2. The Vocalisation of MS Cambridge of the Mishnah: An Encounter Between Traditions

Yehudit Henshke

© Yehudit Henshke, CC BY 4.0 https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0164.02

MS Cambridge Add.470 is one of three excellent manuscripts of all six orders of the Mishnah that transmit the western tradition of the Palestinian branch of the Mishnah.1 Two features distinguish MS Cambridge Add.470 from its fellow manuscripts of the Mishnah, MSS Kaufmann and Parma A: dating and provenance. According to the watermarks in MS Cambridge its writing dates to the mid-fifteenth century,2 whereas the other two date to circa the early second millennium, the eleventh–twelfth centuries.3 As to provenance, MSS Kaufmann and Parma A originated in Italy,4 whereas MS Cambridge is a Byzantine manuscript, as evidenced by its codicological and palaeographical features.5 Whereas Mishnaic Hebrew traditions in Italy are reflected in many sources — manuscripts, incunabula, maḥzorim, among others — and have merited substantial research,6 the Byzantine tradition, in contrast, suffers from sparsity of sources and research. The study of Byzantine Jewry remained frozen for years until the turn of the twenty-first century, which saw the publication of texts from the Genizah by Nicolas de Lange and seminal studies by Israel Ta-Shma.7 Although the precise nature of this community’s tradition has yet to made clear, its ties to Eretz-Israel and its unique facets are beginning to emerge.8 As a Byzantine manuscript, the study of MS Cambridge has much to contribute to our knowledge of the mishnaic tradition in Byzantium.9

A significant distinguishing characteristic of MS Cambridge relates to vocalisation, which is the focus of this article. Whereas MSS Kaufmann and Parma A are entirely or largely vocalised, MS Cambridge is for the most part unvocalised.

Nonetheless, the scribe-vocaliser of MS Cambridge has sporadically inserted partial vocalisation.10 My use of the term ‘scribe-vocaliser’ here is deliberate: the manner of vocalisation, the ink, and its colour all attest that the text was penned and vocalised by the same person.11 Most of the more than two hundred vocalised words in this manuscript were documented by William Henry Lowe, the editor of the version of the text known as The Mishnah of the Palestinian Talmud (Cambridge, 1883); others, however, escaped his notice or were misunderstood.

This raises the question of what led the scribe-vocaliser to vocalise these words in particular. In general, we can say that the vocalisations found in MS Cambridge serve to underscore or elucidate a textual variant or particular reading from this fifteenth-century Byzantine vocaliser’s tradition, similar to the partial vocalisation found in manuscripts of other rabbinic texts, such as MS Erfurt of the Tosefta.12 The sporadic vocalisations in MS Cambridge mirror a process whereby the vocaliser considered the different reading traditions of the Mishnah with which he was familiar, and decided either in favour of his own tradition or one that seemed worthy or correct. Thus, not only were specific, accurate, and unique reading traditions of the Mishnah preserved in fifteenth-century Byzantium, but it appears that its scribe-vocalisers were also familiar with alternative readings.

These partial vocalisations reveal both the uniqueness and the trustworthiness of the Byzantine tradition reflected in MS Cambridge. On the one hand, this tradition shares some of the features of the punctilious Italian tradition; on the other hand, as shown below, in some instances the Byzantine tradition also preserves earlier, more precise features than those found in the Italian tradition.

Nonetheless, MS Cambridge also indirectly reflects late-fifteenth-century traditions. The vocalisations attest to the vocaliser’s familiarity with these traditions, which were not necessarily of the highest accuracy. The purpose of his partial vocalisation of words was to highlight his ancient Palestinian tradition; in effect, through these partial vocalisations and superior textual traditions he preserved an early Byzantine tradition with parallels in MSS Kaufmann and Parma A, which predate Cambridge by several centuries.

The partial vocalisations in MS Cambridge belong to a variety of spheres: textual variants (nusaḥ), phonology, morphology, and orthography. A particularly intriguing category is that of foreign words (mainly Greek). Select examples from the various categories are discussed in the body of the article. Some of these examples represent readings found only in MS Cambridge; others reflect knowledge of, or a shared tradition with, other manuscripts of the Mishnah.

Nusaḥ: textual variants

As noted, the presence of a vocalised word in a largely unvocalised text cannot be dismissed as a slip of the pen, but rather reflects particular interest on the vocaliser’s part. Although unique textual variants are by no means rare in MS Cambridge, they are not systematically vocalised there. Evidently, the vocaliser generally thought one vocalised example per variant in the manuscript sufficient. It is the conjunction of a variant with additional factors that might interfere with the transmission of his tradition, which impelled the scribe-vocaliser to vocalise a word. The use of vocalisation confirms the vocaliser’s familiarity with other reading traditions of the Mishnah that differ from the one he wished to transmit. Thus, vocalisation of the word can function to support a disputed reading.

הַחֹדֶש הֶחַדַש

An especially striking example comes from Erubin 3.9, where MS Cambridge attests a unique variant not found in other manuscripts. Furthermore, this reading could be understood as a graphic mistake, namely dittography:

ר׳ דוסא בן הרכינס אומר העובר לפני התיבה ביום טוב של ראש השנה אומר החליצנו ה׳ אלהינו את יום ראש הַחֹדֶש הֶחַדַש הזה אם היום ואם למחר.13

R. Dosa ben Harkinas says, He who stands before the Ark on the Festival Day of the New Year says, May the Eternal Our God strengthen us on this first day of the [new] month whether it be today or tomorrow.

Against these two words in MS Cambridge, we find one word in other manuscripts, as follows: in MS Kaufmann14 we find הַחֹדֶֿשׁ, in MS Parma A15 הַחוֹדֵשֿׁ, and in MS Paris16 הָחֹדֵש.

The additional word הֶחַדַש is not found in the other manuscripts of the Mishnah, although it is found in Genizah fragments, as Goldberg notes.17 Note that the orthography of MS Cambridge is usually defective. Thus, the word חודש is almost always spelled defectively there,18 and the unknown phrase composed of two identical words (החדש החדש) would certainly lend itself to correction or erasure. As a means of stressing the correctness of his version, the scribe vocalised both words to indicate that this is not mistaken dittography.


A noteworthy sphere in which we find the vocaliser of MS Cambridge operating is that of Mishnaic Hebrew phonology. Several examples follow:


Berakhoth 1.5 states: אמר רבי לַעְזַר בן עזריה הרי אני כבן שבעים שנה לא זכיתי [ש]תאמר יציאת מצרים בלילות. ‘R. Eleazar ben Azariah said, I am like a man of seventy, yet I was unable to understand the reason why the departure from Egypt should be related at night’ (variants: Kaufmann: אֶלְעָזָר; Parma A: אֵלְעַזַֿרּ; Paris: אֶלְעָזָר).

The orthography of the names ליעזר-לעזר has been treated at length in studies of Mishnaic Hebrew.19 Focused mainly on the omission of the initial alef and its implications for the provenance and dating of the texts, less attention has been paid to the influence of the silent alef on the realisation of the names and the status of the ayin.

Did the name לעזר retain its biblical form לְעָזָר lʿazar even without the alef, or did additional changes take place when the alef was dropped, perhaps due to the weakness of the guttural ayin that followed it?

