Volume 28 Number 79
                 Produced: Wed Jun 16  6:43:08 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Eliyahu Teitz]
Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
         [AJ Gilboa]
Mappiq Heh (2)
         [Alexander Heppenheimer, Moshe J. Bernstein]
More Boring Grammar Stuff, but Heisenberg too.
         [Mechy Frankel]
More grammar & pronunciation (3)
         [Percy Mett, Michael Poppers, Art Roth]
Patah Genuva
         [Meir Shinnar]
Pronouncing the final hey- documentary proof (2)
         [Ranon Katzoff, Roger & Naomi Kingsley]


From: Eliyahu Teitz <EDTeitz@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 1999 01:01:31 EDT
Subject: Re: Ayin

> The only legacy I can think of that remains of the Ashkenazi `ayin is the
> Yiddish "Yankef" for "Ya'akov". I'm not sure how much that tells us about
> the original sound, except it had some passing similarity to a nun. 

There is also the Litvish ban'gala (ba'agala) in Kaddish.



From: AJ Gilboa <bfgilboa@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 1999 12:04:11 -0700
Subject: Re: Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew

> From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
> >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?

Many careful Ashkenazi ba`ale kri'a and hazzanim distinguish between
'alef and `ayin and not only in Israel where we have Yemenite and other
traditions (Bavli, Sfaradi, etc.) to guide us. This is especially true
among Litvaks and Yekkes. In Zurich, for example, ba`ale kri'a are very
careful about this distinction. I suspect that the distinction was lost
among Ashkenazim in everyday usage because of the influence of German
and other Western languages that do not have the glottal click (as in
'alef) or the guttural (as in 'ayin or het). Those communities that used
Arabic as their everyday language had an easier time preserving these
distinctions. Note that some Western Sfaradim pronounce 'ayin almost
like "n" or "ng". See what happens when you lose touch with your Semitic

Yosef Gilboa


From: Alexander Heppenheimer <Alexander.Heppenheimer@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 08:56:59 -0600
Subject: Re: Mappiq Heh

Percy Mett <p.mett@...> objected to my previous post about the word

>arvokh arvo tsorikh- your proof needs its own proof.  Why are you so
>sure that the hey of verohbom is sounded. On the contrary I say it is a
>nohh-nistor and the hey is unsounded.


(a) If the hei were silent, then the usual rule of
beis-after-silent-final-semivowel would apply, making the word "veravam."

(b) Neither Minchas Shai nor the Mesorah says anything about this hei being
silent, which they might be expected to do given that it would be a
departure from the norm.

(c) As a matter of fact, in at least one other place, Minchas Shai takes
care to tell us that the hei is sounded - namely, in the word "bohshammah"
(Vayikra 26:43); he says that the second hei is silent, but that the first
one is to be treated as if it had a mappik. (And that case is exactly
parallel to ours, with the sequence kamatz katan/hei with sheva/letter with
dagesh.) Also in the word "yehgu" (Tehillim 2:1), he specifically states
that the hei has a sheva nach - implying that it is like any other letter
with that nekudah: the end of the syllable, but voiced.

Kol tuv y'all,

From: Moshe J. Bernstein <mjbrnstn@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 09:44:09 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Mappiq Heh

Letters with vowels are to be pronounced; that is basically the long and
short of it. Therefore a heh with a sheva in the middle of the word is to
be pronounced, as was correctly pointed out vis a vis verohbam. Contrast
pedah'el vs. pedatzur; there is a sheva under the heh in the first word
and not in the second. Likewise the forms of hitmahmeah where both hehs
are to be sounded; the first indicated by a sheva and the second by the

A nah-nistar does not have a vowel; otherwise it would not be nistar!

moshe bernstein


From: Mechy Frankel <Michael.Frankel@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 11:26:30 -0400
Subject: More Boring Grammar Stuff, but Heisenberg too.

Seth Kadish writes:
 <2B) Similarly, modern grammarians read the word "two" as "shtayim"
and"shtei" with a sheva nah, while the sefardic oral tradition has a
shevana. Any precendent for the modern view among the Jewish gammarians?>

its not just a "modern" thing but is recorded in masoretic literature
(can't remember off hand just where). see e.g. brief discussion by
Yisroel Yeivin in his Intro to the Tiberian Mesorah - appendix on the
shivoh. Thus the beginning shivoh under 'shtayim" and other "two" words
is indeed a noch, unlike beginning shivohs for every other word in the
heb language. it should in any event be obvious from internal evidence
that something is out of whack with this word root - else what need for
any dogeish in the second letter - tof?  Suggestions have been made that
these were pronounced with the aid of a virtual "helper" short aleph
preceeding the shin - i.e.  "eshtayim".

Micha Berger writes:  
<The only legacy I can think of that remains of the Ashkenazi `ayin is the
Yiddish "Yankef" for "Ya'akov". I'm not sure how much that tells us about
the original sound, except it had some passing similarity to a nun.>

An interesting observation, however, the only "community" that I'm aware
of today that clearly articulates the ayin as a nun is the terminally
non-ashqenazic Spanish-Portuguese. The sounding of the ayin by the
chazan (BTW an ashqenazi who had to train himself to do this) at the SP
shul (if i may be permitted an ethnic oxymoron) is startlingly
nun-like. The choir however - mostly moonlighting NY Metropolitan Opera
singers - does not assay any attempt of the traditional liturgical nun.

