Monday, May 31, 2021

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".

Friday, May 28, 2021

In my Humble Opinion...

Technically, this pet peeve is not connected to any פרשה in particular but for obvious reasons, it becomes more prevalent for פרשת בהעלותך. It's very simple - ענִווּת - the word simply does not exist, at least not in any authoritative source that I know of. The real word for humility found everywhere that counts, for example, the very end of משניות סוטה, is ענווה. Yet you will hear people everywhere use this word, even people who are normally careful to use proper דקדוק. Unfortunately, Google Translate does not agree with me. But that's probably because it has managed to slip into the language. How? My guess is that might be a sort of Yiddishism. Just like we have טליתים, שבתים and תעניתים when the real words are טליתות, שבתות and תעניות, many descriptive words tend to end with ות such as חסידות and התנגדות so it is assumed that the word for humility should as well. But... it doesn't.
If this word does exist somewhere and I simply haven't seen it, please correct me.

... and so MG has done in the comments. He cites two examples where the word is used by מהרש"א:

:מועד קטן ט"ז

.סוטה מ

So this is still a curious matter. Let's say the word is not used through the ראשונים and suddenly appears. Where did it come from? Indeed, לשון הקדש is an evolving language as seen throughout תנ"ך and history. We find new words arise that haven't been used before. But what makes this more puzzling is that there already exists a perfectly sufficient word in the language. Why create a new one?

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.

The Impure

The Torah recounts that as בני ישראל brought what would be their only קרבן פסח during their sojourn in the desert, there were individuals who were טמא מת and thus unable to participate. There is a discussion in the gemara (.סוכה כה) as to who in fact these individuals were. ר' יוסי הגלילי suggests they were the ones in charge of transporting יוסף's body. רבי עקיבא is of the opinion that it was מישאל and אלצפן who were instructed to remove נדב and אביהו bodies from the mishkan. Finally, רבי יצחק discounts the first two opinions and posits that these were individuals who had become tamei as a result of a מת מצוה.

It is somewhat intriguing that the approach taken in the גמרא is that there was something special and unique about this group. Although, it is not unusual for a midrashic source to fill in the blanks in a פסוק, even if there is no compelling evidence that there is something missing. However, there is a question to be asked on the first two opinions. Why is it that ר' יוסי and רבי עקיבא assume that these individuals were part of a single group, that they were all טמאי מת for the same reason? Could there not have been more than one cause for people to be טמא?

Perhaps they made an inference from the specific wording of the פסוק. The introduction to this story is as follows (9:6)
ויהי אנשים אשר היו טמאים לנפש אדם
One would have expected the פסוק to read "ויהיו" in the plural. But instead, the singular "ויהי" is used in reference to a group of people. Perhaps ר' יוסי and רבי עקיבא understand that the פסוק is specifically worded this way to convey that although there were a number of individuals were טמא, they were all טמא for the same reason.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Alephs and Ayins

The שולחן ערוך או"ח קכח:לג, based on the :גמרא מגילה כ"ד states that someone who cannot properly pronounce the letters, such as one who mispronounces an א as an ע or an ע as an א, should not go up to perform ברכת כהנים. The difficulty with this is that the פסוקים do contain an א but do not contain an ע. Why then would someone who mispronounces an ayin as an aleph be forbidden from performing ברכת כהנים?
רש"י in the גמרא seems to be sensitive to this issue. He gives a specific example of a grievous mispronunciation that would result with the exchange of an ע for an א. However, when explaining the opposite substitution, he writes simply that as a result of this substitution he will disqualify his prayers. This statement of רש"י is quite vague and requires further interpretation but it shows, nevertheless, that רש"י addressed the lack of an ע in ברכת כהנים.
The issue is dealt with further in the commentaries on the שולחן ערוך. The question is raised in באר היטב but no answer is given. מחצית השקל seems to suggest that this is not an issue as the גמרא is simply referring to one who confuses the two letters. Thus, as long as one of the substitutions is significant, it is a sufficient problem.
I suggest a possible explanation for the גמרא which may be the meaning of רש"י as well. After the כהנים complete the main part of ברכת כהנים, they recite an additional prayer which begins, "רבונו של עולם, עשינו מה שגזרת עלינו..." concluding with the פסוק:
הַשְׁקִיפָה מִמְּעוֹן קָדְשְׁךָ מִן-הַשָּׁמַיִם, וּבָרֵךְ אֶת-עַמְּךָ אֶת-יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאֵת הָאֲדָמָה, אֲשֶׁר נָתַתָּה לָנוּ--כַּאֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ, אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ
Pronouncing the ע of נשבעת as an א would drastically change the meaning from "you have sworn" to sounding something like נִשְׁבָּתָּ, "you have been taken captive." Although this is not part of the actual blessings of the כהנים, perhaps it is a serious enough mispronunciation to forbid a כהן from performing ברכת כהנים.

