Second person masculine and third person feminine, singular, future tense verbs
Al tavo nafshi al teihad kevodi (Gen. 49:6) (may my soul not come may my honor not unite) Rashi comments "Kavod (honor) is masculine, and against your better judgment you must interpret it as addressing the honor, saying you my honor do not unite with them."
Rashis comment can be understood by noting that second person masculine and third person feminine, singular, future tense verbs are identical.
They must be distinguished by their context. nefesh (soul) is feminine and all agree that tavo refers to nefesh in the third person Yaakov, our forefather, prays that may she, my soul, not come in their council. However in Rashis opinion, the verb teihad cannot be interpreted in the same way, as it refers to kavod (honor), which is masculine and therefore he interprets you, my honor, do not unite with them; because kavod is masculine we must say that teihad is second person masculine.
Rabbi David Kimhe (Radak) disagrees with Rashi and writes teihad is feminine, for the honor is the soul. However no one including Radak, disagrees with the principle that future, masculine, second person and future, feminine, third person are identical.
In light of the above principle, the phrase uvishuatekha tarum vetagbiah qarneinu (end of Morning Blessings) needs to be examined. Is tarum masculine second person or feminine third person?
Rabbi Yaaqov Emden writes in his Siddur tarum and tagbiah are intransitive verbs [that is to say they do not require an object for the action described by the verb, MK] in the third person (and in brackets we find in Yiddish zi zolen zich derheiben [she will raise herself, MK]) in the feminine referring to qeren [dual parts of the body are feminine, MK]. If they were transitive verbs [that is to say requiring an object for the action described by the verb, MK] second person masculine (in Yiddish do zolst machen derheiben [you shall raiseMK]) it would have needed to be tarim with a Hiriq (Hiphil).
Indeed Baers siddur Avodat Yisrael refers to a work called Vayeetar Yitzhaq which corrected the text to tarim. He counters this innovation with three arguments: 1. In all siddurim and manuscripts we find tarum. 2. In Shemoneh Esrei the wording is veqarno tarum bishuatekha. 3. It is also in Psalms (89:14, 18:25, 112:9). Baer, a student of Rabbi Wolff Heidenheim, expresses surprise that his teacher followed the view of Vayeetar Yitzhaq. However, this approach avoids the problem raised by Reb Yaaqov Emden. Nowadays, the widespread siddur Tefillat Kol Peh has tarim in the Morning Blessings (but not in Shemoneh Esrei).
Because Baers opinion that tarum should not be changed, and that Reb Yaaqov Emdens opinion that tagbiah is an intransitive verb is forced, Baer decided to change tagbiah to tigbah (and to fulfill his obligations to the rabbi, who in his approbation praised him for not including editorial change based only on conjecture, he indicated that this form is to be found in the Mahzor printed in Prague in 1613). Baers version is followed by Singers Prayer Book, which was published in 1890 under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire R Nathan Adler. My copy is of the 18th edition (1944). By then 317,000 copies had been printed.
Iyun Tefilla (Otzar HaTefillot) indicates a number of verses in the Tanakh where lehagbiah is intransitive (Psalms 113:5; Ovad. V 4; Jer. 49:16) and concludes that Baers change to tigbah was unjustified. It thereby supports the view of R Y. Emden. R S. R. Hirsch follows R Y. Emden both in text and translation.
In conclusion, on grammatical grounds, tarum is the preferred reading both in the Morning Blessings and in Shemoneh Esrei. This view is supported by R Y. Emden and by R S. R. Hirsch, both major authorities.
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eineikhem root (ibid 45:12) (your eyes see) The verb is feminine in form. This indicates that the word for eye in Hebrew is feminine. Indeed the dual parts of the body are all feminine! HaKetav VehaQabbala (a commentary on the Torah with Kabbalistic ideas) suggests that the reason for this is that femininity is a characteristic of receptivity. The dual parts of the body receive their life-power from the heart. The word lev (heart) in Hebrew is masculine.
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these notes in English on Hebrew grammar related to the week's Parasha.
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