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Parashat Vayeishev 5762

What kind of Sheva?

vay'kan'u (Gen. 36:11) 'and they were jealous' This word is similar in structure to words like yegadelu (Hosh. 9:12) yezameru (Psalms 149:3) which is the structure of Piel verbs. However it differs from them in that they conform fully with the standard description of Piel verbs, having a Dagesh in the Ayin HaPoal (the second letter of the root), while vay'kan'u does not have a Dagesh in the Nun. Dagesh in the Ayin HaPoal is an important characteristic of Piel. Last week we noted that Dagesh is frequently omitted from a letter that has a Sheva. There we saw that vayis'u does not have a Dagesh in the Samech. However in the pausal form vayisa'u the Sheva disappears and, as a result, the Dagesh reappears. When the Dagesh is omitted are there any side effects?

R' Eliyahu Bachur's five rules determining which Sheva is Na (sounded) are fairly well known. Rule Dalet lays down that a Sheva which comes under a letter with a Dagesh is Na. If the Dagesh is omitted, it would seem that there is no longer any reason for that Sheva to be sounded. This argument is supported by the commentary of R' Shabetai Sofer on the Haggada Shel Pesach. There in his notes to the word vay'anunu he writes 'the Yud has a Sheva Nach (silent).' It would seem that the reason he felt the need to write this is because after a Vav HaHipuch there is normally a Dagesh. This is omitted here because the Yud has a Sheva. Thus we can see that the argument for a silent Sheva is supported by an author of authority.

For Torah Readers

Sheva Nach

According to the above in vay'kan'u, both Shevas are silent, and this is so wherever a Sheva has been omitted.

Mapik Alef?

laadoneihem (Gen. 40:1) Minchat Shai states that in Adnut with prefixes Bet Vav Chaf Lamed the Alef is silent, but this is one of seven exceptions. Rashi (Exod. 10:21) implies that the sound of Alef was well known in his day. The least we can do is distinguish between Patach and Chataf-Patach.

* * * *

A 'Light Vowel?'

vaani (Gen. 37:30) The Vav means 'and' which raises the question as to why it has a Patach. In its regular form Vav HaChibur has a Sheva. Being at the beginning of a word this is a Sheva Na. However in our case, the Aleph has a Chataf-Patach (here indicated by the small "a"). This is a variety of Sheva Na and as it is impossible for two Shevas to occur consecutively at the beginning of a word, the Vav here receives a Patach - a vowel which matches the Chataf Patach following. Similarly, in lihyot (ibid 39:10) the prefix Lamed has a Chirik instead of the regular Sheva. (The 17th century grammarian R' Zalman Hanau [referred to by the Noda Biyhudah, Peri Megadim and the Shulchan Aruch HaRav] called this kind of vowel, which is an expansion of a Sheva, a Tenuah Kallah 'light vowel', and commenting on this, Rabbi Ya'akov Emden wrote, in a play on words, 'k[Kuf]allah na[Ayin]a vachashudah' - reported in Sefer Dikdukei Shai p. 132, note 8).

* * * * lehadlik ner

In the printed Gemarot (Vilna and others) the wording is lehadlik ner shel Chanukah (Shabbat 23A) and this is how it is quoted in the Rif, Rambam, Rosh and other Poskim. However in the Shulchan Aruch the wording is given as lehadlik ner Chanukah and this wording is to be found in some manuscripts of the Gemarah. This wording too is the nusach of the Ari. The Magen Avraham, following the Maharshal, decided that one should say shelachanukah (Talmudic Encyclopaedia entry: Chanukah). The Mishna Berurah quoted the Maharshal and wrote in the name of the Peri Megadim 'the public is not accustomed to be careful about this'. If the matter depends on the correct version of the Gemarah, this is a matter for researchers of manuscripts and does not belong in a sheet on matters of language, and if it is a matter of Kabbala (the Ari having been quoted) we must accept it as such. But if the argument is that the Sages established the blessings in the language of the Bible and shel is an abbreviation of 'asher-l..,.' then it ought to be connected to that which comes after it (and in truth in most cases in the Nach it is joined to something after it). Nonetheless there is a case - beshal asher ya'amol ha'adam (Kohelet 8:17) where shel is not joined to the word after it. In siddurim all of these versions may be found.

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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