Monday, September 13, 2004

Haazinu Recap

You can check out my post for last year on parashat haazinu. It is all about Devarim 32:6, and more specifically the first word in that pasuk.

I am going to try to rework that devar torah.

First, some preliminaries:
  1. A shva na is a moving shva. That is, one that is pronounced. The general rule for a shva na is that is occurs at the beginning of a syllable. Thus, at the start of a word or at the start of a new syllable in a word.
  2. A shva nach is a resting shva. It is not pronounced. It occurs at the end of a syllable.
  3. If there are two shvas in sequence, the first it the shva nach of the preceding syllable, and the next is the shva na at the start of the new syllable.
  4. The exception to the above (rule 3) is a consonant cluster at the end of a word. E.g. the word ארד, Ard. Then, there is a shva under the resh and the daledh, but both are restive shva nach.
  5. When a shva na occurs under a gutteral - אהחע, and perhaps ר, it is difficult to pronounce. So it converts to a chataf (means fast). The shva symbol is places next to a patach, kametz, or segol, and the vowel is pronounced like a very quick version of the full vowel. We would not expect a regular shva na under a gutteral, and if we see it there, it makes sense to assume that it is a shva nach, a restive shva, instead.
Now on to the main subject matter. Devarim 32:5 states:
שִׁחֵת לוֹ לֹא, בָּנָיו מוּמָם: דּוֹר עִקֵּשׁ, וּפְתַלְתֹּל.
"Is corruption His? No; His children's is the blemish; a generation crooked and perverse."

The trup, or cantillation, first divides the verse at מוּמָם, or blemish.
So we have:
"Is corruption His? No; His children's is the blemish;"
"a generation crooked and perverse."

But that first part of the verse is divided by trup into:
"Is corruption His? No;"
"His children's is the blemish;"

It it interesting that the translation gave it as a question. "Is corruption His?" It could be read as "Corruption is His." Followed by an emphatic No! to that suggestion. If not for the trup I might have actually attributed the No! to the second part of the phrase. "No, but rather the blemish belongs to His children." But it belongs to the first part: "Corruption is His. Not!"

The next verse reads:
הַ לְיְקוָק, תִּגְמְלוּ-זֹאת-- עַם נָבָל, וְלֹא חָכָם: הֲלוֹא-הוּא אָבִיךָ קָּנֶךָ, הוּא עָשְׂךָ וַיְכֹנְנֶךָ.
"Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not He thy father that hath gotten thee? hath He not made thee, and established thee?"

I would read this either as a complaint against the people for misbehaving. תִּגְמְלוּ-זֹאת will then mean that you are repaying Hashem for the good He has done for you by doing bad. The other possibility is that הַ לְיְקוָק, תִּגְמְלוּ-זֹאת is asking if you are indeed attributing to Hashem this. That is, would you attribute evil to Hashem? This is then a response to the previous verse where the suggestion was made that corruption was His.

If you read Haazinu carefully the following is on of the major themes: Hashem did good things for us and established us as a nation. However, if we rebel in the future, Hashem will punish us.

Someone might look at this punishment and say that it is coming because Hashem is acting in a not-nice manner. They claim He is corrupt. Thus, we are told that No, the fault lies not in our God but in ourselves, that we corrupted our way. Before going on to tell us the good things Hashem did for us, the suggestion that the fault lies in God in mocked, as coming from a foolish and unwise people.

Alternatively, the ingratitude and rebellion towards a benevolent God is mocked as coming from an unwise people. This would be הַ לְיְקוָק, תִּגְמְלוּ-זֹאת as "would you do this to God" as opposed to "would you attribute this to God."

The word הַ is strange, though. It seems to be functioning as the ha which expresses wonder, transforming the following statement into a question. Indeed, in the second half of the verse, this ha occurs:

הֲלוֹא-הוּא אָבִיךָ קָּנֶךָ

However, there is a difference. In the first half of the verse, we have הַ with a full patach as a vowel. In the second half, as is the case in all other instances, we have הֲ with a chataf patach, which is a shva adapted under a gutteral as explained in rule 5 above. Certain transformative rules can change a chataf patach into a full patach, but it is still strange. Further, the הַ in the beginning of the verse is a separate word, whereas in the second half of the verse it is as it usually is, joined to the word.

There is a tradition, recorded in the gemara, that this heh is a word in and of itself.

I think this may be the answer: There is a possibility that this strange word
הַ does not actually serve as the heh expressing wonder, or a question. I would point out that this is a song, in which poetic terms are used. In Biblical poetry, we would expect, and in fact find, archaic terms. Sometimes these terms are extremely rare in normal Biblical Hebrew. Sometimes we only know of their existence by comparison to other Semitic languages.
In this case, there is a cognate word in Aramaic:
This word means "behold," and would also fit the context.

In fact, two of the Targumim, Targum Onkelos and Targum Yerushalmi, write הָא as the translation of this strange ha. Only Targum Pseudo-Yonatan does not.

