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Semicha is certainly still given, and rabbis are referred to as "having semicha", but the present-day semicha is not identical to THE semicha as given in the times of the Bible and Mishnah. By changing the title, you are suppressing obvious fact, and you will be reverted every time you do this. JFW | T@lk 19:08, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

Agreed. The article is deeply confusing unless you already know the distinction. In a couple of lines, it says that medieval Ashkenazim introduced semicha meaning a diploma, then has a long discussion of the revival of semicha proper, then says that not all rabbis have "semicha" though most do. How can we make it clear that in this last bit we only mean diploma-semicha and not semicha proper? Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 15:40, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

It is confusing because the truth of truths is we neither have rabbis nor smicha now-a-days. Explaining how this is true, yet we call people rabbi and say they have smicha would require an entire section. Basically the article needs to be reorganized so that it discusses Classical Smicha, then discusses how it was lost, discusses Modern Smicha and the differences, then talks about attempts to revive Classical Smicha and why they were made. (THis is all my humble opinion). ALso somebody should add Rav uManhig, which was created by Moshe Feinstein. It is smicha in Orach Chaim. Basejumper 19:48, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Questionable Statements[edit]

The following sentences in this article are problematic:

"seems to have died out"

"ceased to exist"

"chain from Moses onward was broken"

"it is likely that formal semicha came to an end"

These uncited assumptions are not shared by all historians. These opinions should either be removed or accompanied with the opposing view.

CWatchman (talk) 14:48, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, they are shared by all authorities. Precisely when it happened can be debated, but that it happened cannot. It's no more debatable than the roundness of the earth. -- Zsero (talk) 17:34, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
Please research recent historical revisions, recent discovery of preservation of tradition within the Lemba tribe, as well as the redefinition of halakhically acceptable transmission of Smicha.
Regardless whether it continued or no there are those who believe that it is just as historically verifiable as the Catholic/Episcopalian so-called Apostolic Succession.
Terms such as "seems to" and "it is likely" are obviously unsourced information.
The one concrete term "ceased to exist" is just as totally unprovable as the Apostolic Succession and requires the same element of faith to accept as proven. But after all, isn't that what religion is all about? Faith? Who am I to question the Catholic historian who believes he has evidence of an unbroken succession, or an historian who believes he has evidence of an unbroken Smicha? The remaining fact is they believe it and the burden is upon us to disprove it, which we cannot. Mr Zsero I have looked over your talk page and you are a very bright and quick witted individual. I am sure you can discover a reasonable way to state that while most do not believe it continued there are some that do. It is just that simple. I will leave this to your fluent and concise editing skill to make whatever changes are necessary.

CWatchman (talk) 20:53, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Good grief. What on earth have the Lemba got to do with it? They certainly have no semicha. Semicha could only be given in Israel. There is no question at all that by the time of the Geonim there were no longer any musmachim. The only question is exactly when this happened, which is why we have terms like "seems to" and "likely". The Geonim wrote of the semicha as extinct, and of course so did the Rishonim. What recent research could possibly change this? This is Wikipedia, not Uncyclopedia. -- Zsero (talk) 21:22, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Your enthusiasm for this subject seems overdone.

Have you not read those redefining what is halakhically acceptable in transferring Smicha?

Concerning your statement about the Lemba's... there is the continuing tradition among the Lemba's of ordination succession. Some are Judaic and some Messianic. Claims of Semicha succession among them cannot presently be verified since it is but oral tradition but please remember they also had oral tradition of being Cohanim which DNA testing has shown conclusively they carry the Cohanim gene. May also their claim of succession be true? These are not Uncyclopedia scholars making these discoveries. These are bona Fide historians and scientists. Relative to being outside of Israel may I quote the Semicha article in question? "An interesting point of Jewish Law arises in that Rav Yisroel raised the question how could the Tribe of Reuven have kept the semicha alive, since they were outside the Land of Israel and the semicha can be granted only in Land of Israel. He answered that since the Bnei Reuven had been distant from the rest of Klal Yisroel before this ruling had been accepted, there is no reason to assume that they accepted this ruling, and there was a chance that they were still keeping the institution of semicha alive."

There is also claim of Semicha surviving in Europe.

