Artscroll Gemorahs – English vs. Hebrew

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    tmb: What I mean to say is that I don’t believe spending time on teitch is considered ameylus baTorah. Maybe it would be something like hechsher mitzvah or something but its a chiddush to me to hear that it would be considered ameylus mammash.

    oomis: I have heard many times although I do not know any source, that learning Torah can only be done in a “clean” language. That is why we have learned in Yiddish, Ladino, Jewish Aramaic or Loshon Kodesh itself depending on the generation. I heard this regrading the fact that nowadays Yeshivish is considered its own language instead of a part of English so that we can use it to learn since it is ‘clean’. (clean: no words related to things we do not talk about)


    there were gedolim who said that a person can understand a complex svara better and more deeply in his “mama lashon” (= native language), which trumps it’s “uncleanliness”.

    Also, the reason that other languages were conceived over the generations by Jews is that lashon HaKodesh was considered too holy to be used as for mundane things like everyday conversations, etc.


    itchesrulik- I dont think making it harder to figure out a tiech af a word is amaylus.


    How can you say yiddish is a clean language? There are excellent curses in Yiddish…there are words for everything. Its a regularly used language.

    Yeshivish is NOT a language. Its much less of a language than ebonics anyway.


    There is no question that it is best to learn in the original language of the writer.

    Regarding “clean” languages, there really isn’t any such thing anywhere in the world except for newly invented languages such as Esparanto. There are Aramaic words in Chumash and entire sections of Tanakh are in Aramaic. The gemara is full of Greek words and I even found a Latin word in the Mishnah. Rashi translated words into French for his audience — so many that medieval scholars use Rashi’s translations as a major resource for understanding the Christian and secular writings of that time. (Derech HaMelech, I’m not sure what you mean by “don’t talk about”.)


    I’m not going to ask what you are referring to, but perhaps these are words that only allude to things that we don’t talk about and are not words for those things themselves. Much like we have in Aramaic and Loshon Kodesh.

    Also, until I can find a mekor for this idea I can’t really argue whether Yeshivish is a language or not. I was just giving over what I have heard. But I will ask around and see if I can come up with something.


    Since Hashem speaks all languages, then I don’t see the big deal in learning in English, French, Korean, or Spanish if that is the language you feel most comfortable with. I believe Hashem wants us to put in an honest effort, the language itself is a minor detail….Why else would Steinzaltz spend all those years translating the Gemoara?


    “That’s why IMO there is no purpose to learning in Yiddish nowadays”

    I would disagree as there are at least two very important sefarim in Yiddish: Tzena Urena and Orchot Tzadikim.

    Similarly, it would be better to learn the Meam Loez in the original Ladino.

    Similarly, it would be better to learn Emunot v’Deot, Chovot HaLevavot, Kuzari, and most of Rambam’s works in the original Arabic.

    Similarly, it would be better to learn R’Hirsch’s works in the original modern German.

    How many yeshivot teach Ladino, Arabic, and or German? YU teaches Arabic, Yiddish but not German, modern Spanish but not Ladino. I know of one Orthodox high school that teaches Arabic. Any others?


    “Yeshivish is NOT a language. Its much less of a language than ebonics anyway. “

    I heard a story about a tri-lingual Rosh Yeshiva whose student asked a question in shiur in yeshivish. Rather than answering the question, the RY requested that the student restate his question in his choice of Yiddish, English, or Hebrew, using proper grammar and vocabulary in either.

    “unless Yiddish is your familiar language (which it still is for many). “

    There is still one RY at YU who gives shiurim in Yiddish: Rabbi Gershon Yankelevitz. He is old enough to have known the Chofetz Chaim, and spent WW2 with the Mir Yeshiva in Shanghai.


    I think you’re taking it a bit too far charliebrown. In gemarah we can be medayek in the loshon to come up with different pshutim.

    Its a rare day when you need to be medayek in a Yalkut M’Am Loez. The same for all the mussar seforim you listed.

    The Rambam is the only other sefer that I can see a need to be medayek in. But he generally uses the loshon of the Mishanh or Gemarah. When he doesn’t the words he uses are pretty specific that there can be different girsaos teaching different halachos. Unless you are referring to something like Moreh Nevuchim in which case I’d add it to the mussar list.

    One of my R”Y only switched over when there were more bochurim that didn’t understand Yiddish then that did. I think there is something to be said about learning the Jewish Talmud in a Jewish language.


    DerechHamelech – Very true, there are so many shparchs, and vertlach that are said in yiddish that cannot do justice when said in any other language.


    Charliehall, in my high school (Bruriah), Arabic was an option (I took it for 1 year).

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