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A Drop Of Dikduk Archives
- Shemos

The Statement: Perek 2:24 "VaYizkor Elokim Es Briso Es Avrohom Es Yitzchok VaEs Yakov" And Hashem remembered his treaty with Avrohom and with Yitzchok and with Yakov. The Taam under Avrohom is a Tipchah followed by a Marecha under Yitzchok then a Sof Posuk after Yakov.

The Rule: Generally when listing things such as names or objects the Taamim are a Mesharays followed by a Mafsik. The Mesharays is subservient to the Mafsik. In the case of Marecha Tipcha, the Marecha is a Mesharays. It shows less stress and importance to that word then to the word that follows, which is a Mafsik. A Mafsik denotes a pause and stress on that word. An example is in Perek 1:3 Yissachar Zevulun OoVinyomin. There the Taam follows the pattern of lists, first Marecha Tipcha then Sof Posuk. Another example is the listing of the materials for the Mishkan Zahav Kesef Unechoshes(Gold, silver and copper). There the Taam also follows the pattern of lists, first Marecha Tipcha then Sof Posuk.

The Problem: Why in this Posuk since it is listing the recipients of Hashem's treaty does it not use the standard formula for lists? The Taamim should be Marecha under Avrohom then Tipcha under Yitzchok and a Sof Posuk after Yakov. Why is the Taam under Avrohom a Tipcha?

The Solution: The Sharei Zimrah in Shaar 5 Paragraph 4 explains that when Avrohom received the treaty it included a treaty for all his children and descendants. This is supported by the Posuk relating "I have established a treaty for you and your children after you." Since Avrohom was in essence the primary recipient of the treaty therefore the stress is placed on his name. It is for this reason that a Tipcha which is a Mafsik (which notes stress) is used for the word Avrohom. Yitzchok and Yakov are merely details in the original treaty and therefore the Taam on these words is a Marecha a lower level Taam that does not note any stress.


The Statement Perek 2:5 "VaTishlach Es Amasah Vatikachehoo" Rashi brings two interpretations of the word Amasah. One interpretation is that the word means her maidservant. The Posuk is relating that the daughter of Paroh sent her maidservant to retrieve the basket. Another explanation is that it refers to her hand. The Posuk is relating that the daughter of Paroh stretched out her hand to retrieve the basket.

The Reasoning: Let us examine the two words Amah meaning hand and Awmah meaning maidservant. The first difference is in the root of the word. The root of the word maidservant Awmah is with a Kamatz on the Alef as opposed to the word Amah meaning hand which has a Patach on the Alef.

The Rule: A noun which has Kamatz as the Nekudos of the first two letters, when conjugated lose the first Kamatz. It changes from a Kamatz to a Shva. An example may be the word Davar which means thing or word. When changed to "my word," it becomes Devari with a Shva under the first letter. The Kamatz changes to a Shva.

Although most letters can take a Shva Naah in the beginning of the word as a Nekudah, a few can not. The letters Alef, Heh, Chet, and Ayin can not take a Shva in the beginning of the word. Instead, in these letters the Shva in the beginning of the word will be transformed to a Chataf Patach

Another difference between Amah and Awmah is the presence of a Dagesh in the Mem. If the root word is Amah (hand) with a Patach, then a Dagesh will be placed in the Mem. One reason is because following a Tenuah Ketana such as a Patach a Dagesh is placed in the following letter. Another reason given in Sefer Dikdukei Rashi, is that the root of the word Amah which means hand, is Amam. In order to show the missing Mem a Dagesh is placed in the Mem. If the root word is Awmah then no Dagesh will be found in the Mem since it will be following a Tenuah Gedolah.

The Question: Rashi points out that in our Posuk the word Amasah has no Dagesh in the Mem. The missing Dagesh would seem to point to the meaning of Amah as being her maidservant. A further proof to this explanation would be the Chataf Patach at the beginning of the word which would indicate a Shoresh of Awmah meaning maidservant.

The Answer: The Radak in Sefer Shroshim brings a different text which does have a Dagesh in the Mem. This would fit in well with the Talmud explanation that she stretched her arm.


The Statement: Bereishis Perek 48:1 "Vayomer LeYosef Heneh Avicha Choleh" And it was said to Yosef: "Behold your father is ill." In Posuk 2 it says Vayaged LeYakov and it was told to Yakov.

The Question: In Posuk 3 it says "Vayomer Yakov El Yosef." The word El means to just as the Lamed in the beginning of a word does. In what instances does the Torah use the word El to mean to, and in what instances does the Torah use the letter Lamed in the beginning of a word to mean to?

The Rule: The Sefer Mayra Dachya (a commentary in the Sefer Dikdukey Rashi) explains the difference between the word El and a Lamed in the beginning of a word. Although both mean to, yet they are used differently. When there is a Lamed in the beginning of the word it means to, but from a distance. An example would be 'Vatishtachaveh Le"Alumasee" and they bowed down to my bundle. Since bowing is done from the distance, the Lamed in the beginning of the word is used. This is in contrast to the word El which also means to, but means to, at a closer distance. It may even mean being close with contact. An example may be Ve'el HAron Tetan Es HaAdoos and to the Aron you should place the testimony. Since the testimony is physically being placed in the Aron therefore the word El is used rather than a Lamed in the beginning of the word.

The Answer: In the case where the Torah uses the Lamed such as Vayomer LeYosef and Vayaged LeYakov the news was told by a third party. The news of Yakov's health was said by a third party. It was not told by the party that it concerned. For this reason the Torah uses the Lamed which shows a distance between the two parties. This is in contrast to the other examples suchas Vayomer Yakov El Yosef. In this instance Yakov and Yosef are together and there is no distance between the two as they talk. For this reason it uses the word El which shows closeness.


The Statement: Shmos Perek 3:18 Hashem Elokay HaIvriim. The word Ivriim is spelled with two Yudim and a Chirik under the first Yud.

The Explanation: Rashi explains the extra Yud to be a hint to the ten plagues that will take place at a later date.  Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky in his Sefer Emes L'Yaakov explains the extra Yudin a different manner. He gives two reasons for the Chirik under the Yud. The first reason is because Ivrim with just a Chirik under the Resh would mean a gathering and unification of many Ivrim (Bnai Yisroel). It would be joining the many individuals into one unit. Moshe at this point wanted to avoid telling Paroh anything about unity or the becoming of a nation. Therefore Moshe referred to them as Ivriim with a Chirik under the Yud meaning that they are still individuals and not yet formed as a nation.  The second explanation is that Moshe is accentuating the individuality of each and every one of Bnai Yisroel. Each one of Bnai Yisroel are supervised and under the Hashgocha of Hashem.