What of the theorem that in such a time the Rabbinate is not possible the Father becomes Rabbi of the home passing a type of Semicha to his sons through the transmission of Torah and the embrace.

Apostolic Succession is claimed unbroken although there were YEARS the Papal Chair was vacant. Yet they believe the transmission continued unbroken when the next Bishop resumed the Papal Chair.

You seem to be unaware of the explosion of various branches of Judaism that has sprung up within the last two decades. They do not all follow the Talmud that you are basing your assumptions on.

The bottom line is this: There are those that believe their is sufficient evidence that Semicha was unbroken and you cannot disprove them anymore then they can conclusively verify it.

I am a bit stymied as to why there seems to be an anger in your tone. I am trying to be as amicable as possible and even said I would leave editing of this article to you. Please try to bit a bit more open minded. You are a very intelligent person and have very much to offer not only this article but Wikipedia as a whole.

CWatchman (talk) 22:13, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Nobody is "redefining" the halacha. The gemara is explicit, and on a matter of halacha it is by definition authoritative. This is not a place for lunatic fringe theories. -- Zsero (talk) 22:24, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for your scholarly reply and amicable responses. Have a pleasant life.

CWatchman (talk) 22:34, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Mechanism of Semicha[edit]

It seems to me that this article is lacking a section on the actual mechanism of classical semicha- how many people can receive it from one person, how many people a person can receive it from, etc. I would really like add this section, but I don't have the time. Any takers? Ayinyud 10:44, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Unbroken Chain of Transmission[edit]

Please do not forget that some believe semicha survived the centuries as "The Unbroken Chain of Transmission." In centuries where actual laying on of hands was not performed it is believed semicha continued through rabbinical appointment as well as through the transmission of the teaching of the Torah. Please do not forget the spirit of the Judaic people that has never been broken throughout the centuries. There are a few sources claiming semicha was transmitted privately and in secret just the same as their faith was secretly observed even though pretending to convert to Catholocism, Islam, etc. and while this may be a result of wishful thinking, this certainly does seem to be a possibility worthy of further research. Dr. C

"Some" believe anything. This is Wikipedia, not Uncyclopedia. -- Zsero (talk) 21:25, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Bunch of Crock![edit]

Who posted this bunch of crock that Semicha was broken? It's this kind of anti-semitism that belongs in Natzi camps! Like was written above, why can the Catholics boast Apostolic Succession, although there are no historically accurate data to back them up, and yet Semicha , with historical backing, can not? Remmo (talk) 01:35, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

And since when is "ordination" a requirement for being a leading Jewish rabbi? There are many laymen "balebatim" who have semicha and are officially "ordained" but do not practice as rabbis at all, and there are other Jewish religious leaders who are simply born into families, like the sons of Hasidic Rebbes who become the leading rabbi/s without any formal "ordination" and, indeed, the very notion of the "greatness" of "ordination" in the Western Christian world is non-Jewish, and alien to the classical requirements whereby a Jewish spiritual leader should be first and foremost a very great Talmid Chacham, often one who has published rabbinic literature and an admired Tzadik (hopefully). This is the way rabbis have historically been defined and recognized by Jews and Judaism, and the way all known Jewish books, magazines, and articles write about them.Izak. Remmo (talk) 01:39, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Oh lawd, they're all coming out of the woodwork now. Or is it the same nutter using different names? -- Zsero (talk) 06:59, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

The Sanhedrin, or Supreme Court, of which Maimonides spoke did not come into existence until well into the second temple period. Though the rabbis claimed that the line of semicha (the transmission of authority) descended in an unbroken line from Moses down to them,(playing the devils advocate) there was really no more evidence that this authority extended beyond Joshua then there supposedly is that it extended beyond 70 AD. Maimonides and a few medieval Jewish commentators believed the line of semicha had been broken when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD and people today believe this. In other words they accept that it was unbroken from Moshe to the Rabbi's, which there was no proof of, but do not believe it survived 70 AD, for which there is ample proof it did. Remmo (talk) 07:13, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Editing Needed[edit]

This article is parsimonious in content and fails to deliver a neutral point of view. Rather then barging in selfishly editing I would prefer to civilly discuss this matter further and attempt a joint edit text that we can then propose on the basis of our mutual agreement. CWatchman (talk) 17:15, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

That's not going to happen, because the position you are trying to promote is complete bollocks. It's not even a notable fringe theory. It doesn't belong in this article. -- Zsero (talk) 17:31, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

This position is NOT "complete bollocks." I AGREE it is not a fringe theory but it CERTAINLY is notable ! You should read more. You would be surprised what you have missed since grade school.

Remmo (talk) 01:47, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Even if it was not a notable fringe theory, if you continue to provoke people to defend it, it will soon become popular just from the exposure. Nothing makes people come out and speak up more then persecution. Natzi's should know that by now.

Remmo (talk) 01:50, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Leave it alone[edit]

Remmo, I am assuming from some things you have written that you have read some of my previous material. If so you should know that a pacific approach will win a permanent war while an aggressive win will only retain it's victory as long as you persist in protective aggression. You have not won Zsero have only alienated him. If you fail to aggressively guard this article he will eventually slip back in. It may be moments, it may be days, it may be months, it may be years. He will return and make the changes he feels are correct. Revision of history is sometimes necessary but one has to take the rebuttal until it becomes accepted. Yesterdays heresy is today's orthodoxy. Yesterdays revelation is today's common sense.

Remmo, Zsero, feel free to civilly debate this off-Wiki by writing me at:

Zsero, I apologize if I have caused trouble. You are simply adhering to the majority viewpoint. I am the heretic. I understand that. However, I ask not that you accept my heresy, I only ask that acknowledge you understand it.

Thank you,

CWatchman (talk) 23:03, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia policies and guidlines[edit]

Heterodoxy and Orthodoxy of opinion and historicity notwithstanding, every article on wikipedia, inlcuding this one, must adhere to our guidelines and policies on verifiability, reliable sources, and point-of-view neutrality. As per WP:NPOV#Undue weight, fringe theories are usually not considered appropriate for articles as they stand. Thank you. -- Avi (talk) 23:13, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Double Talk[edit]

Verifiability? Reliable sources? Point of view neutrality?

Are the comments "seems to have" and " likely" verifiable?

Depends on context, but usually not. -- Avi (talk) 23:46, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Are phantom sources reliable?

Which source is phantom? -- Avi (talk) 23:46, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Is accepting Rambams word a neutral point of view?

Actually, as the pre-eminent sage of his era, yes. Neutral point of view does not mean a lobotomized point of view. Please read the policy carefully. Thanks! -- Avi (talk) 23:46, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Remmo (talk) 23:41, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Bravo, Zsero[edit]

Your parsing is MUCH better this time around.

CWatchman (talk) 23:54, 9 March 2008 (UTC)


Thank you so much for your instruction. I am somewhat new to Wikipedia.

Please notice that I have at NO TIME interjected ANY of my opinions in ANY articles. A simple review of my edit history will reveal this.

Concerning the Semicha article please take note that all my editing has been on the Talk Page ONLY discussing my position accompanied with requests to assist me in making the article a bit more NPOV by removing uncited assumptions and perhaps to add little blip of information stating a small minority do not adhere to the broken Semicha theory. At no time have I attempted any of these changes myself. I am leaving that in more Wiki-experienced hands then my own.

(There are various groups that I could cite that are much more adamant about this and although I do not wish to advertise a fringe theory is there some way we could briefly mention their existence which is a concrete reality?)

Coincidently Unbroken Semicha is but a sideline research as my forte is in Psychology, English literature, and Religion.

Again I have not added anything nor reverted anything from this article confining all my requests and comments to the Talk Page to where I understood such comments should be confined. If I am in error I humbly apologize and submissively accept proper instruction in this matter.

Thank you for your assistance.

CWatchman (talk) 19:32, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

In reviewing my rebuttal concerning perpetuity of Semicha I realize it is a hard read. I was very tired the day I wrote it. I have re-written it in a more readable form. It is still not perfect but at least it is readable. I can add citations to it later. I kind of hesitate to paste it here in the talk page, since it is somewhat lengthy, but I think it is important. It is just a basic sketch. I call it "In Search of the Unbroken Semicha" :

CWatchman (talk) 19:17, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Ps. I am not sure how lengthy something is or is not allowed to be. I am still new to Wikipedia. But I am sure someone will let me know :)

In Search of the Unbroken Chain of Semicha[edit]

One of the most intriguing stories ever told is that of the ancient chain of Semicha.

