To continue the Nikkud saga (thanks Kazi and Double), many (Kabbalic something) books speak of the huge spiritual differences between similar vowels, like Kamatz is [Kabbalically from] Chochmah and Patach is [Kabbalically from] Binah.

Are there examples of "אל תקרא א אלא ב" that are based on the differentiation between vowels we pronounce identically (in contemporary Israeli form), like Segol and Tzere or Patach and Kamatz?

  • Usually, changing just a Kamatz/Patach or especially Tzere/Segol in a word will just change it to construct or pausal form which rarely makes for a good Drasha. It rarely even changes the meaning at all to be a correctable Leining mistake.
    – Double AA
    May 21, 2019 at 12:24
  • As I wrote in a comment the tricky question would be in my view to see whether they had a pair, where the difference is between patach and segol, as in Babylonia they had only one sign for the two. May 21, 2019 at 12:47
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    Wait, isn't binah written with kamatz as well? May 21, 2019 at 12:50
  • @DoubleAA I've heard several baalei keri'ah mix up the last word of sefaria.org/Leviticus.20.25, and they didn't even get it when I explained it to them.
    – Heshy
    May 21, 2019 at 13:05
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    There is אל תקרי ממנו אלא ממנו (Sota 35a). I'm not sure if this counts because there is no difference in vowels at all in the form we have
    – b a
    May 21, 2019 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


If you're willing to accept a drasha that doesn't explicitly use the words אל תקרי, then Shekalim 6:6 should qualify:

זֶה מִדְרָשׁ דָּרַשׁ יְהוֹיָדָע כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל, (ויקרא ה) אָשָׁם הוּא אָשֹׁם אָשַׁם לַיְיָ. (זֶה הַכְּלָל), כֹּל שֶׁהוּא בָּא מִשּׁוּם חֵטְא וּמִשּׁוּם אַשְׁמָה, יִלָּקַח בּוֹ עוֹלוֹת, הַבָּשָׂר לַשֵּׁם, וְהָעוֹרוֹת לַכֹּהֲנִים. נִמְצְאוּ שְׁנֵי כְּתוּבִים קַיָּמִים, אָשָׁם לַה', וְאָשָׁם לַכֹּהֲנִים, וְאוֹמֵר, (מלכים ב יב), כֶּסֶף אָשָׁם וְכֶסֶף חַטָאוֹת לֹא יוּבָא בֵּית ה' לַכֹּהֲנִים יִהְיוּ:

Yehoyada Kohen Gadol derived this midrash: "It's an asham, he has become guilty to Hashem". Anything that comes for sin, you should buy olos with [the extra money]: the meat goes to Hashem and the skin goes to the kohanim. Both pesukim are fulfilled: the asham to Hashem and the asham to the kohanim. And similarly it says "The money from an asham and the money from chataos doesn't get brought into the House of Hashem. It goes to the kohanim".

Bartenura explains that the first half of the pasuk implies that it's still an asham (בהויתו יהא) and therefore goes to the kohanim, while the second half implies that it goes to Hashem. The mishnah is interpreting אָשַם as אָשָם.

  • I'm not getting it. What Asham does it explain? Rashi says "אשם הוא אשם אשם. הָרִאשׁוֹן כֻּלּוֹ קָמוּץ, שֶׁהוּא שֵׁם דָּבָר, וְהָאַחֲרוֹן חֶצְיוֹ קָמָץ וְחֶצְיוֹ פַּתָּח שֶׁהוּא לְשׁוֹן פָּעַל;" Asham is written 3 times in the same posuk, so where does it substitute one for another?
    – Al Berko
    May 21, 2019 at 14:12
  • The mishnah is using the third one to refer to the korban, i.e. as if it were written with double kamatz like the first. This is the source of אשם לה'. (No revowelization is necessary for אשם לכהנים, which comes from the first one אשם הוא בהויתו יהא, which is already written with double kamatz.)
    – Heshy
    May 21, 2019 at 14:17
  • You certainly earned +1 for your effort, thank you, but it seems that there's no Drashah on vowels, Asham is just mentioned a couple of times and Rabbis learn that a couple of Ashams must be brought like לא תבשל is written 3 times etc. And the interpretation is of Bartanure's, not the Mishna's.
    – Al Berko
    May 21, 2019 at 14:21
  • @AlBerko Asham, as in the korban, is only written once in that pasuk. The second and third are verbs, as Rashi says. You have to adjust the vowels to get another korban in there.
    – Heshy
    May 21, 2019 at 14:42

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