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Monday, June 05, 2006

Reading Masters

Baal Korehs, or those who read the Torah in front of the congregation, are a special breed. I've always had a high level of respect for these people. They have chosen to devote time not only to something that is incredibly difficult, namely the virtual memorization of the whole Torah, but also one which is so useful to the community.

Lest you say that they are not actually memorizing the Torah, since as you can see it is written on a parchment which they are obligated to read as they chant the Torah portion aloud, let me clarify that while the words are there, there are no vowels, no punctuation, no indication of the beginnings or ends of sentences, paragraphs, or sections, and no musical notes. All of these must be memorized by the Baal Koreh, and practically speaking, he has to memorize the words along with them.

And it is so useful to the community. I've been to many minyanim, and I've never failed to be impressed when, during a pivitol portion of the service, somebody asks, "can ANYBODY layn (chant) this?" and some fellow gets up and sings the section flawlessly.

Once upon a time, after my Bar Mitzvah, I entertained the notion of becoming a Baal Koreh myself. But I soon found out that this fell under the heading of "a lot of work" and abandoned it.

The Baal Korehs that I've known have all been exceptional people. They excel at whatever they do, whether it's business, medicine, law, rabbinics, etc. These people tend to take whatever they're doing and do it very well. You could argue that this is a chicken and egg kind of thing, i.e. the kind of people who can be very successful in their fields also have the brain power to memorize huge portions of text. Or maybe it's the mental calisthenics of learning to read long portions of Torah that give them the discipline to take any endeavor to its extreme.

I don't know. All I know is that at some point in my life I figured out that I wasn't going to be one of them. I realized that I'd have to make due with my midget-sized mind and make the most of what's left of it (of course, after having memorized all of Star Trek and Monty Python).

I had hoped that my boys would become Baale Kriya themselves, as so far they have shown some aptitude for layning, but none of them seems particularly interested in the "a lot of work" aspect of it. Oh well.

This past Yontiff I was asked to do the Torah reading for the first day minyan in the Shteeble, and although there was this persistant siren going off in my head that kept saying "SAY NO SAY NO SAY NO" I agreed, since it appeared I was the last on a long list of people being asked.

Of course I had no time to prepare, and to be honest, I had mistakenly thought it was another reading that I had once learned many years ago, so I spent an hour or two Thursday night going over the reading about 5 or 6 times. Now, I'm not bad at making a dry reading as long as all the punctuation or trop (musical notes) are in front of me. I am a musician, after all, and I pride myself on my ability to read the words and music correctly. However, it became painfully obvious to me as the night wore on that I was not making any progress towards memorizing it. I resigned myself to doing a crappy job in the morning, which I didn't feel all that bad about since the rabbi had told me, "Don't worry, Steve, everyone will be asleep."

Well, they weren't all asleep, and it turned out that I did a lot more than I had expected, including Akdamus (a tongue-twister in Aramaic) and the Haftorah. And as expected, I fumbled my way through the layning (which unfortunately included the Ten Commandments. I may have skipped one or two). However, the congregation was more than gracious, and a few people even told me they were impressed with the job I did. I can only assume they were the ones who were asleep.

I don't think my brain is as receptive as it was 27 years ago. That would have been a good time for me to try to do this kind of thing. As it is, although I did a passible job (and I enjoyed it), I think I may have sprained my brain or something. It makes me a little sad to think that I'm on the downhill slide of my intellectual capacity (something I noted as well when I tried to learn new music earlier in the year). I can only hope that by increasing my measure of mental exercise, I may be able to stabilize the decline.

For the rest of you Baal Korehs out there, yasher kochachem (may your strength be firm)!


Sweettooth120 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sweettooth120 said...

Between your last post and this one, there is sure a lot of stuff to learn about Judiasm. Most of the stuff you have mentioned, I have never heard of. Do you only find this in an orthodox congregation?

When I was little, we used to go to services every Friday night. There were always "extra men" sitting on chairs up near the ark, but I never knew why they were there. We had the Rabbi and the Cantor (or so I think) and that's all I remember. Perhaps Saturday morning services are different. We never went on Saturdays.

Just something cute, my daughter, who attends an orthodox day school, had no idea what I meant when I told her we would be going to services this past Shabbat. Is that only a non-orthodox term?

