jewish continuity
jewish heritage
jewish people
jews of america
jewish community
jewish history
jewish culture
judaism kabala
jewish tradition
jewish life
torah parsha
jewish links
jewish interest
jewish humor
jews Israel


Subscribe - FREE!



Sharing and caring
on the Internet

In Recognition Of
Aish Hatorah
- Reconnecting Jews To Their Heritage

Preserving a near-lost legacy and heritage.
Sharing and Caring on behalf of Torah Judaism

A Drop Of Dikduk Archives
- Bamidbar

The Statement: Bamidbar Perek 1:8 The Mesorah says that three of the Shevatim are given the Taam of Pashta Katan. L'Yissachar, L'Naftoli and L'Vinyomin.

The Reason: All of the other Shevatim are given the Taam of Zakaf Gadol. The Taam of L'Dan is a Zakaf Gadol. This word cannot receive a Zakef Katan since the Munach of the Zakaf Katan must either go on the previous word or in the place of a Meseg. The word L'Dan is too short to receive a Meseg. It does not have three syllables before the Taam. Therefore it can not receive a Zakaf Katan. L'Asher cannot receive a Zakaf Katan since the third syllable before the Taam would be the Lamed with a Shvah Nach and a Shvah Nach can not receive a Meseg. L'Shimon cannot receive a Meseg since the third syllable before the Taam, which would receive the Meseg has a Shvah Nach following it. A Shvah Nach cannot follow a Meseg. Since the Zakaf Katan cannot be used it becomes a Zakaf Gadol.

L'Vinyomin can receive a Pashta Katan. (A Pashta and a Zakaf Katan on one word) This is due to the fact that there are four syllables from the Taam to the beginning of the word. In cases where there are four syllables and no Meseg can be used the Taam becomes a Pashta Katan instead of a Zakaf Gadol.

The Statement: Perek 3:2-3 "Valah Shmos Bnai Aharon Habechor Nadav Vavihu" And These are the sons of Aharon the eldest was Nadav and Avihu and Elazar and Isamar.

The Rule: Generally when a list of objects or people is mentioned the items are connected one to the other or grouped in pairs.

The Question: Why when mentioning the sons of Aharon is an Esnachta placed on the word Nadav. It would seem that Nadav should be paired with the other children of Aharon.

The Answer: Rav Shimon Shwab in his Sefer Mayan Bais Hashoavah explains the reason for the Esnachta after Nadav. Before the sin of the golden calf the service was to be done by the first born. If this is the case then Nadav did service even before Aharon and his descendants were chosen to be Cohanim. For this reason the word Bechor is joined with Nadav for he was doing the service because of his status as firstborn. Afterwards, when Aharon and his children were chosen, then Avihu, Elazar and Isamar were added.

In the following Posuk it includes them all by saying these are the children of Aharon that were anointed, for now after the sin of the golden calf Nadav did the service because he was a son of Aharon.

The Statement: Bamidbar Perek 2:10 "Degel Machanay Reuvain" The flag of the camp of Reuvain. The Taam of the words Machanay Reuvain is a Darga Tevir combination.

The Question: In Perek 2:18 Degel Machanay Efraim and in Perek 2:25 Degel Machanay Dan the Taam on these words is different. In these cases the Taam is a Marecha Tevir combination.

The Answer: The Tevir is a Taam which is classified as a Melech. When there is a pause after the word, then Taamim that are Melachim are used. A Tevir is a Taam which is a Melech it has a possibility of one of two Taamim to precede it. The Taamim that precede it are called Mesharsim. They are servants or helpers to the Melech. The two Taamim that can possibly come before a Tevir is either a Darga or a Marecha.

The way of determining if the Taam preceding the Tevir will be a Marecha or a Darga is a very simple rule. If there is one or no syllables between the Taam of the preceding word and the Tevir then the Taam will be a Marecha. If there are two or more syllables then the Taam is a Darga Tevir combination.

In the case of Machanay Reuvain there are two syllables between the Taam at the end of the word Machanay and the Taam which is on the "vain" syllable of Reuvain. Since there are two syllables, the Taamim are a Darga Tevir combination. In the case of Machanay Dan and Machanay Efraim the Taam is on the last syllable of Machanay and on the first syllable of Dan and the second syllable of Efraim. In the case of Dan there are no syllables between the Taamim. In the case of Efraim there is only one syllable between the Taamim. In both these cases since there are less then two syllablesbetween the Taamim we use a Marecha Tevir combination.

