Yiddish at Siyum hashas

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    @BP27 Assuming your right which i cant recall as it is 7 years ago, my issue was mostly with the phone call translation system. I dont mind a yiddish speaker if you have subtitles. Rabbi Biderman from Bnai Brach speaks in hebrew and they always have subtitles when he speaks which is great. I dont see why they couldnt have it at the siyum

    . you are misinformed. I think you are forgetting how big the siyum was. further even amongst yiddish speakers there are different dialects. If there were more yiddish speakers dont you think youd see a majority of daf yomi classes in yiddish? wouldnt yiddish shiurim be substantially more popular than english ones, wouldnt there be more yiddish speaking rabbis giving shiurim than there are.

    further Yiddish while it may be a Jewish language is not a Holy language. Think of how many yiddish words the non yiddish speaker generally knows. about half of them are cuss words.

    Even assuming for the sake of argument you are correct, why cant they have subtitles?


    fg33: No, because those who use English as a first language but Yiddish as a second language mostly go to English daf yomi. But they know Yiddish. Additionally, there is probably close to parity in English version Yiddish daf yomi. Don’t forget to count KJ, New Square, Williamsburg, Boro Park etc.

    Avi K

    1. Like what does an English speaker look?
    2. If they are part of the same group it is simple courtesy that all speak in the common language. Otherwise you are outing those who do not understand. I participate in shiurim given in Hebrew with other English speakers. In the framework of the shiur we all speak to each other in Hebrew.
    3. If one wants to compare with programs in English in Israel then have a separate Yiddish event.
    4. The CS’s takkana certainly only applied to Hungary. It probably no longer applies even there as almost no one in Hungary understands Yiddish. Moreover, takkanot often fall into disuse. There was a takkana that no single man between the ages of 20 and 60 could live in Jerusalem. it was universally ignored until finally Rav Ovadia convened a special bet din to repeal it.


    It is very sad that the American Frum Community (or a very large percentage of it) speaks only English, a language foreign to yiddishkeit, and their (not there) English is poor to boot. A Jew should be fluent in modern Hebrew , spoken by ALL frum Jews in EY, including Neturei Karta, Briskers, and Chassidim.
    In addition, a Jew should be fluent in Yiddish, the spoken language of Ashkenazic Jewry for hundreds of years, and a wonderful facilitator of bonding. I myself greatly regret not having learned Yiddish.
    But Yiddish at the Siyum Hashas? I’m all for it.

    Old Crown Heights

    Yiddish words and phrases such as
    – Raboisai mir vellen bentchen (Gentleman we will say grace)
    – Itzt iz men mechabed (We now honor)
    – (So and so) ruft a sholem zochor (Announces the welcoming of a male offspring)
    – Yartzeit (Death anniversary)
    are as much part of my Judaism as Purim and Chanukah …
    Getting rid of Yiddish for the expediency of English is like tearing down an ornate, functional, landmarked mansion and replacing it with an up to code sterile apartment building with central air and gated parking.


    we weren’t talking about Germans in Frankfurt understanding Yiddish, we were talking about Swiss in 1970
    Stop trying to start arguments about nothing

    You had nothing to add to my post and trying to prove others wrong by changing facts and situations is obnoxious.
    In the future please scroll on by my posts as I shall do with anything you write


    Ivrit is no different or more special than any other language that serves a particular country or region. Like Farsi, French, English or Arabic.


    1!. “ugly Americans” Your words
    2. Meh. Granted the bulk of conversation should be in a language all understand, but normal people don’t get bent out of shape if for a few minutes “landsmen” converse in their preffered language.
    Anyway this whole analogy is faulty. A better example is a table where 2 guests one speaks Hebrew and the other speaks English, and the English speaker insists ALL conversation be in English
    3. I dont understand. So do that! is anybody stopping you from hosting an English only (Love that this is somehow more inclusive) event? Go for it. Who is stopping you ?
    4. “It probably no longer applies even there as almost no one in Hungary understands Yiddish. ” I already got this psak from Moreinu Harav Zahavasdad shlita and I will no longer yell and shout when my Rabbi speaks in English. That said, (and this may surprie you) but not all chasidim follow your and his esteemed psak. You say “Moreover, takkanot often fall into disuse.” not this one. you will not find a n Eglish speech by an ungarisher chasidus to this day


    ” since most hungrians probably dont speak Yiddish, but rather speak english”

    I’m not sure what you mean. Rest assured you will not find a public speech in English in a Satmar, Spink, Viznitz, munkatch etc Shtibel.