Shira Salamone said...

I was baalat korah/leiner/Torah reader for only three verses this past Shabbat Shavuot. Even so, and even though I knew my aliyah in my sleep, I got so nervous that I drew a blank at the beginning of the second pasuk/verse and stood there like an idiot for a couple of seconds until what's left of my so-called memory kicked back into gear. And I had to go back and reread to correct one mistake. Oy. To think that, when I was in my mid-twenties, I learned the entire Torah reading for the morning of Yom Kippur--mind you, it took me roughly two months of hard labor to learn it--and leined it for seven years. Between increasing age and decreasing opportunities--at my local synagogue, the only time I'm allowed to lein on a Shabbat or Yom Tov is on Simchat Torah, when I lein for the women--I've really lost any skill I might have had. You're right--it takes an enormous amount of discipline and hard work. I'm just not up to much more than three p'sukim/verses anymore.

Yasher koach to you! Since your Hebrew is much better than mine, you might have better luck in future attempts. Just try a shorter aliyah next time. :)

And that yasher koach goes double to all the hard-working folks who manage to lein on a regular basis.

Eeees said...

My hubby (Brooklyn Wolf) has been a practicing Ba'al Kriya for approximately the last 15 years. He amazes me with his ability to just quote the psukim from the Torah like that. He puts a lot of effort into preparing the weekly Parsha, even if he isn't laining that particular week (because someone's Bar Mizvah, for example. He has taught many boys to lain for their Bar-Mitzvahs, and now he is teaching our own son.
He truly enjoys laining the Torah, to the extent that we usually end up davening in shuls that aren't the closest to our house since those are the ones that have hired him/ given him the full time laining position. When we first started dating, he had just begun to lain regularly in (what would eventually be) "our shul". He used to walk about 10 avenue blocks every shabbos to shul, regardless of the weather outside. I am really proud of him (for many reasons, this being just one of them).

PsychoToddler said...

ST: The Baal Koreh is the term for the person who reads the torah from the scroll (also the megillah on Purim). Orthodox and Conservative congregations have them. Not sure about the other denominations. It doesn't have to be a specific position; anybody who wants to learn to read the portion of Torah can do it. In the "olden days", the people who were called up to get aliyahs also had to read their portions (that's why the torah reading is divided up). As time went on and it became clear that not everyone could do this, they started to assign one person to read the whole thing and other people to just get up and do the brachos.

In many "pickup" minyans, including the one I go to, there may not be one person who does it every time. We have to depend on members of the congregation to either know it in advance or commit to preparing it each week. There have been times when I've been called up to do these short weekday portions (but I haven't been too dependable). This one on shavuos turned out to be most of my son's bar mitzvah parsha, but unfortunately, he was away at Yeshiva.

Sevices is just a general term for the tfila, or prayer service.

Shira: I do find that the more I do it, the easier it gets. As with everything else.

Eeeeeeeeees: Your hubby is a special guy.

Ezzie said...

Your comment to Shira is right: The more you do it, the easier it gets. At this point, I can 'learn' a parsha in a couple of hours to a reasonably good level. I started younger, which helps: After my bar mitzvah, I practiced for a couple months to lain another parsha; the next one took about a month; and after that, I got it down to a couple of weeks.

The biggest boost, if you want your kids to learn how to do it a bit, is to try the Shabbos mincha/Mon/Thu laining. It's far less pressured, and much shorter. After a couple of times, they'll see they can learn the whole thing in less than an hour - and after a while, it will turn into 15-20 minutes. You also start noticing the more you lain what patters of trop [notes] there are - you start realizing that even if you don't remember what it's supposed to be, you can figure it out.

Eeees reminded me of a story, actually: A rosh yeshiva was giving a shiur, and asked about a certain pasuk. After there were a lot of blank stares, one talmid said, "Rebbe, we're not ba'alei kriah - we don't know where that pasuk is." He looked at him sternly and responded, "Well then you better become a ba'al koreh!"

Heh - I also just remembered WITS. A few times they'd ask me Friday night to lain the next day. For one Senior Shabbos, R' Wachsman and the kitchen guys wanted an early minyan. It was Parshas Naso - 176 pesukim. I started at 3am.

