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A Drop Of Dikduk Archives
- Bereishis

    The Statement: Bereishis 1:1 "Bereishis Bara Elokim Es Hashamayim V'es Haretz" In the beginning Hashem created the heaven and the earth. The Taam underneath Elokim is an Esnachta.

    The Problem: An Esnachta is generally used to divide a long Posuk into two parts. If thereis more then one thought in the Posuk an Esnachta is used to divide the thoughts. In this Posuk there seems to be only one thought so why does the Posuk have a  Esnachta?

    The Solution: The Sharei Zimrah in Shaar 6 Paragraph 1 explains the reason for the Esnachta. Although generally an Esnachta is used to divide a Posuk into two, but it can also be used to stress a point. In this Posuk it is used to stress the greatness and power of Hashem that was able to create the magnificent heaven and earth. 

    Rav Yakov Kamenetsky in his Sefer Emes L'Yakov also explains the Esnachta but in a different manner. He finds in the Esnachta a hint to the Medrash that Rashi quotes, that it was for the sake of Reishis that the world was created. It was for the sake of those things called Reishis that the world was created. It was for the sake of Torah, and Tzadikim,  that the world was created."Breishis Bara Elokim" may be read as an independent statement as the Esnachta alludes to, and can be understood "Because of Reishis the world was created.

    (See further in the Emes L'yakov for two other explanations for the Esnachta in this Posuk)

    The Statement: Bereishis 1:1 "Bereishis Bara Elokim Es Hashamayim V'es Haretz" In the beginning Hashem created the heaven and the earth. The Taam underneath Elokim is an Esnachta.

    The Problem: An Esnachta is generally used to divide a long Posuk intotwo parts. If thereis more then one thought in the Posuk an Esnachta is used to divide the thoughts. In this Posuk there seems to be only one thought so why does the Posuk have a  Esnachta?

    The Solution: The Sharei Zimrah in Shaar 6 Paragraph 1 explains the reason for the Esnachta. Although generally an Esnachta is used to divide a Posuk into two, but it can also be used to stress a point. In this Posuk it is used to stress the greatness and power of Hashem that was able to create the magnificent heaven and earth. 

    Rav Yakov Kamenetsky in his Sefer Emes L'Yakov also explains the Esnachta but in a different manner. He finds in the Esnachta a hint to the Medrash that Rashi quotes, that it was for the sake of Reishis that the world was created. It was for the sake of those things called Reishis that the world was created. It was for the sake of Torah, and Tzadikim,  that the world was created."Breishis Bara Elokim" may be read as an independent statement as the Esnachta alludes to, and can be understood "Because of Reishis the world was created.

    (See further in the Emes L'yakov for two other explanations for the Esnachta in this Posuk)

    The Statement: Perek 6 Posuk 10 "Vayoled Noach Shlosha Vanim Es Shem Es Cham V'es Yafes." And Noach had three sons, Shem, Cham and Yefes. In this case there is a Tipcha under the name Shem followed by a Marecha-Sof Posuk combination under Cham and Yefes. Almost identical are the Taamim in Perek 5 Posuk 32 which also places a Tipcha under the name Shem. The same Taamim are found in Perek 9 Posuk 18.

    The Rule: Generally when a list of three objects is given, the first one receives a Taam which is a Mesharays followed by a Taam Mafsik and the last one is also a Taam Mafsik. An Example is Shmos 1:3 Yissachar, Zevulun and Binyamin, in this case Yissachar the first name is given a Taam Mesharays followed by two Mafsikim. Further examples of this may be found in Shmos 25:3 Zahav Vachesef Unechoshes the first Taam is a Marecha, a Mesharays, followed by a Tipcha which is a Mafsik under Vachesef. Another example is in Shmos 28:17-20 where it lists the stones of the Choshen. In each instance the first stone is given a Taam of Mesharays followed by the second stone having a Mafsik for a Taam.

    The Problem: In the case of the children of Noach why is the first child given a Taam Mafsik (Tipcha)? Following the previous rule the first one of the list should receive a Taam Mesharays.

    The Solution: When the objects which are second and third are more closely related then the first two articles, then the Taamim will change. In our case Shem was much different then Cham and Yefes. Although Shem was the youngest of the brothers, he was nevertheless chosen for he was the most righteous. Being that he was more wise then the other two he is mentioned in a class all of his own with a Taam Mafsik separating him from Cham and Yefes. (Shaei Zimrah Shaar 5 Paragraph 4)

    Another explanation but yet quite similar may be that due to the fact that they are not mentioned in their birth order the Taam changes. The Taam Mafsik on the name Shem is telling us that Shem does not really belong here because he is not the oldest and is in this sense out of place.

    The Statement: Perek 6 Posuk 10 "Vayoled Noach Shlosha Vanim Es Shem Es Cham V'es Yafes." And Noach had three sons, Shem, Cham and Yefes. In this case there is a Tipcha under the name Shem followed by a Marecha-Sof Posuk combination under Cham and Yefes. Almost identical are the Taamim in Perek 5 Posuk 32 which also places a Tipcha under the name Shem. The same Taamim are found in Perek 9 Posuk 18.

    The Rule: Generally when a list of three objects is given, the first one receives a Taam which is a Mesharays followed by a Taam Mafsik and the last one is also a Taam Mafsik. An Example is Shmos 1:3 Yissachar, Zevulun and Binyamin, in this case Yissachar the first name is given a Taam Mesharays followed by two Mafsikim. Further examples of this may be found in Shmos 25:3 Zahav Vachesef Unechoshes the first Taam is a Marecha, a Mesharays, followed by a Tipcha which is a Mafsik under Vachesef. Another example is in Shmos 28:17-20 where it lists the stones of the Choshen. In each instance the first stone is given a Taam of Mesharays followed by the second stone having a Mafsik for a Taam.

    The Problem: In the case of the children of Noach why is the first child given a Taam Mafsik (Tipcha)? Following the previous rule the first one of the list should receive a Taam Mesharays.

