20 votes
Accepted

Is there a reason or pattern as to when the Torah uses אֵת instead of אֶת?

When the word stands on its own, with its own trup-mark, it's אֵת, with a tzeireh. When it's attached to the next word with a dash and therefore does not have its own trup-mark, it's אֶת, with a segol....
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15 votes

Is there a reason or pattern as to when the Torah uses אֵת instead of אֶת?

The word is אֵת. When the word is "joined" with the next word with a makaf "־" then they become treated as one long word, and there is no longer an accent on that syllable. Unaccented closed syllables ...
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14 votes
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Dagesh at end of בראת

The tav is one of the beged kefet letters, which always takes a dagesh kal, when it starts a new syllable after a previously closed one (i.e. the previous syllable ends with a consonant). To quote ...
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12 votes

Reason for different punctuation of the prefix vav?

In biblical Hebrew: When preceding an imperfect (future-form) verb to make it past tense, the vav has a patach. However, that patach becomes a kamatz before an alef. Otherwise, when the word is the ...
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11 votes

Is there a chasidus that is makpid on dikduk?

Yes, the Minchas Elazar was very makpid (strict) on both dikduk (grammar) and wording. His hakpada (strictness) is a major subject in the preface to the current main Munkacser siddur, Tzvi Tiferes. ...
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  • 6,414
10 votes
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Pronunciation of בשגם - Patach or Kamatz?

R. Yaakov Sappir had the same question about 150 years ago and asked the community in Aleppo to check the Aleppo Codex for a final ruling. They reported that בשגם has only Patch vowels. You can't ask ...
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9 votes

Why does the Gemara sometimes use the word Ben and sometimes use the word Bar?

"Ben" is Hebrew, whereas "Bar" is Aramaic. Thus, a mishnah or braisa discussing RSB"Y will usually use "Ben" and a statement made by an amorah will usually use "Bar".
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  • 8,163
9 votes

Theological Aspects of Hebrew Grammar

There is discussion in Kabbalistic thought (as well as other sources) about the letter used to make a word feminine being a ה, that the ה is the feminine letter, and is also often related to birth - ...
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9 votes
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Why Mishna Berurah chooses chesronaM with a M in borei nefashos?

The Aruch HaShulchan O.C. 207:2 defends and prefers the Mishna Brurah's nusach. The argument for the Mem is that in several places in the Torah we find Nefesh followed by a masculine verb, because ...
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9 votes

And it was so? Perhaps mistranslated?

See here for more. Biblical Hebrew employs a rule called the "vav ha-hipuch." The preceding "v'" flips the tense from past to future, or vice versa. Thus "yehi chen", it will be so; "vayhi chen", it ...
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9 votes
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כּרְעוּתֵהּ (with a dagesh in the כּ) or כרְעוּתֵהּ (without the dagesh) in Kaddish?

The general rule is that letters "בגד כפת" do have a dagesh when they appear in the beginning of a word, unless the word follows a word that ends with one of the vowels (אהוי), and there's a ...
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9 votes
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Adon Olam: "Yetzir" or "Yetzur"?

DISCLAIMER: While the study Hebrew grammar is of interest to me, I am far from proficient in it, and hopefully those who know more will add to the discussion. My answer is marei mekomos and a highly ...
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9 votes
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What rule governs the varying nikkud in words מִשְׁתֶּה and מִשְׁתֵּה?

When משתה is in construct state it has a tzere instead of a segol and would mean "drinking-party of" instead of just "drinking-party".
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9 votes
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How to apply the Masoretic note, "2x, once plene and once defectively" to Ruth 1:1?

The Masoretic note you have is from the Leningrad Codex. However, the Aleppo Codex indicates in the masorah gedolah in Chronicles that there are 3 instances of the word (see also Mikraot Gedolot ...
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  • 6,995
9 votes

What does שליט"א stand for?

For what it's worth, the Otzar of Roshei Teivot on Bar Ilan lists both שיחיה לאורך ימים טובים ארוכים and שיחיה לאורך ימים טובים אמן. I prefer the latter, because the former is redundant, as pointed ...
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8 votes

Why does the Torah sometimes refer to Shabbat as a masculine noun and other times as a feminine noun?

I had asked this question to a professor of Hebrew many years ago and he told me that the word שבת is female. The confusion arises because the Torah often refers to the day of שבת, which is male. Thus,...
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8 votes
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Why is תורה sometimes written תורת?