Two types of sources assist in clarifying how this abbreviated name was realised: transcriptions, on the one hand, and vocalisation traditions, on the other. The transcriptions into Greek in the Gospels and other literary sources attest to a pronunciation close to the biblical one, e.g., Ελαζάρον, Ελεαζάρον, λεαζάρος,20 and to a new realisation, Λάζαρον, as the name of contemporary individuals.21 On the other hand, the vocalisation traditions reflected in the various manuscripts of the Mishnah evidence only a pronunciation close to the biblical one: [אֶ]לְעָזָר.22

The vocalisation לַעְזַר found in MS Cambridge, with a vowel under the first consonant, is supported by some of the transcriptions, but diverges from the general picture derived from manuscripts of the Mishnah. Although this might suggest that this vocalisation reflects the late Byzantine tradition of the scribe-vocaliser, this is not the case. Direct evidence for this vocalisation comes from a Genizah fragment of the Mishnah (T-S E1.57),23 and a twelfth-century Oriental manuscript of tractates Aboth and Zebahim.24 Indirect support for vocalisation of the lamed comes from the spelling לזר without the ayin: ר׳ לז׳ בר׳ יוסי.25

Thus, on the margins of the literary transmission that remained close to the biblical realisation there were also vernacular pronunciations that attest to metathesis. Perhaps the movement of the vowel to the consonant lamed was supported by the weak ayin,26 or even echoes its silencing, and what we have here is the realisation lazar, to which the vocaliser wished to direct attention.


The Mishnah in Kelim 17.12 states: ויש שאמרו מידה גסה מלא תרווד רקב כמלוא תרווד גדול שֶלַרוֹפְיִים ‘And there were cases where [the Sages] directed [the use of] a large measure, [as, for example] a spoonful of the mould from a corpse, equivalent to the large spoon of physicians’ (variants: Kaufmann: שֶׁלָּרוֹפְֿאִים; Parma A: שלרופאים; Parma B:27 שֶלָּרוֹפְאִין; Paris: שֶלַּרוֹפְאִים).

The word שֶלַרוֹפְיִים is interesting both for its orthography and its vocalisation. Apart from several cases of combined words, throughout MS Cambridge the particle של is written separately from the following noun. Thus, for example: סלסלתים (Kelim 15.4), i.e. של סלתים;28 Hebrew/Aramaic words and phrases: שליפרומבייה (Kelim 11.5);29 שלמים (Shekalim 6.3, Yoma 2.5, Sukkah 2.5, 4.9, Baba Bathra 4.6, Middoth 2.6);30 and our current example, שלרופיים. The preservation of proximity in these instances is the result of a unique spelling that prevented subsequent separation.

Clearly, the preservation of של juxtaposed to רופיים shows that the spelling of שלרופיים, for which I have found no parallels, is not a corruption, but rather a form preserved because of its unusual spelling. The vocalisation of the entire word also witnesses the scribe-vocaliser’s desire to indicate that this form is neither a mistake nor a corruption.

This word displays another unique feature, which is the alef > yod shift. Much has been written on this exchange.31 However, in his comprehensive treatment Breuer has shown that a distinction must be made between yod > alef and alef > yodshifts and that the alef > yod shift is the result not of a phonological process, but of a morphological exchange. He demonstrates that in MH the alef > yod exchange is not free, but takes place in the III-alef pattern, which became identical with the III-yod pattern.32

This explanation, however, does not fit רוֹפְיִים, the word under discussion here, because the expected result of such identification would be רופים, similar to קורים without realisation of the yod. This suggests that we must ignore the morphological pattern of the form and place it among the few examples attesting the phonological process of the dropping of alef and the creation of a glide consonant yod, as in the qere of biblical דָנִיֵּאל and the proper name גמלייל.33 In any event, the vocaliser of MS Cambridge wanted to preserve this rare form and vocalised both the juxtaposed של and the weakened glottal stop and its assimilation to final ḥireq.


That resh with shewa can turn the following bgd/kft letter into a fricative is a known phenomenon. Already found in the Bible,34 in MH it has multiple attestations, such as: צָרכו ,ערבית ,מרפק ,דָרבן, among others.35 The tradition of MS Cambridge provides another example of the fricative realisation of a hapax in the Mishnah: ערבוביה.

The Mishnah in Kilaim 5.4 states: כרם שחרב אם יש בו ללקט עשר גפנים לבית סאה ונטועות כהלכתן הרי זה נקרא כרם דל שהוא נטוע עַרְבֿוּבְיָה ‘if a vineyard became waste, but it is possible to gather in it ten vines, planted according to the rule in a seah’s space, this is called a poor vineyard, which is planted in an irregular manner’ (variants: Kaufmann: עַרְבוּבֿיָיה; Parma A: עַרְבּוּבְֿיָא; Paris: עַרְבוּבְיָא).

With respect to the first of the two bets, this hapax has two vocalisation traditions in manuscripts of the Mishnah:36 one (Parma A) has dagesh lene; the other Cambridge (and Paris) indicates a fricative after the resh.37 In MS Kaufmann, we find signs of hesitation: the consonant bet has a faded dagesh, but closer examination of the word suggests that the dagesh was blotted close to its writing.38 On the other hand, MS Kaufmann does not mark rafeh over the bet. Perhaps the vocaliser of MS Kaufmann debated the matter and decided to take no steps, whereas the vocaliser of MS Cambridge used vocalisation to underscore the fricative bet in his tradition against the backdrop of another, opposing tradition that stresses the plosive bet, here represented by Parma A.


The Mishnah in Nedarim 11.10 states: רבי יהודה אומ׳ אף המשיא את בתו קטנה אף על פי ניתאלמנה או ניתגרשה וחזרו אצלו אֱדַיִין היא נערה ‘R. Judah says: also if one gave in marriage his daughter who was a minor, and she became a widow, or she was divorced and returned to him, and she was still a maiden’ (variants: Kaufmann: עֲדַֿיִין; Parma A: עֲדיִין; Paris: וְעַדַיִין.

Kutscher’s analysis, that the adverb עדיין is composed of עד + another element — the plural pronominal suffix (עָדֵינוּ) or אַיִן/אן — has been accepted in scholarship.39 As for the different forms, Kutscher proposed that the Hebrew word was borrowed from Akkadian adīni and that in Biblical Hebrew the initial alef became ayin, i.e., עדנה ,עדן, due to mistaken affinity, renewed by biblical scribes and MH, to Hebrew עד. This suggested circular process, in which עדיין returns to its original source through a ‘mistaken’ folk etymology, seems somewhat convoluted. It is perhaps simpler to assume that what we have here is the known alef/ayin alternation in MH.40

The textual witnesses are divided as to the first consonant of עדיין: alef or ayin.41 The Genizah fragments analysed by Birnbaum attest exclusively to alef.42 MS Kaufmann and the Babylonian tradition tend toward alef, although forms with ayin are found there,43 whereas MS Parma B has both forms in equal distribution.44

MSS Parma A and Cambridge of the Mishnah represent an opposite direction: the usual spelling there is עדין/עדיין, with a single exception that reads אדיין.45 In other sources of MH the form with ayin is the dominant one, as shown by Yeivin, Sharvit, and Breuer.46 It appears that the uniqueness of the form with initial alef in MH sources in general, and in MS Cambridge in particular, led to its vocalisation as a means of its preservation.



The vocalisations in MS Cambridge are also found in verbal forms. Here I address only one instance. Sanhedrin 4.5 describes the process of questioning witnesses in capital cases:

כיצד מאיימין על עידי נפשות היו מכניסין אותן ומאיימין עליהם שמא תאמרו מעומד ומשמועה עד מפי עד מפי אדם נאמן שמענו או שמא שאין אתם יודעין שסופינו לבדוק אתכם בדרישה ובחקירה הֱיו יודעים שלא כדיני ממונות דיני נפשות […] שכן מצינו בקין שהרג את אחיו שנ׳ קול דמי אחיך צועקים אלי מן האדמה.

How did they exhort the witnesses in capital cases? They brought them in and admonished them: “Perhaps you will state what is supposition, or rumour, [or] evidence from other witnesses, or [you will say:] ‘we heard it from (the mouth of) a trustworthy person’, or perchance you were not aware that we would test you by enquiry and examination; you must [הֱיו] know that capital cases are not like cases concerning property […] for thus have we found in the case of Cain who slew his brother, as it is said, thy brother’s blood cries.”

