You may have noticed that לבבות has one ב (b) more than the word לב. That’s because the root of לב is actually ל.ב.ב (l.b.b), but the second ב usually falls off when not followed by another letter. The ב nevertheless appears in certain expressions such as רַךְ לֵבָב (listen and repeat) – soft-hearted and בַּר לֵבָב (listen and repeat) – upright (literally, one of heart). And when לב has a possessive suffix, the ב is accentuated, “compensating” for the missing extra ב, in words such as לִבִּי (listen and repeat) – my heart, לִבּוֹ (listen and repeat) – his heart, etc.
לְמִי שָׁבַרְתְּ אֶת הַלֵּב? Whose heart have you (a female) broken? repeat
לְמִי שָׁבַרְתָּ אֶת הַלֵּב? Whose heart did you (a male) break?
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About the Author: Ami Steinberger is founder and director of Ulpan La-Inyan.
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