[b-hebrew] "extra" patach in Ex 20,3 / Deut 5,7 ?

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Thu Oct 19 19:12:47 EDT 2006

Dear Gary,

What you've stumbled on is the double-pointing of the Decalogue, in both 
it's Exodus and Deuteronomy versions. Both have two sets of cantilation 
marks - one, known as the "lower" (ta'am tahton), divides the text into 
verses in the standard way. The other, known as "upper" (ta'am 'elyon), 
divides the text so that each "commandment" is a single, distinct, unit. For 
example, in Ex. 20, vss. 8-11 in the lower are all one big "verse" (the 
fourth commandment) in the upper. For this reason, the word "leqaddesho" in 
verse 8 has both a sof-pasuq ("verse-end") for the "lower" and a revi'i for 
the "upper". In some cases, the change in accent causes a change in vowel, 
from short to long. Not just in "panay". Look at the first "mittahat" in vs. 
4. In the BHS print, The tav has both a qamatz and a patah.

The reason for all of this is "ritual". In the public reading of the ten 
commandments in the synagogue on Shavu'ot, which is considered to be the 
anniversary of the giving of the Torah, the section is read so that each 
commandment is a single unit, thus sort of "recreating" the original Sinai 
event. Some printed Hebrew Bibles (like BHS), superimpose both sets of marks 
on the same text. Others simply ignore the "upper". Yet others reprint the 
Decalogue in an appendix at the end of the volume.

Yigal Levin

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gary Martin" <garmar at u.washington.edu>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2006 8:29 PM
Subject: [b-hebrew] "extra" patach in Ex 20,3 / Deut 5,7 ?

> Can anyone provide documentation for this phenomenon of double pointing
> (vowels and accents) on the same letter in panay of Exod 20,3-4 (also
> mitaxat) and Deut 5,7? Does it occur in places outside these two parallel
> texts? Any leads to relevant discussions/literature would be much
> appreciated.
> Thanks!
> Gary Martin
> Ph.D. Candidate, Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Near and Middle 
> Eastern
> Studies
> University of Washington, Seattle
> _______________________________________________
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew

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