Variants: Kaufmann: הָיוּ; Parma A: היו; Paris: הָיוּ.

The verb in this mishnah belongs to a long declarative statement that quotes the threats uttered by judges to witnesses to ensure that the latter give truthful testimony. The quote begins with ‘Perhaps you will state’ and concludes with a prooftext from the Bible and a halakhic midrash on the verse cited. As is characteristic of direct speech, it addresses the audience in the second person plural — אתכם ,אתם ,תאמרו — and the speakers refer to themselves in first person plural — שסופינו. This makes it certain that the verb היו, which is inserted in the direct speech, refers to the witnesses and functions as an imperative.47

The root הי״ה is conjugated in two ways in MH: as II-yod form and as a II-waw form.48 For our mishnah all the manuscripts attest to the conjugation with yod,49 but are divided as to vocalisation: MSS Kaufmann and Paris place qameṣ in the first radical, as in the past tense,50 whereas MS Cambridge correctly vocalises it as the imperative. Given the consistent testimony of all the manuscript witnesses, I differ from Haneman, who contends that the original conjugation of the second person plural in the qal stem was only with waw, and that our example is an anomaly, perhaps even a graphic exchange of waw and yod.51

Examination of the distribution of the roots הו״י/הי״י in this pattern in MSS Cambridge and Kaufmann elicits an opposite picture from that found in Parma A. היו appears three times with yod (in our mishnah, in Aboth 1.1, and in Aboth 1.3), and הוו only once (in Aboth 2.3). In MS Kaufmann it appears three times with yod (once in our mishnah and twice in Aboth).52 A similar picture also emerges from other sources.53 This contrasts with the second person singular that is usually found in the root הו״י.

In essence, not only did the vocaliser of MS Cambridge vocalise the word correctly, he was aware of both the problematic nature of this form and the alternative tradition הָיו. This is another example of how he underscores his tradition.54

מְלָא הִין

In this example too, the vocaliser of MS Cambridge diverges from all the other manuscripts. The Mishnah states in Eduyoth 1.3: הלל אומ׳ מְלָא הִין מים שאובין פוסלין את המקוה, שאדם חייב לומר כלשון רבו ‘Hillel says: a “full”hin of drawn water renders the ritual bath of purification unfit. [The term “full”is used here] only because a man must employ the style of expression of his teacher’ (variants: Kaufmann: מְלֹא הִין; Parma A: מלא הין; Paris: מַלֶּא הין).

Hillel’s statement and appended explanation that a person must employ his teacher’s style of expression have sparked much debate and varied interpretations in the relevant scholarship.55 The phrase מלא הין presents the main difficulty, and the different traditions diverge in their understanding and realisation of this phrase, as seen from the variant readings cited above. Nonetheless, additional sources support the tradition represented in MS Cambridge, which reads the vowel a in the second radical.56 Eliezer Shimshon Rosenthal treats this expression at length and has shown that we must follow the version found in Maimonides and an ancient interpretation from geonic responsa, which indicate that this is the active participle of an Aramaic form of the root מלָאִין :מל״א meaning ‘to fill’, and is therefore connected neither to מלוא nor to הין.57

The vocalisation מלָא הין is found in other sources, as Rosenthal notes. However, among the manuscripts of the Mishnah, MS Cambridge is the sole manuscript that has retained this reading.


In Baba Kamma 10.2 we find the following statement: ואם הזיק משלם מה שהזיק אבל לא יקוץ את הסוֹכַֿה על מנת ליתן דמים. ר׳ ישמעאל בנו של ר׳ יוחנן בן ברוקה אומ׳ קוצץ ונותן דמים ‘If he caused any damage, he must pay for the damage which he has caused; but he may not cut off any branch of his, even on condition of paying therefor. R. Ishmael the son of R. Jochanan ben Baroka says: he may even cut if off and pay for it’ (variants: Kaufmann: הסוכה; Parma A: הַסּוֹכָֿה; Paris: הָסוּכָה).

In its meaning of ‘large branch’ (as opposed to ‘temporary shelter for shade’) סוכה appears once in the Bible: ‎שׂוֹכַ֣ת עֵצִ֔ים (Judg. 9.48),58 and five times in the Mishnah (Makhshirin 1.3; Zabim 3.1, 3.3, 4.3, and in our mishnah). In the mishnah in Baba Kamma, where the word appears for the first time, MSS Cambridge and Parma A vocalise it סוֹכַֿה. Note that in Parma A this word appears in a long continuous section of unvocalised text; nevertheless, the vocaliser of Parma A chose to vocalise this word alone, affirming its unique tradition.59

In MS Kaufmann, on the other hand, the entire line from מה שהיזיק to סוכה is unvocalised. In the facsimile edition there is a dagesh in the kaf of סוכה; in the scanned MS, however, there is no dagesh. The Arukh (s.v. סך) also attests to the version without dagesh in Baba Kamma and connects it to biblical שוכה. As Bar-Asher notes, Parma B always reads סוֹכֿה and Paris סוכּה ;סוכּה is also attested by the vocaliser of MS Kaufmann (in Makhshirin) and K2 (i.e., the second vocaliser, ‘Kaufmann 2’, in Zabim).60

These are, in effect, two nouns that appear in MSS Cambridge, Parma A, and Parma B, where a distinction is made between סוֹכָה ‘branch’ and סוּכָּה ‘shelter’,61 whereas MSS Kaufmann (once), K2, and Paris unite the two nouns in the common פֻּעָה pattern. What emerges from this consideration is that the sole witness to סוכּה in this meaning of ‘branch’ is found once in the vocalised version in MS Kaufmann; all the other witnesses are from second-rate manuscripts.

Bar-Asher thinks that this is not an indication of a mistake on the part of the vocalisers, but rather root or pattern alternations (סוך-סכך; pattern alternation: פּולה-פֻּעָה).62 But given the quality and number of witnesses to סוֹכַֿה, this suggests that the testimony of the manuscripts that distinguish between סוֹכַֿה and סוכּה represents an original, reliable tradition, whereas the unifiers blurred (in a natural, early or late process) the distinction between two close but different meanings. In any event, MS Cambridge highlights the fricative version.


Another noun for which the traditions of Mishnaic Hebrew reflect different patterns is הסף.63 Its vocalisation twice in MS Cambridge witnesses its vocaliser’s adherence to his task of elucidating his tradition.

One occurrence is in Mishnah Kelim 14.5: הסֵף מאימתי מקבל טומאה משישופנו והסכין משישחיזנה ‘When does a sword become susceptible to uncleanness? When it is burnished. And [when is] a knife [susceptible to uncleanness]? [Immediately] after it has been sharpened’ (variants: Kaufmann: הַסַּיִיף/הַסֵּייף; Parma A: הַסֵּףֿ, marginal correction: הַסַּיִיףֿ; Parma B: הַסֵּיףֿ; Paris: הַסַיִיף).

The second occurrence is in Mishnah Kelim 16.8: תיק הסֵף והסכין והפגיון… הרי אלו טמאים ‘The sheath of a sword, or of a knife, or of a dagger… [all] these are susceptive to uncleanness’ (variants: Kaufmann: הַסַּיִיף; Parma A: הסיף; Parma B: הַסֵּיףֿ; Paris: הַסָּיִף).

This noun appears seven times in the Mishnah: in five of these occurrences MS Cambridge’s version is plene with a single yod; it is written defectively twice. The manuscripts of the Mishnah attest to two patterns for this noun: the segholate pattern with the extended diphthong קַיִל, and its contracted diphthong קֵל, similar to the nouns חֵיל–חַיִל ,לֵיל–לַיִל.64 Since the material has already been analysed by Bar-Asher, I restrict my discussion to mapping the distribution of the forms in the various manuscripts vis-à-vis MS Cambridge.65

One tradition (the scribe of MS Kaufmann66 and MS Paris) attests only the pattern קַיִל and is familiar mainly with the double-yod spelling.67 A second tradition (Parma B, and MS Kaufmann in Kelim 14.5, where, it seems, an original הַסַּייף was later corrected to הַסֵּף) attests the contracted form סֵיף. The third (Parma A) knows both alternatives and the three spellings.