    The Solution: When the objects which are second and third are more closely related then the first two articles, then the Taamim will change. In our case Shem was much different then Cham and Yefes. Although Shem was the youngest of the brothers, he was nevertheless chosen for he was the most righteous. Being that he was more wise then the other two he is mentioned in a class all of his own with a Taam Mafsik separating him from Cham and Yefes. (Shaei Zimrah Shaar 5 Paragraph 4)

    Another explanation but yet quite similar may be that due to the fact that they are not mentioned in their birth order the Taam changes. The Taam Mafsik on the name Shem is telling us that Shem does not really belong here because he is not the oldest and is in this sense out of place.

    The Statement: Breishis 7:13 Be'Etzem Hayom Hazeh Ba Noach V'shem V'cham V'yefes Bnai Noach. In the middle of this day came Noach and Shem and Cham and Yefes the children of Noach. The words V'shem and V'cham are attached with a Makaf (hyphen) and are read as one word.

    The Rule: In last years Drop of Dikduk for Parshas Noach we mentioned how the Torah when listing the sons of Noach puts a Taam that is a Mafsik by the word Shem. That is to tell us that Shem was separate from the other brothers for he was righteous. Instances may be found in Perek 6 Posuk 10 "Vayoled Noach Shlosha Vanim Es Shem Es Cham V'es Yafes." In this case there is a Tipcha under the name Shem followed by a Marecha-Sof Posuk combination under Cham and Yefes. Identical are the Taamim in Perek 5 Posuk 32 which also places a Tipcha under the name Shem. The same Taam is found in Perek 9 Posuk 18 under the name Shem. This is in contrast to places where the Torah lists individuals or items where the Taam usually groups the first two together giving the first one of the list a Taam Mesharays.  The reason why Shem is always given a Taam Mafsik eventhough it is the first name in a list is to stress to us the righteousness of Shem. To tell us that he was different then the other two sons of Noach.

    The Problem: It would then seem a bit strange that in our Posuk it groups Shem with Cham together and not just with a Taam Mesharays but with the ultimate of unity, the Makaf, the hyphen that joins them to be read as one word!!!!!!!!

    The Answer: In regard to their entering into the ark they were all equal. Both Cham and Shem did not merit to be saved. It was only because of the merit of their father Noach that they were allwed into the Ark. (See Sforno 6:21 that credits the saving of the household of Noach entirely due to Noach). It is for this reason that when the Posuk tells us that they entered the Ark it points out by means of the Taamim that  they all entered equally, due to the merit of Noach their father. It is for this reason that in this Posuk both Cham and Shem are put together to tell us that they both entered only due to the righteousness of Noach.

    Shaarei Zimrah Shaar 5 Paragraph

    The Statement: Bereishis Perek 13 Posuk 13: "V'Anshai Sodom Raim V'chataim LaHashem
    Meode" And the people of Sodom were wicked and sinful to Hashem exceedingly." Rashi
    explains this to mean that they were "Ra" with their bodies, "Chataim" with their money, and
    "LaHashem" refers to the specific sin of rebelling against Hashem. . Rashi understands the
    word LaHashem as being a separate sin and not merely the object of Raim and Chataim.
    Therefore there are three distinct sins mentioned in this Posuk according to Rashi.

    The Proof: One may actually deduce the explanation of Rashi from the Taamim on the Posuk.
    The words V'anshei Sodom (The people of Sodom) have a Zakef Koton combination since they
    are one unit. The word Raim has a Tipcha, followed by an Esnachta on the word Chataim, and
    last a Tipcha on the word LaHashem. Had LaHashem just been the object of the sin and
    wickedness, then it would not have been divided from the words Raim and Chataim. Since the
    Taam separates LaHashem from the words Raim and Chataim (with the biggest of the Taam
    Mafsikim, the Esnachata) it is pointing to a separate sin of LaHashem which Rashi tells us were
    acts of rebellion towards Hashem. See Drop of Dikduk Parsha BeHaaloscha for the rule when
    Lamah is accented on the first syllable and when on the second. We have in this week's Parsha
    Perek 12 Posuk 18-19 a case where it is accented once on the first syllable and once on the
    second syllable.

    The Statement: Bereishis Perek 13 Posuk 13: "V'Anshai Sodom Raim V'chataim LaHashem Meode" And the people of Sodom were wicked and sinful to Hashem exceedingly." Rashi explains this to mean that they were "Ra" with their bodies, "Chataim" with their money, and "LaHashem" refers to the specific sin of rebelling against Hashem. . Rashi understands the word LaHashem as being a separate sin and not merely the object of Raim and Chataim. Therefore there are three distinct sins mentioned in this Posuk according to Rashi.

    The Proof: One may actually deduce the explanation of Rashi from the Taamim on the Posuk. The words V'anshei Sodom (The people of Sodom) have a Zakef Koton combination since they are one unit. The word Raim has a Tipcha, followed by an Esnachta on the word Chataim, and last a Tipcha on the word LaHashem. Had LaHashem just been the object of the sin and wickedness, then it would not have been divided from the words Raim and Chataim. Since the Taam separates LaHashem from the words Raim and Chataim (with the biggest of the Taam Mafsikim, the Esnachata) it is pointing to a separate sin of LaHashem which Rashi tells us were acts of rebellion towards Hashem. See Drop of Dikduk Parsha BeHaaloscha for the rule when Lamah is accented on the first syllable and when on the second. We have in this week's Parsha Perek 12 Posuk 18-19 a case where it is accented once on the first syllable and once on the second syllable.

     

    The Statement: Bereishis 12:8 Vayikra Beshame Hashem "And he called in the name of Hashem. The Taamim are a Tipcha followed by a Marecha Sof Posuk on the last two words.

    The Question: In Shmos 34:5 we find the identical words Vayikra Veshame Hashem at the end of the Posuk with one difference. The difference is the word Vesham begins with a Vet instead of a Bet as it did in Bereishis. The reason for the difference is the Taamim. In the Posuk in Bereishis the Taam under the word Vayika is a Tipcha which is a Taam Mafsik and will make the following word begin with a Dagesh in the BGD CFS letters. In Shemos the word Vayikra is a Marecha which is a Taam Mesharays which will make the following BGD CfS letters remain without a Dagesh.

    Another Question: Why are the Taamim different in the two Pesukim. Why in Breishis are the words Beshame Hashem grouped together and in Shmos the words Vayikra Veshame grouped together.

