In Modim in the Shmoneh Esre we say המרחם כי לא תמו חסדך the question is whether the מ in המרחם should have a daggesh or not, and thus what sort of Shva should be under said מ?


It should not have a dagesh. Throughout Tanach, most every mem with a sh'va as the first letter of present-tense verb in piel or pual has no dagesh after a he hay'dia according to the m'sora (and the same is usually true of any mem with a sh'va), and I have no reason to believe that that changed in later Hebrew (certainly not by the time "Modim" was written).

That said, I'm not sure what kind of sh'va the mem has. At least possibly, the sh'va is na anyway.

  • Quite possibly I can omit "most" from my answer, but I'm not sure.
    – msh210
    Apr 3 '13 at 8:08
  • My confusion stems from two siddurim, Kol Eliyahu by Rav Mordechai Eliyahu and Chazon Ovadia by Rav Ovadia Yosef who both put a dagesh in the mem. Apr 3 '13 at 10:33
  • @RabbiMichaelTzadok, if you had reasons to think both that the answer to your question is "yes" and that it's "no", you should have included those reasons in your question. I'd not have wasted my time with this answer then, since you already knew everything in it, and you'd get answers more on-point for your question.
    – msh210
    Apr 3 '13 at 14:40
  • actually I didn't know much of the information in your answer and it makes me wonder if the two siddurim I mentioned are mistaken, especially as the siddur of the Chida, Rav Kaduri's siddur(both with and without Kavvanot) and the Ben Ish Hai's siddur have it the way you do. Thus my question stands, which is grammatically correct and which is not. Apr 3 '13 at 14:54
  • @RabbiMichaelTzadok, okay. Glad I could help (albeit slightly).
    – msh210
    Apr 3 '13 at 15:06

For many words in Tanakh that begin with he hayedia followed by mem-shewa, even though the mem lacks daghesh, the Masora prescribes shewa naʿ (mobile shewa), indicated by gaʿya on the preceding pathah. We should not at all assume that the words of the siddur were pronounced as they were in the Tanakh. The language (and pronunciation) of Hazal often differed. The preponderence of evidence suggests that unless one is carefully and holistically following an established authentic reading tradition in which the shewa is nah, the shewa should be considered naʿ.

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