Before the Psalm for the day at the end of Shacharis each day, we say a sentence, "Today is the Xth day of the week..." In that sentence is a word for Levites, and that word in Hebrew has a sheva under the lamed. Why is that sheva a sheva na? (All six siddurim I have checked show it as a sheva na: Artscroll, Koren, Metsuda, NeHalel, and the two reported here https://judaism.stackexchange.com/a/82836?noredirect=1.)

What rule is being followed that tells us that it is a sheva na?

Update: Two sefardic siddurim I checked showed this sheva as a sheva nach. Perhaps the sheva na pronunciation is only in ashkenaz siddurim.

  • 1
    It's a mistake. הלוים is always Shva Nach.
    – Double AA
    May 15, 2017 at 23:36
  • Do you want to know where the mistake happened (a historical question)? Or just the right way to say the word?
    – Double AA
    May 15, 2017 at 23:53
  • @DoubleAA I am trying to understand the punctuation. An error never occurred to me. It rolls more easily of the tounge with a sheva na.
    – Yehuda W
    May 18, 2017 at 18:49
  • @DoubleAA How could it be a mistake? It could not be a scribal error, since there is no written indication of a sheva na in early sources. (When did written indications of the sheva na start?) If what I just wrote is correct, why did both Artscroll and Koran make the same mistake?
    – Yehuda W
    May 19, 2017 at 13:28
  • The mistake is putting the meteg under the hei which indicates a shva na. Probably some later editions didn't know that the meteg indicates shva na, so they added extras willy-nilly, misleading some later editions. But those who knew what they were doing didn't have a meteg. I don't know what you mean by 'rolls more easily off the tongue' but halwiyyim rolls just fine for me.
    – Double AA
    May 19, 2017 at 17:52

2 Answers 2


If one looks in Ta'amei Hamikra from Rabbi Mordechai Breuer (p. 197) it states that all agree that a sheva is sounded (vocal - na) if there is a Hay Hayidaya with a meteg. Ben Asher ,in Sefer Dikdukay HaTa'aimin lists 18 exceptions to this rule though. From my initial reading of Dikdukai Shai (Shmuel Mandelbaum) it seems that the discrepancy is between the customs of Ashkenaz and Sefardim (see footnote 73 - p.191) I believe that is the reason you'll see differences between Tikun Simanim and Artscroll and others.

That being said, I have been researching the conclusive details of this elusive issue for many years and have spoken with a great deal of gedolei Torah with nothing to show for it...yet.

  • This isnt on the list of exceptions and anyway there's no meteg here
    – Double AA
    Jun 4, 2017 at 5:07

It could possibly be based on the 6th rule, or rule "ו" (vav) based on the א"ב (Aleph Bet) mnemonic of the rules of שוא נע (shva na). As stated by Yehuda Arye Gutman in his book ספר כללי טעמי המקרא page 17:

Any שוא (shva) that comes after a מתג (meteg) is a שוא נע (shva na).

(This is the 6th rule, because the מתג (meteg) looks like a "ו" (vav).)

A quick search for the word "הלוים" (haliviyim) in תנ"ך (Tanach) shows that the word has a מתג (meteg) or טעם (cantillation mark) by the "ה" (heh).

For example in Shemos 6:25, 38:21, Yayikra 25:32, 25:33, and many others.

  • 1
    What text are you using that you see a meteg in those locations?
    – magicker72
    May 16, 2017 at 4:19
  • 1
    There's no meteg there in accurate texts
    – Double AA
    May 16, 2017 at 4:29
  • I did the original search using Davka's Tanach App. Then checked those locations mentioned above in the Artsroll Stone Chumash and The Koran Tanach, both have a meteg under the "heh" in all four locations. I didn't check any others.
    – Guest583
    May 16, 2017 at 4:39
  • Those texts are mistaken. There shouldn't be a meteg on this word. See mechon-mamre.org/c/ct/c0408.htm and sefaria.org/Numbers.8.6 and the Aleppo Codex commons.wikimedia.org/w/… and the Leningrad Codex commons.wikimedia.org/w/…
    – Double AA
    May 16, 2017 at 13:15
  • 2
    @YehudaW Happy seeking.
    – Double AA
    May 22, 2017 at 14:30

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