Friday, December 29, 2017

You Make the Call - אבל מצרים

From 2010:
Last week, the בעל קריאה said אֵבֶל מצרים instead of אָבֵל מצרים. I did correct it on the spot but it occurred to me afterward that perhaps it is only אָבֵל because of סמיכות in which case, I don't think it is a critical mistake absolutely requiring correction. Is that the case?

But I was wrong:



elie said...
המילה אָבל מצרים אינה לשון אבלות
יש עוד מקומות כמו אָבל השיטים
לכן כשקרה אֵבל הוא עשה טעות חמורה

Monday, December 18, 2017

Pain in the Neck

After יוסף reveals his identity to his brothers, he and his only full brother, בנימין, embrace each other. The pasuk (45:14) recounts that יוסף fell upon בנימין’s neck and cried, while בנימין cried on יוסף’s neck as well. Although, it is simply understood that they were crying tears of joy, רש"י quotes the :גמרא מגילה ט"ז stating that יוסף cried on בנימין’s neck over the two temples that would be built in בנימין’s portion of ארץ ישראל and ultimately destroyed, while בנימין was crying over the משכן in שילה which was in יוסף’s portion and would ultimately meet the same fate.

There is a discussion among the commentaries concerning the logistics of this גמרא. Some suggest that the plurality of the word neck with regards to צוארי בנימין, is what led the גמרא to interpret it as referring to two temples. However, this approach is disregarded for two reasons. First, it is not uncommon for the Torah to refer to the neck in plural, just as it always does with the face. Many commentaries (רד"ק, רבינו בחיי, חזקוני, העמק דבר) interpret “צוארי” to simply refer to the two sides of the neck. Moreover, the word used in regards to יוסף’s neck, “צואריו,” is also plural. In the end, the only sensible approach among the commentaries on רש"י seems to be that, although יוסף cried with all his other brothers as stated clearly in the following pasuk, the necks are only mentioned with בנימין. This indicated that there was something special about the crying with בנימין. The fact that יוסף cried over two temples while בנימין cried over only one משכן is purely incidental, as it were. It just so happened that two temples were built in בנימין’s portion and one משכן in יוסף’s but it has no relation to the grammar of the pasuk.

Although in רש"י’s version of the גמרא, there is no indication that the plurality of necks plays any part in the drashah, the text of the מדרש בראשית רבה צ"ג:י"ב, seems to indicate that it did when it asks, “did בנימין have two necks?” שערי אהרן offers a viable approach to justify the מדרש. The word “צואריו,” translated literally, can only mean the many necks of one person. However, the word “צוארי” can be used to mean the many necks of one person or the many necks of many people. It is this point that lead the מדרש, and perhaps the גמרא as well, to infer that יוסף was crying over two tragedies, and בנימין over one.

See the comments below and a link to a fascinating discussion on this by R' Wolf Heidenheim in his ספר מודע לבינה.
I understand his questions but he loses me a little when answering them. If I understand correctly, in a nutshell: Tzavarav is plural, which is normal. Tza-va-rei would also have been plural and normal. But the word as it is written, tza-ve-rei, with a שוא, is the possessive form of tzaverayim which would mean not many necks but exactly two. This is what is driving the inference of the מדרש.

