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Artscroll English Siddur has in the על הנסים the word as חַשְׁמוֹנַאי. The Artscroll all Hebrew Siddur has the word as חַשְׁמוֹנָאִי. Which is correct? Is there a difference in meaning if it is חַשְׁמוֹנָאִי or חַשְׁמוֹנַאי?

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  • Transliterating Greek to Hebrew is no easier than transliterating Ivrith/Ivrit/Ivris/'Ivrith/'Ivrit/'Ivris/Ivreet/(etc.) to English. – Double AA Dec 9 '15 at 18:32
  • the most authentic is חשמנים, like in tehilim 68 32. – user6591 Dec 9 '15 at 18:37
  • @user6591 That's a plural, no? – Double AA Dec 9 '15 at 18:41
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    @user6591 Some Meforshim suggest that. It's not uniformly agreed upon in the slightest. I'm suggesting it on the same basis they are: we're making it up. Neither is a bad guess, IMO. Neither is that great either. Josephus, for instance, thinks Chashmon was the patriarch of the family (see Antiquities 12:6:1), and there's actually reason to think he wasn't just guessing (he lived then, and plus his genealogy accords with the one in I Maccabees 2). – Double AA Dec 9 '15 at 20:23
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    Also of interest: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/12401 – msh210 Dec 9 '15 at 21:57
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I found this answer from Yehuda Marks.

He says that Rabbi Zalman Henna held that the correct pronunciation was חַשְׁמוֹנַאי while Rabbi Yaakov Emden held the correct pronunciation was חַשְׁמוֹנָאִי.

He says the Sefardim also have a disagreement as to the correct pronunciation. The Pri Chadash, Ben Ish Chai and Harav Meir Mazuz rule that the correct way of saying the word is חַשְׁמוֹנָאִי, while the Zivchei Tzedek and Harav Ovadia Yosef state that the correct pronunciation is חַשְׁמוֹנַאי.

He also quotes Rav Shaul Yeshua Abutbul of Morocco (quoted in Ramat Shmuel 135) arguing that the suffix ‏ָאִי is not used in lashon hakodesh, only in targum. Instead, חַשְׁמוֹנַאי is the name of another person, as in יַנַאי, i.e. In the days of Matisyahu ben Yochanan Cohen Gadol, and Chashmonai and his children.

There is a machlokes as to how the word חשמונאי is pronounced. While Reb Zalman Henna writes that the word should be voweled with a pasach under the nun and pronouncedחַשְׁמוֹנַאי , with a silent aleph, Harav Yaakov Emden, in his siddur Beis Yaakov and elaborated in his Luach Eress, strongly disagrees, ruling that the word should be voweled with a kametz under the nun and a chirik under the aleph, חַשְׁמוֹנָאִי, and this is the accepted pronunciation in the Ashkenaz siddurim. One of Rav Emden’s arguments is that if the aleph isn’t pronounced, why is it there? He comments that even the Sephardim pronounce the word חַשְׁמוֹנָאִי. But that is not so clear-cut, since there is a machlokes amongst the Sephardim over the word. While the Pri Chadash Ben Ish Chai and Harav Meir Mazuz rule that the correct spelling is חַשְׁמוֹנָאִי, The Zivchei Tzedek and Harav Ovadia Yosef state that the better pronouncing is חַשְׁמוֹנַאי, with a pasach and skipping the aleph, with the Zivchei Tzedek stating that this is the minhag of the chazanim in Baghdad. Rav Shaul Yeshua Abutbul of Morocco (quoted in Ramat Shmuel 135) argues that the suffix ‏ ָאִי ‏ is not used in lashon hakodesh, only in targum. Instead, חַשְׁמוֹנַאי is the name of another person, as in יַנַאי, i.e. In the days of Matisyahu ben Yochanan Cohen Gadol, and Chashmonai and his children. (This view can be supported by the gemara Megillah 11a and Maseches Sofrim 20:8). However, Rav Emden disagrees with this proof, saying that we do find the suffix ‏ ָאִי in Lashon Hakodesh, as in the word אַכְזָרִי, especially according to the Redak who says the word comes from the root חשמן, as in יֶאֱתָיוּ חַשְׁמַנִּים (Tehillim 68:32), meaning an honourable person.

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  • This is also brought down here (~2:30) by Hakham 'Ovadiah. He states that the correct pronunciation, according to the vast majority of references to the word in the Yerushalmi, is without an aleph. Nevertheless, he states that one who pronounces it with an aleph certainly has what to rely upon. – Lee Dec 10 '15 at 17:32

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