Volume 9 Number 86
                       Produced: Mon Nov  8 17:36:04 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Correct Pronunciation Continued
         [Aryeh Frimer]
Pronunciation - Havara (4)
         [Morris Podolak, Frank Silbermann, Freda Birnbaum, Mike Gerver]
Retraction of one statement, and defense of another
         [Arthur Roth]


From: Aryeh Frimer <F66235@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 93 01:36:42 EST
Subject: Correct Pronunciation Continued

A few more additions to the "List of (Probably) Correct Pronunciations"
   be-Mai kamiPALgay, not be-Mai kaMIFligee (Yaakov Kayman)
   Yiyasher Kohakha (or Koheikh for a woman), not "yiyasher Koi'ach"
   Ra'avad (Ra'abad), Abravanel, not Raived, Abarbanel


From: Morris Podolak <morris@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 93 01:36:44 EST
Subject: Pronunciation - Havara

With regard to pronunciation, I found two interesting responsa of Rav
Herzog z"l.  One deals with a question from a South African congregation
that wanted to change its pronunciation from Ashkenazi to Sefaradi.  Rav
Herzog began by pointing out that the question had been dealt with by
Rav Kook in the early 30's, and he gave two reasons why it is forbidden
to change.  The first is that such a change might be understood as
praying with an incorrect pronunciation.  In such a case one would not
be fulfiling the mitzvah of kriat shma lechatchila (the preferred way)
[the implication being that if he went ahead and did it anyway it would
be counted as having done the mitzvah], and according to the Sefer
Hachinnuch he would not have done the mitzvah even bediavad [i.e. even
if he did it, it wouldn't count].  The second reason is that we must
stick with the customs of our forefathers ("lo titosh torat imecha").
Rav Herzog argues against both of these reasons.  As for the first one,
he says that the small changes in pronunciation between Ashkenazim and
Sefaradim are not being referred to here.  If they were then one would
be saying that a whole body of Israel is not fulfiling the mitzvah of
kriat shma.  So all the standard pronunciations must be all right.  As
for the sticking to tradition, he points out that the followers of the
Ba'al Shem Tov changed the whole text of their prayer from the Ashkenazi
nusach to the Sefaradi nusach.  Although there were indeed objections to
this, the Ba'al Shem Tov, the Ba'al Hatanya, and their followers can
surely be relied upon.  Rav Herzog then forbids the South African
congregation to change their pronunciation anyway, because the Reform
Jews had made that change earlier, and he doesn't want them to appear to
be following them and to make it seem that one can make arbitrary
changes in the style of prayer.

In a second responsum, addressed to a man whose Bnei Brak neighbors
objected that his Sefaradi pronunciation of the name "ad-ny" was
incorrect, Rav Herzog says that indeed when the name refers to G-d it is
alway written with a kamatz (noy) while when it does not it is often
written with a patach and one must distinguish between the two.  He
explains that the Sefaradim make this distinction by extending the
sounding of the kamatz somewhat more than that of the patach.  As long
as one makes a distinction, however, it seems that either pronunciation
is halachically acceptable.  The tally thus far is that Rav Kook says
one may not change pronunciation at all, Rav Eliyahu Henkin says that
changing the pronunciation is even worse that changing the nusach
(although I am not sure why), Rav Herzog and Rav Frank say that one may
(although both do prefer that you stick with the one you grew up with).
Rav Uziel, Sefardi Chief Rabbi in the time of Rav Kook also argued that
it was permitted to change one's pronunciation, but I haven't seen that
responsum. Not one of them says, however, that an Ashkenazi who prays
with a Sefaradi pronunciation should still say the name ad-ny with an
Askenazi pronunciation.  The only source I found for this custom is an
article by Rav Yehudah Henkin in "Shana be Shana" a few years back, but
I think the custom goes back a good bit further than that.  Anyone know
of an earlier source?


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 93 05:30:07 EST
Subject: Re: Pronunciation - Havara

Wrt mentioning Hashem in prayer, several have discussed the significance
of saying _noy vs. _nai.  I have a different question.  I was always
taught to say: _dohnai.
Recently, I heard several people pronounce it:  _dinai.
Ie., they pronounced the middle vowel as `i' instead of `o'.  What is
the basis for this?

I did not detect this change in any other words, so I don't thing it can
be attributed to an accent, such as the Litvak use of `ay' for `oh'.

