Waiting for the Lord

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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)

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link of New Jersey, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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