Minchat Shai at the beginning of Shemot 20 describes a version of the text of the Decalogue where the tzadi in the word תרצח has both a kamatz and a patach under it. He explains that the kamatz belongs to what we call ta’am elyon, and the patach to ta’am tachton.

It seems that this version does not exist in some of the oldest manuscripts. See e.g. Mechon Mamre’s version of ta’am tachton for Shemot 20, where the tzadi has a kamatz. Or here from the Leningrad Codex, where no patach appears.

So, where is the first attestation of the version described by Minchat Shai, with a patach under the tzadi?

1 Answer 1


Not a complete answer, but tot trace it back at least a little bit:

According to R' Breuer in the intro section of the Daat Mikra chumash: תרצָח (17): לששׂ. תרצַח (18): ד, מ"ש (17) בנוסח לשש וד הובאו כאן רק הסימנים הנוגעים לטעם התחתון.  (18) בד' יש עוד שגיעות נוספות: מרכא במקום טפחא, וניקוד הטעם העליון (תרצָח) קודם לניקוד הטעם התחתון (תרצַח).

The three manuscripts he used have the kamatz only for both taam elyon and tachton. The first printed Mikraos Gedolos agrees with the Minchas Shai.

In footnote 18 he notes that the printed version has other mistakes on this word. That might justify taking it with more of a grain of salt. However, in Vaeschanan the printed version also has a patach without the other mistakes, and this time it's the Leningrad codex that has an unrelated mistake on this word:

תרצָח (7): ל(8)ש?שׂ. תרצַח (7): ד, מ"ש (7) בנוסח לששׂ הובאו כאן רק סימני הטעם התחתון.  (8) בל' יש בתיבה זו רק הסילוק של הטעם  העליון.

Bottom line though, the three manuscripts agree in both places and R' Breuer paskens like them.

  • 1
    So this was a mistake introduced by Bomberg? Or it may have come from a different manuscript tradition?
    – Joel K
    Feb 10, 2023 at 12:24

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