Another suggestion made by Snag in the comments is that the real שם המפורש used in the בית המקדש might contain an ע. But that doesn't fit with רש"י and also doesn't account for why we would still be particular about this today.

Friday, May 14, 2021

שבועות takes it on the chin... or under the shin

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, May 13, 2021


For some time, when I would write my Weekly Shtikle (shameless cross-promotion) for this week's פרשה, I would write it Bemidbar since that is how it is pronounced correctly. However, one year a friend of mine sent me the following convincing argument which I have accepted:
While you are correct that in context the word is read Bemidbar, the name of the parsha is clearly Bamidbar. The custom has been to isolate the word or words that are the title and conjugate accordingly. This is why we have Tazriyah and not Sazriyah. Mishpatim and not HaMishpatim (since we do not use v'aileh and clarify it with asher ...). Devarim and not HaDevarim. Since the reference is to a specific desert (Sinai) the hay hayediyah is implemented. The names, according to tradition, are clearly not just the word or words of the beginning phrase.

פרשת במדבר

From Elie:

דיונים לשוניים
א. כתבת שהטעם בתיבת ונתתי (בהפטרת במדבר) נסוג אחור.
ואכן כך הוא בתנ"ך ברויאר, אמנם בתנ"ך קורן הוא במלרע (ומתג בנו"ן).
{וכשהפטרתי אשתקד בנביא מתוך תנ"ך ברויאר, המדקדק שבמקומנו (שקרא מתוך תנ"ך קורן) החזיר אותי לקרוא במלרע (שינוי משמעות!) וכך פעמיים ושלש עד שהראיתי לו שכן הוא בספרים מדוייקים מלעיל.}
וכן בפרשת השבוע שעבר: "ושלחתי דבר בתוככם" נסוג אחור בהברה סגורה.
האם תמיד יש נסוג אחור בהברה סגורה?

ודאתאן להכי, מהם כללי נסוג אחור?
לפני זמן רב ראיתי כללי נסוג אחור בהקדמת המדקדק ר' שמעון וייזר לתיקון קוראים הוצאת מישור, ואינני זוכר מה שראיתי.

שבת שלום.

שמעון דוד קורץ
שלום רב
לר' שמעון דויד
ובכן באחד מהדפים כתבתי לסתור את הכלל שנמצא אצל רז"ה שאין נסיגת טעם להברה סגורה
מזה שמצאנו מילים עם וי"ו ההיפוך לעתיד נשארות מלעיל כשהן סמוכות לטעם.
למעשה נראה לקיים את הכלל הזה.
ויש כנראה הבדל בין השארת טעם מלעיל במילה שלולא ו' ההיפוך היא מלעילית,
ובין הסגת הטעם מסוף המילה להברה שלפניה כשהיא סגורה בשוא נח או בדגש.
הדבר הזה עלה בכמה מדיונינו.
עכשיו אם לא הסתבכת ממה שכתבתי עד עתה, ושלחתי דבר המילה ושלחתי היא מלעילית אלא שכדי להבחין בינה ובין עבר עם ו' החיבור מטעימים אותה מלרע.
אם יש סיבה כמו סמיכות הברות היא שבה לדינה. והזכירו שכך פסקו להלכה.
כללי נסוג אחור פחות או יותר מוכרים, קשה להגדיר אותם חד משמעית הלא תראה מה שהבאתי השבוע מהרב משולם מקרית ספר.
יש סתירה בין מחנה למחנה.
במחנה אני יכול להסביר שעל הטעם הנסוג ללכת דרך ארוכה יותר ו"לדלג" מעל שוא נע (חטף) ולכן אם הוא לא עושה כן אין כל כך קושיא.
למה אם כן והיתה לו נסוג? כי הוא עושה כן הרבה פעמים, אבל לסגת לסגורה אינו נסוג.
אני מעביר לכמה שבעבר דנו עמי על זה או על בדומה לזה.