    Not every Hungarian jew comes from those communites, plenty do not. Technically you could call me Hungarian and none of my family had anything to do with any of those Chassidic groups (That part of my family comes from Romania which is considered Oberlander)


    It is very sad that the American Frum Community (or a very large percentage of it) speaks only English, a language foreign to yiddishkeit,

    Languages fall into disuse all the time, I mean how many jews Speak Aramaic?

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    “Stop trying to start arguments about nothing”
    Lol, how on earth do you figure he started that? This all started from your assertion that your anti-yiddishist grandmother’s opinions are binding on all of us for some reason.

    Avi: I can’t speak from numbers, but it seems like a far higher percentage of the frum, Hungarian community speaks yiddish than the Russian/Lithuanian community. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a majority, especially if you count Chassidim.


    Perhaps some creative yungerleit could provide a real time English translation that would be flashed on to a large and easily visible screen behind the speaker. Hopefully, as time goes on, more of the rabbonim at these events that are designed to appeal to ALL segments of the tzibur will feel comfortable speaking in English.


    ZD: Chasidim from Hungary (who obviously speak Yiddish) are a majority of Hungarian Jews overall today, given their vastly higher birthrate over the last 65 years.

    Additionally, Hungarian Jewry had a much higher survival rate than Lithuanian Jewry, as the Nazis took over Lita much earlier in the war whereas they only took over Hungary less than a year before the war ended.


    CTLawyer, you claimed that German is better than Yiddish because your German-speaking sister could function in Switzerland while her Yiddish-speaking friends could not. I pointed out that German dialects are very different, and while the Swiss dialect is very different from Yiddish (and from standard German) , the Frankfurt dialect is very similar, so similar that I, speaking a Litvisher Yiddish but no German, could communicate readily there. I’m sure I’d be lost in Switzerland or in Hamburg. I also pointed out that the Swiss dialect is also very different from standard German, so the fact that your sister’s German worked there was probably because so many Swiss learn standard German in school.


    Plenty of Litvaks survived the war in Shanghai and the largest group of Holocaust surviviors was people who went east beyond where the German army ever got (Over 1 million jews survived this way)

    Chabad might be the largest chassidic group and they are from Galacia, not Oberland


    Today’s Chabad only has a tiny segment that survived from prewar Lubavitch. Depending on how you count them, most of them are or descend from relatively recent BTs. The old time chasidim (they have a special name for them) are only a small portion. They’re the fourth largest chasidus, with Satmar being the largest with over 200,000 chasidim worldwide. While Satmar chasidim are also mostly from joining after the war, those that joined Satmar were mostly of Hungarian (including Romania, Czechsolovakian/Carpathian, historical Hungarian lands) stock.

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    What’s your point? I don’t see how what you said connects to anything.

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    “The old time chasidim (they have a special name for them) ”


    ZD, Chabad comes from Litte, not Galicia. (In Jewish terms, Litte refers not to the modern Republic of Lithuania but to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which included what later became known as White Russia, and is now called Belarus.) That is where Chabad’s origins are. Vitebsk is in the far east of Belarus, and Lubavitch itself is now just over the border inside Russia. Anyone whose family comes from northern or eastern Belarus is likely to be descended from Chabad chassidim, but the majority of today’s Chabad is from people who joined after WW2 or more recently.


    Slightly off topic. To those who say that Hebrew isn’t lashon hakodesh that’s just nonsense. All the roots are the same. If you learn dikduk you have a tremendous advantage in understanding the Torah for one not to mention rishon and aharonim. Obviously the exact words aren’t always used but let’s be real, just because vayedaber or vayomer aren’t used doesn’t make daber or amar not lashon hakodesh. This is the most ridiculous claim I’ve ever heard. An American child has a huge disadvantage to an Israeli child when they start to learn. It isn’t only because their yeshivot are more intense it’s because they know the language of the Torah.


