Monday, October 12, 2009

Sukkot side effect

See also my Sukkot highlights (dinner in the Lennhoff's sukkah, Hoshanah Rabbah at the Carlebach Shul) and Simchat Torah: lows and highs (evening in the home shul, morning at Ansche Chesed).

Apparently, I don't have enough hands: What with juggling a lulav in one hand and a tote bag full of etrog box, mini-siddur/prayer book (which I use for catching up on my prayers on the subway), tallit (prayer shawl), and, because I was afraid to put them away lest I forget them when I needed them, tefillin, in the other hand, I somehow managed to lose my recently-purchased Koren Sacks mini-siddur. :(

So, this morning, I got onto the subway with my ArtScroll mini-siddur instead. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there were words in the "l'olam y'hei adam . . . " b'rachah/blessing, which I know practically by heart, that I'd never seen before. I began to wonder whether ArtScroll Publishing was becoming even more right-wing Orthodox, making the prayers even longer.

It finally dawned on me that I should do something intelligent and check the spine of the siddur. Surprise, surprise--not: The siddur that I'd taken was Nusach S'fard. (To the best of my knowledge, Nusach S'fard is a combination of the Nusach Ashkenaz wording traditionally used by Ashkenazi Jews and the Nusach shel HaS'faradim used by S'fardi Jews, and was originally used only by Chassidim, who are Ashkenazi). I'd completely forgotten that I'd originally bought my mini-ArtScroll siddur as a reference book--at the time, I was using it primarily to try to figure out the lyrics to some of (sometime-blogger PsychoToddler) Mark's Nusach S'fard songs. Tomorrow, back to my "baby Birnbaum" siddur--I had enough trouble learning to davven/pray in Nusach Ashkenaz!


Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

Condolences on your loss. Yes, nusach sephard is younger than nusach ashkenaz, based on merging of NA with the Sephardi nusach, was done largely by mystically inclined rabbis, and is recited by Chassidic and Hungarian congregations primarily. (I'm less sure of the latter - what is the origin of Agudat Yisrael, which davens nusach sephard?).

It is interesting to note that the contemporary nusach sephard does not represent the work of any one rabbi, rather the works of many were rather haphazardly put together. Dov Bear has something to say about this.

Mon Oct 12, 11:20:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Larry, thanks for your kind thoughts and your link to DB's post, though it may take me 'til *next* Sukkot to read all the comments. :)

Mon Oct 12, 12:56:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous jdub said...

Not sure what you mean by Agudat Yisrael (which they would object to, since almost all of them would say Agudas Yisroel). If you mean the Agudah as a movement, I don't think you are correct. Many, if not most, daven nusach ashkenaz. If you mean the specific one in HP, I have no clue, other than the founder(s) are probably of a chassideshe bent.

Mon Oct 12, 01:30:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

posts, not post. Each link is to a particular article.
And you're welcome.

Mon Oct 12, 01:58:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...


Thanks. I had assumed Agudah was like Young Israel in that they had a unified nusach - I didn't realize it could vary from shul to shul. I assumed the Motzes (the council of Torah Sages) determined that sort of thing. Interesting that the choice of nusach is left open. The Aguda in HP definitely davens nusach sephard from the amud, although people in the tzibbur will have nusach ashkenaz, nusach sephard, and Lubavitch siddurim to pray from.

Mon Oct 12, 02:00:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Oh, thanks for pointing that out--I though you were just linking to DB's blog in general, rather than to a separate post. (That'll teach me--next time, just click, lest you miss something.)

Yet another 50-some comments to read. :)

Mon Oct 12, 02:02:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous Miami Al said...

OTOH, if you occaisionally Daven with a Sephardic minyan when things come up, but not often enough to be able to switch to an ACTUAL Sephardic service, I keep a Nusach Sephard Artscroll as a useful cheat.

Most of the areas where you publicly will notice a difference, Nusach Sefard follows Sephardic customs. I find that a little easier than using my normal Nusach Ashkenaz and following along, since most of what they are doing that I'm not used to is there...

And I'm sure that's a totally blaspahmous reason to have 2 Nusach Sefard siddurim on my bookshelf.

Mon Oct 12, 02:03:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous jdub said...

Larry: The Moetzes ha'Gedolei haTorah is made up of both misnagdishe roshei yeshiva, as well as rebbes from Belz, Boston, Vishnitz, Ger, Modzitz and a few others. So there is no unified nusach.

Al: If i'm going to be confused, I'd rather just be completely confused and go full out Sephardi. It makes me pay closer attention since it's so different from NA. If I go NS, I wind up davening mostly by heart, with the siddur as a cheat sheet, since it all looks the same!

Mon Oct 12, 02:52:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Oops, I seem to have missed one comment while replying to another one. :)

It's interesting that one can walk into different Agudas Yisroel synagogues and not know which nusach they'll be using.

