A Drop Of Dikduk

Rabbi Mordechai Terebelo

Back to Parsha Homepage | Previous Issues

Parshas Va'era

The Statement Shmos Perek 9:22 "And Hashem said to Moshe stretch your hand to the heaven."The word for heaven is Shamayim. The Vilna Gaon in Dikdukei Torah examines the Shoresh (root) of the word Shamayim. He maintains that the Shoresh is Shin Mem Heh with the Heh being dropped. The Shoresh is from the group we call the Nachei L"H (Lamed Heh). This group when conjugated certain ways will drop (Nach) the letter Heh. When it is the last letter of a word similar to the Lamed of the verb Poal, it will be Nach (dropped) when conjugated in certain ways. The word Shamayim explains the Vilna Gaon is from the concept of height. Words that mean height such as Shmai Koreh are variations and are taken from the same root as the word Shamayim.

The Rule: The Vilna Gaon states a very interesting rule regarding the usage of plurals. There are two types of plurals that are Loshon Zachor (masculine). One has a Yud Mem with a Chirik under the Yud such as the word Shamayim (heaven) and Yadayim (hands) and Moznayim (scale). Other plurals have just a Yud Mem ending, without a Chirik under the Mem, such as Nashim (women) Sefarim (books). The difference, explains the Vilna Gaon, is that the form of plural which has a Chirik under the Yud is used for things that usually come as a pair. Since hands and scales usually come in pairs therefore they are given the Chirik Yud form of plural.

A similar thought is expressed in Rashi in Chaya Sarah in Perek 24 Posuk 10. Rashi explains the word Aram Naharayim as being the city that is situated between two rivers. Rashi understood it as specifically two rivers because the plural form had a Chirik under the Yud which tells us a pair of something.

Rabbi Terebelo is Rav of Young Israel of Lawrenceville 5th grade Rebbi at Yeshiva Shaarei Tzion of Piscataway NJ Member Kollel of Beth Medrash Govoha and Director of Partners in Torah Program of Lawrenceville NJ

Courtesy of JewishAmerica (www.JewishAmerica.com)

Back to Parsha Homepage | Previous Issues

Jerusalem, Israel