In Daniel 4:9 and 4:18, there is a sequence of te'amim that seems to me to be unusual:

ומז֨ון ‏לכלא֭־‏ב֑הּ

The first word is pointed with a qadma/azla, which (apart from here) is never a servus of a tipha (nor of an etnahta, if you think the following ta'am is not disjunctive).

William Wickes thinks that this pointing is incorrect (see here, and footnote 12 ad. loc.), although Rabbi Mordechai Breuer kept it in his "corrected text".

According to those who hold that the pointing with a qadma/azla is correct, what is the reason for this exception to the general rule? Do any Biblical commentators mention this1?

1 I have already checked my Miqra'ot Gedolot to no avail.

  • 1
    It's not a Tipcha. It's a Ma'alya. This would be the only place where we have a note serving a Ma'alya, so it's not impossible that Kadma is just the rule there. Like how Darga only serves Tipcha as the second Mesharet back.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 20:28
  • @DoubleAA How about Jer 2:31?
    – magicker72
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 20:37
  • 1
    Personally, I like the suggestion espoused by Yochanan Breuer in this 1992 article, that that one is really representing a Tipcha for Ma'pel-Yah as two words, and the Ktiv doesn't agree with the Taam (really well done article). The Jer example is even more odd as there is no Melekh between the Tevir and the Etnachta. In the end the fact is we have so few examples to work with here it's nearly impossible to say something 100% definitively.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 20:47
  • Even if you want to argue for all of them being Tipcha you still have things to explain, like why Kafdha-Va is Rafeh, for instance (and why there is a makaf at all).
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 20:53
  • @DoubleAA I agree. I'm not sure it will garner more answers this way, but I've updated the question to ask additionally for commentary on this phenomenon.
    – magicker72
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 21:13

1 Answer 1


As far as I can tell, the answer is as DoubleAA suggested in the comments: we don't really know why this is, and don't have enough data to find out. Mordechai Breuer, in his טעמי המקרא, discusses these verses (page 106). He points out three verses with a ma'ayla (מאיילא, which is what the servus is on the same word as the etnaḥta) preceded by another servus: these two, and Jer 2:31, which has אִ֛ם אֶ֥רֶץ מַאְפֵּ֖לְיָ֑ה (t'vir mercha ma'ayla etnachta).

He writes that the ma'ayla probably had a similar sound to a tip'ḥa, since none of the four verses that could contain the expected tip'ḥa before the etnaḥta are missing it (these three and Num 28:26), and the final melech is instead a zaqef qaton. He thus explains Jer 2:31: namely, t'vir mercha is a usual sequence leading into tip'ḥa, so the sequence makes musical sense. However, for the two Daniel verses, he writes that it is beyond us to give an explanation ("אין בידינו להסביר את ההטעמה הזאת").

Another explanation is proposed by Yochanan Breuer in his article מחלוקת ניקוד וטעמים בחלוקת פסוקים (again, thanks to DoubleAA for the link). In short (see page 38ff), he proposes that the accentuators have treated מאפליה as two words (מאפל יה), and although the written text has one word, the te'amim represent the intended te'amim for the two-word version, which is tip'ḥa etnaḥta. He then suggests that later ba'alei masorah reinterpreted this as a ma'ayla (and listed it in the Masorah Gedolah — see עין המסורה on בשבעתיכם). Breuer lists several similar words (שלהבתיה, כסיה/כס יה, ידידיה, הללו־יה, במרחב יה), and notes that in all cases, the te'amim treat them as two words (even though there is some disagreement regarding writing and niqqud); the same can be said for מאפליה. This gives an explanation for Jer 2:31 (whether it's a ma'ayla or a tip'ḥa is irrelevant to us). Thus, with only the Daniel verses containing an unexplained servus preceding a ma'ayla, we might conclude that the qadma in the Daniel verses preceding the is the usual servus preceding ma'ayla. However, with so few examples, any conclusion is only tentative.

Regarding the question of Rabbinic commentary on these verses: I have not seen anything mention the qadma preceding the ma'ayla.

  • How do the teamim treat הללו-יה as two words? I don't think there's a taam on the lamed. Or is he just talking about the makaf?
    – Heshy
    Commented Mar 13, 2022 at 19:05
  • @Heshy Yes, that's right.
    – magicker72
    Commented Mar 13, 2022 at 20:02

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