Sunday, August 14, 2005

Language Purity

R. Moshe Eisemann, of the Ner Yisrael yeshiva, is also associated with the Kishinev Yeshiva. In order to help support the Kishiniev Yeshiva, R. Eisemann has taken to writing into book form a number of his famously thought-provoking lectures.

He added the following brief explanatory note to the beginning of his most recent book that serves as a victory to language purists:

For this book I have made a small change in style, which I want to explain to you.

In the earlier books I wrote in a kind of "yeshivishe" English, freely using Hebrew expressions as part of the text. There are, however, people who are not fluent Hebrew readers who have been frustrated by this intrusion of a second language. I have been asked a number of times to stick to English.

So, at the cost perhaps of losing a little "heimishkeit," I have eliminated the informal use of Hebrew. It now appears only in the form of longish quotes for which a translation or paraphrase is always provided.

I apologize to those of you who enjoyed the earlier, less formal style. Still, I am sure that it is a small sacrifice to make so that more people can enjoy the books.

Thanks to all of you.
It seems that R. Eisemann is taking the advice given to me a few months ago after a shi'ur out-of-town that I gave: Choose a language and stick to it.

I suspect that this is a wise choice that will only help to spread Torah.

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