    The Answer: In Bereishis it was Avrom calling in the name of Hashem and therefore the words Beshame Hashem are connected. Avrom was letting the world know about Hashem. He was informing the world concerning the name of Hashem. Therefore the word Hashem is explaining whose name Avromm was informing the people about. It is explaining the Beshame and therefore is grouped by the Taamim with the Beshame.

    In Shmos the Taamim separate the word Hashem from the word Veshame. The Ebn Ezra understands the one who is doing the calling in this Posuk is Hashem. It is as if the Posuk is saying and "And he called in the name, and the calling was being done by Hashem." The word Hashem in this case is not explaining Veshame but rather identifying who was doing the calling. This Taam fits in very well with the Chazal that Moshe was being shown the way of prayer by Hashem at this time. That Hashem wrapped himself in a Tallit and showed Moshe the prayers. For it was Hashem who is the one who is calling. It is for this reason that the Vayikra is grouped together leaving the Hashem alone for in this instance it is not explaining the Veshame but rather stating who was doing the calling.

    (see Rashi for a differing opinion)

    Shaarei Zimrah Shaar 1 Paragraph 5


    The Statement: Bereishis Perek 20 Posuk 9: "Vayikrah Avimelech L'Avrohom Vayomer Lo
    Meh Asisah Lanu etc" And he said to him what have you done to us, what have we sinned to
    you etc.......... The Taamim on this Posuk are very unique. In this Posuk there are an
    exceedingly large amount of Taamim Hamafsikim. In this Posuk there are twelve Taamim
    Hamafsikim.

    The Question: What is the reason for the large amount of Taamim Hamafsikim in this Posuk?
    What are the Taamim indicating in this Posuk?

    The Answer: A Taam Mafsik is indicating a pause. The Esnachta and the Sof Posuk are the
    biggest Mafsikim in the Posuk. We have discussed many times the use of the Esnachta to
    accentuate and stress a certain point in the Posuk. Any Taam Mafsik is indicating a pause.
    Some are indicating a larger pause than others. Nevertheless all of them indicate a pause to
    some extent.

    Rav Yakov Kamenetsky in his sefer Emes L'Yakov offers the following reason for this Posuk
    and its unique Taamim. When a person has a complaint against someone or wishes to accuse
    him of something, he is very short and abrupt with his words. He wishes to accentuate his words
    and says them with stress and meaning. In this Posuk Avimelech is complaining to Avrohom
    about concealing the fact that Sarah was Avrohom's wife. He is saying his words with stress and
    meaning. It is for this reason that there are so many Taamim Mafsikim in this Posuk indicating
    the stress and gravity of the accusation of wrongdoing that Avimelech feels he has against
    Avrohom.

    The Statement: Bereishis Perek 20 Posuk 9: "Vayikrah Avimelech L'Avrohom Vayomer Lo Meh Asisah Lanu etc" And he said to him what have you done to us, what have we sinned to you etc.......... The Taamim on this Posuk are very unique. In this Posuk there are an exceedingly large amount of Taamim Hamafsikim. In this Posuk there are twelve Taamim Hamafsikim.

    The Question: What is the reason for the large amount of Taamim Hamafsikim in this Posuk? What are the Taamim indicating in this Posuk?

    The Answer: A Taam Mafsik is indicating a pause. The Esnachta and the Sof Posuk are the biggest Mafsikim in the Posuk. We have discussed many times the use of the Esnachta to accentuate and stress a certain point in the Posuk. Any Taam Mafsik is indicating a pause. Some are indicating a larger pause than others. Nevertheless all of them indicate a pause to some extent.

    Rav Yakov Kamenetsky in his sefer Emes L'Yakov offers the following reason for this Posuk and its unique Taamim. When a person has a complaint against someone or wishes to accuse him of something, he is very short and abrupt with his words. He wishes to accentuate his words and says them with stress and meaning. In this Posuk Avimelech is complaining to Avrohom about concealing the fact that Sarah was Avrohom's wife. He is saying his words with stress and meaning. It is for this reason that there are so many Taamim Mafsikim in this Posuk indicating the stress and gravity of the accusation of wrongdoing that Avimelech feels he has against Avrohom.

    The Statement:

    Bereishis 21:11 Vayerah Hadavar Meod BeAynay Avrohom Al Odos Bno

    "And the thing was very bad in the eyes of Avrohom concerning his son."

    The Rule: An Esnachta is used in a Posuk to divide it into two parts. When the Posuk is relating two thoughts then an Esnachta is used to divide the two thoughts. In Pesukim which are short and only have one thought then no Esnachta is found in the Posuk.

    The Question: In this Posuk there seems to be only one statement. It seems that there is one statement that Avrohom felt bad concerning his son. If this is the case why is there an Esnachta in the Posuk.

    The Answer: The Shaarei Zimrah in Shaar 6 Paragraph 1 explains the reason for the Esnachta based on the Rashi in this section. Rashi brings two explanations why it troubled Avrohom so much. One reason is because Yishmael had strayed from the path of Avrohom and had become evil in his conduct. It is with this interpretation that the Esnachta may be understood in this Posuk. The Esnachta is hinting to us that there is a separate anger in this Posuk that is separate from the sadness Avrohom felt for sending Yishmael away. The Esnachta is coming to divide the Posuk into two parts. One to show the anger caused by the straying of Yishmael and the other was for the objections that Avrohom had about sending Yishmael away.

    The Statement Breishis 24:19: "Vatechal Lehashkoso VaTomer Gam L'Gmalecha Eshav Ad Em Keelu Lishtos" And she finished giving him to drink and she said "Also to your camels I will draw until they have finished drinking."

    The Rule: Generally a word that has a Patach sound keeps its Patach sound unless it has an Esnachta for its Taam. When the Taam under the Patach sound is an Esnachta then the Patach sound turns from a Patach to a Kamatz.

    The Problem: In this Posuk the word Eshav really should be with a Patach sound. What causes the word to take the Kamatz sound? It has neither the Taam of an Esnachta or Sof Posuk that would change it from a Patach to a Kamatz.

    The Solution: The first part of the Posuk tells us that Rivka finished giving Eliezer to drink. The Posuk then goes on to give us a direct quote of Rivka. The quote of Rivka is viewed as something entirely of its own. For this reason the words "VaTomer Gam L'Gmalecha Eshav Ad Em Keelu Lishtos" are viewed as if they are a Posuk all of their own. The biggest Mafsik (break) in this mini-Posuk is at the word Eshav. Therefore although the Taam on Eshav is only a Zakaf Katan it has vowels as if it had an Esnachta, since it is the biggest Mafsik (break) in the quote of Rivka's words.

