Is Yiddish Holy?

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  • #1558076

    Takes2-2tango
    Participant

    July 15, 2018
    BaltimoreMaven says:
    Let’s ignore the poor logic employed by hoover. Not worth a response.

    Allegedly the Chasam Sofer said any drosha not in Yiddish is treif.
    ————————————
    May be for ballimore standards your a maven but not for the vast majority of yiddin who think with thier head.
    Maybe you should do your share of home work before telling us to ignore facts. Fact 1 . What hoover and others wrote about yiddish being exactly what it is. A language made up of many other languages and thereby no kedisha whatsoever is attached to it . Also the fact is the chasam sofer never considered yidish a holy language and i challenge you to show us where he actually says it to be holy. As far as what hoover wrote , its all fact . If you dont like it thats just too bad, dont kill the messenger who gives you the facts even though its against your agenda.

    #1558077

    Talmid,
    one can conjecture if one so wishes,whatever one likes

    In the Sefer B’Tuv Yerushalayim it relates that the Maharil Diskin refused to speak to a certain Talmid Chacham of Jerusalem because he used to spek only Loshon HaKodesh. Said the Maharil Diskin, “For generations we are accustomed to speaking Yiddish, not Loshon HaKodesh.”

    p.s. However it seems is disciple R’ Sonnenfeld later regretted this .He even answered the Mandate language census replying he spoke hebrew

    Of Interest,the Debreciner Rav ZL was asked about about english and he replied that “Yeshivishizing” english suffices to fulfill what the Chasam Sofer wanted. We borrow many expressions from Yiddish, Aramaic (as in l’chorah, memaileh etc) and Hebrew (like mamsh), as well as changing the usage and syntax (The usage of the word “by” in “I was by so-and-so for Shabbos” )

    #1558085

    Avi K
    Participant

    ZD,
    1. Regarding the Septuagint, the point is that it did not make Greek holy (and BTW, the lingua franca of the roman Middle East was not classical Greek but Koine Greek).
    2. The takkana to use Yiddish was a response to the Neolog (Reform) who were, as they said, more Hungarian than the Hungarians. BTW, the bachurim in Pressburg earned an external academic diploma in return for a draft exemption as theological students. This stood the Orthodox in good stead when Franz Josef was forced to sign a compromise with the Hungarians that included him speaking in Hungarian, which is an extremely difficult language, while in Hungary. The head of the Neologs spoke to him in literary Hungarian, which annoyed him very much. When the Chief Rabbi, Rav Koppel Weiss, first met him the Emperor started to rattle off his prepared speech when the rabbi interrupted him and told him in perfect German that he did not understand Hungarian. FJ patted him on the shoulder and said “We are two old gentlemen. We will never learn this language”.

    Ubi, the first generation to grow up in America also did not use Yiddish in their daily lives except for a word here and there. In any case, Yiddish was certainly not spoken by Sephardim (who mainly spoke Ladino) or the Eidot haMizrach (Judeo-Arabic). Yiddish is simply a dialect of German. in fact, I have a friend whose wife is from Switzerland. She told me that Yiddish is close enough to Swiss-German that she can understand it if the person speaks slowly.

    #1558188

    the Sefer B’Tuv Yerushalayim relates that the Maharil Diskin refused to speak to a certain Talmid Chacham of Jerusalem because he used to spek only Loshon HaKodesh. Said the Maharil Diskin, “For generations we are accustomed to speaking Yiddish, not Loshon HaKodesh.”
    p.s. However its possible that R’ Sonnenfeld later regretted this .He even answered the Mandate language census replying he spoke hebrew

    #1558197

    MDG
    Participant

    “Yidden have learnt Torah and spoken in Yiddish for a thousand years.”

    Rashi, one of the Gedolim of about 1000 years ago, spoke French. The Rif did not speak Yiddish.

    Joseph, like you said before, let’s look at the Gedolim.

    #1558218

    Joseph
    Participant

    MDG, take a majority of gedolim from the last 50 years, 100 years or 200 years — your choice — and any pick you choose an absolute majority of gedolim spoke Yiddish and learn Torah in Yiddish.

    #1558224

    MDG
    Participant

    Joseph,

    I was pointing out that your 2 statements (of Gedolim and 1000 yeats) contradict each other.

    But even in the last 200 years, why was Yiddish used? I would say for convenience; that’s what they all spoke. Not because of Kiddushah.