The Puzzle: Why in the list of Taamim is Darga Tevir used. It doesn't fit the rule. There is only one syllable separating the Taamim and yet it is called Darga Tevir.

The Statement: Perek 3:21 "Mishpachos Ha-Gerashooni" These are the families of Gershon

The Other Statement: Perek 3:27 "Oo-Mishpachas Hachevroni" And the family of Chevron.

The Problem: When the family Chevron is expressed as Chevroni the Cholom by "ron" remains. Yet when Gershon is expressed as Gerashooni, it loses the Cholom and becomes a Koobootz and takes the shooni sound, instead of sounding as shoni with a Cholom. For what reason does the word Gershon lose it's Cholom and become a Koobootz?

The Solution: Rav Yakov Kamenetsky in his Sefer Emes L'Yakov offers a novel answer. He explains that sometimes the ending Vav Nun or On sound is not part of the basic name. For   instance, in Rus 4:21 it says and Nachshon gave birth to Salmah. Yet in Rus 4:22 it says andSalmon (the same individual as Salmah) gave birth to Boaz. Rav Yakov derives from here that sometimes theVav Nun or On sound is not part of the basic name but rather just a suffix that is added. In the case of Salmon since it is not part of the root word it may be dropped as is done in Rus 4:21.

In the case of Gershon the Vav Nun or On sound is not part of the basic name. It is for this reason that the Cholom sound is not absolute and may be exchanged for a Koobootz sound.

Rav Yakov does not explain why Chevron remains with theVav Nun or On sound. Perhaps the answer is because the family took it's name form the city Chevron as is mentioned in Parshas Chaya Sarah. Since the family was named after the city the whole word is considered as part of the root word and the Vav Nun or On sound may not be changed.

From the Sharei Zimrah Shaar 5 Paragraph 9

The Statement Perek 7:72 "Byom Ashtay Asar Yom" On the eleventh day.

The Problem: It would seem more appropriate to say Achad Asar Yom for the eleventh day.

The Solution: Let us examine the root of the word Ashtay. The Ebn Ezra   brings theexplanation of Rebbe Yona HaSephardi that explains the word as a   composition of the words Al and Shtay Asar. This is to mean the number that is close toShtay Asar.

The Ebn Ezra rejects this explanation for a number of reasons. The first of his reasons is the word Al usually means the number that is after the mentioned number. For instance when we say Meben Esreem VaMalah it means from twenty years and older. If that is the case then Al Shtay Asar should mean the number after twelve and not the number before twelve.  The Second reason for his rejection of the explanation is the fact that it should use the word Al Shnaym Asar in the masculine form. Just as the word Asar is masculine form and Shnaym Asar is masculine if the word is a composition of Al Shtaym Asar it should also be masculine form.

The Ebn Ezra understands the word not to be a composition of two words but rather a single word whose root is Eshtonos which means thought. The thought  after ten. This is to say that the number that a person thinks about once he reaches to ten. Once he reaches ten he immediately begins to think of the next number which is eleven.

    The Statement: Bamidbar 7:89 "Vayishma Es Hakol Meedabare Aylav Mayal Hakapores" And he heard the voice speaking to him from above the Kapores.

    The Question: The Nikud on the word Meedabare is with a Chirik (long E) under the Mem. Would it not be more correct to have a Shva under the Mem instead?

    The Solution: In Loshon Hakodesh past tense can be expressed in one of many ways. One way is to use what is called a Binyan Kal. (A less intense verb) For example the words Hoo Shavar mean he broke in the Binyan Kal form with no Dagesh in the middle letter. One can also say it in a more intense verb form which is called a Binyan Kaved. In this instance one would say Hoo Shebare which is he broke in a Binyan Kaved form. In this form the middle letter takes a Dagesh. This is referred to as Poal for Binyan Kal and Peeale for Binyan Kaved.

    The difference between the two Binyanim is in the intensity. A Binyan Kaved generally is denoting more exertion in the action. In the instance of Shavar vs. Shebare it may be telling us that the breaking was total not just splitting into two pieces. Shebare would be used to signify a more total breaking of the item. (This is one difference see Beer Rechovos on Parsha Shmos under the heading Lamyaldos for a more detailed analysis of other differences in the usage of these two Binyanim.)

    Another one of the usages of a verb is the form called Hispael. This is used when the subject isdoing and receiving the action. For instance MisKasher (to tie) would mean he tied himself. He is the subject doing the action and also receiving the action.   

