Re: Reading from Torah

Mordechai Perlman (
Fri, 21 Feb 1997 07:22:11 -0500 (EST) wrote:
>Are we now obligated to read the Torah according to the minutae of shvana,
>dagesh (leading to slight variations in pronunciation) etc. if we know
>the rules? responded:
>>Haven't we always been obligated to follow all of the rules?... How are
the >>"standard pronunciations . . . from a generation ago" different? responded:
> I must clarify my very general inquiry. Actually I was refering to the
> "third" rule of the shva na which is when a shva follows a tenuah gedolah
> ("large" or hard vowel). If we are to follow the rule then the word Astah
> (ayin, sin, tav, heh) would be pronounced 'asetah' the word Holchim would
> be 'holechim' and the parsha would be Toledot not Toldot.
> This rule seems to not be followed by baale kriah that I am familiar with.

This is a rule I was taught to follow when I learned the rules of
K'rias HaTorah for my Bar Mitzva.

> Additionally the word "mimeged" found in parshat Vezot Habracha would be
> pronounced as 'Mim-meged' since the second mem has a dagesh chazak in it.

I was not taught this before my Bar Mitzva and so when I learned
about it, I found it very difficult to change. However, for Parshas
Zachor, which according to many is a Torah obligation, I am careful to
follow this rule as well.

> In speaking to a number of Ivrit teachers who are masters of
> dikduk(grammar) the rules are followed in writing but not in speech since
> the goal is Ivrit Retzufah (a flowing languange).

I take this to mean that the goal is understanding, not so much
the accuracy of the words themselves. This seems to be the rule in
regards to G'moro and the like as the goal is only understanding.
However, one can fulfill the obligation to learn Torah if one reads
Tanach even without understanding. If so, one must read it coprrectly.
The more probable reason is that the ommission of a Sh'vo No (In most
cases. An exception would be the Sh'vo No in VaYir'u (after the reish)
just before Oz Yoshir. Not pronouncing the Sh'vo will make it "and they
saw" instead of "and they feared".) and the pronunciation of a Dogeish
Chozok does not invalidate the Torah reading. Therefore, there has become a
laxity in this area.

Mishenichnas Ador Marbim B'Simcho
Mordechai Perlman