    And if you say Yiddish has Kidushah, at what point did this Kidushah come upon it?

    #1558228

    Joseph
    Participant

    There’s no contradiction whatsoever. For the last thousand years Yiddish has been the overwhelming chosen language over any other for both the simple yidden and for the gedolim. And for both Torah learning as well as for everyday talking.

    #1558269

    MDG
    Participant

    “”For the last thousand years …”
    More like a few hundred. Do you have any proof for more than a few hundred?

    “Yiddish has been the overwhelming chosen language …”
    Default, not chosen.

    #1558366

    Until a few short decades ago it was taken for granted that Torah
    was to be given over in Yiddish.
    And there was a strong condescension for all those who preferred any other language
    Even americans as much as Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein lectured publicly in Yiddish
    So what was the cause of the unfortunate rapid change to how it is now?Several factors .But foremost:Artscroll

    #1558361

    Avi K
    Participant

    Joseph, Rambam, Ramban, Rashaba and Ritzva did not speak creole German. Neth di the Radbaz, the Arizal. the Chida, Rav Chaim Palaggi, the Ben Ish Hai, etc. Rav Ovadia even made fun of the Ashkenazi pronunciation of Hebrew.

    It, When Rav Charlop first met Rav Kook he addressed him in creole German. Rav Kook said “Being that you are new here I will not hold it against you. However, you should know that one does not address me in Jargon”.

    I reiterate, “Yid” is a pejorative in English. Archie Bunker, in fact, used it.

    #1558353

    Joseph
    Participant

    Thousand years and chosen language.

    “Default” would’ve been the local non-Jewish language of the host country. The Yidden chose otherwise. That choice was Yiddish.

    #1558401

    Talmidchochom
    Participant

    Rabbi Zlotowitz’s kever is still fresh in the ground and you are assailing him, It is Time for Truth? WOW!

    #1558524

    MDG
    Participant

    “Thousand years and chosen language.”

    Any proof? Or just romanticizing?

    #1558525

    Avi K
    Participant

    It,
    1.Rav Lichtenstein did not come to America until age eight so English was his third language after Yiddish and French.
    2. Rav Yaakov changed the language of instruction to English in the Fifties because he felt it was too hard for kids to learn in a language they did not speak. Ditto Rav Soloveichik.

    #1558526

    MDG
    Participant

    “So what was the cause of the unfortunate rapid change to how it is now?Several factors .But foremost:Artscroll”

    Why did Artscroll use English? Because that’s what people speak. Not Yiddish.
    The original Artscroll Gemara, published about 30 years ago, had about a dozen Haskamot from various Roshei Yeshiva.

    #1558532

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Avi
    this is a side issue, Can you please help me understand your obsession with the term “Creole German” Do you think this makes you sound smart? funny?
    Even assuming it is an accurate description, any list of Languages (see google’s list, until recently there was a regents for Yiddish, Wikipedia etc all listed the language by its name not description (accurate or not)

    Do you think this obsession of yours comes from a healthy place?

    #1558537

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    It was not Art Scroll that made english dominant. Art Scroll was in response to the reality of English being an imperialistic language and the reality the english has become the dominant language of jews today.

    Anglo Countires frown upon polygottism and demand English prociciency, something that was not seen in the Alterheim with Russian, Polish, German or any other language

    #1558556

    It was perceived as understood that for Torah, English could not do it justice. This was in spite even of the fact that English has more articulate in vocabulary and one can make finer distinctions.

    ” Rav Yaakov changed the language of instruction to English in the Fifties because he felt it was too hard for kids”
    Half correct only. He recommended the older students should learn Yiddish.

    #1558561

    Joseph
    Participant

    ZD, America makes its elections and almost everything else available in Spanish and numerous other languages. America does not insist upon use of English, nor has it for the past 50 years.

    #1559315

    YosefSebrow
    Participant

    The gedolei haposkim of the last century spoke Yiddish. They also declared it a lashon chol.So I agree with Joseph- if the poskim called it a lashon chol, there can be no debate.