דקדוקי ויגש

דקדוקי מילים וחלקם בעלי שינויי משמעות בפרשת ויגש ובהפטרה. אני נעזר בספר אם למקרא של ר' ניסן שרוני נר"ו. בתוספת הערות והדרכה לקורא מאורי טאניס נר"ו.
מילים שוי"ו ההיפוך לעתיד הפכה אותן למלרע: וְיָשַׁבְתָּ וְכִלְכַּלְתִּי וְנָתַתִּי וְקִבַּצְתִּי וְהֵבֵאתִי וְהוֹשַׁעְתִּי וְטִהַרְתִּי וְכָרַתִּי וְהִרְבֵּיתִי
מד יח –יִחַר הטעם ביו"ד מלעיל.
מד כג יֵרֵד יו"ד ורי"ש בצירי הטעם ברי"ש מלרע.
מה א –עָמַד והטעם בעי"ן נסוג אחור.
מה ב בִּבְכִי: בי"ת שנייה בשווא נח ובמלרע
מה ה אַל-תֵּעָצְבוּ': מונח רביע באותה תיבה, יש לקרא בהעמדה קלה בעי"ן וצד"י בשווא נע כמובן.
מה יב הַֽמְדַבֵּר: המ"ם בשווא נע
מה יד בִנְיָֽמִן-אָחִיו: געיה בי"ד הראשונה
מה טו וְאַחֲרֵי כֵן: טעם נסוג אחור לאל"ף
מה כג כְּזֹאת הכ"ף בשוא.
מו א בְּאֵרָה שָּׁבַע: דגש חזק בשי"ן מדין אתי מרחיק.
מו ד 'אָֽנֹכִי אֵרֵד עִמְּךָ מִצְרַיְמָה': תיבה אנכי ברביעי לפי ברויאר ואחרים, על פי תורה קדומה, במונח. בחלק הדקדוק מסביר כך: תיבת 'אנכי' בשופר הולך ברב התיגאן המדוקדקות, לא ברביע, להורות גודל וחוזק שיתוף ודיבוק השכינה ביעקב אבינו, עכ"ל. א"ה: להוציא מכל ספק, אנו נוהגים כספרים המדויקים שבידינו. וכבוד המהרי"ץ בעל חלק הדקדוק במקומו מונח. א.ל. וְאָנֹכִי אַעַלְךָ גַם-עָלֹה: טעם טפחא בתיבת וְאָנֹכִי
מו יב וְשֵׁלָה וָפֶרֶץ וָזָרַח: טעם טפחא בתיבת וְשֵׁלָה מיקום הטפחא מתערב במכוון על מנת להבחין בין שלה שהוא בן בת שוע לבין אחיו שהם בני תמר
מו יג וּפֻוָה הוי"ו ללא דגש.
מו כ יָֽלְדָה-לּוֹ: געיה ביו"ד והלמ"ד בשווא נע. אָֽסְנַת האל"ף בקמץ רחב והסמ"ך בשוא נע (בקריאה "ישראלית": ASENAT).
מו כו הַבָּאָה מלרע הטעם באל"ף; מִלְּבַד נְשֵׁי בְנֵי-יַעֲקֹב: טעם טפחא בתיבת מִלְּבַד
מו כז הַבָּאָה מלעיל הטעם בבי"ת.
מו כז 'אֲשֶׁר-יֻלַּד-לוֹ בְמִצְרַיִם': בחלק הדקדוק של תורה קדומה, הערה מעניינת שיש בה כדי להבהיר כיצד להבדיל בקריאה בין 'לו' ל'לא': יש להאריך מעט בתיבת 'לו', דלא לישתמע לשון שלילה. א"ה: לנו אין מסורת המבחינה. א.ל.
מו כח גֹּשְנָה הטעם בגימ"ל והשי"ן בשוא נח.
מו כט וַיֶּאְסֹר האל"ף בשוא נח ולא בחטף-סגול.
מו לא וְאֹֽמְרָה המ"ם בשוא נע, מי שקורא בשוא נח עלול להישמע וְאָמְרָה בקמץ חטוף במשמעות וֶאֱמוֹר! אֵלָיו בזקף, לא ברביע.
מו לב 'וְהָֽאֲנָשִׁים רֹעֵי צֹאן': תיבה 'רעי' טעם נסוג אחור לרי"ש, במלעיל וכן הוא להלן פס' לד כָּל-רֹ֥עֵה צֹֽאן.
מז ג רֹעֵה צֹאן: בניגוד לסעיף הקודם, אין כאן טעם נסוג אחור לרי"ש. טעם מהפך (שופר הולך) מתחלף למרכא לפני פשטא כאשר ההברות המוטעמות סמוכות זו לזו כגון בר' כו ח 'אָֽרְכוּ לוֹ שָׁם' וכדו' שילוב הטעמים מרכא-פשטא מקל על הקורא להטעים שתי הברות סמוכות.
מז ד 'לָגוּר בָּאָרֶץ בָּאנוּ': 'בארץ' 'באנו', שתי התיבות במלעיל. זרקא וסגול אינם מראים את מקום ההטעמה, אלא, מיקומם במילה קבוע מעל האות האחרונה, משמאלהּ.
מז ז וַיְבָרֶךְ: במלעיל
מז ח כַּמָּה הטעם במ"ם
מז ט וּמְאַת ... מְעַט: לקוראים בהברה ארצישראלית, עליהם להבחין בין השניים, לכל הפחות על ידי ביטוי העי"ן שבשני
מז יא רַעְמְסֵס העי"ן בשוא נח והמ"ם אחריה בשוא נע, לעומת רַעַמְסֵס עי"ן בפתח ומ"ם בשוא נח.
מז יג וַתֵּלַהּ הטעם בתי"ו והה"א מופקת כי היא שורשית.
מז יח 'גְּוִיָּתֵנוּ': הוא"ו בחירק חסר, היו"ד בקמץ ודגש חזק, אין לקרא 'גוִי-אָתֵנו' אלא 'גוִיְ-יָתֵנו'!
מז כא 'לֶעָרִים': געיה בלמ"ד, יש לעמוד מעט בקריאתה להבדיל בין הסגול המיודע לבין השווא שאיננו מיודע לֶ – לְ
מז יח וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ: טעם נסוג אחור ליו"ד. גְּוִיָּתֵנוּ: הוא"ו בחיריק חסר, היו"ד בקמץ ודגש חזק, אין לקרא 'גוִי-אָתֵנו' אלא 'גוִיְ-יָתֵנו'
מז כד וּֽלְאָכְלְכֶם': געיה בשורק והלמ"ד אחריה בשווא נח[1].
מז כה הֶחֱיִתָנוּ: היו"ד בחיריק, יש לקרא הֶחֱ-יִתָנוּ, אין צורך לעצור אחרי החי"ת אבל יש להקפיד לקרא את היו"ד מנוקדת בחיריק
בהפטרה יחזקאל לז
טז לִֽיהוּדָה: הלמ"ד בחירק מלא
יח וְכַֽאֲשֶׁר: העמדה קלה בכ"ף למנוע הבלעת האל"ף החטופה
כא הָֽלְכוּ-שָׁם: געיה בה"א
כב יִֽהְיוּ-עוֹד: געיה ביו"ד הראשונה. יֵחָצוּ: טעם נסוג אחור לחי"ת
כג יִֽטַּמְּאוּ: היו"ד בחיריק, הקורא בשווא עלול לשבש את צורת הפועל מסביל לפעיל
כה יָֽשְׁבוּ-בָהּ: געיה ביו"ד
כז לֵאלֹהִים: האל"ף כלל אינה נשמעת
ראשון של ויחי:
מז ל אֶעֱשֶׂה העי"ן בחטף סגול ולא בשוא נח.
מח ג וַיְבָרֶךְ: במלעיל
מח ה יִֽהְיוּ-לִֽי׃ געיה ביו"ד הראשונה
מח ז מֵתָה: במלעיל, הקורא מלרע משנה מעבר לבינוני
מח ט אֲשֶׁר-נָֽתַן-לִי: געיה בנו"ן הראשונה. קָֽחֶם-נָא: געיה בקו"ף. וַאֲבָרְכֵֽם׃ הרי"ש בשווא נע ולא בחטף. הכ"ף בצירי[2]
א"ה: ראה בסוף התנ"ך מוסד הרב קוק של ברויאר עמ' תג "געיה כבדה בלתי סדירה יכולה לבוא בכל הברה סגורה, שאיננה ראויה לגעיה אחרת" ובין הדוגמאות: "וּֽבְשִׁלְיָתָהּ".
[2]
בחומשי היידנהיים ואברכֶם בכ"ף סגולה, גם קורן במהדורתם הראשונה (כמדומה מהדורת פרסומת לפני כ45 שנה) סיגלו את הכ"ף. מאוחר יותר שינוהו לצירי.

Can you count to 70?

Originally meant to be a חשבון shtikle but morphed into some דקדוק:

Question: How many males are counted as coming to Mitzrayim with Yaakov? One thing is for sure, it wasn't 70. I still have not been able to figure out how all the numbers worked - who were the 66 mentioned in 46:26 and the 70 in 46:27? 66+3 = 69, the last time I checked. If you add up all of the children and grandchildren, it does come out to 70 but then it should have been 67 and then 70. All that aside, it was not only males who were counted. Dinah is counted along with her brothers which is understandable. Serach bas Asher is counted as well which is slightly more puzzling. One must assume she was not the only granddaughter. From Rashi (46:27) it seems Yocheved was somehow part of the 70 as well.

While I was not able to find anything explaining why these particular women figured in the count as opposed to others, I did see an interesting insight into the pesukim in consideration of that fact. Tzeror HaMor and Emes L'Yaakov both point out a discrepency in the per-wife tallies found in the pesukim. The numbers for Rachel ("arba'ah asar") and Bilhah ("shiv'ah") are of the masculin form. The numbers for Leah ("sheloshim veshalosh") and Zilpah ("sheish esreih") are feminine. They both explain that Leah and Zilpah both had women counted among their offspring - Dinah from Leah and Serach from Zilpah. Therefore their numbers are delivered in feminine. Rachel and Bilhah had no feminine offspring counted and thus their numbers are in masculine.

One might wonder why this is so, considering that the generic plural is usually masculine by default. However, Emes L'Yaakov points out that the word "nefesh" which the number is qualifying is feminine. So the default gender of the number for "nefesh" should be feminine. Rachel and Bilhah were the exceptions.

