Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Pinchas: Chirik Maleh vs. Chirik Chaser In Aramaic

As a followup to a previous post of mine, yitz asked whether we have evidence of a chirik malei vs. chaser distinction for Aramaic, such that we expect a sheva na after a chirik malei but a sheva nach after a chirik chaser. Such that the presence or absence of yud in Pinchas would in fact indicate Pinchas or Pinechas.

We can examine sefer Daniel and Ezra for examples. Here, in Ezra 4:22:

כב וּזְהִירִין הֱווֹ שָׁלוּ, לְמֶעְבַּד עַל-דְּנָה; לְמָה יִשְׂגֵּא חֲבָלָא, לְהַנְזָקַת מַלְכִין. {ס} 22 And take heed that ye be not slack herein; why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?' {S}
in the word yisgei, note that there is a dagesh kal in the gimel. This means that the sheva before it is nach, which makes sense since the chirik is chaser. The same earlier in the same perek, yintenun:
יג כְּעַן, יְדִיעַ לֶהֱוֵא לְמַלְכָּא, דִּי הֵן קִרְיְתָא דָךְ תִּתְבְּנֵא, וְשׁוּרַיָּא יִשְׁתַּכְלְלוּן--מִנְדָּה-בְלוֹ וַהֲלָךְ לָא יִנְתְּנוּן, וְאַפְּתֹם מַלְכִים תְּהַנְזִק. 13 Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, impost, or toll, and so thou wilt endamage the revenue of the kings.
with the dagesh kal in the tav.

On the other hand, we must admit that there is not always such a dagesh kal. In the word pitgama, there is no such dagesh in the gimel.
יז פִּתְגָמָא שְׁלַח מַלְכָּא, עַל-רְחוּם בְּעֵל-טְעֵם וְשִׁמְשַׁי סָפְרָא, וּשְׁאָר כְּנָוָתְהוֹן, דִּי יָתְבִין בְּשָׁמְרָיִן--וּשְׁאָר עֲבַר-נַהֲרָה שְׁלָם, וּכְעֶת. {ס} 17 Then sent the king an answer unto Rehum the commander, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions that dwell in Samaria, and unto the rest beyond the River: 'Peace, and now {S}
We might start talking about sheva merachef here, just as it occurs in Biblical Hebrew (where there used to be a vowel present), or we might say that the rule of dagesh kal after sheva nach is not absolute. (Or, if you wish, that in fact it is na...)

We have more general proof that a chirik maleh commands a closed syllable, which is what necessitates a sheva nach. Thus, in the same perek:

י וּשְׁאָר אֻמַּיָּא, דִּי הַגְלִי אָסְנַפַּר רַבָּא וְיַקִּירָא, וְהוֹתֵב הִמּוֹ, בְּקִרְיָה דִּי שָׁמְרָיִן--וּשְׁאָר עֲבַר-נַהֲרָה, וּכְעֶנֶת. 10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asenappar brought over, and set in the city of Samaria, and the rest that are in the country beyond the River:--'And now--
יא דְּנָה, פַּרְשֶׁגֶן אִגַּרְתָּא, דִּי שְׁלַחוּ עֲלוֹהִי, עַל-אַרְתַּחְשַׁשְׂתְּא מַלְכָּא--עבדיך (עַבְדָךְ) אֱנָשׁ עֲבַר-נַהֲרָה, וּכְעֶנֶת. {פ} 11 this is the copy of the letter that they sent unto him, even unto Artaxerxes the king--thy servants the men beyond the River--and now {P}
Note the dagesh chazak in the gimel of igarta, and in the mem of himo.

