The Tiberian Pronunciation Tradition of Biblical Hebrew. Volume II - Hidāyat al-Qāriʾ (Long Version) - Open Book Publishers

The Tiberian Pronunciation Tradition of Biblical Hebrew. Volume II

Geoffrey Khan

Hidāyat al-Qāriʾ

Hidāyat al-Qāriʾ (Long Version)

Texte intégral

II.L.0.0. Introduction



[…]Image 1000000000000084000000277C7D85ACDE448621.jpg‘for the day when I arise as a witness’ (Zeph. 3.8),Image 100000000000009600000024880D425B96B4E9AE.jpg‘The Lord is my light and my salvation’ (Psa. 27.1), which are two masculine nouns, since the accent is at the end and not the beginning of the word. Another example isImage 10000000000000900000002194A9A4C9A71A16B6.jpg(Ruth 2.6), which means ‘who returned’ and is a past verb, since the accent is on the first letter. Similar to this in letters and form isImage 10000000000000B600000028F9AA8A5ABCE0C292.jpg(Lev. 22.13), which means ‘and she became one returning (to her father’s house)’, ‘she became one doing’, since the accent is not on the first letter. A similar case isImage 10000000000000D200000024349FB1B970DBDCA9.jpg(Gen. 46.26), which means ‘every soul (belonging to Jacob) that is entering’. Since the accent occurs on the ʾalef, (it means) the soul became one doing, as opposed toImage 1000000000000137000000241A5DAF905E1EA768.jpg(Gen. 46.27), which means ‘ (all the persons belonging to Jacob who) arrived’ or ‘who entered’. The he in the first word (i.e.Image 100000000000003E000000247971D78B3BA455CC.jpgGen. 46.26) is the he of the definite article, whereas in the second word (i.e.Image 100000000000003C0000001F34D7FE512686BCA8.jpgGen. 46.27), it is in place ofImage 10000000000000340000002132C4488ECD66FC35.jpg. The accent has changed two things: the meaning (of the word) and the meaning of the affixed he. Likewise,Image 10000000000000B600000024F3F0AA6E004138C0.jpg‘They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers’ (Jer. 11.10), since the accent is on the shin, this is from the lexical class of ‘returning’, as opposed toImage 100000000000005A00000024C9CC96AB98696943.jpg‘They captured and made their prey’ (Gen. 34.29), which should be interpreted as being from the lexical class of ‘capturing’, since the accent is on the bet. LikewiseImage 100000000000002E00000022FCCE835C1C54469F.jpgImage 100000000000012200000024596CDD7C737DD5DF.jpg(Jud. 5.12), in which the first (two cases ofImage 10000000000000300000001E6A6E990DDD5ECB33.jpg) mean ‘my rousing, my rousing’, since the accent occurs on the resh, whereas the second (two cases ofImage 100000000000002E0000002273EB2E47241F2474.jpg) mean ‘rouse yourself, rouse yourself’, feminine singular imperative, on account of the occurrence of the accent on the ʿayin. Similarly,Image 10000000000000B400000028A586911D1D80054A.jpg‘and I spoke to the prophets’ (Hosea 12.11) should be interpreted as a past verb, since the accent falls on the bet, as opposed toImage 100000000000009600000025FFD8BA2712867B76.jpg‘I will speak tenderly to her’ (Hosea 2.16), which should be interpreted as a future verb. (To these could be added) other similar examples. On account of this, the accents have an important status and there is a need to learn them.


  • 1 I.e. mahpakh.

2If one were to say ‘What do you say concerning the formation of these accents?’, the response would be that they originated by convention among the people of the language, by the help of which they fully expressed their purposes, as in the aforementioned examples and others. They established them by convention, just as they established the vowels by convention, as will be explained. It is not impossible that the established form was based on a particular type of arrangement of the Levites in [ Ezra], peace be upon him, because [ ] the accents were established [ ] his time [ ], for if he investigates what [ ] the forms, he would realize that it was fixed by the Levites [ ] on the basis of the principles of singing and according to the established arrangement [ ] [ ] serves pashṭa [ ] close to [ ] two conjunctive accents, namely inverted shofar1 and merkha, as will be explained. Likewise, tevir is served by two conjunctive accents, namely merkha and darga. Each has its own special melody, and a particular number of tones in various different pitches according to the accent when it is followed by a vowel in the word, as will be explained. If it be said ‘What is the origin of the melodies of the accents before the aforementioned arrangement was fixed?’, the response would be as follows. It is possible that the people of the language paused on one letter and made it slightly longer than another one to the extent that they could make thereby their intentions known. My claim that the accents have been fixed since the time of the prophets, peace be upon them, is supported by three things.


  • 2 The wording is a conflation of the two verses Lev. 25.34 and Lev. 26.43 in the Masoretic Text.

One of these is that the nation has not been cut off from the holy land. The period in which they were cut off from it was between the two temples, concerning which it is statedImage 1000000000000058000000285B09267DF5D8FFC6.jpgImage 100000000000013A0000002898B844F66A690DC3.jpg‘Then the land shall enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them’ (Lev. 26.34, 43).2 When the land completed its rest in the periods of its lying fallow,Image 100000000000013E0000002814653ED540248255.jpg‘the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia’ (Ezra 1.1 etc.) and he sent up the two groups (of returnees) to the holy land, the group of Ezra and the group of Nehemiah, according to what [ ] Ezra. After they arrived in the Holy Land they were not cut off from it until this day. Now the reading that Ezra, peace be upon him, and his congregation used to read is the reading of the Land of Israel today. It has remained the way (of reading) that has been transmitted among them from generation to generation, from one offspring to another, until now. If it be said: the wicked Edom deported the people, filled ships with them, left them without a sailor or a helmsman, and caused the hot baths to overwhelm them with smoke until they died, in accordance with what is said to have happened during the conquests of Jerusalem by Edom; the response should be: Although it did to them what you have mentioned, Edom only cut them off from Jerusalem. This is demonstrated by the fact that there was pilgrimage to Tiberias from the direction of the Levant and the East and to Gaza from the direction of the West during the period the people of Edom were in control of the Land of Israel, which was about five hundred years, in accordance with what is mentioned in their chronicles. Those who dwelt in the land all taught their children the Torah and the Scriptures, I mean the remainder of the twenty-four books. If all this is indeed so, then it must be the case that the people used to teach their children what they knew and were familiar with concerning the correct division of the accents and their musical rendition.


  • 3 I.e. the various Jewish communities outside of the Land of Israel.

3The second point is that those who were exiled and did not come back with Ezra and Nehemiah, peace be upon them, remained scattered and they lost (knowledge of) the accents, and began to read with different cantillations. Therefore, you see that the (Jews of) Byzantium read in a way that is different from that of the people of Iraq. The (Jews of) Persia have a way of reading that is different from that of the (Jews of) Byzantium and the Iraqis. The people of the West have (a reading) different from all of the aforementioned. Indeed, perhaps some community that you do not know has a way (of reading) that differs from all of these, such as those whom Edom drove away to remote countries, as we have mentioned. It is the general consensus of those just mentioned3 that the way of reading of the Land of Israel is the original one and this is what is called the Tiberian reading. This is demonstrated by the fact that the people in the communities of the exile would press any teacher who travelled (from Tiberias) to these distant lands to teach their children the reading of the Land of Israel and eagerly imbibed that from him, making him sit down so that they could assiduously learn it from him. Whoever came from the exile to the Land of Israel had a desire for the teaching of the reading of the Land of Israel that was equally ardent as that of those absent and (a desire) for abstaining from his own (tradition of reading). This is evidence for what I have stated.


The third point is that if somebody were to readImage 1000000000000051000000244746045984C80BF2.jpg(Gen. 1.1) with the accent tevir or an accent other than the ṭifḥa, he would provoke the congregation to point out his error and angrily censure him. This demonstrates what I have stated. Likewise, if somebody were to read the three books with the cantillation of the twenty-one books or read the twenty-one books with the cantillation of the three books, the congregation would declare him to be in error and reject it. Likewise, if somebody were to read merkha in place of darga, or darga in place of merkha, or reviaʿ in place of pazer, or the like, he would be declared to be in error. Now, if all this is the case, it strengthens my claim that the accents have been established since the time of the prophets. If this were not the case, then anybody who wished to change (the reading) could change it without being called to account for this, just as there would be no calling to account of somebody who wanted to recite in prayer the Psalms or some passage from the twenty-four books without the intention of reading (the text) in order.


Some people have considered the following passage to demonstrate that the accents are the work of the Levites:Image 1000000000000035000000244BC21D226636E5E1.jpgImage 10000000000000BA00000025505EF9221DA00AFA.jpg‘and they gave the sense, so that they understood the reading’ (Neh. 8.8). The argument is that there was no one preceding the time of Ezra, as has been mentioned before, and what is referred to (in this passage) is an innovation in relation to earlier practice. This is not improbable, since neither reason nor textual tradition confutes this claim.


4It is an established fact that the reading has various characteristic features, which the reader must learn in order to ensure a correct cantillation of what he reads. When he does not know this, the cantillation is produced in a corrupt fashion. If it be said ‘So what benefit is there in the accents apart from what you have stated?’, the response would be that their benefit is that they enable the congregation, however numerous, small or large, all to read one word together, and that they continue, whatever they read, in a coordinated way. Such a thing cannot be achieved without the established accents. Surely you see that Muslims, whether they be two or more, cannot read with the same degree of coordination as the Jews read, since each one has his own way (of reading). One makes long a place that another makes short. One reads melodically a place that another reads flat. For this reason they are unable to achieve what Jews do, because a group and individuals intone according to specific rules, and they do not change that from letter to letter. If somebody were to change something, (his reading) would be rejected and declared to be incorrect.


5For this purpose and others, they fixed the rules of the accents and the masters of this discipline composed books and treatises that discuss the principles that have brought about their particular effects. They recorded what has deviated from a particular principle. This includes cases where the reason for the deviation is stated and cases where a reason is not stated. Know that the rules of the discipline of the accents involve the consideration of a particular accent that exhibits some inconsistency and stating what the reason is for this inconsistency. This involves, for example, consideration of the fact that the accent tevir is served sometimes by the conjunctive accent merkha and sometimes by darga, this being a case where the same accent has two alternating conjunctive accents. When somebody considers the reason for this, it is clear to him what the cause is that conditions the darga. The other rules are formulated in a similar manner. It is a discipline that is known by all who have investigated it carefully. If somebody has not investigated carefully, he only knows it from somebody who has investigated carefully. It is possible that the person who established these accents founded a discipline derived from them, which was transmitted with its practitioners. Some of this was lost and some remained, just as some of the knowledge of a language may be lost while some remains. This applies to the rules (of the accents). Whoever investigates carefully achieves his goal, or at least part of it. Since earlier scholars—may God have mercy upon them—investigated this discipline very carefully, they achieved an expert knowledge of it.


6When, however, somebody wishes to learn about this, he is not able to find a complete book of theirs on this subject, only fragmentary writings. I have, therefore, been requested to strive to complete this short treatise that I have begun, and I have acceded to this request, acknowledging my deficiencies with regard to it and transmitting what I have learnt from their writings and from their pupils, and seeking help (in this task) from the God of Israel.


7This book consists of three sections. The first section concerns the letters and their pivots, I mean their places (of articulation) in the mouth, including those that are heavy and those that are light. The second section concerns the vowels, those that are long and those that are short, their places of articulation, their basic form and their accidental properties. The third section concerns the accents, those of low pitch and those of high pitch, and their subordinate accents.

II.L.1.0. The first discourse: on the letters

II.L.1.1. Preliminary Discussion concerning the Nature of Letters


It should be noted that a letter by itself in isolation does not convey meaning. What we say is demonstrated by the fact that if you say ףלא (ʾalef), although you may think it is a single letter, it is not one but three letters, viz. א ל פ . Likewise, the אב (bāʾ, i.e. bet) is two letters. Similarly, when you say לאמג (gimel), this is four letters. Similarly, the לאד (dāl, i.e. dalet) is three letters, and so forth for the remainder of the inventory of letters. This is because one cannot communicate only with the (phonetic) property of the letter itself, but when two letters follow each other, it is possible to do this with them, whether they are identical or different, as when you say ג ָּ ג (‘roof’), דָ דּ (‘breast’), ג ַּגּ תֹו (‘roofs’),Image 100000000000003C0000002B5FD847F8DF2C4A56.jpg(‘her breasts’ Prov. 5: 19). One cannot communicate concerning the (phonetic) property of gimel or the (phonetic) property of dāl (i.e. dalet) (by uttering the sounds) in isolation. This shows that the original conventional agreement was on the properties of the letters, and since the property could not be talked about (by uttering it) by itself, it needed something else to allow it to stand as an independent expression [ ]. So, to ʾalef was added a lamed and pe, to bāʾ (i.e. bet) was added an ʾalef, and to gimel mem, ʾalef and lamed so that it is possible to communicate about their property in isolation.


8If somebody were to say ‘Why was the conventional agreement not on the ʾalef without its property, and on the bāʾ (i.e. bet) and gimel without their property’, the response would be that ʾalef has three letters and each letter has a different property, so how could they aim to know the property of one letter, then two further letters when no property is known to them. Rather it is necessary for them to know the distinctive property of the three letters and then pronounce a single word. My claim that the conventional agreement was initially on the property of the letter is supported by the fact that people differ with regard to the number of the letters that are added to the quality of the letter and its phonetic property, whereas no difference is permitted with regard to the quality of the letter and its phonetic property. This is because the Tiberians add only yod to the essence of bāʾ, whereas other towns add to it yod and tav and they say ‘bet’. Likewise, they (the Tiberians) add ʾalef and lamed to the property of dāl, whereas others add lamed and tav and say ‘dalet’. They add ʾalef and yod to the quality of zāy and say ‘zāy’, whereas others add nun to this and say ‘zayin’. To lamād they add mem, then ʾalef, then dāl, where others reverse this and add ʾalef, then mem, then dāl and say ‘lamed’, and so forth. This is also the practice with the remaining letters. The variation has not taken place in the property (of the letter) but rather in the occurrence of the added letters in order for the property to be articulated in a single utterance. If this (i.e. the addition of letters) is what existed in the establishment (of the language), there would be no variation.


9Since the property of the letter requires other (elements), the additions have been added to the property and the letter has become a free-standing entity consisting of a combination of its property with additional elements. After this, however, the letter still cannot communicate meaning by itself, because if somebody said ‘ʾalef’, he would not thereby communicate to the hearer more than what he already knows, namely that ʾalef is distinct from (other letters such as) ṭet. The letter, therefore, requires other letters to be combined with it in order for meanings to be understood. So it is required, for example, to have the combination ʾalef, resh and ṣade to (form the word) ץרא , and the combination shin, mem and resh to form רמש .


Just as the property of a letter requires added elements, the combinations of letters required something else, without which no meaning can be understood by the joining of letters, namely the vowels (literally: ‘kings’), which are called also vocalization (literally: inflectional vowels). This is because if (vowels such as) qameṣ and pataḥ were missing from רמשׁ , you would not know to what form to assign the word, whether toImage 100000000000003E00000027ACD7EE1D186D34A6.jpgor toImage 10000000000000320000002456DFC9CDC85BC2BD.jpgor toImage 10000000000000380000002264364B5DF75C9511.jpg. This would have been after the vowels were fixed among those who established (the language) by convention. If the vowels are removed, the meaning is not understood at all.


The letters and vowels also require something else, namely the accents. This is the case as remarked above with (a pair of) words that have identical combinations of letters and identical vowels with no diffeRence (between them), and that require (the placement of) the accent in order for the meaning to be understood, as inImage 100000000000005C00000023C518B800C37282B5.jpg‘Arise! Shine! ’ (Isa. 60.1),Image 1000000000000059000000265427A3E319024859.jpg‘my arising as a witness’ (Zeph. 3.8),Image 100000000000009A00000027A53F332A4C698F5E.jpg‘The Lord is my light and salvation’ (Psa. 27.1).


10So, there are four cases of need (of complements): the need of the property (of a letter) for added elements in order for it to be an autonomous utterance, the need of a letter for another letter, the need of (a combination of) letters for vowels—these three are necessarily interdependent—and the need of (combinations of) letters and vowels for accents, not in all circumstances but in certain cases. For this reason I have presented the section on letters fiRst, then I have presented second the section on vowels and I have presented third the section on accents, according to this order of obligatory complementarity.


Now, meaning is not expressed by a letter alone and so the Hebrew grammarians have called a ‘letter particle’ a ‘functional particle’, since a functional particle does not express meaning in relation to itself but expresses meaning in relation to something else. This terminology (i.e. ‘functional particle’ rather than ‘letter’) is appropriate becauseImage 100000000000002300000029BABA1228814B8489.jpgconsists of two letters, and likewiseImage 10000000000000670000002066456FE0A1B915BB.jpg, ﬠ ִ ם and similar cases. When some letters are combined with each other, unwritten letters are concealed between written letters. The main case of this are the vowels in words such asImage 10000000000000BA0000002455B69FD5D95AFDA5.jpg. In each of these words a letter ʾalef is hidden, which is one of the soft letters. When some letters are combined and a vowel occurs with them, a letter is not hidden between them, as inImage 10000000000000820000002312BE5AB2508D215D.jpgin which another letter is not hidden between the two (written) letters, as a yod is hidden between the kaf and nun inImage 10000000000000680000002411C9080FFE6B2978.jpg‘south of Chinneroth’ (Josh. 11.2). There are many cases of this, but I have cited here one example.

II.L.1.2. Section concerning the Inventory of Letters

11The traditional inventory of letters consists of twenty-two basic letters. To the basic letters are added five letters, which are called ‘straight’, namely ץףןםך . To the basic letters are added six letters, namely תפכדגב . The Tiberians add to these six letters the letter resh, making it (i.e. the group of non-basic letters) תרפכדגב , so that the total comes to thirty-four with the resh of the Tiberians. It is said that there are some who attribute a particular feature to zayin and call it zāy makrūkh. I have not, however, been able to identify their purpose in using the term makrūkh, in order for me to be able to describe it, as I shall describe the purpose of the Tiberians (in the use of this term makrūkh) with regard to the resh.

II.L.1.3. Chapter concerning the Place of Articulation of the Letters


12Know that according to the traditional inventory (of letters) there are five groups in five places (of articulation). These are . ףמוב , שצסז , תנלטד , קרכיג , עחהא


The letters עחהא have a single place of articulation. This is the throat and the root of the tongue. The Tiberians call it the ‘root of the tongue’ and the ‘place of swallowing’. This is the fiRst place of articulation in the mouth. For this reason they are the lightest letters, as a group or individually. The meaning of their ‘lightness’ is that they never take dagesh. It has been said that dagesh is placed in ʾalef in some specific places in Scripture, namely in the following four cases:Image 10000000000000B70000001E98F8DFE244868FFC.jpg‘and they brought him the present’ (Gen. 43.26),Image 10000000000000C40000002694FDCB3D27A2275A.jpg‘and they brought to us by the hand of our God’ (Ezra 8.18),Image 10000000000000C000000022DF2AC26C16FE2DBE.jpg‘from your dwellings you shall bring’ (Lev. 23.17),Image 10000000000000CC0000002BAE62BBE764B635E8.jpg‘and his bones, which were not seen, are laid bare’ (Job 33.21). I shall clarify this in response to those who have adduced this as a counterargument. Ḥet and ʿayin do not take dagesh in any circumstances. As for he, it takes what could be thought to be dagesh, but it is not what it is thought to be. This is because dagesh makes a letter heavy and rafe makes it soft, as inImage 100000000000002200000020B4BC1F2296443D21.jpg‘roof’.


  • 4 Literally: leaning.
  • 5 Literally: leaned upon.

The quality of the letter is uttered with dagesh and with rafe in the realization of its phonetic property. Dagesh is placed on a letter at the beginning of a word, the middle and the end. This is not the case with he, since it is in a place (of articulation) in which heaviness is not possible. This is because heaviness is for the purpose of a pressure4 that is applied to the place of articulation, so that the letter is made heavy. The tongue root and the place of swallowing are not a place that permits closure or contraction, or what resembles this, like the lips, which can be closed and receive pressure,5 so that from them can be heardImage 10000000000000200000001E6A55B2554033F6D9.jpgandImage 100000000000001E00000020374100AD13A5993B.jpg, as will be described below. It is only at the end of a word that a point occurs in it (i.e. he) in order to cause its property to appear and distinguish it from places where it does not appear, such asImage 100000000000008200000025FF9E387B631D1D46.jpg‘a reproach and a taunt’ (Ezek. 5.15), in which the quality of the he is not pronounced, rather it is pronounced with the pronunciation of ʾalef. This differs from the other letters in which dagesh is permitted, such as kaf and pe, which have two types of pronunciation that both necessarily entail the articulation of the property of the letter.


As for he, this is not pronounced at the end of a word unless it has a dot in it. This is is not called dagesh but rather ‘appearance’. Do you not see that if a dot appears in it, (it is) at the end of a word, as inImage 1000000000000038000000221626E550DD13D882.jpg‘Oh! ’ (Josh. 7.7),Image 1000000000000051000000226B2A8BC73CF88BD6.jpg‘half of it’ (Lev. 6.13). It may occur in the middle of a word and be pronounced in the way that it is pronounced when it has a dot in it, as inImage 100000000000006200000028DFEE630EDF09243D.jpg‘you wrong me’ (Job 19.3),Image 100000000000004C000000262109327D5E8862A4.jpg‘filling with vain hopes’ (Jer. 23.16),Image 10000000000000500000002675F75CF42EF23801.jpg‘and the altar hearth’ (Ezek. 43.15). So it is clear to you that this (dot) denotes appearance and is not dagesh, for dagesh is a strengthening that occurs in the letter after the articulation of its property:Image 1000000000000030000000262F02D3320A5A21F0.jpg‘king’,Image 10000000000000320000002491D869C49D9226A6.jpg‘Malluch’ (1 Chron. 6.29),Image 100000000000003E0000002804F8F996184F2E29.jpg‘He made you see’ (Deut. 4.36),Image 1000000000000052000000285AA701A472176008.jpg‘Have you seen?’ (1 Sam. 10.24). It is clear, therefore, from this that the dot in he is to indicate the appearance of the property (of the letter) and not for making it heavy.


