Sunday, November 01, 2009

Waiting for the Lord

The most frequently mispronounced word in the haftarah was found in this past week's. Isaiah 40:31 contains the word "וקוי" which, according to Radak and Minchas Shai, should be pronounced "ve-koyei" but is often mispronounced as "ve-kovei," almost certainly because of the unusual construct.

I was once in a synagogue where someone insisted to me that the reader had not mispronounced the word and the synagogue's custom was to pronounce it "ve-kovei." I once tried to justify this pronunciation to a prominent Brooklyn rabbi by pointing to the Gemara in Sanhedrin (92b) where the Vilna Shas has the word spelled "וקווי," which can only be pronounced "ve-kovei." The rabbi was not impressed, either because the final Mishnah in Kiddushin has it spelled properly or, more likely, because this at most shows that some unknown scribe along the way mispronounced and misspelled the word.

The right way: link (at 43 seconds)
The wrong way: link (look at the title of the song, unfortunately it is cut off from the clip)

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