Wednesday, October 18, 2023

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 (and sometimes disappointing) every year seeing what my kids are taught in school.


Anonymous said...

If the person talking ends his [English] sentence with this list, what's wrong with vowelizing it accordingly?

I award a similar excuse to people who accent their normally-mil'ra' first names mil'el instead. If the surname is accented on the first syllable, then the first name's accent moves back due to "nasog achor."

Examples (off the top of my head):
R' MOshe TEITelbaum
R' YisROel MEir KAgan (double n"a!)

Shtikler said...

I have to respectfully disagree. Would you go to a bus station in Israel and ask for tickets to Be'er Shava?
See the סידור עליות אליהו compiled by ר' אהרן לופינסקי where for ברכת המוציא he puts the accent מלרע on המוציא even though לחם is מלעיל. When asked I believe he quoted Heideheim as stating that the rules of נסוג אחור apply only to מקרא
וצ"ע מברכת התורה - אשר בחר בנו
Anyone know of any other sources regarding rules of מקרא applying outside of מקרא?

Anonymous said...

I wasn't completely serious about these excuses; that's why I called them excuses. The nasog achor one, though, makes a little more sense than the other, in my opinion. Nasog achor really does make a sentence easier to pronounce. I don't know about how that might affect the halachot of tefilah, but when mixing Hebrew and English, I think that applying nasog achor is at least excusable due to the utilitarian advantage. People are going to mis-accent their Hebrew in conversation anyway, thanks to the influence of Yiddish and English, so we might as well be melamed zechut when we can.

Michael Koplow said...

Maybe their teachers are (chas veshalom) influenced by the English translation of the name--"Japheth," not "Jepheth." An analogous thing this week--the English for למך is "Lamech," not "Lemech."

In the cases Isaac presents, I don't think it has anything to do with nasog achor or any rules of Hebrew pronunciation (which is actually appropriate, since they're not being used as Hebrew). Let's say there was an Ashkenazi named Yisroel Meir whose surname was based on Dniepropetrovsk. His name would probably be "YisROel MEir DniepropetROVsky," not "YisroEL MeIR DniepropetROVsky." Naso achor seems to have nothing to do with it.

Shtikler said...

I've actually always been intrigued by some of the English transliterations that seem to have become accepted. The one that really gets me is Balaam for בלעם. And you can't even attribute that to any Hebrew pronunciation, even at the end of a פסוק.

By the way, you seem to assume that נסוג אחור applies whenever the accent is not on the last syllable. Is that the case? I thought it was only if the accent was on the FIRST syllable, not a middle one. And also, do we ever find נסוג אחור to two degrees, i.e. that word #3 moves the accent up on word #2 which in turn moves the accent up on word #1?

Anonymous said...

I seem to recall my rebbe in high school pointing out a case of second-degree nasog achor, but I have no idea what it was, if the recollection is indeed correct.

Lion of Zion said...


"I've actually always been intrigued by some of the English transliterations that seem to have become accepted."

our english transliterations make perfect sense if we remember that

a) they are coming to us not directly from hebrew but via ancient latin and greek transliterations (e.g., septuagaint, jerome, etc.)

b) hebrew in antiquitiy was not necessarily pronounced the way we do it today


ditto to above, plus: it is assumed that יפת in early hebrew was always pronounced yafet. only later did it become characteristic of pausal forms alone.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the original question, we may say it becuase 4 of the 5 (or 3 of the 4, I forget) times that the 3 children are named together it is with the pausal form of Yaphet. (although overall, Yaphet and Yephet appear almost the same number of times.)

MG said...

1) You cannot have a double Nasog Achor, period. Nasog Achor only applies to 2 words, with a ta'am meshares followed by a ta'am melech.
2) Regardless of the above, "R' Yisroel Meir Kagan" would never be Nasog Achor. Both the words Yisroel and Meir must always be milrah; they end with a t'nuah gedolah followed by a nach nir'eh, which is only allowed if the ta'am is milrah. This is a well-known exception to the Nasog Achor rule.
3) I was under the impression that we always try to apply rules of Mikrah to Davening - hence we say
אשר "בחר" בנו m'leil, as you point out. There are numerous sources for, and examples of, this concept. In my copy of the סידור עליות אליהו he addresses your issue in the footnotes and brings other sources for saying המוציא m'leil. I'd love to know where that Heideheim statement (if there indeed is one) is quoted.

Avromi said...

Reb Yaakov writes that the reason some people make the mistake and say morid haGUshem is because the gabbai who announces on shmini atzeres says "Mashiv Haruach umorid haGUshem," for there it is a sof pasuk, i.e., the end of his statement; however, in shemoneh esrei, it is in the middle, and therefore, it should be haGEshem. Evidently, there is such a concept that it depends on your own phraseology as well.

Gavriel said...

While what was said about Hashem bringing down rain (there, I've avoided the issue in an English sentence) is correct, if you want to get into it - you need to contrast the regular usage/phrasing in the amidah a.k.a. shmoneh esrei, to that of the phrasing when we first emphasize it, towards the end of Tefilas Geshem.

Gavriel said...

As far as transliterations, one also has to remember that English spellings may have changed over time, and even if they haven't, English pronunciations have certainly changed over time, let alone regionally. Think of Cain as two syllables Ca-in, or Lot out of the context of people who are used to the English word "lot".

ELIE said...

מעניין למדיי משום מה
יש נטייה לקרוא לאנשים בשם אפרים

לקרוא את זה בקמץ אפרָים
ובדומה את השם זרח גם כן בקמץ
וראיתי כותבים באנגלית
אע"פ שזו צורת הפסק