    The Statement Breishis 24:19: "Vatechal Lehashkoso VaTomer Gam L'Gmalecha Eshav Ad Em Keelu Lishtos" And she finished giving him to drink and she said "Also to your camels I will draw until they have finished drinking."

    The Rule: Generally a word that has a Patach sound keeps its Patach sound unless it has an Esnachta for its Taam. When the Taam under the Patach sound is an Esnachta then the Patach sound turns from a Patach to a Kamatz.

    The Problem: In this Posuk the word Eshav really should be with a Patach sound. What causes the word to take the Kamatz sound? It has neither the Taam of an Esnachta or Sof Posuk that would change it from a Patach to a Kamatz.

    The Solution: The first part of the Posuk tells us that Rivka finished giving Eliezer to drink. The Posuk then goes on to give us a direct quote of Rivka. The quote of Rivka is viewed as something entirely of its own. For this reason the words "VaTomer Gam L'Gmalecha Eshav Ad Em Keelu Lishtos" are viewed as if they are a Posuk all of their own. The biggest Mafsik (break) in this mini-Posuk is at the word Eshav. Therefore although the Taam on Eshav is only a Zakaf Katan it has vowels as if it had an Esnachta, since it is the biggest Mafsik (break) in the quote of Rivka's words.

    The Statement: Bereishis 24:67 Vayeveeha Haohela Sara Eemo And he brought her to the tent, Sarah his mother.

    The Explanation: Rashi explains that there are two separate statements being made here. One statement is that Yitzchok brought her to the tent. The second statement is that she filled the place of Sarah his mother.

    The Rule: When one word is used to describe another word it is called a Nismach. The word Shel which means belonging to is rarely used in Tanach. Instead when two words are next to each other without anything in between them, it is understood that one belongs to the other.

    In the case of a word that is a Nismach the Heh Hayedeyah will not be on the first word but will transfer to the second word. One example is Eitz Hadaas "the tree of knowledge."  If the word is attached to a specific person then the Heh will be droppedaltogether. Ohel Rachel is the tent of Rachel. Since the Posuk is being so specific by naming the owner of the tent it is not necessary to place a Heh beforehand. The word is accentuated enough by the fact it belongs to a specific person.

    The Explanation: Rashi saw the Heh before the words Ohelah Sarah. Had the words Ohel and Sarah been Semoochim to each other the Heh before Ohelah would have been unnecessary. Rashi therefore understood that the words Ohel and Sarah are not Semoochim. That Sarah is not describing the tent. It is as if there was a comma after Haohelah. He brought her to the tent is one statement. And Sarah Eemo is another statement that is stating that Rivka was in the place of Sarah his mother.

    The Proof: Perhaps the Taamim also follow the interpretation of Rashi. The Taamim are a Pashta which indicates a pause on the word Haohela. This is followed by a Zakef Katan on Sarah Eemo grouping those words together. Had the word Sarah been describing the Ohel the Taamim would have been grouped with Ohel and Sarah together.


    The Statement: Bereishis 25:22 "VaYisrotzetzu Habanim Bekerbah" and the children struggled inside of her. Rashi explains this Posuk as being vague, for itdoes not explain what the struggle was about. The commentaries explain that it can not be the struggle of bearing twins for that would generally not lead to despair.

    The Rule: One may actually derive the fact that the Posuk is not referring to the struggle of bearing twins from the Taamim. One of the instances that a Munach Zarka and Munach Segol combination is used, is in a Posuk with three independent statements. When there are three statements then a Munach Segol combination is used before the Esnachta. (A Munach Segol combination is never found after an Esnachta.)

    The Question: In this Posuk there are three independent parts. 1) The struggle of the children 2) Rivka asking why this is transpiring 3) Rivka going to the house of Hashem to receive the answer. If there are three independent statements then the proper Taamim should be a Munach Segol combination. Why does the Posuk use a Mahpach Pashta combination.

    The Answer: Although there are three independent statements, a Munach Segol combination is not used here. A Munach Segol combination is only used when the statement under the Segol is very clear and explained well. When the statement is not clear then a Munach Segol combinationis not used.

    The Proof: One may actually derive the fact that the Posuk is not referring to the struggle of bearing twins from the Taamim. Had the Posuk been referring to the struggle of twins then the statement is fully explained and it would receive the Munach Segol Taam. Since the Taam is not a Segol it indicates that the struggle is not fully explained here. Therefore the Taamim point to a struggle among the babies of something else besides the struggle of carrying twins.

    The Statement: Bereishis Perek 27:28 "Veyeetayn Lecha HaElokim Metal Hashamayim" And Hashem will give you from the dew of the heaven. Rashi explains that the Posuk is saying that Hashem will give and continue to give again.

    The Rule: A Vav that comes as the first letter of a word may serve one of two functions. It may be a Vav Hachibur which means and. When used in this way it will be attaching the Posuk or the word to the section or words beforehand. The second way a Vav may be used in the beginning of a word is in the function of a Vav Hahipuch. In this way the Vav changes the tense of the word either from past to future or from future to past.

    The Problem: In our Posuk what is the function of the Vav at the beginning of the word Veyeetayn? It can not be a Vav Hahipuch that would change Yetayn to a past tense for the Brochos are given for the future and have nothing to do with past. If the Vav is functioning as a Vav Hachibur what is Vayeetayn being attached to. What is it being connected to? There is no Brocho mentioned earlier, this is the beginning of the Brocho. There is nothing for it to be attached to.

    Rashi's Explanation: The Vav is a Vav Hachibur. It is attached to itself. It is as if the Posuk would have said Yeetayn and Veyeetayn immediately following Yeetayn.. That he will give and he will give again is what the Vav is coming to tell us.

    The Statement: As Yakov presents the food that he has prepared for Yitzchok in order to receive the blessings, he says, "I am Eisav your first born." Rashi comments that what Yakov was really saying was: I am the one who is bringing the food to you, and Eisav is your first born.

