Thursday, June 30, 2011

Minchas Shai on the Gog-bama Torah Code

Yeranen Yaakov has been running an English translation / presentation of someone's masterpiece as to why 2012 is the time of mashiach, according to (mis-)interpretations of Zohar and the Gra. You can read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7 there.

In part 5, we read:
 Similarly, the Zohar notes that close to the end of the 72 years, the nations of the world will be energized against Yerushalayim, and it will be "and it is a time of trouble unto Jacob, but out of it shall he be saved," that which unfortunately, we already see in our days that the United States is going against Yerushalayim. And also the President of the United States Obama [אובאמה] is hinted to in the verse (Yehezkel 38:2): "בֶּן-אָדָם, שִׂים פָּנֶיךָ אֶל-גּוֹג אֶרֶץ הַמָּגוֹג--נְשִׂיא, רֹאשׁ מֶשֶׁךְ וְתֻבָל; וְהִנָּבֵא, עָלָיו. וְאָמַרְתָּ, כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה" ['Son of man, set thy face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say: Thus saith the Lord GOD...] with a 7-letter skip. [YY - See Yehudi Yerushalmi and Shirat Devorah as examples where this was mentioned previously.]  And also Magog, the land of Gog, in gematria is 52, which equals the number of states in the United States [YY - I'll assume the author is including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, but this is a bit far-fetched.  צ"ע.]
 I'd like to consider this Obama Torah Code for a moment. Firstly, it is not really a Torah code. It is a Navi code. While I think the Torah codes are nonsense, all the research, and I am pretty sure your typical Torah code, is done on Torah, not on Neviim and Ketuvim. And there is a theological divide between the two. There is a kabbalistic idea of the Torah being a long encoded Divine Name; not so for Neviim and Ketuvim. And Torah was direct Divine revelation to a prophet whose caliber will not be repeated, such that we might expect to find hidden messages in Torah more than that of some random navi. And so on and so forth. So a 'Torah'-code in Yechezkel is somewhat out of the ordinary.

There is also the question of whether this 'Torah'-code even works. It assumes a skip length of seven. But Minchas Shai on this pasuk reads:

On Yechezkel 38:2, "In most precise sefarim the vav is missing {in Tuval}, and so too the one in the pasuk after it. And there are sefarim in which both of them are malei {with the vav present}."

Thus, the entire Ezekiel Code is predicated on assuming that the text we have in our Mikraos Gedolos is letter-accurate. But it is possible that it is not, and that the relatively few precise sefarim which have both Tuvals malei are correct. If so, then this would be the seven letter skip:

בֶּן-אָדָם, שִׂים פָּנֶיךָ אֶל-גּוֹג אֶרֶץ הַמָּגוֹג--נְשִׂיא, רֹאשׁ מֶשֶׁךְ וְתובָל; וְהִנָּבֵא, עָלָיו. וְאָמַרְתָּ, כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה

This would them spell Onoy. I don't know who Onoy is, but if he is Gog, then surely Barack Hussein Obama is not!

There is also the wiggle room issue. In Hebrew, one can spell Obama in a number of ways. And thus one can run these searches and find the best match for the content you want, and then select the spelling later. As is pointed out in this blog, this is not the standard way of spelling Obama, with two alephs. Rather, from their campaign pins.

Indeed, doing a Google News search on recent news, on the two spellings, without the second aleph yielded about 625 hits, from a number of different Israeli news sources, while with that second aleph yielded only 23 hits, from far fewer sites.

There is also the undercurrent of lunacy that pervades this sort of Obama / Gog allegation. It is associated with conspiracy theories about his birth certificate, associations with the Illuminati, the New World Order, and so on and so forth. I opposed it back when it was President Gog Bush and I oppose it for President Barack Gogbama. It is silly.

I suppose he included it because it makes for even "better" proof of the coming apocalypse. But I think that this is one instance in which Chazal's statement of ""kol hamosif, gorea " strongly applies.

Should Onkelos on הֲבֵאתֶם read אֲתִיתוֹן or אעילתון?

Summary: Shadal vs. Maamar. In the end, I side with Shadal.

Post: Onkelos writes (using the Temani girsa of Onkelos) in parashat Chukat:

כ,ד וְלָמָה הֲבֵאתֶם אֶת-קְהַל יְהוָה, אֶל-הַמִּדְבָּר הַזֶּה, לָמוּת שָׁם, אֲנַחְנוּ וּבְעִירֵנוּ.וּלְמָא אֲתִיתוֹן יָת קְהָלָא דַּייָ, לְמַדְבְּרָא הָדֵין, לִמְמָת תַּמָּן, אֲנַחְנָא וּבְעִירַנָא.
כ,ה וְלָמָה הֶעֱלִיתֻנוּ, מִמִּצְרַיִם, לְהָבִיא אֹתָנוּ, אֶל-הַמָּקוֹם הָרָע הַזֶּה:  לֹא מְקוֹם זֶרַע, וּתְאֵנָה וְגֶפֶן וְרִמּוֹן, וּמַיִם אַיִן, לִשְׁתּוֹת.וּלְמָא אַסֵּיקְתּוּנָא, מִמִּצְרַיִם, לְאֵיתָאָה יָתַנָא, לְאַתְרָא בִּישָׁא הָדֵין:  לָא אֲתַר כָּשַׁר לְבֵית זְרַע, וְאַף לָא תֵּינִין וְגֻפְנִין וְרִמּוֹנִין, וּמַיָּא לֵית, לְמִשְׁתֵּי.
Ohev Ger comments:

