A Drop Of Dikduk

Rabbi Mordechai Terebelo

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Parsha Beshalach

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)

Courtesy of JewishAmerica (www.JewishAmerica.com)

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