[b-hebrew] Ta`am `Elyon of the Decalogue

Raymond de Hoop rdehoop at keyaccess.nl
Sat Feb 21 13:11:38 EST 2004

Dear Joseph, Yigal and others,

The Ta`am `Elyon of Exodus 20, which you find in some recent editions 
and which have Revia at the last word of verse 2 (`avadim) is not the 
way Codex Leningradensis marks the Ta`am `Elyon. In the Leningradensis 
and in the Damascus Pentateuch you will find Silluq with Soph Passuq 
with the last word of verse 2 (`avadim) and indeed a Revia at the end 
of verse 3 (panay), while the Ta`am Tachton has Atnach at the end of 
verse 2 (`avadim) and at the end of verse 3 Silluq with Soph Passuq 
(panay). I checked this in the facsimile editions, but you also may 
find this in A. Dotan, Biblia Hebraica Leningradensia, Peabody (MA) 
2001, pp. 109 (T.Tachton), 1227 (T.`Elyon).

The Revia on `avadim at the end of verse 2 (according to the Ta`am 
`Elyon), which can be found in many Jewish Bible editions, is in fact a 
  _third_ system of accentuation. Because when you would check your BHS, 
you won't find Revia at the end of verse 2! This third system is a 
rather late development, which is not found in manuscripts, but which 
can be found in Miqra'ot Gedolot, Venice 1526 (my source: M. Breuer, 
"Division by Verses and Commandments", in: B.Z. Segal, G. Levi (eds.), 
_The Ten Commandments in History and Tradition_, Jerusalem 1990, pp. 
291-330). In fact Revia at the end of verse 2, marking `avadim, is 
impossible according to the system of Te`amim, because the "Revia-unit" 
is preceded by a "Zaqeph Qaton-unit" or with a "Atnach-unit",  which 
are both impossible. The other way round (Revia-unit preceding 
Zaqeph-unit) could be possible, while the "Atnach-unit" belongs to the 
Ta`am Tachton (otherwise it would preceed a "Sgolta-unit"  [at the 
beginning of verse 5: to`ovdem]), and a second "Atnach-unit" (end verse 
5 [l'son'oy]), which is impossible too.
This third system, with Revia at the end of verse 2, represents the 
tradition of reading the first and second commandment as one, heard 
directly from the mouth of G-d, and it's traces are only found at the 
end of the Middle Ages, at the beginning of printed Bible editions. For 
that reason this tradition seems to be the youngest.

The other two, Ta`am `Elyon and Ta`am Tahton, as found in the 
Leningradensis and other mss represent two possibilities.
Ta`am Elyon with taking verse 2 as the first davar  and verse 3-6 as 
the second davar, etc.
Ta`am Tachton takes verse 2-3 together as one commandment and verse 4-6 
as one commandment.

To make it somewhat more complicated ....
You may note that the text is also divided by means of setumot and 
petuchot. Verse 2-6 is considered as one "paragraph", which would 
result in nine commandments; but the final commandment is divided again 
by a setumah where we find Atnach (re`eka [not shown in BHS, but it is 
there in the Leningrad Codex; cf. Dotan]). This division also results 
in ten commandments, be it artificial; probably it is related to the 
third tradition which has Revia at the end of verse 2?

Kol tuv,

Dr Raymond de Hoop
Lecturer of Classical Hebrew
Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies
University of Groningen
Oude Boteringestraat 38
9712 GK Groningen
+31 503 635 574
R.de.Hoop at theol.rug.nl

Boeiersingel 11
9745 CA Groningen
0031 505 530 115
rdehoop at keyaccess.nl

On 15 feb 2004 at 2:23 heeft Joseph I. Lauer wrote the following:

>     As I noted, page 415 of the ArtScroll Chumash (Stone Edition) has 
> the
> Ta'am 'Elyon for Exodus 20:2-14.  The First Commandment (v. 2) and the
> Second Commandment (vv. 3-6) are combined (that is, there are no 
> colons or
> other contemporary punctuation marks dividing the verses).  As in other
> printings of the Ta'am 'Elyon, the last word of the First Commandment, 
> v. 2
> ('Avadim), has a Revi'i.  In the Second Commandment, the last word of 
> v. 3
> (Panai with a Patach at the end of the word, not a Kamatz as in the 
> Ta'am
> Tahton) has a Revi'i, as does the last word of v. 4 (LaAretz).  The 
> last
> word of v. 5 (L'son'oi [I'm trying to indicate a Kamatz at the end of 
> the
> word!]) is marked with an Esnahta.  The Second Commandment ends (v. 6) 
> in
> both versions with a Sof Pasuk.

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