"In most early nuschaot, and in Codex 1411, וּלְמָא אֲתיתון. And so in Targum {Pseudo-} Yonatan. And the later ones corrected it as אעילתון. And it appears to me that the language of אעילתון does not apply to entering the wilderness."

I am familiar with אתא as to come, and עול means to enter. It can also mean to bring, as in Targum to Yoel 3:5. They are related words but might have slight variances. Shadal is suggested that this is not how we would expect עול to be used.

The printer of Maamar, points out just such an instance:

"[Cites variants, though just giving a single instance f איתיתון, giving the sense that this is a minority variant. Then cites Ohev Ger. Then,] perhaps the Targum Yonatan to Yechezkel (20:10) was concealed from him, which translates ואביאם אל המדבר as ואעלתינון למדברא. (The words of the printer.)"

It is a good point, and proof, that the word can support this meaning. This does not mean that this must be the only possible lexical item. And then we might follow the weight of the various manuscripts.

I will add two points to the above. First, note how לְהָבִיא אֹתָנוּ is translated in the very next pasuk. I would expect some consistency. And Berliner does not mention any variants on this following pasuk.

Second, note the Hebrew word הֶעֱלִיתֻנוּ in the following pasuk. It, too, is a causative. It means something different -- indeed, the very reverse of ואעלתינון. And they are both in causative. Given its surface level similarity of the Hebew to the Aramaic, this could really have sparked a scribal emendation.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A tevir in each shlishi, and other Minchas Shais on Chukas

Summary: Continuing now from pasuk 19:7.

Post: Minchas Shai writes:

"הכהן ורחץ בשרו -- there are four which are missing the word et, based on the masoret in parashat Metzora."

What he means is that ורחץ בשרו occurs several times in Tanach, and four of those times it occurs without the intervening את, which would make it ורחץ את בשרו. Which are these?

See here in Minchas Shai on Metzora on Vayikra 15:13, which is the first of the four instances of the missing et. Here is a text with masoretic notes on the side, but I don't see the listing.

From Snunit:
ויקרא פרק יד
  • פסוק ט: וְהָיָה בַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי יְגַלַּח אֶת-כָּל-שְׂעָרוֹ, אֶת-רֹאשׁוֹ וְאֶת-זְקָנוֹ וְאֵת גַּבֹּת עֵינָיו, וְאֶת-כָּל-שְׂעָרוֹ, יְגַלֵּחַ; וְכִבֶּס אֶת-בְּגָדָיו, וְרָחַץ אֶת-בְּשָׂרוֹ בַּמַּיִם--וְטָהֵר. 
ויקרא פרק טו
  • פסוק י"ג: וְכִי-יִטְהַר הַזָּב, מִזּוֹבוֹ--וְסָפַר לוֹ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים לְטָהֳרָתוֹ, וְכִבֶּס בְּגָדָיו; וְרָחַץ בְּשָׂרוֹ בְּמַיִם חַיִּים, וְטָהֵר. 
  • פסוק ט"ז: וְאִישׁ, כִּי-תֵצֵא מִמֶּנּוּ שִׁכְבַת-זָרַע--וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם אֶת-כָּל-בְּשָׂרוֹ, וְטָמֵא עַד-הָעָרֶב. 
ויקרא פרק טז
  • פסוק ד: כְּתֹנֶת-בַּד קֹדֶשׁ יִלְבָּשׁ, וּמִכְנְסֵי-בַד יִהְיוּ עַל-בְּשָׂרוֹ, וּבְאַבְנֵט בַּד יַחְגֹּר, וּבְמִצְנֶפֶת בַּד יִצְנֹף; בִּגְדֵי-קֹדֶשׁ הֵם, וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם אֶת-בְּשָׂרוֹ וּלְבֵשָׁם. 
  • פסוק כ"ד: וְרָחַץ אֶת-בְּשָׂרוֹ בַמַּיִם בְּמָקוֹם קָדוֹשׁ, וְלָבַשׁ אֶת-בְּגָדָיו; וְיָצָא, וְעָשָׂה אֶת-עֹלָתוֹ וְאֶת-עֹלַת הָעָם, וְכִפֶּר בַּעֲדוֹ, וּבְעַד הָעָם. 
  • פסוק כ"ו: וְהַמְשַׁלֵּחַ אֶת-הַשָּׂעִיר, לַעֲזָאזֵל--יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו, וְרָחַץ אֶת-בְּשָׂרוֹ בַּמָּיִם; וְאַחֲרֵי-כֵן, יָבוֹא אֶל-הַמַּחֲנֶה. 
  • פסוק כ"ח: וְהַשֹּׂרֵף אֹתָם--יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו, וְרָחַץ אֶת-בְּשָׂרוֹ בַּמָּיִם; וְאַחֲרֵי-כֵן, יָבוֹא אֶל-הַמַּחֲנֶה. 
במדבר פרק יט
  • פסוק ז: וְכִבֶּס בְּגָדָיו הַכֹּהֵן, וְרָחַץ בְּשָׂרוֹ בַּמַּיִם, וְאַחַר, יָבֹא אֶל-הַמַּחֲנֶה; וְטָמֵא הַכֹּהֵן, עַד-הָעָרֶב. 
  • פסוק ח: וְהַשֹּׂרֵף אֹתָהּ--יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו בַּמַּיִם, וְרָחַץ בְּשָׂרוֹ בַּמָּיִם; וְטָמֵא, עַד-הָעָרֶב. 
That is three. The fourth, I guess, is:
ויקרא פרק כב
  • פסוק ו: נֶפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר תִּגַּע-בּוֹ, וְטָמְאָה עַד-הָעָרֶב; וְלֹא יֹאכַל מִן-הַקֳּדָשִׁים, כִּי אִם-רָחַץ בְּשָׂרוֹ בַּמָּיִם