החילוק בין מחנה למחנה אמנם קשה, אבל מה שכתב ר' אליהו לגבי כללו של רז"ה 'אין נסיגה אחור להברה סגורה', כבר נתווכחתי עמו וטענתי את מה שהוא טוען כעת בדיוק, אם כי הוא טוען זאת בדרך אפשר: לעולם אין נסיגה אחור להברה סגורה. ומקרים כמו 'ושלחתי דבר' הם מילים שמוטעמות מעיקרן מלעיל, ורק ו"ו ההיפוך היא שהפכתן מלרע, והנסיגה אחור מחזירתן למצבן המקורי.
אותו חילוק, אבל בהגדרה מעט עמוקה יותר: הטעמת מלעיל הנוצרת מחמת נסיגה אחור אינה נחשבת כמלעיל גמור, כפי שכותב המנש"י ששוא הבא אחרי הטעמה כזו עדיין יהיה שוא נע [דוגמת 'כֽוֹכְבֵי אור' שהשוא הוא נע], אבל מילים מלעיליות גמורות דוגמת לַֽיְלָה, מַֽטָּה, לָקַֽחְתִּי, שָׁלַֽחְתִּי – השוא שאחרי ההטעמה הוא נח גמור משום שזו הטעמה מלאה.
כעת: הברה סגורה יכולה להיות מוטעמת למרות שהיא מנוקדת בתנועה קטנה [למרות שגם זה אינו שכיח כל כך, כי אם בפעלים ובאותן מילים שהזכרתי, אבל על פי רוב אין הברה סגורה מוטעמת נקודה בתנועה קטנה]. אבל מלעיל שאינו גמור – דהיינו המלעיל שנוצר מחמת נסיגה אחור – אינו בא בשום אופן בהברה סגורה. ולכן לא תתכן נסיגה אחור אל הברה סגורה
יעקב לויפר
סטייה מהנושא קצת אבל על פי רוב אין הברה סגורה מוטעמת נקודה בתנועה קטנה בפעלים שכיח מאוד הברה מוטעמת בתנועה קטנה
אכל ישב נשבר, יש גם מילים של הברה אחת כמו דף או מס או הדס
הכלל שתנועה גדולה היא בהברה פתוחה לא מוטעמת
וקטנה בהברה סגורה לא מטעמת
החלק שלו הנכון הוא תנועה גדולה אינה בהברה סגורה לא מוטעמת.
ולכן שוא אחרי ת"ג לא מוטעמת הוא נע. יש לזה חריגים בארמית.
שאר הכלל הוא נטייה כללית והרבה מקומות שאינם מתנהגים לפי נטייה זו.

ב. שלום
ראיתי בספרו של ר' ניסן שרוני (אם למקרא השלם) את הכלל של הדגשת בג"ד כפ"ת בראש מלה, אף שהתיבה הקודמת מסתיימת בהברה פתוחה, כאשר ישנן שני עיצורים דומים או זהים והראשונה מנוקדת בשו"א (הוא קרא לכלל זה 'הדומות'). לדוג' "בשבתך בביתך"; לעניין זה ב' ופ' דומות ("איש יביא בפריו אלף כסף") {עוד הזכיר שם דעת א' הקדמונים (אינני זוכר כעת מיהו) שאף ב' ומ' דומות (ולשיטתו "כי במקלי" הב' דגושה).
אח"כ כתב שכלל זה אינו נוהג אחרי מלה קצרה, לדוג' "לא תתעב מצרי" וציין מקורו במ"ש.

כנראה הוכרח לפרש (המ"ש) כן, כי לא מצא הסבר אחר לרפיון התי"ו.
אך קשה ממה שכתב לעיל על "כי במקלי", ועוד קשה מפסוק בעזרא ה,יז דכתיב התם "די בבבל" בבי"ת
דגושה. (הייתי מעדיף למצוא דוגמה בעברית, אך חיפשתי ומצאתי רק 'כמעט הוכחה' טעם מפסיק, או מפיק)
[המ"ש לשיטתו, יכול לומר שדקדוק לשון ארמית שאני, כמו שכמדומני שראיתי שכתב לגבי תיבת דריוש בשו"א נח אחרי תנועה גדולה דדקדוק לשון ארמי אינו כלשון הקדש]

אמנם לענ"ד נראה, כי כלל זה של הדומות אינו שייך באות תי"ו; ואין לי הסבר אחר, חוץ מזה שאפשר לומר, כי כלל זה בא להקל על הלשון (וליתר דיוק, על השפתיים והחך) ואילו באות תי"ו אין זה כ"כ הכבדה על הלשון בקריאת שני תי"ו רפויים רצופים כשהראשונה בשו"א (כך לפחות אני מרגיש).

