Saturday, January 29, 2022

האשה וילדיה

(כ"א:ד)
האשה וילדיה תהיה לאדניה

In בבא קמא נד., the גמרא discusses the use of a singular verb in reference to plural subjects as acceptable in תנ"ך. However, in all of the examples discussed there the verb precedes the subjects. However, the above פסוק demonstrates that it can occur in the reverse as well. One would have expected the פסוק to read האשה וילדיה יהיו לאדניה but apparently תהיה suffices.

Answer vs. Torture

(כ"ב:כ"ב)
אִם עַנֵּה תְעַנֶּה אתוֹ

(כ"ג:ב)
וְלא תַעֲנֶה עַל רִב לִנְטת

If the two פסוקים above are read without vowels, it appears the same word appears both times. However, they are clearly two separate words. תְעַנֶּה means to torture. תַעֲנֶה means to answer. Keep an ear out for this one - it's easy to miss.

Thanks to ba in the comments, here is a nice list of words in תנ"ך that are the same but different.

The Ox and his Friend

One of the laws dealt with in this week's פרשה is that of damages incurred when one's animal gores another. The פסוק says אבן עזרא .כ"א:ל"ה - וכי יגף שור איש את שור רעהו explains these words as follows: And if the ox of a man gores the ox of his (this man's) friend. However, he brings an alternative explanation from קראי by the name of בן זוטא. He interprets: And if the ox of a man gores his (the ox's) friend - another ox. אבן עזרא rejects this ridiculous interpretation based on the trop of the פסוק which clearly indicates that it should be read otherwise. Besides, adds the אבן עזרא sharply, an ox has no friends - except for בן זוטא!


It is not often that a pshat in a ראשון on חומש will have one rolling in laughter but this one did it to me. However, אבן עזרא's sharp attack on בן זוטא is not so clear. Daniel Scarowsky, ז"ל, once pointed out to me that we find in the 'משניות בבא קמא פרק ה (bottom of :מח):
"...שור שהיה מתכון לחברו" an ox that had intention to gore 'his friend.' It seems the ox is not the social outcast the אבן עזרא had perceived him to be. But Daniel explained that the answer must be that there is a difference between the term רֵע used in our פסוק, and the term חבר used in the חבר .משנה comes from the root meaning connection. A חבר is merely one who has a specific connection with the other. This connection may be as simple as both being oxen. A רֵע, a term used to denote a more serious friendship, implies a deeper connection which an ox does not have. Except, of course, with בן זוטא.

Tricky Vowels

כ"א: כ"ט וְאִם שׁוֹר נַגָּח הוּא
כ"א:ל"ו אוֹ נוֹדַע כִּי שׁוֹר נַגָּח הוּא


The vowels here are very important. If the קמץ and פתח are flipped, the word takes on a totally different meaning. נָגַח, the incorrect pronunciation, is a verb, gored in the past tense. But the proper pronunciation, נַגָּח, is a noun meaning a goring ox. We find this construct in numerous other places such as גַמָל meaning not a camel but one who rides camels.

It just so happens that my son is now learning the סוגיא of שור מועד in school so this observation was particularly on my mind.

Jewish Milk

I once saw an article about חלב ישראל and decided to post this. A friend of mine pointed out to me once that the common pronunciation of this term, Cholov Yisroel, is actually incorrect. Due to סמיכות (which I'm not 100% certain of, see comments) it should be chaleiv Yisrael as in לא תבשל גדי בחלב אמו. I've always wanted to try some funny "proper דקדוק" social experiments - like have everyone use that term in public and see what kind of reactions you get, and the one I suggested on another occasion.

Three strikes and you're out

... well, one strike, really. Saw this in the דקדוק WhatsApp group recently:
👍👍👍דבר יפה שראיתי בתיקון קוראים סימנים:
שארהּ - מפיק הא.
כסותהּ - מפיק הא.
ועונתהּ - מפיק הא.
ואם שלש אלה לא יעשה להּ - כלומר: מי שלא יבטא את שלשת המפיקים, אז - ויצא חינם אין כסף - לא ישלמו לו משכורת על הקריאה...

Give it to me

(כ"ב:כ"ט)
בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי תִּתְּנוֹ לִי

The above bolded word, when pronounced correctly, is translated, "you (singular) shall give it to me." If mispronounced תִּתְּנוּ it means, "you (plural) shall give to me." Certainly correctable!