Naturally, the Samaritans add in the word et. This is harmonization across Torah, and adding in a helper word to explicitly mark the object. Thus, it is a typical emendation in the Samaritan text.

Minchas Shai continues, on the same pasuk, 19:7:

"ואחר יבא -- in Codex Hilleli: יבא, Yerushalmi יבוא. End quote. And in all the sefarim {we have} it is deficient, for it is not amongst the seven plene ones based on the masoret, and their mnemonic is in the Masora Magna in parashat Acharei Mot, and so wrote the Rama za"l."

The Samaritans have it plene, that is, malei vav, but this is just the sort of emendation they do, to improve clarity by introducing vowel letters.

There are 91 instances in Tanach of יבוא written plene, but here are the seven under discussion, which appear in the Torah:
בראשית פרק לב
  • פסוק ט: וַיֹּאמֶר, אִם-יָבוֹא עֵשָׂו אֶל-הַמַּחֲנֶה הָאַחַת וְהִכָּהוּ--וְהָיָה הַמַּחֲנֶה הַנִּשְׁאָר, לִפְלֵיטָה. 
  • פסוק י"ב: הַצִּילֵנִי נָא מִיַּד אָחִי, מִיַּד עֵשָׂו:  כִּי-יָרֵא אָנֹכִי, אֹתוֹ--פֶּן-יָבוֹא וְהִכַּנִי, אֵם עַל-בָּנִים. 
ויקרא פרק יא
  • פסוק ל"ד: מִכָּל-הָאֹכֶל אֲשֶׁר יֵאָכֵל, אֲשֶׁר יָבוֹא עָלָיו מַיִם--יִטְמָא; וְכָל-מַשְׁקֶה אֲשֶׁר יִשָּׁתֶה, בְּכָל-כְּלִי יִטְמָא. 
ויקרא פרק יד
  • פסוק ח: וְכִבֶּס הַמִּטַּהֵר אֶת-בְּגָדָיו וְגִלַּח אֶת-כָּל-שְׂעָרוֹ, וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם וְטָהֵר, וְאַחַר, יָבוֹא אֶל-הַמַּחֲנֶה; וְיָשַׁב מִחוּץ לְאָהֳלוֹ, שִׁבְעַת יָמִים. 
ויקרא פרק טז
  • פסוק כ"ו: וְהַמְשַׁלֵּחַ אֶת-הַשָּׂעִיר, לַעֲזָאזֵל--יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו, וְרָחַץ אֶת-בְּשָׂרוֹ בַּמָּיִם; וְאַחֲרֵי-כֵן, יָבוֹא אֶל-הַמַּחֲנֶה. 
  • פסוק כ"ח: וְהַשֹּׂרֵף אֹתָם--יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו, וְרָחַץ אֶת-בְּשָׂרוֹ בַּמָּיִם; וְאַחֲרֵי-כֵן, יָבוֹא אֶל-הַמַּחֲנֶה. 
במדבר פרק ח
  • פסוק כ"ד: זֹאת, אֲשֶׁר לַלְוִיִּם:  מִבֶּן חָמֵשׁ וְעֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה, וָמַעְלָה, יָבוֹא לִצְבֹא צָבָא, בַּעֲבֹדַת אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד. 
Here is the Masorah Gedolah from the Leningrad Codex (pg 135 in the PDF, bottom right of the page):

Indeed, these are the four I identified in red above.

Next, Minchas Shai turns to pasuk 8, the same phrase, and same missing את. He tells:

"במים ורחץ בשרו במים - there are four missing et, and the sign is given over in the Masorah Magna on parashat Metzora."