Friday, December 15, 2017

From Eliyahu Levin on מקץ

בס"ד יום א לסדר מעט צרי ומעט דבש


למערכת שלום

רציתי לעורר על שני ניקודים בפרשת השבוע (מקץ) שרוב החומשים משתבשים בהם.

א. מא נ וליוסף יֻלַּד הלמ"ד בפתח. כן הוא לפי הדקדוק.

וכתב על זה המנחת ש"י: בכל הספרים הלמ"ד בקמץ גם נמסר עליו במ"ג [=במקראות גדולות, הכוונה לדפוס ונציה]. א.ל.] לית קמץ [= המקום היחיד במקרא שמילה זו מנוקדת בקמץ] וקשה שהוא כבן נפתלי ולב"א [=ולבן אשר, שהלכה כמותו בכל מקום לגבי בן נפתלי. א.ל.] בפתח, כפי מה שראיתי בחילופים שבדפוס. ואחר שכתבתי זה ראיתי ספר רב פעלים שכתב בלשון זה אבל וליוסף ילד שני בנים פתוח לב"א ולב"נ קמוץ. ומסורה אחרת מצאתי עליו ב' קמצין כי אדם לעמל יולד ודין [= קמץ בשני מקומות. האחד הפסוק באיוב ה ז כּי-אדם לעמל יוּלּד; והשני כאן]
לפי זה, חייבים לפרש את המסורה של ונציה שהיא לא מנתה את הפסוק באיוב כיון ששם יוּלָּד בכתיב מלא וי"ו.
מכל מקום המנחת שי מציין שהניקוד בקמץ הוא לפי בן נפתלי וכאמור אנו הולכים בכל מקום לפי בן אשר.
שתי המסורות שהמנחת שי מביא בעד הקמץ הן לפי בן-נפתלי.

מכל מקום כיון שכך בדפוס ונציה לא נעקר שיבוש זה מהספרים.
אם היה מקום לספק אם אמנם ספר החילופים דייק כאן ביחסו את הקמץ לבן-נפתלי ואת הפתח לבן אשר, הרי זכינו לעדות מפורשת בספר "מאורות נתן" של ר' יעקב הלוי ספיר. בשליחותו שאלו את חכמי ארם צובא לבדוק בכתר ארם צובא איך מנוקד שם. וז"ל מאורות נתן: יֻלָּד בקמץ? תשובה אינו כן אלא בפתח ומסר עליו מבחוץ [כלומר בגיליון] פתח. שלושה כתבי יד אחרים בריטיש לנינגרד וששון1 מנקדים פתח אף הם.

ב. מג יב הַמּוּשָׁב השי"ן בקמץ. כן הוא על פי הדקדוק. כאן אין שום מקור גם לא מנחת שי שתומך בקמץ. גם רוו"ה שניקד בפתח [ואחריו נגרר תנ"ך קורן] אינו מציין שכן ניקד יהב"י הנקדן. והוא מודה שרוב המקורות בעד קמץ אלא שלא רצה לשנות מדפוס ונציה.
מובטחני שלו ידע שבכתר ארם צובא מנוקד בקמץ הוא לא היה חולק עליו.
גם כאן זכינו לעדותו של ר"י ספיר במאורות נתן: המושב פתח? תשובה: אינו כן אלא בקמץ ונמסר עליו ב' [המקום השני: במדבר ה ח הַמּוּשָׁב בקמץ].

מעתה שומה עלינו לתקן: א. יֻלַּד בלמד פתוחה. ב. הַמּוּשָׁב בשי"ן קמוצה.

בכבוד רב ובברכה
אליהו לוין

Who's agitating my dots?

(מ"ג:כ"ו)
וַיָּבֹא יוֹסֵף הַבַּיְתָה וַיָּבִיאּוּ לוֹ אֶת הַמִּנְחָה

Any explanations available on the anomalous דגש in the א of ויביאו ?
It appears not.

Be strong!

(מ"א:נ"ז)
כִּי חָזַק הָרָעָב בְּכָל הָאָרֶץ

When properly pronounced, the above means "because the famine had strengthened in the whole land." The word חזק is used as a verb. However, if improperly pronounced חָזָק it is an adjective, meaning "the famine was strong." Very correctable, in my opinion.

Just do it!

(מ"ב:י"ח)
זֹאת עֲשׂוּ וִחְיוּ

It is of utmost importance that the word עשו be pronounced properly and not עָשׂוּ . The word is meant to be a command but if improperly pronounced, it is a past tense verb. Basically, it is supposed to be "do," not "did."


This is one of those examples which can really be tough to call depending on the בעל קריאה. I have heard some who literally do not differentiate between a קמץ and a פתח. There isn't really much you can do in such a case. For those who do differentiate properly, it is important to keep on eye on constructs like these. This is hardly a unique case. Later in the פרשה we have מַלֵּא אֶת אַמְתְּחֹת הָאֲנָשִׁים אֹכֶל מ"ד:א, as well as וְאַתֶּם עֲלוּ לְשָׁלוֹם אֶל-אֲבִיכֶם מ"ד:י"ז at the very end. And in next week's פרשה as well: אֱמֹר אֶל אַחֶיךָ זֹאת עֲשׂוּ and וְאַתָּה צֻוֵּיתָה זֹאת עֲשׂוּ.


En garde!


Please post additional examples in the comments. If you point to the פסוק, I can insert the Hebrew.

