A Drop Of Dikduk

Rabbi Mordechai Terebelo

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Parsha Tazria

The Statement: In Vayikra 13:49 and 13:51 it says "Oh Va-shsi Oh Vaw-Ayrev" - In the warp or woof threads with a Patach and a Kamatz under their respective letter Vays.

The Problem: In Vayikra 13:48 it says "Oh Vi-shsi Oh Ve-Ayrev." In this instance the word Vi-shsi is punctuated with a Chirik under the Vays of Vi-shsi and a Shva under the Vays of Ve-Ayrev. Why here does it use a Chirik and in the other instances it uses a Kamatz or a Patach?

The Solution: Let us first examine the difference between the words Va-shsi and Vaw-Ayrev in Vayikra 13:49. Why is one a Kamatz and one a Patach? The letter Vays usually means "in" and is usually spelled with just a Shva underneath. When we wish to write "In the" we should really write a Vays followed by a Heh with a Patach vowel sound. The Vays would mean "in" and the Heh would mean "the." In Loshon Hakodesh we combine them both into one letter Vays with a Patach vowel to mean "In the". Generally when we wish to say "in the" we use the Vays Patach to mean "in the". However, if the following letter is an Ayin then we do not use the Vays Patach but rather Vays Kamatz to mean "in the." In this instance the first word Va-shsi the Vays is followed by a Shin and therefore is just a plain Vays Patach. In the second word Va-Ayrev the Vays is followed by an Ayin and therefore the sound under the Vays is a Kamatz instead of the usual Patach. In Vayikra 13:48 "Oh Vi-shsi Oh Ve-Ayrev" we are not using the prefix "in the," rather they are using the prefix "in," as is indicated by the fact there is no sign of a Patach under the Vays. This is because these are just details in the Posuk that are describing the words La-Pishtim and La-Tsemer that follow. The Vi-shsi and Ve-Ayrev are merely aids to tell us where on the cloth was the plague found. (See Rashi that explains La-Pishtim and La- Tsemer to mean of wool and linen) Since the words are just part of a description of another word they do not get the Patach sound which indicates importance.

This is in contrast to the Posuk in Vayikra 13:49 and 13:51 where it says, "Oh Va-shsi Oh Vaw-Ayrev" with a Patach and a Kamatz under their respective letter Vays. In these Pesukim, the words Oh Va-shsi Oh Vaw-Ayrev stand alone. There is no word that is in their proximity that they are describing. Therefore since they are independent, not adjectives to another word, they have a Kamatz or the equivalent of a Kamatz as their vowel sound.

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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