Hebrew Type Designs

gohebrew's picture

Here are Hebrew Type Design specimens from Mr. Raphael Frank's important little book on Hebrew type designs and its history, printed originally in German, and translated later into Hebrew. An English translation doesn't yet exist. His ideas and opinions are quoted in my English language book on Hebrew Typography.

Frank's contribution to Hebrew type design was significant and influenced Jewish culture due to its enormous impact upon modern Jewish and Israeli societies. These samples include rarely used examples of different type style designs, demonstrating his intense love and knowledge of Hebrew type design.

Frank designed and created the popular standard FrankReuhl type style. No other type design has been used to a greater extent for the Hebrew language in the twentieth century and beyond. In the eighteenth and nineteeth centuries, the Merubaas typeface, and its derivatives, were the book publishing stand typeface. Since then, it was replaced by FrankReuhl. Over the past fifty years, Hadasa, David, and Narkiss, have attempted to upsupt FrankReuhl's dominance and have failed.

gohebrew's picture

John,

This is history now.

I don't even have that Dell desktop anymore. I recall it was Word XP, or Word 2000, definately not an Office version.

I have an old Compag Presario though. I'll test it there. It has Word. I have .doc files of the Bible in Hebrew. I'll download SBL-Hebrew. If it crashes, great. It not, it was a fluke.

I recall that it happenned AFTER I installed Phil Payne's New Jerusalem OT font. It had its own installer (didn't use the control panel's font installer) to unencrypt the font. I had to unencypt his data files of the Bible, too. Maybe, it was a delayed reaction to his software.

Michel Boyer's picture

> the special contribution of OTF is lost at this time

Part of it still is. Here is some doc on fonts in luaTeX (still beta).

Michel Boyer's picture

Israel: the ayin changes from the form where part of it dips below the baseline, and is replaced a different ayin

Here is with Iorsh's David CLM using XeLaTeX:


and here is the .tex source:

gohebrew's picture

Michel,

Who makes the contextual analysis, the font or the application?

gohebrew's picture

Here are a few more Hebrew type designs:

Featured is the first complete Biblical Hebrew OpenType font by John Hudson, called "SBL-Hebrew", made for the worldwide SBL organization. It both captures very old Ashkenazic and Sephardic scripting technigues, and is also modern, and original in design.

There are a few classic designs from Microsoft, "FrankRuehl" and "David". In my opinion, they are authentic faithful versions.

Note the faithful rendition of the aleph in Microsoft's bold weight. Notice also the aleph in FontBit's bold weight. The aleph from Apple's Raanana Bold is very sloppy, and amatuerishly produced. The design is made to simulate the strokes of a quill. Here it looks highly unnatural.

Michel Boyer's picture

> Who makes the contextual analysis, the font or the application?

It is the application (Word, pdfTeX, XeTeX, inDesign) that does the processing; the font can in some way be seen as a program that is interpreted by the application but, in order to do so, the application often relies on system calls or libraries. It is my understanding that Adobe applications depend much less on system calls (or non Adobe libraries) than most other applications.

Michel Boyer's picture

If you are curious, you can look at sources for a layout engine used by XeTeX (or just look at the filenames). One of those files is ContextualSubstSubtables.cpp.

david h's picture

Israel,

Where are your images? Shay La'mora? didn't fix your scanner yet?

The original designs by Itamar David;

so what faithful rendition of the aleph?

gohebrew's picture

David,

My HP All-In-One had to be shipped back to HP, due to its paper jam. Real technical problem. (Btw, HP discontinued the model, and replaced it with a similar one. Makes a person suspicious.) It may take over a week.

I asked my son for Vayikra (Leviticus). Will pick it up on Friday.

Where did you find those images of Itamar David's three weights? I never saw the third very black poster weight. It's not in David's book on Hebrew Type Design, nor was it among my excellent collection of drawings of popular Israeli type designs (even though he wasn't Israeli.)

It shows a design similar to Tzvika's. Touche, it might be a design integrity, but I doubt Tzvika saw that.

If I was a design critic, the third design is a big leap from the second, and its right side looks unevenly weighted than its left side. The part connecting the right arm to the center is ackwardly too thin.

gohebrew's picture

The first appearance of a shva-na in the middle of a word in the Bible is in Genesis 1:2, "The earth was void, without form...".

gohebrew's picture

Earlier John Hudson agreed in part with the distinction between Ashkenazic type designs and Sephardic type designs by the pinpointing of the direction of the "flag" in the upper right hand side of the aleph. When the flag was pointed rightwards, this indicated that the design was Ashkenazic; when the flag was pointed leftwards, this indicated that the design was Sephardic.

