5

I see* various versions of the blessing on seeing trees: most seem to refer to good trees as "אילנות טובות", while some refer to them as "אילנות טובים".

(Grammatically, as far as I know, "טובים" is correct, at least in modern Hebrew. But that's mostly irrelevant to my question, which is:)

Which halachic authorities have prescribed each of those two words? I'd especially be interested to find out any reason any of those authorities has given for such a choice.


* For example, online.

† Despite its feminine-looking plural, "אילן" is masculine and gets masculine adjectives.

  • May be ets is female and Ilan is make, ? – kouty Mar 27 at 4:24
  • Regarding אילן, as it's only in Daniel, it seems to be a later addition to the Hebrew language, which is reflected by the fact that in Rosh Hashanah אילן is used almost exclusively instead of עץ. – Kazi bácsi Mar 27 at 7:10
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    IINM Tovim is generally a correction by grammarians who think it's correct grammatically. Old texts uniformly have the alliterative (? consonant? rhyming?) Tovot – Double AA Mar 27 at 12:29
6

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed brings in his Pninei Halacha Hilchot Brachot ch.15 the following:

וכך הוא נוסח הברכה: "ברוך אתה ה' אלוקינו מלך העולם, שלא חיסר בעולמו כלום, וברא בו בריות טובות ואילנות טובים להנות בהם בני אדם" (ברכות מג, ב).

Translation: And such is the nusach (version) of the blessing: "...Ilanot Tovim..." (Brachot 43b).

And noted there:

בנוסח הספרדי (סידור הרב אליהו) הנוסח: "אילנות טובות".

Translation: In the Sephardi nusach (Rabbi Eliyahu's Siddur) the nusach is: "Ilanot Tovot".

And in his comments on his book in ch. 15:8a he writes the following:

בנוסח הברכה, כתבתי כנוסח המודפס בסידורים אשכנזיים שהוא תואם את כללי הדקדוק בימינו. ובהערה ציינתי שנוסח ספרדי "אילנות טובות". וצריך להוסיף שבגמרא ברכות מג, ב, ור"ה יא, א, הנוסח: אילנות טובות". וכך היה נוסח אשכנז, ור' יצחק סַטַנאָב (בסידורו ויעתר יצחק, ברלין, תקמ"ה-1785, במדור עמק ברכה כט), שינה עפ"י כללי הדקדוק המקובלים. ונוסחו התקבל בסידורי אשכנז.

Translation: In the nusach of the blessing, I wrote like the version that's printed in Ashkenazi siddurs that matches the linguistic principles of our modern day. And in the note I mentioned the Sephardi nusach "Ilanot Tovot". And we should add that in the Gemara Brachot 43b and Rosh Hashanah 11a the nusach is: "Ilanot Tovot". And so was the nusach Ashkenaz, and R' Yitzchak Satanov (in his siddur Vaye'etar Yitzchak, Berlin, 5545-1785, in section Emek Bracha 29) changed according to the accepted linguistic principles [can be seen here**]. And his nusach was accepted in Ashkenaz siddurs.

Rabbi Amir Dawand*, editor of Yeshivat Kiseh Rachamim's Ish Matzliach Siddur writes on the yeshiva's Q&A section the following:

בדבר שאין בו רוח חיים דרך לשון חז"ל לנטות לפעמים אחר סיום הרבים, זאת אומרת אם סיום הרבים הוא 'ות' משתמשים בלשון נקבה. וגם בכתובים מצינו כן כגון מה ידידות משכנותיך (תהילים פד) שהיה ראוי להיות ידידים שהרי משכן לשון זכר.

Translation: In something that isn't alive the language of Chazal is to sometimes go after the pluralistic ending, meaning that if the pluralistic ending is "ot" they use a feminine version. And even in the Ketuvim we have found such, like "Ma Yedidot Mishkanotecha" (Psalms 84) that should have been "Yedidim", for "Mishkan" is masculine.


* I hope that's how the last name should be translated...

**And he writes at the bottom:

אילנות טובים ביו"ד מ"ם.

Translation: "Ilanot Tovim with a Yod-Mem".

And though he doesn't give any further explanation, he does write in his introduction to the Siddur that he doesn't believe that the sages were unaware of many Hebrew linguistic principles, but that many grammar mistakes were inserted into various texts by illiterate or not well-versed copy-makers and he sees it as his mission to correct these mistakes.

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    Did Satanow ever actually received semicha? He was incredibly controversial at the time, with many rabbis calling him terrible terrible names. As if none of the rishonim knew grammar... – Double AA Mar 27 at 16:17
  • @DoubleAA I didn't know that. I misinterpreted R' to be Rabbi, but it probably wasn't, so I've edited that. I don't know whether Rabbi Melamed knows of the controversy, though. – Harel13 Mar 28 at 17:36
  • It seems obvious to me that it's short for "rabbi." It's a title of respect, not a guarantee that he never said anything stupid in his life – b a Mar 28 at 18:42
  • @ba it can stay as R' because that's what Rabbi Melamed originally wrote. And for those interested, this thread on the Otzar Hachochma forum has some interesting info on the man - forum.otzar.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=34955 – Harel13 Mar 28 at 18:55

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