The 4th aliyah, about 60 pesukim, was pretty atrocious. :)

Also, fun fact, in light of Shavuos... When Shavuos falls as it did this year on a Friday and Shabbos, Americans in Israel have a problem. We read the portion for Shavuos on Shabbos, while the Israelis read Parshas Naso since it's not a holiday for them anymore. But the following Shabbos all the shuls read Parshas Behaaloscha, which means any Americans have missed a portion. To make up for it, at Mincha of the second day of Shavuos American minyanim read the ENTIRE parshas Naso and the first 4 pesukim of Behaaloscha in one aliyah - 180 Pesukim at once. I believe that's almost 8 columns.

Both years I was in Israel, Shavuos was on Friday and Shabbos, and I had the opportunity to lain this. The best part was the look on the Kohein's face who didn't realize what we were doing until a minute or so in. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw his eyes glaze over as he resigned himself to his fate.

PsychoToddler said...

if you want your kids to learn how to do it a bit, is to try the Shabbos mincha/Mon/Thu laining

When Moe (30Cal...oy) was Bar Mitzvah he really did a great job with his parsha, so I pushed him to try to learn the first aliyas of all the other ones. There were two problems with this:

1. I was pushing him. So in the typical father/son passive/aggressive thing he lost interest in it pretty quickly. Plus, I really didn't want it to be something I forced him to do.

2. There were a bunch of other kids in his class who were much more aggressive about getting assigned parshas to learn and he could rarely get one for himself. In the end he learned about a half dozen or so.

Interestingly, although I didn't teach him to layn (I hold that it's very hard to teach your own kids anything), I did drill him quite a bit, and it was during this time that my interest in layning was rekindled for the first time in more than 20 years, and I learned a few parshios myself.

Jewish Blogmeister said...

It hink the trick to becoming a bal koreh is to start when you are young. I can lain to shaini almost every parsha because I had prepared it and possibly lained it at some point and have retained it pretty much. As you I too have a tremendous respect for those bal Koreyh's as it is truly a difficult job. Yom tov is a bit easier since the parsaha are a bit shorter.

torontopearl said...

My husband can lain rather beautifully, thank G-d, but whereas I think he makes it look so easy, I know the other side of the coin. I know how he practices over and over and over, and if asked to lain on a Shabbos morning, practising is the last thing he does before going to sleep, and he gets up early to practice yet again. When female shul members hear him, they compliment me -- yes, I kvell and am most happy to pass along the message of how good a job he did.

tuesdaywishes said...

My hubby (an experienced bar mitzva teacher, though he avoids layning himself) really encouraged our oldest to learn other parshios after he did a good job on his bar mitzva. He used the oldest carrot in the book: money. A good ba'al koreh can often get paid. There are a couple of shuls around here than now call him occasionally. Our son taught himself to layn Megillat Esther and made more than $100 last Purim. (Big money if you are only 16.)

wanderer said...

Why is your rabbi calling you Steve?

Jack's Shack said...

which unfortunately included the Ten Commandments. I may have skipped one or two

Ok, am I the only one who found this to be humorous. Really, there are so many jokes tied into it. Fun for the whole family.

Anonymous said...

As one of the people there on Shavuos - and standing right next to you for the Cohen aliyah - I have to say you did a very good job. The akdamus part was most impressive - that is hard!

M in MKE

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Ah, i used to lein almost every week part of the parsha during college.

And then i graduated and ended up in communities with professional leiners, who didn't need me. And i went quickly out of practice...

Shmiel said...

Yes.... I can attest that it is hard work....Paid for my first Bass with some YomTov substitute Baal koreh work in High School (at the "other" Shul). My Dad was the regular BK in our Shul (the "big"one) so the folks in the other shul thought i had some star power....Never did become a good BK myself, they must have been disappointed....I have noticed that the Really good ones end up learning the hows and whys of the Trope and the grammer and so become grammarians as well. When my rabbi gives a shiur amnd can't quite find the exact quote from the posuk..he turns to the Baalei Kriah with a humorous request to edify the group
What surprised me about your story is that an Avel would be asked to volunteer to Lein on a chag...I thought that was a no-no. Maybe it is just as Baal Tefilah that an Avel is asked to abstain from on a chag.
as for akdomus...i hope you have a good relationship with your dentist...Although "Kegavna" on friday evening which I imagine is included in your shteeble's routine is probably a decent warmup for that . Yasher Kochacha

Kiwi the Geek said...