    The problem: From where did Rashi derive this interpretation? What led Rashi away from the more simpler and obvious interpretation that Yakov was saying "I am Eisav your first born" in order to trick Yitzchok so he may receive the brochos.

    The solution : The Taamim (cantillations) are divided into two groups. One that warrants a pause after them and another that lead intos and connects the current word to the following word. The Taam on the word "Anochi" is a Pashta which is a cantillation or Taam that places a pause or comma after it. The following two words "Eisav Bechorecha" Eisav your firstborn, is punctuated with the Taam of Zakef Koton a Taam that joins the two words together as if there is no pause between them.

    In essence the Taam divides these words into two statements. The words following the punctuation of the Taam are saying I am, followed by an independent statement "Eisav your first born" with a comma or pause after the word I. The words Eisav your first born are also according to the Taam to be read as a statement on it's own. Therefore Rashi, following the Taam, understood Yakov to be saying two statements " Anochi" I am, meaning: I have brought the food, and a second statement that "Eisav Bechorecha" Eisav is your first born.

    The Statement: Bereishis 25:22 "VaYisrotzetzu Habanim Bekerbah" and the children struggled inside of her. Rashi explains this Posuk as being vague, for itdoes not explain what the struggle was about. The commentaries explain that it can not be the struggle of bearing twins for that would generally not lead to despair.

    The Rule: One may actually derive the fact that the Posuk is not referring to the struggle of bearing twins from the Taamim. One of the instances that a Munach Zarka and Munach Segol combination is used, is in a Posuk with three independent statements. When there are three statements then a Munach Segol combination is used before the Esnachta. (A Munach Segol combination is never found after an Esnachta.)

    The Question: In this Posuk there are three independent parts. 1) The struggle of the children 2) Rivka asking why this is transpiring 3) Rivka going to the house of Hashem to receive the answer. If there are three independent statements then the proper Taamim should be a Munach Segol combination. Why does the Posuk use a Mahpach Pashta combination.

    The Answer: Although there are three independent statements, a Munach Segol combination is not used here. A Munach Segol combination is only used when the statement under the Segol is very clear and explained well. When the statement is not clear then a Munach Segol combinationis not used.

    The Proof: One may actually derive the fact that the Posuk is not referring to the struggle of bearing twins from the Taamim. Had the Posuk been referring to the struggle of twins then the statement is fully explained and it would receive the Munach Segol Taam. Since the Taam is not a Segol it indicates that the struggle is not fully explained here. Therefore the Taamim point to a struggle among the babies of something else besides the struggle of carrying twins.


    The Statement: Perek 30:8 And Rochel said "Naftooley Elokim Niftalti" (I have twisted with turnings to Hashem). The rule: A Tevir is a Taam that is a Mafsik. (denotes a pause after it) A Tevir is preceded sometimes by a Darga and sometimes by a Marecha. (See Vilna Gaon's Dikdukei Torah on the word Vayar) The Darga is used to precede the Tevir when there are two or more syllables between the two Taamim, the Darga and the Tevir.(Shva Naah also counts as a syllable) The Marcha is used to precede the Tevir when there is only one syllable between the two Taamim.

    The Problem: In this Posuk the word "Elokim has the Taam Darga under the "Heh" and in the following word "Niftalti " the Taam is under the first "Tav." This leaves only a one syllable break between the Taamim and the proper Taam should be Marecha Tevir not Darga Tevir.

    The Solution: Rav Yakov Kamenetsky in his Sefer Emes L'Yakov and others offer the following solution to this problem. Eventhough there is only one syllable between the two Taamim nevertheless the Taam remains Darga Tevir. The reason being that since there is a Mafsik between the two words (the long thick line) it acts as a pause between the two Taamim. It acts in the same way as an extra syllable would. Therefore although there is only one vocalized syllable between the Taamim, the Mafsik adds another syllable and the Taam remains Darga Tevir as if there were two syllables.

    A quick question for the inquisitive mind: Why in the list of Taamim is Tevir preceded by Darga since there is only one syllable between the Taamim. According to the rules of Taamim it should be Marecha Tevir.

    The Statement: Perek 29:15 Hachee Achee Atah "Is it that you are my brother"

    The Rule: Generally the Taam (accent) in Loshon Hakodesh is on the last syllable of the word. This is called Milrah. There are exceptions such as the word Atah in this Posuk that has the Taam on the first syllable of the word. (Baal Koreh beware there a few times that the word Atah is accented on the first syllable of the word. The word Atah in this Posuk is one of them. Other times are Breishis 3:19, 22:12, 32:18, 49:3 and others.)

    Another Rule: In Loshon Hakodesh we do not like to have two accented syllables next to each other. For this reason if the accent of a word is on the first syllable, the previous word will also have its accent moved back one syllable at leas,t in order to avoid the occurrence of two consecutive syllables with accents. This is called Nasog Achor "moving  backwards".

    The Question: In our Posuk since the word Atah is accented on the first syllable why don't we move back the accent and Taam of the word Achee to the first syllable of the word in order to avoid having two syllables next to each other?

    The Answer: If moving back the accent to avoid two consecutive accented syllables will result in two other syllables being accented consecutively then we don't apply the Nasog Achor rule. In our case if we were to move the accent to the first syllable of Achee it would result in Hachi which is accented on the last syllable, being right before the accented syllable of Achee. We would have two consecutive accented syllables and the purpose of Nasog Achor would be defeated. We would have solved the two consecutive syllable in Achee Atah but created another problem in the words Hachee Achee. Therefore we don't apply the Nasog Achor rule.


    The Statement: Breishis Perek 36:24 "V'Aleh V'nei Tzivon V'Alah VaAnah" And thses are the sons of Tzivon: V'Alah VaAnah.

    The Problem: It would seem that the Vav of V'Aleh is unnnecesary. A Vav generally takes the place of the word and. It combines and attaches two or more objects or actions together. In this case V"Aleh is the first son of Tzivon mentioned and therefore the Vav seems to be out of place since it is not joining two names together.

    The Solution: Rashi explains the extra Vav as being the way of the Torah. The Torah sometimes adds a Vav even though there is no object beforehand. The Radak in Sefer Hamichlol brings an explanation from his father as to why the Vav is placed here. In our case the extra Vav alludes to other children that Tzivon had. The reason for them not being mentioned explicitely was perhaps because they had no children. Since Tzivon had other children besides these that the Torah explicitely states therefore a Vav is placed there as if to say that V'Aleh is a continuation of the descendants of Tzivon.