    I personally prefer the English speeches.
    Agudas Yisroel hosts the siyum. At the head of Agudah sit the chassidish Rebbe’s and Litvish Rosh Yeshivas. They believe ( right or wrong) that Yiddish is a holy language. The Chassidim who come expect to hear their Rebbe speak in their holy language. I don’t know if Litvishe people expect the same from their Roshei Yeshiva, but I assume that the Roshei Yeshiva prefer Yiddish.
    Personally, I agree with the posters who would prefer an English event.


    Avi k
    It’s not a far out assumption that an Israeli speaks English, they almost all do. You practically can’t access the internet unless you know English …

    To those who say every Jew should know Yiddish. You live in a box.


    rational: You wrote ” English, a language foreign to yiddishkeit”. Remember that yiddish was also foreign to yiddishkeit before Jews moved to the germanic countries approximately 1000 years ago. Moshe Rabeinu did not bring it down with the luchos from Sinai.


    Mulhouse: You’re saying the in the prewar period a majority of Jews living in the entire northern and eastern Belarus were Lubavitcher Chasidim?

    Avi K

    1. Once I was at a seuda for a berit mila where someone spoke in English. I was asked to translate by two people. Probably more would have but they already surrounded me.
    2. The fact that someone can more or less read a language does not mean that he can speak it or even understand it when spoken. I can more or less read French (sometimes more, sometimes less) but I cannot hold a conversation in it and I only understand a small part when I hear it spoken. In fact, those graduate programs that have foreign language requirements only require reading knowledge. Similarly, there are jobs in Israel where only the ability to read professional literature in English is required. I had a teacher for a computer course who said that he could read a manual that lay native English speakers cannot read but not the Jerusalem Post.

    Grey matter

    Does anyone still object to having some speeches in Yiddish? Does anyone still take issue with the way the siyums are conducting in terms of language


    Joseph, yes, before WW1 and the Russian civil war, the majority of Jews living in the entire northern and eastern Belarus were Lubavitcher Chasidim.


    BP27-“As I said two Yiddish speeches, out of 11” You actually forgot about the speech given by the Klausenberger Rebbe which was over 15 minutes. That would make 3.5 speeches out of 12 in Yiddish. That is close to 30% which is a significant number. Especially if you consider the number of people who need to sit like golems during those speeches. Even if the total amount of Yiddish speeches is not more than 45-50 minutes if you multiply that by 50,000 we are talking about ten of thousands of hours shot. Think about how the halachos that relate to tircha ditzibura are much much shorter than that. If chazal take tircha detzibura so seriously shouldn’t we?

    Let’s stay focused. This is not a question of “Yiddish: good for the Jews or bad for the Jews?”. The question is this the place to push the Yiddish issue?

    Everyone has a tendency to look at their own personal surroundings and assume that the rest of the Jewish world is like that too. Ex: Joseph thinks the majority of Jews in America are Yiddish speaking chasidim. The obvious reality is very different. Orthodox Jews make up maybe 10-15% of Jews in America with Chasidim only a portion of that. Even amongst the attendees of the siyum hashas (granted it is mostly Orthodox) I think the chasisidim are under-represented compared to their total percentage of the Orthodox population. To imagine more than 50% of the attendees are fluent Yiddish speakers is ignoring reality.

    However many the actual numbers are, when someone gets up and speaks in Yiddish he is essentially saying to those who can’t understand “please pardon me while I ignore you for the next 15 minutes”


    Her is a crazy idea. Instead of kvetching and complaining why dont you spend some time over the next 191 days until the siyum learning yiddish?


    CTRebbe – If you think that 50% of attendees of the Siyum Hashas don’t understand Yiddish, you are quite mistaken.

    I agree that the Chassidim are under represented at the Siyum HaShas. Having almost all the speeches in Yiddish, is only going to make them have less of a reason to attend.

    No one said that the majority of Jews speak Yiddish. Obviously, we are referring to Orthodox Jews, particularly those in the tri state area that would make the bulk of the attendees. Yes, it is fair to day that the VAST majority of those understand Yiddish.