This suggests that there was a knowledge of this fact that the meaning of the word was that of the Aramaic cognate, way back in the time of Chazal. This would account for the tradition and insistence that it should be written as its own word. In fact, it is its own word.

Since it is its own word, we would certainly not expect a chataf patach under the heh, since it is not a heh expressing wonder. And it needs a full vowel to stand as its own word.

Now, a patach does not usually stand in an open syllable. It is a short vowel, so appears in a short syllable, that is, with a consonant following it. That is why in the Aramaic word הָא the aleph does not truly close it, and the vowel patach in lengthened to be a kametz. In this case, this does not happen, but this should not us, for since we are speaking of an archaic word with an archaic form in Biblical poetry, linguistic phonetic rules which would have lengthened the patach into a kametz would not necessarily have taken effect on the word. That phonetic rule may have developed after the word fell out of vogue and so the word was not around to be changed. People still know of this rare word and used it in poetry, in its archaic and unchanged form.

However, the commentators I've seen seem to assume this is actually a heh expressing wonder, which should have a shva na under it, which would be promoted to chataf patach under rule (5). But it actually, at least in our chumashim, has a full patach. (The Leningrad Codex has a chataf patach under the heh.) So, for our chumashim, some promotion rule to a full patach would need to come into play.

The next word, having been separated from word ha, at least in printed form, also has its difficulties, which I addressed in the post linked to above.

I would say that with הַ being the cognate of the Aramaic הָא, the next word should be pronounced and vowelized the way it would normally. That is, = לַאְדֹנָי - לַיֽקוָק"La`do," with a full patach under the lamedh. It it not vowelized that way in our chumashim, nor in the Aleppo Codex. Rather, there is a shva under the lamedh : לְ

Here is what it looks like in the Aleppo Codex:

Aleppo Codex - parashat Haazinu Posted by Hello

However, even though I would say at first that this is how the next word should be vowelized, another factor comes into play. That is that, on a phonological level, unstressed syllables in Hebrew with short vowels are usually closed. That is, if C = consonant and V = vowel, a closed syllable is CVC, while an open syllable is CV. Now, the patach is a short vowel, and it is in הַ which is an open syllable. There is a desire, phonologically speaking, so close this vowel.

At the same time, the next word started initially as אְדֹנָי with a shva na under the א. (Of course in general this would be promoted to the chataf patach as described above, but we are talking initially, before doing any promotion.) A לְ was added to this, with a shva na under the lamedh. (Now, we cannot have two shva na's in a row, so promotion of some sort usually happens, but we are talking here initially.)

So there are three demands - the aleph usually would get a chataf patach, and in the proximity for the Divine Name the lamedh would aquire the full symbol - a patach and the shva under the aleph would quiesce to a shva nach. However, this would be to solve phonetic difficulties, but at the same time we have the demand of the short open syllable in the previous word for closure.

What happens next is beautiful. The shva under the lamedh quiesces to a shva nach, and it is used to close the previous syllable - the הַ. Once this happens, we no longer have two shva na in a row. Then, the shva na under the the aleph, rather than quiescing to a shva nach, remains a shva na. Since it is under a gutteral, it gets promoted to a chataf patach.

Therefore, the word is pronounced: הַ-לְאֲדֹנָי. What the specific pause between letters is is another issue - where the word boundary is, when the lamedh is closing the syllable of the previous word, but I would put the slightest pause, to let it close the syllable while still marking the word boundary.

I would say that this is not the only time we see this phenomenon of the first letter of the subsequent word. Consider the famous pasuk from the אשרי prayer, in Tehillim 84:5:

אַשְׁרֵי, יוֹשְׁבֵי בֵיתֶךָ-- עוֹד, יְהַלְלוּךָ סֶּלָה.

Note the dagesh forte in the סּ of the last word סֶּלָה.

We see it also in the next statement in, from אשרי Tehillim 144:15:

אַשְׁרֵי הָעָם, שֶׁכָּכָה לּוֹ: אַשְׁרֵי הָעָם, שֱׁיְהוָה אֱלֹהָיו.
Note the dagesh forte in the לּ of the word לּוֹ.

In both cases, the previous syllable, that is the final syllable of the previous word, is an unstressed syllable. (Specifically it is pretonically = mile'el stressed.) Further, it is an open syllable, since יְהַלְלוּךָ has the kametz final and the heh in שֶׁכָּכָה is not pronounced and thus does not close it. {Even though the kametz is a long vowel and usually need not be closed, there still seems to be a need for closure.} Further, there is conjunctive rather than disjunctive trup, another factor I claim is necessary to this phenomenon to manifest. I would therefore say that the dagesh forte at the start of the following word serves to double the first letter, as a dagesh forte always does. One of duo then serves to close the previous syllable, and the second serves to begin the new syllable.

Here in Haazinu there is no need for a dagesh forte because there are factors in play (namely the desire not to see two shva na in a row) that do not want the first letter to begin a syllable anyway. As a result, all that happens is the shva na under the lamedh quiesces and it serves to close the previous word. So, while not exactly similar, the situations are analagous.

