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Sunday, January 22

פרשת שמות - Teven / Taven

As many of you probably notice, most words change when they are at the end of a pasuk or if they are the primary stop in the middle of a pasuk. For instance, שֶׁמֶן becomes שָׁמֶןָ. However, in this (past) week's parsha we find an interesting exception. The word תֶּבֶן, which follows the same structure as שֶׁמֶן , at the end of a pasuk, remains תֶּבֶן. It bothered me for quite some time why this is so.

I came up with a possible answer. I found that the word תָּבֶן actually appears in איוב יג:א. The word there, וַתָּבֶן, is from the root of the word meaning "understanding." Perhaps the rule is that if the conversion of the word at the end of the pasuk would make it appear to mean something completely different, we do not change it. I haven't yet proven this rule but I have defeated many attempts debunk it.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, the historic first comment is mine. And so here it is: What on earth do you mean? Is this your general rule for all similarly vowelized words, or just for "teven"? How exactly would you read the verses that conclude with "teven", as opposed to "taven"? It is not at all ambiguous.

1/22/2006 2:42 PM  
Blogger Shtikler said...

I see what you're saying. Why would the fact that the word תָּבֶן exists be a problem in this context if there is no way the pasuk could posssibly make sense with that meaning? Paroah couldn't possibly be saying "You must produce the same amount of bricks as when you had understanding!"

For this, I have no answer. I am simply suggesting that the word תָּבֶן is reserved and therefore we do not conjugate תֶּבֶן, regardless of whether it would have created an ambiguity or not.

1/22/2006 10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incidentally, Radak, in his Sefer Makhloul (p. 151a-b of the Lyck, Poland edition), gives a list of "six-dotted" words which are never modified in the way you describe.

1/27/2006 2:03 PM  

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