    The Ebn Ezra understands the word Meedabare in this week's Parsha to be a regular Binyan Kaved form with the Mem representing the word Min meaning from. Since the word Min drops it's Nun the first letter of the root word then gets a Dagesh to compensate for the missing Nun. In this instance when put together with Dabare, to compensate a Dagesh is placed in the Dalet. The word has a Dagesh in the Dalet to compensate for the missing Nun and a Dagesh in the Beis like all verbs of Binyan Kaved.

    Rashi understands the word Meedabare to be of the Hispa-ale Binyan. Generally in the Hispa-ale there is a Saf after the first letter. This is not present in the word Meedabare. Therefore to compensate for the missing letter we place a Dagesh in the first root letter of the word and thus a Dagesh in the letter Dalet. Rashi explains the reasoning for the use of the Hispa-ale verb here. It is considered a matter of respect to Hashem. It is more respectful to say Hashem was speaking to himself and Moshe merely listening then to say Hashem was actually addressing Moshe.

The Statement: Perek 10:31 "Vahayeesa Lanu LaAyniyim" And you will be to us for eyes.

The Explanation: Rashi explains the word Vehayeesa as being either past or future tense. It could be referring to the miracles that your eyes have seen in the past. It may also be future tense and referring to the fact that as a leader he will be the eyes of the nation.

The Rule: When a Vav is placed before a past tense word it has one of two functions. It may be connecting the statement or object to the previous statement. In this case the Vav is called a Vav Hachibur since it attaches two statements or objects. A Vav in front of the word may function also to change the tense of the word. The tense of the root or Shoresh word may be past and the Vav will change it to a future tense. In this instance the Vav is called a Vav Hahipuch. (A Vav that changes the tense.)

The Difference: How does one differentiate between the Vav that functions as a Vav Hachibur and the Vav that functions as a Vav Hahipuch? The way to differentiate is by looking at the accent on the word. If the accent is on the last syllable then the Vav is a Vav Hahipuch changing it from past tense to future tense. For instance the word VaAhavta and you should love which we say in Shma everyday is accented on the last syllable for its meaning is that you should love Hashem with all of your heart. If one accents the word on the wrong syllable it will become past tense meaning that you loved Hashem, which is wrong. If the accent is not on the last syllable then the Vav is a Vav Hachibur and is not changing the tense of the word. It is merely connecting the statement with the statement or object mentioned before.

The Exception: When the third letter of the Shoresh or root word is a Heh or an Alef then the accent will not be on the last syllable and the Vav may still act as a Vav Hahipuch. Examples of this are the words VeAseesa and you will make where the accent is on the "see" part of the word and yet the Vav functions as a Vav Hahipuch. Another example is the word OoMatzasa and you will find where the accent is on the tza part of the word.

Our Posuk: The word Vehayeesa is from the Shoresh Hayah that has a Heh as the third letter of its Shoresh. Following the above exception both the Vav Hahipuch and the Vav Hachibur will not be accented on the last syllable. Therefore the word Vehayeesa can be translated either in the past tense or in the future tense. For this reason Rashi is able to explain the word to be that you experienced and saw in the past tense, or that you will be eyes and a guide for us in the future tense.

    The Statement: Bamidbar Perek 9:2 Veyaasoo Bnai Yisroel Es Hapasach Bemoado. And Bnai Yisroel will make the Pesach sacrifice in its proper time.

    The Rule: One of the rules of pronunciation concerns the Taamim of Esnachta and Sof Posuk. If a word has as its Taam either of these two Taamim and the vowel sound on the accented syllable is either a Patach or a Segol, then these two vowel sounds will always be changed to a Kamatz.

    The Question: In our Posuk the word Pesach is changed to Pasach. The Segol is changed to a Kamatz without an Esnachta or Sof Posuk as the Taam. In our case the Taam is a Tipcha and yet it changes the Segol to a Kamatz.

    The Reason: Rav Yakov Kamenetzky in his Sefer Emes L'Yakov explains the reason for the Kamatz even though the Taam is not an Esnachta or a Sof Posuk. If the sentence does not contain an Esnachta to show a pause within the sentence, then the Esnachta is replaced by a Tipcha. The Tipcha in this instance is the biggest pause within the sentence. In this instance the Tipcha will also have the power to change the Segol to a Kamatz sound just as the Esnachta did.

    The Statement: Bamidbar 11:11 "Lamah Harayosah Leavdecha" In this sentence the word Lamah is accented on the second syllable on the Mem. There is also no Dagesh in the Mem.