    To be honest, I don’t care one way or another. I have no intention of attending. I plan on going to the Dirshu siyum, where my guess is that almost all of the speeches will be in Yiddish, with no complaints.

    Reb Eliezer

    Yiddish is the language of unity which most Jews of the world speak, so I would expect the CTRebbe to speak yiddish.



    “when someone gets up and speaks in Yiddish he is essentially saying to those who can’t understand “please pardon me while I ignore you for the next 15 minutes”

    Assuming that’s true, I still don’t understand why that is worse than ignoring the Yiddish speakers for 3 hours.
    Can you please explain?

    Git Meshige

    When in Rome, do as the Romans. Aguda is an organization founded by Yiddish speaking individuals. Most of the Moetzes are Yiddish speaking people so it makes sense to incorporate that language at an event that they are hosting. If you want an English speaking event, go to an event run by YU or NCSY


    Ubiquitin- Perhaps it is a pointless argument if we can not get real numbers and each of us is just giving our estimates. However you can look at the videos of the last siyum and see the crowd. Best shots of this are when they show everybody dancing. My guess is that there are less than 100 participants who do not speak English. I also guess that a minimum of 20-30,000 do not understand a Yiddish speech. You can best see the crowd during the dancing. Another two points to consider

    1. The number of Yiddish speakers in America drops significantly every year. 7.5 years later means a big drop.

    2. Keep in mind all of the people participating remotely from around the world listening to the same program in real time. The percentage of Yiddish speakers in these areas is even less.

    My point was to not be concerned (too much) about the miut sheaino matzui (can’t understand English) and do be considerate of the tens of thousands who can not understand Yiddish.

    _in response to lowertuition-I would rather spend the time trying to learn the real focus of the siyum- limud Hatorah


    I’m wondering where Joseph gets his claim that the majority of American Orthodox Jews are Chassidim. There are Chassidim whose first language is English. There are also many American Chassidim (especially the males) whose knowledge of English is rudimentary at best. It’s interesting that Chassidish women tend to be more fluent in English than the men, while among Hispanics (at least in my limited experience), it’s the opposite.

    Avi K

    Laskern, that is utter nonsense. Only a small minority even understand more than a few words of Yiddish.

    Git, actually a large number of the founders of Aguda were German-speaking followers of Rav S.R. Hirsch. In any case, the founders of the Talmud were Hebrew and Aramaic speakers. Those is EY also spoke Koine Greek. Should speeches have been made in all of those languages?


    “I also guess that a minimum of 20-30,000 do not understand a Yiddish speech.”

    This is way far fetched. At most 15% don’t comprehend any Yiddish.

    “1. The number of Yiddish speakers in America drops significantly every year. 7.5 years later means a big drop.”

    This is the opposite of reality. Chasidim with their much higher birth rate are an increasing majority of American Orthodox Jews. And hence the Yiddish speaking proportion of American Orthodox Jews is increasingly rising.

    Jersey Jew

    Yabia wtvr, Hebrew!?! Are you kidding???? I’ll bet LESS people in the USA can follow a drusha in Hebrew then in Yiddish.

    Since the OP asked about Yiddish, let me tell you a 100% emes story from the last siyum. When the Klozenberger Rebbe was speaking in YIDDISH, I was standing near the 50 Yard line taking to the person who ran the Meadowlands Sports Complex and the person who oversaw MetLife Stadium. The gentleman from the Meadowlands looked at me and said, “I don’t know what he’s saying but one thing I do know from good speech. He is very very passionate.”

    If the goy could “הער” and “דעהער” it in Yiddish so could you for a few minutes.


    “My point was to not be concerned (too much) about the miut sheaino matzui (can’t understand English) ”

    Love it! all inn the name of creating a “unifying event ”

    There were probably a roughly equal number of Yiddish only and English only speakers (by which I mean those who can understand yiddish) at the Siyum last time.

    “Git, actually a large number of the founders of Aguda were German-speaking ”

    Lol, I thought you view Yiddish as a form of German, I love how you forget your vitriol, when it doesnt fit your agenda.