More or less, the same as above.

Then, turning to pasuk 9:
"והיתה -- the vav has a gaaya."

So has mechon mamre:
 ט וְאָסַ֣ף ׀ אִ֣ישׁ טָה֗וֹר אֵ֚ת אֵ֣פֶר הַפָּרָ֔ה וְהִנִּ֛יחַ מִח֥וּץ לַֽמַּחֲנֶ֖ה בְּמָק֣וֹם טָה֑וֹר וְ֠הָֽיְתָה לַֽעֲדַ֨ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֧ל לְמִשְׁמֶ֛רֶת לְמֵ֥י נִדָּ֖ה חַטָּ֥את הִֽוא׃
However, the Leningrad Codex is missing this gaaya, the short vertical bar under the heh:

Bomberg's first Mikraos Gedolos has it; so does his second. But presumably there is some other chumash which has it like Leningrad Codex. I won't bother finding it, since the Leningrad Codex is enough to establish it. Minchas Shai obviously saw it somewhere.

Then, on pasuk 12, Minchas Shai writes:

"השלישי השלישי -- both of them with a tevir."

So too Or Torah. This is what Leningrad Codex has, ad what mechon-mamre has. The first occurs before the etnachta and the second before the silluq. Each caused by the subsequent tipcha on the word shevii.

There is a masoretic note in this early text on the first occurrence of the word shlishi:

תנ"ך. תורה. רנ"א. ליסבון
(אשבונה : דפוס אליעזר [טולידאנו], אב רנ"א).

The masoretic note (not shown) reads שניהם בתביר.

I am unsure what the alternative it. And I don't see any alternative text. As such, I am not sure what prompts this comment. Now, I do see that in Ein Sofer, by Wolf Heidenheim:

1818תנ"ך. תורה. תקע"ח. רדלהים
חומש מאור עינים : והיו לאורות ס' עין הקורא וס' עין הסופר / מדויק .. ומסדר ... מאתי וואלף ... היידנהיים.
רעדלהיים : ו' היידנהיים, תקע"ח-תקפ"א.

he has the following note on the side:

Regarding השלישי, כל"מ במ"א. Based on his partial definition of roshei teivot, he can figure out that he means כל מקום מלא בר מן אחד. I would therefore guess that a similar prompt exists for the telisha. The word שלישי appears three times in this perek. In the third instance, there is no tevir, but rather a tipcha:
יט וְהִזָּ֤ה הַטָּהֹר֙ עַל־הַטָּמֵ֔א בַּיּ֥וֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֖י וּבַיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֑י וְחִטְּאוֹ֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י וְכִבֶּ֧ס בְּגָדָ֛יו וְרָחַ֥ץ בַּמַּ֖יִם וְטָהֵ֥ר בָּעָֽרֶב׃

The psik after דבר in פרשת חקת

Summary: Birkas Avraham darshens another non-existent pesik. Let us look into it anyway.

Post: At the start of parashat Chukat, in the second pasuk, there is a munach legarmeih, which is a munach sign with a vertical bar after it, to show that it is a disjunctive (separating) accent, rather than a regular munach, which is a conjunctive (joining) accent. This is a regular trup sign, no different than a tipcha or tevir. It just comes in different contexts. I underlined it here in red:

Birkas Avraham regularly darshens such munach legarmeihs, conflating them with pesik, which is a vertical line which has much greater justification in being darshened. I've discussed this a number of times in the past -- for instance, here. Now that we've gotten past the pro forma objection, we can proceed to the actual content.

Birkas Avraham writes:

"In the verse [the one above], there is a vertical bar, a pesik trup after the word daber. And perhaps it hints that Moshe Rabbenu was commanded that the meaning of Parah Aduma should only be revealed to him, and not to give it over to the Israelites in his speech {dibbur}. As is stated in Bemidbar Rabba (perek 19:6) and in Pesikta Rabbati (perek 14), Vayikchu eilecha para aduma, Hashem said to Moshe, 'to you I am revealing the meaning of Parah Adumah, but to the others, it will be a chukah, a law with no explanation.'"
I guess the idea is that there is the word daber, speak, and then a pause or break before the 'to the Israelites'. The idea then is that something should not be conveyed.

This is in Midrash Rabba here:

ויקחו אליך פרה אדומה אמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא:
אמר לו הקב"ה למשה: לך אני מגלה טעם פרה, אבל לאחר חקה.
And in Pesikta Rabbati:

In both instances, the derasha is on vayikchu eilecha. To you they take it. Why? Because you, Moshe, know the reason. And this works in tandem with this being called a chukah immediately earlier.

To be fair, he calls it a remez, rather than the actual derivation of the idea in the midrash.

Related to this munach legarmeih, we actually have a masoretic note on it. The note reads ב' בטעם. That is, this particular trup appears twice. How so?