He preferred the concept brought in Misha Beletsky's analysis (in his essay on Zvi Narkiss’ work in the book Language Culture Type) that the style of the stroke movement was an indicator, as Ashkenazic stroke movements were typically different than Sephardic stroke movements. See above.

In my view, both are distinct issues. I am pointing out design traits. John, if I understand him correctly, is emphasizing the use of the medium to compose. In the comparison below, the issue of design traits appears the main factor, as these designs are "full", and are not reflective of the stroke movements associated with composition.

david h's picture

Israel,

you didn't get it. A revival is not a copy; we don't need an extra copy when we have the original. so what is faithful rendition?

gohebrew's picture

David,

What is a "revival"? What is a "faithful rendition"? David re Raanana; Hadasa re Henri; Koren re Crown; Narkis Tam ne Neshika (inspired Ariel Hebrew)?

Let's take Hadasa, for example.

Many foundries have created near-faithful versions or adaptations of Hadasa, either called Hadasa, Hadas, or New Hadasa. Each one was a little different than Friedlaender's original design. FontBit's New Hadasa is a lot different.

FontWorld's Queen Esther and GoHebrew's Henri stayed faithful to the original design. To preserve the designer's original intent, this then is a "faithful original". Henri Friedlaender himself saw FontWorld's predecessor, Otzar Haoht's Esther, and commented: "This is the closest to the original to date." This was after Linotype, IBM and others attempted to offer their versions.

A modification, even where the design is changed to comply with accepted design principals, is similar, a close interpretation, or even a poor knock-off, is not faithful.

A revival, for better or worst, is a new popularization of a dormant design.

Take "Romm" for example. In the 1800's it was the most popular and most used Hebrew type design, until "FrankReuhl" tooks its crown. In the mid and late 1900's, "Room" disappeared. If one could say kaddish and keep yahrzeit for a type design, we'd be making it a yahrzeit every year.

GoHebrew's faithful rendition of this design of the Romm family of Vilna, Lithuania is in deed also revival.

To stick 100% to the original design, and to suppress any creative innovative urges, no matter how good, requires tremendous self-discipline and dedication.

Are we speaking the same language now?

david h's picture

> To preserve the designer’s original intent, this then is a “faithful original”.

so...for example, Itamar is a “faithful original”? you didn't change, modify any letter?

gohebrew's picture

David,

The veis on Itamar was changed, so the protrusion on the bottom right side was longer and more distict, than the chof. A client insisted on this change, as this design was implemented with nikkud/taamim etc. and used in a series of study books for children on the haftorahs.

This was about 14 years ago. It was an Apple Maintosh, System 7.x, Quark XPress (US edition), a custom keyboard driver. And a special nikkud/taamim etc. input system called "XPressions".

I haven't decided whether to change the veis back, as the new one is much easier to read.

Otherwise, I would say: "Yes, Itamar is a faithful original." I'm sure that Itamar David a"h is pleased.

david h's picture

John,

> More on meteg and siluq:

Maybe the computer was tired :) see this one:

2 Chronicles 21:2

gohebrew's picture

David,

> Shay Lemorah Tanach, Leviticus 14: 8-12

Lev. 14:9 - third word, hash'vee'ee - the shin has a shva, and above the shin is a symbol for a shva-na

Lev. 14:10 - second word, hash'mee'nee - the shin has a shva, and above the shin is a symbol for a shva-na

There are no other symbols for a shva-na in these verses.

gohebrew's picture

Again, since the shva-na ever occurs with an upper taam mark, there must be a relationship between the uppere taam marks, or even all the taamei mikra and with the shva-na.

david h's picture

Israel,

> Shay Lemorah Tanach, Leviticus 14: 8-12

Lev. 14:9 - third word, hash’vee’ee - the shin has a shva, and above the shin is a symbol for a shva-na

Lev. 14:10 - second word, hash’mee’nee - the shin has a shva, and above the shin is a symbol for a shva-na

There are no other symbols for a shva-na in these verses.
---------
Sheva na (without the sheva under the first letter):

gohebrew's picture

David,

I'm running around today doing errands.

It seems you and Rabbi Winefeld are using different rules for shva-na. I heard about two sets of rules, based upon two views of different Rishonim, early redactors of Bible and Talmud.

