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In the Mishnah Brurah (676:1) it says:

והגיענו לזמן הזה הלמ"ד בחיר"ק ולא בפת"ח

That in the Bracha of Shehechiyanu, the Lamed in the word Lazman should be said with a Hiriq and not with a Patach.

What's the practical difference between these two pronunciations? Does the change in the vowel change the meaning of the word? Why did the Mishnah Brurah need to differentiate?

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4  
see this essay: aishdas.org/avodah/faxes/lazzemonLizmanLazzeman.doc –  josh waxman Dec 27 '11 at 1:36

3 Answers 3

As noted by others, Hebrew grammar calls for a noun (zeman) modified by a definite adjective (hazze) to itself be definite (although there are exceptions in Tanakh). Thus, "lazzeman hazze". (le + ha- + zeman = lazzeman) Note that the zayin has a daghesh and the shewa is na` (mobile).

That is not to say, however, that "lizman hazzeh" is ungrammatical. It simply means something different. Instead of "to this time", it is "to a time of this". It doesn't make sense to me in the context of the berakha, but evidently it did to Mishna Berura.

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The Eliya Raba copied the MG"A and the MB (which is explained in Shimon bM's answer). The PM"G seems not to agree with him but doesn't seem to be sure. The Kaf Hachaim implies that both are correct, but lizman is better. (It could be that he is even quoting the Mate Moshe, the first to choose lizman.) Both are correct, though, and psukim can be found for either.

The new 'Oz V'hodor' also explains the MB as stated above. Still, the PM"G is known to be the expert on dikduk, and he quotes another expert on dikduk saying that lazman is correct. The piskai tshuvos brings an impressive list of poskim saying lizman, including the shloh who was before the MG"A, and also of lazman, including the yaavets. He also brings other sforim who discuss it. He concludes that according to the rules of dikduk it should be lazman. I think, though, that brochos don't always need to follow the rules of dikduk and that there are other examples of this.

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I'm in another time-zone to (just about) everyone else here, so it takes me a while to see things, but this has become an awesome answer. Just two questions: who is PM"G? And when you reference the Oz v'Hadar, what are you speaking about? Their Shas? –  Shimon bM May 2 '13 at 23:45
    
@Shimon bM,No their mishne berura. PM"G is the pri megodim. This post has been totally changed to the one I wrote and hardly bears a resemblance to it. –  user2709 May 3 '13 at 4:09

According to this page at Chadrei Charedim, the correct pronunciation (as demanded by the strictures of Hebrew grammar) is with a patach. Indeed, this is true: consider the form of similar phrases that appear throughout Tanakh:

Genesis 7:1 - בַדור הַזה (bador hazeh);

Exodus 5:23 - לָעם הַזה (la'am hazeh);

Leviticus 23:27 - לַחדש הַשביעי הַזה (lachodesh hashevi'i hazeh);

Numbers 20:5 - אל הַמקום הָרע הזַה (el hamaqom hara' hazeh);

Deuteronomy 4:6 - הַגוי הַגדול הַזה (hagoy hagadol hazeh);

etc, etc.

In most siddurim, the correct pronounciation is recorded (see, for example, Siddur Vilna). What the Mishna Berurah wrote is therefore puzzling, but is explained by the author of the post at Chadrei Charedim (to which I linked above) as being the result of an unfortunate error.

The assertion that it should be with a chiriq and not a patach was made by the author of the Mateh Moshe on p.296, §980. I have not seen the original text, but it is apparantly riddled with other errors of a grammatical nature, as mentioned at Chadrei Charedim. It was subsequently quoted by the Magen Avraham, who mistook it for having been the observation of Rabbi Shlomo Luria (the Maharshal), since the passage in Mateh Moshe in which it appears commences with a quote that is attributed to him.

You can see the Magen Avraham's observation in situ (Orach Chayim 676:1), where he falsely attributes it to the Maharshal. The Mishna Berurah appears to have taken the idea from there, although it is truly mysterious why he would have done so.

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Why do you consider the MB being more mysterious than the MG"A –  user2709 May 2 '13 at 15:10
    
I second @shulem. Are you suggesting that the error was more obvious to the M"B than to the M"A? If so, why? –  Seth J May 2 '13 at 18:13
    
That's a good question, @shulem. It seems that the page on Chadrei Charedim thinks the MB is stranger because he quotes the MA without (evidently) first checking his source, while the MA had only misread the source and assumed that it was a chiddush of the Maharshal. That's their opinion; not sure that it's necessarily mine as well. I only really focused on the MB because that's what the questioner was asking. I find the MA puzzling as well, but have spent less time on it. –  Shimon bM May 2 '13 at 23:41

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