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I learned that a rule of Dageshim is that gutteral letters (אהחע''ר) reject dageshim.

My question is why do we find 17 reishs (1 Samuel 1:6, 1 Samuel 10:24, 1 Samuel 17:25, 2 Kings 6:32, Jeremiah 39:12, Ezekiel 16:4 [×2], Habakkuk 3:13, Psalms 52:5, Proverbs 3:8, Proverbs 11:21, Proverbs 14:10, Proverbs 15:1, Job 39:9, Song of Songs 5:2, Ezra 9:6, 2 Chronicles 26:10) that have dageshim?

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    One idea on the doubled reish can be found here (in Hebrew).
    – magicker72
    May 29, 2015 at 12:06
  • @magicker72 I have seen this before. However, that does not explain why in just these 19 occasions the reish takes a dagesh. May 29, 2015 at 13:17
  • 2
  • Though not the main point of the research, this paper could help undermine your stated premise, and perhaps even help explain why echoes of double ר pronunciation might pop up in the particular places you listed.
    – WAF
    Jan 7, 2018 at 19:10

2 Answers 2

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Reish is originally on of the בג"ד כפ"ת words (see Sefer Hayetzira). A dagesh kal is a phonetic anomaly in where it is more comfortable to pronounce the letter as raphe (not hard), as apposed to mudgash kal (lightly stengthened).

Our modern day "dh", "th", "gh", "ph" etc. stem from this as proven in R' Eliyahu Bachur's book that is translated to latin where the equvalints of the scripted beged kefet is combinations of usuaul letters with an h (with the exception of b, as the pronounciation of Bet rafe or dagush seems to be indistinguishable in latin).

This is caused by an unclosed vowel in a word moving on to the beged kefet letter. But when starting a vowel with a beged kefet letter it will be mudgash. The same priciple can be demonstrated with 'L', where in the beginning of the vowel it will sound hard, and in the middle of a vowel it will be softened.

The abovementioned priciples apply to Riesh (but was forgotten by most throughout the generations) where at the beginning of vowel it will be rolled twice, in the middle-once. This is backed by the hebrew encyclopedia, and by a Yeminite who knows dikduk backwards.

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  • Whether or not this is true, it doesn't answer the question, which asked about the 17 places in the Tiberian tradition marked with a dagesh, which do not follow this rule at all. In fact they all look exactly like dgeshim chazakim
    – Double AA
    Apr 21, 2021 at 12:29
  • The reason these specific Reish's are Mudgash is beacause that's where the mesorah places them. Usually (though it is by no means a rule) when there's an out of place dagesh it comes to emphasise the emotion of the speaker who is emphasising his physical speach (so I was told by a teacher of mine). Apr 22, 2021 at 23:20
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There is a video channel on YouTube called Machon Shilo. In their playlist, there are 15 videos about Hebrew pronunciation. There in “The proper pronunciation of the Hebrew Alphabet: Beginning with consonants (Qôph through Taw) Rabbi David Bar-Hayim explains that Resh is also part of the BGD KPRT letters which have a double pronunciation; when there is a dagesh kal.

Thus, as there is a couple Beth & Veth, so exists a far lesser known couple: Resh & Rresh. The only difference is that Rresh = Resh plus a dagesh Kal; is far less frequent. It is a rarity. Apparently, is a more stressed Resh. The dagesk kal could be necessary to make sure that Resh would be pronounced and not be masked by the neighboring letter. Dagesh Kal makes the letter plosive. Absence of it make it a fricative.

For more information and audio examples, check the above-mentioned video.

For an academic immersion see also “The Tiberian Pronunciation Tradition of Biblical Hebrew, Volume 1” by Geoffrey Khan published by University of Cambridge at page 223 — at Resh see link: https://archive.org/details/151cad12-4981-4bbe-923f-f65c9c2c6eb0/page/223/mode/1up

My personal take on it: Do not confuse dagesh Kal with dagesh Hazak or Mapik Hei. There will be cases of a He with dagesh… but that has a different function. It is a Mapik Hei.

Dagesh Hazak is not generally admitted by the (אהחע''ר). That is my understanding and what I remember. The problem is that I know of a contradiction: Alef with a dagesh; as in Bereshith 43:27 and Waikra 23:17.


Answer from EmLaMikra -Rav Nisan Sharoni: In the book Em laMikra haShalem written by Nisan Sharoni In Chapter 14 of the Ashdod edition are presented the laws of Dagesh Kal and Hazak and their differences. ספר אם למקרא השׁלם על ידי ניסן שׁרוני ׀ אשׁדוֹד ׀ תשׁס״א ׀ עמוד 62)

In the 7 article of the chapter, the Rav says that the letters ״אהחער״ generally do not take a dagesh. ₪ בּאוֹתיוֹת ״אהחער״ ־לֹא יָבֹא דָגֵשׁ, בְּדֶרֶךְ כְּלָל. ₪ מכלול נז

In the footnote 6 — Not to write it in Hebrew — ; it says: Except in a few cases where there is an exception to the rule… dagesh can be seen in Alef and Reish. See Mesorah haGedolah 43:26 and מכלול נז Minchas Shai 43:26.