    The Statement: Perek 32:14 "Vayalan Sham Balaylah Hahoo" And he slept there on that night

    The Rule: Words that end in a Kamatz Heh are considered of the female gender in Loshon Hakodesh.

    The Problem: If Laylah ends in a Kamatz Heh, then the word Laylah should be considered female and the following word should be Hahee the female counterpart of Hahoo. Why does the Posuk use the male Hoo with the female word Laylah?

    The Solution: The word Laylah is in esssence an exception to the rule. Although it ends in Kamatz Heh it is of the male gender. This is true even though the plural is Laylos which would seem to indicate that it is female too!!!!!!! To differentiate the word Laylah from the word Tzedakah, and other Kamaatz Heh endings which are female, there are some important differences. First in the word Tzedakah, since the last Heh tells us if it is female it is considered a very important part of the word and therefore the Taam (accent) is Milra, on the last part of the word, as opposed to Laylah where the Taam is always on the first part of the word since the Heh is not a vital part of the word. In the word Tzedakah also, due to the fact that the Heh is so vital to the word the word turns to Tzidkas (the Heh turns to a Saf) when used to describe something, such as Tzidkas Hashem. This is in contrast to Laylah where the Heh does not turn to a Saf because the Heh is not such a vital part of the word and the word is "Layl" Shimurim (the night of watching) with the Heh being dropped because of it's unimportance instead of turning to a Saf.

    The Statement: Breishis Perek 36:24 "V'Aleh V'nei Tzivon V'Alah VaAnah" And these are the sons of Tzivon: V'Alah VaAnah.

    The Problem: It would seem that the Vav of V'Aleh is unnnecesary. A Vav generally takes the place of the word and. It combines and attaches two or more objects or actions together. In this case V"Aleh is the first son of Tzivon mentioned and therefore the Vav seems to be out of place since it is not joining two names together.

    The Solution: Rashi explains the extra Vav as being the way of the Torah. The Torah sometimes adds a Vav even though there is no object beforehand. The Radak in Sefer Hamichlol brings an explanation from his father as to why the Vav is placed here. In our case the extra Vav alludes to other children that Tzivon had. The reason for them not being mentioned explicitely was perhaps because they had no children. Since Tzivon had other children besides these that the Torah explicitely states therefore a Vav is placed there as if to say that V'Aleh is a continuation of the descendants of Tzivon.

    The Statement: Bereishis 32:17 "Lo Ashalaychacha Kee Eem Barachtani" I will not send you until you bless me. Rashi comments that Yaakov was asking for approval for the Brachos that Yitzchok had given him in Parshas Toldos.

    The Reason: One reason why Rashi interprets the Blessing as the original Bracha that Yaakov received from Yitzchok, is given by the Baal Haturim. The Baal Haturim says that the numerical value of the word Barachatani and the words Hodeh Labirchasi (to agree to my blessing) are the same.

    Another Reason: If one looks at the word Barachtani it is in essence Loshon Avar word. Had the Posuk been saying that he will not send him until he blesses him in the future the Posuk would have used a different word. It would have used the word Tevarachani which is the future tense of the word Bracha. The Posuk uses the word Barachtani which is the past tense of the word Bracha. Rashi saw that the use of the past tense must be telling us something regarding a past event. It is for this reason that it is referring to the Bracha that Yaakov received from Yitzchok many years ago. That although Yaakov had taken them  with trickery he requested that the angel agree that they are now his.The Posuk is telling us that he will not let the angel go until he blesses him regarding the past event of taking the Brachos.


    The Statement Bereishis 37:10 "Vayesapar El Aviv V'El Echav" And he told the dreams to his father and his brothers. Rashi comments on this Posuk that this is the second time Yosef is telling about the dreams. The first time he told just the brothers. The second time he told his father while his brothers were present.

    The Reason: Rashi explains the Posuk referring to the second telling of the dreams because the previous Posuk also mentioned of Yosef's recounting of the dreams. In the first Posuk it makes no mention of his father being there. This is why Rashi understood that Yosef told about the dreams in two different instances. The first was when he told the brothers alone. The second time was when he told Yakov in the presence of the brothers.

    The Taam: The Shaarei Zimrah in Shaar 6 Paragraph 5 explains the Taamim on these words using the explanation of Rashi. A Munach Zarka and Segol combination is used many times to stress a point. When something is being done excessively then the Taam is many times a Munach Zarka and Segol combination.

    The Explanation: In our Posuk it is discussing Yosef's recounting of the dreams. Yoseftold them over twice, once to his brothers and once to his father in the presence of his father. Since Yosef was telling them over many times and excessively therefore the Taam is a Munach Zarka and Segol combination which signifies excessiveness.

    The Statement: Perek 39:12 "Vatispesayhu Bevigdoh "And she grabbed him by his clothing"

    The Rule: Have you ever wondered how one is to know if he should say Bnai Yisroel with a "Bet" or Vnai Yisrael with a "Vet"? The general rule of thumb is when BGD CFS is preceded by AHOY then the BGD CFS becomes soft. To put it in understandable terms when the letters "Bet" "Gimmel" "Dalet" "Chaf" "Pay" or "Saf" are in the beginning of a word and are preceded by any one of the letters "Alef" "Heh" "Vav" or "Yud" at the end of the previous word, then the BGD CFS loses its Dagash and becomes soft. Therefore for example, Bnai Yisroel when preceded by the word "Mipnei" from before, becomes Vnai Yisroel since the word preceding Bnai ends in a Yud.

    The Problem: The word Vatispesayhu ends with the letter "Vav" and the word Bevigdoh strangely begins with a Bet. If we followed the aforementioned rule, the word should be Vevigdoh since the rule says that when AHOY precedes a BGD CFS it turns the sound to a soft sound.

    The Solution : The Ramchal in his Sefer Hadikduk writes that one of the exceptions to the BGD CFS rule is a word that begins with two identical letters. Therefore since the word "Bevigdoh" begins with two of the letter "Bet" therefore it does not follow the BGD CFS rule. Rather than beginning with a "Vet" as the BGD CFS rule would dictate and having two "Vet" in the beginning of the word, it begins with a Dagesh in the first letter making it "Bevigdoh."