13It follows from all of this that these four letters are never made heavy since they are in the first place of articulation from which speech is sounded. If it were said: Surely the dagesh may be inserted in some of the four letters of this place, namely in the ʾalef in the four passages that you have just mentioned, and this disproves your statement that dagesh is not put on the letters of this place of articulation, the response would be: If one examines carefully the so-called dagesh in the ʾalef in these four passages, one sees that it is not dagesh, since the speaker strives to introduce heaviness into it but it is not made heavy. Surely you see how heaviness occurs in bet, kaf and other letters without effort and strengthening takes place. This is not the case with ʾalef. If one examines carefully whether ʾalef is made heavy in this way, one will see that it is not made heavy. Rather it is as if the speaker is taking it out of a pit, unlike the other letters in which dagesh is permitted. It is said that the reason for the impossibility of heaviness in the letters of this place of articulation is that it is the first of the places of articulation, and the more the articulation progresses upwards from place to place, the more heaviness can be applied.


From the second of the places of articulation are heard F and ֿ ך rafe. This is the third of the tongue that is adjacent to the pharynx, opposite the (soft) palate. In fact this is not a primary place of articulation, but it functions like one. This is because when gimel and kaf have dagesh, their place of articulation is the middle of the tongue, in its wide part. The primary places of articulation are five in number. The third of the tongue that is the place of articulation of the two (aforementioned) letters with rafe, I mean ג andImage 100000000000001D00000026DC3A2AB227D0E34B.jpg, is secondary. So, the total number of places of articulation are six, five primary and one secondary. The middle of the tongue is the place of articulation of five letters, namely קרכיג .


From the third place of articulation are heard five letters, namely תנלטד . This is the extremity of the tongue in combination with the flesh of the teeth. If you press gently, you hear from itImage 100000000000001D00000022D4071F046E83AFB0.jpgandImage 100000000000001A0000001F46D085A07AB4A161.jpgrafe. If you press with force, you hear from it דּ and תּ with dagesh. This differs from the second place of articulation, which is divided into two places (when the letters are pronounced) with dagesh and rafe respectively, namely the (back) third of the tongue and its middle. Dalet and tav are not like that, rather their place of articulation does not change, whether they have dagesh or rafe. Dagesh denotes pressing with force and rafe (pressing) lightly.


The fourth place of articulation is the teeth, from which are heard four letters, namely שצסז . In this place of articulation the letters are not divided into light and heavy as in the preceding places of articulation. Know that when you pronounce (the word)Image 100000000000002500000020959E6D3E4ACD89ED.jpg, you pronounce three letters from three different places of articulation, the shin from the teeth, the yod from the middle of the tongue, in its wide part, and the nun from the extremity of the tongue and the flesh of the teeth. If you taste a letter (by pronouncing it) in its place of articulation, you will taste its property.


The fifth place of articulation is the lips, which is that of the four letters ףמוב . If you close the lips with force,Image 10000000000000180000001A65BE74CE466666AF.jpgand פּ with dagesh are heard. If you close them gently and lightly, you hear from themImage 10000000000000180000001D4B108C885D5EE52D.jpgandImage 100000000000001600000020C6C86CE196B2F998.jpgwith rafe. This place of articulation is like the place of articulation of תנלטד , where two letters with dagesh and two letters with rafe are heard.

II.L.1.4. Section concerning some General Issues relating to Letters


  • 6 Literally: the masters.

14If somebody were to say ‘What is the value of knowing the places of articulation of the letters?’, the response to him would be as follows. If somebody asked and said ‘What is language?’, I would say: It consists of expressions that its original speakers6 established by convention among themselves to make their intentions understood to one another. It needs to be known that before this they established by convention specific letters in various places of articulation, from which the expressions could be constructed. They were, therefore, the foundations of the expressions. Through knowledge of the places of articulation the thinking of the establishers (of the language) can become clear, in that they taught that the meaning that one intends can be fully expressed with twenty-two letters, but cannot be fully expressed with less than this. They took them from five basic places of articulation, and one secondary place of articulation, as has been explained. Either it was the case that only the aforementioned letters could have been produced from each place of articulation or they knew that letters other than those mentioned could have been produced from the places of articulation but they had no need of more than the ones they proclaimed. It seems that it will be impossible for us to know the truth with regard to this issue.


[ ] not true. Since it is of this nature, knowledge [ ] than ignorance. Since the knowledge of the technique of reading is explicated through (its analysis into) letters, vowels, accents and the shewa, it is appropriate for the necessary description to be made of each of these, in order for me to demonstrate the superiority of this language over other languages, since it is ‘a pure language’ (Zeph. 3.9). Given that among the letters of Hebrew there are several letters, as explained above, that are ‘straight’, there areImage 1000000000000051000000226CD9672078DB7783.jpgletters, and dagesh and rafe in all remaining letters exceptImage 10000000000000440000002326708FE1EFBD65D2.jpg, if one were to say ‘What is the function of dagesh and rafe?’, the response would be as follows. There is clearly a function. This includes the change of meaning by means of dagesh and rafe, for exampleImage 1000000000000065000000238FE3A8A4717CCAD3.jpg‘Rejoice, oh young man! ’ (Ecc. 11.9), which is an intransitive verb, since the mem in it is light. If it has dagesh, the verb becomes transitive, as inImage 100000000000009B000000230AD2B84674429F7D.jpg‘Gladden the soul of your servant’ (Psa. 86.4). LikewiseImage 100000000000007C000000265A0A311A12EFB6C0.jpg‘the priest who cleanses’ (Lev. 14.11) is a transitive agent, whereasImage 10000000000000BA00000020674B7EA69F28D21D.jpg‘the man who is cleansed’ (Lev. 14.11) is a reflexive agent, and similar cases.


The people of the language used words from one place of articulation, such asImage 10000000000000380000002633DD28512BBCA311.jpg‘Oh!’, which is from the place of articulation ofImage 100000000000006E00000023EA6D8904F2B4ABEF.jpgfrom the place of articulation ofImage 100000000000004600000022DC39C2EDF2E38B5B.jpg,Image 10000000000000580000002428BEB31559095A29.jpg‘on this side and that’ (Ezek. 40.34) from the place of articulation ofImage 10000000000000390000002244D947491058319E.jpg, and similar cases.



[…] The third category is what interchanges in one place of articulation, for example בּ ִַ זּ ֥ ר ‘He scattered’ (Psa. 68.31), which is said to be likeImage 10000000000000A600000022B44DE135590FEA68.jpg‘He has distributed, he has given to the poor’ (Psa. 112.9). The place of articulation of bet and pe is the lips. (Another case) isImage 1000000000000044000000268684E287FAF96AC9.jpg‘and Shobach’ (2 Sam. 10.16) andImage 100000000000004400000022A0A7BA3719490DAE.jpg‘and Shopach’ (1 Chron. 19.16), which are said to be the same name; and likewiseImage 100000000000007A0000001CA5A79129750F2544.jpg‘They have misled my people’ (Ezek. 13.10)—Image 100000000000003C0000002221DAA5A158EE380D.jpg‘ (God) caused (me) to wander’ (Gen. 20.13),Image 10000000000000370000002450A1DBFD3F0D02BC.jpg‘Hasten! ’ (Joel 4.11)— וּשׁוּח .


16The fourth category is what interchanges from different places of articulation, which includes scribal error and ciphers, for dalet and resh (which are sometimes confused by scribal error) are from two different places of articulation and the cipher (consisting of the interchange of) bet and shin is from two different places of articulation. Interchanges that are from a single place of articulation do not fall into this category, as will be explained in a separate chapter (see §II.L.1.5.).


17Take note that it is said that some letters are contracted. Their contraction is indicated by two things: meaning and grammar. Some letters are augments at the beginning, middle or end of a word.


An example of an augmented letter at the beginning of a word isImage 10000000000000A400000028C90568AF2C17FFA0.jpg‘The third is Absalom’ (1 Chron. 3.2). It is said that the presence of this lamed has no meaning and the meaning would remain the same if it were elided. An example of an augmented letter in the middle of a word is said to beImage 100000000000006A00000028AA9EE9C1696913F7.jpg֩Image 10000000000000A2000000261C7B094F23E24F96.jpg‘youths without blemish’ (Dan. 1.4). It is said that the ʾalef in ֩ מ ֻ םוּא is augmented, without any function, because the lexical class of ‘blemish’ does not contain a root letter ʾalef. Examples of an augmented letter at the end of a word areImage 1000000000000090000000244D35A5A25137856D.jpg‘binding his foal to the vine’ (Gen. 49.11) andImage 10000000000000500000002C9389B256BBD3BAE7.jpg‘the son of Beor’ (Num. 24.3), where the vav ofImage 10000000000000270000002A74C8470FBFEC5683.jpghas no meaning, and likewise the yod inImage 100000000000003A0000002776BBB848C30D874E.jpgsince it is not a pronoun, and similar cases.


As for cases of the contraction of a letter that is reflected by the meaning, it is said to include examples such asImage 10000000000000A80000002DE4D2AFEEA568F655.jpgImage 100000000000005C00000028E9DB1787CC8AC575.jpg‘for the Lord gave you into my hand today’ (1 Sam. 26.23), where it is said that a yod has been contracted inImage 10000000000000260000002A1287E506243FAF6E.jpg, and its virtual form isImage 100000000000002D000000267A021D208BCF352E.jpg, since it does not say ב ְ י ַ ד , in which it would be conjoined to an underlying noun, but rather it is pronounced in its disjoined form, which is with qameṣ. Likewise inImage 100000000000009B000000288A95AEE94BB6C42D.jpg‘Are you my son Esau?’ (Gen. 27.24), it is said that a he has been contracted in א ַ תּ ָ ה , since it does not have the function of a declarative but rather of an interrogative, and its virtual form isImage 10000000000000460000002460119DE63E97AA67.jpgLikewise inImage 10000000000000BA00000027D173FBE851420F2A.jpg‘Can you like him spread out the skies?’ (Job 37.18) an interrogative he is contracted in it and its virtual form is ﬠ ִ וֹמּImage 100000000000005200000022C4126EB022307BEC.jpg, so that it would be likeImage 100000000000008400000029D4340673DE84192B.jpg‘Can you put a rope?’ (Job 40.26),Image 100000000000008400000023E8642450B68CBCA2.jpg‘Can you send forth lightnings’ (Job 38.35).


As for cases of the contraction of a letter that is reflected by the grammar, these include examples likeImage 1000000000000084000000278FBBB2F6C5B8668D.jpg‘with hatchets and hammers’ (Psa. 74.6), since it should according to rule have beenImage 100000000000005A00000028FA266E97542BC50C.jpgso that it would be likeImage 10000000000000960000002665888F3BEB01DC08.jpg‘I will pin David to the wall’ (1 Sam. 18.11),Image 1000000000000132000000282527AEB6FBBC16AE.jpg‘on asses and on camels and on mules and on oxen’ (1 Chron. 12.41), for this is the rule for the co-ordination of two nouns after one another with the particle bet.


When two identical letters succeed one another at the end of one word and the beginning of another and the two words are linked by an accent, if the reader is not careful to pronounce them both, one of them would become coalesced and they would be pronounced as one letter. The reader must pronounce them clearly in order to distinguish, for example, the two ṣades inImage 100000000000005E000000282BE53F1A214B156C.jpg‘it produced blossoms’ (Num. 17.23), to ensure that the two nuns are pronounced inImage 10000000000000940000002B921892621FC153F4.jpg‘then Nebuchadnezzar’ (Dan. 3.13, etc.) and to ensure that the two mems are pronounced inImage 10000000000000CC0000002813654814536EBE31.jpg‘as I was with Moses’ (Josh. 1.5, etc.), and similar cases of two letters succeeding each other in this manner.

II.L.1.5. Chapter on the Interchange of Letters


It is said that among the letters are those that interchange from the same place of articulation, so that, for example, ʾalef interchanges with he in a case such asImage 100000000000009C000000273D653900226F33A0.jpg‘after this he joined’ (2 Chron. 20.35). This is in place ofImage 100000000000004C00000023BE3E4C7F1991019E.jpgbecause the ʾalef inImage 100000000000004F000000289A62DD970494EE01.jpgis not the ʾalef of the first person future, but is the expression of the narrator. LikewiseImage 100000000000006C00000024D557074039F87D88.jpg‘the rest of the multitude’ (Jer. 52.15), which is in place ofImage 10000000000000C000000027E09EEE180E138FA6.jpgImage 10000000000000A5000000262601275171C4A0A3.jpg‘for you are speaking falsely of Ishmael’ (Jer. 40.16), which is in place ofImage 100000000000007000000029B23FD0024634D52F.jpg, and similar cases.


From the place of articulation ofImage 100000000000003800000022348A87BD65CBADAD.jpg, bet interchanges with pe, as inImage 100000000000003300000022529292F8B9F08B49.jpgImage 1000000000000034000000207A6E92FC19CA86C5.jpg‘he scatters’,Image 10000000000000280000001F46BD1DE689535FDF.jpgImage 10000000000000280000001E111DC609383BD356.jpg‘he scattered’. As for what interchanges from two different places of articulation, this is like the interchange of bet with he inImage 10000000000000710000002A4AFE947751EE855C.jpg‘you shall strike the rock’ (Exod. 17.6), which is said to be in place ofImage 10000000000000340000001DECAA543FD84D7315.jpg.


Gimel interchanges with kaf inImage 1000000000000088000000242A29A097D8CAA731.jpg‘encircled with lilies’ (Cant. 7.3), which is said to be כוּס ָ ה , fromImage 1000000000000084000000273644D46268B09EA0.jpg‘the upright from a thorn hedge’ (Micah 7.4), since it does not make sense for it to be derived fromImage 100000000000006D000000308A89B443B7788A0F.jpg‘they shall be turned back’ (Isa. 42.17, etc.). These two letters are from the same place of articulation. Mem interchanges with gimel, as inImage 1000000000000048000000265BCFAB95C91A76C9.jpgImage 100000000000004600000026EF9809D9C7EF08E0.jpg‘We grope like the blind’ (Isa. 59.10), which is in place ofImage 100000000000004C00000022D4F15F7F3C0DBEBA.jpg, as inImage 100000000000007500000026E42D46F9302922FC.jpg‘They grope in the dark’ (Job 12.25).


Dalet interchanges with zayin, as inImage 100000000000006A000000263DA863D1400A6A44.jpg. (The interchange of) resh with dalet is due to scribal error, as inImage 1000000000000048000000328C51650C20AD0A8C.jpg‘Reuel’—Image 10000000000000480000002C6A3A86AB8BA0883E.jpg‘Deuel’,Image 10000000000000360000001E5FE89BA6FEA2502E.jpg‘Riphath’ (Gen. 10.3)—Image 1000000000000040000000208A7D58BC0B6B3CA3.jpg‘Diphath’ (1 Chron. 1.6),Image 1000000000000041000000225EB2D7A493194AC2.jpg‘Rodanim’ (1 Chron. 1.7)—Image 10000000000000370000002283444F93F8D887B3.jpg‘Dodanim’ (Gen. 10.4).


He interchanges with ʾalef, as inImage 10000000000000A200000024852394F7C36A244B.jpg‘what is to befall your people’ (Dan. 10.14), in which (the ʾalef of the qere) is in place of he. A similar case isImage 10000000000000B60000002C16EEB49EF2A1B4FE.jpg‘The jar of meal shall not be spent’ (1 Kings 17.14). This is from the same place of articulation. A case of interchange from two places of articulation isImage 100000000000005C0000002846DA00C7E501239A.jpg‘he who closes his eyes’ (Prov. 16.30), in place ofImage 100000000000003500000022B6552C57F1EA05BE.jpgfromImage 100000000000003E00000022B7693FE3486848D9.jpg‘and he closed’ (Isa. 29.10).


Vav interchanges with bet, as inImage 10000000000000FC0000002D48B449A3208DD30D.jpg‘They were drunk, but not with wine; they staggered, but not with strong drink’ (Isa. 29.9), in place ofImage 10000000000000AA000000267C4B600BD0660128.jpgThis is from the same place of articulation. From two places of articulation it interchanges with ʾalef, as inImage 100000000000005F00000026DCEF999CD367E104.jpg‘because of pride’ (Jer. 13.17), which is said to be in place ofImage 100000000000003200000027559DFCF911FA9FE9.jpg


Zayin interchanges in the same place of articulation with ṣade, as inImage 1000000000000032000000247669C3D8BEE10A78.jpg‘he rejoices’—Image 100000000000003A000000241901CFC54DB8E659.jpg‘he rejoices’,Image 100000000000003800000026F198CFEAB89841A0.jpg‘a little’ (Isa. 10.25, etc.)—Image 100000000000003A00000022D6C1726AD3E4966C.jpg‘a little one’ (Gen. 19.20, etc.). An example from two places of articulation isImage 10000000000000340000002BC34E5843AD8CF565.jpg‘hedgehog’ (Isa. 14.23, etc.)—Image 10000000000000320000002263E378B65C8F6F0F.jpg‘hedgehog’ (Isa. 23.15).


Ḥet interchanges with resh, as inImage 10000000000000BF000000272AF1949614C8A8DD.jpg‘He is king over all creeping creatures’ (Job 41.26), which is in place ofImage 10000000000000340000002791B2729DF578AB1D.jpg. These are from two places of articulation.


Ṭet interchanges in the same place of articulation with tav, as in ֙Image 10000000000000520000002DC3930A61E825F0E3.jpg‘harp’ (Dan. 3.5, etc.)—Image 1000000000000050000000263C7FBAD44E467AB5.jpgharp’ (Dan. 3.7).


It is said that yod interchanges with ʾalef, as inImage 100000000000009C0000002E67B2264549BCBC04.jpg‘and I shall cast you down from your station’ (Isa. 22.19), in place ofImage 10000000000000480000003031C4722015BDF607.jpgwhich corresponds to the meaning ofImage 1000000000000058000000284743031A3D692399.jpg‘and I shall cast you down’ (Isa. 22.19).


It is said that kaf interchangs with bet, as inImage 100000000000008C0000002636A5D8DDDF905BAF.jpg(2 Kings 4.40), which is in place ofImage 10000000000000480000002792A9A883C3D8CC09.jpg, so that its meaning is ‘while they were eating (pottage)’, since a comparison here is not relevant. A similar caseImage 1000000000000080000000242676D82CC0954D38.jpg‘when bringing up the offering’ (2 Kings 3.20), so that it is likeImage 100000000000007C000000242CFD056B1FFC1C5C.jpg‘when the flame went up’ (Jud. 13.20). This is from two places of articulation. A case from the same place of articulation isImage 10000000000000370000002AF566481F03978C45.jpgImage 100000000000004A0000002807251A8E6A8B02F4.jpg‘He has slandered your servant’ (2 Sam. 19.28), which is said to be in place ofImage 100000000000003B0000002EC13739DEF86C5C03.jpg, fromImage 100000000000008000000024161AEA363592EB4E.jpg‘You shall not go as a slanderer’ (Lev. 19.16).


Lamed interchanges with bet, as inImage 10000000000000A60000002804FC503E642C95B8.jpg‘At Michmash he stores his baggage’ (Isa. 10.28), in place ofImage 100000000000004C000000244D7DCFBD4BA86A40.jpg. It is said thatImage 100000000000010000000028C22FB2834168E254.jpg‘when a man is guilty in any of these’ (Lev. 5.5) is in place ofImage 100000000000003E000000266BB91CC0277CD3CB.jpg. These two are from two places of articulation. An example from one place of articulation isImage 100000000000009400000026EE91DF1DCF74EA2F.jpg‘and his border shall be up to Sidon’ (Gen. 49.13), which is said to be in place ofImage 1000000000000058000000213AE205CEAB6DB8F0.jpg.


It is said that mem interchanges with bet, in the same place of articulation, inImage 10000000000000C8000000201EECC172B0413540.jpg‘Surely, (as) a wife is faithless against her husband’ (Jer. 3.20), in place ofImage 10000000000000390000001FB53771200463D389.jpg.


Nun interchanges with mem from two places of articulation, for exampleImage 100000000000004B00000026B06B1BD246659D7F.jpg‘to the kings’ (2 Chron. 1.12, etc.)—Image 100000000000003800000025D9AA022677CE9AAB.jpg‘kings’ (Prov. 31.3),Image 100000000000006500000026E5E6456F5EFFF1E9.jpg‘at the end of days’ (Dan. 12.13), the virtual form of which isImage 100000000000003C00000022D2A67466D189ACA2.jpg.


Samekh interchanges with ṣade in the same place of articulation, as inImage 100000000000003200000024B9BA601D854CAB4E.jpg‘they have broken’ (Job 30.13)—֙Image 100000000000003200000025882D3FBA17AE68BC.jpg‘they broke’ (2 Kings 25.10, etc.). It is also said thatImage 100000000000003B0000002571B703F11D4D51B7.jpg‘he will cut’ (Ezek. 17.9) is in place ofImage 100000000000003A00000024A627110E5111E83F.jpg.


It is said that ʿayin interchanges with ḥet, as inImage 1000000000000034000000207285BB59668FAA44.jpg‘hasten’ (Joel 4.11)—Image 10000000000000330000001A0EF86C0C77012A45.jpg.


Pe interchanges with bet from the same place of articulation inImage 100000000000005C0000002808DC0802FE60774B.jpg‘sweeping rain’ (Prov. 28.3), which is said to be in place ofImage 100000000000003B000000262BB852EFFBB28313.jpg. Likewise it is said thatImage 100000000000007E00000020A3C0A0E190CB1C95.jpg‘Your warriors have been dragged away’ (Jer. 46.15) is in place ofImage 100000000000003C00000024A100617C9F16D850.jpgAn example from two places of articulation is said to beImage 1000000000000042000000220FD0DC4DE703ABE7.jpg‘they shake’ (Job 26.11) in place of י ְ חוֹר ֲ וּפ from ָ֙ ר ֽ ח ֲ וּפ ‘they shake’ (Jer. 23.9).


It is said that ṣade interchanges with samekh in the same place of articulation, as inImage 100000000000007E00000028EF1C2A20FD4D5129.jpg‘blood red of garments’ (Isa. 63.1).


It is said that qof interchanges with kaf in the same place of articulation, as in ק ֥ בוֹ ַ ע ‘helmet’ (1 Sam. 13.38, etc.)—Image 100000000000003A000000276BF4817625685470.jpg‘helmet’ (1 Sam. 17.5, etc.).


It is said that resh interchanges with kaf, as inImage 10000000000000680000002ED0A431367A94D6F9.jpg‘darkness of water’ (2 Sam. 22.12)—Image 10000000000000690000002AF2C7710F4CA03BDF.jpg‘darkness of water’ (Psa. 18.12).