Today it is almost universally accepted that the chain of Semicha was broken around the fifth century AD and was forever lost. Recent research, however, has uncovered at least four remarkable sources of possible intact Semicha.

Semicha is the rabbinical ordination classically transmitted by the laying on of hands. Moses ordained Joshua and the seventy elders through this transmission of authority (Num 27:15-23, Num 11: 16-25, Deut. 34: 9). Their successors in turn ordained others. This hands on transmission continued until around the fifth century at which time it is believed to have ceased to exist.

But G-d said Semicha was unto all generations forever. Is G-d not capable of preserving this gift He so graciously bestowed upon his people. Without Semicha there is no succession of Sanhedrin nor a priesthood. Without the priesthood there is no building of the Temple. Without the Temple to where will Messiah come ? (Rambam said, “If there is one with uninterrupted semicha, you do not require everyone’s agreement”. Jewish people today believe in the absolute transmission of Torah and Mesorah from Rabbineau Moshe to the present day but believe Semicha ceased centuries ago. But if Hashem preserved the Torah why could He not also preserve Semicha? There are three sources of possible Semicha to consider: (1) A Lost Tribe of Israel (Lemba's) (2) Isaac Ben Luria (3) Remnant in Europe (4) Teacher/student transmission. Today I will give more space to sources one and four beginning with the first source.


" I would like to mention that we, the Jewish community are guilty--guilty because we never accepted what the Lemba had always maintained...until [the] genetic proof recently ; that their story was a part of ours. We are guilty because we rejected them. " (Dr. Rudo Mathiva).

Approximately 2,500 years ago, a group of Jews left Judah settling in Yemen populating a city called Senna. Unfavorable conditions compelled them to journey many miles until settling in and around Zimbabwe. Similar to other Jews during the Diaspora they assimilated local customs and genes from the local gene pool. For centuries these people passed down their tradition to their children and adamantly claimed they were Jewish. Unlike the locals they believed in one God, Shabbot, Kosher dietary laws, circumcision, the lunar calendar, Torah, and many other Jewish customs. They not only claimed to be Jewish and of the Cohanim but they also boasted an unbroken Semicha. Academia laughed at these black people proclaiming to be Jews. They were in a delusion...or were they they? In 1997 critical research data indicated that a large proportion of contemporary Jewish Cohanim (those claiming ancestry from the priestly line of Aaron the High Priest) share a set of Y chromosomal genetic markers, known as the Cohen Modal Haplotype, which has been determined to have derived from a single common ancestor dating back to the very time in which the Torah recorded Aaron existed. Scientific calculations which were based on the high rate of genetic similarity of today's Cohanim resulted in the highest "paternity-certainty" rate that has been ever been recorded in population genetics studies. Scientists found that 45 percent of Ashkenazi priests and 56 percent of Sepharic priests have the cohen genetic signature, while in Jewish populations in general the frequency rate is 3 to 5 percent. When they tested the priestly tribe of Lemba they were astonished to discover they had 53 percent! They had unique genetic markers found only in the Jewish communities. Dr. Tudar Parfitt says "It turned out what they are saying about themselves is substantially correct." Geneticist Trevor Jenkins said the tests turned out to "prove consistent with Lemba oral history." Science had conclusively proven the Lemba carried the Priestly genes dating back to the time of Aaron and Moses just as they had always proclaimed.

Numerous other historical traditions they proclaimed turned out to be true. The unknown city that the Lemba claimed they journeyed from was discovered ("Journey to the Vanished City", Dr. Tudor Parfitt). An artifact they claimed they possessed and lost hundreds of years ago was discovered in a an ancient cave. Dr. Mathiva said, "Old maps of the Holy Land have now revealed that there was a place called Lemba way back BCE." She further stated that the Jewish community was left with a moral dilemma as to their responsibility and future obligations to the Lemba and concluded saying, "Now that we know, can we continue to pretend they do not exist?"

We have an even GREATER dilemma. If their claims of Jewish origin, Cohanim decent , names of lost cities, etc. proved to be true....what about their claim to possess an unbroken line of Semicha!!! They have persistently claimed an unbroken succession of ordination...the Semicha.