    #1559328

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Even among Spanish Speakers, there is a push to learn english, Most second generation Latinos are Bilingual and 3rd generation begin to lose the spanish

    #1559417

    american_yerushalmi
    Participant

    I realize that my comments won’t carry any weight with the other commenters who have an anti-Yiddish agenda. But, Rav Kook spoke to my grandparents in Yiddish, and they heard him speaking to others in Yiddish as well. So, all the stories about him only prove that he was not absolutely one way or the other. Sometimes Yiddish was OK, and other times he preferred Hebrew. And yes, both grandparents were fluent in Hebrew and Yiddish.
    Regarding Yiddish being holy, I heard the previous mashgiach of Lakewood, Rav Nosson Wachtfogel zt”l say a number of times that the Rishonim in Europe invested some “sanctity” to Yiddish (I believe he said, “a bissele mekadesh gevein”) , somewhat like the Sages “sanctified” Aramaic that was used to transmit the Torah She’baal Peh. I imagine anyone who heard the mashgiach’s shmuessen and va’adim some decades back would also have heard him say this.
    Oh, and one more thing. Nearly all languages today are “creole” — that is a mixture of tongues. Including English, and the ostensibly revered Israeli Hebrew, which nowadays is highly adulterated with English and Arabic words. among others. So, Israeli Hebrew is just as “creole” a language as Yiddish.

    #1559456

    anonymous Jew
    Participant

    The widespread adoption of Yiddish centuries ago arose from several unique factors:
    a. One has to ask, why would Jews living in the non-Germanic lands of Central and Eastern suddenly, en masse, decide to learn and speak a new language based upon a variant of medieval German? Because they brought what would become Yiddish with them. In the 14th century, renewed persecutions and atrocities drove many German Jews east to Poland ( which at the time controlled much of Eastern Europe). The Jews were still Germans by outlook and viewed their new Slavic neighbors as below them and continued to speak their native German rather than adopt the despised Slavic languages.
    b. Because, for centuries, secular governments did not interfere with the internal business of the Jews( as long as taxes were paid) most Jews never had to learn the native language except as needed for commerce.

    The same held true, until recently, in the U.S.
    People in the Lower East Side, Little Italy, Chinatown etc never needed to speak anything but Yiddish, Italian or Chinese because they never had to interact with outsiders. Today, most storesigns in Flushing Queens are in Chinese

    #1559484

    Avi K
    Participant

    AY, it is well known and documented that Rav Kook already preferred to speak in Hebrew in Volozhin. I obviously do not know how well your parents spoke Hebrew but Rav Shlomo Aviner was commented thath is grandfather was once by a rav who only spoke “Hebrew” on Shabbat. The rav would say things like “roitzeh shoitteh?” in a valiant but futile attempt. Even major talmidei chachamim made glaring mistakes in speaking (I once attended a lecture on this). Even in writing there are many grammatical errors in sefarim (e.g. נשים חשובים).

    As for having heard mussar talks (BTW “shmuess” comes from שמועות – news, not such a holy source), what about those who heard the Ben Ish Hai’s talks in Baghdad Jewish Arabic? It is said that small children were so awed that they sat quietly for hours. Does this make Baghdad Jewish Arabic holy?

    Regarding modern Hebrew, just as a person can undergo giur so can a word. The Shela haKadosh says (Sanhedrin 4b regarding “tot” and “fot”) that some words were lost from Lashon haKodesh but retained by other peoples. Perhaps by bringing them back we are bringing back the sparks of kedusha in those languages.

    #1559658

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    anti Yiddish agenda! that takes the cake!
    Cuz Yiddish is a world cause or a torah true hashkofa that people can have an agenda against it! brilliant!

    How about the fact that if someone doesn’t like something you do, your agenda is to call him anti torah and religion? How about the fact that you have tied chashivus to Yiddish so now you give yourself permission to knock anyone with a personal opinion against it. A perfectly valid dislike or distate. To the point that some of the posters have actually called degrading or derogatory terms/names to people who view it that way. Assuming those who don’t attach chashivus to Yiddish *must* have some serious anti Torah “agenda”, or at least an anti-semetic one.
    Do these made up attachments extend to other things as well? Is there a chance those great defenders of Yiddish- in the name of defending the actual Torah – have just made up yet another venue for knocking people who just don’t quite make the grade?

    #1559706

    Seyag,zdad,ysebrow,avi k
    Should those who are linguistically inept be deemed entitled to have an opinion of worth ?
    Of more import,the leaders of recent generations felt that the weighted traditions of countless doros can only be transmitted well with Yiddish
    far better than English and/or even modern ivrit

    #1559715

    Talmidchochom
    Participant

    And this my friends is why we have once again the three weeks, the nine days, and tisha b’av. Read the more recent posts and see how this has turned ugly and personal. So we can go through the rituals of no music, no shaving, no meat, fasting and all these customs which are rote on an annual basis and do not bring us any closer to what the bein hamitzarim is really about:ELIMINATING SINAH (Hatred). There cannot exist a frank discussion about yiddish and its holiness, if any, without people getting hot under the collar and getting nasty and personal. So, we will go through another year of speeches and sermons and kinos and fasting,etc. And what does it all mean? Zilch. Have a meaningful fast (HA!)