Btw, Shay Lemorah and Kehot place different sets of shva-na on texts. Kehot places symbols over shvas that Shay Lemorah does not.

I seek to understand the two kinds of rules. Where in Dr. Chomsky's book is this discussed?

david h's picture

Israel,

> It seems you and Rabbi Winefeld are using different rules for shva-na

I don't think so. Sheva na is sheva na. Why "Kehot places symbols over shvas that Shay Lemorah does not" — very simple: Editorial decisions.

See, for example the siddur Tehillas Hashem (kehot,2002), page 17 — kriat shema: do you see the custom mark above the first letter bet (word #1)? This is sheva na, right? But some say this is sheva nach!!! That said, according to the Rulings of Rabbi A this is na; and Rabbi B this is nach. Do you have any solution?

Word #2, page 118 & page 17: what do you see?

gohebrew's picture

David,

> Editorial decisions? ...according to the Rulings of Rabbi A this is na; and Rabbi B this is nach.

I think that we're actually saying the same thing. You call it: "editorial decisions". I call it: "different rules".

I think that this is because you are more from a secular background, where people who have different views is very common. I prefer it this way; no, I prefer it another way.

In ultra-Orthodox circles where I masquerade (baalei teshuva are a different species, knowing "both sides of the coin", the secular life and the very observant lifestyle), there is no room to make a decision based purely upon ones preference.

If respected rabbinical scholars espouse different views, if it is based upon a set of reasoning, an earlier opinion, etc., then there must be a set of rules underlying all this decision making afterwards.

I believe if Hebrew grammar is logical, if greats like Chomsky, Kimchi, and even earlier Rishonim addressed this subject in a scholarly manner, the basis of different ensueing views must be due to a different set of rules.

david h's picture

Israel,

> In ultra-Orthodox circles....there is no room to make a decision based purely upon ones preference.

Really? The same siddur by Kehot, the introduction:

Can you read and understand the Hebrew? Grammatically the meteg is not light meteg, firm meteg etc. etc. etc.; the goal of the meteg is just to help the reader; the meteg is millera and mille'el; This is an editorial decision!!! Compare this siddur to Koren or ArtScroll.

And you didn't answer my questions.

gohebrew's picture

David,

Let me look at Koren and ArtScroll, and compare? Koren siddurim are not used widely in America (people stack them on top of upside down Jastrow dictionaries in Brooklyn).

Let me review your questions again.

Whose words are these that you quote from Kehot? They are not from any Rebbe. In the title page or foreword, a name should be presented.

Michel Boyer's picture

> ditorial decisions? ...according to the Rulings of Rabbi A this is na; and Rabbi B this is nach.

That statement was enough for me to look a bit on the internet and I found those comments concerning in particular the sheva under the khaf in red

If I rely on the above text in french, the sheva would not be pronounced according to Radak, Ibn Ezra and Gaon of Vilna. The sheva would be pronounced according to Rabbi Shelomo Hanau, who influenced the habad movement.

gohebrew's picture

Michel,

Shavuah tov.

> ...according to the Rulings of Rabbi A this is na; and Rabbi B this is nach. ...Rabbi Shelomo Hanau...

I wonder if he was the Minchas Shai (a great expert opinion on Hebrew grammar and definition of a shva-na), for his name may be an acronym for Shai.

Regarding the Radak (Rabbi David Kimchi), Ibn Ezra and Gaon of Vilna, these were much greater scholars that the the Minchas Shai.

However, Shay Lemorah cites that his editorial decisions regarding the shva-na are based upon the views of the early Rishonim (Ibn Ezra was in deed a Rishon, as was the Radak) and the Minchas Shai).

The Vilna Gaon, Rabbi Eliyahu, was fairly recent, about nine generations ago. He is a widely accepted scholar, highly respected for his broad knowledge, but he promoted opinions based upon his own analysis of the Talmud, in opposition to the views of great Rishonim before him, an attitude greatly frowned upon by the Rebbes of Lubavitch.

For example, a left-handed Jewish male must put the arm-tefillin upon his right arm, whereas most Jewish men, who are right-handed, must put them on their left arm.

What consitutes left-handedness? Is your stronger arm the arm you throw with (brute power), or write with (intellectual dominance)?

