Thursday, June 28, 2007

Jewish Spelling Issues

A friend once asked me to explain why there is 16 different ways to spell Chanukah/Hanukah/Hanukkah. I offered the old saw about asking two Jews a question and receiving three opinions.

There is some truth to his inquiry. On Shabbos do you eat Cholent or Chulent. Do you have a Magen/Mogen/Mugen David. And don't even get me started on trying to explain the difference between Sephardi and Ashkenazi pronunciation of Hebrew.

If you'll excuse me I am off to see if the FedEx guy is here with the latest batch of waffles from Jameel.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Fern @ Life on the Balcony said...

Uh...because they're Hebrew words and Hebrew doesn't use the same alphabet or have the same sounds as English? :-P

Lion of Zion said...

chollent/chullent and the various spellings for magen david represent variant pronounciations. 16 different ways to spell hanukkah is nothing more than a matter of orthography and transliteration conventions. none is more correct than another, as long as you are consistent.

Pragmatician said...

Try to type foreign words from any language in English and you'll get several possibility for each word.
It's not just Channukah!

Michael said...

On Shabbos do you eat Cholent or Chulent. Do you have a Magen/Mogen/Mugen David

Um, on Shabbat I eat cholent, except when I drink too much Magen David?

YMedad said...

a) what about pronounciation, like cha-NU-kah?
b) wasn't it Blue Fringe that had a line in one of their songs: "nothing rhymes with cholent"?

Jack Steiner said...

b) wasn't it Blue Fringe that had a line in one of their songs: "nothing rhymes with cholent"?

Someone else had a similar line about trying to rhyme Manischewitz.

The back of the hill said...

You're trolling for Diqduk geeks, right?

The back of the hill said...

Mmmmmmmm, waffles....

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

1. Lashon HaKodesh is, “The Holy Language” or literally, “The Holy Tongue.” Lashon HaKodesh can therefore never be twisted into incorrect pronunciation.

The vowels and pronunciation have been so severely distorted by the Chassidim and communities of Eastern Europe, or those of ashkenazi origin - that some words have unfortunately become unrecognisable. The problem persists until today, and it must be corrected – speedily.

2. The vowels can never be mixed up - because Hashem doesn't like the sound of it.

There IS a correct way to pronounce every letter of the Aleph Bet. We are not allowed to change Hashem's Torah.

Drastically changing the pronunciation of any letter is changing Hashem's Torah - and this is something very grave.

Every letter is extremely holy. Each letter has a particular sound - like a particular note. When that sound or "note" is played incorrectly e.g. I play a piano with a hammer instead of my fingers - then great damage is caused.

Damage is caused Above, and correspondingly, below.

3. In Hebrew, the vowel "A" is "a" and "U" is "u". So “Amein” is “amein”. The vowels cannot ever be twisted into “OOmein.” This is not Hebrew.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

4. Especially grave – is the stubborn and continual mispronunciation of Hashem’s NAME - for centuries - by the Chassidim. This is a blatant desecration of the 3rd Commandment, and a CHILLUL HASHEM – a public desecration of THE NAME of Hashem.

The NAME of HASHEM beginning ALEPH – DALED - NUN - - which is extremely Holy - is continually mispronounced every day. The “OH” sound cannot be changed into “EE”. The 2 cannot be mixed.

It is extremely urgent for all communities to correct this. It is very dangerous for the leaders: dayanim, rabbanim and rebbeim of communities to let this continue.

There is NO forgiveness for this aveirah.

The breaking of the THIRD Commandment is UNFORGIVABLE – “LO YENAKEH.”

“Lo Tissa et SHEM Hashem Elokecha lashav ki LO YENAKEH Hashem eit asher yissa et SHEMO lashav.” (Parsha of Yitro 20:7)

“You shall not take the NAME OF HASHEM, your G-d, in vain, for HASHEM WILL NOT ABSOLVE anyone who takes His NAME in vain.”