In contrast, note the lack of dagesh chazak where there is a chirik maleh. From the same perek:
כ וּמַלְכִין תַּקִּיפִין, הֲווֹ עַל-יְרוּשְׁלֶם, וְשַׁלִּיטִין, בְּכֹל עֲבַר נַהֲרָה; וּמִדָּה בְלוֹ וַהֲלָךְ, מִתְיְהֵב לְהוֹן. 20 There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, who have ruled over all the country beyond the River; and tribute, impost, and toll, was paid unto them.
there is no dagesh chazak in the peh of takifin, nor in the tet of shalitin. Nor:
כא כְּעַן שִׂימוּ טְּעֵם, לְבַטָּלָא גֻּבְרַיָּא אִלֵּךְ; וְקִרְיְתָא דָךְ לָא תִתְבְּנֵא, עַד-מִנִּי טַעְמָא יִתְּשָׂם. 21 Make ye now a decree to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until a decree shall be made by me.

in the mem of simu.

However, we see the same pattern of sheva nach even after full chirik maleh. Considering the next perek:
ח יְדִיעַ לֶהֱוֵא לְמַלְכָּא, דִּי-אֲזַלְנָא לִיהוּד מְדִינְתָּא לְבֵית אֱלָהָא רַבָּא, וְהוּא מִתְבְּנֵא אֶבֶן גְּלָל, וְאָע מִתְּשָׂם בְּכֻתְלַיָּא; וַעֲבִידְתָּא דָךְ אָסְפַּרְנָא מִתְעַבְדָא, וּמַצְלַח בְּיֶדְהֹם. {ס} 8 Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judah, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth on with diligence and prospereth in their hands. {S}
Note the dagesh in the tav even in וַעֲבִידְתָּא and in מְדִינְתָּא, despite the presence of chirik maleh.

But then, turning to perek 6:
ב וְהִשְׁתְּכַח בְּאַחְמְתָא, בְּבִירְתָא דִּי בְּמָדַי מְדִינְתָּא--מְגִלָּה חֲדָה; וְכֵן-כְּתִיב בְּגַוַּהּ, דִּכְרוֹנָה. {פ} 2 And there was found at Ahmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, a roll, and therein was thus written: 'A record. {P}
in one pasuk we have בְּבִירְתָא with no dagesh and מְדִינְתָּא with a dagesh. But then, בְּבִירְתָא without the dagesh in the tav has a secondary trup symbol, a mercha, on the chirik malei, and perhaps this secondary stress works as a meteg to make it a sheva na.

I am not sure we have enough data to make a decision. (And I am still struggling to remember what was said in class.) And this is Biblical Aramaic, and perhaps there are kerei vs. ketiv at play. However, given the shallow evidence here, it would seem that either dagesh kal can come after a sheva na, or else even with chirik malei the sheva would most often be nach. If so, in Aramaic perhaps we would always pronounce it Pinchas rather than Pinechas. (Indeed, perhaps this accounts for the loss of yud in Talmudic spelling.) The small yud in the Hebrew Masoretic text might still indicate a preferred sheva nach, and the lack of yud specifically in this instance (as opposed to others where it is present) might also still be there to indicate this preference.

Or perhaps not.

While I am at citing Ezra, I recall one thing from Biblical Aramaic class. In Ezra 4, we read:
ח רְחוּם בְּעֵל-טְעֵם, וְשִׁמְשַׁי סָפְרָא, כְּתַבוּ אִגְּרָה חֲדָה, עַל-יְרוּשְׁלֶם--לְאַרְתַּחְשַׁשְׂתְּא מַלְכָּא, כְּנֵמָא. 8 Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this sort--
and we discussed how chada is used here as an indefinite article, "a," rather than as a number, "one." I suggested (facetiously) that perhaps we should translate it as "he wrote a sharp letter." Which was funny. Heh.

Anyway, tzarich iyyun.

1 comment:

yitz said...

I asked a Rav who's a pashtan with an amazing memory. (I think he gives shiurim @ the Mir)

Anyways, he said he would get back to me and explain at length, but al regel achat he told me there is a machloket as to whether or not the laws of sheva na and such apply in aramaic or not. (In the Targum as well..)

I hope to get back to you about it soon. (He was delighted that I was interested in something so pshat-oriented and not hassidut/kabbalah so I hope it will inspire him to get back to me in short order.)

It actually occurs to me now that since the Targum was actually chanted aloud, there definitely must be laws regarding the exact pronunciation of it's words, the only question that remains is if these laws are the same as the laws for reading Torah/Nach.


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