וימררו. ידוע הוא כי התי"ו סימן לנקבות על הרוב והמ"ם סימן לזכרים כמו מועדות ומועדים. ודרך חכמי ספרד כי בניני הפעלים שמורים ולא תחסר אות מן השרש. ואינם כן רק שמות דברים יאמרו כאשר נמצאו. כי יחיד מן מועדות מועד לא מועדה. כאשר אמר החכם בעיניו כי מן מקום יאמר מקומים וממקומות מקומה. אולי יפקח עיניו ויראה כי מן בכור יאמר בכורים. למכה מצרים בבכוריהם. והנה ובכורות בקרך. אם כן יהיה היחיד בכורה. וככה לבנים לא יאמר לבן כי אם לבנה. AND THEY MADE THEIR LIVES BITTER. It is known that the tav, in a majority of instances, is the sign of the feminine plural and the mem of the masculine plural. Compare, mo’adot (seasons) (II Chron. 8:13) and mo’adim (seasons) (Gen. 1:14).124Mo’adot is feminine. Mo’adim is masculine. According to the Spanish scholars verbal forms are kept and do not drop any of their root letters.125The root assigned to a verb is consistent throughout the conjugation. Thus one stem will not be assigned to the singular and another to the plural. However, this is not the case with nouns. Nouns are only employed as found in Scripture,126Their singulars and plurals are often grammatically inconsistent. for the singular of mo’adot (seasons) is mo’ed, not mo’adah as the person who thinks he is so brilliant believes.127I.E. does not identify the grammarian that he is referring to. This grammarian held that a word with a feminine plural ending must similarly have a feminine ending in the singular. Mo’adot is a feminine plural form. Mo’ed is a masculine singular form. These two forms are inconsistent. The unnamed sage thus postulated that a female form mo’adah existed, the plural of which is mo’adot. However, no such form is found in Scripture. The latter would maintain that the plural of makom (place)128Makom is masculine. is mekomim129There is no such word. The plural of makom is mekomot. Mekomot has a feminine ending. and the singular of mekomot (places) is mekomah.130There is no such noun. However, there would be if Hebrew were consistent, because mekomah is a feminine form. We thus see that the plural and singular forms of nouns are not consistent. Perhaps he will open his eyes and see that the plural of bekhor (first-born) is bekhorim, as in To Him that smote Egypt in their first-born (bekhorehem) (Ps. 136:10).131Bekhorehem (their first-born) is the word bekhorim with the pronominal suffix. However, we also encounter the form bekhorot (firstlings) in and the firstlings of thy herd (Deut. 14:23). Now, shall the singular of bekhorot be bekhorah?132Its singular is bekhor. Thus we see once again that the singular (bekhor) and the plural (bekhorot) are based on different forms of the noun. The same is the case with levenim (bricks).133A word found in our verse. All that preceded was written to explain this word, for levenim is feminine even though it has a masculine ending. Its singular is levenah,134Levanah is feminine. not leven.135There is no such word. However, there would be if Hebrew singular and plural forms were consistent.
וטעם בחומר ובלבנים לבנות בתים וגדרות גם לחרוש ולקצור ולזמור ולבצור וזה את כל עבודה בשדה. ואחר כן כלל את כל עבודתם לצרכיהם: [IN MORTAR AND IN BRICK.] To build houses and fences.136The mortar and brick were employed in the building of houses and fences. They also had to plow, harvest, prune, and pick olives. This is the meaning of and in all manner of service in the field. Scripture then alludes to all the other types of work which Israel did to fulfill the needs of the Egyptians by the general term in all their service.
אשר עבדו בהם. ישרתו בעבור שנים עבדו בהם בפרך. וגזרת עבד בלא בי"ת אחריה היא עבודת העבד. וככה עבדתיך. ואם אחריה בי"ת הוא על ב' דברים. האחד בעבור כמו ויעבד ישראל באשה. והשני לא תעבד בו בפרך. כדרך אשר לא עובד בה. וככה אשר לא יעבד בו. כי כתוב והארץ הנשמה תעבד. ועל הדרך הזה כנושה כאשר נושה בו: WHEREIN THEY MADE THEM SERVE. The word avedu (they made them serve) is to be read as if written twice. Our verse is to be read as if it were written: wherein they made them serve, they made them serve with rigor. When a verb from the root ayin, bet, dalet is not followed by a bet it refers to work performed by a slave. This is the meaning of avadatikha (I have served thee) (Gen. 30:26).137Jacob used this term when speaking to Laban. What he meant was, I slaved for you. However, when the verb is followed by a bet it has one of the following two meanings. It means for the sake of, as in va-ya’avod yisrael be-ishah (and Israel served for a wife) (Hos. 12:13).138The bet following va-ya’avod has the meaning of: for the sake of. Thus be-ishah means: for the sake of a woman. Its other meaning is illustrated by thou shalt not make him to serve (lo ta’avod bo) with rigor,139There is no such verse. I.E. apparently combined Lev. 25:39 and Lev. 25:43. The literal reading of Lev. 25:39 is, thou shalt not work with him. The words with rigor come from Lev. 25:43. I.E.’s point is that in this case the bet (bo) has the meaning of with him. which is like which hath not been wrought with (lo ubbad bah) (Deut. 21:3).140Here too bah is the indirect object, for the meaning of lo ubbad bah is: which hath not been wrought with (Weiser). Which may neither be plowed (lo ye’aved bo) (Deut. 21:4)141Here too bo is the indirect object, for the verse literally reads: which may neither be plowed in, i.e., land that no one worked with. is similar, for we find, And the land that was desolate shall be tilled (Ezek. 36:34).142When the Bible wants to say that it is the land per se that is worked rather than somebody working with the land, it leaves out the bet, the indirect object. Hence when the bet is there it represents the indirect object (Filwarg). In a like manner Scripture reads, As with the lender, so with the borrower (nosheh vo) (Is. 24:2).143Here too vo (bo) is the bet of the indirect object and means with him (Weiser).