שמעון דוד קורץ
זה הוזכר בקצרה באחד העלונים האחרונים בהערת שוליים על רשימת הדקדוקים (עיין בפרשת אמור על אשה בבתוליה).
שם זה נקרא אותיות צבותות.
אם יש לך גליון כי-תצא עיין מה שכתבתי על לא תתעב.
הכלל הזה אינו נכון אצל תי"ו.
למעשה מסתבר שגם בבי"ת וכ"ף הוא לא יהיה נכון אחרי מקף כך שכל הדיון מלא תתעב הוא מוטעה לענ"ד.
בעניין כי במקלי נדמה לי שרוו"ה מביא בזה בשם עין הקורא, יש בזה מחלוקת, אבל לפי ספרינו כלל זה נכון בב-ב ובב-פ אבל לא בב-מ.
לענין "כ"ף' יש דיון על כקול או על כגעת,
אגב דאגב יש ביהושוע ובשופטים המעשה עם עכסה בת כלב אשת עתניאל "ויהי בבואה" ביהושוע הוא עם פסק ולכן הבית דגושה כדין, בשופטים יש מונח רביע ללא פסק והבי"ת דגושה מדין צבותות.

Clarification of a שוא נע rule

As the Shabbos before my mother's yahrtzeit, I will lain this הפטרה from time to time. In 2014 was 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."

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Qualification of the אהוי rule

I have recently been asked on a number of occasions regarding apparent exceptions to the אהוי rule which is that if a word ends with one of those letters, it will remove an expected דגש at the beginning of the next word. This is provided that the first word is connected to the second by means of a טעם משרת such as a מרכא, rather than a pausal note like an אתנחתא or טפחא.

The first example was in ויצא:
ל:טז ...וַתֹּ֨אמֶר֙ אֵלַ֣י תָּב֔וֹא
The י does not remove the דגש from the תּ even though it has a מונח which functions as a משרת.

Another example on which this question was raised was in אחרי מות:
יח:ה ...וָחַ֣י בָּהֶ֑ם
Again, the דגש remains in the בּ.

This phenomenon is interestingly observed in בחוקתי. The first mention of the word בחוקתי is on a טפחא which is a מפסיק anyway. But when it is mentioned in the negative portion, we find:
כו:טו וְאִם־בְּחֻקֹּתַ֣י תִּמְאָ֔סוּ
The מונח is a משרת but the תּ keeps its דגש.

It is important to forget about the actual letters for a moment. The essence of this rule is that it is applied when the first word ends with a vowel. This best way to understand this apparent anomaly is to observe a similar paradigm we find the English language with the letter Y. It can function as a consonant, as in yes or year, but can also be used as a vowel, as in the word gym or psychology. When the י extends a vowel sound, which would seem to be only after a צירי or חיריק, it functions as a vowel. However, after any other vowel, the function of the י is clearly a consonant, closing the syllable. Therefore, the אהוי rule would not apply. 

(Now, this applies to צירי and חיריק because they both end with a י sound. That is why the י is said to extend or fill the vowel. If one pronounces a חולם "oy," shouldn't it apply there, too, whereas if you pronounce it "oh," it would not. As per the comments below, דברים ד:ח וּמִי֙ גּ֣וֹי גָּד֔וֹל is a good example. If this theory is correct it would prove the "oy" pronunciation to be incorrect. But I'm not fully convinced myself.)

Hearing Los

A few years ago I was pondering what it means when there is a kri/ksiv when the kri and ksiv are homonyms. A prime example of this is when there is a kri/ksiv on the word lo when both the kri and ksiv are read lo, but one is spelled lamed aleph and the other lamed vav. While this issue has crept into my head several times, especially when the laining of the week would have an example, I never dedicated much time to pursuing the idea until recently. In the back of my head I kept wondering if the possible solution to this issue was something that could be a fundamental way of understanding lashon hakodesh.

There are certain languages that are considered to be tonal and others that are not. Being a tonal language means that the pitch which a speaker uses is not just helpful in understanding context and emotion, but even definition. For example, many tonal languages have homonyms found in the language that change meaning based on whether the speaker enunciates these words with a high pitch or low pitch tone. I began to consider that maybe lashon hakodesh is somewhat tonal in nature. It is important to note that there are very few homonyms in lashon hakodesh, but the tonal nature would be just as integral to the enunciation of any word, not just a homonym, as the proper vowels being used. Thus, if one were to say a word that should have a high pitch sound incorrectly, he may have spoken the word incorrectly and it might not have any meaning. It would be comparable to changing the vowels of a word without spelling a new word with the rearrangement such as spelling versus spilleng. Whereas, if it were a homonym that were spoken incorrectly, it could actually have a new meaning.

