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

Raphael,

I have to say that I’m confused as to why you want the font to automatically put them in. It’s like saying we should have autocorrect spelling in English in Minion. It *could* be done, but is that the scope of a font?

I think I would rather have a font do ligatures correctly and place taamim in the right place rather than decide where to put a kamatz katan.

Automatic Kamatz Katan, Shva-na, and maybe Meteg
====================================

Like the furtive patach, which could repeated kerned to the right over and over (assuming that the user discovers every instance of its occurance), automatic contextual substitution and insertion is valid and useful for existing Unicode data which is lacking these glyphs.

Also, most users do not know the grammar rules calling for their placement. Automatic contextual substitution and insertion, correctly handles the correct occasions when to have one of them.

I agree with you that's not as high a priority in a wish-list, but the technology has arrived at implementing the wish-list.

As I understand your previous post, narrowing the width of nikkud and taam was considered and rejected. Maybe, because of aesthetics.

What about automatic replacement and insertion of additional space units beween the letters, while keeping the widths of vowels etc. consistant?

Please cite a word or two (book, chapter verse), and I'll post examples? The slice of space between the letters is very thin.

raphaelfreeman's picture

I understood you to start with. The idea of adding a thin slice in between letters was considered and rejected. It is much easier to program and there are lot less kerning pairs. Perhaps for a general purpose font this is a good compromise. There is another solution that we also rejected that Harbs came up with and that was to create 90% width versions of the wider letters of nikud that would be substituted when necessary to solve collisions. Again a very very good idea which visually is unnoticeable but also rejected. You have to understand the Koren is about purity of text and purity of the letters. This is why the Koren Bible is considered to be the most accurate Bible by many today. In fact, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel gave a psak din that if a klaf was unavailable for reading the Haftara, then a Koren Bible maybe used, bedieved. You don't get that level of psak for any other Bible.

We have to be perfect because we have a nearly 50-year legacy to live up to.

Regarding the rules. I'm sorry, but that's like saying, "most people can't spell so we'll fix it in the font". Actually, it's not even like that. How many people typeset Tanakhim and Humashim? Those publishing these volumes tend to have experts checking them. You are also assuming that your system of nikud is the correct one or the only one. You just can't do that. Do you have any idea how long it will take to proofread a Tanakh, get it perfect and then check the collisions? The amount of work is tremendous.

The Koren Tanakh took 10 years to proofread. We are now in the midst of digitisation and expect it to take another five years or so and once this is complete we'll have one font ready for one system of nikud (ie the Koren font with the Koren system). However, if you wanted to typeset a Tanakh with another system, then you would have to fix the font.

All I'm saying is that what you want is possible, but the real question that I ask you here on this forum as I did on the Adobe forums, is what on earth for? How much is a person going to pay for such a typeface? $10,000? And what happens if he doesn't want Vilna, but wants Hadasa? You are going to create this for each font? I just think that you don't really understand the full ramifications of what you are getting yourself in for.

gohebrew's picture

Raphael,

>The idea of adding a thin slice in between letters was considered and rejected. It is much easier to program and there are lot less kerning pairs. Perhaps for a general purpose font this is a good compromise.

What is practical difference? If the goal is to maintain the position of the nikkud under the letter, and taam (and maybe meteg too) on the left side of the nikkud, then inserting a slice of space dividing one letter and next, then the collision is prevented.

But if kerning is the solution, then the nikkud and taam are tweaked, and the original intent is lost.

Plus, the kerning remains in that specific file, while the font approach travels to users of the font.

gohebrew's picture

Raphael,

>There is another solution that we also rejected that Harbs came up with and that was to create 90% width versions of the wider letters of nikud that would be substituted when necessary to solve collisions.

This is like what I suggested to do in my OpenType fonts above.

When a sequence occurred with crashing diacritics, such as a narrow letter followed by a daled or reish, or two narrow letters in a row, then there is not enough room for the two sets of diacritics with having them bump.

If the OpenType font would be programmed to automatically replace the regular width diacritics with a narrower set, then they would not bump.

>This is why the Koren Bible is considered to be the most accurate Bible by many today. In fact, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel gave a psak din that if a klaf was unavailable for reading the Haftara, then a Koren Bible maybe used, bedieved. You don’t get that level of psak for any other Bible.

Although this in deed an honor, but according to Jewish law, any Bible text could be read for the Haftorah, even if it was printed on newsprint (used to print pornographic literature), using a font by a person who desecrated the Sabbath, and typeset by a person who believed in Yoshkie.

It in deed in a compliment, but it is very limited.

>We have to be perfect because we have a nearly 50-year legacy to live up to.

Great Hebrew typography existed in Vilna, Lithuania more than a hundred years before Eliyahu Koren could read. Even greater Hebrew typography existed earlier in Europe, as the book on the history of the printing of the Talmud shows.

With the advent of OpenType, Hebrew typography greater that what KJoren produced s possible.

