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There seems to be some discrepancy in how to write/pronounce the penultimate word of Tehillim (Psalms) 27:2.

According to Chabad.org, it is written:

ב. בִּקְרֹב עָלַי | מְרֵעִים לֶאֱכֹל אֶת בְּשָׂרִי צָרַי וְאֹיְבַי לִי הֵמָּה כָּשְׁלוּ וְנָפָלוּ:‏

Here, the word has a Kaf - with a Dagesh - which would be pronounced Kashəlu.

Yet, according to Mechon-Mamre.org, it is written:

ב בִּקְרֹב עָלַי, מְרֵעִים-- לֶאֱכֹל אֶת-בְּשָׂרִי: צָרַי וְאֹיְבַי לִי; הֵמָּה כָשְׁלוּ וְנָפָלוּ.‏

According to this, the word has a Chaf - no Dagesh - which would be pronounced Chashəlu (alt. Ḥashəlu or Khashəlu).

I've seen both used in printed Siddurim, and there seems to be no distinction drawn along Ashkenazi vs. Sepharadi tradition. The difference also does not seem to be based on different publishers using variant texts -- I've seen the same publisher use both forms consistently within one volume, but at odds with different editions of their Siddur (not different printings of the same book, but different editions of their Ashkenazi Siddur or their Sephardi Siddur). For example, the ArtScroll Siddur Kol Ya'akov writes it one way*, whereas the ArtScroll Siddur Yitzchak Yair writes it the other way*.

Is there some disagreement among codices or rabbinic sources that might explain this? Is one correct and the other a scribal error that's been missed and shared among several publishers?

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    I'd trust mechon mamre... – Double AA Oct 20 '15 at 16:08
  • *I cannot recall off-hand which edition writes it which way; if anyone else has a copy of either handy, kindly edit it in for me. – Seth J Oct 20 '15 at 16:09
  • I've seen a siddur that writes it differently in different places. – Ypnypn Oct 20 '15 at 16:09
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The Aleppo, Leningrad, and Damascus Codices all have it Rafeh. Even the original Bomberg Mikraot Gedolot has it Rafeh! Minchat Shai ad loc. comments that it should be Rafeh. I did find that the Codex Bodmer 21 does have it with a Dagesh but given the evidence this should clearly be disregarded. I note all the above sources (even Bodmer) have a Tarcha (a connective note) on Heimmah, which explains the lack of Dagesh.

The error shows up in (at least as early as) a printed Mikraot Gedolot (Lublin edition) roughly 100 years ago (here), though here there is a Revia Mugrash (a disjunctive note) on Heimmah, so the presence of the Dagesh is, in context of that error, understood. I speculate it spread from there to some recent Siddurim. It seems it should be corrected (for authenticity's sake, not that it changes the meaning much: in the mistaken version, the final three words are split after the first ("they -- stumbled and fell"), while in the authentic version the words are split* after the second ("they stumbled -- and fell"), as might be more natural given that stumbling is not a synonym of falling).

*In the authentic version the Revia Mugrash which should be on Khashelu converts to a Mercha as it's too close to the Siluk.

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