Gen. 2:4, חטף-פתח hateph-pathah

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Isaac Fried
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Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Gen. 2:4, חטף-פתח hateph-pathah

Postby Isaac Fried » Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:45 pm

We read there
בְּיוֹם עֲשׂוֹת יהוה אֱלֹהִים אֶרֶץ וְשָׁמָיִם
KJV: "in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens"
with עֲשׂוֹת marked with the the curious ניקוּד of חטף-פתח hateph-pathah, which appears to consist of a patah and a nearby schwa (called here חטף hateph for a תנוּעה חטוּפה.)
I recall that in school we were told the "official" understanding of this mark as indicating a schwa "mobile". With time I came to deny the existence of this sound, and now believe that the hateph-pathah (or rather the schwa-pathah) is a compromise marking combined to accommodate different reading traditions heard at the time of the NIQUD insertion; one with a schwa and one with a patah.
I always read the hateph-pathah as an A, namely עֲשׂוֹת ASOT (as I also don't distinguish in reading between an aleph and an eyin).

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1067
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Gen. 2:4, חטף-פתח hateph-pathah

Postby Isaac Fried » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:11 pm

Today I have heard from someone knowledgeable the following interesting understanding of the reading of the hateph-pathah: the pathah at the side of the schwa (the hateph) is placed there to indicate that the schwa needs to be extended into a schwa "mobile". It is clever but, in my opinion, a mere muse. There is no schwa "mobile" in Hebrew.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1067
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Gen. 2:4, חטף-פתח hateph-pathah

Postby Isaac Fried » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:01 pm

I also follow the ארץ ישראל Eretz-Israel tradition and make no distinction in the reading of the qametz and the patah; I read them both as A, and so also the hateph-qametz.
The Hebrew Academy in Jerusalem insists, in an official directive, on the readings
צָהֳרַיִם (midday) tsohorayim
מָחֳרָת (next day) mohorat
נָעֳמִי No‘omi
which I find tasteless and awkward. Exercising my right to freedom of expression I prefer in all my public readings the, officially frowned upon: tsaharayim, maharat, Na'ami.

Isaac Fried, Boston University


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