Your example of the Koren prayerbook is in deed beautiful, as you are asuperb typesetter.

Scott-Martin Kesofsky of the Philidor Company is creating an even more beautiful Machzor (with many grammar features too) for the Rabbinic Assembly.

I am working on another beautiful prayerbook for Nusach Ari (Chabad), featuring the pagination of the old Kehot siddur, and the beautiful prayerbook for Nusach Ashkenaz and Nusach Sefard, featuring the pagination of the widely popular ArtScroll siddur and the longest used Tikun Meir prayerbook, featuring the Vilna/Romm typefaces.

Yagdil Torah Veyahdir - יגדיל תורה ויהדיר - "Make the Torah greater and more beautifil".

gohebrew's picture

Raphael,

>How many people typeset Tanakhim and Humashim? Those publishing these volumes tend to have experts checking them.

These commercials fonts are aimed at three kinds of users.

For $250, a low end solution is available with ten fonts.

For $500, a solution for teachers and kids with automatic Hebrew grammar features. 15 fonts.

For $3,600, a high end solution for professionals. 25 fonts.

Any professional prefers to lower total pre-press costs, and needing so-called experts.

Solutions are available to three systems for Hebrew grammar rules, and three systems of Hebrew typography. Pick what want, or pay for all variables.

gohebrew's picture

Raphael,

>The Koren Tanakh...

You are in deed doing a great thing, and I wish you much success.

But the Koren Tanach is not the only popular and beautiful Jewish Bible. In the next five to ten years, there will be many many competitors.

Many people outside of Israel think that it leaves much to be desired. If you didn't have a vested interest in its success, as a professional Hebrew typesetter would you be tooting its horn so much? I think not.

gohebrew's picture

Raphael,

>...is what on earth for? How much is a person going to pay for such a typeface?...

You don't seem to understand. My goal is create a new standard for good quality Hebrew fonts, by using the current OpenType technology.

As a result, Hebrew publishing will look great, and Hebrew grammar will be understood and practiced by a significant percentage of educated Jews in the next generation. Maybe, even Israelis will pronounce correctly. : )

gohebrew's picture

Raphael,

>You are going to create this for each font?

Yes.

raphaelfreeman's picture

Firstly thank you for the compliment.

Secondly, your prices are great! If indeed you can produce them such that these prices work for you then they work for me too :-)

Thirdly, the kerning and the nikud positioning all work in the font. We are currently redoing our maps in Illustrator, and the teamim and kerning all work perfectly there too.

Finally regarding reading the haftara from a klaf. I am not a Rav, but I suspect that this psak halacha wasn't given out meaninglessly to give a compliment. However, this is out of my sphere of knowledge. I just know about the psak :-)

I am not saying that Koren is the most beautiful font or the best font. I'm saying that it's the Koren font that I'm revitalising and digitising and it needs to meet the exacting standards that Eliyahu Koren had in his original metal font that's all. This is in no way a reflection of other typefaces. I'm comparing the Koren Tanakh font of the 21st century to that of the 20th. That's all. I don't dismiss the ideas of solving collisions with thin spaces or fractional nikud lightly. They were considered and played with at length. It just didn't work for us. That doesn't mean to say that it wouldn't work in other typefaces, indeed I would have preferred it if had worked in Koren since the route we are taking is extremely time-consuming and expensive :-)

gohebrew's picture

>Finally regarding reading the haftara from a klaf.

In America, we use a printed book.

I heard that some (in Israel) have a klaf-like roll, and I've seen some synogogues that have them, as it was once in use here as well.

Originally, the haftorah was read, because Torah reading was banned. Haftorah is from the various books of Prophets, known as Nevi'im. That's why certain Haftorah verses mimick themes in the weekly Torah portion.

There is a third approach to avoid colliding which is extremely attractive, and automatic.

Scott-Martin Kesofsky created very slightly wider versions of the narrow letters, and slightly narrower nikkud, thinner and thus even narrower taam, and a very thin meteg in his Milon typeface. The differences are very subtle, that only a good typographer with a keen eye could notice.

I have not seen a better living Hebrew typesetter than him (you're very good, but he's superb). I told Scott that it's because that he caters to the high end, like you (but his high end is much higher!), while I have customers that think use of white space is a waste of paper, and good typography is "cram it in".

raphaelfreeman's picture

Firstly as a frum Jew, I know why we read the Haftara. Secondly in Israel most shuls either read from a Klaf or a Koren Tanakh. There are a lot of yidden here.

I am aware of the third approach that you suggest. We tried it with Koren and it didn't work. Again, Koren has very very high standards (higher than the standards of my clients) and the subtlely ruined the flow of the font.

I would love to see some examples of Scott. I am always looking to people that I can aspire to. I have learnt a tremendous amount in the past 1.5 years at Koren and am always looking to improve my appreciation of typography.

gohebrew's picture

I expected that you knew, even though many, if not most, frum Jews don't know, even those who dress in Chassidic garb.