    The Other Statement: Bamidbar 11:11 "VeLamah Lo Matzasee" In this instance the Lamah is accented on the first syllable on the Lamed. There is also a Dagesh in the Mem of the word.

    The Problem: Why does the word Lamah in the very same Posuk change it's accent? Why in statement one the word is accented Milra on the second part and in the second statement it is accented Milale on the first part, the Lamed? Why is there a difference regarding the Dagesh?

    The Solution: The Minchas Shi tells us a very interesting rule regarding the word Lamah. He says that when the first letter of the word following Lamah is an Aleph or a Heh then the word Lamah will be accented on the second part of the word.

    When the word immediately following Lamah does not begin with an Aleph or a Heh then the accent on the word Lamah will be on the first part of the word.

    Generally a letter following a Tenuah Gedolah does not have a Dagesh. In this instance since there is a Tenuah Gedolah and the Taam is on the Tenuah Gedolah therefore the following letter receives a Dagesh. In statement two where the Taam is on the first letter therefore a Dagesh must follow since it has both a Tenuah Gedolah and the Taam on the same letter. In statement one where the Taam is on the second letter and the first letter has just a Tenuah Gedolah and no Taam, therefore the following letter has no Dagesh.

The Statement: Bamidbar Perek 13:23 Vayisaoohoo Vamote "and they carried it with a pole." Perek 14:22 Asher Aseesee BeMitzrayim "which I did in Mitzrayim" In the first instance the first letter of the second word begins with a Vet. This is in contrast to the second instance where the word BeMitzrayim begins with a Bet with a Dagesh Kal. The Rule: In general when any word ends with a AHOY (Alef Heh Vav or Yud) and the next word begins with a BGD CFS (Bet Gimmel Dad Chaf Feh or Taf) these letters will not take a Dagesh and will have a soft sound. When any other letter precedes the word then the BGD CFS will receive a Dagesh that is called a Dagesh Kal.

The Exception: There are a few exceptions to this rule. We have discussed in previous weeks the exception of Taam Mafsik. If the Taam on the first word is a Mafsik, one that denotes a pause then the following word will have a Dagesh Kal even though the word beforehand ends with AHOY.

Another exception is when the second word begins with two letters that are pronounced with the lips. When the first two letters are double Bets or Pehs or Mems or a combination of these, then the first letter will receive a Dagesh Kal. This is even when the previous letters are AHOY. The notes on the Mishnah HaGrah explain this in the following manner. When two letters are similar in their pronunciation it is necessary to accentuate the first one. If that would not be done, then the first letter would hardly be audible. Therefore it receives a Dagesh Kal that emphasizes the first letter enough so that it is not swallowed up with the next letter.

The Exception to the Exception: Only when the word begins with a Shva then the word receives a Dagesh Kal. If the word begins with a different vowel sound such as a Chirik or a Patach then the word will not receive a Dagesh Kal. Perhaps this is because the sound is more audible and therefore it is possible to use a Vet without the Dagesh Kal. This is the reason that Vayisaoohoo Vamote remains without a Dagesh Kal since it has a Patach as the first vowel sound. In the case of Asher Aseesee BeMitzrayim since the first letter has a Shva in the word BeMitzrayim it remains with a Dagesh Kal.

    The Statement: Bamidbar 13:8 "Lemateh Efrayim Hosheah bin Nun" For the tribe of Efrayim Hosheah the son of Nun.

    The Problem: Under the Resh of the word Efrayim is a Kamatz. Generally the word is read Efrayim with a Patach. Why in this case does the vowel sound change to a Kamatz? Although many times the Patach changes to a Kamatz, that is when the vowel has an Esnachta or Sof Posuk as a Taam. When it has these Taamim, in order to stress the pause, the vowel changes from a Patach to a Kamatz. In this instance the Taam under the Resh is a Tipcha so why does it change from a Patach to a Kamatz?

    The Solution: Generally the two biggest Mafsikim in the Posuk are the Esnachta and the Sof Posuk. When a Posuk is lengthy and expresses more than one thought then the Posuk is divided into two parts by the means of an Esnachta. Many times a Posuk does not have more than one thought and no Esnachta is used in the Posuk. In an instance like this the stress may be placed on a Tipcha too in the place of an Esnachta. This is because it plays the role of the chief Taam Mafsik in the Posuk. Therefore in this Posuk since there is no Esnachta the Tipcha takes its place and becomes the chief Taam Mafsik in the Posuk. When this occurs the word changes it's Patach sound to a Kamatz sound, just as it would have done had it had an Esnachta for it's Taam. Therefore when the word Efrayim in this Posuk is given a Tipcha it acts like an Esnachta and stresses the Patach into a Kamatz.