The Statement: Perek 7:29 "U'vcha U'vamecha U'vchal Avadecha Yalu Hatzefardiim"

The frogs will rise up against you and your nation and all of your slaves. Rashi notes that theplague of frogs not only affected the living quarters of the Egyptians but also entered the bodies of the Egyptians. Thus, the frogs not only invaded the houses of the Egyptians but their bodies as well were invaded.

The Rule: Almost every Posuk has an Esnachta. It is used to divide the Posuk into two. When the Posuk has two statements the Esnachta is used to divide the Posuk into these two statements. If the Posuk consists of only one statement such as: "Hashem spoke to Moshe saying" there will be no Esnachta since the Posuk in this case, has only one statement.

The Problem: It would seem that this Posuk consists of only one statement. It seems to be saying that the frogs affected Paroh, his slaves, and his nation. If this is so, why is an Esnachata placed in this Posuk after your slaves, since there is only one statement here? Why is there in this Posuk is there an Esnachta which would seem to allude to two statements?

The Solution: An Esnachta besides dividing two independent statements that are in one Posuk, may also be used for stress. The pause that rests on the word with the Esnachta is a sign of importance and stress. (It's like putting the words in bold print) The pause in the Posuk denotes a severity of the plague. The Esnachta on the words "your slaves" alludes to the fact that the plague was so severe that it even affected the insides of their bodies. This is why we have an Esnachta in this Posuk eventhough this Posuk does not consist of two statements.

(Shaarei Zimrah Shaar 6 Paragraph 1)


The Statement Shmos Perek 9:22 "And Hashem said to Moshe stretch your hand to the heaven."The word for heaven is Shamayim. The Vilna Gaon in Dikdukei Torah examines the Shoresh (root) of the word Shamayim. He maintains that the Shoresh is Shin Mem Heh with the Heh being dropped. The Shoresh is from the group we call the Nachei L"H (Lamed Heh). This group when conjugated certain ways will drop (Nach) the letter Heh. When it is the last letter of a word similar to the Lamed of the verb Poal, it will be Nach (dropped) when conjugated in certain ways. The word Shamayim explains the Vilna Gaon is from the concept of height. Words that mean height such as Shmai Koreh are variations and are taken from the same root as the word Shamayim.

The Rule: The Vilna Gaon states a very interesting rule regarding the usage of plurals. There are two types of plurals that are Loshon Zachor (masculine). One has a Yud Mem with a Chirik under the Yud such as the word Shamayim (heaven) and Yadayim (hands) and Moznayim (scale). Other plurals have just a Yud Mem ending, without a Chirik under the Mem, such as Nashim (women) Sefarim (books). The difference, explains the Vilna Gaon, is that the form of plural which has a Chirik under the Yud is used for things that usually come as a pair. Since hands and scales usually come in pairs therefore they are given the Chirik Yud form of plural.

A similar thought is expressed in Rashi in Chaya Sarah in Perek 24 Posuk 10. Rashi explains the word Aram Naharayim as being the city that is situated between two rivers. Rashi understood it as specifically two rivers because the plural form had a Chirik under the Yud which tells us a pair of something.


The Statement: Shmos Perek 6:5 "Asher Mitzrayim Maavidim Osam VaEzkor Es Brisi." That which Mitrayim is working them and I remembered my treaty.

The Question: The word Mitzrayim is different from the word Mitzriim. The word Mitrayim refers to the entire nation as one unit. The word Mitzriyim means Egyptians and refers to them as individuals. (See Drop of Dikduk of last week that discusses this in reference to the word Ivriim) It would seem that if the Posuk uses the word Mitzrayim which is referring to the nation of Egypt as one unit then it should use the singular of the word work. It would seem that the Posuk should say Asher Mitzrayim Maavid Osam. If it would have said Asher Mitzriim Maavidim Osam that would be referring to the many people. Why in our case does it use the single unit of the nation of Mitzrayim and yet use the plural form of Maavidim to describe the work that they forced upon the Bnai Yisroel?

The Answer: Rashi explains that when the Posuk says "I will remember the treaty" it is referring to the treaty that was made with Avrom called Bris Bein Habesarim. At the time of the Bris, Hashem promised to punish all the nations for their part in the four hundred years that the Jewish people were enslaved. Not only will the Egyptians be held accountable but the other nations that had a share will also be punished. With this, we can understand the plural of the word Maavidim. Mitzrayim will not be the only nation that will be punished but many other nations will be punished for their part. It is for this reason that the plural is used to include all the other nations that had a part in the slavery of Bnai Yisroel.

From the Sefer Marya Dachya in Sefer Dikdukei Rashi


    The Statement: Perek 12:5 "Seh Samim Zachar Ben Shanah Yeehyeh Lachem Min Hakevasim Min Haeezim Tikachu" A sheep complete, male, one year old, should be for you, from the sheep or goats you should take.

    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: The Taam of "Seh Samim" is a Darga Tevir with a Tevir under the Mem of "Samim." Being this the case, there is only one syllable between the Taamim and the correct Taamim should be Marecha Tevir which is used when there is only one syllable between Taamim.

    The Solution: Rav Yakov Kamenetsky in Emes L'Yakov says that although there is a Mesorah (tradition) that the Taam is Darga Tevir, contrary to the rule that dictates it should be a Marecha Tevir, there is a reason for this exception. Rav Yakov explains that the word "Seh" is really connected to the end of the Posuk which says Min Hakevasim and Min Haeezim for they define what type of sheep should be taken. In the explanation of the Posuk, the word "Seh" belongs together with the words Min Hakevasim and Min Haeezim and separated from the word Samim. Since when explaining the Posuk, Seh and Samim are separated from each other, they are treated as if there are two syllables between them. Therefore the Taam Darga Tevir which is generally used for words with two syllables separating them is used here also.


The Statement Shmos 12:2 "Rishon Hoo Lachem Lechadshai Hashanah" It is the first one to you of the months of the year.

The rule: There are two types of Shva. Sometimes the vowel sound Shva is a Shva Naah where it has some emphasis on the vowel sound. Other times it is a Shva Nach where it has no vowel sound at all. By looking at the letter that precedes it one can determine which type of Shva it is. If the letter preceding it is a Tenuah Gedolah such as a Cholam, Tzeirei, Chirik followed by a Yud, or Shoorook, then the Shva that follows will be a Shva Naah with a slight vowel sound. If the Shva follows a Tenuah Ketanah such as a Patach, Segol, or a Chirik not followed by a Yud, or Kubutz then the following Shva will be a Shva Nach and will have no vowel sound.