But this blog is read by different kinds of people, and I really said it with them in mind. I hope you're not offended; you're far above that.

I have some PDFs he made of some job samples. Let me ask him if I can post them, or send you (I have your email address, and you have a very nice web site too that has one www.jerusalemtype.com).

gohebrew's picture

Btw, I created two sets of nikkud/taam/meteg alignment. One traditional, and one "modern", like Eliyahu Koren's system.

Scott is using Koren's system.

Traditional means that the nikkud/taam/meteg combination is viewed as a single unit, and centered under the letter, unless that letter is a daled, kuf, or reish.

Modern means only the nikkud is centered. The nikkud is dominant in weight and width, the taam is secondary, and the meteg is thinner than the taam and positioned on a lower level than it.

The modern approach poses difficulties under narrow letters, especially followed by a reish (or someyimes daled).

There is a great advantage in teach children to read by following the modern approach, which Koren either innovated or popularized.

The traditional approach though is most popular in America and by many, if not most, frum Jews. That's what they are used to seeing. I am a pragmatic idealist, so as they say here, "the customer is always right".

But on the GoHebrew web site (under construction), a section is devoted to displaying the Bible, with dark blue nikkud, dark red taamim, and dark green meteg, following Koren's alignment system.

Adil Allawi of Ready Set Go International in London showed me a CD his company made for the Saudi govt.'s Dept. of Education an electronic Koran, that color-coded the diacritics, hyper-linked each verse to a translation, and different words or phrases in verses to explanations. By clicking on them, windows popped up featuring translations or explanations. He advised to do the same for the Bible and the Talmud.

I am working on making a fascinating electronic Talmud, which will include the entire body of Jewish knowledge, including the Tanach, the Jewish Bible at www.gotalmud.org.

Why don't you partipate there, and describe what you are doing with the 21st century Koren Bible, and why it is significant.

piccic's picture

Israel, I wished to ask you a question about letterforms, the perception of "classic" forms, and the sample you have posted (of the "Kurrent" style) but I don't want to hack this thread, which is already huge and very in-depth. Do you mind I open another small discussion?

gohebrew's picture

There is another blog on letter form shapes and their meaning at this web site.

This blog is supposed to be devoted more to the variety of designs and their history and development.

But we contantly change the topic to "Everything on Hebrew". So feel free, or run around on this web site, or go to www.gotalmud.org.

raphaelfreeman's picture

From what I have understood, the "traditional" system was only done by in that way due to limitations in technology and/or lack of understanding of what had to be done by the printers of the day.

If you look at early manuscripts, you will see that the scribes did the nikud and teamim in the way that Koren did (actually the other way round, Koren copied the manuscripts).

Therefore, from my understanding the Koren system is the traditional system which makes sense since the nikud is secondary to the letters and the taamim tertiary.

raphaelfreeman's picture

BTW, since when is the meteg secondary to the taam. This is not the case with Koren and I believe this is might be a mistake introduced by trying to solve collision problems.

gohebrew's picture

raphael,

>If you look at early manuscripts, you will see that the scribes did the nikud and teamim in the way that Koren did (actually the other way round, Koren copied the manuscripts).

Can you post some graphic samples or simple scans, and cite examples for research?

gohebrew's picture

raphael,

>Therefore, from my understanding the Koren system is the traditional system which makes sense since the nikud is secondary to the letters and the taamim tertiary.

I am finalizing the list of GPOS rountines during these days, which will determine positioning of nikkud, taam, and meteg. I can program them to fall exactly where I want them under each letter, without kerning.

If it is in deed only one system of alignment which Eliyahu Koren mimicked from early manuscripts, then I would only implement that.

I think for educational purposes (and logic dictates it), the nikkud should fall under the letter and be the most prominant compared to the taam and meteg.

The taam should be positioned on the nikkud's left, and be thinner, and positioned a little lower than the nikkud.

The meteg should be positioned on the taam's left, and be thinner, and positioned a little lower than the taam.

I think the insertion of a slice of space is preferred to juggling the taam etc. The consistant order of the nikkud, taam, and meteg, is more important that the fac that letters are spaced farther apart when required that consitant inner-letter spacing.

If there is no significant decrease in the readability of the nikkud, taam, and meteg combinations, then perhaps replacement of them for narrower versions is preferable to insertion of slices of space.

[Please tell Harb's there is a sha'a'lah of ha-sag-gat g'vul in trying to sell ME products over the Internet when he is only legally permitted to sell in Israel? Tell him to ask Rabbi Elyashev Shlita. Even according to secular laws.]

gohebrew's picture

raphael,

>since when is the meteg secondary to the taam. This is not the case with Koren and I believe this is might be a mistake introduced by trying to solve collision problems.

I don't understand.

Jewish Bible typography always have this typographical heirarchy.

There are certain Christian Bible scholars who insert the meteg before the taam. I never heard that any Jewish Bible scholars do this.

According to my poor understanding, the invention of the meteg symbol occurred after the invention of the taam symbols.