דקדוקי פרשת מקץ והפטרת חנוכה

דקדוקי מילים וחלקם בעלי שינויי משמעות בפרשת מקץ ובהפטרה. אני נעזר בספר אם למקרא של ר' ניסן שרוני נר"ו. בתוספת הערות והדרכה לקורא מאורי טאניס נר"ו.
מא א הַיְאֹר היו"ד בשוא נח. טעם טפחא בתיבת וְהִנֵּה.
מא ה וַיִּישָׁן קמץ בזקף גדול, השי"ן מנוקדת בקמץ.
מא ח וַתִּפָּעֶם הטעם בפ"א מלעיל.
מא יב וַנְּסַפֶּר-לוֹ: מוטעם בקדמא-זקף [א"ה: מכונה מתיגה-זקף] או כפי שהוא מכונה בידי התימנים, דרבן.
מא יד וַיְחַלֵּף היו"ד בשוא נח והחי"ת בפתח – בנין פיעל. דין דומה גם לגבי וַיְגַלַּח יו"ד בשוא נח וגימ"ל בפתח.
מא יז הִנְנִי: על אף הקושי, נו"ן ראשונה בשווא נח
מא יט וְרַקּוֹת בָּשָׂר ברי"ש פתוחה, לא "וְדַקּוֹת בָּשָׂר" כבפסוק ג'.
מא כו חֲלוֹם אֶחָד הוּא׃ כבר נידון עניין הטעמים בפורום הגיגים, על פי רוֹב מוטעם טפחא-מרכא-סו"פ (ברויאר ואחרים), לפי "תורה קדומה" יש להטעים מרכא-טפחא-סו"פ (כך הוא בכל ספרי תימן). א"ה: ולמעשה נוהגים "על פי רוב".
מא כז 'הָרַקּוֹת' 'הָרֵקוֹת': יש לשים לב, פעם ראשונה הרי"ש בפתח ופעם שנייה בצירי.
מא ל שֶׁבַע השי"ן בגרש לא בקדמא.
מא לג יֵרֶא הטעם ברי"ש מלרע! הרי"ש בסגול לא בצירי.
מא לד 'וְיַפְקֵד': הוא"ו בשווא נע, וא"ו החיבור והפועל בעתיד, כן הוא הדבר בפסוק לה 'וְיִקְבְּצוּ' 'וְיִצְבְּרוּ'.
מא מה צָֽפְנַת הצד"י בקמץ רחב והפ"א בשוא נע (במבטא ישראלי רגיל צַפנת). פַּעְנֵחַ העי"ן בשוא נח לא בחטף.
אָֽסְנַת האל"ף בקמץ רחב והסמ"ך בשוא נע (במבטא ישראלי רגיל אַסנת).
בַּת-פּוֹטִי פֶרַע השם "פוטי פרע" הוא בן שתי מילים. הערה, בספרי תימן הוא בן מילה אחת.
מא מו לפני פרעה מלך מצרים - טעם טיפחא בתיבה "לפני"
ויעבר בכל ארץ מצרים - טעם טיפחא בתיבה 
'ויעבר'.
מא מז לִקְמָצִים טעם הסילוק כאן הוא ללא הכנה של טיפחא או מרכא טיפחא (מאריך טרחא) לפניו!
מא מח כָּל-אֹכֶל ׀ בניגון הטעמים של הספרדים עלולה המילה אֹכֶל להישמע מלרע עקב ניגון הפסק (הלגרמיה).
בֶּעָרים הבי"ת בסגול ומתג, יש לעמוד מעט בקריאתה להבדילה מהשווא שאז איננה מיודעת
מא נ יֻלַּד הלמ"ד בפתח!
מא נב 'עָנְיִֽי': העי"ן בקמץ קטן, נו"ן בשווא נח ויו"ד בחירק מלא - עונ-יי.
מא נג וַתִּכְלֶינָה מא נד וַתְּחִלֶּינָה אין להתבלבל בין המילים למרות הדמיון ביניהם!
מא נד הָיָה לָֽחֶם׃ טעם נסוג אחור לה"א הראשונה
מא נז כִּֽי-חָזַק הזי"ן בפתח, הקורא בקמץ משנה משמעות.
מב א תִּתְרָאֽוּ׃ הטעם באל"ף מלרע.
מב ד יִקְרָאֶנּוּ האל"ף בסגול ונון דגושה. אם יקרא אל"ף בצירי – משנה משמעות.
מב כא בְּהִתְחַנֲנוֹ הנו"ן הראשונה בשוא נע (לקרוא בחטף פתח לא מומלץ למי שקורא שוא נע בכל מקום כמו סגול).
מב כד וַיֶּאֱסֹר כאן האל"ף בחטף סגול, בפרשת ויגש (מו כט) ובפרשת בשלח (שמות יד ו) היא בשוא נח.
מב כה וַיְמַלְאוּ יו"ד בשוא נח; למד ללא דגש בשוא נח.
מב לח תֵּֽלְכוּ-בָהּ: געיה בתי"ו
מג ב שֻׁבוּ שִׁבְרוּ-לָנוּ מְעַט-אֹֽכֶל׃ תיבה 'שבו' בטפחא וכן הוא לקמן מד כה.
מג ו לָמָה הֲרֵעֹתֶם: 'למה' במלרע וכן הוא הדבר כאשר התיבה שלאחריה פותחת באחת מהאותיות הגרוניות (כולל שם השם)
מג י ׃ כִּי לוּלֵא הִתְמַהְמָהְנוּ התיבה 'כי' מוטעמת בטפחא.
מג יא נְכֹאת: האל"ף ללא תנועה, יש לקרא 'נְכוֹת'
מג יב הַמּוּשָׁב השי"ן בקמץ.
מג יח וַיִּֽירְאוּ הרי"ש בשוא נע, הקוראו בשוא נח מחליף במשמעות ראייה.
מג כה יֹאכְלוּ לָֽחֶם׃ טעם נסוג אחור ליו"ד
מג כו וַיָּבִיאּוּ: האל"ף דגושה אך אין לכך כל השפעה על אופן קריאתה
מג כט יָחְנְךָ: היו"ד בקמץ קטן
מד ד וְאָמַרְתָּ מלרע.
מד יז 'עָבֶד': העי"ן בקמץ אף על פי שאין היא מוטעמת באתנח או סו"פ. א"ה: שכיח מאוד, נקרא קמץ בז"ק [=זקף קטן].

הפטרת שבת חנוכה
זכריה ב יד רָנִּי הרי"ש בקמץ חטוף (קטן), הטעם בנו"ן מלרע. הִנְנִי הנו"ן בשוא נח.
ב טו וְשָׁכַנְתִּי מלרע וְהָיוּ לִי טעם נסוג אחור לה"א וְיָדַעַתְּ העי"ן בפתח.
ב טז וּבָחַר מלרע לא נסוג אחור.
ג ו וַיָּעַד הטעם ביו"ד.
ג ז וְגַם תִּשְׁמֹר אֶת-חֲצֵרָי טעם טפחא במילה "גם" מַהְלְכִים הה"א והלמ"ד בשוא. הראשון בה"א נח, והשני בלמ"ד נע.
ד א כְּאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר-יֵעוֹר מִשְּׁנָתֽוֹ טפחא במילה "כאיש" ובמילה "משנתו" דגש חזק בשי"ן (מלשון שֵׁינה).
ד ב וְגֻלָּהּ במפיק.

ראשון של ויגש
מד יח – וְאַל-יִחַר: הטעם ביו"ד מלעיל.
מד כה שֻׁבוּ שִׁבְרוּ-לָנוּ מְעַט-אֹֽכֶל׃ טעם טפחא בתיבת שֻׁבוּ
מד כז יָֽלְדָה-לִּי: געיה ביו"ד

You Make the Call - וקראהו

The initial purpose of this blog was to alert people to Dikduk-related issues in the פרשה in advance. (I realize that my repostings late Friday afternoon do not serve that purpose too well.) But I would like to tap the resources of this blog's knowledgeable readers for another related purpose. As I may have stated at the outset, I am charged with correcting for the laining in our shul. At the behest of the Rov, I try to keep the corrections only to those where the meaning of the word is certainly altered. I have definitely had my share of challenges from alert listeners and try to take them all seriously. So, if I have made a correction unnecessarily or missed a necessary correction, I'd like to get the opinion of the masses as to whether the correct action was taken.

