[b-hebrew] meteg

Yodan yodan at yodanco.com
Tue Dec 30 11:43:03 EST 2008

I'm not sure if this is the kind of question that is of interest to this
group, but perhaps some of you know the answer.


I'd like to find out if anyone knows the origin of (who started using it),
or reason for (the relationship between the actual meaning and its use in
reading the Biblical text), of the term "meteg". 


To the best of my knowledge, it wasn't used by the Masoretes who "gave us"
the meteg, which they called ga'ya (literally, "mooing", meaning raising the
voice). Other names for the same trope are ma'amid (making it stand in its
place) and ma'arikh (prolonging). 


Meteg has been and is continued to be used by Ashkenazim and is also in
modern Hebrew. But does anyone know how this term started being used? 


While the names "ga'ya", "ma'amid", and "ma'arikh" allude to the
role/function of what is also called "meteg", the reason for the name meteg
is less obvious to me. 


In the Tanakh, a meteg (Proverb 26:3 ) means "bridle" that's used for a


Does anyone know (preferably providing references, if possible) if a meteg
is called meteg because:

-          It looks like the little metal bar that (according to Even
Shoshan's dictionary) is placed on the harness or whatever a donkey-driver
places on a donkey? (so it's just a matter of the shape?)


-          Its role in Torah-reading is somehow related to "harnessing" or
"guiding" or whatever a bridle does to a donkey?


Perhaps there are other reasons for the name meteg.  


Thanks in advance,


Rivka Sherman-Gold



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