Hebrew Quiz II

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The Maters Lectionis or in Hebrew imot kri’ah, in other words the letters mentioned in yesterday’s quiz – א ה ו י – were added before the Masoretes produced the Masoretic text – the authoritative Hebrew text of the Torah including its vocalization and accentuation.

When they added the diacritical notes – the little dots and signs which indicate the vowel sounds – why didn’t the Masoretes do away with א ה ו י? In other words they could have deleted the Mater Lectionis as they now had the vowel sounds expressed twice in a single syllable.

For instance, if you take a simple and well-known word: תּוֹרָה (Torah). The sound o is expressed both by the holam (the dot) and the vav while the ha sound is expressed twice thanks to the kamatz (the little sign) and the he.

Question 2:
Why did the Masoretes keep the Maters Lectionis?

Israeli Films – Post for Yom Ha’atzmaut

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French people like films and it might come as a surprise to some of you to learn that a lot of French movie-buffs enjoy Israeli films. Thus the Cannes festival always features a minimum of one Israeli movie and this year Waltz with Bashir was part of a three-film high school program whose aim is to encourage students to see films they wouldn’t otherwise see and help them understand movie making techniques and film analysis. At present Ajami is on in quite a number of French movie theaters.

My favorite Israeli movie is Broken Wings (Knafayim Shvurot) while I also enjoyed Walk on Water (Lalekhet Al HaMayim), Live and Become and a number of others. I have just ordered Shiva and hope to watch it some time this week.

The Israeli films I have reviewed:
Lemon Tree
The Band’s Visit
Waltz with Bashir

Much of this post is indebted to Amy Kronish’s blog: Israelfilm