A Drop Of Dikduk

Rabbi Mordechai Terebelo

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Parsha Shemini

The Statement: Vayikra Perek 10:4 "Kirvu Oo-Seooh Es Acheichem" Come close and carry your brothers. The Taam over the word Kirvu is a Telisha Gedolah followed by a Gareshayim.

The Problem: The Taam is read first as a Gareshayim and then a Teslisha Gedolah. Why is it written on the top of the letter in the reverse order?

The Solution: There are many Taamim that are written on parts of the word which may not be where the accent or Taam should be read. For instance the Pashta is always written at the end of the word regardless of where the Taam is actually read. There are many instances where the Taam Pashta is read at the front of the word and yet the Pashta is written at the end of the word. (In some texts two Pashtas are written one at the end and one on the letter where the Taam should be read.) This was done to avoid confusion between the Taamim of Kadma and Pashta which look the same but are in reality two different Taamim. Therefore it was decided that the Pashta will always be written at the end of the word and Kadma will be written on the letter where the Taam is read. A similar situation existed many years ago with the Taamim of Telisha Ketana and Gedola. There was a time when they had the same symbol and in order to differentiate between them, they wrote the Telisha Gedola on the front of the word regardless of where it was actually read and the Telisha Ketana was always written on the end of the word regardless of which letter it was actually read with. This situation was letter rectified by placing a little line at the end of the circle in different directions for the Telisha Gedola and Ketana. Nevertheless the placement of the Taamim remained the same the Telisha Gedola was always placed in the front of the word and Telisha Ketana in the end of the word.

With this background we now understand that although the Telisha Gedolah is written first on the word, that is only a carryover from the days when it was necessary to differentiate between the Telisha Gedola and Ketana. In reality it is read on the last letter as is the case many times, eventhough it is written on the first letter.

The Shaarei Zimrah in Shaar 3 Paragraph 3 also says that both the Gareshayim and Telisha should be read on the Shoorook Beis of the word. He states that although it is two Taamim on one syllable nevertheless that is the way it should be done. He cites a precedent for doing this from another instance of Gareshayim and Telisha on one word which is on the word Zeh in Breishis 5:29. In that instance there is just one syllable and yet both Taamim are read on the same syllable. Therefore Kirvu should be no different and both Taamim are read on the syllable of VOO of Kirvu.

The Baal Haturim explains the lesson of the two Taamim on one word. (I personally fail to see what the connection is between the two Taamim and the Medrash and welcome any input, but thought I would quote his explanation, to explain this unique phenomenon of two Taamim on one word) He says that this is to tell us that they did not actually carry them out but rather took a spear and dragged them out with the spear instead of entering the Heichal.

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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