Tuesday, December 24, 2019

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!

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.

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

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.

Monday, December 23, 2019

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.
On a related note from another reader:
We will also say Hallel many times. Hodu is a country on the Indian subcontinent. HoDU means give thanks.

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 13, 2019

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.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Parshiyos with a common shoresh

My 4th grade daughter came home with an extra credit question last week - to name the פרשיות that share a common שורש. This is a particularly fun exercise (for those who find this kind of thing fun) because you start out thinking it won't be so many but in the end, there are a lot. Here's what I found:

לך לך
וילך

וירא
וארא
ראה

חיי שרה
ויחי

ויצא
כי תצא

וישלח
בשלח
שלח לך

בא
כי תבא

משפטים
שופטים

תצוה
צו

כי תשא
נשא

בחוקתי
חוקת

Some statistics: two instance of a group of three, only one pairing that appears within the same ספר.

Did I miss any? Is there a case to be made that במדבר and דברים share commonality?

Friday, June 21, 2019

To Make Travel

A friend of mine let me know that he was corrected by the Rav where he lained this past week on the following:

י:ב עֲשֵׂ֣ה לְךָ֗ שְׁתֵּי֙ חֲצֽוֹצְרֹ֣ת כֶּ֔סֶף מִקְשָׁ֖ה תַּעֲשֶׂ֣ה אֹתָ֑ם וְהָי֤וּ לְךָ֙ לְמִקְרָ֣א הָֽעֵדָ֔ה וּלְמַסַּ֖ע אֶת־הַֽמַּחֲנֽוֹת

He pronounced it וּלְמַסָּע with a קמץ under the ס. Kudos to the Rav for catching that. It's a big shul, too, so the בימה is not very close to his seat so that makes it even a better catch. If I'm not mistaken the correct pronunciation makes it a verb - to make the nation travel. However, the incorrect pronunciation would turn it into a noun, a journey, the singular of מסעי.

Friday, June 7, 2019

שבועות takes it on the chin

In the English-speaking world we still manage to pronounce the names of the holidays fairly precisely - except, of course, there's yontif. פסח has, for some reason become peisach. But that's not such an egregious mispronunciation. Shavuos, however, has it tough. The conventional lazy way to pronounce it, Shvues, completely changes the meaning from "weeks" to "oaths." Ironically, there are two מסכתות which end on daf 49 and are thus customarily learned from פסח to שבועות. One of them is Shevuos.
Hope you all enjoy the YOM TOV of SHAVUOS.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Clarification of a שוא נע rule

As the Shabbos before my mother's yahrtzeit, I will lain this הפטרה from time to time. In 2014was actually my first time laining הפטרת במדבר. (It did fall out this way three years prior but there was a בר מצוה in shul.) I came across something I thought odd and eventually discovered an interesting nuance of which I was not previously aware. Going through my other stuff on במדבר it appears Elie's post addresses almost the exact same issue. But I found it a little difficult to follow (probably my fault, not his) and so I thought I'd lay out in simpler English:

There are a number of reasons a שוא would be נע. There is a well-known mnemonic - א ב ג ד ה ו where each letter stands for a different rule. The ג stands for תנועה גדולה. If the שוא is preceded by a קמץ, for example (except if it's a קמץ קטן,) the שוא should be נע. However, I recalled that there is an exception to this rule. If the letter with the קמץ has a trop on it, it does not make the שוא נע. I was therefore puzzled when I saw in my תיקון:
  וְעָ֤נְתָה שָּׁ֙מָּה֙ כִּימֵ֣י נְעוּרֶ֔יהָ
The שוא under the נ of וענתה was shown to be נע. But what about the note on the ע?

I have the big monster of a תיקון סימנים which has a thorough discussion of the rules in the front. He goes into detail about this exception. Indeed, there is an exception to the exception. Not surprising in the world of דקדוק*. The trop only prevents the שוא נע if it is in its natural position. If the word were on its own, where would the note be? We see from דברים כ"ה:ט וְעָֽנְתָה֙ וְאָ֣מְרָ֔ה  that the natural accent is מלרע. In our case, it is pushed forward by the מלעיל accent on שמה and the rule of נסוג אחור. Since the מהפך on the נ is not its natural position, the שוא remains נע, just as it does in בראשית ל:ל"ג וְעָֽנְתָה־בִּ֤י צִדְקָתִי֙.

* I recently heard a great quote from R' Yaakov Kamenetsky: "In דקדוק, there are no exceptions. There are simply more rules."

