Showing posts with label shelach. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shelach. Show all posts

Friday, June 13, 2014

YUTorah on parashat Shelach

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The juxtaposition of sending scouts to Miriam's leprosy

At the start of Shelach, Rashi explain the reason for the juxtaposition of parshiyos:

"Send out for yourself men who will scout the Land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel. You shall send one man each for his father's tribe; each one shall be a chieftain in their midst."ב. שְׁלַח לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים וְיָתֻרוּ אֶת אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אִישׁ אֶחָד אִישׁ אֶחָד לְמַטֵּה אֲבֹתָיו תִּשְׁלָחוּ כֹּל נָשִׂיא בָהֶם:
Send for yourself men: Why is the section dealing with the spies juxtaposed with the section dealing with Miriam? Because she was punished over matters of slander, for speaking against her brother, and these wicked people witnessed [it], but did not learn their lesson. — [Midrash Tanchuma Shelach 5]שלח לך אנשים: למה נסמכה פרשת מרגלים לפרשת מרים, לפי שלקתה על עסקי דבה שדברה באחיה, ורשעים הללו ראו ולא לקחו מוסר:

We can see this in Midrash Tanchuma here:

דבר אחר: 
שלח לך אנשיםמה כתיב למעלה מן העניין? 
ותדבר מרים ואהרן במשה (במ' יב א). 
ואחרי כן, שלח לך אנשים. 
זה שאמר הכתוב: לא ידעו ולא יבינו כי טח מראות עיניהם מהשכל לבותם (ישע' מד יח). 

מה ראה לומר אחר מעשה מרים שלח לך אנשים?
אלא שהיה צפוי לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא, שיהיו באין ואומרין לשון הרע על הארץ. 
אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא: לא יהיה להם פתחון פה לומר, לא היינו יודעים עונש של לשון הרע מה הוא. לפיכך סמך הקדוש ברוך הוא העניין הזה לזה, כדי שידעו הכל עונשו של לשון הרע, שאם בקשו לומר לשון הרע, יהו מסתכלין מה נעשה במרים. אף על פי כן לא רצו ללמוד. לכך נאמר: לא ידעו ולא יבינו. 
לכך כתב הקדוש ברוך הוא שלוח המרגלים אחר מעשה מרים. הוי, לא ידעו ולא יבינו, כי טח מראות וגו'.

Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz, in Tiferes Yehonasan, after citing the pasuk and Rashi, writes:

"And the oylam asks what is this question, of why the juxtaposition? For in truth, the juxtaposition is such, that prior to this is written 'and they encamped in the wilderness of Paran', and from there, the scouts were sent. However, it appears in sefer Devarim,

'And all of you approached me and you said 'Let us send men before us' ', and in this as well the question of the oylam applies, why did they not send them prior to this, if it was in their mind to send?

But it appears that earlier, the Israelites thought that the scouts would slander Eretz Yisrael and did not with to send, for that reason. But after they saw Miriam punished because slander, such that certainly they would not lie in order to slander Eretz Yisrael, for the same thing would happen to all of them, both they and Miriam -- therefore they said just then, let us send scouts before us. And this is what Rashi explains, why the juxtaposition? And by this he meant, why did they wait until after the leprosy of Miriam. This is only to tell you that prior to this, they did not want to send, because they worried that it would come to slander. But now that they saw the destruction which would come to their souls, to see the harm to themselves, to any who would stand for falsehood and emptiness, so say things which they had not seen -- and not take mussar?! As a rhetorical question, for certainly they would do this, namely take mussar."

End quote from Tiferes Yehonasan.

Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz, zatza"l
I like the question of the oylam. It basically supplies its own obvious peshat-based answer for the juxtaposition, and then uses that to question the derasha.

