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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.

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    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
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    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
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    @barlop The publicly available scans of the Leningrad codex are unlcear on our word upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/98/… Probably someone read a meteg there and that's where Jacobson is going from. It's not the first place he ignores the problems with the Leningrad Codex in his work; see revisions 5 and 8 at judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/36788/… If anyone has access to the new color scans of the LC we could put this mistake to rest.
    – Double AA
    Aug 25, 2020 at 21:12
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    @DoubleAA where the metegs come from in our chumashim is a mystery. our chumashim have a lot more metegs than the LC. (Note, mechon mamre's tanach with cantillation marks, doesn't have it either)
    – barlop
    Aug 25, 2020 at 21:13

2 Answers 2

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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.

[UPDATE] The word הַלְוִיִּם is always missing a Dagesh. In Sefer Etz Chaim, written by Rabbi Chaim ben R’Betzalel (c.1520–1588), the brother of the MaHaRal of Prague, says, “It is possible that this letter is weak (meaning without a Dagesh) to show that the character trait of the tribe of Levi was a weakened form of Din (severity) as is known to the Kabbalist.” This shows that there are times that the Dagesh (Dot) will be missing from the letter after a Hay Ha’Y'dee'ah, but a Meteg is present.

Other examples are הַֽמְרַגְּלִ֤ים (Yehoshua 6:22) / הַֽצְפַרְדְּעִֽים (Shemot 7:29)

I have now written extensively on this matter in my book entitled, "DIVIDE & CONQUER: A Comprehensive Guide to Master Hebrew Reading."

See there in chapter 11.

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

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    What text are you using that you see a meteg in those locations?
    – magicker72
    May 16, 2017 at 4:19
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    There's no meteg there in accurate texts
    – Double AA
    May 16, 2017 at 4:29
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    @YehudaW They show conclusively the word doesn't deserve a Meteg. How a Siddur printed it is irrelevant since they aren't known for precise grammar and usually skip on Metagim altogether.
    – Double AA
    May 22, 2017 at 14:21
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    @YehudaW Happy seeking.
    – Double AA
    May 22, 2017 at 14:30
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    @Ploni It can claim that all it wants, but it has another error a page later on page 100 where it puts a Merkha before a Munach (discussed at judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/71489/… ) The fact is many Chumashim printed in the last few hundred years didn't have access to the great old texts and ended up confused about various things. I don't mean to impugn their efforts of course but everyone is limited by the information they have available.
    – Double AA
    May 23, 2017 at 21:14

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