Monday, September 09, 2013

And they all got it wrong

As a keen observer of all things Jewish, I made it my business on the first night of the holiday to listen carefully to the greetings well-wishers extended each other at the close of services.

Many people opted for a brief, altogether inoffensive Kesivah V'chasimah Tova - though I did catch at least two Chasiva V'chasimah tovahs.  (Chasiva? Doesn't the first letter carry a dot?)

One old guy, wearing a satin kippah and the expression of an outsider, bid everyone a "l'shanah tovah." This was also a common Facebook greeting. I think this is wrong, strictly speaking. Here, the "l" at the front means "for." When you're saying l'shanah tovah tikosev v'sechasem / for a good year may you be written and inscribed that makes sense. Without the last part? Not so sure.

Meanwhile, every single person I encountered got the official, formal greeting wrong. As I say above, it is correctly pronounced l'shanah tovah tikosev v'sechasem. Alas, many of our coreligionists are afraid of the letter taf, and insist on converting it into a saf at every opportunity. So they all said, l'shanah tovah sikosev v'sechasem or - horrors - l'shanah sovah sikosev v'sechasem. The dikduk nerds can give you the reason, but as my machzor confirmed, the first letter of the third word is definitely a taf and Tovah is spelled with a tet, which always makes a T sound.  Please make a note for next year.

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