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Friday, February 7

The Weekly Shtikle - Tetzaveh

    In the listing of the stones on the choshen (28:17-20) there is a difference between the last row and the other three. The last row is "Tarshish ve'shoham ve'yashfeh." There is a vuv before the second stone as well as the third. In the other three rows, the vuv appears only before the last stone. Meshech Chachma points out that the reason for this is as we find in Kriyas Shema, that certain groups of words where the first word ends with the same letter as the second word begins, such as "al levavchem" and therefore must be very carefully differentiated. So, too, here tarshish and shoham have the same problem. Therefore, in order to differentiate between the two, HaShem told Moshe "Tarshish ve'Shoham" so he would not get mixed up. The difficulty is, however, that in Parshas Pekudei (39:13) the list does not contain a vuv before Shoham. Although Meshech Chachma does make mention of this fact he does not clearly indicate why that is. R' Boruch Epstein, in Boruch She'amar, gives an answer. In Tetzaveh, HaShem is talking to Moshe. Therefore, it was important there to differentiate between the two so that there is no confusion. In Pekudei, however, the Torah is merely giving its own recount of events so it was not imperative to place a vuv in the middle.
    I heard this at a chaburah on parshas hashavuah where one of the attendees brought up an interesting point. At the beginning of Shemos we seem to find a similar phenomenon. When listing the sons of Yaakov a vuv is only used for the last name in each pasuk. Except for pasuk 1:4, where there is a vuv before Naftali. It would seem that this is to differentiate between the nun at the end of Dan and the nun at the beginning of Naftali. However, here it seems only to be giving a recount and there is no one speaking to anyone. See the comments on this Dikdukian post for further discussion.
Have a good Shabbos. 
Mishenichnas Adar Marbim beSimchah (applicability to Adar I a matter of dispute.)

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Daily Leaf: Cutting off the Angles
Dikdukian: Ner Tamid
Dikdukian: Sham and Shamah

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