Plus, the meteg with only nikkud serves a different function that the meteg with both nikkud and taam.

The meteg with prayer, Mishnaic, poetry, children's text, or Ivrit Kalah, serves as an accent mark, to indicated which word in a sentence to stress.

In Tanach, it indicates something else. I admit, I don't understand what it is.

raphaelfreeman's picture

1. I don't have any scans off-hand. I'm sure googling will give you evidence. Remember you are the one contending x without any basis. Can I see some basis for your assertion?

2. I am not using kerning to position the taamim. I am using kerning to make sure that the nun and the yud are closer together etc.

3. I respect your opinion of adding thin spaces between the letters instead of moving the taamim, however, I believe that this is coming from a programmer's point of view and not a typographer's. After all, why do we have fi and ffi ligatures? Why didn't we just add a thin slice of space in between? I think it decreases legibility.

4. Again, I'm not convinced about the narrower versions either for the same reason, but I am more open to that option.

5. I will most certainly not tell Harbs anything of the sort. You clearly have no idea who he is, what his relationship with Adobe is and what his relationship with HaKadosh Baruch Hu is (lehavdil). I request that you keep such comments off this forum, they are highly inappropiate.

6. Yes you are very confused about the meteg on all levels. I'm not sure how you are programming it if you don't understand it. I will explain briefly, because I have explained it already on this thread, if you need more information e-mail me off-list.

a. The meteg is a taam. It's purpose is secondary stress. It has the same weight as all other taamim. It is not secondary to the taamim. It is a taam.

b. The sof pasuk (siluk) is a taam. It's purpose is primary stress. It also has the same weight as all the other taamim.

c. The visual appearance of both these taamim are exactly the same even though they have a completely different purpose. In Unicode, they also have the exact same value (although IMHO this is incorrect).

d. For 100s of years, the meteg has been "incorrectly" used in Siddurim to indicate primary stress on a word that is not accented on the last syllable. This is known grammatically as "mileil" as opposed to "milra". The thinking was that we tell the reader to pronounce all words as milra (ie stress on last syllable) unless we put a meteg under a different syllable. Eg MElekh. Here there would be a meteg under the first syllable. However, the only time that a meteg would appear under the first syllable in the Tanakh, would be if it was the last word in the sentence, ie a sof pasuk. In this situation, the weight of the meteg has no consequence since it isn't part of the Hebrew grammar but rather a made up sign. It's like saying that a kamatz katan should be heavier than a kamatz gadol. It's nonsense. We only make the kamatz katan larger as an educutional tool. Therefore you might as well keep the meteg used in this situation as the weight of the meteg of the taamey mikra and then you can use the same unicode character. I should point out that in Rinat Yisrael, they use a zarka for words that are commonly mispronounced as mileil and an ole for words commonly mispronounced as milra. There they don't use a meteg at all.

I hope this clears a few things up.

gohebrew's picture

raphael,

Thank you for your clarifications regarding meteg. I must think about it.

There practical use outside Israel by most readers of Hebrew may override your view.

Either it's like the sayings of "bring a horse to water" or "fighting city hall", you might be right, but "that's is the way it's done".

I'm still weighing which is better to avoid bumping:
a) adding a thin slice of space
b) substituting narrow taam (and meteg)
c) substituting somewhat-wider narrow letters

[About harbs, that is why I wrote hasagat gvul in Hebrew. ME products are not licensed from Adobe, but distributors license from Winsoft. Resellers like harbs purchase from distributors. Violations are treated very seriously, especially from competitors.]

If you are not kerning, or tweaking the glyphs, and reject the above-mentioned three choices, what are you doing? Is it Koren Bible specific?

raphaelfreeman's picture

The way that I'm avoiding bumping is by moving the taam as outlined in this thread. I am using diacritics positioning which is not kerning. I explained how I'm doing it above in this thread.

Again, re Harbs, please not make this public forum about typography be anything but. You have any comments about him, feel free to e-mail me. But please, in the interest of hillul HaShem, let's keep this offline.

gohebrew's picture

raphael,

Thank you for your feedback.

[re: harbs: ok]

Harbs's picture

I have found this thread very interesting.

Thank you Raphael for your supportive words.

For those who don't know what Israel is talking about, my website sells Adobe ME software to the US and Europe. Israel does not in fact know our arrangements with either Adobe or Winsoft. I'm sure that he would not make these statements if he did. We do have written permission from Winsoft to sell ME software to most countries world-wide (with the exception of Middle Eastern states). This includes both boxed versions and site licenses.

Sorry for the interruption...

gohebrew's picture

harbs,

Thank you for joining this discussion. As a knowledgeable person in Hebrew books, I am certain that you will have valuable comments to offer to benefit all its readers.

Regarding the status of your web site, perhaps you are right, and I am wrong. If that is true, then not only do I owe you an apology and must ask you forgiveness, but I should also declare here in this forum, in "public" my error and your validity.