An integral part of laining is the fact that the words are read with a specific cantillation, trop. The nature of trop is such that it forces the reader to read the text with proper perspective. Many times the trop forces the reader to take pauses in places that had the reader continued reading without pause he would have misunderstood the verse. In this fashion the trop helps keep the proper punctuation in place. Perhaps, trop also forces the reader to enunciate with proper pitch in order to give that element to the word. Trop forces the reader to sound some words in higher pitch than others.

In order to test this hypothesis I decided to research the occurrences of kri/ksiv on the word lo as mentioned above. (Note: From this point on I will refer to lo with an aleph as aleph and lo with a vav as vav.) There are eighteen examples in tanach when there is a kri/ksiv with the kri being vav and the ksiv being aleph. The following cantillation marks can be found on the words being discussed: esnachta, munach, mahpach, tipcha, mercha (including one with a makaf to the following word containing a mercha), and sof pasuk (connected to the sof pasuk via makaf). I then decided to see how many alephs there were with the above trop. I was hoping to find very few or no alephs with this trop and a disproportionate amount of vavs that would. The theory would then be supported since it would then seem that the trop is adding the tonal element and although the word is written aleph it is sounded vav due to the trop. This would then prove that the kri adds the tonal element and although the word is written as aleph, the ksiv, it is read as vav, the kri.

The research did not show the anticipated results, but it showed something extremely interesting. I actually found the opposite of what I had anticipated to be true. With alephs I found the above mentioned trop occurred a total of two-thousand five-hundred and nineteen times. When I looked for similar vavs I found that there were only four times that they had the above trop. I found that to be somewhat astounding as such a staggering difference clearly displays that the alephs with that trop is normal and that the vavs are exceptions. If it was normal for the vavs one should see a much higher rate of having these cantillations. I also found it notable that all four exceptions can be found in Sefer Yirmiyah. Although one can come up with many theories as to why this is the case, that is not the purpose of this writing.

Just to be certain, I then took the examples when the ksiv is vav and the kri is aleph and found that there are only two cases like that in tanach. Interestingly, both are found in Sefer Shmuel and one has a pashta and the other is attached to a word with a kadma. When looking at the alephs that had these markings I found only one such occurrence. However, the vavs can be found with these markings one-hundred and two times. The one exception mentioned above is found in Sefer Devarim.

It would seem that the trop clearly does not reflect the kri rather it is an element of the ksiv. It is uncertain whether this is some function of trop or if it is an issue of lashon hakodesh being somewhat tonal, but it is fascinating to notice that trop does not reflect the kri. In today’s day and age it is certainly unreasonable to correct the shaliach tzibbur if he makes a mistake in trop with regard to a kri/ksiv of this nature or any other word, since we find no halachic precedent to do so. Perhaps, even when they were more attune to these issues they were only lechatchila and preferred, but not absolute ways of reading. Or, perhaps since we are not so familiar with these changes to the words we only correct items that are noticeably different to the populace.

Regarding the first question, how does one practically read a kri/ksiv that has the kri and ksiv as homonyms, I am still not one-hundred percent sure of the answer. Maybe kri means the intention and thought of the reader, so if in his head he was thinking aleph then it is an aleph. Again, I am not familiar with any source stating that if the shaliach tzibbur mentions he intended the wrong word that he must go back to that earlier place. So, I guess I am open to suggestion.

The following were the kri/ksiv cases with aleph as ksiv: Shemos 21:8, VaYikra 11:21 and 25:30, Shmuel 1 2:3, Shmuel 2 16:18, Melachim 2 8:10, Yeshaya 9:2, 49:5 and 63:9, Iyov 6:21, 13:4 and 41:4, Mishlei 19:6 and 26:1, Tehillim 100:1 and 139:16, Ezra 4:2, Divrei HaYamim 1 11:20.

The exceptions were: Yirmiyah 48:12, 49:1, 49:31 and 50:32.

The following were the kri/ksiv cases with vav as ksiv: Shmuel 1 2:16 and 20: 2.

The exception was: Devarim 32:29.

How lo can you go?