I want to now turn to the opinion of Ibn Ezra, as brought down by the super-commentary Avi Ezer. This will bring evidence as to how the word was pronounced in medieval times.
אבי עזר
הלה' תגמלו זאת וגו': וכבר פירשתי טעם הה"א בספר מאזנים)
וזה לשון הרב בספר מאזנים.
אמר ר' שמואל הנגיד
נתברר אצלנו שה"א הלה' לבדה והיא זרה
והנה זה הה"א יגלה סוד גדול
והוא ששה"א לא יתכן להיות בשו"א ובפת"ח
כי אין יכולת באדם לקרוא שו"א נע אם לא יהיה אחריו אות בתנועה.
ע"כ יהיה הה"א בפת"ח כדרך ההאי"ן התמהין
וידוע כי הלמ"ד יהיה שו"א נע כמשפט כל למ"ד נוסף, כמו ליעקב.
ואל תשים אל לבך הקריאה שאנו קוראין
כי הוצרכנו להניח להלמ"ד שהיא שו"א נע בעבור היות שו"א נע תחת אל"ף אדון עד כאן לשונו.
ועיין א"ת
ושלש מחלוקות בדבר:
לסיראי ה' לחוד.
ולנהרדאי הל' לחוד.
ולמדינחאי הלה' מלה אחת.
ובחבירי אם מטעמים אאריך אם ירצה השם בזה ברצות ה' דרכי

הלה' תגמלו זאת וגו: Ibn Ezra writes, "And I already explained the reason of the ה in Sefer Moznayim."
And this is the language of the Rav {Ibn Ezra} in Sefer Moznayim:
Rabbi Shmuel HaNaggid said,
it is clear by us that the heh of הלה' is by itself, and it is out of the ordinary.
And behold this heh reveals a great secret,
and that is that the heh cannot bear to have a chataf patach (with shva and with patach)
For man does not have the ability to read a shva na if it does not have after it a consonant with a vowel. {phonologically speaking}
Perforce the heh must have a {full} patach like the heh's expressing wonder.
And it is known that the lamedh has a shva na according to the rule of all lameds added on, such as leYa'akov.
And do not take to heart the {actual} reading that we read {i.e. pronounce}
For we must quiesce the lamedh which was originally a shva na, in order to have a shva na (that is, chataf patach) under the aleph of אֲדֹן.
End quote.
And see א"ת. (??)
And there is a three way dispute in the matter {of how it is written in a sefer torah}:
The Syrians have the first heh by itself. {as its own word, as the yerushalmi says.}
The Nehardaians have the heh lamedh by itself. {and the name of Hashem as the other word.}
The Easterners have both as a single word.
And in my treatise on taamim I will elaborate on this, G-d-willing, on this, if Hashem desires my path.
Analyzing this, we see that Shmuel HaNagid assumed that the heh was one expressing wonder, rather than the Aramaic cognate I suggested. As a result, he has an original heh shva na lamedh shva na aleph shva na. Then he must posit various promotions to the he shva to heh chataf patach to heh patach, as he does, and explain why the lamedh shva na must quiesce.

I, on the other hand, start with a heh patach lamedh shva na aleph shva na. Then, everything else falls into place, with the patach seizing the shva of the lamedh to close it, and the shva na of the aleph remaining, requiring of course promotion to a chataf patach.

In terms of the three way dispute, I think I can explain. The Syrians have exactly what it says in the yerushalmi. That is, the heh is a word in and of itself. As we would expect, since Aleppo is in Syria, the Aleppo Codex reflects this. {And I explained above that the meaning of this tradition.}

Those from Nehardaa have the heh lamedh as its own word. This reflects the pronunciation, as described by Shmuel HaNaggid. That is, the shva na under the lamedh quiesces, and thus there is a pronunciation hal. A careful reader would make sure to pronounce it such, and might put a separation after because the heh is supposed to be a word in and of itself, or just because for such a difficult word they spoke deliberately, putting a slight pause after the syllable that should not really be there. It is reflected in the text.

The Eastern tradition is to hae it as a single word, perhaps because of a lack of a tradition that the heh is a word in and of itself, or because once the lamedh shva na quiesces, it is almost pronounced like a single word.

At any rate, the way I suggested it should be pronounced seems borne out both by Shmuel HaNaggid's description of how it is read, and by the strange tradition from Nehardaa.

1 comment:

Avi said...

I realize that the post is 9 years old now, but what the hey! (Pun intended)

The רדק is of the opinion that a דגש חזק at the beginning of a word is indeed doubled and read together with the preceeding word, just as if it had appeared in the middle of a single word. So, you would read שככה-ל לו. And, as you surmised, this is only when the preceeding word ends in an open vowel and is joined with a conjunctive trup.

As an aside, he is also of the opinion that a second שוא at the end of a word is pronounced if the word is joined to the next word by the trup. His appears to be a minority opinion, however.

Both of these statements can be found in the מכלול, but I don't have page numbers handy.


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