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Parashat Ki Tisa 5761


parequ (Exod. 32:2) (‘take off!’) Verbs with these vowels may be of the Qal conjugation in the past tense or of the Piel conjugation and imperative. To illustrate this let us look at a partial table of the conjugation.

Qal past tense: paraqti (‘I unloaded’), paraqta (‘you unloaded’), paraq (‘he unloaded’), paraqnu (‘we unloaded’), peraqtem (‘you unloaded’), pareku (‘they unloaded’)

Piel imperative: masc. sing. pareiq (‘take off!’), fem. sing. pareqi (‘take off!’), masc. plur. parequ (‘take off!’), fem. plur. pareiqna (‘take off!’)

At the point of parequ the two patterns are identical.

Thus we understand Rashi and R’ A. ibn Ezra’s comments. Rashi writes, ‘Imperative from pareiq like barechu from bareich, and R’ A. ibn Ezra comments, ‘Of the same pattern as barechu of the heavy conjugation with the Dagesh (Piel).’ In addition to identifying the verb as a Piel R’ A. ibn Ezra is explaining why it has a Qamatz under the Peh. He is pointing out that though the conjugation normally has a Dagesh in the second letter of the root, there is a compensatory Qamatz in that syllable because Resh does not take a Dagesh.

Note for readers: The Resh of parequ has a sounding Sheva. Some Humashim have a Hataf Patah in that position: paraqu, and there is a tradition which supports that reading.

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vedibeir im Moshe (Exod. 33:9) (‘and He spoke with Moshe’) Rashi explains that it is as though it said ‘He spoke with Himself with Moshe hearing’. This interpretation is presented by Onkelos and it is part of Divine Glory. Similarly we find vayishma et haqol midabeir eilav (Num. 7:89) [there Rashi explains that it is the same as mitdabeir it is the Glory of the Most High to speak in this manner; He speaks with Himself and Moshe hears as a bystander] it does not say medabeir eilav (He speaks to him’), when it says midabeir it means the Voice speaks to Himself [and Be’er Rehovot writes in Yiddish Er redet mit Zich zelben – He speaks with Himself] and the ordinary person just hears, whereas when it says medabeir the implication is that the King is speaking with the ordinary person (Rashi on this verse).

It would seem that when the King speaks with the ordinary person, there is dialogue. That is to say one speaks and the other answers. And this is how Rashi explains dibeir and medabeir both of which are in the Piel conjugation. However midabeir is Hitpa’el, and one of the connotations of Hitpa’el is that ‘he was acted upon himself and not by another’ (Sefer HaDikduk Le’Ramhal., ed. Eluzer Brieger, p. 72) and this is monologue. The underlying principle of Rashi is that midabeir is like mitdabeir, as the Tav of mitdabeir having a silent Sheva is absorbed by way of the Dagesh in the Dalet. R’ A. ibn Ezra makes this point in his commentary to velaqah lamitaheir (Levit. 14:4).

It seems to me that consonants which have a low decibel value, whether of their own accord or because their pronunciation depends upon the vowel before them, that is to say they have a silent Sheva, are prone to be absorbed in the following letter by way of that letter taking a Dagesh. Thus a Nun as the first letter of the root in the position where that letter normally takes a silent Sheva, is absorbed by way of the Dagesh in the following letter - eg yidevaenu (Exod. 25:2) (‘he will be made to donate’) and the root is Nun, Dalet, Bet. Similarly, the Nun is dropped in tikom (Levit. 19:18) (‘take revenge’) from the root Nun, Quf, Mem, and similar cases where the letter Nun is dropped. So too the Tav of the Hitpa’el having a silent Sheva when it is prefixed to roots beginning with the letters Dalet, Tet, Tav which are phonetically similar in that they are linguals, and furthermore, plosives. Thus in this phonetic context, the Tav does not make a strongly noticeable independent sound. The other linguals (Nun and Lamed) have a continuous, non-plosive pronunciation. Decibel values of these letters need to be established.

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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