It is difficult to identify the tradition reflected in MS Cambridge. On the one hand, it underscores the defective spellings by vocalising them with ṣere, and the plene always has one, not two, yods. On the other hand, because of this manuscript’s preference for defective spelling, a single yod could be understood as an extended diphthong. Perhaps the double vocalisation in this manuscript attests only to the contracted diphthong, but this is not certain.


ֹThe Mishnah in Aboth 4.15 states: ר׳ ינאי אומר אין בידינו לא משִלְוַת הרשעים ואף לא מיסורי הצדיקים ‘R. Jannai said: it is not in our power to explain either the prosperity of the wicked or the tribulations of the righteous’ (variants: Kaufmann: מִשַּלְוַותֿ; Parma A: משלוות; Paris: מִשַּלְוָת).

This noun appears in late biblical literature (Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Psalms, and Proverbs) and only occasionally in Tannaitic literature.68 Its sole appearance in the Mishnah is in tractate Aboth. It is conjugated in two close segholate patterns: qatla and qitla.69 MS Cambridge vocalises it in the qitla pattern, similar to the Babylonian tradition of the Bible, which reads שִלוה.70 MSS Kaufmann and Paris, the remaining sources,71 attest qatla.

Although qatla–qitla alternations are known from different strata of Hebrew,72 the documentation of an eastern variant in the ostensibly western MS Cambridge is of interest.73

Orthography: Homographs

Another sphere that invites vocalisation is that of orthography. As noted above, MS Cambridge is largely unvocalised. Moreover, it consistently adheres to defective spelling, not only in closed but also in open syllables.74 Defective spelling inevitably creates homographs; we therefore find the use of vocalisation to distinguish between them. Vocalisation can also serve to refine a discussion or a textual reading.75 A significant example comes from Abodah Zarah, in which three words in the same mishnah are vocalised.


The Mishnah in Abodah Zarah 2.5 states: אמ׳ לו ישמעאל אחי היאך אתה קורא כי טובים דודֶיךַ מיין או כי טובים דוֹדָיִךְ מיין אמ׳ לו כי טובים דוֹדַיִךְ מיין אמ׳ לו אין הדבר כן שהרי חבירו מלמד עליו לריח שמניך טובים ‘He said to him: Ishmael, my brother, how dost thou read: “for thy (m) love is better than wine”or “for thy (f) love is better…”? He replied: “for thy (f) love”is better. [R. Joshua] said to him: this is not so, for, behold, its fellow [verse] teaches regarding it: “thine (m) ointments have a goodly fragrance”’.


  1. דודֶיךַ: Kaufmann: דּוֹדֶיךָֿ; Parma A: דודיך; Paris: דּוֹדֶיךַ
  2. דוֹדָיִךְ: Kaufmann: דּוֹדַֿיִיךְֿ; Parma A: דודייך; Paris: דוֹדָיִךְ
  3. דוֹדַיִךְ: Kaufmann: דּוֹדַֿיִיךְֿ; Parma A: (lacking); Paris: דּוֹדֵיךָ

The vocalisation of the homographs serves to pinpoint the topic under discussion in this mishnah. Rabbi Joshua asks Rabbi Ishmael’s opinion as to the correct reading of Song of Songs 1.2, focusing on the possessive suffix of the noun דודים: is it masculine or feminine?76 The discussion in the mishnah is somewhat charged with respect to the transmission of the biblical text, because Rabbi Ishmael’s answer reflects a tradition opposite that of the Masoretic Text, which has the masculine form.

MS Cambridge further focuses the debate by vocalising all three forms, including the one in Rabbi Ishmael’s statement. MS Parma A uses plene for the feminine form דודייך as a means of distinguishing between the homographs, whereas the vocaliser of MS Paris vocalises Rabbi Ishmael’s answer (the third occurrence) as masculine, like the Masoretic Text.

טלה וטַלַה

ֹThe Mishnah in Menahoth 13.7 states: מן הבהמה ואיני יודע מה פרשתי יביא פר ופרה עגל ועגלה איל ורחל גדי וגדייה שעיר ושעירה טלה וטַלַה ‘[If he say]: “I clearly stated [what kind] of cattle, but I do not recollect which I said expressly”, he must bring a bullock and a heifer, a he-calf and a she-calf, a ram and a ewe [two years old], a male kid and a female kid [one year old], a he-goat and a she-goat [two years old], and a young ram and a ewe-lamb’ (variants: Kaufmann: טָלֵה וְטָלָה; Parma A: טלה וטלא; Paris: טְלֶה וּטְלָה).

The feminine form טָלָה is a hapax in the Mishnah. In MSS Cambridge, Kaufmann, and Parma A it appears in the פָּעָה pattern, like נָאָה. MS Paris has shewa in the first radical, whereas the Yemenite tradition and the printed editions, both early and late, have a noun that differs consonantally: טליה.77

Examination of the manuscripts of the Mishnah and of various traditions suggests we are dealing with two separate patterns, which resulted in suppletion: on one hand, טָלֶה (ms), טָלָה (fs), טָלִים (pl), based on the pattern of יָפֶה (ms), יָפֶה (fs), יָפִים (pl), and on the other hand, טְלִי >) *טְלֵה*, ms), טליה (fs), טְלָיִים (pl), based on the pattern of גְּדִי (ms), גדיה (fs), גְּדָיִים (pl).78

The first pattern is seen in the BH and MH masculine form טָלֶה, and the feminine form טלָה is attested in reliable manuscripts of the Mishnah, as presented above. The plural form טָלִים is found three times in MS Parma A (in Tamid 3.3), but is also attested by the scribe of MS Kaufmann. Although this scribe generally uses the plene form with consonantal yod,79 in this case he almost uniformly writes טלים defectively (five of six occurrences).80 The defective form טלים is also found at Qumran, in both biblical and non-biblical texts, and even in MS Leiden of the Palestinian Talmud and MS Munich of the Babylonian Talmud.81

Additional evidence for this pattern comes from the plural declension found once in the Mishnah. The phrase לשכת טלאי קרבן (Middoth 1.6), with the biblical plural, is found in the printed editions; in the manuscripts, however, it is declined according to the first pattern: MS Parma A reads טְלֶה קרבן, which can be interpreted as an orthographic alternation between the and suffixes.82 Note that Parma A vocalises this word, even though it appears in an unvocalised section of the manuscript. This isolated instance of vocalisation highlights the rare form. In MSS Kaufmann and Paris a similar version was preserved, but with a lamed/resh alternation: טרי קרבן.83

The second pattern is represented mainly by the biblical plural form טלאים and the Mishnaic Hebrew form טליים. The latter is the tradition adhered to consistently by the vocaliser of MS Kaufmann (see above). This form appears four times in MS Cambridge84 and in Parma A as well.85 Note that the scribes of MSS Cambridge and Kaufmann attest טלאים in the same tractate (Bekhoroth 5.3). Perhaps we can consider the singular form טְלֶה from our mishnah as belonging to this pattern according to MS Paris, and interpret it as an authentic but rejected vestige of this pattern.86

We therefore have here two pattern systems that have already undergone suppletion in the Bible: טלה-טלאים. In the Mishnah, however, the conjugation of טָלה expanded and is found in the feminine and in the plural forms. In Palestinian Aramaic we find טלי-טלייה-טליין.87 This reveals the struggle between the two patterns. Although טלאים and טליים are supported by the Bible and by Aramaic, the forms טלה-טלה-טלים continued to exist. With respect to the forms טַלְיָה and טְלִיָּה, found in the Yemenite tradition and the printed editions, respectively, it is difficult to determine if they were created by analogy to the second, dominant pattern or reflect an early tradition.