"my midget-sized mind"

Um, you're a doctor. There must be something significant between your ears!

"let me clarify that while the words are there, there are no vowels, no punctuation, no indication of the beginnings or ends of sentences, paragraphs, or sections, and no musical notes. "

So how do you figure out all those details? Is there some set of rules, like phonics? Is it all according to tradition? Do we have any idea how it was done at the time of writing?

"Baal Korehs"

Does this title have anything to do with the "sons of Korah" mentioned in the Psalms?

kasamba said...

Well done that you did it!

I actually always felt shortchanged because I knew both my brothers leinings off by heart and I know I could have done a bloody good job.

But alas, the world will never know....

yonah said...

Shmiel - looks like we share the same experience! I paid for my first guitar with money earned as a Baal Korey. Where I grew up the entire davening was coordinated by the kids. All of the services, including treading the Torah, as well as the speech, the announcements, the "gabbai" jobs - - everything was done by us kids, so most anyone from that shul had a great foundation in Torah reading and in the general shul process. Plus, there were about 15 nursing homes on the boardwalk and they paid great money for us to manage their services as well. I remember getting $35 each week to read the Torah portion, and it was upped to $50 for coming on Monday and Thursday morning to cover that reading as well. That was serious dough at 14 and 15 years old!

PsychoToddler said...

JB: Starting young is definitely the key.

TP: A good BK always makes it look easy. Darn them! I'd love for Mrs. B to kvell when I'm up on the bima, but she's never around.

Laya: I tried that with the boys, but apparently it wasn't enough of an incentive. Anyway, they live in such a wonderland already, what need have they for money?

wanderer: Why is your rabbi calling you Steve?

Jack: I dunno. I thought it was pretty funny. Tough crowd.

M in MKE: Thanks. You know you can click "other" and type in M in MKE when you comment, right?

Shmiel and Yonah (ladies and gentlemen, half of Shlock Rock 1 right here in our comments): It is pretty good money. Laya's bro made a pretty good living doing it too.

Kiwi: There is a significant amount of wax between my ears. Oh, TMI.

There are rules for how to pronounce the words. It's grammar. Someone who knows the rules of hebrew grammar doesn't need the vowels, because usually there's only one (rarely 2) ways it can be read and be grammatically correct. Hebrew is a very phonetic language. This is a good thing for Steg to tackle.

Steg, maybe you can explain this somewhere, about vowels in hebrew?

Also, in some places words are replaced where they clearly are incorrect, for example, often the word for He (HOO) seems to be written as She (HEE) but we still pronounce it as HOO (He) due to context. Confusing? Now you know why I'm not a baal koreh.

Baal Koreh is a master of reading. Nothing to do with Korach, who was this guy.

Kasamba: you could get a guest stint at Shira's shul.

BrooklynWolf said...

As others have mentioned, practice is the key. Anyone can learn to lain, and if you do it often enough, you will get to the point where you can prepare the parsha in a very short time or even do it cold if need be.

My story is that I was taught to lain when I was twelve by a friend of mine (who, himself, had just become bar mitzvah a few months earlier). After giving me the basics, I ended up preparing my bar mitzvah parsha (Va-yera) pretty much by myself, as well as doing the haftorah. After my bar mitzvah, I took any chance I could get to lain - including laining Mon/Thur in yeshiva. When I was in Boy Scout camp, I lained a few parshiyos then. In some shul, I became a "backup" ba'al kriah, substituting when someone went away.

When I was about fifteen, I found a youth minyan in Flatbush where the parsha was divided up among the teenagers who went. Often, I'd volunteer to do an extra aliya or two that no one else wanted (like the tochacha in B'chukosai or Ki Savo).

When I was sixteen, I got my first full-time job. At that time, I was still at the point where I needed A LOT of preperation to be able to do the parsha. I lasted about three months before I was replaced. At that time, I still didn't have the skill necessary to prepare a whole parsha in a week's time. So, it was back to the "minors" for me.

When I was eighteen, I landed another job. They were patient with me and gave me time to develop my skills. I like to think that I repaid their patience as I was with them for sixteen years. I was there when I got married and had my kids.