However, I am not convinced by this rereading of Rashi. It supplements with too many additional facts, which are not mentioned in Rashi's source, Midrash Tanchuma. Tanchuma has Hashem knowing beforehand that the spies would sin, but makes no mention of the background of the bnei Yisrael even suspecting this. Nor does Tanchuma mention any such expectation on the part of klal Yisrael that now the scouts would not sin. And in opposition to reading the closing words of Rashi as a rhetorical question, the text of Rashi's source, the Tanchuma itself speaks of, and indeed darshens a pasuk, about the fact that the scouts did not listen, which makes it likely that in Rashi's channeling of the midrash, he also meant it as a straightforward statement.

I think the answer is more straightforward (but not necessarily as satisfying as a reread). This statement is meant to be homiletic. Yet, there are peshat reasons for the juxtaposition as well. But this is part of a genre of midrash which looks at juxtapositions and speaks to motivations and emotions of various actors. So, for instance, this is an opportunity to make a statement of the kind made by the juxtaposition of nazir and sotah -- he saw the dire effects of drunkenness and so swore off wine. And Aharon got the service of the menorah in Behaalotecha because of jealousy of the korbanot of the nesiim. And it is sparked at least in part by the sidra divisions as well. That it starts a sidra also is a likely factor in Rashi's decision to repeat the midrash here, rather than omitting it.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Was Calev ben Yefuneh the same person as Calev ben Chetzron?

According to Chizkuni, the father of Kalev was Chetzron. Thus:

"Calev ben Yefuneh: He is Calev ben Chetzron, and his name is called Yefuneh because he [Calev] turned [פנה] from the counsel of the scouts."
This is based on the statement of Chazal in Sotah 11b:
'The son of Hezron'? He was the son of Jephunneh!42  — [It means] that he was a son who turned [panah] from the counsel of the spies. Still, he was the son of Kenaz, as it is written: And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, took it!43  — Raba said: He was the stepson of Kenaz.
To explain what is happening here, in 1 Divrei Hayamim 2, there is a section regarding the lineage of a specific descendant of Yehuda. Skipping to relevant pesukim:

ה  בְּנֵי-פֶרֶץ, חֶצְרוֹן וְחָמוּל.  {ס}5 The sons of Perez: Hezron, and Hamul. {S}
ט  וּבְנֵי חֶצְרוֹן, אֲשֶׁר נוֹלַד-לוֹ--אֶת-יְרַחְמְאֵל וְאֶת-רָם, וְאֶת-כְּלוּבָי.9 The sons also of Hezron, that were born unto him: Jerahmeel, and Ram, and Chelubai.
יח  וְכָלֵב בֶּן-חֶצְרוֹן, הוֹלִיד אֶת-עֲזוּבָה אִשָּׁה--וְאֶת-יְרִיעוֹת; וְאֵלֶּה בָנֶיהָ, יֵשֶׁר וְשׁוֹבָב וְאַרְדּוֹן.18 And Caleb the son of Hezron begot children of Azubah his wife--and of Jerioth--and these were her sons: Jesher, and Shobab, and Ardon.
יט  וַתָּמָת, עֲזוּבָה; וַיִּקַּח-לוֹ כָלֵב אֶת-אֶפְרָת, וַתֵּלֶד לוֹ אֶת-חוּר.19 And Azubah died, and Caleb took unto him Ephrath, who bore him Hur.
כ  וְחוּר הוֹלִיד אֶת-אוּרִי, וְאוּרִי הוֹלִיד אֶת-בְּצַלְאֵל.  {ס}20 And Hur begot Uri, and Uri begot Bezalel. {S}

I would have to guess that Celubai in pasuk 9 is the same as Calev in pasuk 18.

Is this Calev the same as Calev ben Yefuneh? Chazal had a closed-canon approach, in which they readily equate unknowns with knowns. Further, Chazal simply revel in the contradictions between the lineages in Divrei Hayamim and the rest of Tanach. Rather than take it as evidence of error, and of uninspired authorship, they have canonized Divrei Hayamim on a midrashic level. Each of the seeming contradictions is meaningful, such that either Divrei Hayamim or the alternate account reflects the true name, while the other given name is used to reflect upon the individual's character. And they make a statement about the nature of Divrei Hayamim,  לא ניתן דברי הימים אלא לדרש, that it is only given over for derash. (Which is why I've argues elsewhere that one should not take such contradictions from Divrei Hayamim so seriously. It is sefarim chitzonim on the level of peshat, and we are not bothered by contradictions between other sefarim chitzonim, such as Jubilees or Susanna. You cannot first reject the level of derash and then, while looking only at peshat, suffer angst about the contradictions.)