Please keep in mind Semicha has alledgedly been conferred on clans of Lemba that were Cohanim as well as those that were not but were nevertheless considered Jewish. Those recieving Semicha are considered Priests although most are born into into the Priesthood as well as recieving Semicha.

Magdel le Roux says the Lemba still has the priesthood to this very day and the priest traditionally passes his teaching and priesthood on to his son in perpetual succession. He reports the priest said to him:

"The succession is just from our forefathers right up to this generation and it will just continue like that. You see there is just a house of priesthood like in the Old Testament and this priesthood is not something of imposition of something you do to yourself. It was something bestowed to a particular house by G-d." (D:A:4; italics mine).

Would such a Semicha be halackally acceptable? It may be time for us to reconsider what is halackally acceptable transmission of Semicha when faced with dispersion and hardship. Even Elijah when in exile accepted food from non-kosher unclean birds until such a time he could resume a normal kosher life. Rabbi Yisroel Shklover said a dispersed group distant from the rest of Klal Yisroel before certain halachic Rabbinical rules were declared would be exempt from those rules not having accepted nor heard them.

One thing is for certain...the Lemba and their claims of Semicha are here...and they are not going to just "go away."


Isaac Bin Luria (ARI) was a mystic whom many felt was a holy man with divine favor. He claimed the prophet Elijah, who had been his godfather in his babyhood, paid him frequent visits, initiating him into sublime truths. Rabbi Chayim Vital said the ARI increased his piety, asceticism, purity and holiness until he reached a level where Eliyahu HaNavie (Elijah the prophet) would constantly reveal himself to him, speaking to him "mouth to mouth," teaching him these mysteries. " According to scripture Elijah was one of two men who had never tasted death. This would not have been a "phantom" but the real Elijah. If this is true then there would be no doubt Semicha continued because the ARI's line is still presently extent. However this is impossible to verify and smacks a bit as being Quixotic but is still an avenue for the mystically minded to explore.


It is claimed that Semicha survived intact in a remnant of Jewish people in Europe. A small group of Messianic Jews as well as independent orthodox groups claim to have received preserved Semicha from this and other lines. Further research is needed before I can accurately publish the details which I can do at a later date.

Also we must not forget there have been many laymen "balebatim" who have semicha and are officially "ordained" but do not practice as rabbis at all.


We must seriously consider the theorem that in times when persecution prohibited the existence of ordained Rabbi’s that the father automatically became Rabbi of the home and passed his rabbinical blessing to his son (or children) until such time the classical form of Semicha was able to be resumed (after all Rabbi does mean "teacher"). Perhaps we need to reconsider what is halackally acceptable transmission of Semicha when faced with insurmountable persecution and threat of death.

It is possible, no PROBABLE, that in time of unavoidable secrecy and threat of death that Hashem accepted the following as transmission of Semicha : Transmission of Torah from teacher to student (or father to son) consisting of Torah teaching, pronunciation of blessing, and the physical embrace and/or kiss. This would have been an acceptable link in the unbroken chain of Semichut until such a time that the classical Semicha could be resumed by Rambam's suggestion of all the sages of Israel coming together, unanimously ordaining judges, and then resuming classical Semicha. This is the most practical and pragmatic approach . If , as many believe, there was an unbroken chain of transmission of Torah, there by necessity must be a teacher to transmit it and a student to receive it, and this done in perpetual succession.

Consider the precision that the Torah was preserved in and passed on in times of aggressive prohibition. Consider the intricate , detailed, typologies involved in Pesach observance. Consider the multitude of details in Jewish observances accurately handed down from generation to generation of families forbidden to observe such custom even at the threat of death and extinction. Do you...COULD you...imagine for one single moment that some Jewish family or families failed to pass on something as critical as Semicha? The vast interactive, connecting, branching, web of of Jewish culture has spun a geometric weave of cultural preservation in the metropolitans, prison camps, jungles, and villages throughout the far reaches of the earth. To think the anointed, ethereal substance of Semicha came to an end is to strike the very heart of faith as well as the credibility of human potential. Hashem is much wiser then we could ever imagine and what He has established He has the ability to preserve. There are no DNA tests, no historical discoveries, no law in the land, nor religious body that can prove to be as dependable a source of evidence as the way and word of Hashem. He has preserved the Jewish people, their traditions, and the Cohanim in the brutal face of Dispersion, holocausts, prison, and centuries of exile. Hitler could not burn her traditions, Nazi's could not imprison them, and exile could not silence her voice. Through the stygian darkness of night by the candles of Shabbot precious oral history and religious traditions were secretly passed down from generation to generation as her persecutors stalked her doors firing their brutal ammunition over her weary head. When the smoke of historical debates have cleared and skeptics reluctantly lift their heads from the fox holes...before them standing undaunted will be proof of Hashem's perpetual all generations forever.

