Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Spirtuality of A Mapik Hei הרוחניות של 'מפיק הא'

A dot inside of a Hei is not called a דגש but rather a מפיק, literally “one which brings out,” and is found at the end of a word (though a similar undotted ה can occur in the midst of words such as התמהמהנו). This reflects the proper pronunciation of a מפיק, the expulsion of of a breath from one’s mouth without an accompanying vowel or consonant. On the most basic, fundamental level, the proper annunciation of a מפיק is essential to ensure that the correct meaning of a word is articulated, and not confused with a similar word lacking a מפיק.
Yet when pronounced in a ritual context, whether reciting a biblical or liturgical text, the proper articulation of the מפיק can lead to unparalleled depths of meaning and feeling. Not only do we attempt to use all of our intellect and intention when reciting sacred words, but the proper expression of the מפיק allows us to use the simplest and most basic, natural breath to praise God. This is true of any pronunciation of the מפיק in a sacred context, but is especially appropriate since the מפיק appears quite commonly in names of God, such as י-ה. The feeling which can be achieved by expressing a מפיק (without even going beyond these standard, established rules of Hebrew grammar) can be seen in the words of Psalms 150:6 which itself contains 2 מפיקים. The psalmist exclaims, “כֹּל הַנְּשָׁמָה, תְּהַלֵּל יָהּ הַלְלוּ-יָהּ” Let the entire soul praise You, Halleluyah (may God be praised). The word נשמה, translated as soul, is etymologically related to the word נשימה, meaning breath, so it thus flows that we should attempt to express our feelings to God with our entire breath, through that most basic expulsion of breath which is the מפיק.