But on the level of peshat, we need not say that this is the same Calev, even though both are from the tribe of Yehuda.

One reason to think it might be the same person is that we might expect Scriptural attention in particular upon important people, and so why should we focus so much on a random Calev? The answer might well be the terminal person, Betzalel ben Uri ben Chur.

However, if we want to say that Calev is identical, then maybe we can salvage this without making Yefuneh the same as Chetzron. Perhaps Celuvai is not the same as Calev, in which case we never see him born to Chetzron directly. So make him a descendant, with Yefuneh as his father. I am not convinced by this though.

Some folks raise the objection that Calev ben Yefuneh could not be the same as this Calev ben Chetzron. Because they claim, in the "Kenizzite Hypothesis", that Calev ben Yefuneh, whom the Torah identifies as the one sent from the tribe of Yehuda, was actually a Kenizzite, one of the native Canaanite people, who somehow was absorbed into the tribe of Yehuda.

They will point to pesukim such as:

יב  בִּלְתִּי כָּלֵב בֶּן-יְפֻנֶּה, הַקְּנִזִּי, וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ, בִּן-נוּן:  כִּי מִלְאוּ, אַחֲרֵי יְהוָה.12 save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun; because they have wholly followed the LORD.
I don't find this hypothesis persuasive. The "out" to this hypothesis is that Kenaz is a family name. Thus, as the proponents admit, we see he has a brother Kenaz, and this can well be understood as the name of a person, namely an ancestor. From sefer Shofetim:

יג  וַיִּלְכְּדָהּ עָתְנִיאֵל בֶּן-קְנַז, אֲחִי כָלֵב הַקָּטֹן מִמֶּנּוּ; וַיִּתֶּן-לוֹ אֶת-עַכְסָה בִתּוֹ, לְאִשָּׁה.13 And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, took it; and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife.

Thus it need not be the name of his nation, and I rather doubt that it is.

This still does not mean that Yefuneh == Chetzron, or that ben Yefuneh is an appellation for Calev rather than his ancestry.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

YUTorah on parshas Shelach

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

posts so far for parashat Shelach


1. Shelach sources -- further improved.

2. The large samach, because the spies were 60 cubits tall -- So Rav Chaim Kanievksy. I offer that it is enlarged because the word וַיַּהַס is an onomatopoeia.

3. Running commentary on parashat Shelach, part one and two.

4. YUTorah on parshas Shlach.

5. A trup tutorial: kadma vs. pashta -- How to distinguish between the melech and mesharet. Why the pashta will sometimes be repeated in a word. And in an interesting instance, where the pashta is not repeated, what that means in terms of stress. I argue with Chelek HaDikduk. Or perhaps I don't.

6. How to translate יוֹרִשֶׁנָּה. Should we emend Onkelos? Take II -- Chelek HaDikduk explains why the Teimanim will disregard Rashi and preserve their reading of Onkelos, as יוֹרְתִנַּהּ. I agree, but take slight exception. Is Rashi setting out to emend the text, or to justify what he believes is the only extant reading of the Targum? I first addressed the girsa issue in Onkelos last year.


