Sunday, October 09, 2005

Timely Dikdukim

I. Hemes or Heimes?

In the Torah reading for the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the word חמת (bottle/skin) appears three times: Gen. 21:14, 15, 19. In the second place, it is punctillated with an esnahta mark, which implies a comma/pause. Vowels at an esnahta are frequently elongated.

The Koren Tanakh punctuates חמת in verse 19 as hemes (חֶמֶת ), with an elongated vowel, as opposed to how it appears in the other two verses (heimes חֵמֶת ) and contrary to what is found in most printed Bibles. The Artscroll Machzor for Rosh Hashanah includes this variant spelling/pronunciation in its presentation of the Torah reading for the first day.

I checked the Breuer Tanakh and it has the word as heimes (חֵמֶת ), without an elongated vowel. Mechon Mamre does also.

II. Those Who Wait

This morning's selihos quote a phrase from Isaiah 40:31 -- "וקוי יהוה יחליפו כח - But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength." Radak and Minhas Shai point out that the word וקוי is pronounced with the tzeireh on the "yud" -- ve-koyei -- and not on the "vav" -- ve-kovei. (See how Mechone Mamre has it vocalized.) I rarely hear a ba'al korei pronounce this correctly.

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