Wednesday, January 10, 2024

The Strange Thing about Frogs

As a general rule, a שוא under the first letter of a word will always be a שוא נע. Also, if a word is prefixed by a ה' הידיעה it will usually begin with a דגש in its first letter and the שוא will be a שוא נע. There are numerous exceptions to this rule (as there are to every rule, including the rule that every rule has exceptions.) One exception which is seen many times is הלוים which never has a דגש.

(As I understand it, there is a מחלוקת as to whether a שוא underneath one of these exceptions is נע or נח. The תיקון סימנים goes with נח.)

In וארא, we find another exception - צפרדעים. The צ doesn't get a דגש. However, there is something different about this exception. There is an exception to the exception. In ח:ב we find וַתַּעַל הַצְּפַרְדֵּע. Any suggestions as to why this is?

Reader answers:

MG said...
R' Yaakov Kaminetsky discusses this question in Emes LYaakov. He answers that "Tzfardea" is not of Hebrew origin, rather Egyptian, and in that language the Tzadi did not have the ability to receive a dagesh. Therefore even though it is preceded by a "Heh Hayidiah" it receives no dagesh. However the word "HaTzefardea" does not refer to "a frog" but to the "frog infestation", (as Rashi explains according to the Pshat)and this new word now follows the rules of Hebrew Dikduk, so the Tzadi receives a dagesh.
Shloime said...
The Radak in Michlol quotes this as being an exception.
A mem of a present tense piel doesn't take a dagesh. Not sure why.


Anonymous said...

מצאנו גם המצרעים בלשון רבים בלי דגש
ובלשון יחיד המצרע בדגש
כנראה בגלל אורך המילה
בעניין הלוים הלמ"ד בשוא נח
אין מתג בה' לפניו
וגם לספרים הגורסים מתג הוא שוא נח
גם כל למנצח המ' בשוא נח ואין מתג בל
אבל המלמד המ' בשוא נע

Anonymous said...

The first letter of the word only has a dagesh (Kal!) (other things being equal) if that letter is BG"D KF"T. The dagesh in question here is a dagesh chazak, which, in general does NOT appear in the first letter of the word. Furthermore, although I believe the dikdukei shai says that there is a machloket between sefardim and ashkenazim/teimanin as to whether the shva under a mem without a dagesh following a heh ha'yediah with a meteg is na or nach (the Simanim here, as in other things is follow the sefardi way) the mesorah itself is clear on the matter. It is na. See, e.g. Yeivin's book on the tiberian masorah. I think the dikdukei ta'amim, or perhaps Dotan's notes on this, also addresses the matter.

Yehudha said...

Ariel Hallewi in "Qobhes Diqduqe Thora" explains the difference between he hayedhi'a and he happe'ula. "Hameyalledhoth" in sepher Shemoth has a ge'aya under the he and the shewa under the mem is pronounced na'. Their being "meyalledhoth" is their role here, their identity; this is he hayedhi'a. In sepher Bereshith however, "hamyalledheth" is an action, not an identity; this is he happe'ula and the shewa is pronounced nah.

Anonymous said...

"the first letter of a word will usually have a דגש unless preceded by a word ending with a vowel sound."

there seem to be some misunderstanding here:
בג'ד כפ'ת בראש מלה
are punctuated with a dagesh, unless preceded by any of:
אותיות בכל'ם
as the last letter of the preceding word.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this article?

What do you think ?