Sunday, June 7, 2009

Merits of Translation Part 1

Someone recently sent me a copy of the Chasam Sofer's view against
translating Torah into foreign languages. While I accept the Holy Chasam
Sofer's shita, his path, I feel that I must present the views of other great
Rabbis who not only supported translation but felt that it was mezake
ha'rabim benefiting the public:

1. One who is praying must have in his heart to understand them meaning
of the words he is saying with his lips, as it says (Tehilim 10:17) "Prepare
their hearts and your ears shall hear." And there have already been many
prayer books printed with a Yiddish Ashekenaz explanation that allows anyone
to study and understand what he is praying.
(Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 18:4)

2. It is known that our sages of blessed memory said Avos 5:18 "Whoever
benefits the public, their merit hangs on him." And in a greater measure
they said (ibid 19) "Whoever benefits the public no sin comes his way."
There are different ways to benefit the public for example through teaching
Torah knowledge and fear of heaven, and the proper path is to speak in
public regarding Divine law and words of mussar and character refinement.
Who knows maybe one day his words will bear fruit? If not for hundreds [of
people] then for tens, and if not for tens for even one [person].

How good and pleasant it is to compose a book with short concise laws
and words of mussar and character refinement and just customs and for those
[who speak] a foreign tongue [translated] in their foreign language, since
it is as if he is delivering a sermon before thousands of Israel and perhaps
in some generation someone will be influenced by his words and his words
will bear fruit and he will benefit that person. And it is known how much
the Holy Zohar (Shemos 128b) praises the great reward and honor and glory
for those who benefit sinners, wonder of wonders!
(Pele Yoetz - Mezake)

Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
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