The Emet books (Iyov, Mishlei, Tehillim) have a cantillation system that is not used elsewhere in Tanach. In addition to the use of cantillation marks not found elsewhere (iluy, ole, dehi, geresh muqdam), the marks that are also used elsewhere appear to have different grammatical function when used in the Emet books. For instance, Psalm 1:1 ends with the phrase:

וּבְמוֹשַׁ֥ב לַ֝צִ֗ים לֹ֣א יָשָֽׁב׃

Normally, the revia' on לַ֝צִ֗ים would be a strong disjunctive, but that makes little sense grammatically in this context. I'm assuming that somehow the geresh muqdam here alters the function of the revia' to be either a weaker disjunctive or a conjunctive.

Can anyone point me to a reference that describes the grammatical rules of the te'amim in the Emet books? On-line information would be most appreciated.


I would recommend William Wickes' treatise on the Taamei Emet. You are describing a revia mugrash, as distinct from a revia gadol or revia katon.

It is indeed a disjunctive accent:

enter image description here

To really understand its function, you should familiarize yourself with Wickes' description of the continuous dichotomy. But the pasuk is first divided at the etnachta (or alternatively in taamei EMe"T, sometimes at the oleh veyored). In your pasuk

אַ֥שְֽׁרֵי הָאִ֗ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֤ר ׀ לֹ֥א הָלַךְ֮ בַּֽעֲצַ֪ת רְשָׁ֫עִ֥ים וּבְדֶ֣רֶךְ חַ֭טָּאִים לֹ֥א עָמָ֑ד וּבְמוֹשַׁ֥ב לֵ֝צִ֗ים לֹ֣א יָשָֽׁב׃

, you need to determine whether this is then at the etnachta of עָמָ֑ד or the oleh veyored of רְשָׁ֫עִ֥ים.

Regardless, there are different trup symbols subdividing a clause ending in etnachta/oleh veyored as opposed to a silluq (what you would call a sof-pasuk). Specifically, the Revia Mugrash is what is used to subdivide a clause ending in silluq, in this case יָשָֽׁב. To cite Wickes, who indeed uses this very example of the first pasuk in Tehillim:

enter image description here

The image above explains the placement of the etnachta, in the clause between oleah veyored and silluq. Reading a bit further, we see that where the etnachta has already been placed, musically, it cannot be placed again, so the revia mugrash appears in silluq's clause:

enter image description here

So in other words, it is indeed a disjunctive, but it not any weaker of a disjunctive that the great revia. Rather, it is the form of revia that appears in the latter half of a pasuk, when subdividing a clause ending in silluq.

The logical and syntactic causes of such subdivisions can be discovered by reading Wickes' treatise.

  • 1
    Emphatic +1.... – Seth J Jul 25 '12 at 1:25
  • I have this book, and I can vouch for its excellence. – jake Jul 25 '12 at 2:07
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    Beautiful. Thanks for the link to Google Books. A Google search led me to discover that the book is also available as a pdf (among other formats) from archive.org – Ted Hopp Jul 25 '12 at 2:45
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    i think Google books also allows downloads of all fully-readable ebooks as pdfs. You just have to navigate appropriately... – josh waxman Jul 25 '12 at 2:55

The book Shaarei Ne'imah discusses these things. He says the "azla (geresh) revi'i" is a sort of preliminary pause.

  • Ooh. That's nice. A little difficult for me to read, but nice. – Ted Hopp Jul 25 '12 at 0:14

See Israel Yeivin's Introduction to the Tiberian Masorah (trans. and ed. E.J. Revell; Scholars Press: 1980), available here. He discusses the accents in Sifrei Emet from pp264-274.

Concerning the revia mugrash (which is how he identifies the accent on the word לצים), he has the following to say (§366, p269-270):

Revia mugrash occurs only in the second half of the verse, after atnah, as the last disjunctive before silluq. In the masoretic literature it is called tifha, and it has, in fact, a function similar to that of the tifha in the Twenty-One Books [which he discusses in §231, p190]. It is marked by the revia dot over the stress syllable, with a geresh-like stroke (after which it is named) marked above the beginning of the word (prepositive), as וחטאים (Ps 1:5). If the two words are joined by maqqef, the stroke is marked on the second, as על-ציון (Ps 2:6). If the word is stressed on the first syllable, the dot and the stroke are usually marked above the same letter, as תמו (Ps 73:19), although in some MSS, such as A, only the stroke is used in this situation.

The reference to MS A, of course, is to the Aleppo Codex.

  • This is exactly the kind of stuff I was looking for. Thanks! – Ted Hopp Jul 25 '12 at 2:47
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    "as the last disjunctive before silluq" this is not strictly true. Sometimes there is a mahpakh legarmeih after the revia mugrash before the silluk. (ex. Tehillim 148:4) – Double AA Jul 11 '16 at 1:26

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