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Parasha Balak 5763

Heh hayediah ('the Heh of the definite article')

yerek hassadeh (Num. 22:4) ('the vegetation of the field'): The Heh has a Patach and the following letter, Sin, has a Dagesh. This is the normal or 'default' pointing for Heh hayediah ('the Heh of the definite article').

haa'anashim haa'eleh (Num. 22:9) ('these men'): When the letter following the Heh hayediah is Alef, Ayin (in most cases), or Resh - letters that do not receive a Dagesh - the Heh has a Kamatz.

Note that both the above rules conform to the general phonetic rule that short vowels (Patach, Segol, Chirik, Kamatz-katan, Kubutz) come in closed syllables (concluding with a consonant that has a Sheva Nach or a Dagesh), while long vowels (Kamatz, Tzere, Chirik-malei, Cholam, Shuruk) come in open syllables (concluding with that vowel).

levavam he'arel (Levit. 26:41) ('their uncircumcised heart'): When the letter following the Heh hayediah is Chet, Ayin, or Heh, having a Kamatz gadol in an open syllable, or Chet with Chataf-Kamatz the Heh takes a Segol.

There are five words that have the pausal form whenever they have a Heh hayediah. They are: haa'aaretz ('the land'), haahaar ('the mountain'), hechaag ('the festival'), haa'aam ('the people'), hapaar ('the ox').

In Parashat Balak paar ('ox') has a Kamatz throughout, even without Heh hayediah.

Generally the word mah ('what?') follows the same rules as Heh hayediah. Minchat Shai deals with mah listing the 24 occurrences of meh in Parashat Nitzavim (Deut. 29:23) and concludes 'later the Lord my G-d provided me with this Masorah in an ancient book and it was as I wrote it, and I blessed Him who lights up the whole world with His Glory.'

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The difference between the conjugations Kal and Nif'al

vatilachetz (Num. 22:25) ('and she pressed herself'): Rashi, who does not assume the reader has the benefit of translation, adds 'she herself'. The verse continues el hakir vatilchatz (ibid.) ('to the wall, and she pressed'): Rashi adds 'others' [that is to say] et regel bil'aam (ibid.) ('the leg of Bilaam'). Rashi is explaining the difference in meaning between the different forms of the verb in this verse. In other contexts the meaning may be somewhat different, but the forms of these verbs are stable. In order to appreciate the patterns of differences both structures are set out here. The forms which occur in our verse are highlighted. The Vav hahipuch ('conversive') affects the tense.


Past tense Future tense Imperative Participle
lachatzti('I pressed') elchatz ('I will press') lochetz ('I, you, he is pressing')
lachatzta ('you pressed') tilchatz ('you will press') lechatz ('press!')
lachatzt ('you (fem.) pressed') tilchatzi ('you) (fem.) will press') lachatzi ('press (fem.)!') lochetzet ('I, you, she is pressing')
lachatz ('he pressed') yilchatz ('he will press')
lachatza ('she pressed') tilchatz ('she will press') Passive lachutz lechutza ('I, you, s/he is pressed')


nilchatzti ('I was pressed') elachetz ('I will be pressed') nilchatz ('I, you, he is pressed')
nilchatzta ('you were pressed') tilachetz ('you will be pressed') hilachetz ('be pressed!')
nilchatzt ('you (f) were pressed') tilachatzi ('you (f) will be pressed')hilachatzi('be pressed(f)!')
nilchatz ('he was pressed') yilachetz ('he will be pressed') nilchetzet ('I, you, she is pressed')
nilchetza ('she was pressed') tilachetz ('she will be pressed')

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For accurate reading

me'uma (Num. 22:38 etc.) ('anything'): Irrespective of current practice, in the Torah this word is always read with the first syllable stressed.

pinechas (Num. 25:7) ('Pinchas'): In the five rules for Sheva na of R' Eliyahu Bachur rule no. 3 says that 'a Sheva after a long unaccented vowel is na.' A Chirik with a Yud following is a long vowel so the Nun has a Sheva na.

I will be pleased to have comments on these notes on the Parasha.
Good Shabbos, Meshullam Klarberg, 35/4 Meshech Chochma, Kiryat Sefer, Israel 71919
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