However, I believe though this is not incorrect. I'll tell you why:

1. No distributor or reseller has the right to infringe upon another authorirized distributor's or reseller's territory. Are you a VAR (Value Added Reseller)? This seems not true, as the plug-ins you sell are priced very low, and they are only a non-essential add-on feature, not an essential componant of the InDesign ME software.

At Apple Computer Inc., I had an arrangement in writing with Apple as a VAR. However, even there I was obligated to compensate the local reseller for every sale. Why would this logical arrangement be rescinded for you by Adobe or WinSoft?

2. Adobe, to my knowledge, only signs a master license to Winsoft, not to individual resellers. You are claiming Adobe made an exception to you. This is unlikely.

3. Winsoft respects territorial rights, like most manufacturers, and prohibits a reseller from one country to sell outside his or her territory. You are claiming Adobe made an exception to you. By doing so, you are given an unfair advantage over every reseller except of course WinSoft's online store.

If you may sell worldwide over the Internet, why can't other resellers, as your plug-ins are a separate low-cost item? Couldn't you sell the plug-ins worldwide, but adhere to WinSoft's standard arrangements?

If this is in deed true, why is a special consideration given to you? Why does WinSoft or printisrael.com post a notice refering to this special status?

So, for these reasons, I don't believe (with all due respect to your Torah knowledge) you are correct, until I see written proof otherwise.

Your web site is in deed attractive, with the exception of a blurry Adobe logo. I'm sure Adobe would provide you with a higher resolution logo, if you in deed have a direct business relationship with them.

I really hope that you prove me wrong, because otherwise this act is totally unjustified and can have very harmful results.

Harbs's picture

Israel,

As far as the main discussion goes, my views closely coincide with those of Raphael (although he's somewhat more of a purist).

As Raphael already stated, this is not the forum to discuss the issue. However you insist on continuing this, so I will indulge you once more and only once more. You have just accused me of being an outright liar on a public forum. This is not becoming of you at all...

1) I don't recall discussing with you whether or not I'm a VAR. If that's pertinent, it's up to Winsoft to decide -- not you. If you believe it's important, you can also feel free to ask Raphael his opinion on whether I offer value-added services or not.

2) I did not mention Adobe at all in conjunction with the ME versions.

3) There is clear distinction between resellers and distributors. What you are referring to about territorial rights is true for distributors. You are not classified as a distributor (although I'm sure you'd like to...) any more than I am.

The fact that Winsoft issues site licenses through us should be enough indication that I am in fact dealing with them directly. They know exactly what's on my website and what's not, as well as what/how I sell the products. I don't feel any need to justify myself to you any more than you should feel a need to justify yourself to me. I will not respond to these requests to divulge information which has nothing to do with you either here or in the spam you've been sending me through my website. I will be happy to respond to any reasonable request or question. Threatening me if I don't disclose private information is not what I consider reasonable...

If you have trouble accepting what I'm saying feel free to ask Caroline Hourregue of Winsoft. This discussion is already far out of line, and I will not continue to discuss this further on a public forum, say what you may. If you believe I conduct unfair competition and would like to try to have my rights to sell ME product revoked by Winsoft, feel free to discuss this with them. None of this entitles you to spam this forum.

To be totally straight with you, our sales volume is not great enough for you to even bother wasting you time trying to discredit me. You will only end up harming yourself.

P.S. Do you really think I'd use the Adobe Partner logo illegally? I would have thought that even you would give me more credit than that. The Partner Logo that you see on my website is in fact the official one given to me by Adobe. I am actually happy that you made this gross accusation because it made me realize that my plugins fell off the plugin list on Adobe's site when it was updated for CS4. It might have taken me months to realize this...

Best regards,
Harbs

gohebrew's picture

Harbs,

Thank you for your candid and revealing response. I am sorry that you respond with much emotion. My goal is not to hurt you at all for any legitimate business activity, ha'lee'la.

Let's remove this discussion from a public forum, but allow me please to reply to certain remarks you made about my words.

Harbs: You have just accused me of being an outright liar on a public forum.

I did not accuse you of this. I simply seek written verification.

1. VAR - I never discussed your status as a VAR. I referred to my status as an authorized VAR for Apple. At that time, Apple did not award worldwide rights to a VAR. So, I was surprized if Adobe would.

2. Adobe
Harbs: I did not mention Adobe at all in conjunction with the ME versions.

Harbs: Israel does not in fact know our arrangements with either Adobe or Winsoft.

3. Are resellers more enpowered than distributors?

Harbs: There is clear distinction between resellers and distributors. What you are referring to about territorial rights is true for distributors.

Please verify this. This is not WinSoft's definition in all other countries.

Harbs: The fact that Winsoft issues site licenses through us should be enough indication that I am in fact dealing with them directly.

A site license does not imply permission is granted to sell outside one's territory. Do you think it does? Can you verify this?

Harbs: They know exactly what’s on my website and what’s not, as well as what/how I sell the products.

