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I have heard that the reason that many siddurim print משיב הרוח ומוריד הגשם with a segol is because it is more common for גשם with an etnachta to be vocalised that way, rather than with a kamatz.

Is there any statistical analysis on the commonality of one vocalisation vs. the other in Tanach when accented with an etnachta? In other words, which form is more common?

  • I don't understand the comparison. There are no trope notes in the Siddur (other than brachot for Haftarah). Please explain your question. – DanF Feb 29 '16 at 2:20
  • @DanF, as a general rule, an etnachta is roughly equivalent to a semi-colon, being a pausal marker, while a sof-passuk is a period. Since in the siddur (while it's not often written this way) we should render mashiv haruach as מ”ה”ו הגשם; מכלכל וכ׳ rather than גשם. מכלכל – Noach MiFrankfurt Feb 29 '16 at 2:31
  • The word is a segolete, and should (academically) properly be pronounced as a kamatz IF it is at the end of a phrase. The reverse issue surrounds Kiddush Levanah, where we invert the possuk "Tipol aleihem..." to place "ka'aven" at the start, where it should properly be pronounced "Ka'Even" – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 29 '16 at 16:04
  • @IsaacKotlicky, I'm well aware of "Ka'aven," considering that some of the folks in my kehillah discuss it every month. FWIW, I sometimes pronounce the segol, rather than the kamatz. – Noach MiFrankfurt Feb 29 '16 at 16:17
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt, I think you're actually thinking of something that was said about 'morid ha-tal' - why editors who choose non-pausal 'geshem' nonetheless use pausal 'tal' with a kamatz. – paquda Feb 29 '16 at 19:47
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The word גשם occurs at an etnachta only in Prov 25:23, where it has a kamatz. It occurs at a sof pasuk four times (1 Kings 18:41, 18:44, Zech 14:17, Eccl 12:2), each time with a kamatz. All occurrences of גשם on lesser disjunctives are with a segol (Gen 7:12, etc.).

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