Saturday, February 05, 2022

A pronunciation error can make angels disappear

Can you see the problem?

"Shalom aleichem mal'chei hasharet

mal'chei elyon

mimelech mal'chei ham'lachim

hakodesh baruch hu"


"Mal'chei" means "sovereign of," and it's being used in the first three lines above.  But "Shalom Aleichem" is supposed to be a song about the angels that are traditionally said to visit Jewish homes on Erev Shabbat (Sabbath Eve).  Where did the angels go?

The problem is this:  The first two lines are not spelled "mal'chei" in the siddur (prayer-book)--they're spelled "mal'*a*chei, which means "angels of."  So yes, being careful to pronounce properly does make a difference, which is why I try to be careful and to avoid praying from memory when I'm leading or co-leading a service.

Retired Production Editor (with a B.A. in French) at your service--I used to get paid to spot errors such as this one.  :)


Blogger David Staum said...

Maybe everyone who makes that mistake is subconsciously Maimonidean and views angels as simply being aspects of God. :-)

Mon Feb 07, 09:21:00 AM 2022  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Wiseguy. :)

Tue Feb 08, 12:58:00 PM 2022  

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