As Gesenius writes in his Hebrew Grammar: (b) The original ־ַת‎ is regularly retained as the feminine termination in the construct state sing. of those nouns which in the absolute state end in ־ָה‎,...
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8 votes
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In Bamidbar 11:5 why does it use the word נֹאכַ֥ל which is typically future tense?

Rav Zalman Sorotzkin in his אזנים לתורה suggests that they were hinting that they wished to return to Egypt. אשר נאכל במצרים. אשר אכלנו לא אמרו, אלא "אשר נאכל" - בזה טמון רמז דק: "אשר נאכל" אם נשוב ...
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8 votes

Where is exactly is שָֽׁם in the pasuk גַּם־בִּי֙ הִתְאַנַּ֣ף יְהוָ֔ה בִּגְלַלְכֶ֖ם לֵאמֹ֑ר גַּם־אַתָּ֖ה לֹא־תָבֹ֥א שָֽׁם (Devarim 1:37)

שמה is not the feminine form of שם. Inasmuch as there is a difference in meaning, שמה may mean "to there" (as in מצרימה - "to Egypt" in, e.g., Genesis 12:11) whereas שם just means "there". See also, ...
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8 votes
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Why are there varying vowels on proper nouns in Megillas Ester?

There are grammatical rules in general, but for your case: It's always שושַן הבירה, otherwise שושָן. It's always מרדכַי except on an esnachta, sof pasuk, or in exactly one case a zakeif katon ויגידו ...
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8 votes

Mil'al vs. Milra on "Lamah"

The word is spelled לָמָה (without a dagesh and stressed on the final syllable) when the following word begins with an א or ה or ע,* and spelled לָמָּה (with a dagesh and stressed on the penultimate ...
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8 votes
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Priestly blessing grammar - יאר

The root of יָאֵר is אור. The binyan is הפעיל (and נחי ע"ו). The form יָאֵר instead of יָאִיר is due to jussive mood ("may he shine" instead of "he will shine"). The word וְיָשֵׂם in the next verse is ...
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8 votes
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Why isn't המלך המשפט a grammatical mistake?

This question is in fact dealt with by Rashi on the spot, who says that the first ה is redundant, and this has the same meaning as מלך המשפט, citing scriptural precedents for this phrasing. Basically -...
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8 votes

Final Pay ף ??? - Exists or Not?

It does exist and appears precisely once in Tanach, in Mishlei 30:6: אַל־תּ֥וֹסְףְּ עַל־דְּבָרָ֑יו פֶּן־יוֹכִ֖יחַ בְּךָ֣ וְנִכְזָֽבְתָּ׃
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7 votes
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Aleph with a Dagesh

It's very common in some of the manuscripts - for example, the codex of the Prophets from the Qaraite synagogue in Cairo, which was written by Moshe ben Asher. There, it features in every the ...
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  • 18.4k
7 votes

Is the rule of "Nasog Achor" specific to the Bible?

Koren Publishers, for one, is unsure whether Nasog Achor applies outside the Biblical context, particularly to prayers. Consequently, in their publications, they default to not applying Nasog Achor ...
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7 votes

What is the reason that the Torah uses a ן (final "Nun") at the end of 2nd person plural verbs?

The addition of a nun is referred to in some grammars as "nunation"; this particular type of nun is the "paragogic nun", and its usage is controversial. It appears over 300 times throughout Tanakh (...
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  • 18.4k
7 votes

Where can one learn the grammatical functions of the te'amim

I have used and found excellent the book Chanting the Hebrew Bible by Joshua Jacobson. It comprises a background/history of the subject, a detailed grammatical treatment (one-by-one introducing the ...
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  • 8,621
7 votes

How to pronounce ישראל - Yisroel or Yisrael?

The Ashkenazi pronunciation of Hebrew distinguishes seven different vowels. They can be arranged more or less as follows (first represented in Hebrew orthography under the letter א, then in IPA if you ...
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  • 23.8k
7 votes

Why are there varying vowels on proper nouns in Megillas Ester?

מרדכי takes a Kamatz when it is on a hard pause (same as most nouns that have a patach or segol on the primary stress). שושן takes a Patach when it is attached to הבירה (same as any noun ending in a ...
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