As Masoretic HaKeriyah explains:

He notes that "in the sifra {sefer, not the midrash}, וקח מאתם מטה מטה {meaning Bemidbar 17:17}:

יז  דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְקַח מֵאִתָּם מַטֶּה מַטֶּה לְבֵית אָב מֵאֵת כָּל-נְשִׂיאֵהֶם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם--שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר, מַטּוֹת:  אִישׁ אֶת-שְׁמוֹ, תִּכְתֹּב עַל-מַטֵּהוּ.17 'Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of them rods, one for each fathers' house, of all their princes according to their fathers' houses, twelve rods; thou shalt write every man's name upon his rod.

and this one {in Chukat}, and the mnemonic is חוטרא לתורתא. To explain, חוטרא is the Aramaic translation of the word מטה {which appears in Bemidbar 17, above, in Korach}, and תורתא is the Aramaic translation of heifer, and that is this one {in Chukas}. And here you have the two דבר אל בני ישראלs with the trup of legarmeih, munach, revia."

The well of Miriam, miraculously growing acacia trees

Summary: An interpretation from Baal HaTurim, of trees growing wherever they went, conflicts with a midrash that Yaakov needed to plant acacia (or rather, cedar) trees for the mishkan. Can we resolve the contradiction?

Post: In the complaint of the Israelites in parashat Chukat, we read:

5. Why have you taken us out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place; it is not a place for seeds, or for fig trees, grapevines, or pomegranate trees, and there is no water to drink.ה. וְלָמָה הֶעֱלִיתֻנוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם לְהָבִיא אֹתָנוּ אֶל הַמָּקוֹם הָרָע הַזֶּה לֹא מְקוֹם זֶרַע וּתְאֵנָה וְגֶפֶן וְרִמּוֹן וּמַיִם אַיִן לִשְׁתּוֹת:

Pashut peshat is that they are comparing their present place to Egypt (see parshat Korach for comparison) or to the eventual destination, Canaan. But Baal HaTurim, playing on that the spark here was the termination of the flow of Miriam's well at her death, makes a comparison instead to the Israelites' other encampments. Thus, he writes, in his long commentary:

לא מקום זרע. מלמד  שהבאר  היתה מגדלת
 להם מיני  זרע ומיני  אילנות לפי שעה  בכל
 מקום שחנו, שהרי לא התרעמו  שלא היו  במקום
 זרע אלא עתה שפסק הבאר

Since this complaint only comes now, at the termination of the well's flow, it must be that until then they had it. So lefi shaa, fairly quickly, in each place they encamped, it caused edible plants as well as trees to grow.

The basis for this Baal HaTurim is a midrash in Shir HaShirim Rabba. The pasuk in Shir HaShirim, perek 4, reads:

יג  שְׁלָחַיִךְ פַּרְדֵּס רִמּוֹנִים, עִם פְּרִי מְגָדִים:  כְּפָרִים, עִם-נְרָדִים.13 Thy shoots are a park of pomegranates, with precious fruits; henna with spikenard plants,

And the Midrash reads:
דבר אחר: שלחיך פרדס רמונים
עתיד הקב"ה לעשותך כפרדס רמונים לעתיד לבא.
ואיזה זה?
זה הבאר.

מאן היו ישראל מנטרים כל מ' שנה שעשו במדבר? 
רבי יוחנן אמר:
מן הבאר, וממנו היו רוב הנייתן.

דאמר רבי יוחנן:

הבאר הייתה מעלה להם מיני דשאים, מיני זרעונים, מיני אילנות, תדע לך שהוא כן, שכיון שמתה מרים ופסקה הבאר מהן, היו אומרים: (במדבר כ') לא מקום זרע ותאנה וגפן.

רבי לוי אמר:
מן האשכול, על שם: (שם י"ג) ויכרתו משם זמורה ואשכול ענבים אחד.
אפשר כן?

אמר רבי אבא בר כהנא:
פירות היו גסין באותה שעה.

ורבנן אמרין:
ממה שהיו תגרי עובדי כוכבים מוכרין להם לישראל.

תני ר' ישמעאל:
עדיין לא נאסר יינם של עובדי כוכבים לישראל: 
Thus, Rabbi Yochanan, an early Palestinian Amora, says this. The connection is between the pasuk in Shir Hashirim and in Bemidbar 20, but not just zera mentioned, but also לֹא מְקוֹם זֶרַע וּתְאֵנָה וְגֶפֶן וְרִמּוֹן. Thus, all sorts of edible plants and trees. And also the immediate juxtaposition (and preceding of all these) to the phrase  וּמַיִם אַיִן לִשְׁתּוֹת.