Thus, as a sum of the above: a) Rresh with dagesh can be a different phoneme from regular Resh when the dagesh inside it is — a dagesh kal (a round dot in Simanim editions). Thus, Resh has two possible pronunciations. I. Resh without the (round) dot = IPA [r] = It is commonly called the rolled R, rolling R, or trilled R. Because the real fricative "r" is a Ghimel without the dot = Rimmel of the Yemenite = as in the French "bonsoir" IPA(key): /bɔ̃.swaʁ/ II. RResh with a (round) dot = IPA [r] and even more of a plosive; in this case a louder and longer and more abrupt trill.

b) There are exceptions to the ״אהחער״ rule: when we could meet in a handful of cases Resh and Aleph with a dagesh hazzak (dagesh hazzak = a square dot in the center of the letter in simanim editions). Which means; that Resh with a dagesh hazzak has an emphatic pronunciation. Resh plus 1/2 of another Resh. Which in fact amounts to an elongation of the letter; whether or not the letter is a fricative (tongue is in a mid lower position) or a plosive (the tongue is up in front behind the teeth and is more of a trill = kind of plosive).

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan has a few pages on the topic in his translation and clarification of Sefer Yetzirah Chapter 4:1 page 159 and 250. see it here: https://archive.org/details/seferyetzirah00arye/page/159/mode/1up?view=theater

As of Feldheim Tanach with the Simanim; all 17 identified sources have a Dagesh Hazak. Thus underlining their refusal to see RResh as a different phoneme, or their understanding that in practice there would not be a difference between Resh with dagesh kal or with Dagesh hazak.

Dagesh Hazak also for the two cases of Alef as we would have expected, even though the dot is actually in between the sizes of dagesh kal and dagesh hazak; because of the lack of space.


Excerpt from: HIDĀYAT AL-QĀRIʾ (SHORT VERSION) Geoffrey Khan (author)

Chapter of: The Tiberian Pronunciation Tradition of Biblical Hebrew, Volume 2(pp. 194–253)

II.S.1.2. Take note that the place of articulation oḟ א̇ה̇ח̇ע is the root of the tongue and the place of swallowing, that is the throat and the base of the tongue. For this reason they are the lightest of the letters and never take dagesh. It may be thought that he and ʾalef take dagesh, but this is not the case. This is because the dot in the he at the end of a word indicates the (consonantal) property of the he. Surely you see that the property of the he at the beginning and in the middle of a word appears without a dot. As for (the dot in) ʾalef in the four places (where it is found), namely ל֛וֹ וַיָּבִ֥יוּאּ ‘and they brought him’ (Gen. 43.26), תָּבִ֣יוּאּ ‘you shall bring’ (Lev. 23.17), לָ֜נוּ וַיָּבִ֙יוּאּ ‘and they brought to us’ (Ezra 8.18), רֻאּֽוּ לֹ֣א ‘were not seen’ (Job 33.21), this reflects a strong effort to pronounce the letter by the reader and is not dagesh.


But see the Rav GPT also 👇.


Another answer from Rav GPT after corrections underlined by “Heshy”: Traditionally, Resh does not typically take a dagesh in Hebrew grammar. However, there are exceptions in masoretic note traditions that indicate a rare occurrence of a dagesh in Resh.

Such instances are exceedingly rare and the product of particular scribal traditions rather than standard Hebrew grammar.

Another occurrence sometimes noted by commentators where the dagesh is used to indicate an emphatic pronunciation due to the phonetic context, which can be influenced by the guttural letter (Ayin) that follows.

It's important to note that the presence of a dagesh in Resh is generally not considered part of standard Hebrew orthography and can be the result of scribal practices that may differ from one textual tradition to another. In modern printed editions of the Tanach, you would likely not find a dagesh in a Resh, as the original reasons for such markings are not part of contemporary Hebrew grammar. Or are hard to realize because of technical and financial reasons.


More on strange letters: https://www.academia.edu/43455678/TEACHING_OTIOT_MESHUNOT_FROM_SCRIBAL_BIBLICAL_HEBREW_TEXTS

P.S. There is no Resh with dot = Rresh in Job 39:9; or 2 Chronicles 26:10 in the Koren or Artscroll Tanach but they do appear in the Feldheim Tanach with simanim as dagesh Hazak. https://www.feldheim.com/tanach-simanim-hebrew-only

Wonder which is the complete list for Rresh. Are there more than 15, some mentioned 17 other 19.

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  • The two words GPT mentions don't exist in those pesukim
    – Heshy
    Jan 1 at 21:58
  • Great, thanks for the correction! Jan 2 at 9:24
  • You have multiple real sources. Why add material imagined by ChatGPT?
    – Isaac Moses
    Jan 3 at 22:48

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