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I prayed using a Siddur Tehillat Hashem the other day, and I noticed that many more shvas were marked with an asterisk above, indicating that they should be vocalized, than I'd expect. In particular, there were many cases in which a shva following an unaccented "short vowel" and not under a letter with a dagesh got an asterisk.

One example, which I confirmed is not marked for vocalization in the Artscroll Siddur (for example), is the last word of the second verse of Psalms 104 (AKA "Barechi Nafshi"): כַּיְרִיעָֽה, which would be pronounced like "kayeriy'a" according to Tehillat Hashem and like "kayriy'a" according to Artscroll.

Where does this distinction come from?

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Once we are on the subject, it should be spelled shiva, or sh'va. Since it is at the beginning of the word it is sh'va na. –  Yahu May 26 '10 at 18:35
    
;-) Sorry for being such a nitpicker! –  Yahu May 26 '10 at 18:36
    
Actually I think Sheva would be more proper –  Hacham Gabriel Feb 18 '13 at 2:02
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up vote 13 down vote accepted

As I understand it, the markings of these shevas follow the rules given by R' Shlomo Zalman Hanau, an important 18th-century grammarian. In his system, every sheva following a tenuah kallah (a "light" vowel, i.e., one that substitutes for a sheva or a chataf vowel) is vocalized; examples include מַלְכֵי (since the independent form is מְלָכִים) and נֶעֶרְמוּ (since the singular is נֶעֱרַם). In your example, then, the patach under the כ is presumably a tenuah kallah, since this prefix usually takes a sheva.

By contrast, most other siddurim, such as Artscroll, follow the rules given by R' Eliyahu Bachur (16th century) as interpreted by the Vilna Gaon.

Whether these markings belong in the Siddur Tehillas Hashem is another issue altogether. They're there basically for historical reasons: the old Tehillas Hashem siddur (first published in 1945) was actually mostly a photo-offset of Siddur Seder Ha'avodah, first published in Vilna in 1911, which had them. The printers of the latter siddur seem to have freely tinkered with the wording of both the halachos and the prayers themselves (possibly under the influence of siddurim of other nuschaos); the sheva markings are their addition too. (The original siddur of the Baal HaTanya, and editions such as Torah Ohr that try to reflect it faithfully, don't have such markings.) When the Siddur Tehillas Hashem was re-typeset a few years ago (the edition that you linked to), arguments were made pro and con, but ultimately the editors decided to leave well enough alone.

(I can claim some familiarity with the whole issue, having been one of the proofreaders of that siddur.)

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I did happen to notice a familiar name when glancing at the front matter of the siddur, which gave me some additional confidence that I'd get a good answer if I posted here. :) Any idea why Tehillat Hashem (or its predecessors?) chose R' Hanau's system or why others chose the other system? –  Isaac Moses May 25 '10 at 4:13
    
I always was wondering about why Tehillas Hashem used R' Hanau's rules and Torah Ohr did not! Thank you Alex for at least giving a historical explanation for the difference! Is there any source for what actually was the shittah of the Alter Rebbe regarding this aspect of pronunciation or is Siddur Torah Ohr a source that he did not hold of R' Hanau? –  Yahu May 25 '10 at 5:32
    
@Isaac: no idea. The Vilna printers weren't chassidim themselves (if I recall correctly, Seder Ha'avodah was printed by the Widow and Brothers Romm, an old Litvak family). So I don't know whether this was their own chiddush, or whether it was urged on them. –  Alex May 25 '10 at 22:08
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If I understand the letter correctly, the basic point is that it is important to pronounce the words properly, but not at the expense of kavvanah. The מדקדקים אחרונים, he says, went too far in establishing arcane rules of grammar (i.e., the problem is not so much the novelty of these rules as their complexity), and it's too difficult to focus on observing those as well as maintaining kavvanah; the Alter Rebbe, by contrast, גבהו דרכיו מדרכיהם in that his wording and vocalization of the tefillos correctly balances these two considerations (ודקדוקי המלות עולות בקנה אחד עם הכוונה הרצויה). –  Alex May 28 '10 at 3:03
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