"THEIR ANOINTING shall surely be an EVERLASTING priesthood throughout your generations." (Ex. 40: 15)

CWatchman (talk) 19:38, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Still looking for reliable sources[edit]

I'm still looking for sources on this. I did come across one article suggesting that the semicha may have survived until the early 12th century; the author claims that even when there were no yeshivot - or any Jewish life to speak of - in Israel itself, semuchim from Lebanon and Syria would travel there in order to pass on semicha to their students, and it was only the closure of the Damascus yeshiva in the 12th century that finally brought the chain to an end. I'm still reading it and will have to check the sources. It probably deserves at least a footnote. -- Zsero (talk) 20:43, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Would you be so kind as to email the information or the link to that article.
CWatchman (talk) 10:07, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
It's here. Some of the evidence he relies on the most seems clearly capable of other interpretations. -- Zsero (talk) 14:24, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Zsero, I am interested as to what else you have come up with. Please share. Thank you.

CWatchman (talk) 21:27, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Messianic Nasarini's[edit]

Although it is not yet known if indeed they are one of the Ten Lost Tribes, the Nasarini's of Malabar are said to to indeed be of Hebrew heritage . (Ref. Dr. Asahel Grants' 'The Nestorians or the Lost Tribes of Israel' ). Known as the Syrian-Malabar, or Saint Thomas Christians, they follow a Hebrew-Syriac Christian tradition saturated with many Jewish elements. They are some of the earliest people who joined Christianity in India and also with many Malabar Jews from the pre-Christian Diaspora as well as the post Christian Diaspora (40 AD to the fourth century after which it is claimed Semicha ceased). The Saint Thomas Nasari 's themselves have a consistent tradition that their church was founded by the very early original Nazarene Church, most specifically by Saint Thomas. Many Pharisee's also converted to Christianity and joined the early Nazarene Church.

The Syrian-Malabar Church can allegedly trace it's ordination succession person by person all the way back to the original Church. I have seen these ancient documents and have spoken with Greek Orthodox scholars who insist these Syrian records are are historically accurate. If this be so then, considering those who already had Semicha when becoming part of the Nasarini, this would be another unbroken chain of ordination going back to Moshe.

Although Rabbi Yisroel Shklover said that under certain circumstances certain groups would be exempt from the halachic Rabbinical rules I am aware that no Orthodox Torah observant Jew would consider such a Semicha as being even close to being halachic but it would be a very interesting research for a messianic observant Jew to explore.

CWatchman (talk) 04:08, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Unbroken Semicha in Yemen?[edit]

There are communities making claims, some with DNA tests backing their claims, of descent from the lost tribes and keeping Torah the whole time: Jews of kurdistan, gruzia, mountain Jews, and most notably : the Habbani Jews from Yemen as well as other Yemenite Jewish tribes.

I have also been told that they do not necessarily have to even know it as "smicha" because any permission to judge dinei knasot or nefashot would be sufficient.

One Rabbi is checking out sources of European Rabbi's with traditions surrounding them of an unbroken chain of Semicha.

I just find it incredible that there is no serious research into this. We now have access to research tools unavailable to Rabbi Yisroel Shklover and his associates who were so willing to risk their lives to search for an unbroken Chain of Semicha.

CWatchman (talk) 03:52, 5 April 2008 (UTC)


The correct transliteration of the word is Smicha, without the "e."The name of the article should be changed accordingly--Gilabrand (talk) 14:18, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

No, it isn't. It's a sheva na`. -- Zsero (talk) 18:33, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Please correct me if I am wrong, but "Smicha" is just an abreviated slang for "Semicha" just as "Shlom" is an abreviated slang for "Shalom".