Last week, מ"ב:ל"ח, the בעל קריאה said "vekarahu" instead of "ukra'ahu." The המון עם (or, dare I say, the ערב רב) in unison made a knee-jerk correction of the "ve" to an "u." I don't think anyone in their right mind could possibly argue that it was a necessary correction. But there's only so much I can do about that. But the problem was that (I believe both times) he said "karahu" instead of "kra'ahu." I did notice it at the time but perhaps in my frustration at the unnecessary correction of the "ve,"I neglected to correct it. And I was approached afterwards about it.

So the question is, was the meaning of the word changed? On the surface, it would appear that it was. Pronounced the way it was, it is very much like the word at the beginning of this week's פרשה - וקרהו. That is of the root קרה whereas last week's seems to be of the root קרא. However, of note here is that the תרגום on both words is identical - וִיעָרְעִנֵּיהּ. So what's the verdict?

Based on Elie's comment, it seems the word might be different but the meaning is the same. Nevertheless, this incorrect pronunciation essentially skips a letter (א) so I would deem this a correctable mistake.

Clear the halls!

Over חנוכה we will be reciting על הניסים numerous times - probably more than 30. As we describe the process following the military victory, we say "ופנו את היכלך". It is rather important to put the stress on the right syllable in ופנו. When properly pronounced with the accent on the last syllable, u-fi-NU, it means "and they cleared out." However, if pronounced with the accent on the previous syllable, u-FI-nu, it would literally mean "and our mouths." (It is possible that the laws of context might make this a less serious error but there's nothing wrong with doing something right!)

Also, another reader pointed out:
Of course, if one is precise in pronunciation, there are 2 other differences between the words.  The word for “mouth” is spelled with a chirik malei, which is pronounced differently than the chirik chaser in “clean.”  And, what goes along with that is that the nun in “clean” has a dagesh, while the nun in “mouth” is rafah – those 2 nuns are also pronounced differently.

נעשה נס - Correction

In one of the more sung verses of מעוז צור we have the phrase נעשה נס לשושנים. In every text I've seen, it is written נַעֲשָׂה. However, I have heard it sung many times נַעֲשֶׂה, with a סגול. (I'm pretty sure I even remember Uncle Moishy singing it that way! Gasp!) I'm quite certain that is incorrect. For it to be past tense, even though נס is masculine, it would have to be נַעֲשָׂה. With a סגול it would mean "let us do," in the future.

Based on some reader feedback, it appears I have to recant. It appears the סגול might actually be correct.

Yaakov Gross wrote:
The reading with segol appears to be correct.  Consider a regular Kal verb, say G M R (to complete), in the Nif’al:Nigmar with a patach is Perfect (aka “past”): it became depleted, it was completed;with a kamatz, it’s the present participle: it is completed. For nachei lamed he, the Perfect has segol in place of patach. Thus, laaseh nes – “a miracle was wrought”.Whereas the present participle keeps the kamatz, so na’asah would be “a miracle is being wrought”
Some interesting sources from another reader:
See נחמיה ה:י"ח and ישעיה כ"ו:י"ח and contrast with ויקרא ז:ט.   
See also אבן עזרא בראשית א:כ"ו and י"ב:ז.
However, in a separate discussion, I was shown this extensive write-up on this very issue which seems to suggest the other way around and that the קמץ is correct.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Appearances

This past shabbos (2014) we had the pleasure of a Bar Mitzvah boy with a wonderful, clear voice and very well-taught. There was one item which I apparently missed and was only later brought to my attention:
ל"ה:א לָאֵל הַנִּרְאֶה אֵלֶיךָ
He apparently said הַנִּרְאָה with a קמץ instead of a סגול. Of course, it is certainly wrong. The question is how wrong. What is the actual difference?

At this point I want to advertise a wonderful resource I have been making use of. For דקדוק enthusiasts and users of the popular mobile messaging platform WhatsApp, there is a WhatsApp group dedicated to discussions revolving around דקדוק and קריאת התורה. WhatsApp used to enforce a group limit of 50 and this group was maxed out but that limit was raised so there's room for more. You can contact me for more details if you are interested. Be aware, though, that discussions are generally in לשון הקדש.

So there was quite a debate about this on the group. Is it a difference of עבר/הווה? Is it זכר/נקבה? We went through a number of different פסוקים and debated the gender of the verb. Ultimately, however, it appears that it is actually a matter of עבר vs. הווה which is potentially a serious error. This matter is in fact discussed extensively in this essay. I am not familiar with the author but he seems to have quite an extensive library of דקדוד essays.

As is discussed in the essay, a קמץ would imply the past tense whereas the סגול would imply present. The question then arises - why is the present tense used when the phrase is clearly referring to the past. He does address this but in the end, I would suggest that it is reasonable to assume that since the error made actually transformed the word to the past, which is the actual meaning of the phrase as a whole, the error is not as egregious as once thought. Certainly, it should be corrected on the spot but perhaps forgivable after the fact.

This discussion ties in with another timely discussion involving the phrase נעשה נס in מעוז צור.

The Great דישון Confusion

Trying to follow עשו's three-dimensional family tree is hard enough. Following the offspring of שעיר החורי which follow the listing of עשו's is made equally difficult by the recurrence of the name דישן. Sei'ir named his fifth child דִשׁוֹן. Then, in a stunt mimicked by the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League thousands of years later, he named his seventh child דִישָׁן. Both appear in ל"ו:כ"א and later on in ל. Fair enough. We let the CFL get away with it, we can let שעיר get away with it as well. However, the confusion grows when the פסוקים list the grandchildren of שעיר. In פסוק כ"ה, his fourth child, ענה, decides that there are simply not enough דישן's in the family and names his son דִּשֹׁן as well. But when the Torah lists the children of שעיר's fifth child (פסוק כ"ו), formerly referred to as דִשׁוֹן, he is referred to there as דִישָׁן. Two פסוקים later, his brother is called דִישָׁן as well. This is more confusing than the CFL (The CFL had eight teams; שעיר only had seven children.)

The גר"א suggests that the spelling of the names is dependent on the placement of the word in the פסוק. If the word appears at a principal stop, that is, either the end of the פסוק or the אתנחתא that signifies the principal pause in the פסוק, then it is written דִישָׁן. When it is not, it is written דִשׁוֹן. When we are introduced to them, the fifth son is at the beginning of the pasuk and thus is written דִשׁוֹן. The seventh is on the אתנחתא in the פסוק and thus, is written דִישָׁן. When listing their children, both appear in the middle of the פסוק and therefore, both were written דִישָׁן. The proof to this theory is that in דברי הימים א א:ל"ח both are written דִשׁוֹן because both are not at the end or middle of the פסוק.

The only difficulty with this is that in דִישָׁן ,פסוק כ"ח appears on a טפחא note, not אתנחתא, an apparent violation of the גר"א's rule. To reconcile this problem, we must turn to אמת ליעקב in פרשת בהעלתך where he writes that when a פסוק does not contain an אתנחתא, the טפחא may take on the roll of the primary pause as in במדבר ט:ב and י"ג:ח. Here, too, the טפחא, in the absence of an אתנחתא, takes on the roll of the primary pause and turns דִשׁוֹן into דִישָׁן.