This implies that "shtika zu ho'da'ah" - silence implies consent. In secular law, this alone is not sufficient.

Harbs: Do you really think I’d use the Adobe Partner logo illegally?

I never accused you of this. I merely said that it's blurry.

After you are calm and think clearly, let's discuss how we can work together, clarify this, and put it behind us.

Does your firm make custom plug-ins, too? I work at a sister company at www.gotalmud.org, and that entity seeks to automate production of the Talmud. Perhaps, your plug-ins can help achieve this goal?

-Israel

Harbs's picture

Hi Israel,

After you are calm and think clearly, let’s discuss how we can work together, clarify this, and put it behind us.

I am extremely calm. However, as I have already stated, I will not discuss this further. You know who to contact at Winsoft. If you really wish to clarify my status with them, you may do so by contacting them directly.

Does your firm make custom plug-ins, too? I work at a sister company at www.gotalmud.com, and that entity seeks to automate production of the Talmud. Perhaps, your plug-ins can help achieve this goal?

Yes we do. Perhaps we can help -- assuming you are willing to work under reasonable terms. If you'd like to discuss this, you are free to send me an email (but use a valid email address this time...)

gohebrew's picture

Here are notices from established Jewish publishers that graphically indicate to its readers of the shva-na.

"Shay Lemora", a small publishing house with a significant and popular line of books that graphically indicate the correct use of the shva-na. Headed by a highly respected scholar and commentator, Rabbi Shmuel Yehuda Winefeld Shlita, he has completed marking the entire Pentateuch (Torah, Five Books of Moses, Chumash) with shva-na symbols. Interestingly, not one of them interfere with the upper taamim markings.

Shay Lemora determines placement of the shva-na symbols based upon the rules of the early Rabbinic authorities and the Minchat Shai.

"Kehot" (Karnei Hod Torah - the Rays of the Glory of the Torah), the largest Jewish publisher and the official publishing house of the Chabad-Lubavitch organisation.

Kehot determines placement of the shva-na symbols differently than Shay Lemora, according to the system of Rav Zalman Henna (Hanau).

A third system is used by ArtScroll, another large Jewish publisher, based upon the writings of Ibn Ezra and the Vilna Gaon. According to Prof. Aron Dotan of Tel Aviv University, the Vilna Gaon's system was derived from Rabbi Eliyahu Bachur, an early Rabbinic authority.

Prof. William Chomsky defines the Ramchal's (Rabbi David Kimchi) definition of shva-na similar to Rabbi Eliyahu Bachur's system.

Apparently, Rav Henna's system was the last. However, if we view the Vilna Gaon's system as being final, it is last. But, if we consider the system used by Kehot, as it is current, it in deed is last.

According to Judaism, the final valid viewpoint determines which way is to be followed, as scholars considered all the previous viewpoints and made a lasting determination to be followed.

david h's picture

Israel,

RaMCHaL is Moshe Chaim Luzzatto! Not David Kimchi. I saw something here about deadline... 2010... 2011 -- so, by 2010/11 you're going to read Radak? :^)

> ...the system of Rav Zalman Henna (Hanau).

Which is...?

> ....writings of Ibn Ezra and the Vilna Gaon.

Which is...?

>... the Ramchal’s (Rabbi David Kimchi) definition of shva-na

Which is...?

Based on your mish-mash you're going to be ready around 2095 :^)

gohebrew's picture

2095, here we comeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :)

Want sum pizza?

OK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, RaDaK, etc.

gohebrew's picture

1. Rav Zalman Henna (Hanau) - 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”.

2. Minhat Shay - Rabbi Yedidiah Solomon Raphael Norzi

3. Ibn Ezra and Vilna Gaon

4. Rabbi Eliyahu Bachur

5. RaDaK - Rabbi David Kimchi

gohebrew's picture

I spoke to a great Hebrew grammar expert, Rabbi Shmuel Rabin, of Toronto, Canada, author of a remarkable treatise on chanting aloud the Scroll of Esther. He inserted in all the correct places, the shva-na, according to the system of Rav Zalman Henna.

I asked him whether Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady, the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, prefered Rav Henna's system over the others popularized by Rabbi Yaakov Emben, Minchat Shai, based upon the writing of the Radak, Rabbi David Kimchi.

Rsbbi Rabin clarified that the popular Lubavitcher prayerbook, Tehillat Hashem, first introduced to the Lubavitcher community the appearance of the shva-na. Rabbi Shneur Zalman's own rendition of the prayerbook did not mark them.

Rabin explained that the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe greatly expanded the Tehillat Hashem prayerbook by inserting copies of pages from the Seder Avodah prayerbook, which marked the shva-na according to the system of Rav Henna. The editor of the Tehillat Hashem, the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, was accustomed not to change things for no special reason.

As proof of this, Kehot of Israel retypeset their prayerbook like the view of the Minchat Shai and others, while Kehot of the US follows the old Kehot prayerbook exactly, i.e. Rav Henna's system of defining the shva-na.

