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Parasha Vayakhel 5763

Why did Rashi say it (twice)?

vayakhel (Exod. 35:1) ('and he [Moshe] gathered' - future form with Vav HaHipuch - the Vav which changes future to past tense) Rashi points out that this is a Hif'il verb and writes 'one does not gather people by hand, rather they are gathered by speech.' The same term vayakhel is used in describing the activity of Korach (Num. 16:19) and there Rashi writes 'with frivolous speech.' In both places Rashi finds it necessary to point out that one uses speech to gather people. Why does he find this necessary? R' Yitzchak Eisik Auerbach of Fuerth (18th cent.) in his super-commentary Be'er Rechovot (which deals with the grammatical points in Rashi's commentary on the Torah) suggests that the reason is that the Yud of the Hif'il (which occurs between the second and the third letters of the root in all persons, genders and numbers in the future form of the Hif'il) which, he claims, is the major characteristic of Hif'il, does not appear here! As a result he writes 'one might therefore mistakenly regard the verb as Kal.'

In fact Hif'il has two major characteristics 1) an extra syllable before the verb (in all parts of the conjugation); 2) the abovementioned Yud. While Kal too has a prefix in the future, this should not be confused with that of the Hif'il, as in Kal future the prefix has a Chirik and in the Hif'il future it has a Patach. Furthermore the elision of the Yud, when Vav HaHipuch is prefixed to future Hif'il verbs, is quite systematic. Dr Shaul Barkalai in his Luach Hape'alim HaShalem (8th edition, Reuven Mass, Jerusalem, n.d.) provides tables of verbs with Vav HaHipuch (p. 55) and the Yud is consistently omitted in the 2nd and 3rd persons masculine singular and in the 1st person plural (our case is 3rd person masculine singular). While this does not actually contradict the explanation of the Be'er Rechovot it weakens the explanation, and is a fact that should be considered in connection with this passage in Rashi.

Could it be that Rashi is saying that gathering people by way of speech itself requires the use of the Hif'il form?

* * * *

The Tetragammaton (four letter name) read as Adnut and the Adnut name read as written G-d's name, whether written as the Tetragammaton or written Alef Dalet Nun Yud, is read as Alef Dalet Nun Yud (unless it occurs after Alef Dalet Nun Yud in which case it is read as Alef Lamed Heh Yud Mem - Elokim). The stress should be put on the last syllable the -nay (or -noy). Some people erroneously put the stress on the previous (penultimate) syllable. R' Yechezkel Landau (known by his work Noda Biyhuda) was asked about this (the questioner was a member of the Sefaradi community in Hamburg). After claiming to have no 'hand in the study of grammar' the Noda Biyhuda replied:

Even young children learning to read know this simple matter, that is to say most words have the stress on the last syllable, unless the last syllable cannot take the stress or other reasons known to grammarians, in which case the stress is shifted back to the second last syllable. But with regard to the honored Name, why should the Name of our Father be excluded from having the stress in its right place? The Nun is pointed with a long vowel followed by a Nach Nireh* (lit.'a visible rest') so there is no doubt here that the stress is on the last syllable. I have never heard of any hesitancy on this matter, and anyone who diverges is simply in error, and he who disputes this and insists on reading with the stress on the second last syllable is in a losing position. Nevertheless it would be disgraceful to create a dispute on this matter, as the Torah has said the Holy Name should be erased in the water in order to make peace [alluding to Sotah]; clearly it should not be used to cause a dispute. So each of the parties should be prepared to give way. If the other side has no argument other than that referred to in the pamphlet, his words do not count and there is no need to respond to them. We know that the Chazanim constantly distort the words for the sake of the music But I do not believe that a person who has some background in Torah would rely on weak reasons like these. Therefore if the person arguing with you has some reasonable argument on this matter, let me know.

*That is to say the Nun of the name Adnut is pointed by Kamatz (which is a long vowel) and it is followed by a Yud which is read as a consonant. A long vowel followed by a consonant without a vowel of its own, whether the consonant is pointed with a visible Sheva or not is said to have what grammarians call a Nach Nireh. This letter closes the syllable. When a syllable ends with a vowel it is said to have a Nach Nistar ('a hidden rest'). Thus in Avraham we have three syllables: av (Nach Nistar) ra (Nach Nireh) ham (Nach Nistar).

When the Noda Biyhuda wrote that he did not know grammar, it would seem that he meant he did not know it well enough to be innovative. But clearly he did have a thorough knowledge of the established rules.

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
E-mail address: fredit@zahav.net.il

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