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From: rhendel@king.mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Tue, 28 May 1996 15:48:31 -0400 Subject: Unknown Rules of Laining A common fallacy is to assume that THEORY 1: The SOLE purpose of the Teamim is to create pauses where the MEANING requires it. As many excellent books (written by religious people) on Teamim point out (e.g. Breuer, Taamay Hamikrah, now in its second edition) the real purpose is THEORY 2: Teamim have 2 purposes: To indicate pauses in MEANING To create either pauses for breathing or combine small phrases into one. In response to several comments on Teamim in MJ let us examine a verse quoted [Pickholtz, V23 #96 also see V24 #12] in Exodus 3:15. VAYOMER HASHEM OD (And God said further (to Moses). There are *Three* possible ways to read the verse: Version 1: Vayomer (pause) Hashem OD Version 2: Vayomer Hasem (pause) OD Version 3: Vayomer Hashem Od (with no pause anywhere) The rules of the Teamim are very clear...A telishah ketanah has a status of a "liason" punctuation (while a Telishah Gedolah has a status of a pause). Therefore Versions 1 and 2 are *both* incorrect while version 3 is correct. Personally, I find it difficult not to pause after a Telisah ketanah (because of the way it is chanted in our practice) so I deliberately phrase all three words together (the technical musical term is I believe Legato referring to a slur of different notes). It is incidentally an unsolved problem with a rich literature as to how the two purposes of Teamim (meaning pause, breathing pause and small phrase combinations) work in unison. While the above discussion is technical it raises the highly nontechnical question of when we allow an explanation to contradict the sense of the Teamim (on this there is a rich but varied literature...unfortunately I have never seen it gathered in one place nor have I ever seen discussion of "what is right" or which rishonim believe what). I of course welcome comments on sources for "how to use teammim in your daily Tenach learning" Russell Hendel, rhendel @ mcs . drexel . edu