    #1559717

    anonymous Jew,
    though this the popular refrain ,actually it is largely incorrect
    There was a dialect for those jewish extraction in Slavic lands during the
    early and mid medieval period.The name, Knaanic should about say it all
    as opposed to Yudish (Slavicized to Yiddish)
    And there was something more than only sentimental in Yiddish for those immigrated to North America

    #1559745

    Talmid,
    Could it be hate or could it be tough love?

    Was there a someone who wrote “so much tipshus”..hmmm?
    My apologies however, if a little strong, to ysebrow who does seem on other threads like an ehrliche jew

    #1559945

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    My apologies however, if a little strong, to ysebrow who does seem on other threads like an ehrliche jew

    What is the opposite of an Ehrilicher Jew?

    #1560563

    TheFakeMaven
    Participant

    We’re all sort of speaking over each other. We must first define A) what does ‘holy’ mean, B) what makes something holy. After we have these defined it should be rather simple to see if yiddish is or is not holy.

    #1560566

    “What is the opposite of an Ehrilicher Jew?”

    They take in many shades and colours ,internal and external,some suave and articulate ,some less so. For a common denominator cf.story of king Yannai
    Kiddushin 66

    #1560605

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    So someone who speaks english , Hebrew or a different secular language is a Rasha if they dont speak Yiddish

    #1560658

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    ITFT – is there any reason your posts are so nasty? It’s really that awful for you that someone doesn’t support the Yiddish language that you have to resort to so much rudeness? this is not tough love, you must not be familiar with what that actually is.
    You seriously throw a demeaning statement like this out – “Should those who are linguistically inept be deemed entitled to have an opinion of worth ?” when many of your posts are filled with incorrect spelling, incorrect use of punctuation and words and an obvious demonstration that English is not your first language.

    take a step or two back and pack up your slingshot. There are much more legitimate causes to defend.

    #1560718

    Avi K
    Participant

    1. Something is holy if it has at least one hole. In Jerusalem, for example, there is a chain of food stores called “The Holy Bagel”. It becomes holy when one puts a hole in it.

    2. If someone’s name is Ehrlich and he does aveirot should he change his name.

    3. What is “linguistically inept”? Jews in Antwerp typically speak six languages (Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, Flemish and German). Is someone who only speaks five linguistically inept?

    #1560750

    What we are dealing with are Aspirations and hashkapha
    not people’s frailties

    There many non Yiddish speakers who are exemplary jews.In fact pound for pound probably the non Yiddish speakers may have a better record than do Yiddish speakers.
    No one is bad or evil simply because they lack Yiddish in their repertoire

    It’s as personal only as much as you choose to make it so
    Having said all that ,there are many here with a proven track record of agendae which belies that their objectivity for this and for more important topics than Yiddish

    #1560757

    Talmidchochom
    Participant

    Avi K’s post is by far the most intelligent comment yet on this subject.

    #1561079

    knaidlach
    Participant

    ?אפשר זאל די דיסקוסיע אויף דער געביט זיין אין אידיש

    #1561299

    Joseph
    Participant

    Yasher Koach It is Time for Truth for all your many excellent posts here.

    #1561332

    YosefSebrow
    Participant

    I’m willing to believe Rav Matisyahu Solomon said that. There were even similar statements from Rav Avigdor Miller zt”l as Joseph can attest.
    BUT…neither of them are bigger than the Mishna Brura. And the Mishna Brura called it a lashon chol.
    So in psak this debate is over. Nobody can argue on him. Me’kennisht hubben kein machloikes vayl der mishna brura hut gepaskent.

    Now, to be honest, Rav Solomon and Rav Evigdor miller zt”l are not arguing. They are holding it’s a lashon chol but still holier than English in some ways, a hashkafic nafka mina not a halachic. I’m maskim kana”l. But lemai nafka mina? I went through the possibilities one by one and eliminated all but one of them, even if you hold it’s holy.