    The Statement: Perek 17 Posuk 25 "Oosechal Teloonohsam" and put an end to their complaints.

    The Rule: Generally when we express a plural of an object or an action we add a Mem at  the end. For instance the word Dode which means uncle would be Dodam for their uncle and Dodayhem for their uncles in the plural form. If we were to refer to one complaint and wanted to say "their complaint" we would say Teloonasam with a Kamatz under the nun and a Kamatz Mem ending. If we were to refer to their many complaints then we would say Teloonosayhem. There would be a Tzeirei under the Taf followed by a Yud Heh Mem ending.

    The Problem: The word Teloonohsam seems not to fit into either of these patterns. On the one hand, it has a Cholom for the plural of complaints. Yet the ending is just a Kamatz followed by a Mem which is the sign of a singular complaint. It would seem that the word Teloonohsam is a hybrid and a mixture of both plural and singular.

    The Explanation: One explanation is given by the sefer Havanas Hamikra. There it  explains that the word Teloonohsam refers to complaining in general. Since it is not referring to any specific action or object but rather about complaining in general it can  have characteristics of both singular and plural words. Even if the complaining is over a number of issues and by many people it still will take on some of the singular characteristics.

    In the Sefer Habochur from R' Elyahu Bachur a different approach is taken. When Reuvan and Shimon own one maidservant together the word is Shifchasam. This is the singular of their maidservant. When Reuvan and Shimon each own a Shifcha  then we say Shifchosam with a Cholom after the Chet to denote the plural maidservants, but yet with a Kamatz Mem ending. If Ruevan and Shimon each own many maidservants then we say Shifchosayhem. It would seem that the Teloonohsam is saying that all of Bnai Yisroel had one complaint and therefore we use the Plural form of Teloonohs since they all were complaining. Yet since it was all the same complaint we therefore use the Kamatz Mem ending associated with a singular object.

    The Statement: Bamidbar 16:22 "HaIsh Echad Yecheta Veal Kal HaEidah Tiktsoph" Will one person sin and on the entire congregation you will get angry?

    The Question: A Heh in the beginning of a word may have one of two functions. It may be a Heh Hayideah, a Heh that is in place of the word "the." A Heh in the beginning of a word may also be a Heh Hashalah, which is a Heh that is pointing out a question. One of the ways to tell the difference is by the vowel sounds. A Heh Hayideah is usually given the vowel sound of Patach as opposed to the Heh Hashalah which usually has the Chataf Patach sound. What do we learn from the fact that in our Posuk the word HaIsh has a Kamatz for it's first sound?

    The Solution: The only time a Heh receives a Kamatz in the beginning of a word is if it is a Heh Hayideah. A Heh Hashalah receives either a Chataf Patach or a Segol even if preceding an Alef. Only a Heh Hayideah receives a Kamatz before an Alef providing the Alef does not have a Kamatz.   It therefore follows to reason that the Posuk when saying HaIsh with a Kamatz is stating a fact (Heh Hayideah) rather than posing a question. (Heh Hashalah) It is for this reason that Rashi explains these words in the form of a statement rather than as a question. The Posuk is stating, One person has sinned, and we understand his punishment. Then the Posuk poses the question, "And you wish to be angry with the entire congregation?" Rashi interprets the Posuk in this manner because the Heh of HaIsh is given the vowel sound of Kamatz which would be the sign of a Heh Hayideah rather than a Heh Hashalah.

The Statement: Bamidbar Perek 20:18 Pen Bacherev Aytzay Likrosecha "Lest with the sword I will go out to greet you." The Explanation: Rashi explains that Bnai Yisroel are using the tools that their ancestors gave to them, which is Tefilla prayer. Similarly Edom will also be using the tools of their ancestors, which is the sword.

The Rule: Loshon Hakodesh is a very economical language. Many times one vowel will take the place of an entire word of English. The letter Bet precedes a word when it wants to say with something. If it is general and not pointing to any specific thing it has as its vowel sound a Shva. The letter Heh precedes a word when it wishes to be specific. For this purpose the Heh will have a Patach as its vowel sound. This is called a "Heh Hayedeyah." When one wishes to say "With the" pointing to a specific thing then we can write BEHA a Bet with a Shva followed with a Heh with a Patach. But alas, Loshon Hakodesh is economical it will many times drop the Heh and place a Patach under the Bet to incorporate "the" in the Bet sound.