CWatchman (talk) 03:53, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

BTW, I heard that 'Lom was an abreviated slang for Shalom. Is anyone familiar with this slang and where it may be being used?


CWatchman (talk) 03:57, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

The word is pronounced "smicha." Anyone who claims otherwise doesn't know Hebrew. --Gilabrand (talk) 19:14, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
It is a sheva na`; end of story. -- Zsero (talk) 05:07, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Any shva at the beginning of a word MUST be na (with the possible exception of the word shtayim -- see the RaDaK in both the Michlul and the Sefer HaShoroshim regarding its etymology). The pronounciation is Səmicha, but as the schwa is never used in typography, the current spelling is appropriate, and standard in English. -- Avi (talk) 12:12, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Could we change the spelling to reflect the Wikipidia own article on transliteration of Hebrew? The word should be spelled "Semikhah". This is supposedly an encyclopedia article, and while popular misspelling should be noted, I personally would prefer to see the correct one Romabers (talk)

After more than a week and no movements on the correction, I've changed the spelling to the proper and commonly accepted "semikhah" (as is evidenced by the entries in every encyclopedia, and also by the "Further reading" section in this entry. If anyone wants to revert the spelling back, I would like to hear a solid and well sourced argument for that. Romabers (talk)

Requested move[edit]

SemichaSemikhah — I've changed the spelling to the proper and commonly accepted "semikhah" (as is evidenced by the entries in every encyclopedia, and also by the "Further reading" section in this entry. For example see also: Romabers (talk) 17:40, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

 Done. Jafeluv (talk) 10:06, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Romabers, Please elaborate as to why you felt that the spelling "Semikhah" was more correct than "Semicha."

This request is not argumentive. I really want to know more about the reasoning and political correctness behind the change.

Thank you very much. CWatchman (talk) 18:50, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Romabers seems to have consulted encylopaedias, instead of people who actually use the word every day. I have done no survey, but I'd bet a small sum that if you surveyed English-speakers who actually have semicha, or who use the word in conversation at least twice a week, you'd find the vast majority spell it with a C rather than a K. Some would spell it "smicha" and some "semicha", maybe some with an H at the end, but very few would use a K. That said, it's all a matter of taste and preference; there is no "correct" transliteration. -- Zsero (talk) 19:42, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
I am not sure who are those people that have a "semicha", that Zsero refering to. I just did a quick check of the major rabbinical schools: YU calls it "Hag Hasemikhah" ; JTS (conservative), does not confer semikhah, however the prevailing spelling on their site is with KH, Reconstructionists, do not have a semikhah either, however, their Mekhinah is spelled with KH; HUC (reform), uses "semikhah";now to the smaller schools: YCT - "semikha"; ITJ -"semikhah". The "Tradition" magazine (orthodox) uses both, with the KH spelling prevalent 3:1 to CH; the "Ideals" (MO) uses "semikha". So, who are those mysterious people with "semicha"?Romabers (talk) 18:34, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I am most confused by this new spelling. Most of the "what links here" are redirects from Semicha, which is how most of the world spells this. If you insist on a "kh" for the Kaph, then I suggest you make this consistent with the spelling of Halakha and call it Semikha. Yoninah (talk) 20:45, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
Agreed, it should be changed. Care to submit a request?Romabers (talk)
I've outlined my reasons for the change in the "Spelling" section above. I do not think any of them are political.Romabers (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 18:29, 14 April 2010 (UTC).

Request for comment[edit]

SemikhahSemicha I would like to gain consensus on the spelling of this page's name. Last September, the page was retitled Semikhah on the basis of one editor's opinion. In my experience, the most common spelling in English parlance is Semicha, which gets 55,300 Google hits as opposed to Semikhah, which gets 28,300 Google hits. Although above, Romabers cited the preference of encyclopedias for the Semikhah spelling, Semicha is the way the general public (and rabbis themselves) spell it. Tellingly, the What Links Here list for this page reveals that the Semicha spelling accounts for a hefty amount of redirects. Thank you for your input. Yoninah (talk) 23:01, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Support The spelling with c is more used and not anachronistic. I support the move. -- Avi (talk) 14:28, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