Friday, May 31, 2019

A name that took ME by surprise

Having yahrtzeit this week, I had the opportunity to lain  the הפטרה for בהר this past week - not a very common occurrence. I checked with my trusty ספר אם למקרא ולמסורת to see what I should be looking out for. I found quite an interesting tidbit on the name ירמיהו. There is a tendency to pronounce the name Yir-mee-ya-hu. However, it should be noted that the vowel under the מ is a שוא, not a חיריק. Therefore, it should be pronounced Yir--ya-hu. I have to say, I was practicing it for quite a while and it is difficult on the tongue.

Friday, March 22, 2019

נעשה

[While we're all getting ready for פורים, let's take a look back at חנוכה:]

In 2013 I posted:
I might have missed this one: someone came over to me at the end of the עליה to tell me that he was pretty sure that instead of וְכָל נַעֲשָׂה בַמַּרְחֶשֶׁת, he was pretty sure he heard נַעֲשֶׂה (with a סגול.) He was pretty certain that changed the tense to future, "let us do." I tried to suggest that perhaps נַעֲשֶׂה is simply the masculine version of  נַעֲשָׂה and still means "made." However, I don't think that is correct. In מעוז צור we say נַעֲשָׂה נס לשושנים. Even though נס is masculine, it is still נַעֲשָׂה. So it would appear that if he heard correctly, then it was in fact a serious error.

However, later that year I actually posted specifically about that line in מעוז צור and thanks to some reader feedback, it produced some interesting revelations as to the proper pronunciation. There are even more links to follow there. With much confusion surrounding the issue I think the one clear outcome is that this should definitely be corrected (in the laining, not in מעוז צור).

Friday, March 15, 2019

Zachar Amaleik? What was he smoking?

In the portion read for Parshas Zachor we find the commandment תמחה את זכר עמלק, wipe out the remembrance of Amaleik. The gemara (בבא בתרא כא) relates a rather bizarre incident where Yoav, David HaMelech's general was sent to destroy Amaleik. He returns, having wiped out all of the males. When he is confronted by David HaMelech as to why the others were allowed to live, he declares that he was taught "Timcheh es zachar Amaleik," wipe out the males of Amaleik. Needless to say, Yoav was not very happy when he found out he had been taught wrong.


It is indeed quite difficult to understand how the mesorah could be so skewed as to totally misunderstand and misrepresent this pasuk. I heard an interesting insight into this mistake from the footnotes of the מעשה רב. Yoav's rebbe never thought that the word was pronounced "zachar." Rather, this error was a result of a misunderstanding of the possessive form of zachar."


The word for smoke is "ashan." The vowelization of this word is the same as "zachar." However, when the Torah describes Har Sinai and describes how its smoke rose like the smoke of a furnace, the term used is "eshen hakivshan." Clearly, when the word "ashan" is used in the possessive, both kamatzim are converted to segolim. Yoav's rebbe read the pasuk "timche es zecher Amaleik," and understood that zecher was the possessive form of zachar. He therefore mistakenly taught Yoav that the commandment is to wipe out only the males of Amaleik.

Friday, March 1, 2019

ועשה בצלאל ואהליאב

"ועשה בצלאל ואהליאב" (Shemos 36:1)

There are two main types of וי"ו at the beginning of a word: a וי"ו החיבור and a וי”ו ההיפוך. A וי”ו החיבור links the word with that which preceded it, and a וי”ו ההיפוך switches the tense of a verb (and also implies sequence and order). The puzzling thing about all this, is that a וי”ו ההיפוך when switching a verb from past tense to future tense is punctuated in exactly the same manner as a וי"ו החיבור. Usually context can guide us to proper understanding, but sometimes context is not enough. A nice example of an ambiguous וי"ו is ועשה בצלאל ואהליאב. That וי"ו could be either a וי”ו ההיפוך or a וי"ו החיבור . תרגום אונקלוס and תרגום יונתןunderstand it to be a וי”ו החיבור and the אבן עזרא and רש"י מכות יב. understand it to be a וי”ו ההיפוך." There is a further מחלוקת between רש"י and the אבן עזרא regarding whether it is regular future tense or a command which has enough of a relationship with the future to be a possibility within a וי”ו ההיפוך which has switched a verb to future tense.
NOTE: See Weekly Shtikle's blog on the above פסוק.

The obvious question which the camp which understands it to be a
וי”ו החיבור (past tense) must deal with is that according to the plain reading of the text, בצלאל had not even gathered the donations yet, how could he have already done the work? Because of this issue, the אור החיים הקדוש explained that ועשה is referring to making the instruments necessary for the work and not referring to the actual work itself.

One final question: Why would the
תורה create this ambiguous וי"ו?

This is a question one could ask regarding many of the unclear parts of the
תורה system where ראשונים and אחרונים argue. The only possible answer is that the ambiguity is calculated to allow for both interpretations within the text.