Until the Vilna Gaon, the major redactors of Jewish law concluded that the hand you write with belongs to the stronger hand. The Vilna Gaon disagrees, based upon his understanding of the Talmud, contradicting sages greater than him.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, and his replacements, strongly opposed the Vilna Gaon's ruling. I was fortunate to show how the Vilna Gaon erred by citing an Talmudic explanation from Rabbi Shneur Zalman's younger brother, the Maharil.

Another example in in the perception of the universe according to the teach ancient Jewish mystical literature (very similar to recent discoveries in modern physics). Rabbi Shneur Zalman explained the Baal Shem Tov's understanding of the holy Arizal's teachings. The Vilna Gaon's opposed this understanding, and promoted an alternative view.

Today, we only have one perception of the G-d's precence in the universe, based upon Rabbi Shneur Zalman's explanation of the Baal Shem Tov's understanding of Arizal's teachings. No one understands anymore what the Vilna Gaon was trying to express (indicative that it did not make sense).

gohebrew's picture

Michel,

Who is behind the web site www.dikdouk.free.fr ? The person seems very knowledgeable?

I am having a very difficult time finding knowledgeable people about Hebrew grammar in the Orthodox Jewish world. With the exception of this very old man, Rabbi Shmuel Yehuda Winefeld (of Shay Lemorah publishing house of Jerusalem), no one seems to know this stuff expertly.

You see here, there are a very small handful of knowledgeable people, but no one is an astounding expert. No offense, anyone.

I really feel that knowledge of Hebrew grammar must be achieved by many thousands of people, before this knowledge dies altogether.

Michel Boyer's picture

I wonder if he was the Minchas Shai

Solomon Hanau (1687-1746) would be שלמה זלמן הנאו and that link refers to Hanau, Solomon Ben Judah. In his article The Pronunciation of the Shewa: The Meaning of the Term, William Chomsky refers only indirectly to him and uses the name "Solomon Hanau".

William Berkson's picture

Israel, why not learn from Israeli experts on Hebrew language, such as Aron Dotan, mentioned above?

Michel Boyer's picture

Who is behind the web site www.dikdouk.free.fr ? The person seems very knowledgeable?

I found that link on the French wikipedia Prononciation de l'Hébreu and it simply says: "Robert B, tunisien sépharade, fournit une étude intéressante bien que très prolixe sur son site Dikdouk, le site francophone de grammaire de l'hébreu biblique". One thing is clear, he is sephardic.

Michel

gohebrew's picture

William,

I'm not against Prof. Aron Dotan of Tel Aviv University (I grew up as a teenager in nearby Shikun Bavli). I only found links to sites that sell his books. Do you know how I would contact him by email?

(Btw, you never replied to the email I sent you. Boy, is this a mensch? :) )

gohebrew's picture

Michel,

Is Michel a French name similar to the English name Michael?

As you likely know, Michael is one of the names of the prominant angels. He visited Abraham, and later was assigned to deliver destruction to Sedom. He is associated with the attribute of "severity" or "gevurah" in Jewish mystical writings.

> Solomon Hanau (1687-1746) would be שלמה זלמן הנאו and that link refers to Hanau, Solomon Ben Judah...

My guess that he was not the Minchat Shai, although the initials ש and י do spell the acronym ש"י Shai.

Did you read Chomsky's book? Isn't it poorly organized. He does have a structure, but the text seems to be written for other scholars (peers in knowledge of Hebrew grammar).

Clearly, it is not intended to raise a person to become a peer.

William Berkson's picture

Israel, I didn't get your e-mail my address is my last name @mentsh.com . Note the spelling.

There is an e-mail for Prof. Dotan at this site. You ought to meet my friend Mr. Google:)

gohebrew's picture

William,

I clicked on the link for emailing you "only your last name" @mentsh.com.

Mr. Google is my friend, too. His name is John, btw. :)

Thank you anyway for the link.

gohebrew's picture

I typed "Aron Dotan" in a google search and got this page, and a page from Wiktionary with this quote: "Modern shva na collapse is predicted algorithmically, and may not always necessarily represent real world desyllabification."

What is the difference between modern shva na and the old kind? It can be "predicted algorithmically". Hmmm, John. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Michel Boyer's picture

> I typed “Aron Dotan” in a google search and got this page, and a page from Wiktionary with this quote:

Can you explain to me how that page and Aron Dotan are related? When I search for Aron Dotan, I do not get that page.