Ketiv and qere

Another characteristic of MS Cambridge is the small number of corrections. The manuscript was penned by one or two scribes with an eye to penmanship and design; it appears, however, that, following its completion, the manuscript was set aside and not studied.88 The few corrections made during the writing process are attested here and there in delicate signs of erasure,89 or superlinear dots that mark incorrect word order.90

Marginal notes mentioning variants91 and additions of words or letters above the line by the scribe92 are also found sporadically in the manuscript. For the most part, the scribe took care not to make corrections or erase textual variants. I argue that the scribe used vocalisation to resolve the conflict between his desire to adhere closely to a particular nusaḥ, on the one hand, and the need to correct it, on the other hand. Indeed, there are instances of ketiv and qere in MS Cambridge.


The Mishnah in Terumoth 3.7 states:

ומנין שיקדמו הביכורים לתרומה זה קרוי תרומה וראשית וזה קרוי תרומה וראשית אלא יקדמו הביכורים שהן בְיכֵרִים לכל ותרומה לראשון שהיא ראשית ומעשר ראשון לשני שיש בו ראשית.

And whence that first-fruits come before priest’s-due? after all, the one is called priest’s-due and the first, and the other is called priest’s-due and the first. But first-fruits come first because they are the first-fruits [בְיכֵרִים] of all produce; and priest’s-due precedes first tithe since it is termed first; and first tithe before second because it includes the first.

Variants: Kaufmann: בִּכּוּרִים; Parma A: בְּכֵֿרִֿים; Paris: בְּכֵירִים

The word בכרים in this mishnah indicates antecedence, in this case the first of the first-fruits. MSS Cambridge, Parma A, and Paris vocalise it as the plural active participle, which is in harmony with the syntactic context of the mishnah (it was also vocalised thus by Joseph Ashkenazi ‘according to a manuscript’ as cited in Melekhet Shlomo ad loc.). MS Kaufmann, on the other hand, presents the spelling and vocalisation בִּכּוּרִים, ostensibly an expansion of its meaning of ‘the result of an action’.

The version in MS Cambridge, with yod in the first syllable, may represent a vocal shewa spelled plene, but this seems unlikely.93 It may also reflect indecision as to the correct version: that of MS Kaufmann (vocalising the initial syllable with yod) or the versions that appear reasonable based on the context and other manuscripts (defective spelling in the second syllable). Here the vocaliser settled matters without intervening in the consonantal text.


ֹThe Mishnah in Tohoroth 4.10 states:

ר׳ יוסי אומ׳ ספק משקים לאכלים ולכלים טהור כיצד שתי חביות אחת טמאה ואחת טהורה עשה עסה מאחת מהן ספק מן הטְומֵאָה עשה ספק מן הטהורה עשה זה הוא ספק משקים לאכלים טמא ולכלים טהור.

Rabbi Jose says: if there be a doubt whether [unclean] liquid [touched clean] foodstuffs, these become unclean, but in the case of [clean] utensils, these remain clean. Thus, if there were two casks, one unclean and the other clean, and one kneaded dough [with the water] from one of them, [and there is] a doubt [whether] he kneaded [it with the water] from the unclean [הטְומֵאָה] [cask or whether it is in] doubt whether he kneaded [it with the water] from the clean one, this is [a case of] doubt whether [unclean] liquid [touched clean] foodstuffs, these become unclean, but [in the case of clean] utensils, these remain clean.

Variants: Kaufmann: הַטְּומֵאָה; Parma A: הטמאה; Parma B: הַטְּמֵיאָה; Paris: הַטְּמֶאָה.

This mishnah deals with the purity or impurity of liquids, and sets the Halakhah — pure or impure — for various situations. In this instance, we have two casks, one of which is pure; the other is impure. The continuation ‘kneaded dough from one of them’ refers to the casks mentioned in the previous sentence. The second phrase concerning the doubt as to whether the water came from the pure cask also leads to this conclusion. The expected version טמאה does appear in MSS Parma A, Parma B, and Paris, but MSS Cambridge and Kaufmann have an identical example of ketiv and qere: the ketiv is הטומאה and the qere is הטמאה.

Ketivim of טמאה as טומאה appear in six other places in MS Kaufmann (Kelim 10.8; Negaim 6.2, 13.8; Tohoroth 4.10, 6.3, 6.4),94 and also in MS Vatican 60 of Sifra we find מִטמֵאָה לִטהוֹרָה מִטְהוֹרָה לִטְומֵאָה, with the waw in the last word crossed out.

The many occurrences in MS Kaufmann, whose version is supported by MSS Cambridge of the Mishnah and Vatican of Sifra, clearly testify to a stable tradition of טומאה in the sense of טמאה and negate the argument that this is a mistake or simply a copyist’s error.

This is another example of a common phonological phenomenon in Mishnaic Hebrew: variation before a labial consonant and the realisation ṭəmeʾa as ṭumeʾa. This variation often takes place in Mishnaic Hebrew between vowels, usually in closed syllables.95 This word, however, provides evidence of the variation of an ultra-short vowel (vocal shewa) before a labial consonant. But additional sources from this period attest to vowel variation in this position: the Isaiah Scroll from Qumran, Palestinian Aramaic dialects, and Greek transcriptions, as Kutscher has shown.96 Thus, in Mishnaic Hebrew the influence of labial consonants extended to ultra-short vowels.97

Foreign Words

Any discussion of the vocalisation in MS Cambridge must address the scribe-vocaliser’s treatment of foreign words. Some 10 percent of the vocalised words belong to this category and they are mainly Greek words. This phenomenon is important, as is the vocalisation of these words, because it may assist identification of the precise region in Byzantium where the scribe-vocaliser resided. To date, however, it has proven impossible to identify the specific locale.

This differs from what we find in other manuscripts of the Mishnah: in MS Paris, for example, most of the unvocalised words are foreign, which suggests ‘that he did not know how to read them’.98 In contrast, the vocaliser of MS Cambridge chose to vocalise these words specifically; moreover, his vocalisation represents a tradition that can at times differ in terms of spelling and vocalisation from the tradition of other manuscripts of the Mishnah. Two examples follow.


The Mishnah in Sotah 7.8 states: עושין לו בֵימַה של עץ בעזרה והוא יושב עליה ‘they prepared for him [sc. the king] in the Temple Court a platform of wood and he sat thereon’ (variants: Kaufmann: בִֿימָא; Paris: בִּימָה; Genizah fragment T-S E1.97: בֶימָה).99

The origin of this noun is the Greek βῆμα.100 Most of the rabbinic sources that vocalise this word attest to ḥireq in the first syllable,101 with the exception of its rare vocalisation with an e-vowel in MS Cambridge and a Genizah fragment.

In his discussion of loanwords, Heijmans describes the realisation of the Greek vowel η over time and determines that it was pronounced [e] in the Hellenistic-Roman period, but that a shift from [e] to [i] took place in Byzantine times. He sees the pronunciation with ḥireq as reflecting a late realisation of the Greek η.102 Thus MS Cambridge reflects an earlier form as compared to those found in other manuscripts.


The Mishnah states in Kilaim 1.2: הַקִשוֹת וְהַמִלְפְפְוֹן אינן כלאים זה בזה ‘cucumber and cucumber-melon are not forbidden junction one with the other’ (variants: Kaufmann: וְהַמַּלְפְּפֿוֹן; Parma A: וְהָמָּלְפְּפוֹן; Paris: וְהָמֵלָפְפוֹן).