The Problem: Kamatz is sometimes a Kamatz Gadol and sometimes a Kamatz Katan. When it is a Kamatz Gadol it belongs to the Tenuah Gedolah family and the following Shva will be a Shva Naah. When it is a Kamatz Katan it belongs to the Tenuah Ketanah family and the following Shva is a Shva Nach. How does one determine what type of Kamatz precedes the Shva to know if the following Shva is a Shva Naah or Shva Nach?

The Solution: One way of determining is by this rule: If the Kamatz results from the change of a Cholam (without a Vav) to a Kamatz then the Kamatz is a Kamatz Katan, and the following Shva will be a Shva Nach. In this instance since Chadshei is from the word Chodesh which has a Cholem the Kamatz is only a Kamatz Katan.

Beware!!!! This is contrast to the word Chadshei which could mean new. In the word Chadshei which means new the Shva would be a Shva Naah since it has a Kamatz which is a Tenuah Gedolah. It is a Tenuah Gedola since it is not a form of Chodesh which means month, but rather from the root that means new. Since the Kamats is not the result of a Cholam it remains a Tenuah Gedolah and the following Shva is a Shva Naah.

One must be careful during Krias Hatorah not to read it with the wrong Shva lest it change the meaning of the word to new instead of moon or vice versa.


The Statement: Shemos Perek 12:16 "OoVayome Hashvii Mikra Kodesh" And on the seventh day it shall be a calling of holiness.

The Explanation: A Mem with a Chirik in the beginning of the word usually means from. For example: Meeshamayim would mean from the heaven. The Mem which means from is a shortened version of the word Min. In fact the way to identify that type of Mem is by looking at the following letter. If the following letter has a Dagesh in it then the Mem means, from. This is because the Dagesh is to replace the missing letter Nun that disappears when the word Min is abbreviated by putting a Mem in the front of the word. The Dagesh compensates for the missing letter.

Our Case: In the case of the word Mikra the Mem is not meant to mean from. This is apparent by the fact that there is no Dagesh in the Koof which is the letter following the Mem. This tells us that the Mem in the beginning of the word is not to be translated as from. Rather Rashi tells us that the Mem in the beginning of the word is to make the word into a noun rather than a verb. The word Krah means to call which is a verb. When a Mem is placed in the beginning of the word the word becomes a noun. In this case it is to be translated as a calling of holiness.


The Posuk: Shmos Perek 15:17 Behar Nachaloscha

The Point: The word Nachaloscha seems to be unique with the two verticals lines underneath. One line is under the Lamed and one is under the Nun.

The Reason: Each of the vertical lines is called a Meseg. The word Meseg is taken from  Tehillim Perek 32. It is a part of the starps and bit with which an animal is led. Its purpose is to tell us to accentuate slightly the syllable with the vertical line underneath. It may also be called a half-Tenuah or Neginah.

The Purpose: This is done so that when a word is long and the Taam is on the last syllable, the earlier syllables are not slurred or swallowed. By placing a Meseg or stress on the earlier vowel sound it is prevented from being swallowed.

The Place: The Meseg is placed on the third vowel sound before the Taam. The Taam is included as one of the sounds as well as a Shvaa Naah. In the case of the word of Nachlascha: the Lamed is the third vowel sound before the Taam since the Shvaa is a Shvaa Naah. Therefore a Meseg is placed on the Lamed and a slight stress is placed on the Lamed. Likewise, the Nun is the third vowel sound before the Lamed. In order to prevent the swallowing or slurring of this vowel sound it is also given a Meseg. Therefore a slight stress should be placed on the Nun as well as the Lamed when reading the word Nachaloscha.


The Rule: 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 Dagesh and becomes soft. 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 Question: In Shmos 17:5 it says Asher Hikisa Bo Es Hayaor. In this instance the word Bo has a Dagesh. The Taam under Hikisa is a Mahpach which is a TaamMesharays and therefore the BGD CFS rule should apply and there should be no Dagesh in the Bet of Bo.

The Rule: When there is one syllable between the two Taamim, as in the case of 17:5, the word Bo will have a Dagesh. When there are two syllables between the Taamim as is the case in 17:6 on the words Vihikisa Vatzur there will be no Dagesh in the Bet of Vatzur.

Another Question: In Shmos 15:11 we have the famous words Mi Komocha Baaylim Hashem. The word Komocha ends in a Heh and there are three syllables between the Taamim of the words Komocha and Baaylim. It should follow that there should be no Dagesh in the Bet of the word Baaylim.

The Answer: The reason why the Bet of Baaylim has a Dagesh is because of the Meseg (the vertical accent line) that is under the Bet of Baaylim. The Meseg indicates that the first syllable of the word Baaylim is to be accented. The Meseg plays the same role as the Taam would and makes the syllable an accented syllable. This makes Komocha Baaylim as having only one syllable between the Taamim or accents and the second word receives a Dagesh.


The Statement: Shmos Perek 16:20 "Vayaroom Tolaim Vayivash" And the Man became wormy and it spoiled.

The Rule: When a word has a Taam (cantillation) of either an Esnachata or a Sof Posuk and the vowel sound on the accented letter is either a Patach or a Segol then the vowel sound will be changed to a Kamatz.

The Problem: According to this rule the vowel sound under the Aleph of Vayivash should be a Kamatz since the Taam on the word is an Esnachta and whenever an Esnachta appears on an accented syllable the Patach changes to a Kamatz. Why does it retain it's sound of Patach and not change to a Kamatz?

The Solution: Rashi has a very interesting comment on this Posuk which may explain the reason for retaining the Patach sound. Rashi says that the condition of the Man spoiling when kept overnight as described here is not in accord with the normal decaying process. The Posuk says first it became wormy and then spoiled. In the laws of Nature, the spoiling would come before the worms. Rashi therefore says that the Posuk is really inverted and the word wormy should be understood as being after spoiling.

Since in reality the spoiling came before the worms the Esnachta does not really belong under the spoiling but rather under the word Tolaim, since in reality that is what happened last. Therefore the Patach is the correct sound for Vayivash since in the order of occurrence it took place before Tolaim.

(Adapted from "The Glory of Torah Reading by Maurice Gellis and Dennis Gribetz)


The Statement: Shmos 17:6 "V'Hikisa Vatzur" And you will hit the rock. The Word Vatzur has no Dagesh in the Bet.

