Volume 28 Number 75
                 Produced: Mon Jun 14  5:54:27 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
         [Warren Burstein]
Eicha Trop
         [AJ Gilboa]
Eureka!  Pronouncing the final hey- documentary proof
         [Mechy Frankel]
Mappiq-Heh / Patax-Genuvah
         [Moshe Silberman]
More grammar & pronunciation
         [Seth Kadish]


From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999 16:51:42
Subject: Re: Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew

>From: Eisenberg, Lon <eisenbrg@...>
>	However, let's not forget that the Mehaber writes that one who
>pronounces 'aleph like `ayin or `ayin like 'aleph is disqualified as the
>sheliah zibor, and not even the Remah argues.  I've always found it
>interesting how this halakha is disregarded.

So how did they pronounce `ayin in the Remah's shul?  Did Ashkenazim back
when the nearest Yemenite minyan was in Yemen have any information at all
about the pronunciation of 'ayin, or understand what the Mechaber meant?


From: AJ Gilboa <bfgilboa@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Jun 1999 12:18:13 -0700
Subject: Re: Eicha Trop

> From: Dan Werlin <daniel_werlin@...>
> When I learned to read Eicha years ago, I was taught to basically ignore
> the trop for the third chapter and instead use a three-part chant.  Most
> people I've talked to are familiar with this minhag, but no one seems to
> know where it comes from.  I haven't been able to find a single source
> that explains or even mentions this practice.  Does anyone have any
> information on this?

I was delighted to read this query. It has been a long time since I
heard the beautiful three-part chant that you mention. My guess is that
the reason is partly musical. The very short p'sukim, three for each
letter of the alef-bet, become terribly monotonous since they do not
lend themselves to much variety in t'amim. Furthermore, each group of
three p'sukim can usually be regarded as one sentence (mishpat)
conveying one idea, so that it is natural to link them musically even if
this involves abandoning the standard melodic interpretation of the
t'amim. Note, however, that we do not abandon the punctuational value of
the t'amim even though we chant with a different melody.

Of course, one might argue to the contrary that sticking to the monotony
of the standard t'amim is appropriate since it reflects the kind of
repetitious sobbing of a mourner. This is also a matter of musical

Yosef Gilboa


From: Mechy Frankel <Michael.Frankel@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999 15:05:21 -0400
Subject: Eureka!  Pronouncing the final hey- documentary proof

Eureka!  Pronouncing the final hey- documentary proof, but I woul'd
	still get the Martian vote.

1. I have caught a reasonable amount of flack, both on and off line,
including some from my distinguished and very knowledgeable old (hmm,
better make that long standing) choveir and washington heights landsman
moishe bernstein who occasionally knows what he is talking about, for my
recent suggestion that the final mapiqqed hey in the divine name in
divorim 32 should likely be pronounced as the way vast majority of
readers do pronounce it, as "elo'ha". This despite the 'rule' that words
ending in gutterals should take an aleph ginuvoh, and pronounce it,
somewhat unnaturally, as "elo'ah".  i felt comfortable enough advancing
this suggestion and was prepared to defend the proposition by noting the
following sivorohs. a) the Minchas Shai in his discussion of the
deployment of aleph ginuvoh in Bireishis 1:6 omitted the letter hey from
his list of aleph ginuvoh usages, b) the vast majority, or commonly
observed practice, is to read "elo'ha".  This ought to constitute some
level of a puq chazi witness, c) reaching to be sure, but it has always
seemed to me that the hey, though unquestionably technically a gutteral,
doesn't really sound like one. Thus one might suggest that it was this
difference in common usage and perception which supported a difference
ligabei an aleph ginuvoh.  The confluence of these arguments could be
countered, weakly, by those on the other side (i.e. near as i can tell,
absolutely everybody but me), only by offering counter sivorohs.
i.e. by claiming the minchas shai may be lav davqoh and only intended to
provide selected, not exhaustive examples, and besides we have the
"rule" - to which i would reply that formal grammatical "rules" were not
given on sinai, and never attain universal applicability anyway,..
vi'chozeir ha'din.  I honestly do not think that a neutral Martian,
arriving with no preconceptions, would be swayed to one side or the
other by the power of either side's sivorohs (well, actually i do think
he would lean towards my version - after all I persuaded myself and I'm
such an objective guy).

