Back to Parsha Homepage | Previous Issues
The Statement: Vayikra Perek 5:7 "Shtay Sorim Oh Shnay Bnay Yonah" Two turtledoves or two young doves.
The Rule: The Posuk uses the feminine form of two for the Torim and the masculine form of two for the Bnay Yonah. This is because the word Tor is feminine and therefore it receives the feminine form of two. Although Yonah is also feminine, since the Posuk is referring to the offspring of the Yonah which are the Bnay Yonah and are male, it uses the masculine form of two which is Shnay.
The Question: If both Yonah and Tor are feminine, then why is the plural form Torim and Yonim? The plural form would seem to be projecting a masculine word and not a feminine word.
The Answer: There are certain words which include the whole species such as
Cheetah (wheat). In words such as these even the singular form includes
many. When these type of words want to express just one of the species
frequently they will say Cheetah Achas (one wheat). This group of words
when saying many of them use a word that would seem to be a masculine
plural. Eventhough they are feminine, these type of words get a masculine
suffix. Since these words always mean many, whether they have the plural
ending or not. The plural ending is not to be seen as a plural of the
singular but rather as a word all of its own not merely the plural form of
the singular. That is why the word Chookah (law) becomes Chookim with a OO
sound for it is a plural of Chokewith a Cholom. In our case Tor becomes
Torim with an Oh sound for it is not merely a plural of the word Tor but a
separate word that means many doves.
To reach Rabbi Terebelo you can email him at the following address: email@example.com
Courtesy of JewishAmerica (www.JewishAmerica.com)