Sunday, October 4, 2015

Come on, people!

I had an experience this morning (2011) which really bothered me. During laining, the בעל קריאה, instead of וְקַרְנֵי רְאֵם קַרְנָיו, said וּקַרְנֵי**. Gasp! No, the real gasp was the chorus of know-betters who shouted the completely unnecessary correction. I had to go over to someone to make sure I had really heard right but sure enough, that is what went down. When will people learn?

**The truth is that by now, I am actually not 100% sure if that was the actual "mistake." It's probably because of what is said in the גמרא סנהדרין כ"ט: כל מילי דכדי לא דכירי אינשי - a person does not remember words of nothingness.

Friday, July 24, 2015

To correct, or not to correct

I have had a number of people point me to a recent article discussing a פסק that declared that one should not correct בעלי קריאה because the embarrassment caused is more grave (דאורייתא) than an incorrect laining (דרבנן). Here is a reference the article. The original essay was written for the Techumin publication of the Tzomet Institute is only available for ₪ 15.

My thoughts are as follows: It is an interesting פסק in a "general sense." But it shouldn't apply in most situations. The בעלי קריאה in our shul, for instance, want to be corrected. And I dare say any decent בעל קריאה should. 

As for extra sensitive individuals such as Bar Mitzvah boys, I have already seen discussion along those lines suggesting that it is best to "lower the bar" for such situations to avoid embarrassment.

It also should be noted that the calculation involved here is not so simple. True, the heckling of corrections might cause some embarrassment on the spot. But if mistakes are allowed to go uncorrected, what will ensue after the fact in the way of murmurings, slander or any other type of undesirable behaviour?

Another point made to me by a reader: Where does this end? Suppose a ש"צ skipped יעלה ויבא. What then? I'd certainly like ot get my hands on the original text.

Friday, April 17, 2015


I was recently asked by someone about the proper pronunciation of חטף vowels. It has always been my understanding that the חטף vowels can essentially be pronounced either way. Take מרדכי, for example. There is a חטף קמץ under the ד. Most people pronounce it as a שוא but I have heard some pronounce it more like a קמץ. However, I recently saw a puzzling line (highlited below) in the משנה ברורה סעיף ה, ס"ק  ב which throws that notion into question. He seems to indicate that the pronounciation of the חטף vowel is like neither of the two. Can anyone shed some light on this opinion of the משנה ברוה and anything else regarding חטף vowels?