In Matamei Yaakov,a by R' Yaakov Yechizkiyah Fish, we read the following contrast in midrashim:

Thus, after citing the Tur, though not the source midrash upon which the Tur is based, he writes:
"And there is to point out that according to that which is explained, that Yaakov saw with ruach hakodesh that Israel would build the Mishkan in the future and they would need cedar wood, and therefore he brought them with him to Egypt and they took them, for in this Midbar is [not] a place of planting, it is implied from there not like the Tur. For if the Well caused the sprouting of trees, they would not need to prepare it from before, for also this would have grown. And perhaps he did this because we do not rely on a miracle."
We see this Rashi in sefer Shmos, in parshas Terumah, in Shemot 25 -- my own translation:
5. ram skins dyed red, tachash skins, and acacia wood;ה. וְעֹרֹת אֵילִם מְאָדָּמִים וְעֹרֹת תְּחָשִׁים וַעֲצֵי שִׁטִּים:

 And acacia wood: From where did they have this in the wilderness? Rabbi Tanchuma explains that Yaakov Avinu saw with ruach hakoshesh that Israel would in the future build a Mishkan in the wilderness, and he brought cedars to Egypt and planted them, and commanded his sons to take them with them when they left Egypt.ועצי שטים: מאין היו להם במדבר, פירש רבי תנחומא יעקב אבינו צפה ברוח הקודש, שעתידין ישראל לבנות משכן במדבר, והביא ארזים למצרים ונטעם, וצוה לבניו ליטלם עמהם, כשיצאו ממצרים:
We can read that Midrash Tanchuma here:
ומהיכן היו הקרשים?
יעקב אבינו נטע אותם בשעה שירד למצרים. אמר לבניו: בני, עתידים אתם להיגאל מכאן, והקדוש ברוך הוא עתיד לומר לכם משאתם נגאלין, שתעשו לו את המשכן, אלא עמדו ונטעו ארזים מעכשיו, שבשעה שיאמר לכם לעשות לו את המשכן, יהיו הארזים מתוקנים לכם.
מיד עמדו ונטעו ועשו כן. 
"And from where were the boards {kerashim}? Yaakov Avinu planted them at the time he went down to Egypt. He said to his sons, 'my children, you will eventually be redeemed from here, and Hashem will then tell you, when you are redeemed, that you should make the Mishkan for Him. But stand and plant them from now, so that at the time that He tells you to make the Mishkan for him, the cedars will be planted for you. Immediately, the stood and planted and did so."
To explain the divergence between cedars and acacias, see here at Yeshiva Har Etzyon's Virtual Bet Midrash, from Rabbi David Silverberg, that the Midrash Tanchuma understand shittim to be a type of cedar rather than acacia.

I find the resolution from Matamei Yaakov a bit forced. I would simply say that these are, perhaps, conflicting midrashim that should not be harmonized. After all, even within Midrash Tanchuma, there are those who argue with Rabbi Yochanan, with Rabbi Levi saying they got sustenance of this sort from the Eshkol, from the land of Canaan, and the Rabanan saying the god it from gentile merchants! And who says that Rabbi Yochanan would maintain that it is cedar rather than acacia? Barring that, I am not sure ain somchin al hanes is the best answer. The same way that Yaakov could see in the future that they would need acacia / cedar wood, he could see in the future that they would have miraculous well that would provide them with such plants.

I would suggest a different resolution. As we see, the specific plants that are growing quickly are ones which provide sustenance and pleasure (hanaah) to the Bnei Yisrael. We are speaking of grape vines, fig trees, pomegranate trees, and seeds of foods. The purpose of the Be'er was to give them sustenance, not to give them building materials. Therefore, the cedar or acacia trees would not grow due to the Be'er, and so it was necessary for Yaakov to plant.

I would also point out that Rabbi Yochanan's midrash carried an important homiletic message about preparing for the best, well in advance, such that geulah is your known eventual goal. This whether or not it was intended literally.

Finally, I will note that acacia wood does grow in the wilderness of Sinai; cedars, I think, do not, but rather in Lebanon:
Acacia albidaAcacia tortilis and Acacia iraqensis can be found growing wild in the Sinai desert and the Jordan valley. 
So it works out well according to Midrash Tanchuma, that shittim is something that does not grow naturally in the Sinai desert.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The fricative feh in פרה, and more Minchas Shai on Chukat

Post: Minchas Shai on parashat Chukat begins:
"חקת -- has a petucha gap."

This simply because it is masoretic interest how each sidra begins. Then, one pasuk 19:1, he writes:

"וידבר ה -- has a zakef katon"

Why point this out? Usually this is due to some other text (often Bomberg's Mikraot Gedolot) having something different.

Leningrad Codex and Mechon-Mamre (from the Temanim) have the same. While I have not done a comprehensive search, Bomberg's first Mikraos Gedolos, his second, and his Chumash all have the zakef. I strongly suspect that, therefore, in this instance this is NOT the spark for Minchas Shai's comment.

Rather, it a masoretic note. See this early Chumash, which predates Minchas Shai's comment, but elsewhere as well:

תנ"ך. תורה. רנ"א. ליסבון
(אשבונה : דפוס אליעזר [טולידאנו], אב רנ"א).

There is a circle, indicating a masoretic note, over the word YKVK, and the note on the side reads בזקף קטן.

Why is this noteworthy? Because usually, Aharon is not a target of Hashem's speech. And with such a short pasuk, the trup is mercha tipcha mercha silluq. Because of the added ואל-אהרן, the pasuk is longer. And by the rules of trup, only at a certain distance would we have the tipcha as the pausal trup preceding silluq, and after that, we should expect a zakef. Thus, while this change is entirely appropriate by the science of trup, it is a divergence from the expected and common, and thus deserved a masoretic note and a comment by Minchat Shai.

