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How is God's name pronounced when there is a prefix?

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The 4 letter name for Hashem is replaced with the word a/d-/nai (3 syllables). But my siddur doesn't put vowels under each instance, so I'm not sure how to say the word when it is preceded b a prefix lake a vav, a lamed or a beit.

The word "e/l-/kei" becomes vei/l-/kei with the addition of the preceding vav -- the vowels under the aleph disappear and the word stays 3 syllables. Is the same true for Hashem's name? Does it become

va/d-/nai

or

va/a/d-/nai and become 4 syllables?

Why should this post be closed?

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1 answer

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There is a popular mnemonic to remember this (a brief search for its origin was not successful):

מש"ה מוציא וכל"ב מכניס

Moshe “takes out” but Kalev “brings in”

That is, if the prefix is one of the letters mem, shin or heh, then the aleph of G-d's name retains its vowel and is pronounced (“taken out”).

However, if the prefix is vav, kaf, lamed or bet, then the aleph loses its vowel and is not pronounced (“brought in”).

So, in your specific question, the pronunciation would be va/do/nai.

Of course, like with all rules, this one also has its exceptions (one of which appears in the haftarah for the morning of Tish’ah BeAv, in Yirmiyahu 8:19).

11 comments

The mnemonic is only useful if you understand what it means, so probably worth translating it AA​ 7 days ago

Would that rule correlate to the vowel under the prefix letter? rosends 7 days ago

@rosends I don’t understand your question JoelK 6 days ago

@JoelK does it have to do with the vowel sound under the prefix (e.g. a patach would cause a combined syllable while a segol, because it is distinct from the opening vowel sound of A-do-nai, would create 2 separate syllables)? rosends 6 days ago

@rosends I see. The problem is that it’s a bit circular - the vowel on the prefix can sometimes change depending on the vowel on the first letter of the following word. JoelK 6 days ago

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