Shin interchanges with samekh in the same place of articulation inImage 100000000000005E0000002814DCEEB9EADEDFB2.jpg‘shut of eye’ (Num. 24.3, etc.), which is in place of ס ְ םוּת fromImage 10000000000000860000002694B529F0CD9E09CB.jpg‘shut up the words’ (Dan. 12.4). Its interpretation as ‘placed’ is not plausible. This is becauseImage 1000000000000034000000273214D91C3839F5D9.jpgis a conjoined passive participle. The disjoined form would beImage 10000000000000360000002897866017C233529D.jpg, likeImage 100000000000006C00000026D43BE40A5F595598.jpg, and its imperative would have to beImage 100000000000003B00000026E2DDBBA24CCC6826.jpgorImage 100000000000002E0000002211E0839FA7836449.jpg. This would lead to the conclusion that there is a root letter mem in the lexical class of ‘placing’, but this is not the case, because (we see from examples such as)Image 100000000000009E000000276291134644C8908D.jpg‘They placed (themselves) at the gate’ (Isa. 22.7),Image 10000000000000A600000028085B270BC440DFA8.jpg‘They set their mouths against the heavens’ (Psa. 73.9),Image 100000000000006000000024BB0BE40024308729.jpgImage 10000000000000690000002D36234777092623CB.jpg‘You have put everything under his feet’ (Psa. 8.7), (that) all forms from the lexical class of ‘placing’ lack mem.


It is said that tav interchanges with ʾalef, as inImage 10000000000000A00000002A1E67D906B01F3D07.jpg‘He took a cedar tree and an oak’ (Isa. 44.14), which is in place ofImage 100000000000003700000028537D86034A98B7C7.jpg‘cedar’ (Zeph. 2.14). This is a short sample of the interchange of letters.

II.L.1.6. Chapter concerning the Influence of the Four Letters ’alef, vav, yod and he, I mean , א̇ו̇י̇ה̇ on the Six Letters ב̇ג̇ד̇כ̇פ̇ת̇

When one of these four is at the end of a word and the word is conjoined with what follows it by the accent, and the second word begins with one of the lettersImage 100000000000004A0000002413B6095AD0218E19.jpg, this letter is pronounced light with rafe, as inImage 100000000000009500000028BDB9FD9036F8B081.jpg‘and I shall fetch a morsel of bread’ (Gen. 18.5),Image 100000000000005C0000002D504792B9959B1C0A.jpg‘for in their anger’ (Gen. 49.6),Image 100000000000009A00000028F673501C502F83FC.jpg‘or on a far journey’ (Num. 9.10),Image 10000000000000340000002AB7D705E0F8A7A210.jpgImage 10000000000000680000002C652947EED46945A4.jpg‘These are the sons of Ephraim’ (Num. 26.35),Image 100000000000004F00000028741E05EB7A5CEB8F.jpgImage 100000000000004B0000002D8FC383B0184383C6.jpg‘and you shall stone him to death with stones’ (Deut. 13.11),Image 1000000000000084000000249ABE6DD1CF727E8F.jpg‘and the word of the Lord was’ (1 Kings 17.2, etc.), and very many similar examples of what is not disjoined from the (preceding) accent. In every case where there is no disjunction from the (preceding) accent in this way, theImage 100000000000005000000021F34C80830CEF13AC.jpgletters are light, with rafe.

II.L.1.7. Section on Deviations from the General Rule


18The cases that deviate from what I have stated are nine exceptions to the rule concerning which there is, to my knowledge, no disagreement. I shall exclude from the discussion cases concerning which there is disagreement. This is because when there is no disagreement about a case, the reader cannot change anything, but when disagreement has occurred concerning a case, the reader makes a choice. He reads whatever variant he wishes. Nobody who may wish to reject it is able to reject it, since he would be rejecting something concerning which there is disagreement, involving one (reading) and an alternative. He (the reader) may read the one reading or the two alternatives (i.e. with dagesh or rafe) interchangeably. So long as this is the situation, a rule cannot be fixed. A rule can only be fixed for something concerning which there are no disagreements. Cases concerning which there is no disagreement include, as far as I can see, the following nine exceptions to the rule: ʾoghera, di-fsiq, di-dhḥiq, ʾathe me-raḥiq, mappiq he, mappiq vav, mappiq yod, two identical letters, bet and pe.


As for ʾoghera, this is the ‘collection’ of only seven words. People, however, often add to them what does not belong to them, and introduce variant readings with regard to them. What is contained in this exception to the rule are four words in the songImage 100000000000004000000023075399EE60547582.jpg(Exod. 14.30, ‘the Song of the Sea’). These are:Image 100000000000003600000028019EC2EEB8A5EDBE.jpgImage 1000000000000032000000270C06AE438D30EADA.jpg‘He has triumphed gloriously’ (Exod. 15.1, 21), which Moses said, and the twin phrase that Miriam said,Image 10000000000000640000002B3810091E098E8346.jpg‘They are as still as a stone’ (Exod. 15.16),Image 100000000000005D000000263B1E8733C7F7F64E.jpg‘Who is like you?’ (Exod. 15.11). In this song there is one word that one may think is analogous to these four, but it is not the case, rather there is disagreement concerning it. This isImage 100000000000007600000028EC2008B6CFC35EFD.jpg‘the people whom you have redeemed’ (Exod. 15.13). There are only these four in the song that belong to the exceptional group ʾoghera. In the first four books there is nothing, except that there is what may be imagined belongs to the exceptional group, but it is not the case, rather there is disagreement concerning it, viz.Image 1000000000000077000000286ED418C6DDB34700.jpgImage 100000000000011D00000027E9C95C45A18C7634.jpg‘and Jeroboam appointed a feast in the eighth month on the fifteenth (day)’ (1 Kings 12.32). There is disagreement concerning the bet inImage 100000000000005600000024B365B6B03C55F5AE.jpgIn Isaiah there is one word from the ʾoghera group, viz.Image 100000000000007C00000027A46B0EF84BC4E94D.jpg‘and I shall make (your pinnacles) of agate’ (Isa. 54.12), in Jeremiah, viz.Image 10000000000000780000002175C0878DC6C82A78.jpg‘and I am weary of holding it in’ (Jer. 20.9) and in DanielImage 10000000000000C900000028DC188961BA911C51.jpg‘and wisdom like wisdom of the gods’ (Dan. 5.11). These seven aforementioned cases are called ʾoghera. As forImage 100000000000010000000027B871DDE90C04F635.jpg‘the counselors, the treasurers, the justices’ (Dan. 3.2, 3),Image 10000000000000900000002A0D72C672D272D56B.jpg‘trigon, harp’ (Dan. 3.5), they are cases of disagreement. I do not know for what reason this group of (seven) exceptional cases breaks the rule of the lettersImage 100000000000003A00000022C74DE29002D0442C.jpgI have only documented them by listening to the transmitters of the reading.


The second type of case that breaks the rule is di-fsiq (i.e. ‘what is paused’). Whenever paseq comes between one of the lettersImage 100000000000003A0000002209F9F23992D8ECFF.jpgand the lettersImage 10000000000000550000002A5AA966E3BB242901.jpgthe lettersImage 100000000000003400000028750BC4315F0DBD5B.jpghave no influence, because they only have influence when there is nothing cutting (them off from what follows). The paseq cuts (them off) in a way and so this is the reason why the rule ofImage 100000000000003A0000001EDFCE36656128BB6C.jpgis not observed, as inImage 100000000000005A0000001F57FC9B04F937FACF.jpg‘they have done completely’ (Gen. 18.21),Image 1000000000000065000000309697E1556AA59AD3.jpgImage 1000000000000084000000288C3E2AB33A230E61.jpg‘May the Lord add to his people (a hundred times as many) as them’ (1 Chron. 21.3). There is no exception at all to this type of case that breaks the rule. Whenever a paseq occurs, the rule ofImage 1000000000000036000000212D1A788F6C88C000.jpgis broken.


The third type of case that breaks the rule is di-dhḥiq (i.e. ‘what is compressed’). Know that this breaking of the rule consists of what is compressed with regard to the rule regarding them (i.e. the lettersImage 100000000000003000000020A6AE1C2652F7A867.jpg), and that is why they say di-dhḥiq. The meaning of di-dhḥiq is that between the accent that is in the word containing one of theImage 100000000000003000000024756ACD40A72AD982.jpgletters and aImage 100000000000004E00000024AB9DA02064075BE5.jpgletter there is a vowel and this vowel is not dwelt upon or prolonged in pronunciation. On account of this compression (of the vowel) the rule of theImage 1000000000000032000000267FF1C9C7305DFE55.jpgis broken, as inImage 10000000000000620000001FFA4333C1C8F685A1.jpg‘that I may call to witness against them’ (Deut. 31.28),Image 100000000000005C0000002C4C5EE60CB61B82DA.jpg‘you shall meditate on it’ (Josh. 1.8) and similar cases. The compression may occur in a word that does not have an accent but is a small word, as inImage 1000000000000062000000229AA4516DDC31267B.jpg‘whatever (your soul) says’ (1 Sam. 20.4),Image 10000000000000440000002BA827BA06AF85FAE5.jpg‘This is my son’ (1 Kings 3.23),Image 100000000000004A000000200397949ED2EB4EA0.jpg‘What, my son?’ (Prov. 31.2),Image 100000000000006C000000282A99B0AD41B5FAF5.jpg‘and what will you do?’ (Josh. 7.9), and other cases. If it is said that this condition may hold forImage 100000000000003000000022CB8CB30485639086.jpgandImage 100000000000005500000026F2B725BB5E55E8E6.jpgbut its effect does not come about, namely dagesh, as inImage 10000000000000A10000002D1B62E1EBC85E8CCF.jpg‘through which you let us down’ (Josh. 2.18),Image 10000000000000BF000000260C71D8B13637F33E.jpg‘and there was no longer any spirit in them’ (Josh. 5.1), ְ אר ֵ ה ֙ נ ַָ ת ֣ תּ ִ יImage 100000000000003B0000002CF2B04A715C7BBAB5.jpg‘See, I have given into your hand’ (Josh. 6.2), and the vowel that you mentioned inImage 10000000000000690000002A455E06789B069DF2.jpgandImage 10000000000000540000002D4603ABC4BE9CE764.jpgis present inImage 1000000000000072000000222DCE139070BF50F9.jpgand dagesh does not occur in the bet, the response should be that the difference between what you mentioned (and the cases with compression) is that the vowel that is after the accent inImage 100000000000006E00000026647F7D6BA777A2E3.jpgdoes not have an exhalation of breath but is very compressed, but the vowel inImage 10000000000000700000002456D70FC012D10C66.jpgis not compressed in the joining (of the words) but is expansive with an exhalation breath, and is like other (long) vowels, or nearly so. Whoever examines this closely will perceive the difference.


The fourth type of case that breaks the rule is ʾathe me-raḥiq. This is the opposite of the previous type of case that breaks the rule, because the latter (i.e. ʾathe me-raḥiq) is on account of what is far and the former (i.e. di-dhḥiq) is on account of what is near, and so there is a fundamental difference between them. This (i.e. ʾathe me-raḥiq) arises from the fact that due to the distance of the accent (from the preceding conjunctive accent), one comes upon it (the accent) like a ballista and so theImage 100000000000005400000027722DFD553F2F8DB8.jpgletter is pronounced with dagesh, as inImage 10000000000000B60000002BAB0B8020B7A786E3.jpg‘He will build a house for my name’ (2 Sam. 7.13),Image 10000000000000B60000002791FF6D2507253113.jpg‘Do you work wonders for the dead?’ (Psa. 88.11),Image 100000000000008700000028B7569527FE229F1F.jpg‘Turn aside, sit here’ (Ruth 4.1). Also (included in this category) are cases in which there is no (conjunctive) accent, so (such cases must be considered) to have a virtual (conjunctive) accent before them in order to conform to (cases such as)Image 100000000000008400000024D913BDF541229585.jpgImage 10000000000000410000002892BC74EDB0279F6F.jpgas inImage 10000000000000E20000002A26E2CD2F8FBEA939.jpg‘that I may go to her and inquire of her’ (1 Sam. 28.7), and similar cases.


The fifth type of case that breaks the rule is mappiq he. The meaning of their term mappiq he is the (consonantal) pronunciation of the he. It is derived fromImage 100000000000006C0000002CC671DD13AB9F071E.jpg‘and the decree went forth’ (Dan. 2.13). This is because when the he is pronounced at the end of a word, the rule of theImage 100000000000003B00000022CCDA313F358CDDA1.jpgletters is broken, as inImage 100000000000008D0000002B1CA8BA36A59239A7.jpg‘half of it in the morning’ (Lev. 6.13),Image 1000000000000090000000279812DF9F634AFC2B.jpgImage 10000000000000300000002225ED72AF40CC40D1.jpg‘and all those who are with her in the house’ (Josh. 6.17),Image 1000000000000090000000272F317E64766EEDCC.jpg‘and it has four wings’ (Dan. 7.6), and similar cases. There are no exceptions to this breaking of the rule at all.


The sixth type of case that breaks the rule is mappiq vav. This is because every vav at the end of a word is pronounced according to the Palestinians as a bet rafe, which breaks the rule of theImage 100000000000003200000020618CD4ABD1665C27.jpg, as inImage 100000000000008B000000213E868FAFDAEABB48.jpg‘ (enter) his courts with praise’ (Psa. 100.4),Image 100000000000009600000028DBFDE7C4C4A37F0B.jpg‘I cried aloud to him’ (Psa. 66.17), and similar cases. There are two words that are exceptions to this breaking of the rule, namelyImage 10000000000000A20000001D4BA77C8837F21F43.jpg‘He will stretch the line of confusion over it’ (Isa. 34.11),Image 10000000000000A400000023AA876024D95E5D9B.jpg‘The sound of a carefree multitude was with her’ (Ezek. 23.42). Although according to the principle of breaking the rule what follows the two vavs should have had dagesh, this has not occurred.


The seventh type of case that breaks the rule is mappiq yod. Take note that whenever yod occurs at the end of a word and the next word begins with one of theImage 10000000000000560000002B782BFE008E4C89B9.jpgletters, and ḥireq or ṣere occurs under the letter before the yod, then the rule ofImage 100000000000003C000000229BD095A691D4093D.jpgis observed, as inImage 10000000000000520000002A7D1625FDBCA0652A.jpg‘Libni his son’ (1 Chron. 6.14),Image 100000000000005C0000002339A5160F62D68767.jpg‘for they have stripped them’ (Nahum 2.3),Image 10000000000000820000002763AA861720C1CF62.jpg‘the princes of the Philistines’ (1 Sam. 18.30), and similar cases. If vowels that are different from the aforementioned occur under the aforementioned letter, the yod is strengthened and the rule ofImage 100000000000003A00000026CA8BCC99EAF0853D.jpgis not observed, as inImage 100000000000007400000028D35539630DED784A.jpg‘perhaps you may inspire terror’ (Isa. 47.12),Image 10000000000000630000002C5659841CE86F1ABC.jpg‘Jeatherai his son’ (1 Chron. 6.6), כּ ִ֚ יImage 10000000000000680000002ADC0D6FDF569241E5.jpg‘for what great nation’ (Deut. 4.7),Image 100000000000008A0000002239EAE89F1123F670.jpg‘into a great and mighty nation’ (Num. 14.12),Image 10000000000000620000002019B205569945D55E.jpg‘Sinai into the holy place’ (Psa. 68.18). One word is an exception to this breaking of the rule, namelyImage 10000000000000530000002C8DF9F14AE0E987C9.jpg‘the Lord in them’ (Psa. 68.18). What should have occurred according to the principle of the breaking of the rule isImage 100000000000005A00000023C0B659B722F4EA84.jpgwith dagesh, because there is no ḥireq or ṣere on the letter before the yod. I do not know for what reason it contravenes the breaking of the rule.


The eighth type of case that breaks the rule is the succession of two letters. If two bets or kafs, but not the remainingImage 1000000000000054000000241CDED1564DD9F79A.jpgletters, succeed one another and under the first of them there is a shewa, then the rule ofImage 100000000000003700000024E6B4C456561F7B6F.jpgis broken, as inImage 100000000000007000000027CB6A945D08E9F2C4.jpg‘and when she came’ (Josh. 15.18),Image 100000000000009B00000021EC2A1F66991D11DF.jpg‘and she caught him by his garment’ (Gen. 39.12),Image 100000000000008E0000002C66DA0164F48F5599.jpg‘Is it not like Carchemish?’ (Isa. 10.9), and other cases. If a vowel occurs under the first of the two instead of shewa, the rule ofImage 10000000000000370000002CBE25A06E440DB700.jpgis observed, as inImage 10000000000000C200000026ED61EE71311B5A1F.jpg‘And he (shall take) a wife in her virginity’ (Lev. 21.13)Image 100000000000006C0000002017AD19DA5DE14B70.jpg‘They went in haste’ (Ezra 4.23), and similar cases.


The ninth type of case that breaks the rule is bet and pe. The statement concerning them is similar to the statement regarding the preceding type of case that breaks the rule, without there being any disagreement. This is that when bet is followed by pe and shewa is below the bet, the rule ofImage 100000000000003B000000214FDA5E1A310E4A61.jpgis broken, as inImage 1000000000000092000000247A7B09636638EBFE.jpgand I will get glory over Pharaoh’ (Exod. 14.4),Image 10000000000000DD00000026A33B4C357885B046.jpg‘and my words which I have put in your mouth’ (Isa. 59.21), and similar cases. If a vowel occcurs instead of shewa, then the rule ofImage 100000000000003B00000028A6FB92F05A94B5FC.jpgis observed, as inImage 1000000000000096000000272AFB019C041C4463.jpgHe will not look upon the rivers’ (Job 20.17). I do not know any exception to this breaking of the rule.


  • 7 The fuller citation כַאֲשֶׁר־֜תַּמּוּ וַיְהִ֙י as opposed to simply כַאֲשֶׁר וַיְהִ֙י in the text of Hid (...)

Take note that Ben Naftali, and perhaps some of those who preceded him, had a particular opinion about the dagesh of seven cases of kaf afterImage 100000000000003100000024026548C27F7C5602.jpgnamelyImage 10000000000000A00000002C92BFEAFA1F232D7A.jpg‘when his master heard’ (Gen. 39.19),Image 100000000000007400000024DB37BBA0DB992343.jpg‘and when he heard’ (Gen. 39.15),Image 10000000000000700000002B38637A56F36332FE.jpg‘and when (the king) saw’ (Esther 5.2),Image 10000000000000320000002859116902CD53011E.jpgImage 100000000000004A00000028C9333B00248DA04C.jpg‘and when he saw’ (Jud. 11.35),Image 100000000000007600000022B1711A67B7E9F37A.jpg‘and when they brought (them) out’ (Gen. 18.17),Image 100000000000007A0000002C7F951331FF08B160.jpg‘when he became king’ (1 Kings 15.29),Image 100000000000008B00000028B050059E2E109F68.jpg‘and when they had perished’ (Deut. 2.16).7 According to him, each of the seven cases of kaf that occurs afterImage 100000000000002E000000240A5D9D3DCEE1CF2B.jpgin Scripture has dagesh. This is known from his codices. Others, however, pronounce these rafe. I do not know for what reason Ben Naftali pronounced them with dagesh, for those who pronounce them rafe follow the principle of the influence of the softImage 100000000000003C000000263D150D9D8A3F80BB.jpgletters on theImage 100000000000005500000024E9A2432EB0C2FC7D.jpgletters. The reader, therefore, has two options. Either to read with the reading of Ben Naftali, in which case he must read all forms that he (Ben Naftali) reads, whether they be good readings or difficult readings, or to read with the reading of Ben Asher, which also is authoritative. If somebody reads what he deems to be the best reading of this one and of that one, he would (read) without any rule, because he deviates from the rationale of each of them.

II.L.1.8. Section on Further General Issues Relating to א ̇ ו ̇ י ̇̇ ה


Take note that the criterion of the (rule of) theImage 100000000000003C0000001E18817680178CABAD.jpgletters and theImage 10000000000000580000002262BC7B66ABB281E4.jpgletters should be based on the pronunciation and not on the writing. This is demonstrated inImage 10000000000000640000002722E0F629A802C854.jpg‘and Balak saw’ (Num. 22.2). The wordImage 1000000000000033000000224774FA211E98D41A.jpgends in ʾalef, one of theImage 10000000000000320000002032D4E3A011FDEB23.jpgletters, and (the next word) begins with bet, one of theImage 100000000000004A0000001E339C2D88CD4CA06E.jpgletters, but this letter is not pronounced rafe, despite the ʾalef being adjacent to the bet and their being linked by the accent. The bet ofImage 10000000000000300000002446ADACB439C538C1.jpgoccurs with dagesh, since the end ofImage 100000000000003200000020ED1E2E52298F666E.jpg(in pronunci ation) is the resh not the ʾalef, and the criterion is the pronunciation not the writing. An opposite case isImage 100000000000006A0000002B49C04D7256214DFF.jpg‘and you will make poles of’ (Exod. 25.13). The last letter of the wordImage 10000000000000450000002EA4395C847FFBBE39.jpgis tav, but the bet is rafe. The reason for this is that when tav has qameṣ, it is pronounced with two letters, and if you were to writeImage 100000000000004F000000311BB8509391022A8E.jpgin full orthography, it would have he. So the criterion is the pronunciation. The other cases of the breaking of the rule are also based on this principle, since this is the principle that forms the basis for the rule of א ̇ ו ̇ י ̇̇ ה andImage 10000000000000540000002201FC8C3AF58E65BB.jpg. Surely you see that inImage 10000000000000730000002890CE4C005EAF845D.jpg‘and your servants have come’ (Gen. 42.10) the bet occurs with dagesh on account of the breaking of the rule known as di-dhḥiq.


Perhaps somebody may ask why the lettersImage 100000000000003B00000022ACCDC2F947C5C322.jpghave caused what is after them to be rafe in accordance with the preceding discussion. The response could be that this is because these four letters are the letters of softness and prolongation, as has been stated by Yaḥyā ibn Dāʾūd the Maghribī, the author of the Book of Prolongation and Softness, and letters that come after them that are not one of the letters of softness become soft due to their proximity. It may also be said that this is a custom adopted by the people of the language for a good reason known to them, and the knowledge of this has been transmitted by us and we read what we have received from the people of the language, and we should not abandon it until the people of the language come and we know the function of what they adopted as their convention. So whoever does not read according to the rule ofImage 1000000000000038000000245288F0B61C3B6EAF.jpgandImage 10000000000000540000002ACD92E1C2F311ED3A.jpgis reading incorrectly. Blessed is He who knows secrets (cf. Psa. 44.22).