The Rule: The reason that there is no dagesh would seem to be quite simple given the BGD CFS rule which we have learned about many times before. 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 Dagesh and becomes soft. For example, Bnai Yisroel when preceded by the word "Mipnei" from before, becomes Vnai Yisroel since the word preceding Bnai ends in a Yud.

In our case although there is no actual Heh at the end of the word V'Hikisa the Heh is self understood. It is as if it is present and the BGD CFS rule applies.

In our case the Taam under the word V'hikisa is a Munach that precedes a Revii which is a Taam Mesharays. Had the Taam been a Taam Mafsik such as Revii or Pashta it would have noted a pause and the BGD CFS rule would not apply. Had the Taam been a Taam Mafsik then the word would be BaTzur with a Dagesh in the Bet.

The Question: In Shmos 17:5 it says Asher Hikisa Bo Es Hayaor. In this instance the word Bo has a Dagesh. The Taam under Hikisa is a Mahpach which is a Taam Mesharays and therefore the BGD CFS rule should apply and there should be no Dagesh in the Bet of Bo.

The Rule: When there is one syllable between the two Taamim, as in the case of 17:5, the word Bo there will have a Dagesh. When there are two syllables between the Taamim as is the case in 17:6 on the words Vihikisa Vatzur there will be no Dagesh in the Bet of Vatzur.


The Posuk: Perek 19:22 Vegam HaKohanim Hanigashim

The Problem: The word HaKohanim has a Meseg under the Ko sound and the word Hanigashim has no Meseg at all.

The Rule: Last week I wrote about the placement of the vertical line under the word which is referred to as a Meseg. The Meseg is used to place a slight stress on the third syllable before the Taam (the Taam is counted as one of the syllables) to insure that the earlier syllable is not swallowed or slurred.

The Application: The word HaKohanim has a Meseg on the Ko sound. The Taam of HaKohanim is on the last syllable which is the Nim sound. The third syllable preceding the Taam is the Ko sound and it receives a Meseg under its vowel sound.

The Exception: The word Hanigashim does not receive a Meseg. This is due to the fact that a Meseg may never be followed by a Shvah Nach or a Dagesh Chazak. In the case of Hanigashim, the Meseg would ordinarily be placed on the the Nun since it is the third syllable before the Taam. In our instance, since the Nun is followed by a Dagesh Chazak in the Gimel it can not receive a Meseg.

In cases where the Meseg can not be placed on the third syllable before the Taam, the Meseg is moved back one syllable to the fourth syllable before the Taam.

In the case of Hanigashim the Meseg can not be moved back one syllable to the Heh, which is the preceding syllable, since it too is followed by a Dagesh Chazak in the Nun. Therefore in the case of Hanigashim the Meseg is dropped entirely from the word.


Hanigashim has no Meseg at all.

The Rule: Last week I wrote about the placement of the vertical line under the word which is referred to as a Meseg. The Meseg is used to place a slight stress on the third syllable before the Taam (the Taam is counted as one of the syllables) to insure that the earlier syllable is not swallowed or slurred.

The Application: The word HaKohanim has a Meseg on the Ko sound. The Taam of HaKohanim is on the last syllable which is the Nim sound. The third syllable preceding the Taam is the Ko sound and it receives a Meseg under its vowel sound.

The Exception: The word Hanigashim does not receive a Meseg. This is due to the fact that a Meseg may never be followed by a Shvah Nach or a Dagesh Chazak. In the case of Hanigashim, the Meseg would ordinarily be placed on the the Nun since it is the third syllable before the Taam. In our instance, since the Nun is followed by a Dagesh Chazak in the Gimel it can not receive a Meseg.

In cases where the Meseg can not be placed on the third syllable before the Taam, the Meseg is moved back one syllable to the fourth syllable before the Taam. In the case of Hanigashim the Meseg can not be moved back one syllable to the Heh, which is the preceding syllable, since it too is followed by a Dagesh Chazak in the Nun. Therefore in the case of Hanigashim the Meseg is dropped entirely from the word.


    The Statement: Shmos Perek 19:22 Pen Yifrotz Bahem. Lest he should make a breach against them.

    The Question: In this instance the word Yifrotz has a Cholam, the long Oh sound. In Posuk 24 the words are Pen Yifratz Bam. In this instance the word Yifratz is spelled with a Kamatz. Why is there a difference between the two words Yifratz? Why is one spelled with a Kamatz and one is spelled with a Cholam?

    The Rule: In Loshon Hakodesh there are two types of vowel sounds. There are vowels that are a Tenuah Gedolah and vowels that are a Tenuah Ketanah. A Tenuah Ketanah is followed by a Shva Nach or a letter with a Dagesh. This closes the vowel sound. The Dagesh also closes the vowel sound for the Dagesh is in essence a double sound of the letter. The first sound being a Shva Nach that seals the Tenuah Ketanah that precedes it and the second is the vowel sound under the letter. For instance the word Hakol (the voice) with a Dagesh in the Kuf is read Hak-kol. A Tenuah Gedolah is not followed by a Shva Nach or by a letter with a Dagesh.

    The Exceptions: The Taam on the word can change the previous rule. If the Taam is on a Tenuah Ketanah letter then it may be left open and a Shva Nach or a Dagesh may not follow it. If the Taam is on a Tenuah Gedolah the rule also changes. The word Haam (the nation) is an example of how the rule can change. In the word Haam the first Heh has a Kamatz which is a Tenuah Gedolah and should not have a Dagesh or a Shva Nach following it. It is therefore left open and is followed by a Ayin with a Kamatz. The Ayin although it is a Tenuah Gedolah is followed by a Shva Nach (the mem) since it has the Taam on the Ayin. Since the Ayin has the Taam it changes the rule and even a Tenuah Gedolah may be followed by a Shva Nach.

    The Explanation: In the first Posuk the word Yifrotz is with a Cholam a Tenuah Gedolah. It is followed by a Shva Nach (the Tzadi) eventhough it is a Tenuah Gedolah since the Taam is on the Resh with the Cholam. In the second Posuk Yifratz Bam is spelled with a Kamatz for the vowel sound of the Resh. That is because Yifratz Ban is a word with a Makaf, a hyphen. Both words are combined to be like one word. In this case we can not give the word a Cholam which is a Tenuah Gedolah because it would be followed by a Shva Nach. Since the Taam is not on the letter Resh as in the first Posuk we would not be able to give it a Tenuah Gedolah. Therefore the vowel sound had to be a Tenuah Ketana in order to fit the rules. Therefore the Taam had to be a Kamatz which is a Tenuah Ketanah (in this instance). In this way the word can end in a Shva Nach which is the general rule where there is no Taam on the letter.


    The Statement: (Shmos Perek 20:9) "Shayshes Yomin Taavode Veaseesa Kol Melachtecha" Six days you should work and do all of your work. The Taamim are a Munach Zarka and a Munach Segol.

    The Question: Similar Taamim are found on the words in Shmos Perek 35:2 "Shayshes Yomin Taaseh Melachah" and in Vayikra 23:3 "Shayshes Yomin Taaseh Melachah." What is the significance of this Taam in all these places? What is the reason that they all have the same Taam?

    The Solution: The Taam of a Segol may be used for various reasons. It may be used as a pause just like an Esnachta if a Posuk has many different statements. It may also be used to denote a superfluous statement or a statement that is seemingly unnecessary.

    The Ralbag comments on this part of the Posuk that it seems to be unnecessary for a person is not obligated or bound by the Torah to do work others may work for him if he wishes. These words are not an obligation but rather just stating permission to do work all six days. It is for this reason that the Taam in all these places is a Segol, for the statement of doing work is on the surface, extra and unnecessary.

    Shaarei Zimrah Shaar 6 Paragraph 4


    (continuing with our discussion of Meseg of the last two weeks

    The Statement: Perek 24:10 Vayiroo and they looked

    The Explanation: The word Vayiroo has no Meseg. This is due to the fact that the Shvah of the Resh is a Shvah Nach. This means that the Vav is the third syllable before the Taam, and since there is a Dagesh in the Yud that follows the Vav it can not receive a Meseg.

    The Other Statement: Shmos Perek 14:31 Vayiroo Haam and the nation was afraid.

    The Explanation: In this instance the Yud receives a Meseg. This is due to the fact that the Chirik of the Yud is a Tenuah Gedolah that causes the following Shvah to be a Shvah Naah. This is true of all Shvah that follow a Tenuah Gedolah that they become Shvah Naah. The third syllable before the Taam is the Chirik and it can receive a Meseg.

    The Lesson: It is important to be careful when reading the word Vayiroo.

    If it will be read with a Shvah Naah then the meaning will be and they feared. If it will be read with a Shvah Nach then it will mean and they saw.


    The Statement: Perek 22:30 "Lakelev Tashlichune Oso" To the dog you should throw it (any meat that is considered Treife) Rashi comments that this is to teach us that Hashem does not hold back reward from any creature. This is a reward for the dogs not uttering a sound by the plague of the first born.

    The Problem: One may wonder how may we derive the lesson of Rashi from the Posuk. Why do we assume that it is referring to a reward for those dogs that remained silent during the plague?

    The Rule: Loshon Hakodesh is a very economical language. Many times one vowel will take the place of an entire word of English. The letter Lamed precedes a word when it wants to say to something. If it is general not pointing to any specific known place it has as it's vowel sound a Shva. The letter Heh precedes a word when it wishes to be specific "The" for this purpose the Heh will have a Patach as it's vowel sound. This is called a "Heh Hayedeyah." When one wishes to say "To the" pointing to a specific place or thing then we can write LEHA a Lamed with a Shva followed with a Heh with a Patach. But alas, Loshon Hakodesh is economical it many times drops the Heh and places a Patach under the Lamed to mean "To the."

    The Solution: Since the vowel under the Lamed of Lakelev is a Patach this would seem to point to a specific Kelev or dog that is getting rewarded with the Treife meat. Since it is referring to a specific dog which dog could possibly be more worthy of this reward than the dogs that were silent by the plague of the killing of the first born. This may be the basis of the Drash that we derive from this Posuk that Hashem does not hold back reward from any living creature.

    From the Loshon Chaim on Dikduk


The Statement: Shmos Perek 22:4 Uveyare Besdaye Achayre And the animal will graze in another field. Rashi explains the words Besdaye Achayre "Shel Eesh Achayre" of another person.

The Question: Rashi could have explained the meaning of Besdaye Achayre as a different field. Why does Rashi emphasize that the field belongs to another person?

The Rule: In Loshon Hakodesh if we wish to say the voice of Yakov, Kol Shel Yakov, we often drop the word Shel and say Kol Yakov. Similarly, instead of Melech Shel Yisroel we say simply Melech Yisroel. This is called Semichos joining words together. In these instances the words do not change their vowels. Other words change their vowel sounds when placed in a position of Semichos. The Davar of Hashem (word of Hashem) becomes Dvar Hashem. The vowels of Davar which are the two Kamatz change to a Shva and Patach.

The Answer: If our Posuk would mean a different field and not be showing possession or belonging to someone it would have left the word Sadeh in its regular form. There would be no change in the vowel sounds. Regarding Rus the Posuk says that Boaz told her not to go collecting in another field Besadeh Achayre. Since there the meaning is not to go to any other fields at all, regardless of having an owner or not it uses the word Besadeh.

In our Posuk the word is Besdaye Achayre. Since the vowel sounds are not the regular Sadeh vowels therefore Rashi understood this to be a Semichos form which shows ownership or possession. Therefore Rashi explained the Posuk to mean Sadeh Shel Eesh Achayre the field of another man rather than a different field.


Parshas Terumah

The Statement: Perek 25:7 Avnei Shoham

The Reason: There is only one Taam on the word Avnei Shoham. This is because the two words are connected with a Makaf (hyphen). When two words are connected with a Makaf they are treated as if they are one word. Since they are treated as one word, only one Taam is used for both words.

The words Avnei Shoham have the Taam of a Zakaf Gadol. This word cannot receive a Zakef Katan since the Munach of the Zakaf Katan must either go on the previous word or in the place of a Meseg. The words Avnei Shoham cannot receive a Meseg since the third syllable before the Taam has a Shvah Nach that follows it. A Shvah Nach cannot follow a Meseg. Since the Zakaf Katan cannot be used it becomes a Zakaf Gadol.

The Other Statement: Perek 34:9 V'Avnei Shoham. In this case the words receive a Pashta Katan. (A Pashta and a Zakaf Katan on one word) This is due to the fact that there are four syllables from the Taam to the beginning of the word. In cases where there are four syllables and no Meseg can be used the Taam becomes a Pashta Katan instead of a Zakaf Gadol.

In the Kisvei Rav Henkin Vol. 2 Simon 9, Rav Henkin writes that in the case of a Pashta Katan the proper place to stress the Taam is where the Katan is located and not at the place of the Pashta.


The Statement: Perek 25:5 "VeOros Ailim Meadamamim and the red skins of the rams".  Rashi Explains that the skins were dyed after they were worked over by a tanner.

The Question: From where did Rashi see that the skins were dyed? Why didn't Rashi understand the Posuk to mean rams that had red skins naturally?

The Answer: The letter Mem in the beginning of the word is why Rashi explains it to mean that the skins were dyed. Had the skins been naturally red the Posuk would have described them as Adumim. The Mem in the beginning of the word is part of the Binyan called Hifeel. This Binyan in the Paool form is refers to an object and the action that was done to it. An example is the word Moofkad which means it was given to be held as a security or to be watched. The Mem in the front of the word tells us of an action that was done to the object. In this case Rashi understood that the action of turning red was done to these skins. It was not merely naturally red but rather it was dyed red through an action. Therefore Rashi saw in the Mem at the beginning of the word that they were dyed red and not naturally red.


The Statement: Shmos Perek 25:16 "Venasata El HAron is HAdus Asher Etayn Eylacha." And you should place in the Aron the testimony which I will give to you.

The Problem: The Taam under HAron is an Esnachta. An Esnachta is used to divide a Posuk when it has two statements. In this Posuk it would seem there is only one thought or statement. That is: to place in the Aron the Luchos, the tablets of testimony. A similar Posuk to this is 25:21 which uses almost identical words and seems to view it as one statement. If this is the case why is this Posuk divided by an Esnachta if there is only one statement?

The Solution: Rashi mentions in Posuk 21 that the reason why the placement of the Luchos into the Aron is repeated, is to stress the fact that even before they put the Kapores (the lid) on the Aron they put the Luchos inside. Perhaps this is the reason for the Esnachta on the word Aron in Posuk 16 for it is stressing the word Aron. It is to stress to us that while it was still the Aron without anything else such as the Kapores on it, then they put the Luchos inside.

Shaarei Zimrah Shaar 6 Paragraph 1


The Statement:Perek 28:1 The word Aharon has a Zakaf Gadol as its Taam.

The Rules: In the past weeks we have been learning about the rules of Meseg. We have stated that when a Zakaf Katan consists of a Munach and a Zakaf Katan on one word, the Munach acts as a Meseg. The Munach will be placed where the Meseg would be put, on the third syllable before the Taam.

If the word is too short to have a Meseg, or the place where the Meseg would have been has a Dagesh or Shva Nach following it, then a Zakaf Gadol will be used.

The Question: The word Aharon has a Meseg on the first letter, the Alef. Why does it not receive the Taam of a Zakaf Katan since it can receive a Meseg?

The Answer: The rule that a Meseg becomes a Zakaf Katan does not apply to the word Aharon. This rule, that a Meseg will become the Munach of a Zakaf Katan is only when the Meseg is on the second letter of the word. If the Meseg is on the first letter of the word it will receive a regular Meseg and the Taam will be a Zakaf Gadol rather than a Zakaf Katan.

The Proof: In Devorim Perek 11:17 and 21, which is the second section of Shma, the word Adamah (ground) appears twice. In the first instance the word is VeHaadamah and the Taam is a Zakaf Katan. The Munach of the Zakaf Katan is placed under the Heh since it is the third syllable from the Taam that is on the Daled.

Later in the section, the word HaAdamah appears with just a Meseg and not the Munach of the Zakaf Katan. The reason the Meseg is used under the Heh and not a Munach, is because the syllable is the first letter of the word. A Munach of a Zakaf Katan will not appear on the first letter.


The Statement: Perek 26 Posuk 3 "Asher Melaysiv Ruach Chochmo" which were filled with the spirit of wisdom. The word Chochmo has a Kamatz under the Ches in the beginning of the word.

The Problem: In many places the word Chochmo has a slight variation. For instance there is a difference between our Parsha and in Sefer Zechariah Perek 9:2. In our Parsha there is nothing else underneath the Ches except for a Kamatz. While in Zechariah, the Ches has a Kamatz but also has a small upright line. What is the purpose of that small line?

The Rule: In Loshon Hakodesh there is one vowel sound that is very unique called the Shva. When the Shva is placed after a T'nuah Gedolah (a major vowel sound) it has a more stressed and distinct sound called a Shva Naah. When it is after a T'nuah K'tanah (a minor vowel sound) it is called a Shva Nach and has a less distinct and stressed sound.

The Solution: The vowel sound Kamatz is a dual vowel sound. Sometimes it is a T'nuah Gedolah and sometimes it is a T'nuah Ketanah. There are different rules as to how to determine if a Kamatz is a T'nuah Gedolah and the Shva following will be a Shva Naah or if the Kamatz is a T'nuah Ketanah and the Shva following will be a Shva Nach.

One of the rules depends on identifying the usage of the word. If the word is being used as a noun then the Kamatz is only a T'nuah Ketanah and the following Shva will be a Shva Nach. If the word is describing a past action then the Kamatz is a T'nuah Gedolah and the following Shva will be Naah.

The word Chochmoh can have two meanings it can mean knowledge which would be using the word as a noun, or it can mean "it was very smart" in this context it is being used as a verb expressing something that transpired in the past. Therefore in this week's Parsha, the word Chochmo is being used as a noun "that they were filled with knowledge". Therefore the Kamatz is only a T'nuah Ketanah and the Shva following, is a Shva Nach. In Zechariah the word Chochmo is being used as a past verb and therefore the Kamatz is a T'nuah Gedolah and the Shva afterwards is a Shva Naah. Oh!!!! What about the small upright line under the Ches in Zechariah? It's called a Meseg and it is to let us know that the Kamatz under the Ches is a T'nuah Gedolah and the following Shva is Naah for the reasons we previously explained. In our Parsha there is no small line because it is a T'nuah Ketanah.


The Statement: Shmos Perek 28:11 "Maasay Charash Even" The work of an artisan of stones. Rashi on the word Charash explains that the word Charash is connected to the word that follows it. It is for this reason that the Resh has a Patach. The word Davar changes to Devar when it is connected to the next word. The Kamatz under the Dalet changes to a Shva when it is connected to the following word and the Kamatz under the Bes changes to a Patach when it is connected to the following word.

The Rule: In cases where the first letter can not take a Shva as is the case with the letters Alef Heh Ches and Ayin, the Shva on the first letter turns into a Chataf Patach when connected to the next word. So is the case by the word Anan (cloud). When it is attached to the next word such as Anan Hashem (the cloud of Hashem) the Vowel under the Ayin is a Chataf Patach.

The Question: In this example of a word with two Kamatz when the first letter could not receive a Shva it receives a Chataf Patach. If so, in our case of Charash why is the first letter not a Chataf Patach like the example of Anan?

The Answer: The word Charash is different than the word Anan. The word Charash has a Kamatz under the Ches by default. In reality the word should really be Charash with a Patach under the Ches and a Kamatz under the Resh. It should be like the word Dayan which has a Patach under the Dalet and a Kamatz under the Yud. The reason why there is no Patach as the vowel of the first letter of Charash is because in order to have a Patach as a first letter the following letter must have a Dagesh in it just like the word Dayan has a Dagesh in the Yud. This is because a Tnuah Ketanah (a minor vowel sound) such as the Patach must be closed out with a Shva afterwards. The Dagesh accomplishes the purpose of the Shva. This is because the Dagesh is like two letters, in the case of Dayan it is as if one Yud has a Shva which would close out the Tnuah Ketana sound and the Dagesh also is like a Kamatz and begins the next syllable.

In the case of Charash one can not place a Dagesh in the Resh since it is one of the letters that does not receive Dagesh. Since it can not have a Dagesh in the Resh the only way to solve the Patach having to close out with a Shva is by converting it to a Kamatz which is a Tnuah Gedolah.

Since the Kamatz of Charash is not "real" but rather a Kamatz by default, it retains its Kamatz even when connected to the following word. This is contrast to the word Anan that loses its Kamatz when connected to the next word. That is because the Kamatz of Anan is a real Kamatz and will change to a Chataf Patach when connected to the following word.


The Statement: Shmos Perek 33:2 HaEmori and Perek 34:22 Vechag HaAsif

The Rule: Last week a rule was metioned that when a Munach Zakaf Katan combination is used on one word the Munach will never be placed on the first letter of the word. For this reason the word HaAdamah of the second section of Shma receives a Zakaf Katan without the Munach. This is because the Munach would have to be placed on the first letter; therefore a Meseg is placed instead of the Munach. In contrast to the word VehaAdamah of the same section of Shma that receives a Munach since the Munach is not placed on the first letter. J. Weinfeld mentions this rule in his Sefer Taamei Hamikra.

The Statement: The words HaAsif and HaEmori both have the Munach of their Zakaf Katan placed on the first letter of the word.

The Research: In the Chumashim there seems to be a difference of opinions as to what the Taam should be on these words. The Sefer Mesoras Hakriah states that the word HaAsif should have a Munach and not a Meseg. This is the way it is published in the Hebrew Publishing Tikun. In the Koren Torah there is a Meseg, not a Munach, on both words HaAsif and HaEmori. This would seem to follow the rule of last week that when a Munach Zakaf combination is being used on one word the Munach is not placed on the first letter of the word. Instead of a Munach a Meseg will be placed on the first letter.


The Statement: "VeKinamon Besem Machatziso Chamishim Umasayim OOknay Vosem Chamishim Umasayim" And you should take cinnamon half of it, the weight of two hundred and fifty Shekel and cane of spices two hundred and fifty.

The Problem: Why does the first spice VeKinamon (and cinnamon) have a Shva underneath the Vav, as opposed to the second spice OOknay which is spelled with a Shuruk in the Vav to be the OOh sound. Both Vavs are meant to mean and, so why does one receive the OOh sound and one the Shva sound.

The Solution: The Vav that comes in the beginning of a word and is used to attach the two words is called a Vav Hachibur. Loshon Hakodesh is an economical language and instead of using a whole word like and, instead it adds just one letter the Vav to indicate that we are connecting the first part with the second.

The vowel sound under a Vav Hachibur depends on the sound of the letter that follows the Vav. If the sound after the Vav is a Shva then the Vav is given a OOh sound. However if the sound after the Vav is a sound other then a Shva such as a Chirik then the Vav takes the usual Shva sound. (Of course like any rule there are exceptions to this rule which we will discuss at a later date.)

Therefore since the vowel sound under the letter after the Vav in VKinamon is a Chirik therefore the Vav retains the usual Vav Hachibur sound which is a Shva. In the word OOknay the sound following the Vav is a Shva therefore the Vav does not get the usual Vav Hachibur sound of a Shva but rather gets a Shuruk sound OOh.


The Statement: Perek 35:24 Terumas Hashem. The Taam on the word Terumas is on the last syllable of the word.

The Question: Perek 35:24 In the same Posuk it says Terumas Kesef. In this instance the Taam on the word Terumas is on the beginning of the word. Why in the first case is the Taam of Terumas Hashem on the last syllable and in the case of Terumas Kesef the Taam is on the earlier syllable?

The Answer: Generally in Lashon Hakodesh the Taam (accent or cantillation) of the word is on the last syllable. In Lashon Hakodesh two Taamim will usually not be placed in a way that one will immediately follow the other without a syllbable in between the two Taamim. Usually there will be at least one syllable between the Taamim.

In the first example the word Hashem is accented on the last part of the word. Therefore the accent of Terumas is placed on the last syllable. Terumas can be accented on the last syllable, and there will still be a pause between the Taamim of the words.

In the example of Terumas Kesef, the Taam of Kesef is on the first syllable of the word. If Terumas would be accented on the last syllable there would be no pause between the two Taamim. Therefore the Taam of Terumas is moved back one syllable to allow a pause between the two Taamim. This rule is called Nesog Achor.


Thanks to Eliezer Appleton for submitting the question for this week's Dvar Torah

The Statement:Shmos 35:5 "Zahav Vachesef Unechoshes" Gold and silver and copper

The Problem: Why is the word Vachesef preceded by a Vav with a Kamatz under it?

The Solution: The Vav in the word Vachesef is a Vav Hachibur, a Vav that connects two or more items. Last week we noted that a Vav Hachibur is used with a Shuruk (the ooh sound) when the following letter has a Shva sound. The Vav has a Shva sound generally, if the following letter is not a Shva.

One exception to this rule is when the word that is connected with the Vav Hachibur has an accent on the first letter and is also the end of a group of words. If the word meets these two conditions then the vowel under the Vav Hachibur will be a Kamatz.

