Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Take it Easy


וַיְשַׁלַּ֥ח אֶת־הַיּוֹנָ֖ה מֵאִתּ֑וֹ לִרְאוֹת֙ הֲקַ֣לּוּ הַמַּ֔יִם מֵעַ֖ל פְּנֵ֥י הָֽאֲדָמָֽה

A number of years ago, I was confronted by someone after this עליה declaring that the בעל קריאה had mispronounced this word by putting the emphasis on the last syllable, ha-ka-LU, as opposed to the proper pronunciation, ha-KA-lu. He was not wrong. However, this well-meaning Israeli fellow then offered to "teach me some עברית" and explained that with that incorrect pronunciation, the meaning is changed from "decrease or lighten" to "roasted" as in ויקרא ב:י"ד.

I wasn't quite sure what to answer it at the time. We did not go back and repeat it, that is for sure. I did consult the WhatsApp דקדוק group and the answer I got was that if it were of the root meaning to roast, the ק would have a קמץ, not a פתח. That put me at ease after getting roasted for not correcting it. Nevertheless, one should definitely be careful to put the accent on the correct syllable.

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