But alas, all that was before i had my epiphany (WYB on the road to
Damascus (maryland). I was on I-270 North at the time) and thought of
checking out how the word might look the "original".  So, around
midnight that night i finally got around to viewing how the only
instances in the torah where these divine names are employed actually
looked in the early codices.  By luck both of these instances are in
divorim 32, which just happens to in the small section of the torah
(divorim, chapter 28 to end) that survived the 1947? fire in Aleppo
which damaged the ben Asher codex (I accept that it is the ben Asher,
but that's another matter) and i happen to have the plates.  and then -
Eureka! i discovered something that i'd never previously noticed, and
that is that aleph ginuvoh patachs, when they appear in the codex, seem
to be recorded slightly differently than ordinary patachs.  In fact they
seem to be displaced towards the lower right of the letter they are
under. I verified this in 34:9 where the two unambiguous aleph ginuvoh
instances (with an ayin and ches) clearly shift the patach to the lower
right.  In the two instances of god's name in pereq 32, one is clearly
shifted, while one is more ambiguous, not shifted as much but a shorter
stroke still clearly leaning right.  the ordinary patachs are all
directly under their letters.  Afetrwards, i checked out a bunch of
printed chumoshim and noticed that the Qorein tanach also adopts this
convention.  near as my limited survey could tell, this is the only
printed edition to do so. Even the breuer toras chayim tanach which i
usually prefer (except for his unfortunate editorial decision to
eliminate practically all non-gutteral chataf patachs) does not
differentiate patachs in this manner.  Funny, after all these years of
staring at text to still learn something both new and elementary but
which had previously escaped my notice.  Anyway, bottom line is that i'm
about ready to cry uncle on this one.  i still feel my sivorohs were as
good as (heck, make that better than) the popular opposition, but now
that i, surprisingly to me, have so unexpectedly stumbled across this
contrary documentary evidence, i don't feel comfortable argung with ben
Asher on torah text matters. At least not since the Rambam, rumored to
be a very careful fellow who would not have missed noticing a displaced
patach as long as I did, says he also checked over this particular
manuscript, and evidently did not choose to correct it.

Mechy Frankel		w: (703) 325-1277
<michael.frankel@...>	H: (301) 593-3949


From: Moshe Silberman <alsilberman@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Jun 1999 05:37:29 -0400
Subject: Mappiq-Heh / Patax-Genuvah

There are two distinct circumstances where a mappiq-heh is called for.
One is as a third person singular feminine possesive suffix (in Aramaic
it is also required for the third person singular masculine possesive
suffix). In this case the vowel which precedes it is a qametz (in
Aramaic it is qametz or patax for feminine and zere for the masculine).

As many previous responders have pointed out this is called a mappiq
rather than a dagesh. The name change has to do with functionality. A
dagesh qal has the function of converting the consonant from a fricative
to a plosive consonant. A dagesh xazaq has the functionality of doubling
up the consonant. This dot in the heh has the functionality of
converting a silent heh into a vocal heh - thus the term mappiq.

The pronunciation of this type of heh differs from the silent heh in
that "Its pronunciation should be a heavily aspirated "H" sound" as Rick
Turkel points out. This distinction can be difficult to
perceive. However, in the pronunciation of Eastern European Jewry (such
as myself) there is a huge difference in the two pronunciations. The
qametz preceding a silent heh is pronounced as a distinct "u" vowel (as
the "oo" in the word "moon"). However, before a mappiq-heh this sound
changes to a variant of the vowel "o" (as the "aw" in the word "law".)

Moshe Bernstein stated "there are rare occurrences of mappiq in aleph as
well, although the location eludes me at the moment". I like his
designation of the dot in an Aleph as a mappiq rather than a dagesh for
the reason given above having to do with its functionality. It would
seem that it does not have the functionality of a dagesh. BTW - the same
would presumably be true for those instances where a dot occurs in a

However, the Redaq in the Mikhlol on page 57a (Lyk edition) calls it a
dagesh and indicates that it does have the functionality of the dagesh
xazaq. In addition, the Ramxal (Sefer Hadikduk L'Ramchal 1994) on page 4
states that a mappiq does not occur except in the letter heh.

For completeness, the four locations where an aleph degushah occur are
(although there are some differences in the Massorah): Bereishis 43:26;
VaYiqra 23:17; Iyov 33:21 and Ezra 8:18.

