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Is a Beracha Pronounced "Bore Peri" or "Bore Feri"?

When reciting the Beracha over fruits ("Ha'etz"), vegetables ("Ha'adama") or wine ("Ha'gefen"), should one pronounce the Beracha as "Bore Peri" or "Bore Feri"?

There is a fundamental rule of grammar which dictates that whenever a letter in the group of letters called "Begedkefet" "Bet," "Gimal," "Dalet," "Kaf," "Pe" and "Tav" appears at the beginning of the word, it receives a "Dagesh" (dot in the middle of the word). At first glance, then, it would seem that since the word "Peri" begins with letter "Pe," the "Pe" receives a "Dagesh" and the word should therefore indeed be pronounced "Peri," rather than "Feri."

However, this rule is subject to the condition that the previous word does not end with an "Alef," "He," "Vav" or "Yod." If the previous word does end with one of these four letters, then the "Begedkefet" word is pronounced without a "Dagesh." Hence, since the word before "Peri" is "Bore," which ends with the letter "Alef," it would appear that the "Pe" should be pronounced without a "Dagesh," and the word should thus be recited as "Feri." This is indeed the position taken by Hacham Bension Abba Shaul (Israel, 1923-1998), in his work Or Le'sion (vol. 2, 46:34).

Hacham Ovadia Yosef, however, disagrees, and rules (in Hazon Ovadia Laws of Berachot, p. 182) that the proper pronunciation is in fact "Peri." He notes another detail in the laws of Hebrew grammar, namely, that if two adjacent words are separated by a pause, then the final letter of the first word does not affect the first letter of the second word. Even if the first word ends with an "Alef," "He," "Vav" or "Yod," this will not affect the status of the "Begedkefet" word at the beginning of the second word, and it will receive a "Dagesh." According to Hacham Ovadia, the words "Bore" and "Peri" in these Berachot are separated by a slight pause; the Beracha should be read as, "Bore Peri Ha'gefen/Ha'adama/Ha'etz." Therefore, even though the word "Bore" ends with an "Alef," the "Pe" at the beginning of the next word receives a "Dagesh" and the word is therefore pronounced "Peri," rather than "Feri." This is likewise the pronunciation that appears in the "Ish Masli'ah" edition of the Siddur, which is based upon the rulings of Rav Meir Mazuz (contemporary).

Parenthetically, it should be noted that these rules of grammar are particularly complex and subject to many conditions. One interesting exception to this rule appears in a verse in "Az Yashir" which contains the phrase "Yidemu Ka'aven" ("They [the nations] were silenced like stone" Shemot 15:16). Interestingly, the "Kaf" at the beginning of the second word receives a "Dagesh" and is pronounced as a "K" sound (rather than a "CH" sound), despite the fact that the previous word ends with the letter "Vav." And in this case, there is clearly no pause separating the two words. The reason for this exception is that if we would follow the conventional rules of grammar, we would pronounce this phrase as "Yidemu Cha'aven," which would sound like "Yidemucha Aven" "They compared You to a stone" suggesting a resemblance between the Almighty and stone, Heaven forbid. The rules are therefore suspended in this instance, and we pronounce this phrase "Yidemu Ka'aven."

Returning to the pronunciation of Berachot, since both pronunciations are supported by leading Halachic authorities, each person should follow the pronunciation he learned from his parents of Rabbis.

Summary: There is a difference of opinion among the Halachic authorities as to whether the phrase "Bore Peri" in Berachot should be pronounced "Bore Peri" or "Bore Feri." Both views are valid, and one should therefore follow the custom of his family or Rabbis.

 


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