The Minchas Shay at the beginning of B'reshis cites a dispute whether the word 'רָקִיעַ' (and likewise for other words with a furtive patach) is pronounced as רָקִיאַע or as רָקִיַע, that is, with a glottal stop or without before the patach. Does anyone know of a modern source that indicates the appropriate custom, or any indication of the most common custom (among those who would pronounce רָקִיאַע differently from רָקִיַע)?


6 Answers 6


Mizraħim (at least Tunisians) pronounce it as Raki-ya. When the letter before the pataħ is a Waw, we pronounce wa (like ru-waħ). See the Tikkun Soferim Ish Matsliaħ for further information.

  • 1
    allced, Welcome to mi.yodeya, and thanks very much for bringing your Tunisian perspective to this question! Please consider clicking register, above, to create your account. This will give you access to all of mi.yodeya's features and will allow you to take full credit for your contributions.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Aug 6, 2010 at 13:46

The "סימנים" edition of תנ״ך, edited by שמואל מאיר ריאחי / Shmuel Meir Riachi (of Jerusalem) and published by Feldheim in 2006, includes in its prefatory list of features (in feature 5) the following explanation (in my own translation from the Hebrew):

The letters ח,‎ ע, and pronounced הּ, when they come at the end of a word with a פתח, are called "stolen פתח"…. In the Sephardic communities they are accustomed to add the letter י before it…, and in the Ashkenazic communities they are accustomed to add the letter א before it….

He cites no source.


Unfortunately, there aren’t many modern sources, as is generally the case regarding Hebrew grammar and pronunciation. However, there is sufficient evidence in the Masoretic sources to answer your question.

(The Masorites—more specifically, the Tiberian Masorites—were the pre-Medieval scholars who created the first Codices of תנ״ך, and invented the symbols for the niqqud, both in order to record the pronunciation of Hebrew. The niqqud are based on their pronunciation, and all of our Chumashim are based on their codices).

Below is an excerpt from a Genizah fragment of a treatise by an unnamed Masorite:

קבלה אמא אִ אוֹ אֵ ופתח בינהמא בְּיַא מתל וְשָׁמֵעַ שָׂמֵחַ פּוֹרֵחַ מַשְׁמִעַ ואדא כאן עליה אֹ פתח בינהמא בְּוַא מתל שָׁמוֹעַ נִחוֹחַ ואן אתפק אוּ מתל יְהוֹשֻׁעַ

[If one of the letters ח , ה or ע occurs at the end of a word, and under the letter before it] there is either אִ or אֵ (hiriq or tzereh), then they are split between them by יַא (”ya”), as in וְשָׁמֵעַ, שָׂמֵחַ, פֹּרֵחַ, מַשְׁמִיעַ. If אֹ (Cholam) is over it, they are split between them by וַא (“wa”), as in שָׁמוֹעַ, נִחוֹחַ; and if אוּ (Kubbutz/Shuruq) occurs, cases such as יְהוֹשֻׁעַ.

In other words, if a word ends in a guttural letter (ע, ח, ה, or *א) and it is preceded by Hiriq or Tzereh, a “ya” sound is inserted between the vowel and the final letter. If a word-ending guttural letter is preceded by Qholam or Kubburz/shuruq, a “wa” sound is inserted between them.

Therefore, your word is pronounced Ra-ki-ya`, with a “ya” between the hiriq and the ע.

*There is no word that ends in a pronounced א, so this rule never applies to א. The other three letters can be pronounced at the end of many words, so they were included in the Masoretic quote that I brought. (ה, like א, is often silent; but unlike ה ,א is sometimes pronounced at the end of a word, as in לָהּ or הַלְלוּקָהּ. Therefore, this rule can sometimes apply with ה, as in the word אֱ-לוֹהַ.)


The way I heard it in Yeshiva, it's ru-ach and ko-ach; thus, raki-a'; also, gavo-ah and elo-ah (not gavohah or elohah, though I think Lakewood's BMG spells it as such; the rebbe of mine who told us this was a product of BMG and admitted it was a problem.) I'm assuming the ayins are the same as ches's and heh's.

Has anyone heard otherwise?

  • 1
    Sorry, could you clarify which of the 2 possible pronunciations you mean by "ru-ach" and "raki-a'"? Do you mean that there's an aleph (glottal stop) before the patach, or that the patach is pronounced on the vav (w) / yod?
    – msh210
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 16:04

i cannot provide written sources, but i can provide Sephardim reading those pesuqim in question.

First one by Rabbi Yossef Benarroch ZT'L (don't know what flavor of Sepharad)


This website is called Pizmonim, and if you click on the link it will take you to a page of Torah readings. There is one for Bereishith and it had something like 4 recorded versions.


Take a listen.


In most dikduk sefarim it states that by throat letters (aleph hey ches and ayin) if they are the last letter of a word with a pasach under them they are read as if pasach alef precedes them. I'm sure you know this. This being the case, the correct way would be rakiaa with a pasach alef. Also one of the subrules of this klal is that the word becomes milel meaning the stress is on the beginning of the word. In rakia we say raKIah not rakiAH so I would take that as yet another proof. I will check the Minchas Shai again because I must have forgotten it. Also, who is to say that the ayin does not get pronounced even if there is an alef? Tishma has an ayin at the end with no nikud. Do you say it like it had no ayin or do you need to make the glottal stop anyway. I would assume yes. If so, it would be very hard to diffrentiate between rakia with an alef or without.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .