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The Statement: Vayikra 25:6 "Ool-Avdecha Ve-LaAmasecha Ve-LiScherecha"
your servant and to your maid servant and to your hired worker.
The Problem: Why does the Lamed take on three different vowel sounds in these examples. In the first word the Lamed is given a Shva, in the second a Patach, and in the third a Chirik.
The Solution: In general a Lamed in the beginning of a word is given a Shva. There are some exceptions to this rule. For instance if the first letter of the root word begins with a Shva then the Lamed can not have a Shva sound. This is because two Shva sounds may not appear in the beginning of a word. If the word begins with a Shva then the Lamed will be given a Chirik sound. Thus the word Ve-LiScherecha, since the root word begins with a Shva the Lamed must be given a Chirik sound. Ool-Avdecha is easy to understand for it has the standard Shva under the Lamed.
This leaves us to explain Ve-LaAmasecha and the reason for the Lamed having a Patach as it's vowel sound. The first root letter is an Aleph with the vowel sound Chataf Patach. A Chataf Patach is a vowel sound which contains the qualities of a Shva and the qualities of a Patach in some ways. When Chataf Patach is the vowel sound of the first letter of the root word then the Lamed preceding is given a Patach sound. Perhaps it can not be given the standard Shva sound for then the word would have as it's beginning two Shva sounds (the Lamed and the Aleph) for in this respect the Aleph with it's Chataf Patach vowel sound is viewed like a Shva.
Rabbi Mordecai Terebelo can be reached at MTEREBELO@juno.com
Rabbi Terebelo is Rav of Young Israel of Lawrenceville 5th-6th grade Rebbi at Bezalel Hebrew Day School of Lakewood NJ Member Kollel of Beth Medrash Govoha and Director of Partners in Torah Program of Lawrenceville NJ
Courtesy of JewishAmerica (www.JewishAmerica.com)