This site: https://www.torahmusings.com/2014/08/mispronouncing-hebrew-2/ quotes Rashi as saying: "By using an ayin sound rather than an alef in birkas kohanim, they change the blessing into a curse." What exact words are being changed by mispronunciation and what is the curse?


1 Answer 1


Rashi says why this change turns the blessing into a curse pretty clearly in his comment on Megillah 24b.

He says:

מפני שקורין לאלפין עיינין ולעיינין אלפין. ואם היו עושין ברכת כהנים היו אומרים יאר יער ה׳ פניו ולשון קללה הוא כי יש פנים שיתפרשו לשון כעס כמו פני ילכו (שמות לג) את פני (ויקרא כ) ומתרגמינן ית רוגזי ומעי״ן עושין אלפי״ן ופוגמין תפלתן

Because they read alef as ayin and ayin as alef. And if they perform Birkas Kohanim, they would say instead of יאר ה' פניו (may Hashem shine his countenance), יער ה' פניו (may Hashem arouse his face) and this is the language of a curse, for we see that the word פנים (face) can be conveyed as an expression of anger, as in: "My presence" (Shemos 33), "My face" (Vayikra 20), and Onkelos translates it as "My anger". Thus they turn alef into ayin and blemish their prayers.

(Translation is mine)

  • 1
    +1 Because I was looking for this passage for years, and didn't remember where it was! Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 18:38
  • 1
    @Kazibácsi Glad I could be of service to you!
    – ezra
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 6:21

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