In the end, שעיר's fifth and seventh sons were both named דִשׁוֹן but that name changed to דִישָׁן based on the placement in the pasuk just as many other words have a vowel changed to a קמץ when at the end or middle of the פסוק. The גר"א, however, did not forget about ענה's son in פסוק כ"ה. He was also named דִשׁוֹן. But he was a different kind of a דִשׁוֹן. He was a דִשׁוֹן that didn't change despite the placement in the pasuk. So, here, and in דברי הימים א א:מ"א, even though his name falls on an אתנחתא, it is written דִשׁוֹן. That's one confusing family.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Complete it.

לבן commands מַלֵּא שְׁבֻעַ זֹאת, complete this week. If it is simply mispronounced מָלֵא (with a קמץ instead of a פתח) that would completely change the meaning of the word from the imperative verb "complete" to the adjective, complete. If the בעל קריאה is one who discerns well between פתח and קמץ - and they should - this should definitely be corrected.

I am not an expert on the דגש but I know someone will correct me if I'm wrong but there probably is no דגש in the adjective version of the word so that is another differentiation (if applicable) to watch out for.

Wordsthatsticktogether

It is interesting that the first עליה of ויצא seems to contain an usually high instance of words that can stick together and thus, should be carefully separated by the בעל קריאה:

ויצא יעקב
וילך חרנה
וישם מראשתיו
סולם מוצב

They actually all appear in the fist עליה during the week.

From his Sleep

One of the textbook examples often given of the smallest mistake which makes a world of difference is וַיִּיקַץ יַעֲקֹב מִשְּׁנָתוֹ, found in the first עליה of this week's פרשה. If the שוא נע is not pronounced under the ש, it changes the meaning of the word from "from his sleep" to "his learning," from the root of the word משנה, suggesting perhaps that יעקב אבינו, instead of awaking from his sleep, ceased to learn!

However, R' Binyamin Marwick points out that this mistake may not be as grave as it seems. First, we must accept that in judging whether a mistake changes the meaning of a word, we may only consider other words from לשון הקדש. We wouldn't worry that someone mispronounced a word and made it sound like a different English or French word. That said, we might also suggest that the realm of different words is limited to the Biblical lexicon. One might even suggest that it may be constrained to include only word forms found in תורה as נביאים and כתובים include a vastly expanded vocabulary. The evolved language, although it may still be considered לשון הקדש, would not figure into the equation. R' Marwick suggest that the word משנה referring to תורה study is of Talmudic origin and not a biblical word and therefore, this mistake need not be corrected.

Come on, People! Part II

This past  שבת, after the shul's official מנחה, I was sticking around to learn a little when a group from a בר מצוה came in and started another מנין. They didn't really have someone to lain. I happen to know the first עליה of ויצא but there was someone else who "offered" so I let him do it. He definitely ran into some difficulty which I do not fault him for. But then he said וַיִּיקַץ יַעֲקֹב מִשְּׁנָתוֹ וַיֹּאמַר  - instead of וַיֹּאמֶר. Yes, imagine the horror! Unfortunately, someone in the crowd had the audacity to call out the correction - and he was quite adamant about it. I tried my hardest to drown him out and assert that it made no difference and he should just go on. But he actually went back and repeated the entire פסוק. It's bad enough to make such a correction under normal circumstances. But certainly, when the בעל קריאה is already nervous because he does not know it so well and is up there as a last resort - these corrections are more than unnecessary. I really wanted to go up to the "correcter" afterwards and kindly explain that the difference between וַיֹּאמַר and וַיֹּאמֶר is about the same as the difference between מִצְרָיִם and מִצְרַיִם. But I could not gather the courage.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Different types of kissing

A reader recently asked me about the different forms of the word "to kiss" found in the תורה. As a simple illustration:

בראשית ל"ג:ד וַיִּשָּׁקֵהוּ
בראשית ל"ב:א וַיְנַשֵּׁק

There seem to be two different בנינים used. Is there a difference in meaning between the two or any reasoning behind why one would be used more than the other?

In last week's פרשה we had:
  בראשית כ"ז:כ"ו גְּשָׁה נָּא וּשְׁקָה לִּי בְּנִי
Is that yet a third בנין or simply a conjugation of the first one above?

I will eat, you will eat

יעקב , כ"ז:י"ט tells קוּם נָא שְׁבָה וְאָכְלָה מִצֵּידִי ,יצחק. Mispronouncing it וְאֹכְלָה would drastically change the meaning from the second-person "you shall eat" to the first-person "I shall eat," as evidenced by its use in פסוק כ"ה. Fortunately, our בעל קריאה last year was, what my son would call, an oy-er, and a very consistent one at that, so the mistake stood out and I was able to catch it. But this is a mistake that an oh-er could very easily get away with, unfortunately.

It should also be noted (as Elie did below) that וְאֹכְלָה has a שוא נע under the כ whereas וְאָכְלָה has a שוא נח.


A reader has cleverly pointed out:
An amusing mnemonic device: The pasuk states: "קוּם־נָ֣א שְׁבָ֗ה" and not קוּם שְׁבָ֗ה נָ֣א -- It is not a שוא נע!

(From) the Fats of the Land

The ברכה to יעקב begins ויתן לך האלהים מטל השמים ומשמני הארץ כ"ז:כ"ח. One might be tempted to translate the last phrase as "from the fats of the land," with the מ"ם as a prefix meaning "from." However, if that were the case, there should be a דגש in the שי"ן. But there is not. It therefore seems to be that the מ"ם is in fact part of the word - משמן. The same would apply in עשו's ברכה in פסוק ל"ט although it is harder to understand in context there.





Anonymous MG said...
The Minchas Shai brings down old manuscripts that in fact did have a dagesh in the shin, then dismisses these versions. He quotes the Eben Ezra and the Radak who both say that the "מ" of "מטל" applies to both words, implying that the "מ" of "משמני" is not one of שימוש. Then he quotes the Chizkuni who seems to imply that the "מ" is indeed a שימוש here.
עיין שם.
November 22, 2009 9:31 PM

Friday, November 10, 2017

My Master's Brother(s)

פרק כד contains two very similar phrases with one very important distinction which would seem to change the meaning:
כ"ז בַּדֶּרֶךְ נָחַנִי ה' בֵּית אֲחֵי אֲדֹנִי
מ"ח לָקַחַת אֶת בַּת אֲחִי אֲדֹנִי לִבְנוֹ
The first one seems plural and the second is singular. However, there are two points that trouble me about the above observation:

1) I cannot understand why it would be plural. It doesn't really make much sense in context.