I very reluctantly left two years ago when I moved out of the neighborhood. However, I found a position in my new neighborhood within a week of my moving and have been reading ever since.

In addition, my love for the craft has inspired me to go on to teach. I've taught quite a few boys to lain over the years. Some, of course, were better than others. But all of my kids came out of my lessons being able to pick up a chumash and lain ANY parsha, not just the one I taught them.

At first, my opinion was that every bar mitzvah boy should lain. However, as I matured and turned into an old fogey, I came to realize that for some boys, learning to lain may be a waste of time and that they'd be better served by learning a seder of mishnayos for their bar mitzvah. Nonetheless, I never turn away a willing student.

My oldest is now twelve and I am in the middle of teaching him how to lain. Interestingly, I've found that it's very different teaching your own son than teaching someone else's.

Lastly, PT, I'd say that becoming an MD is *by far* a bigger accomplishment than learning how to lain. Don't put yourself down so!

(To Eeees: Thank you for the kind words! :) )

The Wolf

Shmiel said...

The Wolf makes a very good comment at the end of his story....Maybe all the time spent preparing "Tone Deaf Tony" for his Kriah at the expense of his regular studies aren't such a good time investment. We've all seen it some poor young man who doesn't raelly want to, forced get up and lein his Bar Mitzvah sedrah with poor diction, poor trope and (in my shul unfortunately) a group of adults who let him know how bad he is...Why? because "everybody does"... There's gotta be a better way....

Shifra said...

My husband gets tapped to lain fairly often. While I love to hear him read in shul I have to practically beg him to refuse. He never has time to practice and ends up staying up till all hours Thursday and Friday night practicing because he feels an obligation to do a good, accurate reading. Then he passes out all shabbos afternoon from sleep deprivation.

We end up compromising - if the gabbai calls when I'm home I "don't give him the message" and if he is home he accepts the laining. I think the gabbai is getting wise to me though and is starting to ask my husband to lain at mincha instead of calling the house.....

BrooklynWolf said...


I once made the mistake of trying to teach a kid who didn't want to learn. His father and mother were (and still are) old friends of the family and asked me to teach their son for his bar mitzvah. Natuarally, I agreed. However, he didn't want to do it. It was a year of heartache for me having to "fight" the kid every step of the way.

My new rule is that I don't teach unless the kid wants to learn.

The Wolf

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Baal korei is one of the most important keys to the shul and the least appreciated. Nice of you to comment on it.

Kiwi the Geek said...

"This is a good thing for Steg to tackle. "

You answered my question, PT. I don't need the gory details. ;o)

Shira Salamone said...

Kiwi the Geek said:

"let me clarify that while the words are there, there are no vowels, no punctuation, no indication of the beginnings or ends of sentences, paragraphs, or sections, and no musical notes. "

So how do you figure out all those details? Is there some set of rules, like phonics? Is it all according to tradition? Do we have any idea how it was done at the time of writing?

"Baal Korehs"

Does this title have anything to do with the "sons of Korah" mentioned in the Psalms?”

Let me tackle the easy part first. The term Baal Koreh, or Baal K’riyah, comes from the verb “likro,” meaning “to read,”, and has nothing to do with either Korah or the sons thereof, to the best of my admittedly-limited knowledge.

Mark/PT said:
“There are rules for how to pronounce the words. It's grammar. Someone who knows the rules of hebrew grammar doesn't need the vowels, because usually there's only one (rarely 2) ways it can be read and be grammatically correct. Hebrew is a very phonetic language. This is a good thing for Steg to tackle.”

Steg would be better at explaining this, but I’m jumpin’ in anyway.

Indeed, as Mark said, “Someone who knows the rules of hebrew grammar doesn't need the vowels,” but for the rest of us poor souls, there’s this wonderful book called a Tikkun. Each page of a Tikkun contains two columns, the right-hand column displaying the Torah reading (in Hebrew only) with all of the vowels, cantillation marks (which, like Western musical notation, must be learned separately), and punctuation (which is, for the most part indicated by the cantillation), the left-hand column showing the consonants-only text as it appears in an actual Torah scroll. Instructions: Study from the “cheater” column, then switch to the consonants-only column. Repeat until capable of chanting from the consonants-only column without errors. Then pray that you can still remember how to read the consonants-only text without errors when you're reading from an actual Torah scroll.