Minchas Shai next says, on pasuk 19:2:

"ויקחו אליך פרה -- the feh in farah is fricative {that is, a feh rather than a peh}, for the tarsa at the end of the word, even though its tune is close to a talsha, does not have the law of a disjunctive accent."

This requires a little bit of background and explanation. The letters בגד כפת are plosive, meaning that they have a dagesh kal, in the beginning of a word and after a sheva nach. The general idea is that there are closed syllables (of the form Consonant Vowel Consonant = CVC) and open syllables (CV). In the beginning of a word, which is a new start, or after a closed syllable, which is also a new start, we will place the dagesh and make bgdkft a plosive. If there is a vowel preceding, which happens if the preceding syllable is open, then we would not place the dagesh and leave bgdkft as fricative.

Now, if the preceding word ends in a vowel -- that is, it is an open syllable -- then that might be enough cause to make bgdkft at the start of the next word fricative. This depends if the trup symbol is a dividing, disjunctive accent, or a joining, conjunctive accent. If it is disjunctive, then there is enough of a divide that we would have a plosive in bgdkft.

Now, there is a tarsa on the preceding word, אליך, eilecha. It ends with a vowel. If the tarsa is a disjunctive accent, then the פ of פרה will be a peh, the plosive. If it is conjunctive, then it will be a feh, a fricative.

What is a tarsa? A shield, meaning a circle. This is used for telisha gedola and telisha ketana, though I am not certain how Minchas Shai uses this terminology - to refer to the sign in general, or only to telisha ketana. The telisha ketana is a conjunctive accent. The telisha gedola is a disjunctive accent. The way to tell the difference between these identical signs is where it is placed on the word. (Also the direction of the tail, but the tail not initially there.) If it is placed at the end of the word, then it is a telisha ketana; if at the beginning, it is a telishah gedolah. They sound similar and look similar, but they are different.

Some (e.g. Ben Naftali) would grant telisha ketana a level of disjunctiveness. As Wickes writes:

 None of Bomberg's texts have it. But looking at this Chumash:

תנ"ך. תורה. רמ"ב. בולוניה

[בולונייא : דפוס יוסף בן אברהם קרוויטה ; אברהם בן חיים מן הצבועים, רמ"ב].

There does seem to be a dagesh in the peh of parah. It is under the loop of the peh, just as in other examples of the same in this text. (Click on the image to see it larger.) Perhaps I am seeing things, though. This one, from 1546, and this one, from 1547, in Amsterdam, might also have it.

On the same pasuk, 19:2, Minchas Shai continues:

"אין בה מום -- with a maarich and a makef."

So we have it in the Leningrad Codex.

The maarich is the gaaya, that vertical bar under the aleph, while the makef is the dash joining ain to bah. See immediately above for a text which lacks the gaaya.

Bomberg's first Mikraos Gedolos points it as mercha pashta:

So does his second, and his Chumash.

What is the practical difference? Neither variant introduces a pausal accent, so in either case, the words are joined. But with a mercha, ain is a separate word, and with a gaaya and makef, it is joined into a single 'word'. This is then joined even more closely, as a single unit. Personally, my feeling is that I 'like' the closer joining by the makef; it captures the value of אין-בה better.

Next, on the same pasuk, Bemidbar 19:2, Minchas Shai writes:

"לא עלה עליה על -- the word על is chaser vav. And see in sefer HaZohar and in Pesikta of R' Tuviah {=Lekach Tov}, that אשר לא עלה עליה על is chaser vav, and על {rather than עול} is written. And from here they said that not absolutely an עול {yoke}, but even anything whatsoever, as they learn in the {third} Mishna in the second perek of Parah, 'If he rode on it, leaned upon it, hung upon its tail, crossed the river via it, folded upon it the reigns, placed his tallit upon it, it is invalid.' And see the sefer Paneach Raza."

One should stress the difference between the halacha and the derivation. Chazal might have darshened it from some other prooftext, while the Zohar and Pesikta of Rav Tuviah find an additional remez to the existing halacha.

It seems that there could be other derivations -- and in fact, if you look at R' Ovadia MiBartenura, you will see that this is derived from a connection to the laws of eglah arufah, rather than a direct diyuk; There is also a Yerushalmi Pesachim to examine. And we can make a diyuk that it was merely עלה עליה, rather than that you did specific work with it. (Although keep reading the Mishnah to see that some actions are allowed without invalidating. We can still work that out, as different implications of the pasuk crossing with each other, since after all it says עלה עליה, but then it says עול, implying something labor-related.) My point is that we do not need this diyuk from the chaser.

