(‘Forte’) in the first letter of a word!
The rule is quoted by Radak (Michlol, Lyck edition, folio 80), by Ramchal (Sefer haDikduk, shaar 3 chelek 6), and by others. From the wording of the Masora (Daniel, Ch. 5) it seems that the rule was part of the Masora at one time. Indeed, the language of the rule is the language of the Masora. R’ Sh. Davlitzki writes ‘this rule is quoted by all books on the Masora, but I have not yet found it in the Masora’ (Chok Yehu uMvatlav 1).
The basic rule assumes that it is known that the default position is that the letters Beged Kefet have a Dagesh (Kal) at the beginning of a word. Thus the rule making Beged Kefet letters soft after Yehu letters is itself an exception to a more basic rule. However R’ Davlitzki points out that the softening rule is broader than its literal sense. Thus there are words that conclude with a long vowel creating a virtual Yehu ending (ibid). Stated simply the rule means that a Beged Kefet letter is soft, if it comes at the beginning of a word following a word that ends in a long vowel. In terms of articulation we can say that when pronouncing a vowel the vocal tract is open, so it is more convenient to follow it with a fricative consonant (which does not require total closure) than a plosive consonant (which does).
The first two mevatelin are self-explanatory: 1) means that if the Yehu letter does not indicate a long vowel but is rather a consonant in its own right, the softening effect does not occur, and the Dagesh is re-instated; 2) means that if there is a pause in diction between the two words, the effect of having just concluded articulating a vowel does not flow on, and again the Dagesh is re-instated.
Following Ramchal, 3) means that if the first word concludes with Heh and the preceding vowel is a Patach a Segol or a Kamatz, and one of the two words is short, and they are joined by a Makaf (‘hyphen’), then the Dagesh is re-instated; and 4) teaches that if the first word concludes with an actual Heh which is preceded by a Segol and there is only one vowel between the stressed syllable of the first word and that of the second, and the Heh is not of the root, the Dagesh is re-instated. There are a number of other explanations.
In terms of articulation in the last two cases the two words are read as one, so the last syllable of the first word has a consonant after it (as is required for a short vowel) at the beginning of the following word! That explains why R’ Chaim Kaslin in Maslul writes that when there is a Kamatz at the end of the first word (not following Ramchal) it is a Kamatz Katan (Maslul Netiv 13 Ot 100)! According to this the Kamatz of hoshiah in hoshiah nna is a Kamatz Katan! This is contrary to the living tradition of Sefaradi reading.
notes that mevatelin 3) and 4) apply to all letters (other than the
Gutturals and Resh).
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meanings of words derived from Tzade Chet Kuf
I will be
pleased to have comments on these notes on the Parasha.
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