II.L.1.9. Chapter concerning Letters that Occur in Three Grades


19Take note that just as there are among the letters those that when they are adjacent to another letter, the latter makes them light with rafe, likewise among the letters are those that occur in three grades with regard to heaviness and lightness. The first grade is lightening. The second is the normal dagesh. The third is the major dagesh. This includes the tav.


Take note that the tav, unlike the other letters, may occur rafe, as inImage 100000000000007200000028BC2806503F7F99A3.jpg‘and rooms of the gate’ (Ezek. 40.10); it may occur with dagesh, as inImage 1000000000000082000000262D0CC6F139EC77C4.jpg‘instead of bronze’ (Isa. 60.17),Image 100000000000005E000000279BAF15369C56F273.jpg‘ornaments of gold’ (Cant. 1.11); and it may occur with major dagesh. The latter includes three tavs: ָImage 100000000000004400000024E1499DFEC8642A8B.jpg֙Image 10000000000000580000002A6A94C9D90D9E15AB.jpg‘He made it an eternal heap of ruins’ (Josh. 8.28),Image 100000000000009000000028DFC8F56473BA9469.jpg‘and its houses and its treasuries’ (1 Chron. 28.11),Image 10000000000000BE0000002950AEF24983527A48.jpg‘and these three men’ (Dan. 3.23). I do not know anybody who differs (in reading) with regard to these three tavs. As for the formImage 100000000000003600000020C913152446DD937A.jpg, there were differences (of reading) with regard to it.


Take note that the Tiberians said that they have a resh that is not read (in the same way) by anybody else. It is likely that the climate of their town caused this. It has the same status as the tav in the wordImage 10000000000000340000001E6CEAA2FFF5717FAB.jpgaccording to the view of Ben Naftali, who gives it a grade in between two grades.


The resh in their tradition is associated with specific letters, just as theImage 100000000000004B0000001E3EC795D506C99290.jpgare associated with the lettersImage 10000000000000300000001FC1C21C621A3CC412.jpg, namelyImage 100000000000004B0000001FA676A5D4C046A255.jpgandImage 1000000000000020000000275F12F528403699A8.jpg. Two of these eight letters operate both before the resh and after it, namelyImage 100000000000001D0000002CEB6E0159DDCC2DFF.jpg, and the six other letters before the resh. The eight letters affect the resh only when shewa is under it or (when shewa is) under the eight letters that are specific to it.


The light resh in their tradition is (in words) such asImage 10000000000000840000002799068224E692F6C6.jpg‘Harness the chariot! ’ (Micah 1.13),Image 100000000000006E00000027CDC91C8C9AC506B2.jpg‘drops of the night’ (Cant. 5.2),Image 10000000000000A20000002AE4EB0DA27C474355.jpg‘in his second chariot’ (Gen. 41.43). Such cases and similar ones are their normal pronunciation of the letter, for they consider it to be the light resh.


The major resh in their tradition are cases such asImage 1000000000000052000000295DD1DC826866852C.jpg‘Have you seen?’ (2 Kings 6.32),Image 100000000000004F0000002D997D2983CD09E2BD.jpg‘to irritate her’ (1 Sam. 1.6), and the like.


The grade between two grades (of the resh) where dalet precedes it are cases such asImage 100000000000005800000029777435742F8EA7FB.jpg‘the roads to Zion’ (Lam. 1.4),Image 100000000000003C0000002A96ED255F6A0E79CC.jpg‘his way’ (Gen. 24.21),Image 100000000000004800000026665D055C8D4BC5C9.jpg‘to contempt’ (Dan. 12.2). Cases with zayin areImage 100000000000003A00000026866AAAD968267F55.jpg‘dripping’ (Psa. 72.6),Image 100000000000007400000028F5C38AD6A313F557.jpg‘any of his offspring to Molech’ (Lev. 20.2),Image 100000000000003A0000002767C8AACBC854ED4C.jpg‘He scatters’ (Isa. 28.25). Cases with ṣade areImage 10000000000000320000001A0DC43543C035552F.jpg‘the crucible’ (Prov. 17.3),Image 100000000000003B000000289D257D8C9356F9EA.jpg‘as testing’ (Zech. 13.9),Image 100000000000005E00000022166A2ED2CF0AC354.jpg‘as far as Zarephath’ (Obd. 1.20). Cases of tav areImage 1000000000000046000000243503BD9B6B5B11B8.jpg‘you spread out’ (Job 37.18),Image 1000000000000058000000268278F1877243B72C.jpg‘and Taralah’ (Josh. 18.27),Image 1000000000000044000000247CB3AB843E8FD135.jpg‘you will (not) cause to breed’ (Lev. 19.19). Cases of tet areImage 1000000000000098000000282F1A0E76315EC664.jpg‘all the leaves of its sprouting’ (Ezek. 17.9),Image 100000000000007D0000002A218C15B5E9CE5B89.jpg‘He is eager to tear’ (Psa. 17.12),Image 100000000000006C0000002B06CA725D01B13C4D.jpg‘the rains of his strength’ (Job 37.6). A case with samekh isImage 10000000000000560000001E1BF5E7A33BF3A0C7.jpg‘its boughs’ (Ezek. 31.5). Cases with lamed areImage 100000000000003B00000026840E9C9D67D5AAE6.jpg‘to wash’ (Gen. 24.32),Image 10000000000000440000002E8864D5B836AFDDAD.jpg‘to graze’ (1 Sam. 17.15),Image 100000000000004C000000268507E8BDEC5CD1EF.jpg‘for your favour’ (Lev. 19.5),Image 100000000000003B0000002632D70BF438533B92.jpg‘for his favour’ (Lev. 1.3). Cases with nun are ס ְַ נר ֵ֣ י ‘rulers of’ (Josh. 13.3),Image 1000000000000032000000288965B5EEC27B7493.jpg‘my nard’ (Cant. 1.12). They call these cases and similar ones a grade (of resh) between two grades, namely (the grades of) dagesh and rafe. Whoever investigates this carefully (will see that) it is as they say, since the difference is clear between the resh ofImage 1000000000000032000000267AB499ADF256ACB4.jpgand יImage 100000000000003D00000027AAE453C046DB5B56.jpgand (the resh) that is adjacent to the eight letters (preceding it) when they have shewa under them or when shewa is under it. Its heaviness is clear compared to the lightness of the resh ofImage 100000000000003600000028C52F5A92E98019D7.jpgand the like.


20It has been stated previously that I do not know anything that I can report about the zāy makrūkh. I only mentioned it so that it be known that letters have different attributes and because speech is dependent on letters.

II.L.1.10. Conjugations

Take note that the people of the language made the conjugations of the language in four categories: from one root letter, such asImage 100000000000002E00000024C492C632A0DA3235.jpg‘hit’ and the like, from two letters, such asImage 100000000000003100000024ADB8E3A0D2485EA5.jpg‘build’ and the like, from three letters, such asImage 1000000000000032000000237162AC7E94979E0B.jpgand the like and from four letters, such asImage 10000000000000370000002433DAF9DEB167311E.jpg‘wrap’, and the like. A letter may also change position in a word with the result that its meaning changes. I shall mention here the phenomenon of change of position in one word as an example:Image 100000000000002E0000002468D238B2334F758A.jpgwith three letters from ‘becoming evening’,Image 100000000000005E00000024B76A539035444BEB.jpg‘sweet to a man’ (Prov. 20.17) from the lexical class of ‘delight’,Image 100000000000005C0000002696CBE39C8C507C52.jpg‘heavy swarm’ (Exod. 8.20) from the lexical class of ‘mixing’,Image 10000000000000620000002ABF3D9D8EF8942F45.jpg‘ (every) raven according to its kind’ (Lev. 11.15), a bird,Image 100000000000009F00000026EB1C4E6D07BF2342.jpg‘Oreb and Zeeb’ (Jud. 7.25), the name of a man. When you change the position of their letters, they becomeImage 10000000000000380000002C24BB97CABF593FC3.jpg‘Bera’ (Gen. 14.2), the name of a man,Image 10000000000000350000002833F7F09D92F41699.jpg‘a quarter’,Image 100000000000003000000028A4D1601F5D734304.jpg‘stupidity’ from (the lexical class) of ‘being stupid’, fromImage 10000000000000A5000000289551262A4C974124.jpg‘The stupid man does not know’ (Psa. 92.7),Image 10000000000000820000002890F85ADFDACD1272.jpg‘when (a man) causes (a field or vineyard) to be grazed over’ (Exod. 22.4) from the lexical class of ‘trampling, befouling with dung’,Image 100000000000005F000000247CE249DD4CC7773D.jpg‘He ignited fire’ (Jud. 15.5) from the lexical class of ‘kindling and setting fire’, andImage 100000000000007000000024E827DC0C7D7C91F4.jpg‘and you will remove the evil’ (Deut. 13.6, etc.) from the lexical class of ‘removing’.

II.L.1.11. Chapter concerning the Occurrence of Letters for the Sake of Enhancement


Take note that you do not find in the Bible a word that consists of less than two letters, as, for example,Image 100000000000002A0000001EBF8F4B252C766113.jpg‘surely, but’,Image 100000000000001D0000001DEDDC3E592A6CB3BC.jpg‘for, when’,Image 100000000000001D0000001D428B451731643675.jpg‘in it’,Image 100000000000001E0000001E080328E37690097A.jpg‘from’,Image 1000000000000025000000269F5CE7B8A0C82570.jpg‘upon’,Image 100000000000001D0000001E02208C00066AED3A.jpg‘who’. A word may consist of three letters, for example,Image 100000000000003700000028C550DA8BFA3DF866.jpg‘keep’,Image 1000000000000028000000221223556821511D2D.jpg‘remember’,Image 10000000000000300000002CD1E4172F3B3488DE.jpg‘pass’. It may consist of four letters, for exampleImage 100000000000003C00000028B2708A5FAD9C3C9F.jpg‘wrap’, fromImage 1000000000000041000000284CD326EE3255E706.jpgImage 10000000000000360000003168123F1B6F9C14A4.jpg‘and David was wrapped’ (1 Chron. 15.27). Expressions may be constructed from five up to eleven letters. We have not found more than that number. This is found in only three words:Image 100000000000006C0000001D8D7704D27A3C84F4.jpg‘and in their abominations’ (Ezek. 16.47),Image 100000000000007400000024C15CD351FE9759D3.jpg‘according to your deeds’ (Ezek. 20.44),Image 100000000000008700000027768DF8F07A3B2C52.jpg‘and the satraps’ (Esther 9.3). It has been said that it would have been possible for the people of the language to use twelve letters in the expressionImage 100000000000008A00000028386B4EC14011062C.jpg‘and from your strength’ (cf.Image 100000000000005A0000002266DCAD90D0DC8A63.jpg‘and strength’ Psa. 68.35) and other expressions according as the need may have arisen. As for words of two letters, when you move the first to the (position of) the last and the last to the (position of) the first, they turn out to be a functional part of speech consisting of two parts, for example,Image 1000000000000027000000281956D4E38F3FD375.jpg‘father’—Image 1000000000000025000000262C00EA4921041B62.jpg‘he came’,Image 10000000000000230000002AF548AAE915761A61.jpg‘he measured’—Image 100000000000001E0000002A901D97617EE99DE3.jpg‘to you’,Image 100000000000002300000028EC785CDE738D36DA.jpg‘Gad’ —Image 1000000000000024000000248F3002BEE7400C43.jpg‘fish’, ח ֹ ם ‘heat’—Image 1000000000000029000000223CC9EBB0BC87E8DD.jpg‘brain’,Image 10000000000000270000002030767F9EF5C765B4.jpg‘pour’—Image 10000000000000220000002014DD122D71424C77.jpg‘end’, and similar cases.


An expression consisting of two or more letters may be enhanced. Enhancement includes various different types. A noun that is enhanced by he, as inImage 100000000000003D0000002423AC171DED71D008.jpg‘Azmon’—Image 100000000000004C0000002AEB87CC55B7D7AADA.jpg‘to Azmon’ (Josh. 15.4),Image 1000000000000038000000285A22788E1B3B88FC.jpg‘Devir’—Image 100000000000003A000000273396032795AAED94.jpg‘to Devir’ (Josh. 10.38, etc.),Image 100000000000002E0000002A13085B4D263B7E2F.jpg‘Babylon’—Image 10000000000000340000002A8C1C2B417F0B85DA.jpg‘to Babylon’ (2 Kings 20.17, etc.) is one type. A second type is where a feminine noun ending in he is enhanced by tav, for exampleImage 100000000000003600000020D71597CFBDBE17E3.jpg‘storm’—Image 100000000000004000000022F3AB80723C733A50.jpg‘storm’ (Hos. 8.7),Image 100000000000003400000022417E9433452B5860.jpg‘darkness’—Image 10000000000000400000002722CFD298468F75EF.jpg‘darkness’ (Job 10.22),Image 100000000000004000000028A36961331859DE31.jpg‘salvation’—Image 10000000000000510000002629C81C71A15593A8.jpg‘salvation’ (Psa. 3.3, etc.), and similar cases. It may be said that inImage 100000000000009B0000002693F739ADC23690B0.jpg‘to Egypt’ (Gen. 46.3, etc.) andImage 100000000000004A0000002C5AD9706508D2062B.jpgImage 10000000000000560000002CF8C02D54F6B4EE41.jpg‘to Jerusalem’ (1 Kings 10.2, etc.) that the he at the end of the word is in place ofImage 1000000000000029000000295A3A5F9583958008.jpg‘to’. A verb may also be enhanced with he, as inImage 100000000000004A000000239E1C9697230BF9C4.jpg‘pardon’ (Num. 14.19)—Image 100000000000003900000027381D97935AFF077D.jpg‘pardon’ (Dan. 9.19),Image 100000000000003600000024E854ABE77BE67072.jpg‘hear’—Image 100000000000004400000026D0ECA96C6C249573.jpg‘hear’ (Dan. 9.19),Image 100000000000002D0000001CC8F6511E31D2D4D6.jpg‘return’—Image 100000000000003700000028788BA22380F13AFB.jpg‘RETURN’ (Num. 10.36, etc.),Image 100000000000002C000000225AEEE7E9FDD246D4.jpg‘arise’—Image 100000000000003B00000026C4ACA0472B2DB299.jpg‘arise’ (Num. 10.35, etc.).


Inflected nouns may be enhanced by yod, for exampleImage 10000000000000430000002AD283758B5784D22D.jpg‘the one sitting’ (Psa. 123.1),Image 100000000000004800000025DDBDB68884F6E586.jpg‘the one who changes’ (Psa. 114.8),Image 1000000000000054000000220E4C783AA6439406.jpg‘the one who makes high’ (Psa. 113.5),Image 100000000000005C000000256295C4B3BDE6CF2C.jpg‘the one who makes low’ (Psa. 113.6). Feminine nouns may also be enhanced by yod, as inImage 100000000000005400000027717C5DB529812FEB.jpg‘your diseases’ (Psa. 103.3),Image 100000000000004A000000299B71B3F18CB0D76F.jpg‘your youth’ (Psa. 103.5),Image 100000000000003B00000026DE40E78E0A03C0C5.jpg‘your life’ (Psa. 103.4). Nouns may also be enhanced by vav, for exampleImage 1000000000000050000000290E851663B9F3BF3B.jpg‘the son of Beor’ (Num. 24.3, etc.),Image 100000000000005C0000002C452EBC5A392D89DC.jpg‘beasts of the earth’ (Gen. 1.24),Image 100000000000006C0000002556C97845AF45CCED.jpg‘into a spring of water’ (Psa. 114.8).


Functional particles may be enhanced by yod, for exampleImage 10000000000000B20000003097FD8B4C7E0DAB27.jpg‘on a ten-stringed instrument and on a harp’ (Psa. 92.4), ﬠ ַ ד ‘until’—Image 100000000000002C0000002014003D352F05BB25.jpg‘until’. Functional particles may also be enhanced by mem and vav, for exampleImage 100000000000009C0000002866EC4DE83C25CB66.jpg‘I strengthen you with my mouth’ (Job 16.5), the virtual form of which isImage 100000000000010800000025E9355A7BB46252E2.jpg‘and I shake my head at you’ (Job 16.4), the virtual form of which isImage 10000000000000E4000000224A02F911D3E3676F.jpg‘when you walk through fire’ (Isa. 43.2), the virtual form of which isImage 1000000000000036000000253DD6BE80F271CB1D.jpg. The same is found in the middle of words, for exampleImage 100000000000004600000022B9A69243E370AEC9.jpg‘like them’—Image 100000000000003200000022288562A9F733D1E1.jpg‘like them’ (2 Kings 17.15).


Take note that somebody who has discussed enhancement has stated thatImage 100000000000008B0000002BC753615EA465BCF1.jpg‘and with my song I give thanks to him’ (Psa. 28.7) is enhanced by he, and that if it was not enhanced, it would have beenImage 100000000000003D000000251C2B71B2E86854EB.jpg. Likewise he has statedImage 10000000000000390000002920C0E481F61A54A4.jpg‘he saves’ is enhanced toImage 100000000000004400000028538DFF48AAB8B5F0.jpg‘he saves’ (1 Sam. 17.47, etc.), and also U וּדוֹי ‘they praise you’—Image 100000000000003A00000025F59EB24F1FD8D152.jpg‘they praise you’ (Psa. 45.18). The situation is not, however, as he states, because the imperative forms areImage 10000000000000390000002200D41591222D5A14.jpgandImage 1000000000000037000000235A9F82C36786F65C.jpgand it is the rule that the (prefixed) letter of the future is attached to the imperatives of active verbs, so in the formsImage 100000000000009000000025303CAAE3FA49C552.jpgandImage 10000000000000400000002A32FD2D38F28EE423.jpgthe he is part of the basic structure and it is not a he of enhancement. Since, however, the people of the language regarded this as heavy, they elided the hes in such forms, in order to make the word lighter. You will find this explained in the books of the grammarians.


Verbs may be enhanced by a vav at the end of the word, for exampleImage 100000000000008E00000028BB87022CCDBBEFE7.jpg‘and you will drive them out from before you’ (Exod. 23.31), the virtual form of which isImage 10000000000000540000002AE365DA6A0930CC63.jpgSimilar examples areImage 10000000000000E00000002935B2AC2D6357C2A6.jpg‘make them move by your power, and bring them down’ (Psa. 59.12),Image 100000000000009400000027B010599305BFA7AF.jpg‘for (you are) the glory of their strength’ (Psa. 89.18), and further cases.

II.L.1.12. Section


21One person who has discussed enhancement has said that identical successive letters are enhanced in (ways that fall into) two categories. The first category is (an enhancement) of a letter by another identical letter, whereby they become two letters. The second is (an enhancement) of two letters by two identical adjacent letters, whereby they become four.


Examples of the first category include the following. Bet:Image 1000000000000028000000246E0C989655E5D41B.jpgImage 1000000000000038000000225169886EF4FD7E70.jpg‘They still bring forth fruit’ (Psa. 92.15), which does not have successive letters, andImage 1000000000000072000000265D5BBE0FC917D811.jpg‘It will make the maidens flourish’ (Zech. 9.17). Gimel:Image 100000000000004D0000002B0F56761B925D8293.jpg‘that they may hold a feast for me’ (Exod. 5.1),Image 100000000000004000000025DC642248967E8163.jpg‘and celebrating’ (1 Sam. 30.16). Dalet:Image 100000000000005800000024371F852DF51C513C.jpg‘and you should not waver’ (Jer. 4.1),Image 100000000000009E0000002B5AD2190ABA9861AE.jpgImage 100000000000004E00000021A856D95B494E81C2.jpg‘whenever you spoke of him, you shook your head’ (Jer. 48.27). He:Image 100000000000006E00000027251F51A33295864B.jpg‘ (My eye) has grown dim from anger’ (Job 17.1),Image 100000000000007000000026C69C1D75C8151A80.jpg‘ (Let his right eye) be utterly blinded’ (Zech. 11.17). Zayin:Image 100000000000005200000027955E9F2587EAC835.jpg‘Plunder the silver’ (Nahum 2.10),Image 1000000000000034000000254C12056F9DA09042.jpgImage 10000000000000620000002B09E6D4C172B78DAC.jpg‘and they will plunder those who plunder them’ (Ezek. 39.10). Ḥet:Image 100000000000004A0000002565DEE007BCF7CE34.jpg‘I will complain’ (Job 7.11, etc.),Image 1000000000000051000000296D0C5B314652F881.jpg‘I muse’ (Psa. 143.5). Ṭet:Image 100000000000003E00000025BE948BF7F936F4DD.jpg‘are shaken’ (Psa. 82.5),Image 1000000000000033000000271CC3BDB5D0F9BA74.jpgImage 100000000000005E00000024D62B585E2BEE66BD.jpg‘is violently shaken’ (Isa. 24.19); שׁ ֽ טוּ ‘go through’ (2 Sam. 24.2),Image 100000000000003F00000029CE52E413C55ABDD4.jpg‘go through’ (Jer. 5.1). Yod:Image 100000000000003A000000243DFD22919A15E7F6.jpg‘Kittim’ (Gen. 10.4, etc.),Image 100000000000003C000000262628D8F5AD30B18B.jpg‘Kittim’ (Jer. 2.10,. etc.). Kaf:Image 100000000000009C000000220378F544ED121A4F.jpg‘when the anger of the king had abated’ (Esther 2.1),Image 1000000000000070000000215A08DAD4E38C95B8.jpgImage 100000000000003C00000029F6739DD6D7C37429.jpg‘The anger of the king abated’ (Esther 7.10). Lamed:Image 1000000000000030000000206A0BC292117A7580.jpg‘withers’ (Job 18.16),Image 100000000000003E0000002A9103B41B916834A4.jpg‘withers’ (Psa. 90.6). Mem:Image 100000000000003A0000002749EBE66757D4C748.jpg‘in silence’ (Psa. 94.17),Image 1000000000000038000000248321FC6EE07C90D2.jpg‘in silence’ (Isa. 47.5, etc.). Nun: יImage 100000000000004A0000002C9AAB1BBC8F916B31.jpg‘and I will establish’ (1 Chron. 17.11, etc.),Image 100000000000004600000028AAFB53B81E019A5D.jpg‘and I will establish’ (2 Sam. 7.13). Samekh:Image 100000000000002E0000002AF7F63A6B5C552B88.jpg‘to moisten’ (Ezek. 46.14),Image 100000000000003E0000002AD2CC1F4127F4859C.jpg‘drops’ (Cant. 5.2). ʿAyin:Image 10000000000000440000002C8FFCAA1866E0C14F.jpg‘You shall break them’ (Psa. 2.9),Image 100000000000008200000025B2939A2C061D2F86.jpg‘is utterly broken’ (Isa. 24.19). Pe: וֹImage 10000000000000510000002ABDF4681DDD2EC7E4.jpg‘and he will wave his hand’ (2 Kings 5.11, etc.),Image 10000000000000530000002D8773FEE92B6EE07E.jpg‘He will shake his hand’ (Isa. 10.32). Ṣade:Image 100000000000003400000025B12B62BB4C952199.jpg‘and he divided’ (Gen. 32.8, etc.),Image 10000000000000BC00000029039B365AE3AFDE81.jpg‘while the number of his months have been cut in two’ (Job 21.21). Qof:Image 10000000000000A00000002AF76A0C84F94E0BFB.jpg‘and a place for gold that they refine’ (Job 28.1),Image 100000000000003D00000028992ECDD34E6C69B2.jpg‘refined’ (1 Chron. 28.18, etc.). Resh:Image 1000000000000065000000255F66CE7ED8A8EE7D.jpg‘Curse Meroz’ (Jud. 5.23),Image 1000000000000058000000281FFE42DF6C6D56AE.jpg‘Curse bitterly’ (Jud. 5.23). Shin:Image 10000000000000840000002A2E79B87DB4495196.jpg‘and they waited until they were disappointed’ (Jud. 3.25),Image 100000000000003B00000024B161C485E893EB0E.jpg‘He disappointed (by delaying)’ (Exod. 32.1);Image 100000000000009E0000002B10FB34B979C626DD.jpg‘Come together and hold assembly’ (Zeph. 2.1). Tav:Image 1000000000000042000000231231EE11CE6A60EE.jpg‘will be broken’ (1 Sam 2.10, etc.),Image 100000000000005200000029332ABF4771DC29A5.jpg‘and I will cause to be dismayed’ (Jer. 49.37). These are examples of a letter being followed by another letter to form two (identical) letters.


