"אני צריך כרית ושמיכה."
Translation:I need a pillow and a blanket.
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If it's based on a silent vowel, does that make this useless information unless we're paying close attention to vowel signs in a text written with vowel signs? Does that mean one just has to memorize words that take it?
Or does this 'silent vowel' mean when we have two consonants together at the beginning of the word, like 'sm' in 'smichah'?
Well, as the rules apply to older stages of the pronunciation of Hebrew and if you want to speak formal Hebrew, you would have to remember the affected words. If you slacken your precision a bit, you could at least use [u], when you hear a double consonant, which would still be posh.
Well, they sound the same, but differ in spelling. The rabbinancal word סְמִיכָה ordination is the verbal noun of סָמַךְ support, which was a technical term for laying hands on the head of a scholar in order to ordain him. שְׂמִיכָה is a hapax legomenon in Jud 4.18, the שׂ probably stands for an original ס, so it would have the same root support. The passage וַיָּסַר אֵלֶיהָ הָאֹהֱלָה וַתְּכַסֵּהוּ בַּשְּׂמִיכָה is not clear, whether she covered him in a rug or simply lead him behind curtains made of animal skins as a tent closure in order to hide him.