I assume most have heard about the 5 famous rules of Elia Levita regarding the vocal sheva. His rules tend to work well in practice, even the third, much debated rule about the concept of long vowels (taken from R' Yoseif Kimchi) – except for a few cases.

This week we read (Bereishit 46:28–29):

וְאֶת־יְהוּדָ֞ה שָׁלַ֤ח לְפָנָיו֙ אֶל־יוֹסֵ֔ף לְהוֹרֹ֥ת לְפָנָ֖יו גֹּ֑שְׁנָה וַיָּבֹ֖אוּ אַ֥רְצָה גֹּֽשֶׁן׃ וַיֶּאְסֹ֤ר יוֹסֵף֙ מֶרְכַּבְתּ֔וֹ וַיַּ֛עַל לִקְרַֽאת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֥ל אָבִ֖יו גֹּ֑שְׁנָה וַיֵּרָ֣א אֵלָ֗יו וַיִּפֹּל֙ עַל־צַוָּארָ֔יו וַיֵּ֥בְךְּ עַל־צַוָּארָ֖יו עֽוֹד׃

I checked multiple editions, and all say that גֹשְׁנָה should be pronounced as Goshnah. I found in Mikeitz similar words, where the sheva is after the accented syllable, yet no vocal sheva is marked (Bereishit 41:3 and 41:11vataamodnah and chalamnu):

וְהִנֵּ֞ה שֶׁ֧בַע פָּר֣וֹת אֲחֵר֗וֹת עֹל֤וֹת אַֽחֲרֵיהֶן֙ מִן־הַיְאֹ֔ר רָע֥וֹת מַרְאֶ֖ה וְדַקּ֣וֹת בָּשָׂ֑ר וַֽתַּעֲמֹ֛דְנָה אֵ֥צֶל הַפָּר֖וֹת עַל־שְׂפַ֥ת הַיְאֹֽר׃

וַנַּֽחַלְמָ֥ה חֲל֛וֹם בְּלַ֥יְלָה אֶחָ֖ד אֲנִ֣י וָה֑וּא אִ֛ישׁ כְּפִתְר֥וֹן חֲלֹמ֖וֹ חָלָֽמְנוּ׃

I started to think about that these examples are not after a secondary stress (meteg), but then I looked up Levita's example (Bereishit 11:2):

וַיְהִ֖י בְּנָסְעָ֣ם מִקֶּ֑דֶם וַֽיִּמְצְא֥וּ בִקְעָ֛ה בְּאֶ֥רֶץ שִׁנְעָ֖ר וַיֵּ֥שְׁבוּ שָֽׁם׃

Here there is still a vocal sheva (i.e. vayeishevu) despite the shift of the accent due to the following accented syllable.

What is the logic behind these exceptions to the third rule? What sources discuss these cases? Preferably, I would like to understand them without the use of the meteg, as they are prone to be added as mistaken corrections (e.g. הַלְוִיִּם and הַמְעַט).

  • Every Shiva after a tinua gedola that is accented (has the taam on it) is not vocalized. I have seen this rule in print, but I can't find it at the moment.
    – Mordechai
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 22:11
  • 1
    @Mordechai I thought about it, but why isn't it muted in case of a nasog achor? Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 6:16


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