The Reason: In our Posuk it says Bacherev with the sword which refers to a specific sword. This is the reason that Rashi understands this to mean the sword that they received as the inheritance of their ancestors. (The Sifsei Chachamim understands the reason for Rashi's interpretation from the extra word Bacherev. This is different than the interpretation that is given here that learns it from the specific Patach sound under the Bet)

    The Statement: Bamidbar 21:30 "Vanashim Ad Nofach" And they destroyed until Nofach. Rashi explains that there is a Dagesh in the letter Shin of the word Vanashim because the root word is Shmamah which means destruction. In order to compensate for the missing Mem since Shmamah has two and Vanashim has only one a Dagesh is placed in the Shin.

    The Question: The Ebn Ezra in the name of Rab Moshe Hakohen explains the word in a different way than Rashi. Rab Moshe Hakohen understands the root of the word to be Asham. He therefore understands the Dagesh in the Shin as compensating for the missing Alef of Asham rather than the missing Mem of Shmamah. 

    One of the reasons given for not understanding like Rashi is because a Dagesh is used in a word to compensate for a letter missing before the Dagesh. In this instance according to Rashi the Dagesh comes before the missing letter. According to Rashi the Mem is compensated for with a Dagesh beforehand. It is for this reason that Rab Moshe Hakohen chose to understand the word coming from Asham and the Dagesh will be compensating for a missing Alef which would have preceded the Dagesh.

    The Solution: The Sefer Marya Dachya poses an approach to answer Rashi. Generally a Dagesh is placed in a letter to compensate for a missing letter before the Dagesh. In this instance it is not possible to put the Dagesh in the letter before the missing Mem because final Mem has no Dagesh. Therefore in this instance the Dagesh will come before the missing letter since there is no other place to put the Dagesh.

    The Statement: Bamidbar 20:19 Vayomroo Aylav Bnai Yisroel Bamseelah Naaleh.
    And Bnai Yisroel said to him on the path we will go. In this Posuk the Taamim are a Munach Zarka and a Munach Segol. Similarly in Perek 20:12 Vayomer Hashem El Moshe Vel Aharon a Munach Zarka and Munach Segol combination is used.

    The Reason: The Taamim are divided into Melachim and Mesharsim. The Mealchim denote a pause after the Melech word. They may also be used to denote a stress on the word. In past issues we have mentioned that many times an Esnachta is used to stress a point even if it is not really the place for an Esnachta. Although the famous Melachim are the Sof Posuk and the Esnachta nevertheless the Munach Segol is a Melech that can also denote stress.

    In our cases the Torah uses a Munach Segol combination to denote stress and strict adherence to one's word. In the first case concerning the traveling of Bnai Yisroel the Torah uses a Munach Segol combination. This is because of the strict nature of their travel. They had promised not to veer to the right or left. It is because of their promise concerning the strict nature of their travel that a Munach Segol combination was chosen.

    Similarly in the instance where Hashem is speaking to Moshe and Aharon a Munach Segol combination is used. Rashi notes that the punishment of not going to Eretz Yisroel was done with an oath making it irrevocable with Prayer. It is for this reason that a Munach Segol is used. It is to stress the statement and punishment that Hashem has given to Moshe and Aharon for not speaking to the rock. The punishment will be strictly adhered to and will not be able to be changed.

    The Statement: Bamidbar 23:20 "Oovayraych V'lo Ashivenu" And he has blessed and I will not retract it. Rashi explains that the word Oovayraych is like the word Ooveeraych.

    The Reason: In Loshon Hakodesh one of the conjugations of verbs is called
    Peeale. This isreferred to as Binyan Kavayd. It is a way of expressing a stronger form of the verb. A verb in the Peeale form shows intent and a very intense action. It also has a Dagesh in the middle letter. An example of this is the word Shavar. In Binyan Kal it means broke, and Sheebayr in Binyan Kavayd also means broke but would show a more intense breaking and would have a Dagesh in the middle letter the Bet.

    In the case of Bayraych, which Rashi understands to be a verb in the Binyan Kavayd form, we have a problem. The letter Resh cannot accept a Dagesh. Therefore in the word Bayraych the Dagesh from the Resh is transferred to the first letter of the word. The Bet instead of having just a Chirik as is usual by the Peeale form will receive another dot to make it a Tzeirei sound instead of the Dagesh. The dot from the Dagesh becomes part of the Bet and makes it into a Tzeirei sound.