    The Statement Bereishis 37:10 "Vayesapar El Aviv V'El Echav" And he told the dreams to his father and his brothers. Rashi comments on this Posuk that this is the second time Yosef is telling about the dreams. The first time he told just the brothers. The second time he told his father while his brothers were present.

    The Reason: Rashi explains the Posuk referring to the second telling of the dreams because the previous Posuk also mentioned of Yosef's recounting of the dreams. In the first Posuk it makes no mention of his father being there. This is why Rashi understood that Yosef told about the dreams in two different instances. The first was when he told the brothers alone. The second time was when he told Yakov in the presence of the brothers.

    The Taam: The Shaarei Zimrah in Shaar 6 Paragraph 5 explains the Taamim on these words using the explanation of Rashi. A Munach Zarka and Segol combination is used many times to stress a point. When something is being done excessively then the Taam is many times a Munach Zarka and Segol combination.

    The Explanation: In our Posuk it is discussing Yosef's recounting of the dreams. Yoseftold them over twice, once to his brothers and once to his father in the presence of his father. Since Yosef was telling them over many times and excessively therefore the Taam is a Munach Zarka and Segol combination which signifies excessiveness.


    The Statement: Bereishis 45:24 "Vayeshalach Es Echav" And he sent his brothers. TheRashbam comments on the difference between the words Vayishlach and Vayeshalach. The Rashbam comments that the word Vayishlach has no Dagesh in the Lamed. This is in contrast to the word Vayeshalach that does have a Dagesh in the Lamed.

    The Rashbam continues to say that the word Vayishlach is an expression of sending   something out thatwill be brought back. An example is Bereishis 8:8 "Vayishlach Es Yado" And Noach stretched out his hand. In that instance he was sending out his hand but he would bring it  back soon thereafter. Since the sent object will immediately be brought back it uses the word Vayishlach. 

    The word Vayeshalach is used in the Rashbam's opinion when there is an escort. In our Posuk the brothers were escorted out, therefore the word Vayeshalach is used. Other commentaries see in the word Vayeshalach a more final type of sending. A  sending thatwill not return to the one that sent it. The Sforno understands our Posuk and the word Vayeshalach as a sending that is freeing them and giving them permission to leave. According to all the commentaries the word Vayeshalach is a strong form of sending.

    One may see also that Vayeshalach is a stronger form of sending then Vayishlach from their Binyanim. Vayishlach is from the Binyan Kal. This Binyan represents actions done lightly and without a tremendous amount of force. Therefore the sending that it means is a rather light sending, one that may return to the sender.

    The word Vayeshalach is from the Binyan Peeale. This Binyan places a Dagesh in the second letter of the Shoresh unless the letter does not take a Dagesh, such as an Alef. The Binyan of Peeale gives intent and stress to the action done. It is part of the Binyamin which are Kaved. In the case of Vayeshalach it tells us that it was sent away with the intent never to return. The stress and intent of the action may also mean to send with an escort as the Rashbam explains in our Posuk, or the freeing and giving of permission to leave as others understand.

    The Statement: Perek 43:15 "U'Mishnah Kesef" And the double silver.

    The Rule: We discussed last week that the rule is that a word beginning with BGD CFS that follows a word ending in AHOY automatically turns the Dagesh to a soft sound. To review, when the letters "Bet" "Gimmel" "Dalet" "Chaf" "Pay" or "Saf" are in the beginning of a word and are preceded by any one of the letters "Alef" "Heh" "Vav" or "Yud" at the end of the previous word, then the BGD CFS loses its Dagesh and becomes soft.

    The Problem: The word U'Mishneh ends with a Heh. If so, following the BGD CFS rule the following word should be with a Chaf, a soft sound without a Dagesh, since it is preceded by a word that ends with a Heh. The Solution: This brings us to a further qualification in the BGD CFS rule. That is the exception called "Dachik." If the word preceding the BGD CFS is a "Dachik" meaning a compressed word, the following word will not follow the BGD CFS rule. In this instance the hyphen between the words U'Mishneh and Kesef connect the words and make them like one long word. It compresses them into one word. The "Heh" at the end of U'Mishneh is not considered the end of the word since the words have been compressed into one. Since the "Heh" is not considered to be there, for this reason the BGS CFS rule becomes null and void and the following word begins with a Dagesh sound.

    For further info on BGD CFS rule: see Parshas Vayeshev

    The Statement: Bereishis Perek 42:13 "Shnaym Asar Avadecha Achim Anachnu"

    We are your servants twelve brothers we are. The Taamim under the words Achim Anachnu are a Darga Tevir combination.

    The Rule: A Tevir may be preceded either by a Darga or a Marecha. What dictates whether the preceding word will have a Marecha or a Darga is the amount of syllables between the Taamim of the words. If there is one syllable between the Tevir and the Taam of the word before, the Taam of the word before the Tevir will be a Marecha. If there are two syllables between the Taam of the preceding word and the Tevir then a Darga Tevir combination is used.

    The Question: In our Posuk, between the words Achim and Anachnu there is only one syllable yet a Darga Tevir combination is used. Given the previous rule it would seem that since there is only one syllable the Marecha Tevir combination should be used.

    The Answer: Although there is only one syllable betweens the Taamim of the word Achim and Anachnu nevertheless the Darga Tevir combination is used. This is due to the fact that there is a Pesik between the two words. The Pesik denotes a pause between the two words which is the equivalent of another syllable. For this reason although there is only one audible syllable between the words but the Pesik is in place of the other syllable and thus the Darga Tevir combination is used.

    A Thought: Rav Yakov Kamenetsky in his Sefer Emes L'Yakov points out that the correct Taamim should really have been a Kadma on the word Avadecha (which there is) and a Azla on the word Achim. The Azla is changed to a Darga because the word Anachnu can not be alone without a Mesharays. Since the word is a short word it could not receive a Tevir without a Taam Mesharays preceding it. Since in essence the word should have been an Azla which would have given a Taam Mafsik to the word Achim it retains its pause with with the Pesik as the Mafsik .


