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The last seder of the Mishnah is טהרות, but I can find no agreement on the vowels for this word. Some variations I have seen:

  • טְהָרוֹת
  • טַהֲרוֹת
  • טָהֳרוֹת

There may be others. Which answer makes the most sense from the aspect of Hebrew grammar? What do the various pointings above imply? What is an authoritative source on this matter? If there is more than one correct answer, why would this be?

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Perhaps see Chagiggah 1:8 or Sanhedrin 4:2 –  Double AA Jul 23 '13 at 12:43

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

The word would appear to be a semi-colloquial pluralization of the word טהרה, appearing in the Torah as a nominal infinitive. Exclusively in the singular, its nikud is טָהֳרָה.

(By "semi-colloquial" I mean that a word like that is already somewhat abstract and shouldn't need to be pluralized to refer to the class of activities that pertains to purity and impurity, but adding a "ות" can have that effect, contrary to Biblical grammar (see e.g. "מלכויות, זכרונות, שופרות").)

Based on this, the vowelization would be טָהֳרוֹת.

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Just to add to the answer, The Academy of the Hebrew Language covers this here in section 2.1.6. In short the kamatz kattan stays when going from singular to plural. While they do acknowledge that there is an alternative vocalization using a patach (טַהֲרָה) which would be pluralized as טְהָרוֹת, it seems from their placing of this alternative in the footnote that the former is more accepted. –  Bachrach44 Aug 17 at 16:08

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