Thursday, October 09, 2003

Dvar for Haazinu

Warning: Grammatical discussion:
While they were laining Haazinu in shul this Shabbos, people at my table were surprised by the beginning of the 6th pasuk (Devarim 32:6):

הַ לְיְקוָק, תִּגְמְלוּ-זֹאת

I replaced the heh's in Hashem's name with kufs.
The heh in the beginning of the first word is written in a larger font, and is separated from לְיְקוָק by a space. There is a masora that this heh is a "teva bifnei atzmo," its own word. As a result, the baal koreh read "Ha," paused, then said "Le`Ado..." (with the ` symbol being an aleph) - that is, with a pronounced shva, a shva na, under the lamed.

Someone at the table expressed surprise that, if לְיְקוָק were its own word, there was no patach under the lamed (with an unpronounced shva nach under the aleph), that is "laDo...", as it usually becomes when you have "le" (lamed shva) followed by Hashem's name. He suggested it might be a mistake in our printed texts, at which point someone at the next table said it was foolish, since grammar does not determine what the masorah is, nor does it conform with it on multiple occassions. (I agree that grammar is descriptive of a language, rather than proscriptive. However, those who lay out the rules do so after observing the mass of evidence of how language is used, and if something is really strange, it is worthwhile to check to make sure (in manuscripts, and in sevara), that the text you see before you is not mistaken or misunderstood.)

In this instance, more is problematic that just that "le`Ado..." is irregular. It also violated a primary linguistic rule. You NEVER have two shva nas in a row. Shvas become other vowels to prevent this. For example, BeYerushalayim would have a shva na under the bet and the yud, so the first shva becomes a chirik and the shva under the yud disapprears, making the chirik a chirik maleh: BiyRushalayim. Here, the lamed is the first letter of the word, so the shva is a shva na. The A of "`Ado..." is a chataf patach, a form of shva na which apprears under gutterals (aleph, heh, chet, ayin), so we would have two shva nas in a row. This NEVER happens.

I suggested that the nikud reflects a tradition that the heh is not its own word. In that case, the shva under the lamed would be a shva nach. Thus, it would not be expected to be "la`Do..." and should be pronounced "Hal`Ado." Thus, we would have two conflicting masorahs.

I asked Prof. David Segal (Eliyahu's father) and he told me a lot more about this. First, he maintains that the heh being its own word only means that is written like that is the Torah, but not that is is read that way. That is, it is ktiv rather than krei. As evidence, he pointed out that if it were its own word, it should have trup, but it does not. Further, he showed me that in the Leningrad Codex there is a makef (dash) connecting the heh to the next word. Thus, it should be pronounced as one word, with a shva nach (unpronounced shva): "Hal`ado..."

He then pointed out that there was a dispute about the nikud between the two Codexes. The Allepo codex has the same nikud as we have in our Chumashim (and as I printed above) and would be "Hal`ado." The Leningrad Codex, though, has a chataf patach under the heh (rather than patach), a makef, a full patach under the lamed (rather than shva), and then יְקוָק, with a shva under the yud. He would claim that just as in every case of "La`do," the shva under the aleph quiesces, so does it here, and would thus be pronounced "HaLa`do."

Update: I misrepresented what Prof. David Segal told me. He had also pointed out that there was a sheva under the yud of YKVK in the Leningrad Codex, where there would normally be none. He theorized that that might be an indication that it was a sheva to be pronounced - a sheva na, and then the Leningrad Codex would be saying it should be: H(chataf patach)-L(full patach)`(chataf patach)...
That is, haLA`ado...
Actually he did not theorize as much as state "I don't know if it is supposed to indicate a shva na or not."

Also, the Minchas Shay states, with a manuscript like we have in Allepo Codex and our Chumashim, that there is a sheva nach under the lamed and shva na under the aleph. So that would be: HAL`ado... (with ` being aleph, A being full patach, a being chataf patach)

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