The source of this noun is the Greek μηλοπέπων.103 Here, as in the previous example, we also have the letter eta. MSS Kaufmann and Parma A vocalise the initial syllable with a, whereas MS Cambridge has i. The realisation a for Greek eta is strange, and apparently represents a development later than the realisation with i.104 Heijmans argues that the person who vocalised with i knew the Greek word as pronounced after the Greek [e]>[i] shift. In any event, the ḥireq found in MS Cambridge has a basis in a known process that took place in Greek and seems to reflect knowledge of this form.


I have presented here only a fraction of the vocalised words scattered throughout MS Cambridge of the Mishnah. I have attempted to demonstrate that these select examples reflect deliberate choices on the vocaliser’s part. MS Cambridge shares some superior traditions — as reflected in the words טמאה-טומאה ,טלה ,בכרים ,הסף ,הסוכה ,אדיין — with Italian manuscripts; others, such as בימה ,רופיים ,מלאין ,לעזר ,היו and מילפפון, are uniquely Byzantine. In addition, we have seen that, despite its relatively late date, MS Cambridge reflects a superior, Byzantine tradition of MH, which is supported by the witnesses of the Italian tradition, MSS Kaufmann, and Parma A. On the other hand, we have also seen that the Byzantine tradition has unique features that are undoubtedly early and accurate. This enables us to add to our knowledge a hidden, ancient Palestinian tradition that circulated in Byzantium. This independent tradition evidences affinity to the other extant, superior sources of Mishnaic Hebrew.

1 Moshe Bar-Asher, Studies in Mishnaic Hebrew, vol. 1 (in Hebrew; Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 2009), pp. 79–80; idem, “The Different Traditions of Mishnaic Hebrew”, in: David M. Golomb (ed.), Working with No Data: Semitic and Egyptian Studies Presented to Thomas O. Lambdin (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1987), pp. 1–38, at pp. 2–6.

2 Yehudit Henshke, “Gutturals in MS Cambridge of the Mishnah”, Hebrew Studies 52 (2011), pp. 171–199, at p. 172, n. 3.

3 Malachi Beit-Arié, “Ketav yad Kaufmann shel ha-mishnah: Motsaʾo u-zmano” (in Hebrew), in: Moshe Bar-Asher (ed.), Qovets maʾamarim bi-leshon ḥazal (Jerusalem: Hebrew University — The Faculty of the Humanities and the Department of Hebrew, 1980), pp. 84–99, at pp. 91–92; Gideon Haneman, A Morphology of Mishnaic Hebrew: According to the Tradition of the Parma Manuscript (De-Rossi 138) (in Hebrew; Texts and Studies in the Hebrew Language and Related Subjects, vol. 3; Tel-Aviv: Tel-Aviv University, 1980), pp. 6–7.

4 Beit-Arié, “Ketav yad Kaufmann”, p. 88; Haneman, Morphology of Mishnaic Hebrew, pp. 6–7.

5 I thank Edna Engel and Malachi Beit-Arié for the time they devoted to examining various paleographical and codicological aspects of the manuscript at my request. See also Yaakov Sussmann, “Manuscripts and Text Traditions of the Mishnah” (in Hebrew), in: Proceedings of the Seventh World Congress of Jewish Studies: Studies in the Talmud, Halacha and Midrash (Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1981), pp. 215–250, at p. 220, n. 30.

6 See, among others: Moshe Bar-Asher, The Tradition of Mishnaic Hebrew in the Communities of Italy (in Hebrew; Edah ve-Lashon, vol. 6; Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1980); idem, Studies in Mishnaic Hebrew, 2 vols. (in Hebrew; Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 2009); Yaakov Bentolila, A French-Italian Tradition of Post-Biblical Hebrew (in Hebrew; Edah ve-Lashon, vol. 14; Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1989); Michael Ryzhik, The Traditions of Mishnaic Hebrew in Italy (in Hebrew; Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 2008).

7 Nicholas De Lange, Greek Jewish Texts from the Cairo Genizah (Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism, vol. 51; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1996); Israel Ta-Shma, Studies in Medieval Rabbinic Literature, vol. 3: Italy and Byzantium (in Hebrew; Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 2005).

8 For selected studies that have appeared in recent years, see James K. Aitken, and James Carleton Paget (eds.), The Jewish-Greek Tradition in Antiquity and the Byzantine Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014); Robert Bonfil et al. (eds.), Jews in Byzantium: Dialectics of Minority and Majority Cultures (Leiden: Brill, 2012); Gershon Brin, Reuel and His Friends: Jewish-Byzantine Exegetes from Around the Tenth Century C.E. (in Hebrew; Tel-Aviv: Tel-Aviv University Press, 2012); Dov Schwartz, Jewish Thought in Byzantium in the Late Middle Ages (in Hebrew; Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2016); John Tolan, Nicolas de Lange, Laurence Foschia, and Capucine Nemo-Pekelman, Jews in Early Christian Law: Byzantium and the Latin West, 6th–11th Centuries (Turnhout: Brepols, 2014).

9 Yehudit Henshke, “Emphatic Consonants in MS Cambridge (Lowe Edition) of the Mishna” (in Hebrew), Leshonenu 72 (2010), pp. 421–450; eadem, “Gutturals in MS Cambridge of the Mishnah”; eadem, “The Vocalization of MS Cambridge of the Mishnah: Between Ashkenaz and Italy” (in Hebrew), Leshonenu 74 (2012), pp. 143–163; eadem, “The Orthography of Rabbinic Texts: The Case of MS Cambridge of the Mishnah”, Revue des Études Juives 175 (2016), pp. 225–249.

10 Yehudit Henshke, “The Byzantine Hebrew Tradition as Reflected in MS Cambridge of the Mishnah”, Journal of Jewish Studies 65 (2014), pp. 1–25, at pp. 1–2.

11 See ibid., p. 2, n. 8.

12 Mordechay Mishor, “On the Vocalization of MS Erfurt of the Tosefta” (in Hebrew), Leshonenu 64 (2002), pp. 364–392, at p. 233.

13 Erubin 3.9. The Hebrew text of the Mishnah quoted here and below is according to MS Cambridge; the English translation follows, with some minor corrections, the translation of Philip Blackman, Mishnayoth: Pointed Hebrew Text, English Translation, Introductions (2nd ed.; New York: Judaica Press, 1963–1964).

14 Budapest, MS Kaufmann A 50 (=Kaufmann).

15 Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, MS Parma 3173 (de Rossi 138) (=Parma A).

16 Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS 328–329 (=Paris).

17 Abraham Goldberg, The Mishna Treatise Eruvin: Critically Edited and Provided with Introduction, Commentary and Notes (in Hebrew; Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1986), p. 95.

18 On the defective spelling in this manuscript, see Henshke, “Orthography”.

19 See Shlomo Naeh, “Shtei sugiyot nedoshot bi-leshon ḥazal” (in Hebrew), in: Moshe Bar-Asher and David Rosenthal (eds.), Meḥqerei Talmud: Talmudic Studies Dedicated to the Memory of Professor Eliezer Shimshon Rosenthal, vol. 2 (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1993), pp. 364–392, at pp. 364–369, and the literature cited there. See also Bar-Asher, Studies in Mishnaic Hebrew, vol. 1, p. 148; Yochanan Breuer, “The Babylonian Branch of Mishnaic Hebrew and Its Relationship with the Epigraphic Material from Palestine” (in Hebrew), Carmillim 10 (2014), pp. 132–140, at p. 134; Gabriel Birnbaum, The Language of the Mishna in the Cairo Geniza: Phonology and Morphology (in Hebrew; Sources and Studies [New Series], vol. 10; Jerusalem: The Academy of the Hebrew Language, 2008), pp. 327–329.