A follow-up to Ari's post on Los.
In this week's parsha, (25:29-30) the special laws of the sale of a house in a walled city are discussed. רש"י points out that the laws specifically concern a city that had a wall in the time of יהושע. This, explains רש"י, is based on a דרשה of חז"ל on a קרי/כתיב in פסוק ל. The house is referred to as being in a "עיר אשר לא חומה." The word lo is written לא, suggesting that it is a city with no wall. But it is read as לו (whatever the difference is between the two,) which implies a city that has walls. חז"ל learn from here, even though it doesn't have now, if it had before, i.e. at the time of יהושע, then it is subject to the special laws.

ר' צבי פסח פרנק in הר צבי explains why the קרי and כתיב were set up the way they were (as opposed to the other way around.) The פסוק is referring to a city that is not currently walled. That is why it is written לא. The written text is what we see with our eyes. We see לא because we see that there is no wall. But the קרי is what we hear. We hear that there was a wall before in the time of יהושע and that's why it is read לו.

Even Lo-er

Yet another interesting thought on this פסוק. Dr. Mehullam Klarberg discusses the issue with לו being masculine and apparently referring to עיר which is feminine:

Habayit asher ba'ir asher lo (spelled with Alef [meaning 'not'], but read lo spelled with Vav! meaning ['it has']) choma (Levit 25:30) ('the house which is in the city which has a wall'): The Masora says 'There are 16 written similarly with Alef and read with Vav.' Following both the ketiv ('written') and the kere ('read!') Torat Kohanim explains, 'Even though it does not now [have a wall] but it did have previously.' In a passage of Rashi (11th century) (in most editions this passage appears in brackets and the editor of Torat Chayim, Rabbi Ch. D. Chavel, points out that it did not appear in the first edition of Rashi), both the Masora and the Torat Kohanim are quoted and it is pointed out that the word ir ('city') is feminine so the pronoun referring to it should have been la (spelled with a mapik ('pronounced') Heh meaning ['she has']), and explains that because the written form is lo (spelled with Alef) they tikenu ('fixed') lo in the Masora, one form similar to the other form. According to this passage in Rashi, the Masora has abandoned the requirement for masculine-feminine agreement between a noun and its pronoun (which is obligatory in Hebrew), for the sake of 'one form similar to the other form!' Is it 'fixed' thereby? Research is required to determine the origin and status of this passage in Rashi.
Chizekuni (13th century) (who may or may not have been aware of the above passage in Rashi) is also concerned with the non-agreement of ir and lo. He writes that the word lo refers to sadeh ('field'), which is masculine and, he argues, is understood in the sentence even though it does not occur there. We have had discussion of words implied in sentences as explanations for apparent none agreement elsewhere (Morsels, Emor 5762). 
Malbim (19th century) (who probably was aware of the above passage in Rashi and its problematic status) is also concerned with the non-agreement of ir and lo. He argues that lo refers to bayit. One should see the words asher ba'ir ('which is in the city') as parenthetical and read habayit . asher lo choma directly. According to Malbim the question disappears. There is no problem with lo. 
For my part, I'm not sure how the proposed alternative understandings of לו actually jive with what the פסוק is trying to say. A house that has a wall? What house doesn't have a wall? It is clear that we are talking about a walled city so how is it appropriate to attach the word לו to anything other than עיר?

Life as we Know it

In the section dealing with our obligation to reach out and come to the aid of our neighbour, there is a glaring discrepancy, pointed out by Meshech Chachmah, in two adjacent pesukim. The first deals with the ger toshav, a non-Jew who has sworn off avodah zarah but is not subject to all of our mitzvos. We are commanded to support him in his time of need. The pasuk ends of, "vachai imach." The next pasuk, dealing with the prohibition of charging interest, ends of, "vechei achicha imach." The message seems almost the same but the word vachai turns into vechei.

Meshech Chachmah explains the difference between these two similar terms. One might summarize it as follows: Chei is to live whereas chai is life itself. We find the word chai used with respect to HaShem, as in "Chai HaShem," because He embodies everlasting lifeThe word chei is used with respect to more fleeting life, such as Yoseif's use of the term "chei Par'oah."

When we support our neighbour, the ger toshav, it is far more than providing financial stability. Since he has not accepted the full burden of all mitzvos, his sole source of "everlasting life" is his connection to our community. If we do not come to his aid, he will surely stray and give up the life he had chosen. Therefore, reaching out to him is indeed providing him with everlasting life.

The second pasuk refers to achicha, your Jewish brother. He therefore already merits the "everlasting life" by virtue of his service of HaShem and acceptance of all mitzvos, a pact he surely cannot alleviate himself of under any circumstances. Therefore, our financial support, however mandatory, is simply providing superficial, physical life. And so, the word chei is used instead.