In my Yeshiva, we have Sephardic tikkunim called, ״איש מצליח,״ basically the Sephardic equivalent of סימנים. I own an Ashkenazi tikkun (not סימנים). In my tikkun, sometimes a hataf-patah will appear under letters other than אהח״ע, usually in a word from the root ברך, or in the case of double letters such as ויכננך and יסבבנהו. In Artscroll Ashkenazi siddurim, they always appear with a sh'va. In the Sephardic tikkun, they appear with a sh'va and at the bottom there's a footnote saying, for example, ״ויכננך [with a hataf-patah] למנהגנו, וכ״ה בקורן" ... according to our [the Sephardic] custom, and it's also like that in the Koren [Tanakh]. Sometimes it will leave out that last part because Koren has it with a sh'va and not a hataf-patah.

So my question is: When should I, an Ashkenazi, pronounce it with a hataf-patah, and when should I pronounce it with a sh'va na‘, keeping in mind that I don't bring my Askenazi tikkun to Yeshiva, that it's not the most accurate tikkun, and that my brother's Ashenazi tikkun and the Siddurim always say sh'va na‘?

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    A shva na and chataf patach under non-gutturals are essentially the same thing. They didn't have a good way to mark a shva as na back in the day.
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 19:55
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    Many times, the use of hataf patah instead of a sheva na‘ is due to the fact that they were identical according to the Tiberians. Even in high-quality ancient manuscripts, they are sometimes interchanged.
    – Argon
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 23:59
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    Proof that they were the same? Everything I've ever seen and heard suggests that it's a quick version of a patah. I thought the Sepharadim didn't originally use the Tiberian diacritics. Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 0:22
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    Diqduqe Hatteamim says "כי שוא תעמוד במקום פתחה" (section 36). It is also described by Hayyuj (Kitab al-Lin 6, 7), Ibn Ezra (Sahot 2a), Joseph Qimhi (Zikkaron 19), David Qimhi (Mikhlol 139a). Sepharadim -- like Ashkenazim -- use Tiberian niqqud as standard. While it is true that Sepharadim usually say shewa na` as a short e sound, there was certainly general orthographical confusion regarding the use of shewa over hatef patah stemming from Tiberias. If you examine early Ashkenazi mss, (see Eldar's book on this), you will find nonstandard placement of shewa over hatef patah.
    – Argon
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 5:55
  • @Argon I know that, but that's simply because a sheva na‘ would get lost under gutteral consonants. A hataf-patah is like a quick patah, while a sheva na‘ is like the "a" in "about." The fact that this is so widespread and has actual rules to it (the rules used in the איש מצליח are 1. Forms of אכילה and ברכה get a hataf-patah (usually) and 2. A double consonant where the first would have a sheva is pronounced with a hataf-patah.) makes it seem more legitimate. איש מצליח, קורן, and מקראות גדולות do this (although with different rules.) I'm not sure about סימנים. Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 17:36

2 Answers 2


Quite simply, if there is a chataf-vowel under a non-gutteral letter (i.e. not אהחע) then you can just pronounce it as a shwa na'. This is because chataf-vowels were originally added in order not to lose the sound of the pronounced shwa' on a gutteral, something that can be hard to pronounce.

The truth is that most Sephardim pronounce it with the additional chataf-vowel but the איש מצליח Tikkun is different. (In the grammatical introduction it says that they are generally added in relation to food or in some other contexts but I don't quite understand that myself...)

Simanim have also made a Tikkun Kora'im for Sephardim which just shows shwa na' unless for a gutteral.

With practice you can get used to which words need it (א/ה/ח/ע) and which don't (any other letter). If in doubt, you can check any "chataf"s in another sefer (e.g. a reliable chumash) and don't pronounce it unless both sefarim print it that way.

Either way, it is not serious to pronounce it with or without the help of the half- vowel like chataf-patach, just as long as you are consistent.


In old Ashkenazi sidurim, ּבָּרֲכו is written with a chataf patach under the resh and in German Kehillos, they would pronounce the chataf. Baer in Seder Avodas Yisroel states that by tradition, the root ברך always has a chataf. Same in Rödelheim Chumash, all ברך have Chataf. Modern Chumashim and Sidurim switched to the regular sheva, perhaps following other traditions.

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