Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Shmot 31:4 says

לַחְשֹׁב, מַחֲשָׁבֹת; לַעֲשׂוֹת בַּזָּהָב וּבַכֶּסֶף, וּבַנְּחֹשֶׁת

Why does the word לחשוב have a shvah under the chet when normally a Peh-Gronit shoresh in the Pa'al binyan has a chataf-patach under the first shoresh letter in the שם הפועל?

I know that I have seen the same word spelled with a chataf-patach in Chumash before. Also, the following word has a chataf-patach where I would expect it to be.

share|improve this question
What's the difference between a Shva na and a chataf patach? – Double AA Feb 19 '14 at 20:38
@DoubleAA What do you mean? A chet cannot take a shva-na as far as I know. The shva under this chet is a shva nach, but a Peh-gronit is supposed to take a chataf patach in this situation. – Daniel Feb 19 '14 at 20:43
@DoubleAA Let me partially retract that statement. I am pretty sure that a chet cannot take a shva-na as the first letter of the shoresh (at least in a Pa'al verb) – Daniel Feb 20 '14 at 18:03
So too the other place the word לחשב appears in Tanach, kodesh.snunit.k12.il/i/t/t2816.htm#30 עֹצֶה עֵינָיו, לַחְשֹׁב תַּהְפֻּכוֹת; קֹרֵץ שְׂפָתָיו, כִּלָּה רָעָה – josh waxman May 26 '14 at 0:50

You are correct in that a I-guttural (a peh-gronit verb) usually takes a composite shewa (although be mindful of the fact that it's not always with patach), but the major exception to this is where it appears in a closed syllable, after the lamed of the infinite construct, in which it often (although not always) takes a regular shewa.

So, for example, חֲסוֹת but לַחְסוֹת (Isaiah 30:14), עֲזוֹר but לַעְזוֹר (II Samuel 18:3), חֲצוֹב but לַחְצוֹב (Jeremiah 2:13), etc. And, of course, the example you gave, which can also be seen in Exodus 35:32, Proverbs 16:30 and II Chronicles 2:13.

If you would like to see a discussion of this in grammatical literature, see Gesenius §63i or Joüon and Muraoka §68e.

share|improve this answer
And don't forget "לאסור אסר"! – WAF May 26 '14 at 3:19

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.