A Drop Of Dikduk

Rabbi Mordechai Terebelo

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Parshas Vayikra

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.
(See Emes L'Yakov on this Posuk from Rav Yakov Kamenetsky)

To reach Rabbi Terebelo you can email him at the following address: mterebelo@juno.com

Courtesy of JewishAmerica (www.JewishAmerica.com)

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