I have been a Ba'al Kri'ah (Torah reader) for the past approx. 30 years. I try to be diligent about both word pronunciation and proper trope. There are several places where accenting the wrong syllable on the word changes its meaning (e.g - Ve na TAT ti = I gave vs. Ve na ta TI = I shall give). Likewise, there are numerous places where the worng trope can change the meaning of the verse.

Most gab'im know to correct the Torah reader when the word is incorrectly pronounced, except for the accenting shift as mentioned above. Few, if any, know to correct incorrect trope that changes the verse meaning.

Aren't there minimal requirements for being a gabbai for Torah reading? Is there an effective way to train people to become competent Gabba'im for performing this important job?

  • Having the Gabba'im learn the same way ba'alei koreh do would be a start. – Y     e     z Apr 11 '14 at 20:00
  • So, you;re suggesting that Ba'ali Kri'ah should be "judged by their peers?" – Dan Apr 11 '14 at 20:13
  • Train them in Biblical Hebrew grammar? Im not really sure I understand your question... – Double AA Apr 11 '14 at 20:26
  • @Dan I'm suggesting they should know the same grammar that you do. Call it what you will. – Y     e     z Apr 11 '14 at 20:32
  • Do you also want to be corrected for "homophones" (א/ע, ח/כ, כּ/ק, ...) and degēshim that change the meaning of the text? – magicker72 Apr 13 '14 at 13:37

One way to solve this would be to make sure somebody diligent [and somewhat aggressive] is given a Tikkun/Chumash which highlights these things, and have him correct you when needed. The Simanim Tikun comes to mind.

If you want as few corrections as possible, highlight those few instances that are critical in the Chumash/Tikun you give him.

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    +1 for the highlighting suggestion. When I lein I give a marked-up printout to the gabbai where I've marked anything critical, which includes both "would change the meaning" and "for some reason I kept messing this one up in practice". – Monica Cellio Apr 13 '14 at 19:01
  • I REALLY like the highlighting suggestion! I may try it. I've never heard of "Simanim Tikun". Can you tell me who the author / publisher is and if I can locate this in any Jewish book store or online? Thanks – Dan Apr 24 '14 at 15:14
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    @Dan google.com/search?q=tikun+simanim – msh210 Apr 24 '14 at 18:36

One thing you can do is ask the gabay rishon (chief gabay) if the person standing on the other side of the bima (table) can be a person of your choosing instead of or in addition to the usual gabay sheni (vice-gabay; or instead of no one) and pick someone who you know knows grammar and will correct you. I've done this one the rare occasion that I was reading something I didn't know well (namely, when the scheduled reader did not show up and I was asked to pinch-hit).

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  • Tricky in my shul... I've had times when the gabbai incorrectly "corrected" me because he firgot to wear his glasses. Another one didn't adjust his hearing aid, properly! – Dan Apr 24 '14 at 15:16

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