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In their zeal to preserve EVERY detail of the biblical text accurately, the #Masoretes sometimes make up little ditties, in #Aramaic, to help remember some textual feature or another. I've just come across one I'd not seen before, & which has instantly become my favourite. (1/5)
Remember #Ezekiel 18? The righteous man and the unrighteous man. The righteous man does not eat on the mountains (i.e. at the idol shrines), but the unrighteous man does eat on the mountains
In both cases, the verb 'eat' happens to be marked w/ Zaqef. Zaqef is quite a strong disjunctive accent. S/times it causes the word it marks to be written as a pausal form (ie vowel change), s/times not. Here: 'does not eat' is pausal, but 'does eat' is written non-pausally.
But how can we remember which way round the pausal and non-pausal forms go??! Don't worry - the #Masorah is here to help: "The one who eats - opens his mouth; the one who does not eat - closes his mouth!"
This is a genius pun, because the Hebrew for 'opens' (his mouth) and 'closes' (his mouth) is also the Hebrew for the appropriate vowel that has to be marked on each of the verbs 'eat' and 'does not eat'.
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