I would have to disagree, naturally. No one is claiming that CH spelling is anachronistic, it is just incorrect. Please see my answer to Zsero on the usage of the word above.Romabers (talk)

Based on the paucity of replies to this post, as well as discussions elsewhere about transliteration, could I just go ahead and move this page to Semikha? Thanks, Yoninah (talk) 20:12, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Though "semikha" would probably be correct according to the rules of transliteration (both Modern Israeli and the Academy Hebrew_alphabet), people who are not familiar with the pronunciation of Hebrew would not know where to put stress in the word. It is virtually guaranteed, that English speakers would put the stress on the wrong syllable. I really do not know a good solution to that problem, except to leave the final "h". Romabers (talk)
I don't think that an English speaker is going to learn pronunciation from a transliteration. Besides, most English speakers pronounce it se-mi-kha. We can put the pronunciation key in the lead. I would just like to come up with a consistent spelling standard to match Wikipedia's existant spelling of words such as halakha. BTW, Wikipedia articles seem to drop the "h" on a regular basis, as: Rosh Hashana, Shmita, chevra kadisha (the first word ends with a hei), yeshiva, etc. Yoninah (talk) 19:09, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree, that a consistent spelling would be preferable. However the Wikipedia is not consistent: Halakha and Shemita are without final "h", OTOH Aggadah, Rosh Hashanah, and Haggadah of Pesach with "h". So, for all the reasons outlined above (Spelling, Requested move), I would rather see "h" added to the other articles, then dropping it here.Romabers (talk)
Romabers, your idea of transliterating follows scholarly guidelines, while my idea follows popular usage. Meanwhile, Wikipedia pages have developed haphazardly, depending on who wrote them. I don't think we can start re-titling pages based on this discussion between the two of us. I guess I'll back off for now and wait for a larger panel of editors to set consistent spelling guidelines for all Jewish content pages. Cordially, Yoninah (talk) 21:50, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The Hebrew MOS seems to indicate that kh should be used for כ , however _h should only be used for words that end in a segol or tzere preceding the ה, not a kamatz as in this case. Therefore it should be "semikha". Perhaps we should centralize discussion regarding the MOS in order to figure out whether to standardize article name changes. Valley2city 17:53, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

POV tagging on "Not all present-day rabbis have semikhah"[edit]

I reinstate the unanswered objections of Avi from above. As of this diff, there seems to be a serious POV problem that happens to exist in an uncited state, particularly in the section "Not all present-day rabbis have semikhah". Statements like "Orthodox Jews do not see Conservative or Reform Rabbis as being "Rabbis", and are usually careful to quality the title with the movement from which it originated." or "A "Rabbi" without qualified is assumed to be Orthodox, and hence, legitimate." might not reflect reality. I don't think that these statements, uncited, could continue to exist. There are Orthodox Jews of various opinions and I've talked to Chabad Rabbis who acknowledge the legitimacy of Rabbis of the Conservative movement and don't attach modifiers to them. Anyway, Shavuot Sameach. Valley2city 17:37, 18 May 2010 (UTC)


Margaritta Aron added the following, based on a 1950 source and using an editorialising style ("it is from this angle that we can start to understand"):

In Jewish law, however, owing to the idea ot theocracy which is the basis of Jewish religion, law and religion are identical, with the result that the adjusting of disputes was not only a legal matter but also a religious one. This identification of law with religion meant that judges must not only posses legal knowledge and aptitude but also spiritual qualifications, and that the appointment of judges was not merely a civil ceremony but also a religious one. This idea lies at the root of Semikhah, and it is from this angle that we can start to understand the full significance of it. [1]
The first reference in the Bible to the appointment of Hebrew judges is found in Exodus where Jethro proposed to Moses a plan for relieving him of the unbearable onerous task of acting as a judge every day from dawn to dusk, in the people's civil disputes. [2]

Can I suggest a rewrite with more recent sources? JFW | T@lk 08:47, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^ Julius Newman: Semikhah (ordination). A study of its origin, history, and function in Rabbinic literature. Manchester University Press. Manchester 1950, "Introduction".
  2. ^ Julius Newman: Semikhah (ordination). A study of its origin, history, and function in Rabbinic literature. Manchester University Press. Manchester 1950, "Chapter I"