    The exception: Rashi is very careful with his words. He says that is the rule by the letter Resh. Rashi is telling us that although many other letters can not receive a Dagesh it is only the Resh which changes the first letter from Chirik to Tzeirei. Should the second letter be a Alef Heh Chet or Ayin that do not receive a Dagesh, the rule will not apply. The first letter will not become a Tzeirei in place of the Dagesh.

    The Statement: Bamidbar 23:23 KaAse Yaamare L'Yakov "And at that time they will ask what is Hashem doing." Rashi explains that the Posuk is saying that there will be in the future, a time like this, that everyone will see how dear Yisroel is to Hashem.

    The Rule: Loshon Hakodesh is a very economical language. Many times one vowel will take the place of an entire word of English. The letter Kaf precedes a word when it wants to say like something. If it is general, not pointing to any specific thing or time, it has as it's vowel sound a Shva. The letter Heh precedes a word when it wishes to be specific as if to say "The" which points to a specific thing. For this purpose the Heh will have a Patach as it's vowel sound. This is called a "Heh Hayedeyah." When one wishes to say "Like the" pointing to a specific time or thing, then we can use KEHA a Kaf with a Shva followed with a Heh with a Patach or we can in Loshon Hakodesh drop the Heh and place a Patach under the Kaf to mean "Like the." 

    In cases where a Heh Hayedeyah is used, the following letter after the Heh will have a Dagesh in it. In cases where no Dagesh can be placed in the following letter such as by an Alef or Ayin that follow a Heh Hayedeyah, since no Dagesh is given to the Ayin, we compensate by placing a Kamatz in the letter Kaf instead of the usual Patach. 

    The Solution: In our instance KaAse means like the time. Rashi understands it to mean that there will be a time similar to the time that all people will see how dear Yisroel are. Rashi derived this from the fact that there is a Kamatz under the Kaf which is the equivalent of a Heh Hayedeyah. The Posuk is saying like "the" time and Rashi understands it to mean that there will be a time just like today where all will clearly see how dear is the nation of Yisroel.

    The Proof: One can further derive this from the Taamim under KaAse which is a Revii which is a Taam Mafsik. The Taam is telling us that the KaAse is a statement that is independent as if it is telling something on it's own. This is following the explanation of Rashi that the Posuk is foretelling of a date in the future that the people will recognize how dear Yisroel is.

    Adapted from the Mara Dachya in Sefer Dikdukei Rashi

  • Parshas Pinchos

    The Statement: Bamidbar Perek 26:5 Lachanoch Mishpachas Hachanochi. To Chanoch was the family of Chanochi.

    The Rule: In the listing of the names of the family the following pattern arises. Although the actual family name is spelled with a Vav, when a Heh is added in the front of the word and a Yud at the end to lengthen the word, the Vav is dropped.

    The Exception: The family Nemuale does not drop its Vav when the word is lengthened with the Heh and Yud.

    The Answer: Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky in his Sefer Emes L'Yaakov offers an explanation for not dropping the Vav in the word HaNemuali. The word Nemuale is really two words that are joined together. Just as the word Gamleale and Yechiale are really two words that are joined together to make one word, so is the case with the word Nemuale. Since the word Nemuale is a composition of two words we can not drop the Vav and attach the Mem to the second part of the word. It is for this reason that the word Nemuale remains with its Vav and does not drop the Vav as is usually the case, when a Heh and Yud are added to the word.

    The Statement: Parshas Pinchas

    The Explanation: There are two types of Dagesh. One is called a Dagesh Kal and one is called a Dagesh Chazak.  A Dagesh Chazak may be found in any letter except for the letters Alef, Heh, Chet, Ayin, and Resh. It is used in cases where a letter has been left out. In order to show that the word had another letter and we have left it out we put a Dagesh in the  letter next to it. A Dagesh Kal is used in the letters Bet Gimmel Dalet Chaf Peh and Taf. A Dagesh Kal is limited. It only appears in these letters and will only come in the beginning of a word or after a Shva Nach or at the end of a word when there are two Shvas. It will also not begin a word following the letters Alef Heh Vav and Yud unless certain conditions are met. We have discussed some of these conditions in previous weeks such as a Taam Mafsik before the Bet will allow the Bet to take a Dagesh even though it is following an Alef Heh Vav or Yud. (Mishnas HaGra Shaar Hadagesh) Most commentaries are of the opinion that the Dagesh Kal is different then the Dagesh Chazak. While the Dagesh Chazak tells us of a missing letter the Dagesh Kal does not. The Dagesh Kal is just another pronunciation of a letter. Its purpose is to form a new sound and not to notify us of any missing letters. (Hagahos Sefer Dikduk L'Ramchal)

    The Problem: The word Shtayim (two) seems to defy these rules its Dagesh Kal follows a Shva Naah. The Shin in the beginning of the word is a Shva Naah and should not have a Dagesh Kal following it.