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

5. “ElokeiNU” means, “Our G-d.” But the Chassidim have twisted the vowels into, “ElokIYNEE”. What does “ElokIYNEE” mean? “NU” must be pronounced as “NU”. It does not turn into “NEE.”

a) “Yerushalayim” has been changed into, “YerISHU LAYIM”.

What does “YERISHU LAYIM” mean? “They will INHERIT LAYIM?”

b) “Yom Tov” has been changed into, “YON TIF”. This is not Hebrew. Hashem gave us days which are “YOM TOV” – not YON TIF.

“YOM” ends with a “Mem” not a “Nun.”

“TOV” ends with a “BET” not a “Peh.”

These are glaring examples of how Lashon HaKodesh has been distorted into words that are unintelligible.

6. The “OH” sound cannot be changed into “OY” or “OIY”. “OY” is from Polish. Lashon HaKodesh cannot be mixed with Polish.

Some examples are below:

a) The word, “TORAH” has been distorted into the word, “TOIYROH”.

b) The name of “MOSHE Rabbeinu” has been distorted into the word, “MOIYSHER.” Who is MOISHER?

It is MOSHE Rabbeinu who gave us the TORAH.

Moshe did not give us the ‘TOIYROH’, or ‘TOYREH,’ and the Torah was not given to the Jewish People by a man called ‘MOIYSHER RABAIYNU.’

The name of the greatest of all the Prophets is ‘MOSHE’. It is about time the ‘rabbis’ and ‘dayanim’ got this right.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

7. The last letter of the Hebrew Alphabet is a “TAFF”. But it has been changed into a “Saf”.

“Taff” is “TE.” It is not “Se.”

It is as if someone had a bad lisp (lithp) or had some teeth missing.

The Torah was not given in Munich or Hamburg. The Jewish People came out of EGYPT, which is in the Middle East. This must be corrected very urgently.

On being called up to the TORAH (not TOIYreh), the correct way to say the Bracha (not ‘BRUCHA’ or ‘BROCHO’) is:



• The “AH” sound cannot be changed into an “OY/OIY” sound or an ‘AW’ sound. So when a beracha is made, a person should be saying:

“BAruch ATAH….” and NOT, “BOruch ATOY or BOruch ATAW……..”

8. The 8th letter of the Aleph Bet is “(G)HET”. It is guttural. It is not a “CHES.”

So a bridegroom is a (G)HATAN.

He is not a ‘CHATAN’ / ‘CHASSAN’ / ‘CHOSSON’/ ‘CHUSSON.’

9. The letter “AYIN” is guttural. The AYIN should not sound the same as the ALEPH.

The ashkenazi communities should start correcting their pronunciation.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

10. With regard to some Sephardi communities, such as those from Iraq:

The 6th letter of the Aleph Bet is a VAV. It is not a "WAW", as they may have been taught. "Waw" is incorrect.

The sound "WE" or "WA" is actually the NAME of Hashem.

When the 2 YUD's of Hashem's NAME are written together, the sound is "WA". However this is never pronounced. This is the only time where there is the sound "WA" in the Aleph Bet.

Here are some examples:

1. David HaMelech is "DaVID HaMelech." He is not "DaWEED HaMelech."

2. A mitzvah is a "MitzVAH." It is not a " MISSWAH " or a “MUSSWA..”

3. Mitzvot are "MitzVOT." They are not " MISSWOT " or “MUSSWOT”.

4. Mitzvotav are "MitzVOTAV." They are not "MitzWOTTAW."

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...


As Lashon HaKodesh is a Holy language, it cannot be mixed together with any other language. To say, “Good Shabbes!” or “Good Shabbos!” is mixing English – a Latin-based language with Lashon HaKodesh (distorted).

The correct way to greet your friend on Shabbat is to say, “Shabbat Shalom!” And with Lashon HaKodesh, a person is giving his or her friend the greatest greeting of all - SHALOM.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

It is time that Lashon HaKodesh is pronounced correctly by all communities, both ashkenazi and sephardi.

It is especially important to make the changes to pronounce the NAME of Hashem correctly, and to begin to make a Kiddush HaSHEM in all our Tefillot.

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