Now, the second category, in which two letters follow two letters, include cases such asImage 100000000000007A00000027B387385CDDE10D90.jpg‘smashed the jars’ (Jud. 7.19),Image 100000000000005A000000291EC463908D79D80D.jpg‘and he dashed me to pieces’ (Job 16.12);Image 100000000000006400000026546604A2CEC2C4B5.jpg‘The cedar work has been laid bare’ (Zeph. 2.14),Image 100000000000008C000000220B9B65F7641B978F.jpg‘will be laid utterly bare’ (Jer. 51.58), and other cases, which have been stated to be enhancement by a scholar who has discussed enhancement. Note, however, according to the diqduq scholars this is not enhancement. This is because the meaning (of a word) can be fully expressed without a letter of enhancement and also (a letter of enhancement) is not a fixed component of a conjugation. These scholars fall into two groups. Some of them consider it (i.e. the enhanced letter in the examples above) to be a root letter due to the fact that it is a fixed component of the conjugation. Others call it an auxiliary letter and do not consider that it should be called a root letter, since one may utter (inflections of) the lexical class without it, but not in the way that (inflections of) a lexical class are uttered without a letter that is for the purpose of enhancement.

II.L.1.13. Chapter on Contraction

Take note that he may occur for the sake of enhancement without expressing meaning and, conversely, it may be contracted, being indicated only by the grammar, and retain the meaning of he. It is contracted after ʾalef, as inImage 100000000000003600000027C622FDE93A895551.jpg‘He flew swiftly’ (Psa. 18.11), the virtual form of which isImage 10000000000000400000002451D43F306DE2662B.jpg, likeImage 10000000000000400000002200C212BB7BE60565.jpgImage 100000000000003200000022354AC2A4B552A617.jpg‘as (the eagle) flies swiftly’ (Deut. 28.49), its imperative beingImage 100000000000003100000026E5A23AB8B65AD4BC.jpg. He is contracted after bet, as inImage 10000000000000660000002773280CA00190FDA1.jpg‘and let the birds multiply’ (Gen. 1.22), the virtual form of which isImage 100000000000003A0000002ADE53C0F41ADC5172.jpg, and after gimel, as inImage 10000000000000300000002211E6DCC26B5A0B4E.jpg‘the roof’,Image 10000000000000380000002488DE12435B733EE2.jpg‘to the roof’ (Josh. 2.6). He is contracted after dalet, as inImage 100000000000007200000023956CD01DAF3D7CEB.jpg‘She adorns herself with her jewels’ (Isa. 61.10),Image 100000000000006E0000002662844C29CA58AC51.jpg‘She decked herself with her ring’ (Hos. 2.15). It is contracted after he:Image 1000000000000046000000285C238352E31D38B1.jpg‘will be blinded’ (Zech. 11.17),Image 100000000000003E0000002A061A2B7DAC00A323.jpg‘ (My eye) has grown dim’ (Job 17.7). It is contracted after vav:Image 100000000000003B00000022C58FC434D909E86B.jpg‘ (The king) will desire’ (Psa. 45.12),Image 100000000000004600000026B5514D21928A6E31.jpg‘and he longed’ (2 Sam. 23.15). It is contracted after zayin:Image 10000000000000580000002840B67181105F98B6.jpg‘and Esau despised’ (Gen. 25.34),Image 10000000000000A400000026647F0ADEF211BF20.jpg‘God, you will not despise’ (Psa. 51.19). It is contracted after ḥet: ו ַ יּ ִ֜ מ ַ ח ‘and he blotted out’ (Gen. 7.23),Image 10000000000000440000002694CF11BE7F5044B5.jpg‘You will blot out’ (Deut. 25.19). It is contracted after ṭet: ו ַ יּ ֵ֥ ט ‘and he stretched’ (Gen. 29.21, etc.),Image 100000000000004E00000028FB06C86D5B87C164.jpg‘ (The Lord) stretches out his hand’ (Isa. 31.3). It is contracted after yod:Image 100000000000008000000028A865DD3730192FE1.jpg‘Where is Abel your brother?’ (Gen. 4.9),Image 100000000000007A00000026E31C8A472842E088.jpg‘Where is your loving kindness?’ (Psa. 89.50). It is contracted after kaf: ֙Image 100000000000005F0000002EB07A756ACAB6FE0B.jpg‘and she wept before him’ (Jud. 14.17),Image 10000000000000A10000002A068AAEB8C9CC2633.jpg‘and she wept and did not eat’ (1 Sam. 1.17). It is contracted after lamed:Image 100000000000006A0000002642614B3C603A5F82.jpg‘He made the mists rise’ (Jer. 51.16),Image 100000000000003E00000026CFD319461EE33627.jpgImage 100000000000004000000029F42DB782B07E6A7C.jpg‘and he made the mists rise’ (Jer. 10.13). It is contracted after mem:Image 100000000000006900000027565F813E1A1FEE24.jpg‘from the north and from the south’ (Psa. 107.3, etc.),Image 1000000000000072000000278970E33CC0FDB6C4.jpg‘westward and northward’ (Deut. 3.27, etc.). It is contracted after nun:Image 10000000000000840000002A8DEB70077F7E1614.jpg‘and he built the house’ (1 Kings 6.9),Image 10000000000000320000001A8565B8F7B5043970.jpg‘and he built’ (Josh. 19.50). It is contracted after samekh:Image 100000000000009C0000001E57974B16FF290074.jpg‘I will arise and cover the earth’ (Jer. 46.8),Image 10000000000000CA0000002CF9BEC93DBFE366F6.jpg‘and it covered the face of the whole land’ (Exod. 10.15). It is contracted after ʿayin:Image 10000000000000320000002AA2119EAC54B96362.jpgImage 10000000000000DE00000029A161F85C04721939.jpg‘and the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering’ (Gen. 4.4),Image 100000000000006C0000001D7BF38CD4123BBB56.jpg‘man will regard’ (Isa. 17.7). It is contracted after pe:Image 100000000000007A0000002D0EADBFBCB77CE41D.jpg‘Do not release your hand’ (Josh. 10.6),Image 100000000000003E0000002CFED0642C4C80EA86.jpg‘release’ (Jud. 11.37). It is contracted after ṣade:Image 100000000000002E0000001C71B84F5B06EA4712.jpgImage 1000000000000077000000240A11701EA203340C.jpg‘Let it enjoy its sabbaths’ (Lev. 26.43),Image 1000000000000092000000288AB1F4CB687D117B.jpg‘Then the land will enjoy’ (Lev. 26.34). It is contracted after qof:Image 10000000000000B30000002210CF9136EB9DF534.jpg‘and he made the people of Israel drink’ (Exod. 32.20),Image 10000000000000BF0000002BF97E20C848B6934B.jpg‘and I made all the nations drink’ (Jer. 25.17). It is contracted after resh:Image 100000000000007E000000207B2221E4344F1381.jpg‘Do not pour out my soul’ (Psa. 141.8),Image 10000000000000D00000002842AEFE33855E7390.jpg‘because he poured out his soul to death’ (Isa. 53.12). It is contrated after shin:Image 1000000000000038000000244ECF95B044761F6A.jpgImage 100000000000008E000000261F522FFC20C72096.jpg‘The words of the men of Judah were harder’ (2 Sam. 19.44),Image 10000000000000910000002C0FAEC7FA7E4BB806.jpg‘It will not seem hard to you’ (Deut. 15.18). It contracts after tav: ו ַ יּ ַ֔ תאImage 100000000000008B0000002AB7BB80E88B81675C.jpg‘I stirred up (one) from the north and he has come’ (Isa. 41.25),Image 100000000000007300000026241D6F246D349289.jpg‘To you it will come’ (Micah 4.8). (To these can be added) other examples of this type.

22This is what needs to be said in the discourse on the letters. It is finished, much praise be to God.

II.L.2.0. The second discourse

II.L.2.1. Preliminary Remarks on Vowels


  • 8 I.e. they refer to the vowels.

23Discussion concerning the ‘kings’. If you wish, you may say concerning the ‘melodies’, and if you wish, you may say concerning the ‘inflections’. The meaning of these is the same.8 Four preliminary issues will be presented at the beginning of this section. Some of these have already been mentioned previously.


24The first is that speech cannot begin with a ‘melody’ (vowel), i.e. a ‘king’ (vowel). Rather it must begin with a letter. This is because when somebody begins speaking, the first component of his speech that is heard is one of the letters. He cannot begin with one of the vowels without putting a letter before it.


25The second is that when somebody begins (speech) with a letter, he must attach vocalic articulation (ʾiʿrāb) to this, since the letter cannot be deprived of this when it is the beginning (of speech).


  • 9 I.e. letters that are consonants and not ‘soft’ vowel letters.
  • 10 This word consists of two consonantal radicals, viz. ל and ך, the inflectional prefix being ignored

The third is that if somebody utters a word consisting of two letters that appear in speech,9 a vowel must come between them, I mean one of the eight vowels, as inImage 100000000000007600000023468AB838ABAA622A.jpg, and as in Tַ, ו ַ יּ ֵ ל10 and similar cases.


26The fourth is that the vowels always belong to the letters and the letters do not belong to vowels. This is because the vowels cannot function without letters. A letter may be deprived of a vowel but a vowel may not be deprived of a letter. This is because speech must consist of quiescent and mobile components and a mobile component is only made mobile by a vowel, whereas a quiescent component dispenses with this, as will be described in what follows.

II.L.2.2. Chapter concerning the Number of the Vowels and those of them that are ‘High’, those of them that are ‘Level’ and those of them that are ‘Low’, and what is Connected to this


  • 11 Literally: The angels established language by convention with him and he established it by conventi (...)

What is to be said concerning the vowels is manifest and clear, and not obscure, because it is through them that the purpose of a speaker is understood, and without them speech would be nonsense. Surely you see that in the original establishment (of language) by convention they were indispensable. This is because the origin of language was with Adam, peace be upon him. Either at the beginning the angels and he established language by mutual convention11 or they taught him language. It is not possible that God, may He be exalted, established language by convention with the angels, because the establishment by convention requires the pointing to the thing for which language is conventionally established. Pointing can only be undertaken with a limb, but He, may He be exalted, transcends the need to have limbs. If somebody were to say that He could have created a limb with which to establish (language) just as He could have created an instrument for speech, with which He could speak, (the response would be): but He must have taught them language to some extent for the sake of His first speech, namely when He said to the angelsImage 1000000000000050000000245B1966DFEC4456BA.jpg‘Let there be light’ (Gen. 1.3), and He caused this to happen after this speech and thereby obliged them to recognize that ‘light’ is the name of what came into being after the speech and they learnt this. Then other items (of language) followed a similar course. He would have helped them receive and retain (language) from the first instance.


When He saidImage 1000000000000054000000231E121053584BDCA3.jpg, the shewa in it under the yod must of necessity have been pronounced mobile and the ḥireq must have been pronounced under the he, so thatImage 10000000000000220000002207472D2307288712.jpgwas a future form. Similarly, when He said to AdamImage 10000000000000DA00000026ED561E7FAC66B399.jpg‘You may eat of every tree of the garden’ (Gen. 2.16), if He had not pronounced qameṣ under the ʾalef and ḥolem over the kaf, it would not have been known that this is an infinitive. This is because the meaning of the letters in a case such as לכא changes with pataḥ, resulting in the change of vowels into the formImage 10000000000000370000002A4705B38506A1A082.jpgWhen pataḥ occurs in the place of ḥolem, it becomes a past verb. So withImage 1000000000000034000000290D6CEDC09CDD28C3.jpg, when shewa occurs in place of qameṣ, it becomes an imperative. Likewise withImage 1000000000000034000000248180F5AAAC18BDB7.jpg, when ḥolem occurs on ʾalef and ṣere under the kaf, it becomes a participle. The changes in meaning of these three letters that you see, without themselves changing, are all due to the change of vowels, so without them none of what has been mentioned (with regard to changes of meaning) could have come about and no speech would have taken place. A similar case isImage 10000000000001080000002437211A870E1CA358.jpg.


27So it is clear to you that the vowels are not innovations but rather the fourth of the obligatory requirements, in accordance with what has been discussed previously in the first discourse. A single letter may exist without a vowel. When a speaker wants to speak, he adds to the single letter another letter, and further letters, but he is in no circumstances able to add a second letter when the first letter is deprived of a vowel. A letter is an element (of speech), but communication between people can only be achieved by combining a letter with a vowel. A letter can stand without a (subsequent) vowel but a vowel can only stand with (a preceding) letter.

II.L.2.3. Section concerning what Corresponds to Arabic Inflectional Vowels


28In this regard it has been said that vowels are a basic component of speech and every language requires certain vowels so that speakers can make their intentions understood to one another.

II.L.2.3.2. Section

29The Arabs have three inflectional vowels in their language. These are ‘raising’ (rafʿ), i.e. the vowel ḍamma, which is written above; ‘holding level’ (naṣb), i.e. the vowel fatḥa, which is written above; and ‘lowering’ (khafḍ), i.e. the vowel kasra, which is written below. They also have vowelless inflection (jazm), in which they cut short a letter, I mean they make it quiescent (without a vowel). This is a circle (sign) written over the letter that is made quiescent. ‘Raising’ (rafʿ) is a form such as Zayd-u, ‘holding level’ (naṣb) is Zayd-a and ‘lowering’ (khafḍ) is Zayd-i. They have given the agent rafʿ inflection due to its agency. They have given the patient naṣb inflection due to the occurrence of the action upon it. They have made the affixed particles bi-, ka- and li- govern khafḍ inflection and they say dār li-Zayd-in ‘a house of Zayd’, marartu bi-Zayd-in ‘I passed by Zayd’, Zayd-u ka-Bakr-in ‘Zayd is like Bakr’, and the same applies also to other particles that govern khafḍ inflection other than these three affixes, i.e. min, ʿalā, ʿan, ʾilā, fawqa, ʾasfala, taḥta, quddāma, and other khafḍ-governing particles. I have mentioned this to show that the Hebrew language has vowels corresponding to these inflectional vowels that are greater in number than those of the Arabic language. In this respect Hebrew exhibits its superiority over Arabic, as it does in other features that are not connected with the topic I have described.

II.L.2.4. Section on the Correspondence of Hebrew Vowels to Arabic Inflectional Vowels

(What corresponds to) Arabic inflectional vowels (ʾiʿrāb) in the Hebrew language consists of three categories: ‘raising’ (rafʿ), ‘holding level’ (naṣb) and ‘lowering’ (khafḍ). (What corresponds to Arabic) vowelless inflection (jazm) in Hebrew falls into two categories, one like the vowellessness of the Arabic language and the other is not found in it (i.e. in Arabic). For this reason I have said that the vowels of our language are greater in number than the inflectional vowels of Arabic. The last category (i.e. mobile shewa) is divided into three types. The first of these types corresponds to the three types of Arabic inflectional vowels. The second type corresponds to the ‘holding level’ (naṣb) only. The third type corresponds to the ‘lowering’ (khafḍ) only. What corresponds in Hebrew to (the Arabic inflectional vowel) ‘raising’ (rafʿ) are two vowels, namely וֹא and וּא . Three vowels correspond to (the Arabic inflectional vowel) ‘holding level’ (naṣb), namely ‘big fatḥa’, i.e.Image 10000000000000180000001CEDF4714C9E1EE477.jpg, ‘medium fatḥa’, i.e.Image 10000000000000180000002091C57EF61D57C1B2.jpg, and ‘small fatḥa’, i.e.Image 10000000000000180000001DF20220B4D5662B06.jpg. Two vowels correspond to (the Arabic inflectional vowel) ‘lowering’ (khafḍ), namelyImage 100000000000001D00000020B70EDCB5771BA31F.jpgandImage 100000000000001E0000001E1A09A4828DBAAD02.jpg. The vowelless inflection (jazm) is the quiescent shewa. This is the vowellessness of Arabic. The other jazm is the mobile shewa. This, as I have mentioned, is divided into three types. The shewa requires special discussion and this will come in its appropriate place, with the help of God.

II.L.2.5. Section on Rafʿ

Take note that one category of ‘raising’ (rafʿ) in the Hebrew language is used in the active participle in certain conjugations, for exampleImage 100000000000006A0000002491BAFAB014BE5C58.jpg, and other examples with this pattern,Image 100000000000006A00000026DB9B23556DA51575.jpg, and other examples with this pattern,Image 1000000000000067000000232149409ED2D45D12.jpg, and other examples with this pattern. To these should be added forms that are used for the imperative and the past such asImage 100000000000003800000020B26E559363361EF6.jpg‘be burnt’,Image 100000000000003600000028119B5D276DA22D9A.jpg‘was burnt’, and other examples of this pattern; those that are used for the imperative in the conjugaton ٦ַ נוֹכּ such asImage 1000000000000026000000209B49A6004D407738.jpg‘turn’,Image 100000000000001E00000024FF9C8605A38D78B2.jpg‘be gracious’; those that are used for the past in the conjugationImage 100000000000003500000020D52B1B74C5BEBB28.jpg, such asImage 10000000000000300000001E1705CD8D587E7E36.jpg‘be known’,Image 10000000000000340000001EF0E48C7F3923A472.jpg‘be saved’; those that are used for unconjugated nouns designating bodies and abstractions, such asImage 100000000000003A000000274C2D0397DF3357F7.jpg‘tent’,Image 100000000000003100000026C967E747B92E7BCF.jpg‘thumb’,Image 10000000000000320000002821E123AB532E21DB.jpg‘circumstance’,Image 10000000000000350000002323693D516781294D.jpg‘store’, and similar cases, and the abstractionsImage 100000000000002E000000249B257EDA4A15EAE6.jpg‘anger’,Image 1000000000000031000000246F3A5DF7B18F9135.jpg‘desolation’,Image 10000000000000300000001FD0088E6957CF994B.jpg‘speech’, and so forth. This vowel is not found in (forms expressing) a patient. This category (of rafʿ) is used for agents, just as the Arabs use [their] rafʿ for agents. The Hebrews use it for forms other than those designating agents by extension, just as the Arabs use their rafʿ for forms other than those designating agents by extension, such as topicalization, interrogative constructions, and so forth. Nobody can object to my statement that this category of rafʿ is not used in (a form expressing) a patient by saying thatImage 1000000000000074000000260B1AB10A712EF414.jpg‘the net is spread’ (Prov. 1.17) is a patient and that it has been made a patient by rafʿ, i.e.Image 100000000000001E00000020E443E8E4075ED549.jpg. This is because my statement refers only to cases where this type of rafʿ occurs at the beginning of a word with the first letter but the mem inImage 100000000000003800000022548581DB48BDD581.jpghas been placed before the rafʿ, and it is for this reason that I have stated that this category of rafʿ is not found in a patient.

II.L.2.6. Section on the Second Rafʿ

As forImage 100000000000001D000000235B8C9DBF4A176AEF.jpg, the Hebrews use this in the imperative of (conjugations in the category)Image 10000000000000370000002AB1ED4FB12557CF6C.jpg, as inImage 100000000000002D0000001BFDC48662FD2FC12B.jpg,Image 100000000000002A0000001D7CAA5B7FAB508821.jpg, and the like. They use it in a verb whose agent is not named (i.e. a passive verb), for exampleImage 10000000000000690000002674DDB7008F0E7434.jpg, and the like. They use it in concrete and abstract nouns and in the names of people. An example of a personal name isImage 1000000000000066000000272131164C824E11DF.jpg‘and Purah, your servant’ (Jud. 7.10). A concrete noun isImage 100000000000008000000022B598834124F8CD4C.jpg‘I have trodden the wine press’ (Isa. 63.3). An abstract noun isImage 100000000000003B00000028D335056AB9E81135.jpg(Psa. 94.17, etc.),Image 100000000000004000000028671F7BBA4F031E34.jpg(Psa. 22.3, etc.) ‘silence’. To these can be added further examples.

