Monday, May 14, 2007

Samples of Sephardic Cantillation

Two very exciting events are coming up for me this Sunday. The first is that Magen David Sephardic Congregation will be celebrating a hachnasat Sefer Torah - the welcoming of a new Torah Scroll to our community. The Sefer Torah in question is particularly special because it has been dedicated, not by a single individual or small group of philanthropists, but by the membership of our synagogue as a whole. Nearly every family in our congregation contributed funds toward the purchase of the Scroll.

The second exciting event scheduled for this Sunday is the wedding of one of my dear friends and congregants here in Rockville. Mazal Tov!

Because of all the positive energy in the air today, I have been in a singing mood. I channelled that into the preparation of recordings of various upcoming Torah and Haftara selections.

The Haftara of Bemidbar with Syrian/Yerushalmi Cantillation

The Haftara of Bemidbar with Moroccan Cantillation

Parashat Nitsavim (First Aliya) with Yerushalmi Cantillation

You will probably notice some minor grammatical and perhaps even musical errors in my reading. Please excuse me; I haven't had my first cup of coffee yet this morning.

If you are very perceptive (i.e., a nudnik), you will notice systematic differences in Hebrew pronunciation between the Haftarot and the Torah reading. The reason for this is that the Parasha was prepared for an actual Bar Mitsvah student; as a result, I tried to read in a more conventional Sephardic Hebrew than I am normally accustomed to using.

18 comments:

littlefoxling said...

ah, despite all my cynisism, i can't deny the beauty of the tradition. But of the toon and all the centuires of history it carries, and the beautiful words of the prophet. This section is one of my favorite parts of Nach.

By the way, while I don't know much about the JIB's, I do find it hard to belive they are rigged. What would be the motive?

Rabbi Joshua Maroof said...

Nice to hear from you LF!!! Haven't seen much new on your blog lately. I check back pretty regularly.

I was being tongue-in-cheek when I suggested they were rigged. But I do think that the methods they use to subtract votes from the record are not particularly objective.

littlefoxling said...

well,

I don't know much about the whole system, so can't really comment.

I'm flattered. As I think I mentioned to you before, my level of doubt is growing smaller and smaller, which makes me less and less interested in all of these issues. So, I haven't blogged much lately. I may close the blog. Or, I may convert it to deal with the issues on my mind now, which are about how to deal with lack of belief in practical life - become not frum? Live as a frum skeptic? something in between? Or, I may revive as being about DH and that stuff but as a hobby. I'll see.

Rabbi Joshua Maroof said...

As I've remarked before, your doubt/certainty barometer seems to be unduly influenced by social factors - especially those emanating from the blogosphere. You appear to have absorbed skepticism by osmosis.

littlefoxling said...

Also, why do you say "goalenu Hashem etc." at the end of the Haftorah? is that a sepharedi minhag?

Rabbi Joshua Maroof said...

I'm glad to see that you listened all the way to the end!

Yes, that is the Sephardic custom. We always conclude the Haftara with the verse "Goalenu Hashem, etc."

Chaim B. said...

Just this past Shabbos someone was called up for maftir (this was not a sefradic minyan) and did a sefardic rendition of the haftarah. Not sure what dialect this was, but he pronounced differences between (and I'm writing this out in Ashkenazis) every cheis-chuf, ayin-aleph, tuf sounded like a 'th' sound, and gimmel was a 'j' sound. I listened to your samples and got did not catch the gimmel as 'j' in any of them. The trop was beyond anything I could duplicate. The guy had one advanatage - he could have been making the whole tune up as he went along and none of us listening would have known the difference : )

Rabbi Joshua Maroof said...

Many Sephardim distinguish between gimel with a dagesh and gimel without a dagesh, the latter being a guttural. However, gimel as a "j" was almost certainly Yemenite.

Anonymous said...

Are there any websites out there with more Sphardic readings? I'm a sphardic BT not living in a Shardic community so it's difficult for me to learn about my roots. Is there any sefer out there that discusses Persian minhagim and halachote? Were there any Persian Gedolim?

Rabbi Joshua Maroof said...

Anonymous,

An excellent place to look is http://www.pizmonim.org under "taamim". They have an extensive array of samples from all books of Tanach performed by professional hazzanim. Ahaba.org has a great deal of readings in the Egyptian-Syrian tradition, and www.midrash.org has Iraqi readings.

This link also contains many, many samples of readings in Yerushalmi and Moroccan melodies:
http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/olam_hatanah/index.asp

I was given photocopies of an old book of Persian customs about two years ago. I believe it is currently out of print; however, with the resurgence of observant Jewish Persian communities in places like NY and Baltimore, I am confident that more works like that will appear in the near future.

Barnaby said...

Hazak uBaruch on the awards! When are we going to hear the Megillat Esther recording? :)

Rabbi Joshua Maroof said...

Barnaby, Robert has it. Maybe he'll give it to me so I can upload it to the blog.

Emile said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your readings of the Torah and Haftarah. As a Moroccan I will admit I had a bias towards the Moroccan Haftarah :)

Hazak UBaruch

Émile Haim Amzallag

Anonymous said...

that morrocan haftarah isnt the usual morrocan tune, in fact it sounds like a diff version of yerushalmi,sadly morrocans are now using yerushalmi just like the Origional (torah taamim) 7alab tune is being replace with yerushalmi versions compare the 7alab Reading of Breshis to the Yerushalmi http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/olam_hatanah/perekT.asp?sefer=1&perek=1

you do have a very nice voice tho, you should post some pizmonim

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