Thursday, June 30, 2016

What's different about אפרים?

This has bothered me for many years. The פסוקים enumerating the names of the spies are almost all identical in structure with the obvious exception of מנשה for whom it says למטה יוסף למטה מנשה. As such, the טעמים on the פסוקים are identical as well with the curious exception of אפרים. Instead of the זקף קטון as with the others, למטה אפרים has a מרכא-טפחא. Why?

I have heard a suggestion that perhaps the different tone is meant to indicate יחושע's ענוה. But I am not convinced. In pondering this issue I did come to an interesting discovery which may somehow be connected to the reasoning behind this. Of all of the sons of יעקב, the only one whose name is pronounced with the accent not on the last syllable is אפרים! Perhaps this affects how the פסוק needs to be noted.

As is often the case here, MG comes to the rescue:
MG said...
I've seen two answers for this. I'll leave out one of them because it has a more "Chasidish"/Drush slant.
Basically, this posuk is an exception because "Bin-Nun" is a "short" word (all the other names have more syllables). Because of that, we don't want to place a tipcha (pause/melech)immmediately prior, since that presents a slightly difficult flow of words. So we must have a mercha there, as that is the only possible meshares for a sof-posuk. Thus the tipcha (which is required to be in every single posuk at least once) gets moved to the word "Efroyim".

6 comments:

Lion of Zion said...

i also wondered about this. i cited a technical explanation inter alia here:

http://agmk.blogspot.com/2008/07/pesach-vs-pasach-and-other-leining.html#links

MG said...

I've seen two answers for this. I'll leave out one of them because it has a more "Chasidish"/Drush slant.
Basically, this posuk is an exception because "Bin-Nun" is a "short" word (all the other names have more syllables). Because of that, we don't want to place a tipcha (pause/melech)immmediately prior, since that presents a slightly difficult flow of words. So we must have a mercha there, as that is the only possible meshares for a sof-posuk. Thus the tipcha (which is required to be in every single posuk at least once) gets moved to the word "Efoyim".

Anonymous said...

Why the repost? The answer offered by MG is correct.
In general, when the word which has a siluk/etnachta has less than 2 syllables before the accent (as does "Bin-Nun"; all the other tribes have at least two) we place a mesharet on the preceding word (mercha/munach, respectively) and a tipcha on the prior 3rd word. Otherwise the preceding word receives a tipcha and the prior 3rd word receives a zakef. (There are of course exceptions to this rule; this all depends on the length of the final clause in the verse.)
This same rule explains why in Parashat Mishpatim we find "רֶגֶל תַּחַת רָגֶל" with a tipcha/mercha/siluk sequence, whereas "חַבּוּרָה תַּחַת חַבּוּרָה" has a zakef/tipcha/siluk sequence.
See Shaarei Zimrah 4:10 for further clarification.

Lion of Zion said...

what is shaare zimra?

Anonymous said...

http://www.hebrewbooks.org/7526

ba said...

This is a nice pshat. However, I don't think it works with the listing of shevatim in Bemidbar 1:5ff.