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Rosh HaShana 5763

Tishre or Tishri?

The name Tishre or Tishri, cannot be found in the Tenach by the Chalamish program. Because it is not in the Tenach there is no source to establish the authoritative pronunciation. As there is no blessing for the New Moon in the synagogue this month there is no tradition as to how it is read.

There are however secondary sources but these vary. In 'avela nafshi' (Selichot, Tzom Gedalia. Nusach Litte and other versions) it rhymes with she'eri and therefore must be Tishri (with Chirik). In printed copies of the Targum the Nikud varies. In Mikra'ot Gedolot Hama'or it is Tishre (the Resh having Tzere); so too in Rav Peninim (Yonatan ben Uziel, Gen. 8:22); Mikra'ot Gedolot, Shilo, Chamesh Megillot (Yonatan, Kohelet 1:6); Me'orot Hamgilla (Kohelet, 1:6, ed. R' M. Roz) and in Mikra'ot Gedolot (Mekor Hasfarim Jerusalem 1999, Kohelet, 1:6). It is with Chirik throughout the Tenach on the program Chalamish and the Mikra'ot Gedolot (Mekor Hasfarim Jerusalem 1999, II Chronicles, 31:7). Though useful and interesting, these sources are not authoritative in the same way as is the Nikud in the Tenach.

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A Rare Word

areshet sefatenu (Piyut for Rosh Hashana) This is a paraphrase of vaareshet sefatav (Psalms 21:3). There Yonatan translates areshet as 'perush'. From the context it is clear that the phrase means 'the expression of the lips'. Menachem ben Saruk in 'Machberet' (both in entry 'areshet' and in entry 'Resh Shin') relates it to kerishyon koresh melech paras (Ezra 3:7) and (in entry 'areshet') adds that from context it can be understood to mean 'expression of the lips'. From the Resh Shin entry it is clear that Menachem regards the letters Resh Shin as the root. As to meaning, Menachem is using two discovery methods: 1) comparison to another word which has the same root, and 2) context. Rashi writes that it means 'speech' and quotes Menachem. R' A. ibn Ezra explains 'what he will say with his mouth' like Menachem, and adds 'the Aleph is an affix like the Aleph in ve'ezro'acha (probably: uv'ezro'a Jer. 32:21) and [hence] it is like kerishyon melech paras' quoting the same verse as Menachem. It seems that R' A. ibn Ezra does not refer to Menachem directly because (having removed the Alef) R' A. ibn Ezra maintains that the root is Resh Shin Yud. It is tempting to relate the word harashum (Dan. 10:21) to rishyon and areshet giving a third word in the Tenach with the same root. The Heh of harashum is clearly a prefix and the Mem may be a suffix (as it is in chinam, rekam, omnam see R' A. ibn Ezra, Gen. 31:42; Ex. 3:21). The Aramaic word reshim (Dan.5:24; 5:25; 6:11) would support this argument, but resham (ibid 6:10) and other similar forms do not. If Mem is a suffix the meaning of the root Resh Shin Yud is 'Thoughts expressed in speech and in writing'. If Resh Shin Mem is an independent root it would seem that that root is related to other roots that have Resh Shin as the stem of the root. Dalet Resh Shin and Peh Resh Shin are interesting examples. Possibly this is also the intention of Yonatan.

However the 'Even Shoshan' dictionary provides quotations from Hebrew of later eras which used Alef Resh Shin as an independent root e.g. ad shelo ye'erosh leshono dibur (Bereshit Rabba 9) ('so long as his tongue does not produce speech'), and R' Yaakov Emden uses this form of the root in the name of his book Luach Eresh.

The three-letter root system took over and subsequent to Rashi one finds the Machberet of Menachem quoted less and less as time went on. His work was rescued from oblivion by R' Tzevi (Herschel) Filipowski, who published it from manuscript (Edinburgh, 1854). Filipowski annotated it in detail indicating the items that Rashi quoted. He also wrote an introduction arguing for the superiority of the one- or two-letter root system over the prevailing three-letter approach.


I wrote: According to the Masorah one should pronounce every Heh at the beginning or in the middle of a word. R' E. Sternbuch and R' E. Teitz both pointed out that this is only so if the Heh has Nikud (vowel or Sheva). If not the Heh is silent, this occurs in the names Pedatzur and Asa'el, see Minchat Shai (Num. 34:28).

Apology and request: Some e-mail files were mysteriously deleted. If you have written to me recently and I have not responded please re-send.

I will be pleased to have comments on these notes on the Parasha.
Wishing all readers Leshana Tova Tikatevu ('may you all be inscribed for a good year') Good Shabbos, Meshullam Klarberg, 35/4 Meshech Chochma, Kiryat Sefer, Israel 71919
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