Rabin said that Henna's system was more complicated, and like Minchat Shai, originated with the Radak (Kimchi).

He also believes it is possible to determine shva-na, if rules can be made first for a kamatz katan which precedes a shva, recognition or placement of the meteg (used differently if there's taamim or not), but it will require much time and effort to sort out. So, both experts in Hebrew grammar, Prof. Dotan and Rabbi Rabin, agree that it is possible. Rabin warns that this is very difficult accord to Rav Henna's system.

Although Rabin is a Hebrew grammar expert, he explained that the view of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement is to degrade the emphasis on Hebrew grammar. He quote the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholem Dovber, in the latter's book, Torat Shalom, regarding the importance of correct pronunciation, based upon the rules of Hebrew grammar, in prayer.

Rabbi Sholem Dovber said it's far more important to pronounce the words correctly in general, to understand the meaning of the words, and to pray with a sincere and broken heart. For this reason, the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe was heard when he payed out loud as the chazan, the שליח ציבור, "lit. leader of the congregation", to emphasize chanting in a sing-song manner, and heart-felt feelings, and to ignore issues of Hebrew grammar, even though he was well versed in them from childhood.

This is consistant with the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Chassidic movement, that G-d wants the heart, that prayer is measured more by intentions and feelings, and less by rules and regulations.

Regarding Kimchi's rules of Hebrew grammar, how could two different systems come out of Kimchi's writings?

William Berkson's picture

Ah ha! Didn't I tell you, Israel, at the beginning of this that the concern with grammar was a rationalist thing, and you probably wouldn't find satisfaction about it in the mystical and Chassidic tradition?

As to different systems coming from Radak, according to William Chomsky, the idea of long and short vowels came from David Kimchi's father, and was developed by him. It is so complex (and questionable), from what I have seen, that I'm not surprised that a lot of issues were yet to be figured out. Radak was a follower of Maimonides, not of the mystics who subsequently rebelled against Maimonides' rationalist views and created the Kabbalah.

By the way an interesting--to me anyway--side light on this is that IIRC Noam Chomsky, son of William, started his linguistic studies with Hebrew grammar, and that was one influence that eventually led him to develop his famous theory of "transformational generative grammar" that he claims underlays all languages. When you see how the Radak rules are brief, but hooked to others that then become recursively a more and more complex system, you can see the influence on Noam Chomsky in the development of his ideas.

gohebrew's picture

William,

>Ah ha! Didn’t I tell you, Israel, at the beginning of this that the concern with grammar was a rationalist thing, and you probably wouldn’t find satisfaction about it in the mystical and Chassidic tradition?

What's the "ah ha"?

Chabad is the rational branch of Chassidism.

The mystical tradition is only meaningful when it's understood, ie. rational.

The founder of Lubavitch, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, emphasized the importance of Hebrew grammar. The seventh L. Rebbe was taught Hebrew grammar by a secular Jew as a child, hired by his parents, who felt that this subject was important enough to hire the teacher as a tutor. Later, that tweacher became the Minister of Education in the State of Israel.

gohebrew's picture

William,

>It is so complex (and questionable), from what I have seen, that I’m not surprised that a lot of issues were yet to be figured out.

What are you trying to say? What is "questionable"?

>Radak was a follower of Maimonides, not of the mystics who subsequently rebelled against Maimonides’ rationalist views and created the Kabbalah.

There were some who dismissed or argued Maimonides' views. Within one genertion all opposition disappeared.

Your conclusion is incorrect. Even today, the Sephardic community considers Maimonides the ultimate master, adhering to his Halachic rulings in "Mishnah Torah". Sephardim are generally more inclined to mysticism than Askenazim. Ashkenazim do not derive Halachic rulings directly from Maimonides, but rather from Rema, Vilna Gaon, Mishna Brura, or Rabbi Moses Feinstein.

The seventh L. Rebbe points out that Maimonides was in deed a mystic, as he began his introduction with a four letter acronym for G-d's holy name, a gesture of the mystics.

William Berkson's picture

Please don't revise your comments after someone else posts, as this puts the posts out of order.

As to 'questionable', I am just repeating what I said before: according to to my reading of the W. Chomsky article on the schva, it seems that it it doubtful whether the distinction between long and short vowels, which was key to the Kimchi system, ever existed until them, and according to Chomsky it does not in modern spoken Hebrew. But I am a novice at all this, and I may not be reading him rightly.

david h's picture

Israel,

Let me ask you something: did you read anything by Hanau ? -- btw, based on Hanau there're 8 rules (sheva na). Radak? Vilna Gaon? Norzi? etc. etc.

gohebrew's picture

David,

No, I didn't yet.

R. Rabin advised that Hanau's system is more difficult, but not impossible. He said that I have to consider much more details andsort them out.

He also said that in nikkud only text, the position of the meteg is critical, but in Biblical it is a secondary stress mark, and one of the taamim is primary.