2) The תרגום of both is אחוהי which would seem to imply singular on both counts. When תרגום translates אֲחֵי that is clearly plural, such as במדבר כ"ז:ד, he actually leaves the word untouched and translates as אֲחֵי.
Is it possible that even אֲחֵי is singular here? (And if so, perhaps does not need to be corrected.) And of course, if so, the next question would be why does the word change?

Update 2016: Based on Anonymous's comment below (the second one) question #2 is not a question at all. In looking into it further, I came up with a theory to address my first question. The first פסוק is אליעזר's actual private prayer. אברהם sent him to find a girl from his family, seemingly without any further direction. So in truth, he could have ended up at any of אברהם's relatives and that would have sufficed. He was praising השם for guiding him to "the house of [one of] his master's brothers," אחי being used more loosely as a general reference to all relatives.

When telling over the story to רבקה's family, however, he felt that wouldn't make them feel terribly special. Using the singular form implied that he was specifically pleased with having found a girl from this particular family.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

באר שבע

The episode of the wells involving יצחק and אבימלך comes to a conclusion in באר שבע. However, it was called באר שבע before they got there. Then, after the covenant between יצחק and אבימלך, it is named באר שבע. Is this the same באר שבע as the one named by אברהם? If so, why did they name it the same name all over again?

רשב"ם writes that this was in fact a different באר שבע from the one in the times of אברהם. However, an interesting explanation is given by the ספורנו. He writes that the name in אברהם's time was בְּאֵר שָׁבַע. After the episode with יצחק and אבימלך, it was renamed to בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע. It is very interesting that this theory can not be disproved. Any time that the city is mentioned until now, it appears either at the end of a פסוק, or an אתנחתא. Even if it were בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע from before, the סגול would have always changed to a קמץ. So we have no way of knowing if it called בְּאֵר שָׁבַע because of its position in the פסוק or if it is because that is really its name. ספורנו writes that it was in fact its name since it was only named as such to reflect the vow that אברהם made. Now that it reflected the number seven as well, corresponding to the seven wells that were found, it was changed to בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע.

One year, on ראש השנה, the בעל קריאה said בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע and I almost corrected him based on the ספורנו. But I didn't.

Different forms of יירש

Previously, I have discussed the intricate difference between the ברכה given to אברהם after the עקידה and that given to רבקה before she departed to marry יצחק. However, I recently noticed that in וירא, the word is written וירש whereas in חיי שרה it is ויירש with two יו"דs. תרגום אונקלוס is identical. Any explanation for why they would be written differently?

Friday, October 27, 2017

King #5

This week's פרשה features the epic battle between the short-handed four kings, אמרפל, אריוך, כדרלעמר and תדעל, and the five kings, ברע, ברשע, שנאב, שמאבר and... wait, was the name of the fifth king? When the five kings are mentioned, the last is "ומלך בלע היא צער". Rashi explains that the city of בלע was also known as צער. The פסוק could not be naming צער as the king of בלע because of the feminine "היא." If צער were the name of the king of בלע, it would have read " ומלך בלע הוא צער." So what was his name and why is it left out?

A number of answers are suggested. רמב"ן states that בלע was a small city and so the name of its king was left anonymous due to his relative insignificance. שערי אהרן points out that the names of the four other kings are apparently nicknames alluding to each one's wickedness as רש"י thoroughly explains. From the story of the destruction of סדום in next week's פרשה we learn that צער was the least wicked of the five wicked cities slated for destruction. Thus, the king's name is left out due to his relatively insignificant wickedness.

Suprisingly, however, חומת אנך and ספר הישר actually write that the name of the king was בלע. I am not sure how the grammar of the פסוק works and why this king is differently introduced than the others but this is the only offering I have found as to the actual name of the king.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Different ways to wake up?

This past שבת, for the following פסוק:
ט:כ"ד וַיִּיקֶץ נֹחַ מִיֵּינוֹ
the בעל קריאה mistakenly said וַיִּיקַץ as it is in the beginning of ויצא and מקץ.
I corrected him out of reflex but later wondered what exactly is the difference between the two. As I always ask: If there's a difference, what is the difference. If there is no difference, why are they different?

Once again, Dikdukian is saved by its knowledgeable readers. Yaakov Gross explains:
The later examples (accent on ultimate syllable, with פתח) are the normal form. The first example (accent on penult, final vowel סגול) is נסוג אחור, because it leads into נח whose first syllable is accented; that shift of accent causes a change in the final syllable’s vowel. (The shift in accent is very common with וי"ו ההיפוך, and that often leads to a change of vowels as well. A very familiar example is ויברך (in ויכולו): accent move to ב, and vowel of ר changed from צירי to סגול.


Noach's three sons are...

If you ask most kids to name נח's three sons, you will almost certainly be told שֵׁם חָם and יָפֶת But of course, his name is only יָפֶת when it is at the end of the פסוק or on an אתנחתא. But in truth, his name was יֶפֶת as in י:ב.

It's always fun and interesting every year seeing what my kids are taught in school.

Do you Sea what I Sea

This particular issue presents itself twice on שמחת תורה. First, in וזאת הברכה ל"ג:י"ט and then in בראשית. On days 3, 4 and 5 we find the word ימים. But there is, of course, a very important difference. In וזאת הברכה and on days, 3 and 5, the word is יַמִּים with a פתח, meaning seas. On day 4, the word is יָמִים with a קמץ. This is easily overlooked and a very important distinction. En garde!

(I know someone is going to point out the דגש in יַמִּים but, as I have mentioned before, since for the most part, most בעלי קריאה do not precisely differentiate, I don't include that as a significant difference. Nevertheless, for those who lain in הברה ספרדית with little or no differentiation between קמץ and פתח, it might be a good idea to use the דגש to differentiate.)

And the days was

Although the פרק recounting the generations from אדם to נח seems somewhat repetitive, I noticed an interesting discrepancy this year. For most, the grand tally of their years lived begins ...ויהיו כל ימי. However, for חנוך it says ה:כ"ג ויהי כל ימי חנוך. I first thought the change might be related to חנוך's early exit. But the same wording is found later for למך as well. I have to admit, I haven't looked very hard to see if this is addressed anywhere. Any ideas?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

הרחמן הוא יקים

According to the comment by Elie on this previous post, the proper pronunciation of the last word of the addition at the end of ברכת המזון for סוכות is הַנֹּפֶלֶת, and not the customary הַנֹּפָלֶת. I'd be interested to hear of what sort of funny looks you get when you sing the popular R' Shlomo Carlebach tune with the apparently proper pronunciation. Please post any interesting stories in the comments.

חג שמח

Monday, September 25, 2017

Remember us for the good

One of the lines of אבינו מלכנו is:
אבינו מלכנו זכרנו בְּזִכָּרוֹן טוב לפניך

Above is how it appears in most מחזורים. However, I have found in the סדור רנת ישראל and in the recently released מחזור מקראי קודש from רב אהרן לופיאנסקי slightly differently, זכרנו בְּזִכְרוֹן טוב לפניך, apparently putting סמיכות between זכרון and טוב.