The Zohar reads:
20. " which there is no blemish..." (Ibid.) is as it is written, "you are all fair, my love; there is no blemish in you" (Shir Hashirim 4:7). SHE SHINES WITH THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH, AND SHE IS CONSIDERED BEAUTIFUL SINCE ALL BLEMISHES ARE HEALED THROUGH THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH. "...and upon which never came a yoke (Heb. ol, Ayin-Lamed)..." (Bemidbar 19:2). The word "ol" is spelled WITHOUT A VAV, which is as it is written: "and the man who was raised up on high (Heb. al, Ayin-Lamed)" (II Shmuel 23:1). What is the reason? It is because she is "the peaceable and faithful in Yisrael" (II Shmuel 20:19), and he is not above her but rather with her. "...and upon which never came a yoke..." is as it is written: "the virgin of Yisrael" (Amos 5:2), and, "a virgin, neither had any man known her" (Beresheet 24:16).

And the Midrash Lekach Tov reads:

Meanwhile, is עול ever spelled malei in Tanach? Yes, the Samaritans have it malei, but what else would we expect of them? Yeshaya 9:3 has it chaser. Yirmeyahu 27 has it chaser. Eichah 1:14 has it chaser. Elsewhere, Ibn Ezra criticizes the practice of derash, common in his days, of darshening when a word was chaser and turning around and darshening it when it is malei. Any sort of excuse, rather than only darshening when the word was out of its ordinary spelling. (Even there, he would argue that there is just irregular and not-yet-standardized spelling.) This is a good case in point. There is nothing strange about the chaser vav, and so the derasha on על is not very convincing.

I am not sure of the specifics of the derasha. It is that since the עול is chaser, so too even a non-complete עול invalidates? Alternatively, are they interpreting it as a revocalized word? It seems to me that both are true, one for the Zohar and one for Lakach Tov.

Finally, presumably Minchas Shai cited Paneach Raza for just this reason, to explain the nature of the derasha. Here is what he says:

YU Torah on parashat Chukat

Audio Shiurim on Chukat
Rabbi Azarya Berzon: Para Adumah: Irrational Mitzvot 
Rabbi Chaim Brovender: Singing on the Well 
Rabbi Ally Ehrman: The Limits Of Love 
Rabbi Joel Finkelstein: Self Discovery 
Rabbi Barry Gelman: Is Blind Obedience Good?
Rabbi Shalom Hammer: Attention to Detail 
Rabbi Aryeh LebowitzHumility + Integrity = Temimus 
Mrs. Yael LeibowitzA Precipice in the Desert
Rabbi Yoni LevinA New Generation, A New Leadership 
Rabbi Shmuel MaybruchZos Chukas HaTorah 
Rabbi Judah MischelWhat to Take Back With You 
Rabbi Zev ReichmanConnecting Parah Adumah with Moshes Sin 
Rabbi Hershel ReichmanAccepting Authority 
Rabbi Dr. Jacob J SchacterChukat and the Burning of the Talmud 
Rabbi Baruch SimonLatent Kedusha 
Mrs Shira SmilesThe Serpent's Scream 
Rabbi Reuven SpolterDealing with Unrealized Expectations 
Rabbi Moshe TaraginGift of the Desert 
Rabbi Michael TaubesHalachic Reliability of Doctors 
Rabbi Ari ZahtzUnderstanding a Chok 

Articles on Chukat
Rabbi Asher BranderOf Wonder and (Divine) Will
Rabbi Daniel Z. FeldmanHoly Cow
Rabbi Beinish GinsburgFlinstone Vitamins
Rabbi Ozer GlickmanThe Fast of Chukas
Rabbi Meir GoldwichtThe Importance of Dibbur
Rabbi Avraham GordimerNew Complaints?
Rabbi Dovid GottliebIndependance Day
Rabbi Maury GrebenauOf Red Cows & Golden Calves
Rabbi David HorwitzThe Sin of Moshe Rabbenu
Rabbis Stanley M Wagner and Israel DrazinSymbols in Scripture and the Targum
Rabbi Avigdor NebenzahlCome and make a Cheshbon
Rabbi Aaron RossThe Role of Korach in the Punishment of Moshe
Rabbi Eli Baruch ShulmanWhy do we need the Parah Aduma?

Rabbi Jeremy WiederLaining for Parshat Chukat
See all shiurim on YUTorah for Parshat Chukat

 New This Week
Learning Torah Shelo Lishma

 Rabbi Azarya Berzon
Esav, Bilam, and Achav: Negative Charachters in the Agadah 
Rabbi Yitzchak Blau
Correcting a Bal Korei 
Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz
Yechezkel's commentary on Shmot and Vayikra How Chumash explains Neviim, and How Neviim Explain Chumash 
Rabbi Menachem Leibtag
Fantasy Sports and NCAA Brackets: Is Gambling Permitted? 
Jacob Lewin
Smoking on Yom Tov
Rabbi Baruch Simon
Chinuch in Teaching Various Mitzvahs to Children: At What Age and Which Ones? 
Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky
Halachic Resposes to Social Changes  
Rabbi Moshe D. Tendler
Medical Imaging on Shabbat
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner


Blog Widget by LinkWithin