The phrase "Lo Ki" occurs in Tanach (Genesis 18, 15):

וַיֹּ֥אמֶר ׀ לֹ֖א כִּ֥י צָחָֽקְתְּ׃

and in Mishna:

רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, לֹא כִי, אֶלָּא חֲצִי בָצָל גָּדוֹל (Trumot 2, 5)
אָמַר לוֹ רַבָּן יוֹחָנָן בֶּן זַכַּאי, לֹא כִּי, אֶלָּא כָּל כֹּהֵן שֶׁאֵינוֹ שׁוֹקֵל חוֹטֵא (Shekalim 1, 4)
וְזֶה אוֹמֵר לֹא כִי, אֶלָּא בְסֶלַע לָקָה (Baba Kama 3, 11)

I noted that all Menakedim (patented grammarians) write "כי" in Mishnayot and not "כּי". But in the verse, there is a Daguesh.

Starting the study of "שער אותיות או"י" in Sefer Hamichlol, my astonishment is growing. It seems as if the aleph of Lo is mute and the Kaf need a Daguesh Chazak.

I don't know what the difference is between the verse and the Mishnayot. But I am sure that the menakedim know. I need an explanation.

  • A dagesh chazak? Dagesh kal, maybe.
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 5:57
  • וַתֹּאמֶר הָאִשָּׁה הָאַחֶרֶת לֹא כִי, בְּנִי הַחַי וּבְנֵךְ הַמֵּת, וְזֹאת אֹמֶרֶת לֹא כִי, בְּנֵךְ הַמֵּת וּבְנִי הֶחָי; וַתְּדַבֵּרְנָה, לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ. כג וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ--זֹאת אֹמֶרֶת, זֶה-בְּנִי הַחַי וּבְנֵךְ הַמֵּת; וְזֹאת אֹמֶרֶת לֹא כִי, בְּנֵךְ הַמֵּת וּבְנִי הֶחָי
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 5:59

2 Answers 2


The letters בגדכפת take a Dagesh Kal at the start of a word, unless they follow a word ending in אהוי. There are four major exceptions to this rule when the Dagesh Kal is there even after a word ending in אהוי, the first of which (called "Mafsik") is when the previous word had a pausal Trop note on it.

So in Gen 18:5 or Jos 5:14 where the phrase means "No, because XYZ" there is a pausal Trop on לא and the word is כִּי, but in Kings 1:3:22 or 2:20:10 where the phrase means "not so" there is no pause and the word is כִי. Your examples from the Mishna all happen to be of the second type.

  • I am very disappointed that you maintain "No, because XYZ, while Rashi says that this Ki is Ela. And you may not condescend to explain yourself. I think you are a great scholar and it is regrettable.
    – kouty
    Commented May 2, 2016 at 19:58

I will try to combine translation and cantilation analysis. The answer of @DoubleAA is of hight level. Without his help, I could not find the verse in Melachim and understand. But my conclusion, following Rashi in Vayera and the Targum on Melachim is different. For this reason, let me formulate my own response.

  1. The first verse in Vayera (Genesis 18, 15):

    וַתְּכַחֵ֨שׁ שָׂרָ֧ה | לֵאמֹ֛ר לֹ֥א צָחַ֖קְתִּי כִּ֣י | יָרֵ֑אָה וַיֹּ֥אמֶר | לֹ֖א כִּ֥י צָחָֽקְתְּ:‏
    Rashi translates "כי = אלא" INSTEAD in English. and the disjunctive trop Tifcha bellow the "לא", the conjunctive trop bellow the "כי" (mercha) are appropriate to Rashi's translation.Lo; ki tsachakt. No, instead you did laugh.
  2. A second verse in Vayera

    וַיֹּֽאמְר֣וּ לֹּ֔א כִּ֥י בָֽרְח֖וֹב נָלִֽין: ‏
    is similar.

    The verse in Melachim I 3, 22

    וַתֹּאמֶר֩ הָאִשָּׁ֨ה הָאַחֶ֜רֶת לֹ֣א כִ֗י בְּנִ֤י הַחַי֙ וּבְנֵ֣ךְ הַמֵּ֔ת וְזֹ֤את אֹמֶ֙רֶת֙ לֹ֣א כִ֔י בְּנֵ֥ךְ הַמֵּ֖ת וּבְנִ֣י הֶחָ֑י וַתְּדַבֵּ֖רְנָה לִפְנֵ֥י הַמֶּֽלֶךְ: ‏
    According to the Targum: Lo chen (= RIGHT)! --> You are not right! (It seems that this Chi do not corresponding to one of the 4 translations that Rashi repeated often in Tora's commentary)
    Beni hachai, --> my son is the live. The trop bellow the "לא" is conjunctive (munach) and up to the "כי" is disjunctive (revia). Lo chi; Beni hachai. --> This is not true, my son is the live.
  3. In Mishnayot

    לא כי אלא
    We have the word Ela after chi, so, Ki/ Chi do not be synomim of Ela. consequently the best translation is "right, true". You are not right, instead ... . Therefore the disjunctive trop is bellow the chi: Lo chi; ela.

The Lo chi is a current example of "בגד כפת" after "או'י". The last word is monosyllabic. The word stress is on the Chi. So as in a word bisyllabic Lochi "לאכי" milera, the cantilation of the lamed holam is not ralented, the "כ" is Rafe.
After time, I found in shorashim from RY ben G'anach Ki is Ken or Beemet. here

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