(The new Koren Sacks siddur has זִכְרוֹן as well.)


Any thoughts?

Please see the comments.

A Happy Ending

During this time, between ראש השנה and יום כפור , the common greeting seems to be גמר חתימה טובה. (According to a shiur הרב יעקב משה קולפסקי, זצ"ל used to say over, it might still be appropriate to use the popular pre-ראש השנה greeting, כתיבה וחתימה טובה. But אין כאן מקום להאריך.) However, the gender of this greeting puzzles me. What is it that we are wishing? Should it be a גמר of a חתימה טובה? Or, are we wishing that the גמר חתימה be a good one? The shortened version of this greeting, גמר טוב, would seem to indicate that it is the latter. If so, should the greeting not be גמר חתימה טוב?!

It could be that the general public is thrown off by the word חתימה to think that the term, as a whole is feminine. Nevertheless, see this Kashrus Kurrents article and footnote 1 regarding proper grammar vs. common convention.

Well, whatever the proper gender is - it should all be for the good!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Name of the פרשה

I try not to be too nit-picky about transliterations. But this week's פרשה is very often mispronounced and mistransliterated Netzavim. It is חיריק under the ו so it should be Nitzavim. Hey, I'm just standing up for what's right. (You see what I did there?)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Shva vs. Kamatz?

In this week’s Parsha, the pasuk states (Devarim 24:6),

"לא יחבל רחים ורכב וגו'"

Tosefos discuss how there are actually two separate prohibitions, one for the רחים and one for the רכב. In the course of their discussion Tosefos mention that there was a possibility that some opinions could have thought that there was actually only one prohibition for the two, but since ורכב is written with a חטף it shows that these words are somewhat separated and are to be considered as two independent prohibitions. (Tosefos Menachos 58b) The Yaavetz mentions that Tosefos are referring to the lack of a שוא when they say חטף. (Yaavetz Menachos 58b)

The Rashash questions Tosefos’ assertion based on Targum Lashon Ivri (chapter 34). The rule as mentioned there, is that when the trop under the last word of a list of two or more items has a hard pause then the ו takes a קמץ instead. Based on this rule the lack of a שוא is not something that connotes a separation in our pasuk since וָרָכֶב clearly has an esnachta beneath it. Rather, it shows that the items are separated and that this is the last of the list. (Rashash Bava Metziah 115b)

I was wondering if one could possibly answer on Tosefos’ behalf that even though linguistically the pasuk does not demonstrate that two as being separate, on a level of drush one can see that they are. The Torah was given with an esnachta in this place instead of another trop formulation from the pasuk. The pronunciation conjures up the idea of the words being separate even if the actual reading does not mean that. Therefore, one can assume the words have a level of separation to the point that they can be considered independent prohibitions.

Shiluach Ha...

This week's פרשה contains one of my דקדוק pet peeves. The mitzvah of sending away the mother bird is very commonly referred to as "Shiluach haKan." However, the word is "kan" in the pasuk only because of סמיכות. When referring to the mitzvah, the proper term should be "Shiluach HaKein."

However, I was very intrigued to find this point actually discussed in this article by R' Zvi Goldberg of the Star-K. See footnote #1 (it's linked at the very beginning.)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Clean Blood

In פרשת שופטים, there are three instance where the term דם נקי, or a variation thereof, appears. If the vowel underneath the ד is a פתח, it would indicate סמיכות and the translation would be, "the blood of a clean (innocent) person." If it were a קמץ, it would simply mean clean blood. Although one might argue that the connotation is ultimately the same, I would say this is still a rather significant difference. Oh, wouldn't it be nice and simple if it were always the same. Alas, not only is it not always the same, there is not always 100% clarity as to which way it should be pronounced.

In שופטים, we have the following:
י"ט:י וְלֹא יִשָּׁפֵךְ דָּם נָקִי
י"ט:י"ג וּבִעַרְתָּ דַם הַנָּקִי
כ"א:ח וְאַל-תִּתֵּן דָּם נָקִי
The latter two appear to be undisputed. However, someone came over to me about the first one suggesting the בעל קריאה had said it wrong. I was certain he had not. But sure enough his (Artscroll) חומש had a פתח while mine (חורב) had a קמץ. I have embedded a snippet from the ספר אם למקרא למסורת below which should bring some clarity to the subject.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Two of a kind

In the beginning of the פרשה, י"ז:ו, regarding the giving of capital punishment, the pasuk says "על פי שנים עדים...", that we require at least two witnesses. Later on, (י"ט:ט"ו), regarding monetary matters, it states "על פי שני עדים...", again that two witnesses are required. Although the words שנים and שני both seem to mean 2, there is still a difference between the two. What is the difference, and why is one used over the other in each instance?

נצי"ב writes, in העמק דבר, that שני means two identical objects whereas שנים doesn't mean 2, but rather a pair. In ירושלמי סנהדרין, quoted in the .רא"ש כ"ג, it says that if two witnesses give absolutely identical testimony, they must be investigated further for something is a little suspicious. It is told that the גר"א would disqualify witnesses who gave absolutely identical testimony based on a משנה in סנהדרין. Therefore, with regards to capital cases, since there is a requirement to deeply investigate the witnesses (דרישה וחקירה), it says שנים, because identical testimony is not accepted. But in monetary matters, where there is no requirement of דרישה וחקירה, it says שני, because they are allowed to be identical.

[I was once asked why when we count the omer we say שני שבועות or שני ימים instead of שבועיים or יומיים. I answered based on the above, that שבועיים or יומיים would mean a pair of weeks, or a pair of days and therefore, would not be a real counting of two and for the sfira, we require a genuine count.]

מהרי"ל דיסקין offers an alternate explanation. The word שנים means not only two, but two at the same time. Just as רגליים or ידים refers to a presence of two hands or feet, שנים means two together. Therefore, for capital matters, it says שנים because the two witnesses must be present together. Two witnesses who observe a capital crime, but don't see each other are not valid witnesses. This is referred to in the gemara as עדות מיוחדת. However, for monetary matters, עדות מיוחדת is still valid. So the תורה wrote שני instead of שנים over there.

ר' יעקב Kaminetzky, in אמת ליעקב offers yet another approach. He suggests that the proper wording would usually be שני עדים. However, the :גמרא סוטה ב teaches that the word עד by itself implies two witnesses - because only the testimony of two witnesses is valid - unless the תורה makes it clear that it means one. Therefore, I might have thought that שני עדים means that two groups of two witnesses are required to build a capital case. Therefore, the term שנים עדים is used, implying שנים שהם עדים, two individuals who are witnesses, to dispel any such notion. Then, once it is clear that capital cases do not require two groups but rather simply two individuals, it is obvious that no more is needed for monetary cases and so the conventional wording, שני עדים, is used.