    Avi K

    JJ, you lifted that from the story of the Chafetz Chaim and the President of Poland. In an case, presumably the idea was to encourage people to learn. His points were obviously lost on those who do not understand creole German.

    Ubiquitin, Yiddish is broken German. Agnon wrote a story about a Polish rabbi who went to Germany for medical treatment and was constantly corrected when he tried to speak to the locals.


    Round and round we go. People here are making claims about how many Yiddish speakers were at the last Siyum Hashas, but I very much doubt if anybody knows. Perhaps there should be a checkbox on the ticket form so there will be some facts. Agudath Israel has set up a website (in English only, it seems) for the Siyum, and it says “ticket reservations coming soon.”


    “Ubiquitin- Perhaps it is a pointless argument…”

    so don’t argue, You asked a question:
    “Can anyone explain the objective of having speeches in Yiddish at the siyum hashas for Daf yomi in America?”

    you have received several answers:
    1) A large percentage of Klal Yisroel, Bnei Torah, Orthodox Jews, speak Yiddish as their first language.
    2) Even for those who it isnt their primary language, as several posters have attested, most understand Yiddish
    3) Tradition!
    4) Furthermore, to many chasidim especially Hungarians there is an issur the first of the takanos michalovityz reads “אסור לדרוש דרשה בלשון אומות העולם”
    5) Agudas Yisroel hosts the siyum. At the head of Agudah sit the chassidish Rebbe’s and Litvish Rosh Yeshivas. They believe ( right or wrong) that Yiddish is a holy language.

    These are all fantastic answers. If you want an English only event (to be more inclusive of course) start your own.

    Yechi Hamelech

    Zahavasdad: “Chabad might be the largest chassidic group and they are from Galacia, not Oberland”
    Milhouse: “ZD, Chabad comes from Litte, not Galicia. ”

    Okay, you guys are both wrong – Chabad comes from Russia, and as a Lubavitcher chossid, i think my opinion counts the most. You guys ought to brush up on your Chassidic history trivia before you start posting your false information on public forums….


    The bickering here is fun by entirely besides the point.

    Clearly the siyum attendees, much like the posters here will have strong opinions whether the droshos should be in English or Yiddish.

    Unlike the posters here, they provide a simple solution in order to keep sholom: simultaneous translation.

    Some complained that they couldn’t hear on their phones but the solution is just as simple: bring along big headphones and plug in to your phone.

    In the UK siyum they don’t rely on phones but have a radio broadcast system with special headphones which seems to work just fine

    So mods, can we close the thread? 🙂



    “So mods, can we close the thread?”

    could you please help me understand why?

    You acknowledge “The bickering here is fun” Why not fargin others some fun?


    Hartman’s Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation: “any article or statement about correct grammar, punctuation, or spelling is bound to contain at least one eror”.

    I wondered if the misspelling of “error” was in the original; it isn’t. (I really should have
    realized that it wasn’t an exact copy of the original from its not starting with a capital.
    Also, the statement isn’t itself about correct g/p/s, so that wouldn’t be a valid joke.)

    Yabia Omer

    Ubq: “Why not fargin others some fun?”

    Is fargin where the Hebrew word Lefargen (to compliment) comes from?


    As someone who tried to follow the simultaneous translations at more than one siyum Hshas and at the citifield event I can tell you that it is very difficult to follow and understand. The translator is struggling to keep up with the speech and translate at the same time. Perhaps if the translators were given a text of the speeches ahead of time it might work but that does not seem to be the case. I do not fault the translators as it is indeed a difficult task to translate with one ear, talk at the same time and to also give over the right inflection of the speaker.

    Avi K

    DC, you are also wrong. It comes from Belarus.

    YO, it is indeed the origin of the Hebrew word. However, the Hebrew word does not mean “to compliment”. That is להחמיא.
    לפרגן means “to indulge” or “to encourage” (Miriam Adahan would call it “to endorse”).


    How do any translators do it? Whether live at United Nations speeches for all the world representatives speaking different languages or when world leaders are speaking up each other in different languages, often in public, or any other number of examples.

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