Friday, November 07, 2008

Customs of the Gra

MUSICAL NOTE by Cantor Sherwood Goffin
The Vilna Gaon at LSS?

Yes! The Vilna Gaon is with us at LSS constantly, because we follow many of the customs for davening established by the Vilna Gaon, also known as the G”ra (Gaon Rav Ayliahu) who lived in the 18th Century. He decreed that at the beginning of the Cantor’s repetition of the Amidah, the “Hashem Sefosai Tiftach” must be said out loud, as well as the “Yih’yu L’ratzon” at the end of the repetition. In addition, the words: “...umorid haGeshem (rather than the usual “Gawshem”) and the pronunciation of the word “ush’vawchacho” in the place of “v’shivchacho” at the end of Kedusha. The most obvious is “Yisgadale” when reciting Kaddish. The original Brisker Rav followed the customs of the G”ra, and Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, a descendent of the Brisker Rav, taught these customs to his students, who were the original Rabbis of LSS. That is how we established the customs of the G”ra in our davening each Shabbat and weekday since the beginning of our shul!

Daven well and sing along!
(c) 2008 Cantor Sherwood Goffin and LSS

1 comment:

micha said...

Geshem is more authentic than "gashem" anyway. Regardless of where the period goes, "gashem" is Biblical Hebrew. In mishnaic Hebrew, the word is "geshem" even right before the period. Nusach Ashkenaz was switched from mishnaic to biblical Hebrew relatively recently, by grammarians who weren't rabbinic leadership.