I'm thinking that he should place shva-na symbols according to Hanau in the Psalms that have taamim. Then, I would write my set of GSUB routines around it, and again in a second OT font, an alternate set of GSUB routines based on the prayerbook.

david h's picture

> Hanau’s system is more difficult...

Really? Why is that?

> He also said that in nikkud only text, the position of the meteg is critical

Critical? Why?

> place shva-na symbols according to Hanau in the Psalms that have taamim.

And the rest of the Bible? Why Psalms?

gohebrew's picture

> Why is Hanau's system more difficult?

More rules to follow, producing more shva-nas. I don't know yet, but I think his understanding of Kimchi's views on shva-na will help me. So says my gut. It;s either that, or I'm hungry!:)

> Why is the meteg so critical?

Don't know yet. Hey, you're the teacher!

> Why Psalms?

It sells very well every year. אין קמח, אין תורה - If there is no flour, there can be no Torah.

R. Rabin is a professional proof-reader, as well as a Hebrew grammar wizard. I figure that the Psalms is a doable prject within a year. I believe Kehot will license it.

William Berkson's picture

Israel, it sounds like for complex typesetting in Hebrew, it's the other way around (also in Avot): Ain Torah Ain Kemach . Gives that saying a new meaning :)

gohebrew's picture

William,

As you know, the mishnah in Avot says it both ways. Among the many different interpretations we say that in the way that you quote, learning Torah is necessary in order to earn money. Likewise, in the way I quoted, earning money is necessary in order to learn Torah. This is the traditional understanding.

Please spell out your different understanding.

I was telling David that I chose Psalms for practical reasons.

1. It's much shorter than the entire Bible.
2. As a result, it costs far less in proof-reading,
3. in typesetting,
4. in printing and binding,
5. and it's relatively higher in sales.

Hence, it's a good investment to get the OpenType programming done as well.

Plus, no Psalms to date that I know has these symbols.

William Berkson's picture

Oh, my. I should have known better than to try to make a joke. You're not supposed to explain jokes, but here goes. The only the Torah (including here ketuvim and nevi'im) is set with the full complex of nikud and te'amim. So if you are earning money by setting that complex text, you only earn money--meal, kemach--by setting Torah. So ain Torah ain kemach, if you are a typesetter of complex Hebrew text. Get it? Joke?

gohebrew's picture

I don't get it. Sorry. I usually am kinda smart.

Slap-stick doesn't even take brains. They say puns are the highest form of humor.

Maybe, I need a vacation?

As they say, "take my wife...please".
:)

raphaelfreeman's picture

Actually the taamim of the Psalms (and Proverbs and Job) known as sifrey EMET (in Hebrew: אמת: איוב, משלי ותהלים) are completely different to that of the 21 other books of the Bible. They follow different rules in terms of grammar and positioning.

Israel, I'm assuming that you know that right?

gohebrew's picture

Raphael,

I didn't know that. Thank you for sharing.

In the US, an established publisher of Hebrew books was the now defunct Hebrew Publishing Company. In fact, after WWII, HPC was the world's largest Jewish publisher.

They gained fame and fortune by reprinting all the classic Jewish books, even retypsetting some of them.

Among their vast array of books, they reprinted a very clear book of Psalms originally printed in Vilna, Lithuania.

The Chabad-Lubavitch organisation in the late forties purchased the exclusive print rights from them, even though it was likely public domain, because the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe chose it.

In fact, the seventh Lubavitch refused to allow it to be retypeset, because his father-in-law looked into it. !?!

I wanted to retypeset it and asked Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky (now the head of this worldwide movement), argueing that I would create a custom from this edition of the Psalms. He order the Lubavitch Library to photocopy every single page of the personal book of Psalms which the sixth L. Rebbe actually used every day.

When I began, I ran into a problem that the Psalms that most publishers offered (including Koren) featured different taamim (and in a couple places even nikkud) than those in this book of Psalms used by over one hundred thousand Lubavitchers.

Do you know about different opinions to place taamim in Psalms? Since we no longer know how to chant the Psalms, who is to say which one is right?

raphaelfreeman's picture

There are many opinions. Of course I believe that Koren's are the most accurate :-) But you see the difficulty in encoding grammar in the font.

gohebrew's picture

I really am not trying to encode grammar, which rules based upon woed and sentence structure.

That is the realm or the teacher and the scholar.

I am expanding the Unicode Hebrew standard to include all graphic symbols that are used in Hebrew, and those that do not earn a Unicode to include them in my fonts, such as a folded lamed or ayin, a truncated final nuhn or final chof (do you know what that is?),a set of shva-na symbols, or the hataf kamatz katan (soon to be widely used - he, he).

What I want to do, which Prof. Dotan and Rabbi Rabin, think can be done, is to create a kind contextual analysis to insert a kamatz katan, maybe meteg, and shva-na like John Hudson's (fairly easy) furtive patach (that Jewish publishers never did before Koren).

It's not grammar. It contual analysis.

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