20 See Hanna M. Cotton et al., Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae, vol. 1 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012), pp. 124, 232, 369, 576; Michael Sokoloff, “The Hebrew of Bereshit Rabba According to MS Vat. Ebr. 30” (in Hebrew), Leshonenu 33 (1969), pp. 25–52, 135–149, 270–279, at pp. 39–40 and the bibliography there.

21 See Cotton, Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae, vol. 2, p. 164 and vol. 3, p. 442; Sokoloff, “The Hebrew of Bereshit Rabba”, pp 39–40.

22 In MS Kaufmann it is vocalised לְעָזָר. Its vocaliser adds segol before the shortened form of the name; see Eduard Y. Kutscher, Hebrew and Aramaic Studies (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1977), p. 11. The vocaliser of Parma B, on the other hand, does not vocalise the alef (Bar-Asher, Studies in Mishnaic Hebrew, vol. 1, p. 148). This is also true of short names in the Babylonian tradition; see Israel Yeivin, The Hebrew Language Tradition as Reflected in the Babylonian Vocalization (in Hebrew; Jerusalem: Academy of the Hebrew Language, 1985), p. 1079.

23 Birnbaum, Mishna in the Cairo Geniza, p. 299.

24 Shimon Sharvit, Studies in Mishnaic Hebrew (Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 2008), p. 350, line 15.

25 Louis Ginzberg, “Qitsur hagadot ha-yerushalmi”, in: Genizah Studies in Memory of Doctor Solomon Schechter, vol. 1 (in Hebrew; Texts and Studies of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, vol. 7; New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1928), pp. 387–429, at p. 397, line 16; note that the reference in Eduard Y. Kutscher, “Leshon ḥazal” (in Hebrew), in: Saul Lieberman et al. (eds.), Henoch Yalon Jubilee Volume on the Occasion of his Seventy-fifth Birthday (Jerusalem: Kiryat Sepher, 1963), pp. 246–280, at p. 280, is incorrect.

26 See Henshke, “Gutturals”, pp. 185–187.

27 Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, de Rossi 497 (=Parma B).

28 The spelling with samekh hid the של from the separators.

29 The plene spelling apparently kept the של from being separated. There are additional examples of preservation of של in similar settings. On the other hand, in other instances such spellings were separated in a way that accurately reflects the original version; for example, של ישנצות (Kelim 26.2).

30 The homographic spelling hid the של. See Jacob N. Epstein, Introduction to the Mishnaic Text, vol. 2 (in Hebrew; 3rd ed. Jerusalem: Magnes Press and Tel-Aviv: Dvir, 2000), p. 1207.

31 See the bibliographical survey in Yochanan Breuer, The Hebrew in the Babylonian Talmud according to the Manuscripts of Tractate Pesaḥim (in Hebrew; Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2002), p. 131, n. 383.

32 Breuer, ibid., 130–132.

33 Shimon Sharvit, “Two Phonological Phenomena in Mishnaic Hebrew” (in Hebrew), Te‘uda 6 (1988), pp. 43–61, at p. 60.

34 Eduard Y. Kutscher, Hebrew and Aramaic Studies, pp. 349–350.

35 See Bar-Asher, Studies in Mishnaic Hebrew, vol. 1, pp. 140–141, and the references cited there.

36 For additional data, see Bar-Asher, Morphology of Mishnaic Hebrew: Introductions and Noun Morphology, vol. 2 (in Hebrew; Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 2015), pp. 1498–1499. I also add a Genizah fragment (Birnbaum, Mishna in the Cairo Geniza, p. 166) which places a dagesh in the initial bet. In the Yemenite tradition the ayin is vocalised with ḥireq. See Yeivin, Babylonian Vocalization, p. 980, n. 10.

37 MS Paris generally marks dagesh lene (Bar-Asher, Mishnaic Hebrew in the Communities of Italy, p. 45).

38 I thank Emmanuel Mastéy for his assistance in reading the text.

39 Kutscher, Hebrew and Aramaic Studies, pp. 450–451. See also Breuer, Pesaḥim, pp. 276–277 and the literature cited there.

40 Henshke, “Gutturals”, pp. 185–187; Sharvit, Phonology of Mishaic Hebrew, pp. 110–115.

41 In the Bible, the parallel word is with ayin: עדנה ,עדן. See Kutscher, Hebrew and Aramaic Studies, p. 450.

42 Birnbaum, Mishna in the Cairo Geniza, pp. 290–291, 299, 302.

43 Henshke, “Gutturals”, pp. 199–200; Yeivin, Babylonian Vocalization, p. 1142. Alongside it we find the alternative: עד אין–עד אן, see below.

44 Henshke, “Gutturals”, p. 200.

45 See ibid., pp. 199–200.

46 See Yeivin, Babylonian Vocalization, p. 1142; Sharvit, Phonology of Mishaic Hebrew, pp. 78–79; Breuer, Pesaḥim, p. 102. The parallel phrase עד אין is always written with ayin. See Yeivin, Babylonian Vocalization, p. 1142; Sharvit, Phonology of Mishnaic Hebrew, pp. 78–79; and Breuer, Pesaḥim, pp. 276–277.

47 In the printed editions, this verb became הוו, and in the Yemenite tradition as well; see Yitschak Shivtiʾel, “Massorot ha-temanim be-diqduq leshon ha-mishna” (in Hebrew), in: Saul Lieberman et al. (eds.), Henoch Yalon Jubilee Volume on the Occasion of his Seventy-fifth Birthday (Jerusalem: Kiryat Sepher, 1963), pp. 338–359, at p. 348.

48 On the sources of the two conjugations in Mishnaic Hebrew, see Zeʾev Ben-Ḥayyim, A Grammar of Samaritan Hebrew: Based on the Recitation of the Law in Comparison with the Tiberian and Other Jewish Traditions (Jerusalem: Magnes and Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2000), p. 163, n. 65; Haneman, Morphology of Mishnaic Hebrew, pp. 386–387; Bar- Asher, Studies in Mishnaic Hebrew, vol. 2, p. 183.

49 Including Maimonides’ version of the Mishnah; See Talma Zurawel, Maimonides’ Tradition of Mishnaic Hebrew as Reflected in His Autograph Commentary to the Mishnah: Phonology and Verbal System (in Hebrew; Edah ve-Lashon, vol. 25; Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2004), p. 160.

50 The imperative form of the root הי״י vocalised as a past tense form in MS Kaufmann occurs another time in this manuscript: ומנין להביא עוד שלשה, ממשמע שנאמר ״לא תהיה אחרי רבים לרעות״ שומע אני שאמר הָיָה עמהן לטובה ‘And whence [do we conclude] that three others were still to be brought? By logical conclusion, as it is said: “thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil”, I infer that I am to be with them to do good’ (Sanhedrin 1.6). This is an isolated instance in which Parma A vocalises the yod with ṣere in an unvocalised section.

51 Haneman, Morphology of Mishnaic Hebrew, p. 387.

52 In Aboth 2.3 there is an erasure (Bar-Asher, Studies in Mishnaic Hebrew, vol. 2, p. 183), which has been corrected to הוון.

53 We find this in Maimonides’ version of the Mishnah (Zurawel, Maimonides’ Tradition of Mishnaic Hebrew, p. 160). In the Babylonian tradition of the Mishnah there are two occurrences with yod in Aboth (Yeivin, Babylonian Vocalization, p. 721); Shimon Sharvit, Tractate Avoth Through the Ages: A Critical Edition, Prolegomena and Appendices (in Hebrew; Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 2004), pp. 63, 65, 83.

54 Note that MS Kaufmann evidences some hesitation in the writing of the mishna: there is a space before the verb היו.

55 See Sharvit, Studies in Mishnaic Hebrew, pp. 30–34.

56 See Eliezer Shimshon Rosenthal, “Tradition and Innovation in the Halakha of the Sages” (in Hebrew), Tarbiẓ 63 (1994), pp. 321–324, at p. 359.

