A Drop Of Dikduk

Rabbi Mordechai Terebelo

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Parshas Shelach

The Statement: Bamidbar 13:8 "Lemateh Efrayim Hosheah bin Nun" For the tribe of Efrayim Hosheah the son of Nun.

The Problem: Under the Resh of the word Efrayim is a Kamatz. Generally the word is read Efrayim with a Patach. Why in this case does the vowel sound change to a Kamatz? Although many times the Patach changes to a Kamatz, that is when the vowel has an Esnachta or Sof Posuk as a Taam. When it has these Taamim, in order to stress the pause, the vowel changes from a Patach to a Kamatz. In this instance the Taam under the Resh is a Tipcha so why does it change from a Patach to a Kamatz?

The Solution: Generally the two biggest Mafsikim in the Posuk are the Esnachta and the Sof Posuk. When a Posuk is lengthy and expresses more than one thought then the Posuk is divided into two parts by the means of an Esnachta. Many times a Posuk does not have more than one thought and no Esnachta is used in the Posuk. In an instance like this the stress may be placed on a Tipcha too in the place of an Esnachta. This is because it plays the role of the chief Taam Mafsik in the Posuk. Therefore in this Posuk since there is no Esnachta the Tipcha takes its place and becomes the chief Taam Mafsik in the Posuk. When this occurs the word changes it's Patach sound to a Kamatz sound, just as it would have done had it had an Esnachta for it's Taam. Therefore when the word Efrayim in this Posuk is given a Tipcha it acts like an Esnachta and stresses the Patach into a Kamatz.

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)

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