one never pronounces
a letter (except at the end of a word) which has no masoretic
vocalization.  The second sin in yissakhar -- in present Bibles -- has
no masoretic vocalization. On the other hand, the word yissakhar does
not appear on any authentic masoretic list of "qere ve-ketiv." [The
masoretic note in the Netter Bible at Gen. 30:18 is mostly imaginary, as
is well known to experts in Masorah.] This led to the conclusion that at
least once (and perhaps always) yissakhar needs to be pronounced

	2. In order to account for the change in name of Yissakhar's son
from Yov (Gen. 46:13) to Yashuv (Nu. 26:24), R. Eleazar of Worms
(d. 1230) in Rokeah 'al ha-Torah, Bnei Brak, 1978-1981, vol. 3, p. 113,
and Tosafot (12th - 14th centuries) in R. Ya'akov Gellis, ed., Tosafot
ha-Shalem, Jerusalem, 1984, vol. 3, p. 162, explain that Yissakhar
donated his superfluous shin/sin to his son Yov, thereby changing his
name to Yashuv. Note that neither the Rokeah nor Tosafot claim that this
explanation in any way calls for a change in the pronunciation of the
name yissakhar. When did the name change occur? If shortly after Yov's
birth or during his early childhood (see, e.g., R. Shimeon Auschenburg,
Devek Tov, Venice, 1588, p. 108 , the superfluous shin/sin belonged to
Yissakhar only at Gen. 30:18 and for a short while thereafter. If so, it
was felt by the later authorities that one pronuciation of the two sins
of Yisakhar (at Gen. 30:18) would do admirably. Others later authorities
said, however, that the names Yissakhar and Yov appear together at Gen.
46:13; surely, here too it must be pronounced with two sins! Thus, the
change was best reserved for the beginning of Exodus, where the
progenitors of the twelve tribes died. After all, Yissakhar must have
donated the superfluous shin/sin before he died. Still others maintained
that the spelling Yashuv first occurs in Nu. 26:24; until that point,
then, all mention of Yissakhar is to be pronounced with double sin.

	3. Precisely because of the confusion, better to repeat than
err.  The Rav (see pronunciation 11), in order to be on the safe side,
read the verses containing yissakhar twice, with two different
pronunciations, until Nu. 26:24 where virtually all agree (except Dinov,
Munkatch, Stolin-Karlin, and others) that pronunciation 1 is the only
correct one.

	4. Several sources (uniformly late) stress that two sins (or:
double sin) are to be pronounced. In all likelihood, what was intended
was that the dagesh in the first sin be noted, together with its impact
on the pronunciation of yissakhar. This was misunderstood by some to
mean that the proper pronunciation of the name is yisaskhar or (even)
yisasakhar.  See, e.g., the comments of R. Eizekel of Komarno,
referenced below in section VII.

	VII. Leading eighteenth and nineteenth century halakhists and
masoretic scholars were dismayed by these developments and called for a
return to the Ben Asher, Remah, Minhat Shai coalition which recognized
pronunciation 1 as the only correct one. Among those calling for such a
return were: R. Solomon Zalman Hanau (Sha'arei Tefillah, Jassnitz,
1725); R. Eliyahu b. Azriel of Vilna (Mikhtav me-Eliyahu, Hamburg, 1738;
with a strong letter of approbation from R. Jacob Poppers, Chief Rabbi
of Frankfurt on the Main); R. Wolf Heidenheim (Torat ha-Elokim,
Offenbach, 1797; his liturgical and masoretic works were praised by
R. Moses Sofer; R. Solomon Dubno (Tikkun Soferim, Amsterdam, 1803; his
masoretic work received the warm support of R. Ezekiel Landau); R. Uri
Shraga of Dobrovno (Minhat Kalil, Dobrovno, 1804; his masoretic work
received the strong support of R. Hayyim of Volozhin); R. Eizekel of
Komarno (Heikhal ha-Berakhah, Lemberg, 1871; whose clever pun needs to
me mentioned here.  Railing against those who do not take into account
the dagesh in the first sin of yissakhar, he claims that it was
concerning them that the Psalmist wrote [Psalm 63:12] "the mouth of
liars is stopped up [Hebrew, as popularly pronounced in some circles:
yisukher];") and R. Dov Baer Reifmann (Shulhan ha-Qeri'ah, Berlin, 1882;
this halakhic guide to the rules and regulations governing Torah scrolls
and their public reading has letters of approbation from the brothers
R. Shlomo and R. Bezalel ha-Kohen of Vilna, from R. Azriel Hildesheimer
of Berlin, and from the Chief Rabbi of Tyrnau in Hungary). Apparently,
the call fell largely on deaf ears.

	VIII. In sum, pronunciations 7-11 are of recent vintage. Each
can be justified and has its enthusiastic adherents. Whether Leah (who
invented the name), Yissakhar (the first to bear it), the talmudic
rabbis, or the medieval masoretes would have looked kindly on these
pronunciations is a matter perhaps best left for historians and

					Shnayer Z. Leiman


End of Volume 25 Issue 64