    The Statement: Perek 46:23 "U"Vnei Dan Chushim" and the children of Dan were Chushim

    The Problem: If only one son is mentioned as being born to Dan, then why does the Torah use the plural word U"Vnei. It would seem more proper to say "U"Ven Dan Chushim" and the son of Dan is Chushim which is singular. The Solution: The Gemorah in Bava Basra 143b discusses if a person can refer to one son also in the plural. The Gemorah tries to cite this Verse as a proof since it refers to one son in the plural. The Gemorah rejects this as a proof saying that perhaps the plural form is because the children of Dan will be many just like reeds. (Tosfos points out, that while certainly Dan only had one son nevertheless the Torah uses the plural to allude to the future)

    The Ebn Ezra offers two solutions. One is, that this is the way the Torah speaks, sometimes substituting plural for singular.(which would seem to be one theory of the Gemorah in Bava Basra) The other solution that he offers is that in reality Dan had two sons and one passed away. Therefore the Torah uses the plural to allude to this fact that at one time had two sons but only one survived and went to Mitzrayim. Rav Yakov Kamenetsky in his Sefer Emes L'Yakov, further offers a possibility that both sons were given the name Chush. (thus the plural Chushim) This would be similar to Mar Kshishah and Mar Yanukah who are mentioned in the Gemorah.

    For further discussion see Minchas Shi on this Posuk

    The Statement: Bereishis 45:24 "Vayeshalach Es Echav" And he sent his brothers. TheRashbam comments on the difference between the words Vayishlach and Vayeshalach. The Rashbam comments that the word Vayishlach has no Dagesh in the Lamed. This is in contrast to the word Vayeshalach that does have a Dagesh in the Lamed.

    The Rashbam continues to say that the word Vayishlach is an expression of sending   something out thatwill be brought back. An example is Bereishis 8:8 "Vayishlach Es Yado" And Noach stretched out his hand. In that instance he was sending out his hand but he would bring it  back soon thereafter. Since the sent object will immediately be brought back it uses the word Vayishlach. 

    The word Vayeshalach is used in the Rashbam's opinion when there is an escort. In our Posuk the brothers were escorted out, therefore the word Vayeshalach is used. Other commentaries see in the word Vayeshalach a more final type of sending. A  sending thatwill not return to the one that sent it. The Sforno understands our Posuk and the word Vayeshalach as a sending that is freeing them and giving them permission to leave. According to all the commentaries the word Vayeshalach is a strong form of sending.

    One may see also that Vayeshalach is a stronger form of sending then Vayishlach from their Binyanim. Vayishlach is from the Binyan Kal. This Binyan represents actions done lightly and without a tremendous amount of force. Therefore the sending that it means is a rather light sending, one that may return to the sender.

    The word Vayeshalach is from the Binyan Peeale. This Binyan places a Dagesh in the second letter of the Shoresh unless the letter does not take a Dagesh, such as an Alef. The Binyan of Peeale gives intent and stress to the action done. It is part of the Binyamin which are Kaved. In the case of Vayeshalach it tells us that it was sent away with the intent never to return. The stress and intent of the action may also mean to send with an escort as the Rashbam explains in our Posuk, or the freeing and giving of permission to leave as others understand.

    The Statement: Bereishis Perek 47:11 "Bemaytav Haretz Beretz Raamses" In the best of the land in the land of Raamses. The nekudos (vowels) on the word Raamses are a Patach under the Resh and a Shva under the Ayin and Mem.

    The Question: In Parshas Shmos Perek 1:11 the word Raamses is mentioned and is pronounced differently. In the Posuk in Shmos it is spelled with a Patach under both the Resh and Ayin, and a Shva under the Mem.

    The Answer: The Ebn Ezra in Shmos says that the Raamses of Shmos is with a Patach under the Ayin and was not a place of Yisroel. Rashi in Vayigash also points out that the Raamses of Vayigash is from the land of Goshen. It seems that there were two areas called Raamses. One was where the storage houses of Paroh were built and has a Patach under the Ayin. The other was a city inhabited by Yisroel and is spelled with a Shva under the Ayin.

    The Proof: If one looks where Raamses is mentioned with the travels of Bnai Yisroel such as in Parshas Bo Perek 12:37 and Bamidbar 33:5 one will notice that in both places it is spelled with the Shva under the Ayin. This is because this is the Raamses that was inhabited by Yisroel. It is that area that is spelled with a Shva under the Ayin. The storage city of Shmos is unique and is spelled with a Patach under the Ayin.

    The Dikduk: When reading the two types of Raamses one must be careful to pronounce them in the proper way. In the case of Raamses of Shmos with a Patach under the Ayin it is a Patach sound under the Ayin followed by a Shva Nach under the Mem.  In our Parsha of Vayigash in which the Raamses has a Shva under both the Ayin and under the Mem. The first Shva is a Shva Nach followed by a Shva Naah under the Mem.

    Adapted from the Minchas Shay of this week's Parsha.


    The Statement : "Vayevarechaym Bayom Hahu Laymor Becha Yevaraych Yisroel" And he blessed them on that day saying, "With your names Yisroel will bless."

    The Problem: "Bayom Hahu" seems to be unnecessary. Certainly Yakov blessed them on that day!!!! Why does the Torah find it necessary to stress "Bayom Hahu" that day?

    The Solution: The "Taam" (cantillation) above the "Bayom Hahu" is a "Segol." The Segol is one of the Taamim classified as a Mafsik. It hints to a pause after these words. A Segol is always placed in the first part of the Posuk. It always comes before the Esnachta in the Posuk never after an Esnachta. It many times denotes the first of three independent statements to be found in a Posuk. The Sharei Zimrah in Shaar Six Paragraph 10 says a Segol may be used when the words seem to be unnecessary and self understood. He uses this Posuk as an example of one place where the words seem at first glance to be superfluous. Perhaps I could offer another explanation. The Ramban explains the words "Bayom Hahu" as not being self understood but rather to the contrary, to accentuate a point. The Torah wishes to stress that on that day Yakov gave them the Brocha. That even though Yosef had wished to reverse the order Yakov blessed them that day as he willed contrary to the wishes of Yosef. For this reason the Taam may also be a Segol. For the Sharei Zimrah also says in Shaar Six Paragraph 5 that a Segol being a strong pause, is used many times to show stress on a certain group of words. Here the stress would be that he blessed them on that day even before Yosef who had showed his wishes to the contrary.


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