Monday, April 12, 2021

.ב Plural of מקוה

Well, what is it? The 6th מסכתא in טהרות is commonly known as מקואות. I would have to say that that is certainly the most common pronunciation. However, the text in our opening משנה seems to imply that perhaps it is מקוות. Is it possible that it depends on סמיכות? That is, the regular plural is מקואות but next to מים, it becomes מקוות מים.


  1. In fact, one should wonder why the fem. form is used, when מקוה is masc. both in form (note the segol) and in use. cf:
    אך מעיין ובור מקוה מים יהיה טהור
    מקוה שנמדד ונמצא חסר
    - J B Gross

    1. The segol doesn't count - it is because מקוה is connected to מים. Plus, in that instance it isn't a regular noun.
      On the other hand, the addition of the aleph to a plural isn't unheard of (maybe תקוה or think פליסטינאים).

      And while I'm sort of on the subject - I've wondered why Palestinians aren't usually just called Palestinim in Hebrew, unless it is to differentiate and not give a semblance of legitimacy, or confusion with the Pelishtim. Although as far as adding an aleph to the plural, even in English, similar things are done, making plurals more complicated than need be. Biblical tribes/nations - Israelite, Moabite, Amalekite, etc. instead of just the 'i' or some other plural form such as Egyptian, while Hebrew doesn't get any sort of possesive, just an 's' for a plural.