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July 30, 2008

Karnei farah and yerach ben yomo

This is a little inside baseball for the relatively small fraternity of Torah readers and the even smaller fraternity of Torah readers who read mattot-mas'ei (or this year masei alone).

Three years ago, I wrote about reading mattot-mas'ei, and since that time, I've had quite a few visitors go to that post. I suspect some are Torah readers looking for help in reading the karnei farah and yerach ben yomo, two rare notes that are read exactly once a year, in the same verse of mas'ei. (Numbers 35:5) Another, slightly less rare note is the mercha ch'fulah, which occurs something like six times, including once in mattot.

For those of you who are looking for last-minute help before this shabbat, when we read mas'ei (and for those of you looking to prepare for next year), I've created a WAV file of chapter 35, verses 4 and 5. I've included verse 4, which doesn't have any of these rare notes, for the following reason: There are numerous traditions about how all the notes are sung. While the traditions have many similarities, there are also differences, and it might help you to hear my particular tradition so you know what I'm starting from. I learned the yerach ben yomo from a sheet music version I found some years ago. And from that sheet music, I learned that the karnei farah is, just as it appears, simply a t'lisha k'tanah followed by a t'lisha g'dolah. I've applied my own tradition for those two notes. If there's interest, maybe I'll include the mercha ch'fulah next year.

So feel free to click here for the WAV file.

And if you think I'm wrong about how these notes are sung, call me pisher.

Meanwhile, I'll simply quote a friend who says: Don't worry; 98% of the congregation won't realize it's a mistake.