Frank Silbermann	<fs@...>
Tulane University	New Orleans, Louisiana  USA

From: Freda Birnbaum <FBBIRNBA@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 93 11:14 EDT
Subject: Pronunciation - Havara

Steve Ehrlich comments, in V9N62, on the pronunciation issue:


>It seems to me that languages and accents are nothing but conventions
>used by masses of people to convey meanings to each other. It is no
>more or less correct to call a Machzor a "festival prayer book" or a
>"Machzor" or a "Machzoir" or the French or Swahili word, as long as the
>meaning is conveyed. If enough people got together and called it a
>"ungadaga" that would be okay too. If people begin saying a word with
>the accent on the first syllable instead of the last, they are not
>being immoral or sinful or even "incorrect".


>And no form is more or less "correct" or has more or less "value" or is
>more or less "corrupt" then another, Hebrew included.

While I believe there is some merit to this argument, especially as a
contrast or corrective to the idea that one must say Sh'ma THIRTEEN
times in order to be sure of having said it correctly, the fact is that
a person who consistently thinks in language like "festival prayer book"
and "going to services" is having a very different experience from
someone who thinks "machzor", "shul" (or "sheel" as they say in some
quarters ;-) ), and the like.

I recall Claire Austin's post in V9N54 in this connection, as it points
up the importance of using language that is reasonably like the language
the other folks are using, and like the language that has been used by
the Jewish people throughout its history:

>[...] A phonetic transliteration is an invaluable aid to someone who
>wants to follow the service (or songs, or birkat hamazon) but
>isn't able to read Hebrew phonetically.  [...]
>I also did not mean to imply that there was anything wrong with
>using a transliteration.  It does take some time to learn to read
>Hebrew, even without understanding the words.  It is tremendously
>important to be able to participate in the public service, to
>be able to sing with others even without understanding all the
>words.  The phonetic transliteration (or translation) allows one
>to do this.  I certainly wish I had had one when I was learning
>to read.

Freda Birnbaum

From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1993 0:54:19 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Pronunciation - Havara

Yosef Bechhofer, in v9n52, quotes Rabbainu Bechayai as saying that it is
imperative to use the Ashkenazi pronunciation of kametz in "ado-noy", to
distinguish it from "adonay" with a patach, which means "my masters."
Art Roth, in v9n63, says that, according to Rav Frank z"l, this may only
be required of those for whom Ashkenazis is "safa d'yankuta" the
language of their childhood. Art has noticed that many people who
normally use Sephardic (or modern Israeli) pronunciation say "ado-noy",
with an Ashkenazic kametz, when making a bracha, and he assumes that
they are doing this intentionally in order to follow this opinion.

I suspect that most of these people are not doing it intentionally. When
we were living in Ithaca 15 years ago, we sometimes had Moshe Bernstein
over for Shabbat, since at that time he was stuck, for employment
reasons, in Aurora, NY. On one of these occasions he pointed out to me
that when I made kiddush, I said "ado-noy" with an Ashkenazic kametz,
although I otherwise used "Sephardic" (or more accurately, quasi-Israeli
American) pronunciation, and he said that he had noticed many people do
this. I was not aware of this before Moshe pointed it out, and was not
aware until reading Yosef's and Art's postings that there was halachic
preference for doing this. In fact, after Moshe pointed out what I was
doing, I became self conscious about it and tried not doing it for a
while, but it didn't feel right saying "ado-nay" so I went back to the
Ashkenazic kametz for that word.

It is surprising to me, and says something interesting about the effects
of early education, that this should be so. I was brought up in a non-
observant and in fact non-affiliated family, and the only exposure to
Hebrew I had as a child was at seders, and for a couple of years at a
Hebrew school where I didn't learn much beyond the aleph-bet. The Hebrew
I learned then was Ashkenazic. Almost nine years later, in graduate school
at Berkeley, I started to become observant, and took a modern Hebrew
class at Hillel, then started going to services at Hillel, and then 
at the local modern Orthodox shul, as well as at Chabad House. At Hillel 
and at the modern Orthodox shul, almost everyone, at least of my
generation, used "Sephardic" pronunciation in davening and leining. It
would have been considered pretentious for someone with my background to
use Ashkenazic pronunciation. This was also true to some extent in
Ithaca, where I lived for a couple of years after Berkeley. In Boston,
the opposite was true, it was considered somewhat pretentious for a non-
Israeli Ashkenazic Jew to use "Sephardic" pronunciation. But by that time
I didn't feel comfortable changing, and in any case I found the Boston
community rather unfriendly compared to Berkeley and Ithaca, and did not
feel any great desire to adopt their customs. And the friendliest people,
who generally had not grown up in Boston, tended to use "Sephardic"
pronunciation. So I have continued to do so. But it is strange that
throughout all of this, the little exposure to saying brochos that I had
as a child was enough to make me say "ado-noy" without thinking about it,
and even enough to make me uncomfortable saying "ado-nay" when I did think
about it. And I like this, because it is one of the few unbroken links
connecting me to my frum great-grandparents, whom I never knew.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: <rotha@...> (Arthur Roth)
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 93 11:43:19 -0600
Subject: Retraction of one statement, and defense of another

