Friday, April 29, 2005

Erev Shevi'i shel Pesach

My flatmate pointed out to me that, according to the Magnes Press website, Menahem Kahana's new book has been published. It contains transcriptions of all the Genizah fragments of all the Tannaitic Midrashim, both extant and lost. The fragments of Sifra are so numerous, they will appear in a subsequent volume, equal in size. The introduction is available here.

It is worth noting that this volume is the first major product of the Friedberg Geniza Project to reach fruition, as far as I am aware.

I came across this message today. Apparently, if you write to them, they will allow you to eat kitniyot. Who "they" are is unclear. I looked at the website mentioned there, and I hope to find the time to say a few things about it in the near future. For now, let me just mention this aspect of the worldview being presented there. The idea that the Sephardic pronunciation of Hebrew is the only correct one, and the Ashkenazic tradition is simply a "very negative effect" of exile, is anachronistic. Studies by Shamma Friedman, Zelda Kahan Newman and others have shown the ancient sources of the Ashkenazic linguistic tradition. The most straightforward proof that neither the Yemenite nor the Sephardic pronunciation is the only legitimate one is that neither of them utilizes the full range of vowel points we use today. While Ashkenazim do.

This attitude, which sees Ashkenazic traditions as nothing more than an unfortunate by-product of exile in Europe, makes it very easy to dismiss Ashkenazic traditions such as kitniyot (which, admittedly, is not especially hoary). I think such an attitude is totally unjustified. Hopefully, more to come.

Got to go. All those following the custom first mentioned by R Abraham Galanti and observing the Tikkun Leil Shvi'i shel Pesach - enjoy. I don't have time to check it now, but I seem to remember that Meir Benayahu wrote an article about this custom.


Anonymous Hoss said...

I'll grant you that you can make a good case that the Ashkenazic pronunciation is to a large extent based on the ancient Eretz Yisrael/Talmud Yerushalmi tradition. There are just as many proofs showing the Sephardic pronunciation to be in line with the Talmud Bavli tradition, especially with regards to vowels.

12:39 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home