For the record, the reason why I don't know Nusach S'fard is that the old Silverman (Conservative) Siddur, on which I was raised, was Nusach Ashkenaz, and, to the best of my knowledge, the current Conservative siddur, Siddur Sim Shalom is also Nusach Ashkenaz. To the best of my knowledge, the Conservative Movement simply doesn't use Nusach S'fard. Even the Reconstructionist Movement, which is an offshot of the Conservative Movement, uses Nusach Ashkenaz, and, for that matter, I think the (North American) Reform Movement's prayer books are also Nusach Ashkenaz. Nusach S'fard seems to be the exclusive province of certain Orthodox communities, at least in North America.

Miami Al, a Nusach S'fard Siddur might, indeed, be a good "cheat" for an Ashkenazi Jew who occasionally davens with S'fardim.

I'd go you one better--not only do I own a Nusach S'fard siddur, I also own a DeSola Poole Nusach shel HaS'faradim siddur ("Western" S'fardi). I have no idea how different the Western Nusach is from the nusach of "Eastern" S'fardi and/or Nusach B'nei Edot haMizrach/Children of the Communities of the East, such as Syrian, "Persian" (that's what they call themselves) and Iraqi Jews.

Mon Oct 12, 02:57:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Hears a good chuckle for all of you: When I went to the Carlebach Shul for Hoshanah Rabbah, I took my own siddur as a precaution, lest they not have enough to go around. Being under the impression that more Orthodox synagogues use the ArtScroll Siddur than the Birnbaum, I took my mini-ArtScroll. When we got to the Musaf Kedushah, I realized immediately that it was the Nusach S'fard version, but assumed that it was a special Musaf just for Hoshanah Rabbah. Hey, if we can have a special P'sukei D'Zimrah that's used for Hoshanah Rabbah only, why not a special Musaf? :) It wasn't until I saw the Birkot HaShachar section this morning that it finally dawned on me that the whole siddur was Nusach S'fard.

Mon Oct 12, 03:06:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous jdub said...

I think it's more that the conservative siddurim are based on nusach ashkenaz, but it is inaccurate to call it nusach ashkenaz since they differ in some/many respects, esp Sim Shalom, which makes many real changes. I think it's more accurate to state that where the conservative siddurim kept the traditional text, it was from nusach ashkenaz.

Mon Oct 12, 03:18:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"I think it's more accurate to state that where the conservative siddurim kept the traditional text, it was from nusach ashkenaz." JDub, that sounds right.

Mon Oct 12, 03:22:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous Miami Al said...

Jdub, given the background you've hinted at, it's safe to say that your Hebrew is MUCH better than mine. The situation comes up infrequently enough that I'd bring my own Siddur anyway, so grabbing the Nusach Sefard off the shelf helps me a bit and doesn't throw me for a loop.

Given that the Conservative movement, though technically an offshoot of Reform by chart, was formed using JTS as the core Rabbinate, a formerly Orthodox institution, it's not unreasonable that Conservative Tefillah would be adapted from the Nusach Ashkenaz used by American Orthodoxy.

The Conservative movement has nearly zero interaction with the Hassidic world of Nusach Sefard, and only slightly more with the Chareidi world borrowing from it, so I wouldn't expect much influence from there.

When the Hassidic and Chareidi worlds were establishing itself here and then creating a school system where they could teach the revisionist history that our modern students learn, the Conservative Movement was already established as the dominate form of American Judaism and had little need to return to the Orthodox world for scholarship or authorship.

To the relatively uneducated laity in the Reform/Conservative movements, they don't think Nusach, they think: Reform = mostly in English, Conservative = lots more Hebrew, Orthodox = all Hebrew. The fact that you can have an Orthodox service be 75% English wouldn't fit in their world view, since Nusach and custom isn't a part of it, they read the book that the Synagogue puts in the Pews on the page called out. :)

Tue Oct 13, 12:07:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"Given that the Conservative movement, though technically an offshoot of Reform by chart . . ." My understanding is that the Conservative Movement broke off from the Reform Movement because, in the US, the Reform Movement became much more radical than it had been in Europe. The idea was to conserve a more traditional form of Judaism, hence the name of this US-born denomination.

"was formed using JTS as the core Rabbinate, a formerly Orthodox institution, . . ." Legend--I don't know whether it's true or not--has it that Yeshiva University dropped its plan to honor its oldest graduate after they realized that said graduate was Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan, a long-time faculty member at (what's now the Conservative Movement's) Jewish Theological Seminary, and, later, founder of the Reconstructionist Movement. :)

"To the relatively uneducated laity in the Reform/Conservative movements, they don't think Nusach, . . . they read the book that the Synagogue puts in the Pews on the page called out. :)" I think that's probably a reasonable statement, Miami Al. Between that and the relatively limited contact between non-Orthodox and Chareidi Jews that I think you described accurately, I wonder whether, if I mentioned this incident to any of the congregants of my local shul, more than half a dozen of them would even have heard of Nusach S'fard.

Tue Oct 13, 12:54:00 PM 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>