The 14 locations where a reish degushah occur are: Shmuel 1 1:6; Shmuel
1 10:24; Shmuel 1 17:25; Melakhim 2 6:32; Yirmiyahu 39:12; Yexezkel 16:4
(twice); Xavaqquq 3:13; Tehilim 52:5; Mishlei 11:21; Mishlei 14:10;
Mishlei 15:1; Shir HaShirim 5:2; Ezra 9:6. There are a few additional
ones in some manuscripts.

The other circumstance where a mappiq-heh occurs is in roots where the
third letter of the root is a heh but does not follow the paradigm of
lamed-heh roots. These roots come with a dot in the third letter of the
root and are mappiq-heh indicating that they are to be vocalized. The
Redaq lists only three such roots; gimmel-beth-heh; kaf-mem-heh and
tav-mem-heh. Eliyahu Halevi adds a fourth nun-gimmel-heh. Since I am
aware of others I am not sure why they are not included. The root
aleph-lamed-heh should also be listed among those with a mappiq in the

The conjugation rules of these roots follow the paradigm established for
the "shelemim" - the strong roots. Thus, by checking the paradigm of the
shelemim we can deduce what the nequdos (vowels) for these mappiq-heh
forms should be. For example the form for the hifil, present tense,
singular masculine is "mavdil" - [separates] - with the vowels patax,
sheva, xiriq gadol, sheva. The corresponding form for the root
gimmel-beth-heh would necessarily be "magbih". However, for phonetic
reasons this is not possible and must undergo a slight alteration [all
of this is the subject of my nearly complete sefer].

The rule for the insertion of a "patax genuva" is that it is inserted
only before three of the four gutturals (never before an aleph - an
aleph at the end of a word is always silent). It is inserted after only
four the the five "long" vowels (never after a qametz). The
impossibility of the gutturals receiving a sheva nax after a zere, xiriq
gadol, xolem or malopim (i.e. shuruq) would require a xatef vowel at
this point just as it does when located in the middle of a word. [I am
aware that many people believe that elsewhere the xataf is in place of a
sheva na but that is far from certain and not part of this discussion.]
However, a xatef vowel cannot occur at the end of a word since it is the
start of a new syllable.

The error that people make is that they believe that a patax exists in
this word - but there ISN'T. The symbol used although it sure looks like
a patax is in place of a requisite sheva nax. The term "patax genuva" is
used instead - I don't know when this terminology was developed but it
seems to be rather late. It is described by the Redaq as sounding
similar to a syllable with an inserted aleph. I doubt very much that he
meant that a consonantal aleph - with a glottal stop - is to be
inserted. That would be truly anomalous. It seems that the aleph as
sounded by us today - the equivalent of the vowel "a" in English - is to
be inserted in order to handle an incompatible combination.

Moshe Silberman


From: Seth Kadish <skadish@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 13:55:13 +0300
Subject: More grammar & pronunciation

Since mail-jewish has recently proven so useful for clarifying technical
issues of correct pronunciation in liturgical areas, here a couple more
questions on very small details:

1) In kaddish, the Aramaic word "alam" occurs several times with various
suffixes: "be-alma", "ulalmei almayya".  All sefaradim who are
knowledgable and careful about these matters pronounce these words with
a *qamatz gadol* for ayin followed by a *sheva nah* beneath lamed.  This
is deemed correct by people who are experts on these matters, and it
seems to be the absolute consensus of a widespread oral tradition.  But
shouldn't it be a sheva na?

2A) Modern grammarians read a kamatz preceeding a kamatz katan as "o".
The sefardic oral tradition does not.  But is there any precedent for
the first view among Jewish grammarians?

2B) Similarly, modern grammarians read the word "two" as "shtayim" and
"shtei" with a sheva nah, while the sefardic oral tradition has a sheva
na.  Any precendent for the modern view among the Jewish grammarians?

Do these things really make such a difference in the big scheme of
things?  Probably not.  Rahamana libba ba`ei.  (What God really wants is
our hearts.)  And there is no question that you fulfill your halakhic
obligations even without attention to this level of detail.  But when
you hear these things many times a day and wonder about them each time,
it becomes worth getting an answer.  So thanks to anyone who can
help. :-)

Seth (Avi) Kadish
Karmiel, Israel


End of Volume 28 Issue 75