Moshe Silbermann writes:
<However, a xatef vowel cannot occur at the end of a word since it is the
start of a new syllable.>

This is of course true - but completeness compels me to point out that
there has been (now discarded) a shitoh that did not view the end of the
word as a fundamental impediment to starting a new syllable. Minchas
Shai's discussion of the treatment of the case of two consecutive
shivohs ending a word, where we make an exception to the consecutive
shivoh rule and identify the final shivoh as also noch, was a matter of
dispute as he describes the shitoh he rejected, which maintained the
final shivoh as noh, which then connected it to the start of the
following word to complete the syllabic structure. There should be
little impediment for such a shitoh to then employ final letter chatafs
as well in their daily correspondence.

Moshe Silbermann writes: 
<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 "reish". > 

I'm not certain of that.  it is known for instance that both the
bavliyim and tiberians (i.e. non other than the ba'alei mesorah
themselves) in geonic times had two realizations of the reish -
characterized as "hard' and "soft".  sefer yetziroh clearly groups the
reish with the usual BGD KPT letters producing the seven letter BGD KPRT
group.  At the very least there are scholarly arguments about the
functionality of the reish dogush, i.e.  whether it did indeed mimic the
usual functionality for both dogeish qal and chozoq, or whether it
marched to a different set of rules, as well as the antiquity of this
differentiation. So, I'd always kind of suspected that the dotted
reish's were 'survivors" of some earlier reality.  At the very least i
think this a tzorich iyun.

Richard Wolpoe writes:
Didn't Werner Heisenberg observe that the observation of the observed might
obscure it's behavior? <smile>

This is actually a very common misconception amongst very educated
people (the only ones who ever heard of werner).  The rather elementary
notion that to observe something means we must change it, and thus we
can never really see anything as it really is, was fully appreciated by
19th century philosophical types. What really distinguished heisenberg's
formulation - not the popular synopsis of his work - was the innovative
(and quantitatively formulated) insight that there is an irreducible and
finite minimum, a quantum limit, by which amount the perturbing
observation must change the observed object - which we could never
continue to reduce by conducting ever more clever and careful

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


From: Percy Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 13:30:06 +03d0
Subject: Re: More grammar & pronunciation

Seth Kadish wrote:
>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?

The Maslul (an ashkenazi work, about 200 years ago) states that a shvo
noch cannot appear at the beginning of a word. I don' t think he makes
an exception for sh-tayim

Perets Mett

From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 10:22:50 -0400
Subject: Re: More grammar & pronunciation

Seth Kadish wrote:
> 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? <

In my limited experience as a ba'al koraih, I've come across a few nouns
vowelized with a cholam (e.g. "kodesh [holy/sanctified/separate],"
"chodesh [month]," and "kol [all/everything]") whose forms may employ a
komatz koton (with, if they are multi-syllabic, either a sh'va nach or a
chataf komatz).  Seems to me, however, that the komatz *godol* for the
first syllable of the Aramaic word "alam" is equivalent to the cholam in
the Hebrew "olam" and does not become diminutized merely because the
word has various forms; accordingly, I [to quote from a certain
character in an Abbott & Costello movie] am with you and would like to
hear an explanation for why the sh'va in those forms should not be be
considered a sh'va na.

Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ

From: Art Roth <ajroth@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 09:54:07 -0500
Subject: More grammar & pronunciation

Seth Kadish asks:
[Same quote as above posting - Mod]

To my knowledge, everyone who pronounces this syllable with a qamatz gadol 
and sh"va' nax also accents the syllable --- b"ALma' rather than b"alMA' 
(capitals indicate accent).  The accent justifies having a sh"va' nax 
rather than a sh"va' na` after a long vowel.  This same principle is 
illustrated by the words tishMORna, tikhTOVna, etc.  An example from the 
Torah is kaTONti (Genesis 32:10).

Art Roth


From: Meir Shinnar <meir_shinnar@...>
Subject: Patah Genuva

With regard to the discussion of a patah genuva on heh, I want to
mention another early source.  The introduction of Ibn Ezra to his
"alternate" perush on Breshit (found in Torat Haim in the back) contains
an extremely condensed summary of grammar.  He says that the patah sofit
on all otiot groniot (aleph!!, heh, chet, and ain) have an aleph added
to their pronounciation.

Meir Shinnar


From: Ranon Katzoff <katzoff@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 23:36:03 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Re: Pronouncing the final hey- documentary proof

> From: Mechy Frankel <Michael.Frankel@...>

> 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.... Afterwards, 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.

The edition of the Leningrad Codex by Aron Dotan (Tel Aviv, Adi and Ramat
Gan, Bar Ilan University, 1973) also preserves the convention of the
patach genuva displaced to the right.

Ranon Katzoff  

From: Roger & Naomi Kingsley <rogerk@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 20:01:16 +0300
Subject: re: Pronouncing the final hey- documentary proof

Mechy Frankel wrote:

> Even the breuer toras chayim tanach which i
> usually prefer does not differentiate patachs in this manner.

I had also not noticed this.  But Rav Breuer's latest edition of the
tanach, published by Horeb, (which also takes into account some new
documentary material) does differentiate these patachs in this fashion.

> In the two instances of the 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.  

Both are quite unambiguous and written to the right in the Breuer

Roger Kingsley


End of Volume 28 Issue 79