Torah Tidbits

30 July 2014 / 3 Av 5774
Issue 1030
Shabbat Parshat B'Shalach
January 24, 2013

Towards Better Davening and Torah Reading

A SH'VA review in honor of TU BiSHVAT

We (Torah Tidbits) writes the name of the month in which we are in as SH’VAT. Not SHVAT and not SHEVAT. SH’VAT.
The apostrophe after the SH represents the SH’VA NA under the SHIN. A SH’VA NA give a very short vowel sound, shorter than an E would indicate, but not absent as SHVAT would indicate. English speakers tend to blend consonants - in this case, the SHIN sound and the VET. Like a bigshot is called a SHVITZER. In Hebrew, the vowels are distinct, but with a SH’VA NA, the sound is very short.
TU BISHVAT is a different story.
With the prefix of the BET, meaning “in”, as in TU, the 15th day in Sh’vat, the SH’VA under the SHIN becomes a NACH. SH’VA NACH does not contribute any vowel sound, not even a very short one. The first syllable is BISH and the second syllable is VAT. The SHIN and the VET still do not blend because they belong to different syllables. BISH and then VAT. Therefore, in TT transliteration, there is no apostrophe after the SH in TU BISHVAT. Note also, that usually after a SH’VA NACH, a BET (and the other five letters like it) would ordinarily have a DAGESH KAL and become a BET. TU BISHBAT. But it doesn’t happen. The DAGESH stays out of the BET and the word is BISHVAT.


Be Fruitful…

If you have two fruits to eat - both HA-EITZ - for example, raisins and apricots, and you like apricots better, the honor of the bracha goes to the raisins, which are one of the Seven Species. If the brachot of the two fruits are different
If you like a ha-eitz and a haadama equally, then the ha-eitz bracha goes first. But if you like the haadama better, it goes first.
If you have two fruits to eat - for example, raisins (ha-eitz) and strawberries (haadama), and you like strawberries better, then you make a haadama on the strawberries first and then the ha-eitz on the raisins. In the case of two brachot (specifically ha-eitz and haadama), CHAVIV (what you like best), goes first.

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