    The Answer: The Sefer of Dikduk of the Radak says an interesting point regarding the word Shtayim. The Radak maintains that the word is really Shin tayim but the nun is dropped. Since the Nun is supposed to be a Shva Nach therefore a Dagesh Kal may follow.

  • Parshas Masei

    The Statement: Bamidbar Perek 32:42 "Vayikra Lah Novach Beshmoh" And he called it Novach named after his own name. The word Lah is spelled without a Mapik in the Heh.

    The Reason: Rashi makes note of the fact that there is no Mapik in the Heh although it would seem that there should be one. Rashi says in the name of Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan that since it did not retain this name the Heh is not given a Mapik. It is read like Lo meaning no since the city did not last in with that name.

    The Problem: Rashi himself is bothered by two other instances in Rus Perek 2:14 and in Zecharya 5:11 where there is no Mapik in the Heh. What is the reason that there is no Mapik in these two instances?

    The Solution: Rav Yakov Kamenetsky offers a different reason for the missing Mapik. When the following word has the Taam or accent on the first syllable then the words are viewed as one long word. When they are viewed as one word then they are
    Dachik and no Mapik Heh is used, just as no Mapik is used for a Heh in the middle of the word. In both the case of Rus and Zecharya both words have the accent on the first syllable of the following word and therefore the Mapik is lost.

    The Statement: Bamidbar 33:36 "Vayisooh MayEtzion Gaver" And they traveled from Etzion Gaver. Bamidbar 33:37 "Vayisooh MeKadesh" And they traveled from Kadesh.

    The Question: Why in the first instance of Etzion Gaver the Mem before Etzion takes a Tzaray sound and in the second instance of Kadesh the Mem takes a Chirik sound?

    The Solution: Moshe Motzi and Kalev Machnis. Moshe brought the Jews out from Egypt and Kalev brought them into Eretz Yisroel. Besides being a fact this is also a Dikduk rule. When the letters Mem Shin or Heh are used in the beginning of the word, the following sound will be vocalized or will be brought out and pronounced. This is the meaning of Moshe (a short way of saying Mem Shin or Heh) Motzi (is brought out or pronounced). This is in contrast to the letters Kaf Lamed or Beis that do not cause the following letters to be pronounced when they are used in the beginning of the word. Kalev ( a short way of saying Kaf Lamed or Beis) Machnis (gathers in the sound). This is the reason that in Posuk 33:27 we have the Posuk saying Vayisooh Metachas Vayachanoo Besarach. In the first city Tachas the Taf has a Dagesh in it since it follows the Mem which brings out the sound of the letter that follows it. This is in contrast to the second city Sarach which comes with a Beis as a prefixand therefore the sound in the Taf is soft and contains no Dagesh.

    In truth the letter Mem in these cases is from the word Min which means from. The proper vowel sound should be the Chirik sound. It should follow along these rules that a Dagesh should be placed in the following letter since Moshe Motzi (cause the sound of the following letter to be pronounced. But alas there is a problem: certain letters can not take a Dagesh. The letters Alef Heh Ches Ayin can not take a Dagesh. In these instances the Mem will take a Tzaray sound instead of the usual Chirik sound.

    The reason: One explanation may be that since the word should really have a Dagesh in it, to compensate for the missing Dagesh we combine the Dagesh dot with the Chirik of the Mem to become a two dotted Tzaray.Another explanation may be that in place of the Dagesh we turn the first letter into a Tnuah Gedolah. This is done by changing the first letter to a Tzaray with the Yud of the Tzaray self understood.

Return To A Drop Of Dikduk



In Loving Memory Of Our Father, Mr. Joseph Black (Yosef Ben Zelig) O"H
In Loving Memory Of Our Mother, Mrs. Norma Black (Nechama Bas Tzvi Hirsh) O"H


Rabbi General's Warning: Unbridled web surfing is not recommended. Navigate the web with caution. Use the Internet in a way so that it enhances quality of life for yourself as a person, as a family member, and as a member in society. The Internet can enhance the mastery of Torah knowledge and it can also interfere. If you are able to study in a Bet Medrash at this time then you should do so right now.

© 1996- by Harlan Black, JewishAmerica. All rights reserved.