The only page with that quote that I can find is this unfinished project on Tanakh names. When I look at the line for אַשְׁקְלוֹן, the table gives "ashklon" as the current accepted pronunciation. I would like to know from native hebrew speakers who does not voice the sheva under the qof in אשקלון. A voiced sheva is a tiny thing, but it makes the difference between בְּרֹאשׁ (at the head) and בְרוֹשׁ (cypress). My understanding is that those entries were computer generated; that would care for the "algorithm".

Michel

gohebrew's picture

Michel,

> Can you explain to me how that page and Aron Dotan are related?

My error. my Google history (I have Vista, and Google is built in with its own history) says I typed "Aron Dotan" after "shva-na" from an earlier time, and got "shva-na, Aron Dotan".

re: the latter part of your post: So, it seems you are saying that "computer generated" is referring to the nikud placement of a shva, and not to shva na in particular.

Michel Boyer's picture

In my opinion, the representation of the sound associated to shvas for the modern pronunciation was computer generated. It was represented with "e" when the algorithm considered the shwa is vocal, and by the absence of that "e" when the algorithm concluded that the shva is quiescent.

gohebrew's picture

Michel,

I am attempting to include a set of algorithms to be part of OpenType Hebrew fonts, which perform a contextual analysis of a string of Hebrew letters, nikkud, taamim, metegs, that make up a Hebrew word.

The goal of each algorithm, if warranted, is to replace a kamatz with a kamatz katan, a shva with a shva na, a kamatz katan with a hataf kamatz katan, and to insert a meteg as needed. (My long term goal is automatic addition of nikkud etc. - this is done already in software, so I am confidant that it can be done in OpenType as well.)

If the logical grammar rules for kamatz katan, shva na, etc. can be discerned and defined, this then is doable.

I am trying.

gohebrew's picture

Question
======

Is there anything different between Joshua R. Jacobson's Chanting the Hebrew Bible: The Art of Cantillation - hardcover edition, and his Chanting the Hebrew Bible - Student Edition?

I recall that Prof. Jacobson wrote an older more comprehensive book on Chanting the Hebrew Bible and the taamim. Is this simply the hardcover edition? Are there any differences?

Michel Boyer's picture

this is done already in software, so I am confidant that it can be done in OpenType as well

Software can access dictionaries. That is how spell checkers work. Opentype fonts are not meant for that purpose. I don't see how it is possible to add nikkuds without accessing a dictionary, and maybe do more (i.e. perform some grammatical analysis).

gohebrew's picture

Michel,

Of course, I hope that you are incorrect. I recognize that you have more experience here, but I am very determined. This determination is not deluding, but motivates me to try creative solutions that you may not consider.

OpenType, according to my limited understanding can access a database, and features a replacement mechanism. In my view, a string with wide-card variables can be replaced with another string from a database, and the kind of variables can refer to another database that modifies the replaced string, if the specific grammar rules can be defined.

I am not considering the an OpenType font perform grammatical analysis, but simply replace a string for a different string.

Perhaps, this is not doable; perhaps, it is.

According to my poor understanding of Hebrew, its languaguage and grammar, it's rules are logic-based, with exception tables. Hence, once the rules are defined, and the tables constructed, grammatical analysis is not required.

I might be incorrect, but I hope and think not.

Michel Boyer's picture

Adding nikkuds to a text without would mean that the font would need to decide whether to put a tsere or a hiriq under the lamed in the following examples:

You cannot do that even with the help of a dictionary that gives you all the forms a word can take.

gohebrew's picture

Michel,

From your example and your recent postings, you appear to be focused upon the issue of automatic nikkud via an OpenType font, which I proposed may be a feature of a "smart" OpenType font of the future.

Truly, in a peripheral and wishful thought, I think it's possible. You clearly do not.

I wasn't going to put my focus upon it at this time, until after I knew OpenType's GSUB and database capabilities, and the intracasies of Hebrew grammar, both much better and first hand (which I don't yet).

In my stubbornness, I still (perhaps, naively) think incorporating it into OpenType is possible.

As I understand it, the dictionary/spell-checker look-up is to correct the error factor of the software. Meaning, the algorythm in the software performs the job with an error ratio, and the spell checker's purpose is to correct these errors.

At first glance at your examples, the difference in spelling seems only contextual. When one spelling follows after a type of word, eg. כי, the string (the spelling is with a tsere) is one way, but if it's following a different type, eg. not כי, the string is not this way.

It would appear that a wildcard and a qualification table would address this, eg. if the string is such and such, with various wildcards, and it is not such and such, with various wildcards, then it should be replaced as such and such.

