Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bloopers the prayer leaders make

A guest post by Modeh B'Miktsas


Yom Kippur is over, and most shuls drop the (semi)professional chazzan for the standard DIY amud-goers. As a public service I am listing some of the most infuriating and halakhically problematic errors of DIY baalei tfilla. Feel free to add your own. These are only the ones I encounter in shuls I daven at i.e. non-choir OJ minyanim, so there might be some that I miss.

1-The guy who thinks he knows grammar. There is always someone who does not know what a pasach is and says יׅתְגַדֵל and the rest of kaddish with a tsere. It is Aramaic not Hebrew. Learn the difference.

2- The guy who doesn’t know the alphabet. Usually the same guy as number one, this offender attempts to gabble the words faster than he can speak coherently and turns the opening phrase of kaddish into יתקתל ויתקדש שמיה רבה—“may His great Name be killed and prostituted.” (k-d-sh can mean either holy or prostitute, I’m sure there’s a bib-crit post on that somewhere on this blog).

3- Moving on to shmoneh esrei. The hands down champion for most annoying amida blooper is the adeenay sha”tz. Instead of pronouncing the Name correctly (yes I know it isn’t the name proper) with a cholom, however you were brought up to say it, this dude feels it necessary for some reason to use a chirik. This one is the exclusive province of yeshivish people under age 30. Apparently that was when the shtick developed.

4- אלואינו as opposed to א-לוהנו. Combined with ahdeenoy from number three, this mistake makes it possible to go an entire service without mentioning God once. Hmmm, maybe all these chareidim are really ethical culture Jews in disguise?

5- The other guy who thinks he knows grammar. He grunts every final heh in the hopes that it might be a mahpik and he will sound learned. Little does he know that he's doing it wrong even on the ones that are mahpik.

That’s it for now. When I think of more I’ll comment.


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