10

Rav Avrohom Schorr in his Sefer HaLekach V'HaLevuv al HaTorah (5763) for on Parshas Noach the following:

(Took a picture because there is no online copy available)

enter image description here

(Rough Translation by myself)

We already discussed that the measurements of the ark certainly have something hinted (about them). It is brought in the name of the holy Maggid of Kozhnitz that the holy name Gedashenel has the ability to guard a person from improper thoughts. Additionally I heard from the Tosher Rebbe Shlit"a (now zt"l) that Tzaddikim say when a person has a challenge with an improper thought he should say gey dir sheygitz nir ant loif! (roughly meaning: "get out you Sheygitz (i.e. the Yetzer Hara) just get out!) whose acrostic of the first letters hint to the name above to drive away improper thoughts which come to a person

What is interesting to note (As quoted by the Tosher Rebbe zt"l) is the seeming connection between this Kabbalistic name and its use as a Yiddish acronym.

Is there anything written about the Yiddish language and its (possible) sanctity? I heard the Chasam Sofer has a Teshuva on it but I'm not sure where to find it. Is there anything additionally written about this topic?

  • 2
    There is a book by ArtScroll which gives Yiddish phrases and links back to the Tanach and Imrei Chazal, called יידיש: שפה קודש, and you might be interested in that. – ezra Oct 18 '17 at 17:52
  • 1
    @TrustMeImARabbi I would check out the Chasam Sofer as well as the Maharil Diskin for writing on this topic. I do know the Lubavitcher Rebbe was recorded as having said Yiddish is the second holiest language after loshon kodesh. Finally, not a few of today's hagas chasidim consider English (and Hebrew for that matter) to be tumah; I don't know what they have written as to why Yiddish is not, but surely someone has spouted off, and the rebeishe talks in which such things happen tend to be transcribed. – SAH Oct 18 '17 at 19:48
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – ezra Oct 19 '17 at 16:55
  • @magicker72 There are some (possibly fraudulent) discussions to be found of how Yiddish has worked itself into theives' languages around the world. There is some evidence of this to be found in Russian, although ironically the words I know about in Russian are straight Hebrew. – SAH Oct 19 '17 at 17:36
  • 1
    @SAH - What is a theives' language? – ezra Oct 20 '17 at 0:57
8

In a letter to the Tog–Morgn Zhurnal, February 24, 1961 (also printed in דרשות און כּתובֿים), Rav Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik wrote that Yiddish can be considered as a tashmish kedusha. He says that he doesn't believe that the language has inherent worth, but since it has been used over many years (and is still used) to learn Torah, and since "it was with plain mame-loshn that the Jewish masses expressed their faith, basic love and trust", the language has taken on a higher level of kedusha.

The letter:

‮איך בין ניט קײן ייִדישיט, װעלכער גלײבט, אַז דאָס לשון אַלײן שטעלט מיט זיך פֿאָר אַן אַבסאָלוטן װערט. אָבער אַ גמרא־ייִד בין איך יאָ, און איך װיס אַז הײליקײט און אַבסאָלוטקײט זײַנען ניט אַלע מאָל אידענטיש.

‮ די הלכה האָט פֿאָרמולירט צװײ אידעען פֿון קדושה: 1) גופֿי־קדושה, 2) תּשמישי־קדושה. זי האָט אָפּגעפּסקנט, אַז מען דאַרף ראַטעװען פֿון אַ שׂריפֿה שבת ניט נאָר די ספֿר־תּורה, נאָר אױך דאָס מענטעלע אין װעלכן זי איז אײַנגעװיקלט; ניט בלױז די תּפֿילין, נאָר אױך דאָס זעקל אין װעלכן זײ ליגן. ממילא, ייִדיש װי אַ שפּראַך, ניט קוקנדיק װאָס זי איז ניט פֿאַררעכנט צװישן גופֿי־קדושה, געהערט זיכער צום קלאַס פֿון תּשמישי־קדושה, װעלכע זײַנען אױך הײליק, און װעלכע מען מוז באַשיצן מיט אַלע כּוחות.

‮איז דען דאָ אַ שענערער ״תּיק״, אין װעלכן די הײליקסטע ספֿרי־תּורה זײַנען געװען, און זײַנען נאָך אַלץ, אײַנגעװיקלט, װי ייִדיש? אױף דער שפּראַך האָט דער רמ״אָ, דער מהרש״ל, דער װילנער גאָון, ר׳ חײם װאָלאָזשינער און אַנדערע גדולי־ישׂראל מיט זײערע תּלמידים תּורה געלערנט. אױף ייִדיש האָט דער דער בעל־שם־טובֿ, דער מעזעריטשער מגיד און דער אַלטער רבי סודות פֿון מעשׂה־בראשית דערקלערט. אױף פּשוטן מאַמע־לשון האָבן די ייִדישע מאַסן זײער אמונה, פּשוטע ליבע און טרײַשאַפֿט אױסגעדריקט. עד־היום זאָגן גרױסע ראשי־ישיבֿות זײערע שיעורים אױף ייִדיש.

‮ אַזאַ ״תּיק״ איז זיכער הײליק, כאָטש זײַן קדושה איז ניט קײן אַבסאָלוטע, נאָר אַן אָפּגעלײַטעטע, אין דעם גדר פֿון תּשמישי־קדושה.

‮אױפֿהאַלטן דעם ״תּיק״ איז אַ גרױסער זכות!

With my translation:

I am no Yiddishist, who believes that the language on its own has absolute worth. But I am a Gemara-Jew, and I know that holiness and absoluteness are not always the same.

Halacha has formulated two types of kedusha: 1) inherent kedusha, 2) tashmishei kedusha. The halacha is that, in case of a fire on Shabbos, we must save not only Torah scrolls, but also the garment in which it is rolled; not only tefillin, but also the bag in which they lie. In any case, Yiddish as a language, in spite of not being considered as having inherent kedusha, certainly belongs to the class of tashmishei kedusha, which are also holy, and which we also must protect with all our strength.

Has there even been a better "garment", in which the holy Torah scrolls have been (and still are) wrapped, than Yiddish? With this language, the Rema, the Maharshal, the Vilna Gaon, R' Chayim of Volozhin and other gedolei-Yisroel learned Torah with their students. It was in Yiddish that the Baal Shem Tov, the Maggid of Mezritch, and the Alter Rebbe explained secrets of creation. It was with plain mame-loshn that the Jewish masses expressed their faith, basic love and trust. To this very day, great rashei yeshiva give their shiurim in Yiddish.

Such a "garment" is surely holy, although its holiness is not absolute, but derived, in the realm of tashmishei kedusha.

Preserving this "garment" is a great merit!

  • 1
    Consider noting that this presumably opposes rather than supports the view the OP seeks. In his view (in contradistinction to that of the Yiddishists) there is no inherent holiness to it, no reason to assume that gematriyot in it would be significant, or that mystical terms are actually acronyms of Yiddish words. Rather its significance is due to the history of its usage. – mevaqesh Oct 20 '17 at 0:22
  • 1
    @mevaqesh The OP asked for anything written about the Yiddish language and its (possible) sanctity. To me, that doesn't seem to seek any particular POV. – magicker72 Oct 20 '17 at 0:40
  • Context matters, IMHO – mevaqesh Oct 20 '17 at 0:44
  • This is definitely a good answer. However I'm not marking it correct (yet) because I want to see other answers giving insight on the Topic. – TrustMeI'mARabbi Oct 20 '17 at 14:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .