A Note for Readers (of Torah and of Hallel)
hashkifa (Deut. 26:15) ('look down') The form is Hiph'il and having the suffix Heh makes it what is known as the 'elongated' form. The tune is a Telisha Ketana that is always printed at the end of the word but the stress should nevertheless be put on the grammatically correct syllable (R' S.Y. Weinfeld, Taamei HaMikra Table A). The Heh of the elongated form is normally not stressed. Hence here one should stress the second last syllable hashkifa. (Putting the stress on the last syllable is an erro; for a discussion of the Halachik implications see Dikdukei Shai by R' S. Y. Mandelbaum, pp160-165.)
In the reading of Hallel there is a long standing-dispute whether hatzlicha (Psalms 118:25) follows this rule or not. Minhat Shai (Psalms 118:25), discusses the sources at length, and leaves it according to the tradition which maintains that one should read hoshia but hatzlicha. Rabbi M. Breuer shlita, does not accept this ruling and in the Tenach that he edited, indicates that one should read both hoshia and hatzlicha. (Although grammatically accurate siddurim tend to follow the Minhat Shai, many Hazanim read both words with the stress on the second last syllable as Rabbi Breuer.)
Aleph, Mem, Resh What does it mean?
he'emarta (Deut. 26:17); he'emirecha (Deut. 26:18) It is quite clear that the root is Aleph, Mem, Resh. It is also quite clear that both are verbs of the Hiph'il conjugation. The question that has bothered commentators through the ages is what do they mean? They do not seem to have anything to do with the word for 'say' which has the same root.
Onkelos translates it as meaning 'appointed.'
Menachem ben Saruk in his Machberet entry Aleph, Mem, Resh gives three meanings: 1) 'say' or 'call' 2) he gives our form - he'emarta - with yitameru (Psalms 94:4) presumably implying that it means 'glory' 3) The top of the olive tree.
Rashi makes three comments on our pasuk: 1) There is no conclusive evidence of its meaning anywhere in Scripture. 2) It seems [to Rashi] to mean separation. 3) Rashi found some evidence that it means 'glory' in yitameru kol po'alei aven (Psalms 94:4) ('all evil-doers will glorify themselves').
R' A. ibn Ezra explains it as meaning 'greatness' and likens it to a word of the same root (Isaiah 17:6) which he there interprets as meaning the 'best' and he reports R' Yehudah haLevy who relates it to 'says.'
Mandelkern in his Concordance relates the word to the Arabic Emir meaning 'ruler.' (Remember the 'Gulf Emirates')
It seems to me that the meanings 'appointed' 'separate' 'glorious' 'great' and 'ruler' suggest 'someone of a different status than others; and so have much in common. But what does that have to do with 'say' which also has the same root in Hebrew? Perhaps it is because the person who 'says' has other people listening (hopefully) and this makes him an appointed ruler of separate, glorious and great status (at least during the moment while he or she is saying his or her words). If so, all the meanings of words with the root Aleph, Mem, Resh are related.
A hard word to read
ulnogaH (Isaiah 60:19) ('and as soft light') Although Shuruk (the Vav with the dot) is normally a long vowel, it is to be regarded as a short vowel here. The Gaon of Vilna and earlier grammarians who maintained that this is so are listed by R' S.Y. Mandelbaum (Dikdukei Shai, p133 note 12). This is because the Shuruk replaces the Sheva which normally comes under Vav ('and'). In this case the Vav cannot have a Sheva because the Lamed has a Sheva, and two Sheva-s cannot follow each other at the beginning of a word. It follows that the Lamed has a Sheva Nach. The following vowel Cholam is the vowel of the stressed syllable of this word. It is similar to tzohar ('light') which is one of R' M. Ch. Luzzato's examples of stressed syllables before the last syllable. It is also similar to kotel ('wall') but in place of the Segol there is a Patach which is a 'back' vowel, as the last letter in the word is a guttural letter which has a tendency to use Patach. Finally the Heh at the end of the word should be pronounced. This is indicated by the dot (Mapik) which distinguishes between final Heh which is silent, and final Heh which is to be pronounced as a consonant.
Note My assertion some weeks ago that Rashi (Exod. 10:21) knew (and assumed his readers knew) a consonantal (glottal stop) pronunciation of Alef has been questioned. There are other sources for the consonantal pronunciation of Alef. The Masora notes 'silent' and 'pronounced' Alef in places where there may be doubt, eg Num 26:7; Deut 29:7; Psalm 136. Also Sefer Yetzira lists Alef as a guttural letter and this can hardly be due to the vowel quality of Alef. Sefer Yetzira classifies Yud and Vav which are also vowel letters are as palatial and labial letters respectively. The reading primer 'Hamesorah' (R' M. Ch. Cheshin Jerusalem 1979, p. 69) also regards Alef a stop ('plosive') sound.
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I will be
pleased to have comments on these notes on the Parasha.
This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
For information on subscriptions, archives, and