Wednesday, October 30, 2019

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.

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.

Another reader, however, pointed me to a רשב"ם at the very last פסוק of בראשית which indicates that וַיִּיקֶץ (here) is the passive form. Based on that, he (the reader) suggests the following:
Rasbam explains that with a segol it means a passive form, similarly to vayussam (and he was put), and he compares it to vayiketz (which in this case means he got woken up, while vayikatz means "he woke up". Look into targum yonasan and you'll see that he is wondering who told Noiach what his younger son did to him. And he says that he was informed about it by a dream. But following Rashbam's pshat there is no kushiah. According to both opinions about what he did to Noiach, if we translate vayiketz "he got woken up", it was obviously what was done to him that woke him up, so clearly he knew who did it and what he did.

Friday, October 25, 2019

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?

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.)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

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