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Friday, January 12

The Weekly Shtikle - Shemos

It was exactly two years ago, for the Weekly Shtikle of Shemos 5764 that I was congratulating my brother, Binyomin, on the occasion of the birth of his daughter. Today we send out a Mazal Tov on the birth of his son this past Sunday. Mazal Tov to Binyomin, Shira, Tzirel Nechama and the ganse mishpacha on the "baby to be named later!"
The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my dear Zadie and Bubbie, HaRav Chaim Yaakov ben Yitzchak and Yehudis bas Reuven Pinchas.
    How about some dikduk for this week:
    In the beginning of this week's parsha we are told (1:11) that B'nei Yisroel built two large cities for Par'oah - Pis'om and Ra'amseis. This may sound rather similar to the city in which Yosef placed his family (Bereishis 47:11). However, Ibn Ezra points out that in fact, if you examine the vowelization of the city in Vayigash, the city's name is actually pronounced Ram'seis. Thus, the Ra'amseis that B'nei Yisroel built in Shemos is not the same city. A ba'al kriyah, therefore, should probably be careful to distinguish between the two. Surprisingly, though, Rashi explains that B'nei Yisroel made these already existing cities into storage cities for Paroah. It is quite clear from Rashi's words that he assumed that the two cities were the same and that is why he explained the apparent difficulty of building a city that already exists. This is hard to understand not only because of what Ibn Ezra stated but also, why would Paroah place his storage in the city in which B'nei Yisroel dwelled. Nevertheless, although one should certainly be careful to pronounce it properly (as they should any word) it most probably should not be corrected if mispronounced.
    There are many words that get manipulated depending on their placement in a pasuk. The word at the end of the pasuk or on the principal stop in the middle of the pasuk often undergo vowel changes. For example, "shemen" will become "shamen" and "even" will become "aven." One would have expected, therefore, that the word "teven" would become "taven" at the end of a pasuk. However, it is clear in this week's parsha (5:13, for example) that that is not the case. Why is this word different from all the others?
    I have a theory which some have accepted (and some - not so much) that the word "taven" is used in Iyov (13:1) from the root of the word denoting understanding. I have no proof of this precedent but perhaps, if the changing of the vowels on a word would make it identical to another word meaning something completely different, it is not done. Shamen and aven have no other meaning but taven does. That is why it remains teven.
Have a good Shabbos.
Eliezer Bulka


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