II.L.2.7. Section on Naṣb


The small naṣb, which is qameṣ, like naṣb in the language of the Arabs, is used in (forms expressing) the patient, for exampleImage 100000000000003600000026D88513B5F17CADFB.jpg‘guarded’,Image 100000000000003C0000002736C3613E1889234D.jpg‘broken’,Image 100000000000002E000000284C3BE7BCBD419CE9.jpg‘remembered’,Image 100000000000002E0000002481662A204399CFB5.jpg‘built’, and the like. It is used in the ‘absolute patient’, i.e the infinitive, as inImage 100000000000003E0000002745772B4DC1044F6A.jpg‘guarding’,Image 10000000000000310000001E772754630EAD5CD6.jpg‘remembering’,Image 1000000000000032000000269FB462E150C533A3.jpg‘building’,Image 100000000000003700000027574B11884DE9CED7.jpg‘doing’, and the like. It is used in past verbs, such asImage 100000000000003B0000002A02341A7CCBF54B8F.jpg‘he built’,Image 100000000000002C0000002464383C871E31868C.jpg‘he built’, and the like. It is used in the form that expresses both the past and the active participle such asImage 1000000000000050000000262534E4D8C0AF9A9A.jpgand words with this pattern.


The ‘big naṣb’ is used in imperatives from (conjugations in the category)Image 100000000000002300000023EBBDB9DC9B9E7D3F.jpg, such asImage 10000000000000320000002861424B8D538D5656.jpg‘hit’,Image 100000000000003200000022BA7A2FD6C4765B01.jpg‘incline’,Image 10000000000000400000002CF2F6921E17BC9CEF.jpg‘feed’,Image 100000000000003E00000028EEE15169C2B2CE40.jpg‘cause to stand’, and the like. It is used in ‘transposed infinitives’, such asImage 100000000000002E0000001E30A12D6534E8AEF5.jpg‘speak’,Image 100000000000006F0000002C89FB3996559EB7D0.jpg‘ (we) look for peace’ (Jer. 8.15, etc.), and other forms expressed by this category of naṣb.


The third (category of) naṣb, i.e. segol, is used in imperative forms such asImage 10000000000000660000002D40FDDFE0681482EA.jpg‘leave me alone’ (Deut. 9.14),Image 100000000000006A0000002604A1D31F57E5D968.jpg‘wash me thoroughly’ (Psa. 51.4). They use it in past forms such asImage 10000000000000480000002683F98FE56BE5DFD2.jpg‘he fed’,Image 100000000000003A0000002A8540A3DAE8E66787.jpg‘he made strong’,Image 100000000000003B0000002622A354290AB54AF9.jpg‘they were silent’, and so forth.

II.L.2.8. Section on Khafḍ


The khafḍ vowelImage 100000000000001A0000002242617B8137FEBFF1.jpgis used in past forms such asImage 100000000000004100000022206A112917C836BE.jpg‘he caused to rise’,Image 1000000000000038000000247EFD956984E3D530.jpg‘he bore witness’. It is used in a noun of agent (active participle) such asImage 100000000000004000000020BAAF6F3E7D2F8DA6.jpg‘causing to rise’,Image 100000000000003800000023C4AAE2E4BF86DD17.jpg‘bearing witness’. It is used in imperative forms substituting for the other category of khafḍ (i.e. ḥireq) when it is followed by one of the lettersImage 1000000000000042000000277B64D9FCF33A2E52.jpg, as inImage 100000000000003700000027CF4B2271A3B0FE52.jpg‘remove yourselves’ (Num. 16.24),Image 100000000000003A00000024B3C312A21DCCFA02.jpg֙Image 1000000000000038000000272BEEF888D0ED86D9.jpg‘remove yourselves from the midst’ (Num. 17.10), and the like.


The second category of khafḍ, i.e.Image 10000000000000240000001DF6F144C1A847F891.jpg, is used in the past of all conjugations from the categoryImage 100000000000002400000024F08A963576143FAF.jpg, for exampleImage 1000000000000034000000241E8557B60C06BBE8.jpg‘he hit’,Image 10000000000000360000002432855366C597467F.jpg‘he saved’,Image 1000000000000034000000262FA2034113232A39.jpg‘he approached’,Image 100000000000003100000026E067EE4E8D2D43C0.jpg‘he placed’,Image 100000000000002C00000028C8A988D5A88F8CC2.jpg, ‘he revealed’,Image 1000000000000038000000289229F7B7F0BA6B50.jpg‘he exiled’,Image 100000000000003100000020F1A303AF996755FB.jpg‘he spoke’,Image 100000000000002E00000027D387D6F92AB608DA.jpg‘he swallowed’,Image 100000000000002A000000246D4908574E3252AA.jpg‘he sacrificed’, נ ִ ח ַ ם ‘he comforted’,Image 100000000000004A0000002644D9D889869359C6.jpg‘he threw’,Image 100000000000004A00000028F223BA5B72077C88.jpg‘he threw’,Image 100000000000003A000000232DF00269CF9F5200.jpg‘he pushed’,Image 100000000000004800000027373EE929727AC910.jpg‘he sated’,Image 10000000000000490000002A02949F2A643B4B1F.jpg‘he sought’,Image 100000000000003F000000285C5C55BDDAA2A16B.jpg‘he bent (bow)’,Image 10000000000000410000002ACBE8350F87395A11.jpg‘he mantled’,Image 1000000000000044000000232616F6EB71651BCA.jpg‘he mocked’,Image 100000000000005500000027300E57D567A7C4E6.jpg‘he turned left’. It is used in the imperative of all conjugations in the category ofImage 100000000000003E00000032E9DDB41B75EE3581.jpg, for exampleImage 100000000000003200000028794D4A6DDCAD453B.jpg‘place’, ´ַ שׂ ִ י ‘tell’,Image 1000000000000034000000228761914B784D5A9F.jpg‘be prepared’,Image 10000000000000390000002746DD01B16BD12C39.jpg‘?’,Image 100000000000003200000027C1D2752D4A6C1DB7.jpg‘decay’,Image 100000000000003A00000025E3F1A04753521C2D.jpg‘be confused’. It is used in the imperative, the past and the active participle of most conjugations of the categoryImage 10000000000000360000002612690398F5D592FD.jpgfor exampleImage 100000000000004C00000025587711E662958A85.jpg,Image 100000000000008E0000002839BCF4494B4E0D5B.jpg. These and others are examples of the use of khafḍ, naṣb and rafʿ in the Hebrew language.

II.L.2.9. Section (Preliminary Remarks on the Shewa)

30(What corresponds to Arabic) vowellessness (jazm) in the Hebrew language is the quiescent shewa. This is because the shewa falls into two categories, quiescent and mobile. The quiescent shewa is what deprives a letter of a vowel so that it is not mobile. The mobile shewa is additional to the (inventory of) vowels of the Arabic language, (the treatment of which) has various subsections.

II.L.2.10. Section concerning the Shewa


31The shewa is divided into two categories, quiescent and mobile. There is no third category. The quiescent shewa has features by which it is distinguished from the mobile shewa. The mobile shewa has two features by which it is distinguished from the quiescent shewa.


A feature of the quiescent shewa is that it makes a letter under which it occurs quiescent and makes it part of the preceding (syllabic) group, for exampleImage 100000000000004600000029A5F2FB4A5FEAAD58.jpg‘Israel’,Image 10000000000000480000002673E8649E292AB9F0.jpg‘Jehdeiah’,Image 100000000000003000000026A397846AD7A9B857.jpg‘Zimri’,Image 1000000000000043000000296357E3A0049ACE26.jpg‘for cleansing’ (Ezek. 16.4),Image 100000000000007000000024E7510AD7F740AC4D.jpg‘my graven image and my molten image’ (Isa. 48.5). So the letter under which the (quiescent) shewa occurs becomes quiescent. Whatever letter it occurs under is not mobile at all and it (the quiescent shewa) cuts it off from what is after it and conjoins it to what is before it.


Another of it features is that it divides a word into (units) that have the status of words. This is because every letter at the end of a word is quiescent when it is deprived of an accompanying vowel and this letter that is deprived of a vowel is the stopping point of the word and its place of division, as inImage 100000000000005400000028C62A1852016FDD53.jpgin which the tav is the stopping point of the word, and רוֹא , in which the resh is the stopping point of the word, and so forth. A quiescent shewa in the middle of a word has the same status, for it is in a sense a stopping point on account of its quiescence, for exampleImage 100000000000008200000024391414CFDAF7F04F.jpg‘and the satraps’ (Esther 9.3),Image 100000000000006400000026DA7CEFF8CEA99628.jpg‘those who chirp’ (Isa. 8.19). Each of these two expressions has the status of three words on account of the quiescent shewa. If it were absent, this division would not be admissible.


Another of its features is that it indicates the feminine gender in many cases, for example,Image 10000000000000780000002C414C1FAE9F0E8026.jpg‘you (fs.) washed and you painted (fs.) (your eyes)’ (Ezek. 23.40), and similar cases. Forms such asImage 100000000000003200000025BC76CD7B321B740C.jpgandImage 100000000000002E000000283E4F0F616ABFC24C.jpgare not counterevidence, since I did not say that it occurred at the end of a word only to express the feminine gender, but that it indicates feminine gender in many cases.

II.L.2.11. Section on the Nature of Mobile Shewa


32A feature of mobile shewa is that when it occurs under a letter, the letter is not in any way static or at rest. If a speaker wished to make it quiescent, he would never speak, just as if a speaker wanted to always make a quiescent shewa mobile, … .



Another of its features is that it does not make the letter following it quiescent but rather only makes the third letter after it quiescent. This statement is valid since it (the mobile shewa) itself is not removed from under its letter but rather its letter is made mobile and the letter after it is made light (i.e. rafe). Quiescence may occur in the third letter or one greater (in number) than that. Examples of the occurrence of quiescence on the third letter areImage 10000000000000520000002828E9C203FD48A130.jpg‘in Israel’,Image 1000000000000053000000287067687D4AF6DCB0.jpg‘in Jezreel’,Image 10000000000000480000002C5FB238C0CABF75B5.jpg‘to Jeremiah’ (Neh. 12.12, etc.). Examples (of quiescence) in a later syllable areImage 10000000000000540000002928904D67077E33FF.jpg‘in the beginning’,Image 100000000000004000000026BEB9193CB159D3A8.jpg‘in the land (of)’,Image 100000000000003E0000002390E708DFB05AE8C3.jpg‘with a sword’, and similar cases.


34And if somebody were to say ‘What are the full facts concerning the two of them, I mean the quiescent and the mobile shewa?’, the response would be as follows. As for the quiescent shewa, I do not know any more of its distinctive features than those that I have already mentioned. With regard to the mobile shewa, it must be treated in various subsections. All the following subsections, therefore, concern the mobile shewa rather than the quiescent shewa. It is not necessary to mention the corresponding quiescent shewa in each place, since it is sufficient to say that the quiescent shewa does not have any more features than those that have been mentioned. I shall present below the various subsections concerning the mobile shewa.

II.L.2.12. Chapter concerning the Mobile Shewa and what is Related to this

35Take note that the inventory (of letters) consists of twenty-two basic letters, in addition to which there are the ‘straight’ letters, the letters with rafe and the letters ‘between two grades’, as has been stated previously. The discussion here relates only to basic features and not to secondary features.

II.L.2.12.1. The First Subsection


This is its influence by the four lettersImage 100000000000003D00000026C936B568593E4E28.jpg. When these four letters are preceded by a letter that is not one of them and under this letter there is shewa, the shewa is pronounced as a shortened vowel like the vowel that is under one of the four letters. Now, if it is appropriate for gaʿya to occur on it, it is pronounced equal to the vowel (following it). For example,Image 1000000000000054000000222CA58E4EF548B459.jpg‘and if thus’ (Num. 11.15), in which shewa is under vav and the vav is pronounced with ḥireq like that which is under the ʾalef, but shortened since it it does not have gaʿya. Surely you see that when it is appropriate for it to have gaʿya, it is pronounced with the (vowel) pronounced on the letter equally, without any difference, for exampleImage 100000000000005E0000002B5A761BECCCA4C3A9.jpg‘and if there remains’ (Exod. 29.34). Similar to the preceding examples areImage 100000000000006000000024A727E3A90FBAB50F.jpg‘and Taanach’ (Jud. 1.27),Image 10000000000000A8000000279C8D7790859CBF19.jpg‘Megiddo and Gezer’ (1 Kings 9.15), in which the shewa is pronounced as a shortened segol. When, however, you sayImage 10000000000000550000002D07F4DA26653C38B2.jpg‘and his sons’ (Gen. 9.1, etc.), the shewa is pronounced with a segol of full length on account of the gaʿya, and so also other cases where shewa is pronounced with the pointing of the ʾalef.


As for he, a shewa before it is pronounced with the vowel of the he, for example inImage 100000000000003800000024B42E9424AD611512.jpgthe shewa is pronounced as a short qameṣ on account of the absence of gaʿya. When gaʿya is appropriate, the shewa is pronounced with the qameṣ of the he with its full length, for example . InImage 100000000000004600000029843149C296080EBA.jpgthe shewa is pronounced with a shortened qibbuṣ, due to the absence of gaʿya, and other cases where shewa is pronounced like the pointing of the he.


Ḥet: Examples of shewa before ḥet areImage 100000000000006C000000258BD76F7B26FB267F.jpg‘it is far’ (Jdg 18.28),Image 1000000000000082000000289AA638342FB0C530.jpg‘for (I heard) the voice of a woman in travail’ (Jer. 4.31),Image 1000000000000065000000284D2A99C7DDF410E0.jpg‘and the sword will rage’ (Hosea 11.6),Image 100000000000003C00000023889005C1F6A8BB74.jpg֙Image 100000000000004400000027974A026EB5641F98.jpg‘and the skilfully woven band’ (Exod. 28.8, etc.),Image 100000000000005A0000002A7921588CB984F920.jpgImage 100000000000003600000024E979FC9DC2EC4125.jpg‘and your palate is the best of wine’ (Cant. 7.10), and other cases.


ʿAyin: Examples of shewa before ʿayin areImage 100000000000009E000000275C39600AAFA861B8.jpg‘blessed be the Lord for ever’ (Psa. 89.53), in which the lamed ofImage 1000000000000040000000289614FBFC4E419A33.jpgis pronounced with a ḥolem like the ʿayin but shortened. When it is appropriate for it to have gaʿya, there is no difference between the shewa and the ḥolem, for exampleImage 1000000000000090000000286419448DCB0C5FCB.jpg‘may his name be for ever’ (Psa. 72.17). Similar cases areImage 100000000000009A000000293D04C5D0439ACB99.jpg‘and if it is bad in your eyes’ (Josh. 24.15),Image 100000000000007C0000002650C246E60C1B467C.jpg‘in the eyes of God’ (Prov. 3.4),Image 100000000000003800000028B5CF7067707FD3BA.jpg‘and a man’ (Gen. 2.5, etc.),Image 10000000000000360000002A68389161EB452189.jpg֙Image 10000000000000420000002893D593FF99FB84A9.jpg‘and the boundary goes up’ (Josh. 15.6, etc.),Image 100000000000007000000026FA24857D51E9B68E.jpg‘and Ephron was sitting’ (Gen. 23.10),Image 10000000000000650000002C65F6E4EADB02B703.jpg‘and the fortified cities’ (Josh. 19.35), and other cases.


36Now this rule applies to shewa with the four letters when shewa is under a letter that is not one of the four.


When it is of one of the four, the rule does not apply, for exampleImage 100000000000006000000028829387F6230F635E.jpg‘let them clap their hands’ (Psa. 98.8, etc.),Image 1000000000000068000000273CBBCACFD7D92D11.jpg‘ (the house of) their God which’ (Ezra 7.16). If it is said ‘Why is it that these four letters differ in this way from the other letters when they come before (another of the four letters) and have shewa, and why does the rule not apply to all (letters)?’, the response to him would be as follows. Since the letter (i.e. one of theImage 100000000000004200000025546213A85DDC1583.jpgletters) that is before the four letters requires a vowel together with shewa (i.e. a vowel represented by a ḥaṭef sign), the vowel (of the ḥaṭef) is dominant, so the shewa does not have any influence and the ḥet ofImage 100000000000004000000023C39A4C583B06619F.jpgis pronounced with pataḥ and the he ofImage 100000000000004A000000288B0324B7C8BD1976.jpgis also pronounced with it. MoreoverImage 10000000000000420000002288A42AE255552ADD.jpgcannot be pronounced with pataḥ and shureq and it is also not possible for it be pronounced with shureq and not pataḥ, for if it were pronounced with shureq, I mean qibbuṣ, there would be no reason for pataḥ to occur. Since these two situations are impossible, it must be pronounced with pataḥ, due to its natural association with it. What has been said concerningImage 100000000000005A0000002A606A3247394CBEC5.jpgapplies equally toImage 1000000000000048000000251A67ADA46DA3FEC9.jpg. If somebody says ‘Why are the other letters not like these four letters when they are before the aforementioned (four letters), especially when every shewa under a letter must be pronounced as a vowel when…


II.L.2.12.2. The Second Subsection


… . because shewa has not changed form but rather is adjacent to it, just as qameṣ is adjacent to pataḥ and other vowels. This is demonstrated by the fact that mem inImage 100000000000004600000026D869A1CC6E6FB070.jpg‘to Jeremiah’ has shewa under it and the yod after it has qameṣ under it, but the shewa is not pronounced like qameṣ but rather is pronounced like ḥireq, unlike the four letters. The shewa of the four letters is restricted by what is before it, but the shewa of yod is not restricted by what is after it. The difference, therefore, is clear between the two subsections.


If somebody were to say ‘What is the value of us knowing this?’, the response to him would be as follows. When shewa comes before yod, in most cases this is an indication of the indefinite. If a vowel were to occur in place of it, this would be an indication of the definite, for exampleImage 10000000000000700000002611E088AC91E67B47.jpg‘on the day of your sacrifice’ (Lev. 19.6), (which is) indefinite, andImage 100000000000006600000026450C990B794AE71A.jpgImage 100000000000002C000000253044B6046914DEDF.jpg‘on that day, a vineyard’ (Isa. 27.2), (which is) definite,Image 100000000000003000000027D4720974187C7335.jpgImage 100000000000006100000022259EF07B735E267F.jpg‘He turned the sea into dry land’ (Psa. 66.6), (which is) indefinite,Image 10000000000000B2000000284F01022A55A1BE4B.jpg‘Israel passed on the dry land’ (Josh. 4.22), (which is) definite, and so forth.

II.L.2.12.3. The Third Subsection


The remainder of the inventory of letters amounts to seventeen letters. If yod (which has been discussed above) is added to them, they come to eighteen letters. Shewa under these eighteen letters is pronounced as a short pataḥ. Examples of cases in which it is not appropriate for gaʿya to occur includeImage 100000000000004F000000240A860BBDB98A813E.jpg‘in a multitude of people’ (Prov. 14.28),Image 100000000000005C0000002E6B8775E9E29E6CCD.jpg‘your evictions’ (Ezek. 45.9),Image 100000000000007E000000287A966034B200794C.jpg‘I have seen his ways’ (Isa. 57.18),Image 1000000000000061000000226355BC145C9F21B2.jpg‘and the head of Oreb’ (Jud. 7.25),Image 100000000000006100000026716B70CC4E43C780.jpg‘remember, oh Lord’ (Psa. 132.1),Image 10000000000000720000002A9E2C425141582FF4.jpg‘unclean of name’ (Ezek. 22.5),Image 100000000000008200000027A65AAF4770235AEE.jpg‘fear the Lord’ (Jos. 24.14), and other cases with these eighteen letters. If one were to say ‘Tell me about the shewa that is pronounced as pataḥ under these eighteen letters. Is it substituting for another (pronunciation), or is it alone the pronunciation that is the rule under the letters to the exclusion of any other, or is this pronunciation together with another the rule under them, or what is the situation concerning this?’, the response to him would be as follows. These letters are pronounced as pataḥ. It is a feature of this pataḥ that it is only pronounced short. Shewa is the only way to represent this shortness. Since according to their principles shewa is not combined with a vowel under these eighteen letters, they marked the shewa alone. It was not possible for them to mark the pataḥ by itself, since it would have been pronounced as a full vowel.


  • 12 The extant model manuscripts L, A and C do not have gaʿya on the shewa here: L(...)

If one were to say ‘According to this statement, when a shewa occurs under these eighteen letters it is only pronounced as short pataḥ, but we seen a contradiction of this in cases such asImage 10000000000001020000002E8AFC2865DB0710F0.jpg‘As you rejoiced over the inheritance of the house of Israel’ (Ezek. 35.15), in which the lamed ofImage 1000000000000046000000296B2F63FC607C270A.jpgis ‘heavy’, the response to him would be that what makes the lamed heavy is the gaʿya, for this is the only thing that can change the form of the vocalic pronunciation of the shewa.12 If he says ‘ (Why) have they not marked a pataḥ where the gaʿya occurs to express heaviness and a shewa where there is shortness?’, the response to him would be as follows. It is not permissible to mark a pataḥ where (the shewa is pronounced with) heaviness, because the rule regarding the marking of shewa and pataḥ on these eighteen letters is that the pataḥ alone does not indicate shewa but shewa alone indicates pataḥ. Furthermore if they marked pataḥ where there is heaviness, that would make it unclear as to whether the following letter had dagesh or not, since one of the features of pataḥ is that in many places it is followed by dagesh to express definiteness, for exampleImage 100000000000009300000027D39386191F170E20.jpg‘whoever touches this man’ (Gen. 26.11),Image 100000000000006000000022E3B9727B3DF7F300.jpg‘on that day’, and so forth. A mobile shewa can never be followed by dagesh in the reading of Scripture, except inImage 100000000000003800000024077ADF5BA68DC5E1.jpgand יImage 100000000000002A00000024CFB4841E40418376.jpgIn the discussion concerning these below, however, I shall explain that the shewa in these two words is quiescent and not mobile.


Furthermore, gaʿya is not obligatory under a letter as a vowel and shewa are obligatory, because gaʿya is only an exhalation of air in speech, and its elision is possible. The reader chooses in his reading (whether to pronounce it or not). There are some places, however, in which the speaker does not have a choice, for exampleImage 10000000000000DE000000285CDC31C87D901FD4.jpg‘for they do not sleep unless they do wrong’ (Prov. 4.16), because the gaʿya makes it into the lexical class of ‘slumber and sleep’. If it were lacking, it would be from the lexical class of repeating, as inImage 10000000000000630000002B632F5F3F56D519C2.jpg‘ “Do it a second time” and they did it a second time’ (1 Kings 18.34). This applies also to the lexical classes of ‘fearing’ and ‘seeing’. The lexical class of ‘fearing’ has gaʿya, for exampleImage 100000000000007300000022F456EB97EDB3EA62.jpg‘Let them fear the Lord’ (Psa. 33.8). Although here it has two yods, there is potential doubt in cases such asImage 100000000000008E00000025B8DA91C5BEDE71FA.jpg‘The nations will see and be ashamed’ (Micah 7.16). If this is the case, the occurrence of gaʿya in the lexical class of ‘fearing’ prevents it. To these can be added further examples in which the reader does not have a choice. Cases in which the reader does have a choice includeImage 10000000000000F6000000248660B475240EC8F0.jpg, and the like. Such cases do not attain the status of the vowels and the shewa, because the construction of a word is based on the vowels. Its construction is not based on the gaʿya. For this reason the scholars of language in this discipline say ‘The gaʿya has no principle’. For these reasons, when there is a need for lengthening, you mark a gaʿya with shewa and you do not mark pataḥ by itself. This is the appropriate response to the question.

II.L.2.12.4. The Fourth Subsection


When shewa is under a letter, it is not possible for any of the disjunctive or conjunctive accents to be under this letter, so long as shewa is under it, since it is a principle of shewa that it does not combine with an accent on a letter in any circumstances. If somebody says: ‘Why is that, when you have not denied that the combination of a shewa and an accent on the same letter is possible, although we do not find them combined?’, the response to him would be as follows. Even if the shewa of both categories, i.e. quiescent and mobile, were to combine (with an accent), the combination of an accent with quiescent shewa could not take place, since it is the principle of the quiescent shewa that it makes the letter quiescent and does not move at all, as is the case with the resh inImage 100000000000003900000026696AF082361547DC.jpg, the mem inImage 1000000000000030000000226D3A90E59746701B.jpgand the bet inImage 100000000000003800000028C7434721DA1877E3.jpgA disjunctive accent and a conjunctive accent by their nature cause the letter to move (with a vowel) and introduce a melody or melodies in it. A quiescent letter cannot have a melody at all. A melody is movement, so how can a quiescent shewa be also mobile at the same time? Is this not a contradiction? So this is impossible.


If somebody were to say ‘Although the combination of an accent with a quiescent shewa is impossible, it would be permissible for one to be combined with mobile shewa, because there is no contradiction’, the response to him would be as follows. The statement that an accent moves a letter with a vowel does not imply that its movement is like that of shewa. This is because shewa makes a letter mobile, but causes its articulation to be quick, so that one cannot tarry on the letter, like the bet inImage 100000000000004E00000027A068B70D2F4E80E2.jpg‘in the beginning’, since it is not permissible to hold onto it when the speaker wishes to express his intention. Likewise dalet inImage 100000000000003600000029CA4EC9EC167B3C3B.jpg‘liberty’, and the ṣade inImage 100000000000003600000025C97E68E693AD5FA5.jpg‘bundle’, in which the shewa causes the letter to move quickly with a speed that does not allow tarrying on it. This is not the case with an accent, which, rather, causes the letter to have a vowel and introduces melodies into it. The letter is given a vowel in its place without moving back or forward so long as it is given a melody. Surely you see how it (the accent) gives the resh a melody inImage 10000000000000440000002736720B3A3C8CEA52.jpg‘they made haste’ (Josh. 8.14) and the letter does not move from its place. The accent has given it a melody, or two or more. One does not tarry on the dalet inImage 100000000000003600000022AB6DE38B4CB0C280.jpgand the like (with shewa) in the way one tarries on the resh or the kaf inImage 10000000000000920000002254AEC53D4B535AE3.jpg‘They made haste and rose early’ (Josh. 8.14). The shewa moves quickly forwards whereas an accent causes vocalic movement within its place. If these were to combine there would be a logical contradiction. It is, therefore, clear from this that shewa and an accent cannot combine together in a single letter.

II.L.2.12.5. The Fifth Subsection

A mobile shewa is not followed by a letter with dagesh, for exampleImage 10000000000000430000002AE6B83B54D44617CB.jpg‘on finishing’ (Deut. 31.24, etc.),Image 100000000000003F0000002674DAD1EC705B858A.jpg‘when they enter’ (Exod. 28.43, etc.),Image 10000000000000960000002740D3A3E7797218AF.jpg‘regarding the offering’ (Mal. 2.13),Image 1000000000000030000000288AAB08031264A3A2.jpg‘in all’, and the like. This is not contradicted byImage 100000000000003B000000289E6B6C63718FA364.jpgandImage 100000000000003000000024ACD3D96E3EC5CD93.jpg. For if there is an added ʾalef and you say [ʔƐƩ∫tʰaːjim] and [ʔƐƩ∫tʰeː], the shewa becomes quiescent. I shall discuss this at greater length in the section concerning yetiv with the help of God and His good will. If one were to say ‘Why is shewa not followed by a letter with dagesh?’, the response to him would be as follows. The principle of dagesh is to make a letter heavy and give it a kind of quiescence. A mobile shewa is not dwelt upon and so the letter that is after it must be light. When the letter that is after it is heavy, it is not possible to give it the mobility to the extent that I have mentioned.

II.L.2.12.6. The Sixth Subsection

Mobile shewa does not combine with a vowel on a letter of the alphabet with the exception of the four lettersImage 100000000000003E000000255441D4C965643660.jpg, for exampleImage 10000000000000A7000000269928597487BE59A9.jpg‘I am the Lord, that is my name’ (Isa. 42.8),Image 10000000000000360000002B68FE5D3FDF9DFC4F.jpgImage 100000000000002B00000025CADFFBC84FECF907.jpg‘did he not?’ (Gen. 20.5),Image 10000000000000390000002459B9520594A3D581.jpg‘and encamp’ (2 Sam. 12.28),Image 10000000000000860000002AECE2A0387AF77FFF.jpg‘Come up to me and help me’ (Josh. 10.4), and similar cases. If one were to say ‘Is not shewa combined with qameṣ under the dalet ofImage 1000000000000041000000225A1240C299F0210B.jpg, under the qof with qameṣ inImage 10000000000000340000002E464DF373C713862D.jpg‘before’,Image 100000000000005300000027120B7903C0FC6C9A.jpg‘before them’, under the mem with qameṣ inImage 100000000000007400000027DC7C78A88E87B988.jpg‘drag her! ’ (Ezek. 32.20) and under the bet with segol inImage 10000000000000860000002A9DC3F2BFD6E99990.jpg‘which I built’ (Dan. 4.27)?’, the response to him would be as follows. This does not contradict what I stated. This is because the people responsible for this matter have agreed on the rule of combining shewa and a vowel only under the four letters. It is said, however, that some scribes wanted to remove uncertainty from places that may lead to error and have combined a vowel with shewa in this way, because they thought that people would err in the reading ofImage 1000000000000046000000263AC25940C23C46D0.jpg. When some people saw shewa without qameṣ inImage 100000000000004200000027711FEBB03F8D3915.jpg, they read it as pataḥ. If they saw qameṣ alone, they were at risk of giving the qameṣ its full length. So, the scribes decided to combine them so that this degree of uncertainty be removed. This applied also to similar cases (cited above). This is an exception to their customary practice. What supports the claim that this is the view of only some of them with regard to letters not belonging to the group of the four (Image 100000000000004200000029E3686099D42B73BD.jpgis that in most codices one does not find what has been presented as counterevidence, but all codices are uniform in the combination of shewa with a vowel under the four letters.

II.L.2.12.7. The Seventh Subsection

When shewa is combined with a vowel in a letter, the vowel is deprived of its full length, as inImage 1000000000000090000000281D42057D596181D6.jpg‘Ḥorem and Betanath’ (Josh. 19.38), in which the ḥet is pronounced with a short vowel on account of the shewa that is with the qameṣ. The same applies toImage 10000000000000680000002C45BE49CD7F0E3726.jpg‘also every sickness’ (Deut. 28.61), in which shewa is combined with the vowel and the vowel has become short. If it were said ‘Why is it that when shewa is combined with a vowel under a letter, the vowel is deprived of its full quantity?’ the response would be as follows. This is because when there is mobile shewa, it is not permissible to slow down on or dwell on the letter. This is a principle that cannot be avoided. When they both occur under a letter, its principle holds, namely moving forward quickly, and so it is not possible for the vowel to be given its full quantity. This is determined by the principle of the shewa. If somebody were to say ‘Just as the shewa has an unavoidable principle, likewise a vowel has an indissoluble feature, namely slowness and steadiness, so why is the vowel not more worthy of fulfilling its principle than something else?’, the response to him would be as follows. If they wanted to maintain the principle of the vowel, they would not have combined it with shewa, since that would be nonsense. Rather they combined them in order for the principle of the vowel to be eliminated. The combination of the two principles is impossible, just as is the elimination of the two principles. It is necessary to maintain one of them, and this is the principle of the shewa. If somebody were to say ‘With how many vowels does shewa combine?’, the response would be: with three, qameṣ, pataḥ and segol. If he said ‘Why is it combined specifically with these three and not the others?’, the response would be: because with these three vowels it is permissible to melodize, pause and read quickly, whereas this is not possible with the other vowels.

II.L.2.12.8. The Eighth Subsection


When shewa is at the beginning of a word, it is always mobile, for exampleImage 100000000000007E0000002AAFDD7CC17EE391C3.jpg‘the word of whom will stand’ (Jer. 44.28),Image 100000000000007A0000002795A2300E577A8CCB.jpg‘from day to day’ (1 Chron. 12.23),Image 100000000000004100000027682598137002D6F9.jpgImage 1000000000000036000000259D797CF77E0DE22B.jpg‘according to the permission of Cyrus’ (Ezra 3.7),Image 100000000000005C000000274C63A5E5691B9C25.jpg‘in the heat of the day’ (Gen. 18.1), and similar cases. If somebody were to say ‘Why have you claimed that quiescent shewa never occurs at the beginning of a word?’, the response would be that a quiescent shewa is the stopping point of what precedes it, and the beginning of a word has nothing before it, as the ʾalef inImage 10000000000000B3000000240EF290040C25517A.jpg‘There was a man in the land of Uz’ (Job 1.1) and the shin inImage 10000000000000D20000002CD9A4A5D39323894F.jpg‘the heavens for height, and the earth for depth’ (Prov. 25.3), and similar cases. And if somebody said ‘Do you not say that every shewa beginning a word is mobile, but we find a mobile shewa that is not word-initial, for exampleImage 100000000000005600000028C19B06E857CF8C1D.jpg‘and the rear guard’ (Josh. 6.9, etc.),Image 100000000000005A000000260632DEAA7742E7B6.jpg‘He has shut the mouth’ (Dan. 6.23),Image 100000000000004600000026AAE283800A0948A5.jpg‘and they heard’,Image 100000000000004E000000259478AAF7E8078D4F.jpg‘and they lay down’?’, the response to him would be as follows. When I said that every shewa at the beginning of a word is mobile, this does not oblige me to claim that a mobile shewa is found only in word-initial position. Indeed a mobile shewa may be in the middle of a word. This claim would, however, be contradicted if a shewa that is not mobile is found in word-initial position. Yet in the examples that I have adduced, and others like them, they are in initial position in the sense that they are preceded by quiescence and a stopping point.


If somebody were to say ‘So do you say that a letter by itself can have the status of a word and have mobility and quiescence, but this is a contradiction with regard to a single letter, so according to thisImage 100000000000003900000028A922A612BCDEE83C.jpgcould not have a mobile shewa until the shewa becomes mobile after quiescence, as you say?’, the response would be as follows. The stopping point may be a quiescent shewa after a mobile letter, as inImage 100000000000004B0000002741B5D95540534DC9.jpg, and the like. It may also be what is analagous to it and may be called a stopping point, namely the introduction of heaviness to a letter. This may cause (the following shewa) to be mobile, as inImage 100000000000007000000028C5EB5C528F028BA2.jpg‘and capture your captives! ’ (Jud. 5.12), in which the heaviness of the vav has the status of a word with two letters, so the shewa is mobile on account of this. The heaviness of the letter corresponds to quiescence of a shewa and becomes a stopping point, as inImage 1000000000000026000000260D5B31E5C120BBFE.jpgImage 100000000000005C0000002CFBD0CEAC74AFA479.jpg‘the ones who speak’ (Exod. 6.27), and similar cases, as will be explained in the discussion about he and mem below.

II.L.2.12.9. The Ninth Subsection

A mobile shewa is followed by quiescence only in a letter that is not less than the third letter after it. Quiescence in a letter that is greater (in number than the third) is possible, but the minimum for quiescence is the third (letter after the mobile shewa), as inImage 10000000000000620000002A04522409568A290B.jpg‘to Joshbekashah’ (1 Chron 25.24),Image 100000000000005200000022685E943207271C99.jpg‘to Jokmeam’ (1 Kings 4.12), and the like. Examples of quiescence in a letter that is greater than the third (after the mobile shewa) areImage 10000000000000440000002A8008E6F032C65305.jpg‘God’,Image 100000000000004800000020322CC7A6381E5404.jpg‘cypresses’, and the like. If somebody were to say ‘Do notImage 10000000000000B500000026926C0CD06DDD74EB.jpg‘Guard my life and deliver me’ (Psa. 25.20),Image 100000000000007600000022DC4B581D8D3CB78B.jpg‘Draw her down’ (Ezek. 32.20) and analogous cases refute the principle that you have formulated?’, the response to him would be as follows. I spoke only about shewa that is present under a letter. Cases of shortness and lightness that have been transmitted by teaching from the people of the language are not relevant for this argument.

II.L.2.12.10. The Tenth Subsection

38Mobile shewa does not occur adjacent to another mobile shewa at the beginning, middle or end of a word, for if they were adjacent, the word would be defective. This is because a word must consist of a letter with a vowel and what is attached to the letter with a vowel by way of an initial mobile shewa is of a lesser vowel movement than the following vowel. These two may be followed by a quiescent consonant. This structure cannot be broken. Therefore, two mobile shewas are not linked together, as two quiescent shewas are.

II.L.2.12.11. The Eleventh Subsection

39Two quiescent shewas cannot follow one another at the beginning of a word or in the middle of it. If somebody were to say ‘Why is this so?’, the response to him would be: because the first shewa is quiescent on account of it being the stopping point of what precedes it. The second shewa, however, is not preceded by a letter with a vowel, for which the second shewa would be a stopping point. For this reason, two quiescent shewas are not linked together in the places mentioned.

II.L.2.12.12. The Twelfth Subsection

When there are two shewas following one another, a sequence in which the first is mobile and the second quiescent is not permissible, rather the first must be made quiescent and the second mobile. If somebody were to say ‘Why is that?’, the response to him would be as follows. When the first shewa is mobile, it is not permissible for it to be followed by a quiescent letter, because if that were the case, the mobile shewa would not have scope to spring forward quickly. It has been stated previously that quiescence cannot occur on less than the third letter after a mobile shewa. Furthermore it is not possible to pronounce a mobile shewa followed by a quiescent shewa for the reason just mentioned, whereas a pronunciation of a quiescent shewa in the first letter and a mobile shewa on the second letter is acceptable, as inImage 100000000000004400000022786DEE4B97925231.jpg‘and they gathered’, and the like. Take note that shewa may be construed as a successive sequence (of two) even though only one is written. This applies to cases such asImage 100000000000003B00000027590074ABC30A2E0B.jpg‘from crying’ (1 Sam. 7.8),Image 10000000000000480000001B7B991AC53458B184.jpg‘sacrificing’,Image 100000000000004C0000002D5DDB0F64E64C6E13.jpg‘playing the pipe’ (1 Kings 1.40, etc.),Image 100000000000003C0000002ED12AA65474CBD0B0.jpg‘from being king’ (1 Sam. 8.7, etc.). The shewa here is pronounced mobile. The reason for this is that the letter is pronounced as two letters. This is the custom of Hebrew, namely that every letter with strengthening, I mean with dagesh, in the middle of a word, where it does not have the status of beginning (a word or syllable), under which there is shewa, is pronounced as two letters. This is shown byImage 10000000000000770000002C2EC967914CC97AB4.jpg‘Is it like a fool?’ (2 Sam. 3.33) in that the kaf inImage 10000000000000480000002873AE0C9F57623DF0.jpgis pronounced as two kafs, and so in other cases. The dagesh on the letter, therefore, is in place of the quiescent shewa and the shewa that is present under the letter is mobile, and so it is pronounced as two letters.

II.L.2.12.13. The Thirteenth Subsection

A shewa at the end of a word can only be quiescent, as inImage 100000000000002B0000002A53696AE029A75F7F.jpg‘way’,Image 10000000000000380000002C0AA1371958AAD90B.jpg‘king’, and the like.

II.L.2.12.14. The Fourteenth Subsection

Two successive silent shewas occur only at the end of a word, as inImage 10000000000000FC000000282BBC73ABEC6711DE.jpg‘inhabitant of Lebanon, nested among the cedars’ (Jer. 22.23),Image 100000000000003C000000298DB457D90270BC83.jpg‘you were swathed in bands’ (Ezek. 16.4),Image 100000000000003A0000002ACE6742753D4AB22C.jpg‘you painted (your eyes)’ (Ezek. 23.40), and similar examples. A shewa at the end of a word indicates feminine gender in many cases, both when following (another shewa) and also when not in such a sequence. In some cases shewa does not indicate feminine gender but rather pause, as inImage 10000000000000700000002A193D9F9C3F318659.jpg‘and he took captives from him’ (Num. 21.1),Image 100000000000003200000029A63FB4675D89F0B6.jpgImage 10000000000000440000002853E48010BAC38A4A.jpg‘and out of Jacob shall one have dominion’ (Num. 24.19). If somebody were to say ‘What is the value of the two successive shewas at the end of a word?’, the response would be as follows. One is a stopping point, namely the first one, as inImage 100000000000008C00000029FFBF809AD90C42BC.jpgImage 100000000000003B00000022A23E86CB3EF7E4B7.jpg‘and you sat on a stately couch’ (Ezek. 23.41). The bet in ְImage 1000000000000034000000281637DC2E8BBC30CE.jpgis the end of a word expressing the masculine singular. The second shewa under the tav indicates the feminine gender. You will find this practice in many places.

II.L.2.13. Section concerning Uncertainty regarding the Reading of the Shewa


The shewa may be the cause of uncertainty for the reader in some places as to whether it is mobile or quiescent. (This applies to)Image 100000000000002900000026E713D938D1434D97.jpg. It has been stated previously that in words containing not more than five letters the shewa is mobile, as inImage 10000000000000820000002872C00092BCE72D48.jpg‘he who is impoverished in respect to offering’ (Isa. 40.20),Image 100000000000004800000023D0687C74A6C18E58.jpg‘the one speaking’ (Gen. 45.12, etc.), except for one case, namelyImage 100000000000006E00000027ED819A541546D9A8.jpg‘this madman’ (2 Kings 9.11). The reason why it is not mobile is that there is no heaviness in the he. If you were to give heaviness to the he, the shewa would be made mobile. As for words beginning with he and mem that have more than five letters, the rule concerning these is that if the accent is on the fifth letter or later, the shewa is silent, for exampleImage 100000000000006100000024F8B8601E07A006F2.jpg‘those who speak’ (Exod. 6.27),Image 100000000000005C00000024C0A9A31D31DA3276.jpg‘those who curse’ (Num. 5.19), apart from some exceptions that deviate from this rule, for exampleImage 10000000000000620000002861660864185B76CF.jpg‘those who seek’ (Exod. 4.19, etc.), and the like. When the accent is on the fourth letter, the shewa is mobile, for example,Image 100000000000004C00000024F4B55F674BA305F9.jpg‘those who wait’ (Job 3.21),Image 100000000000004E0000002063F56D3F3F20B087.jpg‘those who remove’ (Amos 6.3), and the like.


As for a series of two successive identical letters in the middle of a word that one may be uncertain about, this has been discussed above. The (reading of the shewa) is determined by heaviness in it, for exampleImage 100000000000007B0000002A96D6C8587937FFDF.jpg‘and to teach them the writing’ (Dan. 1.4). If the heaviness was removed from the vav, the shewa would not be pronounced like pataḥ. There are six words that deviate from this rule, namelyImage 10000000000000700000002888AD7BE289829AC2.jpg‘Then they will call upon me’ (Prov. 1.28),Image 10000000000000BC0000002A86EB12DAB804062F.jpg‘They will seek me diligently but will not find me’ (Prov. 1.28),Image 10000000000000A200000026666A53813229F8FD.jpg‘and in their distress they seek me’ (Hos. 5.15),Image 10000000000000960000002438326B10B9E58C1E.jpg‘and those who seek me diligently find me’ (Prov. 8.17),Image 100000000000005A0000002679D1854CE67F3266.jpgImage 1000000000000048000000299A0C3BD55C8C4ED7.jpg‘He who brings thanksgiving as his sacrifice honours me’ (Psa. 50.23).


As for what can cause uncertainty in forms such asImage 100000000000003800000025878C01105E749682.jpg‘and the gold of’ (Gen. 2.12), ֽ סוּ ֲַ ג ֛ ר ‘and he closed’ (Dan. 6.23), it may be said concerning cases that are linked to what follows by the accent, such asImage 10000000000000860000002CD2CD2A6ED0921839.jpg‘and resemble a gazelle’ (Cant. 8.14), that since maqqef occurs onImage 100000000000003B00000020023976916848D570.jpgthe shewa is quiescent, but if there were an accent on it, the shewa would be mobile, as inImage 10000000000000C80000002AEC01EF87E1944B5D.jpg‘Capture your captives, son of Abinoam’ (Jud. 5.12). As for what is separated (by the accent), likeImage 10000000000000320000002635E20DBCA3FC70F8.jpg‘and he closed’ (Dan. 6.23), the heaviness has caused the shewa to be mobile. There are also some cases that are only learnt by listening.


II.L.2.14. Section on the Names of the Vowels

41[…] the teeth make a squeaking sound with it.

The seventh is shureq [ ] three dots (written) obliquely. It may be replaced by one dot in the middle of vav, whose name is shureq, which is derived fromImage 10000000000000C90000002435A763B829FA9CF4.jpg‘to hear the whistlings of the flocks’ (Jud. 5.16), which is a whistling, because it gathers the lips together.

II.L.2.15. Section on their Place of Articulation


The place of articulation of ḥolem is the root of the tongue and the place of swallowing, which is the place of articulation ofImage 100000000000003E00000024FDAC1F4CC1E4B085.jpg, and it moves over the surface of the entire mouth. Take note that if somebody were to investigate carefully their places of articulation, he would have something like the knowledge necessary as to what is first in position and what is last.