The Sharei Zimrah in Shaar 5 Paragraph 4 states that when there are three items listed the first one is given a Taam that is a Mesharays and the second word in the list has a Taam which is Mafsik (denotes a pause or a break).   Although it may seem that this is just a way of enumerating a list, that the first two are grouped together, perhaps there is a reason for the grouping of these two gold and silver together. Perhaps they are far superior to copper and are in a different class of metal than copper. Or perhaps the fact that they are generally used as currency and not copper was the reason they were grouped together.   In this instance the word Kesef which follows, is a word with the accent on the first letter and the Taam is a Pashta which denotes a pause or end of a grouping of words. It is for this reason that the Vav Hachibur of Kesef is given the Kamatz vowel sound and not the more standard Shva sound.


  • Parshas Pekudei

The Statement: Shemos Perek 40:3 "Vesamta Sham" And you will place there. The Taamim are on the last syllable of Vesamta and the first and only syllable of the word Sham.

The Rule: Last week a rule was mentioned that in Loshon Hakodesh two accented syllables (Taamim) are usually not placed directly after each other without a syllable separating them.

The Question: In the words Vesamta Sham the Taamim of the two words follow each other without any syllable to separate them. Why don't we move the Taam of Vesamta back one syllable in order to separate the Taamim with a syllable?

The Answer: The Rule that a Taam is moved back a syllable is called Nisog Achor. When a Taam is moved back one syllable it receives the properties of a Meseg in addition to the Taam. Therefore it may not be moved to a syllable that will be followed by a Shvah Nach (a resting Shvah) just as a Meseg may not be followed by a Shvah Nach. In the case of Vesamta Sham, if the Taam would be moved back to the earlier syllable it would be followed by a Shva Nach in the Mem. Since a Nisog Achor Taam may not be followed by a Shvah Nach it can not be moved back and must remain on the last syllable. This is done even though the Taam of the word Sham will follow immediately the Taam of Vesamta.


The Statement: Shmos Perek 40:36 "OO'VHayalos HeAnan MeAl Hamishkan Yisoo Bnai Yisroel Bechal Masehem" And when the cloud would rise up from the Mishkan the Bnai Yisroel would travel in all their journeys. The Taam of Esnachta is placed under the word Bnai Yisroel in this Posuk.

The Rule: An Esnachta is the greatest divider in the Posuk. The Taam of Esnachta generally separates the Posuk into two independent statements. It is used to separate the thought of the first part of the Posuk from the thought of the second part of the Posuk.

The Question: In our Posuk why is there an Esnachta? It would seem that the words Bechal Masehem are connected to the first part of the Posuk. The words seem to be a continuation of the first part that when the cloud rose the Jewish people traveled and went on their journeys. It would seem that an Esnachta is unnecessary in our Posuk.

The Answer: Rashi on the next Posuk explains the words of Bechal Masehem to be telling us something. Rashi understands that the words are telling us that at each stop the cloud would stop in the place they were camping at. Rashi understands the words Bechal Masehem as an independent statement as the Taam also seems to be saying. The words are telling us something special about their travels. It is telling us that the cloud would rest with them in every place they would travel. Since it is a separate statement it has the Taam of an Esnachta to tell us that it is not a part of the first statement but a separate statement on its own.


  • Megilas Esther
  • The Statement: Megilas Esther 1:1 "Sheva Ve-esreem Umeah Medinah" Achashveirosh ruled over one hundred and twenty seven countries.

    The Rule: When the Torah mentions a number over a hundred the Taam is in the pattern of a Mesharays then a Taam Mafsik. For example in Shmos 6:16 Sheva Usheloshim Umeas Shana (one hundred and thirty seven years) the Taamim are as follows: first a Darga under Sheva. The following word Usheloshim has a Tevir which is a Taam Mafsik. Similarly in Shmos 6:18 and 6:20, the pattern is a Mesharays followed by a Taam that is a Mafsik.

    The Problem: In Megilas Esther the words Sheva Ve-esreem Umeah Medinah do not follow this pattern. In this instance the first Taam is a Mafsik a Tevir under Sheva followed by a Marecha Tipcha combination under Ve-esreem Umeah. Why do these words which are similar to the cases in Shmos no follow the pattern of Mesharays then Mafsik?

    The Solution: The Gemorah in Meseches Megillah 11A describes the kingdom of Achashveirosh. He first ruled over only seven countries then he increased his kingdom to rule over more countries. This is the reason for the Taam to be different than the standard Mesharays then Mafsik combination. In this instance the Megillah wishes to stress that there was a pause after the seven countries that they are were not merely part of the one hundred and twenty seven, for they were captured first and he ruled over them separately. He ruled over them independently until he captured all of the one hundred and twenty seven countries. Therefore the Megillah places a Taam Masfsik under the word Sheva, to tell us that these seven countries were ruled separately and apart from the others for some period of time.


    The Statement: Megillas Esther Perek 1:6: Metose Zahav Vachesef Al Ritzpas Bahat Vashaysh Vedar Vesocheres. Beds of gold and silver on floors of green and white and shell and onyx marble. The words Vashaysh and Vedar have a Vav Hachibur at the beginning of the word. The word Vashaysh has a Vav Hachibur with a Kamatz sound, as opposed to the Vav Hachibur of the word Vedar that has a Shva sound.

    The Rule: A Vav Hachibur has a Kamatz when a) the second subject is accented on the first part of the word. An example is the words Shamayim VaAretz. The word VaAretz has a Vav with a Kamatz sound since the accent is on the first part of the word Aretz. But if the accent is on the last part of the word such as Moshe VeAharon the Vav of VeAharon will remain with a Shva. b) If the second word is only one syllable long such as Rechev VaSoos or Bahat VaShaysh. In these examples since the words are only one syllable long the Vav Hachibur is given a Kamatz sound.

    The Question: Why does the word Vedar not have a Vav hachibur with a Kamatz? It has only one syllable and should be like the word Shays that precedes it and has a Kamatz as the vowel sound of its Vav Hachibur.

    The Answer: The fact that the word Vedar has a Shva with its Vav Hachibur would seem to indicate a separation from the word beforehand. It is as if it is separating Vedar from the other types of stones that precede it. It is perhaps telling us that not all four stones were together in the same room. Rather some were in one room and some in a different room. Bahat and Shaysh were in one room and Dar and Sachores were in another room. 

    The Posuk uses a Kamatz Vav Hachibur for Metose Zahav Vachesef to tell us that the beds were together in the same area. In the same room were both gold and silver beds. It is for this reason that the Gemorah in Megillah asks that this will arouse jealousy having the more important officers on gold beds in the same room as the less prestigious officers that will be on the silver beds. It is because of the Kamatz of of the Vav Hachibur that it is impossible to say that the beds were in different rooms.

    Adapted from the More Dachya on Megillas Esther


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