Sunday, November 28, 2021

Torn

 ל"ז:ל"ג

טָרֹף טֹרַף יוֹסֵף

This advisory is much more relevant for the oh-ers than the oy-ers. It is very important to make sure the vowel on the ט is a חולם and not a קמץ. If you pronounce it טָרַף it is the third-person active, I.e. he tore. With the proper pronunciation, however, it is the passive form, I.e. he was torn.

Monday, November 15, 2021

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.

אפרתה, what is your real name?

 I figured I would reuse the name I used for a similar post on the city of יהץ/יהצה.

ל"ה"ט"ז

וַיִּסְעוּ מִבֵּית אֵל וַיְהִי־עוֹד כִּבְרַת־הָאָרֶץ לָבוֹא אֶפְרָתָה וַתֵּלֶד רָחֵל וַתְּקַשׁ בְּלִדְתָּהּ

It seems the clear that the meaning here is "to אפרת."

ל"ה:י"ט

וַתָּמָת רָחֵל וַתִּקָּבֵר בְּדֶרֶךְ אֶפְרָתָה הִוא בֵּית לָחֶם׃

This is the one that is hard to explain. The ending ה does not seem necessary. Especially, if you consider the פסוק in ויחי:

אֲנִי בְּבֹאִי מִפַּדָּן מֵתָה עָלַי רָחֵל בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן בַּדֶּרֶךְ בְּעוֹד כִּבְרַת־אֶרֶץ לָבֹא אֶפְרָתָה וָאֶקְבְּרֶהָ שָּׁם בְּדֶרֶךְ אֶפְרָת הִוא בֵּית לָחֶם

The only plausible explanation I have heard is that this city has two valid names - אפרת and אפרתה - which seem to be somewhat interchangeable. This reality is actually supported by this contemporary news story regarding a dispute as to what the modern-day name of the city ought to be.


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 12, 2021

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.

I Would Have Made a Party

 ל"א:כ"ז

לָ֤מָּה נַחְבֵּ֙אתָ֙ לִבְרֹ֔חַ וַתִּגְנֹ֖ב אֹתִ֑י וְלֹא־הִגַּ֣דְתָּ לִּ֔י וָֽאֲשַׁלֵּחֲךָ֛ בְּשִׂמְחָ֥ה וּבְשִׁרִ֖ים בְּתֹ֥ף וּבְכִנּֽוֹר׃ 

I'm 95% sure about this but just wanted to put it out there just in case: the בעל קריאה said וַאֲשַׁלֵּחֲךָ֛ (with a קמץ under the ו.) I corrected it on the spot. I'm pretty sure it would change the meeting from "I would have sent you away" in the past to "I will send you away" in the future. (To go into more detail, to convey the future, you would have tacked on a וי"ו with a שוא at the beginning. However, the חטף פתח under the אל"ף is like a שוא and since you can't begin a word with two שואs, the וי"ו would get a פתח.)

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.

Come on, People! Part II

[5772] 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.

Addnedum 5780: Someone actually asked me why it is not וַיֹּאמַר. We do sometimes see words take on the pausal form, even if not on an אתנחתא or סוף פסוק. (Incidentally, the actual trop on this word is a matter of dispute.) It turns out it's not so simple. Maybe I can cover it in another post.

A reader recently (5781) contacted me and provided a very clear analysis of different used of וַיֹּאמַר and when it might actually be מעכב:

My own observation is that one of the uses of  וַיֹּאמַר rather than וַיּאמֶר is stylistic, namely when an additional verb is assigned to the subject. Here are some examples:

 

בראשית יד:יט  וַיְבָרְכֵהוּ, וַיֹּאמַר:  בָּרוּךְ אַבְרָם 

בראשית יח: כג  וַיִּגַּשׁ אַבְרָהָם, וַיֹּאמַר

 במדבר כג:יב  וַיַּעַן, וַיֹּאמַר:  הֲלֹא, אֵת אֲשֶׁר יָשִׂים

שופטים כ:ד  וַיַּעַן הָאִישׁ הַלֵּוִי, אִישׁ הָאִשָּׁה הַנִּרְצָחָה--וַיֹּאמַר

 

This style is not followed, however, when ויאמר is followed by an infinitive, such as ל... or לו or אליו, as in:

 

 בראשית כז:לז  וַיַּעַן יִצְחָק וַיּאמֶר לְעֵשָׂו

 

 I found only one exception to this rule in Chumash, where even though there is another verb, plus no infinitive after the ויאמר, the nikud is וַיּאמֶר:

 

בראשית מ:יח  וַיַּ֤עַן יוֹסֵף֙ וַיֹּ֔אמֶר זֶ֖ה פִּתְרֹנ֑וֹ שְׁלֹ֙שֶׁת֙ הַסַּלִּ֔ים שְׁלֹ֥שֶׁת יָמִ֖ים הֵֽם:

 

(In the rest of Tanach, my Concordance tells me that there are 32 more instances of ויען...ויאמר, but I have not gone through them to see whether in those cases the ויאמר is always followed by an infinitive.)

 

But another use of vayoMAR vs. vayoMER might warrant correction in instances where וַיֹּאמַר occurs. When ויאמר is followed by a name, וַיֹּאמַר makes it very clear, by the pause, that the one named is not the one speaking, but part of the quote. This happens often when it’s Hashem or Elokim that is the word following ויאמר:

 

 בראשית יח:ג 

וַיֹּאמַר  ה' אִם-נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ

 

Viz., it should not be understood as "And Hashem said, "If I have found favor in your eyes...". It should be read and understood as, "And he said, "Hashem, if I have found favor in your eyes...".

 

Another example:

בראשית טז:ח וַיֹּאמַר הָגָר שִׁפְחַת שָׂרַי אֵי-מִזֶּה בָאת

 

וַיֹּאמַר tells you not to read the verse as saying, “And Hagar said, ‘Servant maid of Sarai, from where are you coming?” but rather, “And he said, “Hagar, servant maid of Sarai…’ ”

 

This example also shows that scripture uses וַיֹּאמַר for this purpose even when other indicators already make it clear. After all, the masculine ויאמר rather than the feminine ותאמר already makes it clear that it is not Hagar speaking.

 

In the pasuk you write about, וַיִּיקַץ יַעֲקֹב מִשְּׁנָתוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר אָכֵן יֵשׁ ה' במקום הזה, there is apparently no fear that one would think that "אכן" is the name of a person, so writing וַיֹּאמַר  would be unnecessary.

In conclusion, I stand by my assertion that the correction in this case was clearly unwarranted. However, my assertion that the difference between the two is universally insignificant was also equally faulty.

Friday, November 5, 2021

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 תולדות 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?
See comments below.

(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

I will eat, you will eat

קֽוּם־נָ֣א שְׁבָ֗ה וְאָכְלָה֙ מִצֵּידִ֔י בַּעֲב֖וּר תְּבָרֲכַ֥נִּי נַפְשֶֽׁךָ

יעקב 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!