Monday, May 24, 2010

The Burning Nussach Question

This past Shabbos, the older of my two younger brothers (Hotdog) davened Shacharis for the amud. Now, being that Shavuos had just passed, Hotdog's Tefilah mind was still on the nussach for Shalosh R'galim. He startes Shochen Ad with its incorrect melody. This mistake caused me to glance at the younger of my two younger brothers (Hammy) and snicker about the incident (much like Hotdog and Hammy do to me when I crack while davening for the amud. However, I was a little taken aback when the gabbai walked up to the amud and asked Hotdog to change to a regular Shabbos nussach.

Later on in the Tefilah, my brother once again accidentally switched the nussach. This time, it was by the end of Kedushah. This time, the Rav leaned over and told my brother what nussach he should be doing.

Here is my question: How important is nussach. I am not talking about the words (i.e. words that are different for nussach Ashkenaz and nussach Sefard). I am refering to the tune that the chazzan uses for a particular tefilah. Who decides when to correct it?

If I were to use the Shabbos Mincha nussach during the week would people correct me? I happen to know that the answer to that question is 'no.' I did that in the very same shul with the very same Rabbi and the very same Gabbai. Nobody corrected me. What makes one nussach change more imperative to correct than another? What would have happened if my brother would have continued in that nussach? Would we have been required to duchan? What's the big deal with nussach?


  1. what the rabbi should have done is tell him without anyone realizing so that he wouldn't be embarrassed...i dont think theres anything wrong with a different nusach its just embarrassing to the guy davening that he doesn't know wat hes doing

  2. nussach is obviously of no halachic import. but the ppl controlling the vibes of the minyan and who get judged (credit/blame) for it, should be allowed to moderate its style.
    i dont think that should be construed as embarrasing and there really is no other way to do it. everyone is noticing the shift to YT nussach so to shift back would be clear to all in any manner.

  3. I does have some halachic force. I recall that the "MaHaRil" brings down that one should not change even a tune of the 'minhag ha'makom' and blamed himself for the pain of his suffering the death of his daughter because he davened for the Amud on rosh hashana in Vienna and sang a different tune.

    Tunes were referred to in Yiddish as "mi'sinai" that these tunes that are so universal among Ashkenazim and should be considered as coming from from Sinai!