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Thanks to everyone for explaining everything before i got back :-)

Kiwi the Geek said...

Once upon a time an English teacher wrote a sentence on the board: "Woman without her man is nothing" and asked her students to punctuate it. The men wrote: "Woman, without her man, is nothing." while the women wrote: "Woman; without her man is nothing."

I hope this doesn't happen in Torah reading! ;o)

Kiwi the Geek said...

"Then pray that you can still remember how to read the consonants-only text without errors when you're reading from an actual Torah scroll."

Sounds like it would be a lot simpler just to read from the Tikkun. But I suppose that's not minhag. People might think you're meshugannah.

PsychoToddler said...

But I suppose that's not minhag. People might think you're meshugannah.

By George I think she's GOT it!

BTW, I usually write: "Woman: can't live with her, can't drag her behind the car."

Sheyna Galyan said...

Yishar koach!

I started layning Torah in my shul just under a year ago (it'll be a year in August), and have been doing between three and fifteen pasukim (verses) about every six weeks. When I started, I gave myself a day per pasuk to learn it. Now I like to have about a week, no matter how short or long. That way I can not only learn it but be confident when I get up there Shabbat morning.

Confidence seems to be the key - that and not getting freaked out about being corrected if need be by the gabbai - they only offer a correction to make sure the Torah is read correctly, not to test the fragility of the reader's ego!

Layning was something I always wanted to do, and this past year it's also had the side benefit of helping me overcome stage fright!

For what it's worth, I don't think those who said you did a good job were asleep. My experience has been that most people understand to some degree how difficult this is, and whether someone chants flawlessly or stumbles through it - or somewhere in between - the congregation is far more supportive and encouraging than judgemental and admonishing.

So, which of the Ten Statements did you skip? If they're not read on Shavuot, can we pretend they don't exist until they're read again in Parshat Yitro? ;-)

PsychoToddler said...

Confidence? Oh, don't worry. I was plenty confident. I was confident that I was not going to remember the trop, and I was so right.

To my credit, I got most of the words correct, except for the ones that I either replaced or skipped altogether.

Regarding skipped Commandments: Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Helene said...

I leyn regularly for my Conservative shul. Even after 25 yrs., I find I need to study and prepare for each reading. The holiday readings are thankfully, shorter than the typical Shabbat Shaharit readings. Which Tikkun do y'all use to prepare?? I LOVE the new Artscroll one but it's very heavy to schlep around all the time and the "columns" in the tikkun don't "match" our shul's Sifrei Torah. I usually tell my beginning students to always take out the actual Torah and practice from the Bimah before reading publically. Therefore, no surprises. And I also love to hear a variety of tropes and melodies. There are some interesting ones in our shul. I've learned them over the years simply from listening and following along. Thanks for posting this thread. It's delightful - everyone's comments.

Kiwi the Geek said...

(I tried to say this last night, but Blogger was pooping.)

Mrs. Balabusta, please elbow PT.

Do y'all like my heblish?

PsychoToddler said...

helene: I use the new Artscroll one too, and although I think the print is nice and clear, I really could have done without the English side. It just makes the thing twice as heavy. Also, because the Hebrew is only on one side, Larry made a mistake when he was doing his haftorah at his bar mitzvah: he skipped the other side of the page in the Tanach and continued on to something completely different. It took him (and everyone else) a little while to figure out what happened! Then he slapped his forehead and went back to the right spot. Classic Larry.

Kiwi: Don't be silly. Mrs. B never gets this far down in my comments section. She has, like, a life.

PsychoToddler said...

Kiwi: I didn't address something you said earlier. It can make a big difference where you put the commas.

Here's a famous example:

There's the whole story with Jacob stealing Esau's blessings from Isaak. In the story, Isaak asks Jacob (who is dressed like Esau) "who's there?", and Jacob answers, "I am Esau your first born." At least that's the literal translation.

The sages have always had a problem with it, because they ask, how can such a holy man as Jacob so plainly lie to his father? (Personally, I have no problem with it; I believe that our forefathers were real people and therefore fallible).

Anyway, the common way around this (according to rashi) is to put in a semicolon. "It is I; Esau is your first born." The same words can take on different meaning depending on the punctuation.

Chaim said...

Found it ... good post.