57 See the comprehensive discussion of this mishnah, ibid., pp. 359–374.

58 Alongside the masculine שוֹכֹה (Judg. 9.49).

59 There are additional examples of sporadic vocalisations that are shared by Parma A and Cambridge.

60 Bar-Asher, Morphology of Mishnaic Hebrew, p. 1167. In Parma A the other occurrences are not vocalised.

61 For additional attestation to the vocalisation סוֹכָה, see ibid.

62 Bar-Asher, Studies in Mishnaic Hebrew, vol. 2, pp. 285–286; idem, Morphology of Mishnaic Hebrew, p. 1167.

63 Epstein, Introduction to the Mishnaic Text, p. 1241, cites this example in his linguistic description, linking it to other nouns whose historical pattern is not identical to סיף.

64 Kutscher, Hebrew and Aramaic Studies, p. 446; Bar-Asher, Studies in Mishnaic Hebrew, vol. 1, pp. 7–8, 121.

65 Bar-Asher, Morphology of Mishnaic Hebrew, p. 653–654.

66 The vocaliser of MS Kaufmann must be included in this tradition, with the exception of his reservations as revealed in Kelim 14.5. See below.

67 The scribe of MS Kaufmann always writes two yods; the scribe of Paris almost always. The קיל pattern is also found in the Babylonian tradition; see Yeivin, Babylonian Vocalization, p. 869.

69 On the alternation of these patterns, see Yeivin, Babylonian Vocalization, pp. 817, 863–864.

70 Alongside שַלוה. See ibid., p. 871.

71 Sharvit, Tractate Avoth, p. 164.

72 Elisha Qimron and Daniel Sivan, “Interchanges of Pataḥ and Ḥiriq and the Attenuation Law” (in Hebrew), Leshonenu 59 (1995), pp. 7–38, at pp. 30–31, and the literature cited there; Ilan Eldar, The Hebrew Language Tradition in Medieval Ashkenaz (ca. 950–1350 C.E.) (in Hebrew), vol. 2 (Edah ve-Lashon, vol. 5; Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1978), pp. 137–138.

73 Mention should be made of זיהמה, which is attested in the pre-Ashkenazic tradition (with no parallels); see Eldar, ibid.

74 Henshke, “Orthography”.

75 See above, the discussion on החדש החדש.

76 For the different proposals, see Shlomo Naeh, “‘Tovim dodecha mi-yayin’: Mabbat ḥadash ʿal mishnat ʿavoda zara 2, 5” (in Hebrew), in: Moshe Bar-Asher et al. (eds.), Studies in Talmudic and Midrashic Literature: In Memory of Tirzah Lifshitz (Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 2005), pp. 411–434; David Henshke, “‘For Your Love is More Delightful than Wine:’ Concerning Tannaitic Biblical Traditions” (in Hebrew), Jewish Studies Internet Journal 10 (2010), pp. 1–24.

77 For details, see Bar-Asher, Morphology of Mishnaic Hebrew, p. 831.

78 Some dictionaries of Biblical Hebrew reconstruct the form טְלִי as the singular of biblical טְלָאִים. See Eduard König, Hebräisches und Aramäisches Wörterbuch zum Alten Testament (Leipzig: Weicher, 1910), p. 135; Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, Lexicon in Veteris Testamentis libros (Leiden: Brill, 1953), p. 352. Samuel Fuenn, Ha-otsar: Otsar leshon ha-Miqra ve-ha-mishna, vol. 2 (in Hebrew; Warsaw: Achiasaf, 1912), p. 188–189, follows in their wake, and cites the plural version found in Middoth 1.6: לשכת טלי קרבן.

79 Michael Ryzhik, “Orthography: Rabbinic Hebrew”, in: Geoffrey Khan (ed.), Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics, vol. 2 (Leiden: Brill, 2013), pp. 955–956.

80 For details see Bar-Asher, Morphology of Mishnaic Hebrew, p. 831.

81 For the Qumran material, see Abegg et al., The Dead Sea Scrolls Concordance (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2003–2010), vol. 1/1, p. 284, vol. 3/1, p. 272; for MSS Leiden and Munich, see Maagarim.

82 Epstein, Introduction to the Mishnaic Text, pp. 1251–1252, treats the opposite alternation: heh > yod.

83 MS Kaufmann emends to טדי. See Bar-Asher, Morphology of Mishnaic Hebrew, p. 831. This mishnah is cited in b.Yoma 15b and has variants there (cited according to the Sol and Evelyn Henkind Talmud Text Database): טלי (MS Munich, Munich 6, Oxford 366, and Vatican 134); טלה (MS London 400 and a segment of St. Peterburg RNL Yevr. IIA293.1); טלאי (Yemenite MS, NY, JTS Enelow 270).

84 Arakhin 2.5; Tamid 3.3 (three times). טלים appears once (Bekhoroth 1.3) and the other occurrence is, as noted, טלאים (Bekhoroth 5.3).

85 Vocalised three times (Bekhoroth 1.3, 1.5; Arakhin 2.5), and spelled once plene unvocalised: טליים (Arakhin 2.5).

86 Even though the feminine טְלָה remains anomalous.

87 Meaning ‘small child’; see Michael Sokoloff, A Dictionary of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic of the Byzantine Period (2nd ed.; Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 2002), pp. 235–236; idem, A Dictionary of Judean Aramaic (Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 2003), p. 52. It is the same in Babylonian Aramaic; see idem, A Dictionary of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic of the Talmudic and Geonic Periods (Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 2002), pp. 504–505.

88 This was the conclusion reached by Malachi Beit-Arié after examining a photograph of the manuscript. I thank him for his time and effort.

89 E.g., in the sentence כל הכלים ניטלי׳ בשבת ושיבריהם ניטלים ובלבד לצורך ושלא לצורך (Shabbath 17.4), the words בשבת ושיבריהם ניטלים ובלבד are crossed out.

90 E.g., on the word המחולקת (Pesahim 4.1) dots indicate that the waw and lamed should be interchanged; in על חציו גבי (Oholoth 18.5) dots indicate that חציו and גבי should be interchanged.

91 E.g., שהוא הקדש [נ״א מקודש] (Nazir 5.3).

92 E.g., גמר [את] כל הפרשה (Yebamoth 12.6).

93 There are isolated examples of plene spelling for vocal shewa, but most are given to alternative explanations.

94 Bar-Asher, Morphology of Mishnaic Hebrew, p. 779, already noted three occurrences, to which I have supplied an additional three.

95 See Bar-Asher, Studies in Mishnaic Hebrew, vol. 1, p. 225, n. 15; pp. 251–252; vol. 2, pp. 6–8, 187–188 and the bibliography cited there.

96 Eduard Y. Kutscher, The Language and Linguistic Background of the Isaiah Scroll (1 Q Isaa) (Leiden: Brill), pp. 497–498.

97 I chanced on another example of the variation of shewa before labials in MS Kaufmann: שְ(ו)מָרָיו in the meaning of שמרים ‘yeast’ (Baba Metzia 4.11). MSS Cambridge and Parma A have the usual version שמריו.

98 Bar-Asher, Mishnaic Hebrew in Italy, p. 9.

99 For the Genizah fragment see also Birnbaum, Mishna in the Cairo Geniza, p. 300.

100 Samuel Krauss, Griechische und Lateinische Lehnwörter im Talmud, Midrasch und Targum, vol. 2 (Berlin: Calvary, 1899), p. 150.

101 Shai Heijmans, “Greek and Latin Loanwords in Mishnaic Hebrew: Lexicon and Phonology” (in Hebrew; PhD dissertation, Tel-Aviv University, 2013), p. 67.

102 Ibid., pp. 264–265.

103 Krauss, Lehnwörter, vol. 2, p. 336.

104 Heijmans, “Greek and Latin Loanwords”, p. 266.