    Several months back (MJ 8:51), I made the statement that chazal
decreed poultry (and birds in general) to be fleishig so that large
numbers of poor people who could not afford beef would feel comfortable
with their observance of Shabbat/Yom Tov.  Larry Teitelman, in a private
E-mail, found this very interesting and asked for a source.  I had in
fact heard this in a shiur a number of years ago.  I pursued the source
in two ways:
  (i) I asked several LOR's and local talmidei chachamim, none of whom
had ever heard this.
  (ii) So I wrote to the maggid shiur that I heard it from.  We no 
longer live in the same city, and he has no E-mail, so communication
was not too quick.  He has just responded within the past week, as 
(a) He doesn't recall mentioning the item in question at that particular 
shiur, but it's possible, as the fact sounds familiar to him.
(b) He checked all the most likley sources (both written sources and 
people) that he might have gotten this fact from, and he was also 
unable to track it down.
(c) So at this point he feels that he must have been mistaken and
regrets any problems he might have caused, emphasizing again that he
doesn't recall having made this statement to my shiur anyway.
     In view of all this, I hereby retract my original statement.  
Thanks, Larry, for providing me with the motivation to pursue this and
rectify the apparent misinformation.

     On a separate matter, I recently (MJ 9:63) quoted a teshuva on
havara to the effect that Ashkenazim are allowed to switch havara for
all words EXCEPT Hashem's name.  (I then expanded somewhat using later
teshuvot by others to be even more lenient in certain circumstances.)  I
attributed the original teshuva to Rav Frank, BUT I VERY CLEARLY STATED
only about the teshuva's contents, not its source.
    Shortly thereafter, someone (sorry, I forgot who) posted the fact
that Rav Herzog had an identical teshuva IN ADDITION to Rav Frank's.
Whoever that person was, I E-mailed him privately and expressed doubt
that both Rav Frank and Rav Herzog had given identical teshuvot, and
that Rav Herzog's was probably the only such teshuva, since I hadn't
been sure of the source to begin with.  He replied that he was aware of
the uncertainty I had expressed, but he had not wanted to take
responsibility for saying that it was Rav Herzog AND NOT Rav Frank; he
was willing to vouch for what Rav Herzog had written but not to assert
that Rav Frank DIDN'T say the same thing, being unfamiliar with Rav
Frank's teshuvot.  To me, it was clear that I had been referring to Rav
Herzog's teshuva to begin with, though it didn't seem to be worth an
extra posting to say so.
    Later still, Moshe Podolak (MJ 9:76) reported (referring to both my
posting and the subsequent one) that he had looked up Rav Frank's
teshuva in reaction to my posting, and that he essentially felt that I
had misquoted Rav Frank.  He then went on to spell out what Rav Frank
HAD said in related matters.  He also promised to look up Rav Herzog's
teshuva and get back to us.  In view of all this, I feel a need to
defend myself here.  Given the posting mentioned above (between mine and
Moshe's), I'm sure that Moshe will find that Rav Herzog's teshuva says
exactly what I had attributed to Rav Frank with the qualification that I
was not completely sure of the source.  Apparently such qualifications
tend to be ignored when others comment/respond to the issue, so maybe it
would be better in the future not to attribute ANY source to a statement
rather than to provide a likely source which may not turn out to be
right.  At any rate, I await Moshe's report on Rav Herzog's teshuva.

[Moshe's report is above, and as I look at it, your unsureness of who
exactly said it, let us all to learn of both R' Franks opinion and R'
Herzog's opinion, as well as a few others. Mod.

Arthur Roth


End of Volume 9 Issue 86