Your examples convince me that OpenType can achieve this (although there may be some percentage of inaccuracy, as there is no spell-checker).

Again, my immediate goal is not auto-nikkud or auto-taam or auto-meteg. These are lofty goals.

Rather, my immediate goal is a set of algorythms to automate replacement of certain shvas with shva-na, of certain kamatzes with kamataz gadols, and certain kamatz gadols with hataf kamatz gadols.

First, I want to see if they are doable, and if they are, can it be processed in a reasonable amount of time.

Michel Boyer's picture

Spell checkers are tools used to correct mistakes when you type in a text editor. There are spell checkers for modern Hebrew, for instance HSpell on which Dan Kenigsberg (Ph.D. in computer sciences) has worked.

My knowledge of biblical hebrew is very limited but it is my feeling that the string "כי בליל חמיץ יאכלו" might have occurred in the Tanakh and the "כי" would not help deciding to what dictionary entry בליל corresponds.

As for identifying "certain shvas", some may be easier than others indeed. What's the need to identify the easy ones if the reader should already know? And how do you decide the sheva under the bet in בליל without looking up the dictionary?

Michel

gohebrew's picture

Michel,

About whether the word כי influences the nikkud spelling of בליל is unclear to me yet. I simplt don't know enough Hebrew grammar.

The custom of publishers who identify the shva-na is to only deal with those that appear in the middle of a word, and not to a shva that appears under the first letter of a word. I am told that it is always a shva-na.

===

David,

The Eretz Chemdah organisation of Israel, a Halacha deciding institute of the Orthodox Union, informs me that a shva following a kamatz katan is always a shva-na. Does that mean that every kamatz before a shva-na is a kamatz katan?

I asked Eretz Chemdah for the name of a book of Hebrew grammar to verify this statement.

Michel Boyer's picture

I am told that it is always a shva-na.

It is from this citation taken from Chomsky's paper that I had concluded that the nature of the shwa at the beginning of the word was not so automatic

William Berkson's picture

Israel, I don't understand why you are so insistent that nikkud be done through open type, when it already can be done by dictionary look ups. Dagesh, the word processor, already has auto-nikkud, which will automatically insert nikkud.

If you want to distinguish shva na and shva nach, then I think that could be done also to a great extent by dictionary look ups. (I assume auto-nikkud doesn't do this as yet.) David has said that whether the shva is voiced or not may also depend on cantillation marks. That being so, then what is the problem with just doing that ad hoc? The Tanach is long, but finite, and the computer has no problem in remembering what is what. And, as Michel points out, there is anyway sometimes ambiguity as to what word is meant, when the text lacks nikkud. So that surely has to be resolved by an already pointed text of the Tanach. You have to go with a look-up.

I just don't see your point in trying to do everything by open type, which is only syntactical. What you want can be done anyway by other means, and seems to be impossible only relying on syntax.

gohebrew's picture

Michel,

Thank you for citing and posting Chomsky's distinction about the shva that begins words.

If that shva is not a shva-na, but one of the exceptional kinds, I nevertheless have never seen a graphic symbol placed over the first Hebrew letter with a shva when it is applicable, to indicate that it is not one of the exception types.

William Berkson's picture

Michel, thanks for that reference, which corresponds more with modern Hebrew. Now the shva is starting to make more sense. In this grammar, which I found on Google Books, p. 50 on the "shewa", it is clear that the distinction between the shva na and nach--i.e., when the shva is voiced and not, was never really clear.

And in modern Hebrew the shva is generally pronounced when it is grammatically significant, and otherwise generally not, unless it is really a tongue-twister. Thus 'bracha', blessing, and not 'beracha', but "berosh hashanah", on rosh hashanah, and not "brosh hashanah". And what may be tongue-twisters for non-natives, like 'gdolah' (big) instead of 'gedolah' is utterly unproblematic for native speakers.

All of this leads me to a philosophical issue. In the Tanach itself, since scholars argue about how exactly to interpret the combination of nikkud and ta'amei hamikra, whether to introduce distinctions not already existing in the Tiberian system them seems an editorial decision--which scholar are you going to follow?

And when it comes to the Siddur, the prayer book, it seems to me the better path is just to follow modern Hebrew, if you are going to specially label the shva na and kamatz katan. After all, Hebrew is now, thanks to God and the Israelis, a living language, and we don't know how it was pronounced in the days of Isaiah or whomever.

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