    They didn’t mean to use it as an elitist litmus test, that if you can’t speak Yiddish you’re just a worthless Harry and on a lower level. They meant that all things being equal there’s a preference for Yiddish, but not that it’s holier than lashon hakodesh or you are yotzei reading a tefila in Yiddish if you don’t understand. Unless someone paskens you should spend 500+ hours learning Yiddish instead of Torah, this whole subject has no shaychus anymore. It’s not spoken in Litvish circles anymore. In terms of lomdishe geoynus, Rav Asher Arieli’s shiurim are amazing. Linguistically, a rebbe of mine who shtammed fun Europe and listened to his shiurim on tape hated Rav Arieli’s Yiddish, as it uses just a small subset of Yiddish, and not used like a native would use it. It’s creole Yiddish, not the reyne shprach spoken by those who were born in der alter heim. Another rebbe of mine whose father came from Europe told me it hurts his ears hearing the way Yiddish is spoken in Lakewood. He knows how it should be spoken, and the handful of words mixed in with other languages may be yeshivish but it isn’t mame loshn.
    קען איך אידיש גאנץ פיין ,אבער עס איז נישט קיין היילעגע שפראך

    #1561333

    YosefSebrow
    Participant

    Addendum- Rav Yisroel Salanter refers to Yiddish as “zhargon” (jargon) in his letters. Yiddish was looked down upon as an Ebonics of its time, neither pure German nor pure Lashon koidesh, the language of the course balagalos. In the Reb Velvel biography volume one, it shows how Reb Chaim would tell little Velvele “breng mir der mayim” instead of “breng mir der vasser” because he wanted his son to know loshon koidesh. The Reb Chaims I break my teeth on every day are written in loshon koidesh not Yiddish. This is on top of the mishna brura’s ironclad psak as the poseik acharon that it wasn’t holy.

    I’m going to move on from this topic, but soif kol soif- oyb vilstu zugn is yiddish iz a heileger shprach, bistu dingen zich oyf der heilige Mishna Brura. Hayitochen?!

    #1561381

    Avi K
    Participant

    Ubi, in fact, I have considered petitioning the German Research Foundation to include Yiddish along with Rabaul Creole German (Unserdeutsch) as a German creole. Perhaps a few of the posters here can apply for grants.

    Yosef, would they also tell Sephardim that there is a preference for Yiddish?

    #1561393

    Avi, when a frum Jew says “Yid,” he’s saying it in Yiddish.

    #1561412

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Avi
    That wasn’t related to my question.

    My question again is “Can you please help me understand your obsession with the term “Creole German” Do you think this makes you sound smart? funny?
    Even assuming it is an accurate description, any list of Languages (see google’s list, until recently there was a regents for Yiddish, Wikipedia etc all listed the language by its name not description (accurate or not)”

    You seem to really hate yiddish, I’m wondering why.
    I get not viewing it as important, let alone “holy” but why the hate?

    #1561413

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “So in psak this debate is over. Nobody can argue on him. Me’kennisht hubben kein machloikes vayl der mishna brura hut gepaskent.”

    I love that to make your point sound more authoritative, you repeated it in yiddish

    #1561419

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    You seem to really hate yiddish, I’m wondering why.

    Do you really wonder why?

    #1561425

    cherrybim
    Participant

    Any language which is spoken primarily by Yidden is holy; currently this would include Loshon Hakodesh and Yiddish, to the exclusion of every other language.

    #1561431

    izzyg
    Participant

    Rav Aharon Lichtenstein was my classmate at YU studying under Rav Y D Soloveitchik, who gave his shiur in Yiddish. That may be why Rav AHaron gave his shiurim in Yidish too. After I had left YU I foud out that the Rav stopped using Yiddish because the younger generation no longer understood it. I am not sure if he switched to English or Hebrew [perhaps someone can enlighten us from his experience at Yu?]
    When I was in the Rabbinate I spoke twice a year in Yiddish [Shabbos HaGadol and Shabbos Teshuivah] just to keep “in touch” – to the delight of several old-timers in my shul.
    The seforim I wrote are all in English – and b’h sold out.

    #1561585

    Avi K
    Participant

    Ubi,
    1. Yiddish is a relic of a galut for which there should be zero nostalgia.
    2. All this nonsense about Yiddish being holy is racist – and I am half-Sephardic.

    Cherry, what about Ladino (spoken by Judíos)?

    Izzyg, how did the younger members feel about that?

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