42The second place of articulation is the place of articulation of qameṣ. It is slightly above the root of the tongue, this being the (first) third of the tongue, and its movement is to above the palate.


43The third place of articulation is the place of articulation of pataḥ, which is the surface of the tongue at the bottom (of the mouth).


44The fourth place of articulation is the place of articulation of segol, which is the sides of the mouth, and its movement is upon the lower surface of the mouth.


45The fifth place of articulation is the place of articulation of ṣere, which is the teeth, without closure, because it breaks through them.


46The sixth place of articulation is the place of articulation of ḥireq, which is the closure of the teeth with force.


47The seventh place of articulation is the place of articulation of shureq, which is the lips gathered together (as if for) whistling.

II.L.2.16. Section concerning Combinations of them (i.e. the Vowels) to Form Basic Nouns and Combinations of them to Form Abstractions

For example,Image 10000000000000340000001CCCF9248DE347BB1A.jpg‘Ono (place name)’ (1 Chron. 8.12, etc.), a basic noun (combining) ḥolem with ḥolem and the abstractionImage 10000000000000300000002820CEE8BFD28301DB.jpg‘his light’ (Job 36.30, etc.). Ḥolem with qameṣ: the abstractionImage 100000000000003E000000277F9BB45D676841AC.jpg‘good deed’ (1 Sam. 24.19, etc.). Ḥolem with pataḥ: the basic nounImage 1000000000000032000000256F25742F2CD08A1D.jpg‘spear’ (Num. 25.7, etc.) and the abstractionImage 100000000000003C0000002251E65BD33C6AE97F.jpg‘he made known’ (Lev. 4.23, etc.). Ḥolem with segol: the basic nounImage 10000000000000340000002CA25BBA439A09014C.jpg‘tent’ and the abstractionImage 1000000000000046000000270E80BEC73D6C3344.jpgḤolem with ṣere: the basic nounImage 100000000000003400000024E2C6ECE0161BE30A.jpg‘Bozez (name of a crag)’ (1 Sam. 14.4) and the abstractionImage 1000000000000030000000244986EBC8C07389DD.jpg‘goes out’. Ḥolem with ḥireq: basic nounImage 100000000000002E00000025DAB8D844713986D1.jpg‘fault’ (Psa. 50.20) and the abstractionImage 100000000000004400000027CCDC6998710384DD.jpg‘doing (mpl.)’. Ḥolem with shureq: the basic noun תּ ֹ וּה ‘confusion’ and the abstractionImage 10000000000000300000002089C09D83364701A5.jpg‘they are good’ (cf. Num. 24.5, etc.). To these can be added further examples of this type of (arrangement of vowels), the seven with the seven.

II.L.2.17. Chapter concerning the Descending of the Vowels from One to the Other according to the Order of their Places of Articulation

Ḥolem descends to qameṣ with the attachment of a pronoun and the plural, for exampleImage 100000000000003000000020CA9CD1D2A12184C9.jpg‘ransom’—Image 100000000000003200000023021BECE2EC54D0CD.jpg‘his ransom’,Image 1000000000000032000000259A848C9945759B79.jpg‘wealth’—Image 100000000000003A000000241AC11E90B83F0343.jpg‘his wealth’,Image 1000000000000039000000221C7B45E6AED28696.jpg‘holiness’—Image 10000000000000390000002B79703E62B2F2CAA0.jpg‘his holiness’,Image 100000000000002C000000222D6CDBA53FB73049.jpg‘height’—Image 10000000000000340000002790B99FCB281B8DCF.jpg‘his height’. If you form a plural, you sayImage 1000000000000040000000246DBE0DE1603B38E9.jpg‘holinesses’. From qameṣ to pataḥ:Image 100000000000003B00000028A77D9CD56AA9A7DF.jpg‘new’—Image 10000000000000460000002B19C1A472535C39AF.jpg֙Image 100000000000004F00000026162D19076D475080.jpg‘new (pl.) in every morning’ (Lam. 3.23),Image 100000000000002A0000002CB3B7234EEAD87B5C.jpg‘cloud’—Image 10000000000000360000002A51A67A982298B770.jpg‘clouds’. From pataḥ to segol: they sayImage 10000000000000870000002996C137691D300F19.jpg‘I meet you outside’ (Cant. 8.1)—Image 10000000000000840000001E202CBDC1EB1B1CD7.jpg‘that he does not find you’ (1 Kings 18.10). From segol to ṣere in a conjoined form, for exampleImage 10000000000000610000002A86BC2990981D57DD.jpg‘fracture for (fracture)’ (Lev. 24.20)—Image 100000000000007C0000002A8B10E7238F70FFC1.jpg‘over the ruin of Joseph’ (Amos 6.6). To these can be added other cases of vowels descending from one to the other in this way.

II.L.2.18. On the Origin of the Vowels

If somebody were to ask ‘With regard to the form of these vowels, what is the origin of their formation? Do you say that the scribes established their form?’ The response would be as follows. If the scribes were the source of this, it would be permissible for somebody who was not satisfied with it to come and create different forms. This would be permissible for every single scribe. There would be no limit or end to their forms. If one were to say ‘Is not the qameṣ of the people of Iraq a superscribed half ʾalef, and so forth with regard to the shape of their vowels?’, the response would be as follows. What should be relied upon in this regard is (the shape of vowels) in the Holy Land. It is not implausible that when the people of the exile moved away from the Holy Land they made a record of their reading and created shapes (of vowels) when they had moved away from the Holy Land for fear that they would forget the reading. The (original) shapes (of the vowels) of the Holy Land, however, remained. If somebody were to say ‘So who formed them?’, the response to him would be as follows. It is possible that the people of the language formed the shapes of the vowels just as they formed the shapes of the letters. It is also possible that the people of the language used to use them in conversation without their knowing any (written) form for them until the time of Habakkuk, peace be upon him, when God said to himImage 10000000000000F80000002B70885C42BCC8C5A6.jpg‘Write the vision; make it plain upon tablets’ (Hab. 2.2). He indicated the reason for this, namelyImage 100000000000003400000024199C2294E92B0193.jpgImage 100000000000007700000028ABBB342E70507C10.jpg‘so that one who reads it can run’ (Hab. 2.2). Indeed, there is no doubt that when somebody takes a simple codex without accents or pointing, he stumbles in the reading and does not ‘run’, apart from a few exceptional people that are found in some generations, such as Ben Asher and Ben Naftali in their time and those like them. If a reader has a codex in which the cantillation and pointing are clearly indicated, he can run and not stumble.

48This is what needs to be said, but God knows best. The discourse is finished.

II.L.3.0. The third discourse: on the accents (selected passages)

II.L.3.1. On the Gaʿya

  • 13 The corrected reading פארדהא is a form IV imperative of the root r-d-d, which in medieval Judaeo-Ar (...)

If somebody were to say ‘So, what do you say concerning the gaʿya?’, the response to him would be as follows. The gaʿya does not have a definite status in the reading of Scripture. One reader may omit it and another reader may sustain it. There are some places, however, in which it may not be omitted, since it affects the meaning. This applies to the lexical class of ‘fearing’, and so they have said ‘Every (form from) the lexical class of ‘fearing’ has gaʿya’. Likewise one saysImage 100000000000003B00000026EC998F22DB213515.jpg‘you sleep’,Image 1000000000000036000000272BAD1F158E415946.jpg‘they sleep’, with gaʿya, from the lexical class of ‘sleeping’,Image 10000000000000AA0000002AACA1F2E4DE9F8BC6.jpgImage 100000000000002F000000267F21E6AD37A6B7C8.jpg‘for they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong’ (Prov. 4.16). If it is without gaʿya, it is from (the lexical class) of ‘repeating’, as inImage 10000000000000D50000002448211C5A4191A239.jpg‘If you do so again, I will lay hands on you’ (Neh. 13.21). If somebody were to say ‘So do you consider it to be one of the conjunctive accents or disjunctive accents?’, the response to him would be as follows. It should not be considered to belong either with the disjunctive accents or the conjunctive accents, since it is only an exhalation in speech, which carries the words forward, and joins and binds them with one another, as inImage 10000000000000B6000000243E3BE28D2667E2EC.jpg‘not destroying them all’ (Isa. 65.8),Image 100000000000011700000027B36D0DAD94E4493C.jpg‘if they will diligently learn the ways of my people’ (Jer. 12.16). Its distinctive property is the extension of the melody so that joy is diffused in the heart, in order to conduct the reading along, animating the reader and moving him to read more. An expert of this discipline has said: If you wish to know whether gaʿya is correct, look at the place of the gaʿya. If it is permissible to put the accent of the word on the place of the gaʿya, then the gaʿya is in order. If it does not come in the place of the accent, then return it to the place (of the accent).13 He has said that by this principle one may distinguish a correct gaʿya from one that is incorrect. He then retracted this and said that this principle applies only to certain places. The first statement is the correct one.

II.L.3.2. Chapter concerning Cases whose Rule is not at all Dependent on an Accent and Cases whose Rule is Dependent on an Unspecified Accent.


This includesImage 100000000000004D000000231A363DB9B41B782E.jpgIf somebody were to ask, why is the formImage 10000000000000420000002807176301C23B6964.jpgsometimes pointed with segol and sometimes pointed with pataḥ, the response would be as follows. When the form is singular, segol occurs under the mem. Examples of the singular areImage 100000000000011400000027397C633B4176859F.jpg‘when the man turned from his chariot’ (2 Kings 5.26), מ ְֶ כּר ָ ב ָ֖ ה ְ סו ִֻ ס ֑ םי ‘a chariot and horses’ (2 Sam. 15.1). In the plural you sayImage 10000000000000FE00000027E77599582304B58D.jpg‘Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?’ (Jud. 5.28),Image 10000000000000AC0000002C57B50D16105C102F.jpg‘the chariots of Pharaoh and his army’ (Exod. 15.4), and the like. There is one exception to this, in that it does not have segol (in the singular) but ḥireq, namelyImage 100000000000009F00000022FD13D0B44BB94FCC.jpg‘in his second chariot’ (Gen. 41.43).


Likewise people may ask concerning מ ַ ה andImage 100000000000002A00000022FFA24EDA5C4A22F3.jpgwhy their pointing varies and what is their rule. The response is as follows. When it is followed by dagesh, it has pataḥ, for exampleImage 100000000000005E000000227BF5B2490BBD29BC.jpgImage 100000000000003C000000295DF9164D63B3320F.jpg‘whatever your soul says’ (1 Sam. 20.4),Image 10000000000000BA0000002423EE1F4D432C077A.jpg‘What shall we speak? And how can we show ourselves to be just?’ (Gen. 44.16). When it is followed by rafe, it has segol, for example יImage 100000000000005C00000025AC5643F9094F8E53.jpg‘What has my beloved?’ (Jer. 11.15),Image 10000000000000610000002877F875E71FF54955.jpg֙Image 100000000000009F000000278018A6F1EB6847E3.jpg‘What is to be done for you? Would you have a word spoken on your behalf?’ (2 Kings 4.13), and similar cases.


People may ask concerningImage 100000000000002E000000225A8EE92AA6744D1B.jpgwhat the rule is relating to the fact that it is sometimes with dagesh and sometimes rafe. The response relates to two factors. One is that it is because of the accent, namely when the accent is on the mem of המל , it is rafe and when the accent is on the lamed, it has dagesh, for exampleImage 1000000000000126000000286D05D0834C8BC297.jpg‘Why have you done evil to this people? Why (did you ever send me)?’ (Exod. 5.22). All of the reading of Scripture follows this rule except for one case in Job, for the accent is on the lamed, but it is rafe, namelyImage 100000000000006C00000024B9F04E82AC98C375.jpgImage 1000000000000042000000263DBF273A832E861F.jpg‘Why have you made me your mark?’ (Job 7.20). The second response is that it is on account of the letter. This rule is superior to the first, since המל may be without an accent but rather have maqqef, for exampleImage 10000000000000E8000000282CEE9F33205AE007.jpg‘Why should a fool have a price in his hand’ (Prov. 17.16), and similar cases. The rule concerning this is that whenever המל are linked prosodically to three letters, namely ʾalef, he and ʿayin, it is rafe, for exampleImage 10000000000000AF00000024268D8CD5E3832568.jpg‘Why are you laying a snare?’ (1 Sam. 28.9),Image 10000000000000C1000000289DAFB646E7806D8D.jpg‘Why, oh Lord, does your anger burn?’ (Exod. 32.11),Image 1000000000000066000000282B7BBA34FEB92FE7.jpg‘Why have you dealt ill?’ (Num. 11.11),Image 10000000000000A20000002A64678C97AED8F692.jpg‘Why have you come up against us?’ (Jud. 15.10), and the like. There are five cases that are exceptions to this rule, since they are linked prosodically to ̇ א ̇ ה ̇ ע but have dagesh. These areImage 10000000000000700000001A0A47826B4C218C2D.jpg‘Why have you vexed me?’ (1 Sam. 28.15),Image 10000000000000A200000029F12A00CB0D1EBB46.jpg‘Why have your servants set on fire?’ (2 Sam. 14.31),Image 10000000000000AF0000001E0ABDEC8AF2DB876A.jpg‘Why should I fear in times of trouble?’ (Psa. 49.6),Image 10000000000000C60000001E4A636EC64D5D5979.jpg‘Why is my pain unceasing?’ (Jer. 15.18),Image 10000000000000A400000026F813CA82188FC63F.jpg‘Why should I smite you to the ground?’ (2 Sam. 2.22). Their mnemonic combination is ‘The slave has vexed me; I have feared pain; I have killed him’. If you like, you may say ‘The servant has vexed me; I have feared illness; I have smitten him.’ Every המל that is prosodically bound to the other letters of the inventory, namelyImage 10000000000000C80000002DF0D307C41199D90E.jpg, has dagesh, except for three cases, which are prosodically bound to shin and zayin, namelyImage 10000000000000750000001EEE90F4E74F6DBD7A.jpg‘Why have you forgotten me?’ (Psa. 42.10),Image 10000000000000770000002AF7D9DD98BA0416DA.jpg‘Why have you rejected me?’ (Psa. 43.2),Image 100000000000007200000029AB31F2E35CCE8322.jpg‘Why have you made me (your mark)?’ (Job 7.20). Their mnemonic combination is: ‘You made me forgotten and rejected’.


People may ask concerningImage 100000000000002200000026393BD1E0DA8A4317.jpgandImage 100000000000002000000020FF225DE6A7429BFB.jpg,Image 100000000000002B0000002241162B38B5A76ED5.jpgandImage 100000000000002A00000024CF78CC18B89D6E08.jpg,Image 10000000000000220000001E762C5F7EBA550AA2.jpgandImage 10000000000000250000002038F7D20BDD4BAC39.jpg, ל ֵ ב andImage 100000000000002000000028D23F700FF508F97D.jpg,Image 100000000000001C0000002172FC21230DA5A724.jpgandImage 100000000000001E0000001F1BCBB2E1BE30324B.jpg,Image 100000000000002600000024B6B9017F40B66DAC.jpgandImage 10000000000000200000002490BDADFBBF2BBDEB.jpgwhy these sometimes occur with ṣere and sometimes with segol. The response concerning this is as follows. When the accent is on the first letter of the word following these words, they have segol so long as they have maqqef, for exampleImage 100000000000004000000023C1AFCF97F44399DA.jpg‘Here is my signature’ (Job 31.35),Image 100000000000004700000021C489AB11D9E25326.jpg‘Behold it (is the joy of his way)’ (Job 8.19). You sayImage 10000000000000560000002565AE0218C422764D.jpg‘They are six’ (Prov. 6.16) andImage 100000000000007C000000229CA947A4887D6BC2.jpg‘six (measures) of barley’ (Ruth 3.17). You sayImage 1000000000000066000000244E72A6CD5987554F.jpg‘it is not the time of coming’ (Haggai 1.2),Image 100000000000009D0000002905C769856A83A860.jpg‘for from day to day’ (1 Chron. 12.23). An exception to the (expected form)Image 100000000000002B000000223453598C2B261367.jpgisImage 10000000000000320000002A27CBE2958AB6731F.jpgImage 100000000000005E00000022045F5371CB290874.jpg‘not at the time of her impurity’ (Lev. 15.25), for the accent is not on the first letter but it has segol. You sayImage 100000000000005E0000002468B3D347EB456BCB.jpgImage 100000000000004D00000029C4902E0CED21CB2F.jpg‘The king’s heart is a stream of water’ (Prov. 21.1),Image 10000000000000380000002AD540ACDBC584EB5D.jpgImage 10000000000000A2000000298D3C670B814D9B4D.jpg‘that comes into a man’s heart’ (2 Kings 12.5). You sayImage 100000000000008E0000001CC729A04E2907E1C2.jpg‘Let it be as you say’ (Gen. 44.10, etc.). You sayImage 100000000000006E0000002E26DAC78AD92E33CB.jpg‘in the crag of rock’ (Job 39.28). The phraseImage 10000000000000580000002774C3F674DE6C8767.jpg‘a crag of rock’ (1 Sam. 14.4) has ṣere since the accent occurs on the second letter.


People may ask concerning א ֵ ת and א ֶ ת which of them has the accent and which has maqqef. The response is as follows. They say that everyImage 100000000000002200000020828651BBEB1AC750.jpgwith segol in the reading of Scripture is always without an accent and has maqqef, except for three cases, namelyImage 10000000000000AF00000028E0B40D94F7A4CFD8.jpg‘when he strove with Aram (naharaim)’ (Psa. 60.2),Image 100000000000005E0000002E2156A2DEF515E51D.jpgֶ א ֥ ת ‘the pride of Jacob’ (Psa. 47.5),Image 100000000000004400000027F367074C98AD515D.jpgImage 100000000000006700000024C90BE384CAC30F3F.jpg‘for him whom he loves’ (Prov. 3.12). EveryImage 10000000000000280000001E8A72616A44AAE876.jpgwith ṣere must have an accent and never has maqqef, except for one case, namelyImage 100000000000006C00000029A39D3F8FE59A4421.jpg‘everything that is high’ (Job 41.26).


People may ask also concerningImage 10000000000000230000002650126A1B795C8737.jpgandImage 100000000000002100000022493BFD1D431F2185.jpgwhy it is with qameṣ and with ḥolem. The response is as follows. They have said that whenever it has maqqef it occurs only with qameṣ, except for two cases in the reading of Scripture:Image 100000000000006C0000002769686D9CE5084510.jpg‘all my bones’ (Psa. 22.15),Image 10000000000000700000002EB88742AA7743C794.jpg‘all the brothers of a poor man’ (Prov. 19.7), and alsoImage 100000000000006C0000002C3D728AD07330EC61.jpg‘and has measured in a third (measure)’ (Isa. 40.12), although they interpreted it as being from the lexical class of ‘measuring’. Whenever it occurs with ḥolem, it does not have maqqef but rather has an accent, for example כּ ֹ֚ לImage 10000000000000770000002A7DB7AF41FC1BA80F.jpg‘everyone who is called by my name’ (Isa. 43.7), ֠ כּ ֹ לImage 1000000000000090000000259EC2FB569149970C.jpg‘whatever your hand finds’ (Ecc. 9.10).


They may also ask concerning the lexical class of ‘blessing’ why the shewa under the resh is sometimes quiescent and sometimes mobile. The response is as follows. They have said that whenever the accent is under the bet of the lexical class of ‘blessing’, the shewa is quiescent, for exampleImage 10000000000000A20000002D1A32CF8BFFA4C3FE.jpgImage 100000000000004A00000028EA863E26608B0C9C.jpg‘Bless the Lord your God’ (1 Chron. 29.20). When the accent is on the kaf, the shewa is mobile, for exampleImage 10000000000000630000002915484CEFB12D0999.jpgImage 100000000000004400000025891E3F559891D9D6.jpg‘Bless the Lord, (you) his angels’ (Psa. 103.20),Image 100000000000004200000026D904D063D583CBE7.jpgImage 10000000000000820000002839844D334FB49FAC.jpg‘in order that your soul blesses me’ (Gen. 27.19), except one case, in which the accent is on the kaf but the shewa is quiescent, namelyImage 10000000000000840000002CA2589D878760645F.jpg‘I blessed the Most High’ (Dan. 4.31). It may be said that this last case has broken the rule since it is in the Aramaic language. If, however, there is a case that breaks the rule in Hebrew, then it must beImage 10000000000000E20000002A012FC52A882CAE90.jpg‘with your blessing will the house of your servant be blessed’ (2 Sam. 7.29), because the accent in this is on the kaf and the shewa is silent, unless it be said that in this word there are two accents. The most plausible statement is that it is a case that breaks the rule becauseImage 100000000000009D0000002AF68678010A7D2F1E.jpg‘I will bless those that bless you’ (Gen. 12.3) has two accents and the shewa is mobile. Likewise inImage 10000000000000740000002A81C3E142740C6FA0.jpg‘the blessings of your father’ (Gen. 49.26) the accent is on the kaf and the shewa is quiescent, and this is also a case that breaks the rule.


1 I.e. mahpakh.

2 The wording is a conflation of the two verses Lev. 25.34 and Lev. 26.43 in the Masoretic Text.

3 I.e. the various Jewish communities outside of the Land of Israel.

4 Literally: leaning.

5 Literally: leaned upon.

6 Literally: the masters.

7 The fuller citation כַאֲשֶׁר־֜תַּמּוּ וַיְהִ֙י as opposed to simply כַאֲשֶׁר וַיְהִ֙י in the text of Hidāyat al-Qāriʾ is given in Kitāb al-Khilaf (ed. Lipschütz, 1965, 19).

8 I.e. they refer to the vowels.

9 I.e. letters that are consonants and not ‘soft’ vowel letters.

10 This word consists of two consonantal radicals, viz. ל and ך, the inflectional prefix being ignored.

11 Literally: The angels established language by convention with him and he established it by convention with them.

12 The extant model manuscripts L, A and C do not have gaʿya on the shewa here: LImage 100000000000003D00000022CFD2118824BA7219.jpg; A, CImage 100000000000003D000000266015EF656CD73C98.jpg. Moreover in the available manuscripts of Hidāyat al-Qāriʾ a gaʿya sign is not marked.

13 The corrected reading פארדהא is a form IV imperative of the root r-d-d, which in medieval Judaeo-Arabic is often used with the sense of the form I (Blau 2006, 245).


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