  1. The mercha kfula in parshas Shmini -- How shall we account for it? Is it conjunctive or disjunctive? This is relevant because there is an instance of a mercha kefula in Shlach as well.
  2. Who said 'I am the LORD' A silly change in Divine appellation, by Samaritan scribes, at the start of Vaera. And after mentioning that modification, I note another extremely silly change, or Yehoshua bin Nun's name in the list of spies in parshat Shlach.
  3. Shlach sources - 2011 edition -- further improved and expanded. For example, many more meforshei Rashi.
  4. Shadal's resolution regarding who initiated the sending of scouts -- indeed, they asked first. And Hashem allowed it for Shadal's resolution regarding who initiated the sending of scouts Moshe's benefit, as well as a pretext so as to cause the Jews to learn in kollel for forty years.
  5. How the Samaritans emend the beginning of Shlach: Is the Samaritan Targum's harmonization of the beginning of Shlach with sefer Devarim an example of Ziyuf? This is a different emendation than the one mentioned in entry #2, above.
  6. Why, according to Tg Yonatan, should the spies be swift-minded? My answer -- they shouldn't. Targum Pseudo-Yonatan has a typographical error in need of correction. That is, rather than guvrin charifin, it should read guvrin chafirin!
  7. YU Torah on parashat Shelach.
  8. Rashi's girsa of Onkelos, on יוֹרִשֶׁנָּה: While Rashi makes a diyuk in Onkelos and establishes the proper girsa in Onkelos, Shadal begs to differ. And how that makes me reevaluate Rashi and propose a different girsa in Rashi citing Onkelos.
  9. Should we translate ha'anak as singular or plural? In Onkelos, different girsaot exist. The scholars fight it out. Ohev Ger has evidence, from Targum Pseudo-Yonatan and various manuscripts of Onkelos, that it should be singular. HaMaamar and Lechem Abirim bring counter-evidence, but I don't find it persuasive.
  10. Understanding the derasha of כִּי חָזָק הוּא מִמֶּנּוּ as stronger than God -- Rashi based on a gemara understands מִמֶּנּוּ as the spies implying a lack of ability of the Almighty. But how shall we understand the derasha, based on not reading מִמֶּנּוּ but מִמֶּנּוּ, when they are pronounced the same? One can emend the gemara, as Rashi does, or one can find differences in pronunciation, based on analyses by Ibn Ezra.
  11. Resolving Rashi on חַי אָנִי. What does he say? What does he NOT say? Two statements of Rashi contradict one another. Is וְיִמָּלֵא כְבוֹד ה part of the oath or not? The first Rashi puts it in, and as a present tense verb, and the second Rashi reorganizes the verse, taking it out, and has it as a future tense verb. This leads various supercommentators to suggest emendations, but the correct one comes from Berliner, based on manuscript evidence, that the second Rashi is a later insertion, and was authored by Rabbi Yosef Kara.

  1. Shelach sources -- revamped, with more than 100 meforshim on the parasha and haftorah.
  2. The trup on kol -- The trup, and nikkud, on the word kol of kol nasi bahem is evidence for Rashbam of the expression's meaning. He is right, but it is the words in the pasuk which determine this trup and nikkud.h
  3. Did Moshe really send nesiim as scoutsThe differing position of Rashbam on this matter, and how it works out with the harmonization with the account in sefer Devarim.h
  4. After what was Nachal Eshkol namedAfter the cluster of grapes, but what about the Biblical character Eshkol? And why does it seem to be called that before they even arrived? The Gra has an interesting suggestion, which I then analyze. See also this earlier post, about dual etymology of Nachal Eshkol.
  5. How many times did the Bnei Yisrael 'test' HashemTen times, some good number of times, or no times? Angering or testing?
  6. When did Moshe call Hoshea Yehoshua? On a peshat level, just when did Moshe give Yehoshua his new name? For what purpose? As per Rashi, Bechor Shor, Rashbam, and Shadal.
  7. How should we parse וּפִגְרֵיכֶם, אַתֶּם--יִפְּלוּ, בַּמִּדְבָּר הַזֶּה?  Rashi says ketargumo. What is bothering Rashi? Also, how we might differ.

  1. Shlach sources -- links by aliyah and perek to an online mikraos gedolos, as well as to many meforshim on the parsha and haftara.
  2. Why would Moshe send the meraglim if he knew they would sin? My own suggestion to a question posed elsewhere, based on some other Rashis.
  3. vehaAnashim asher alu imo -- explaining a masoretic note on Shelach, that there are two instances of vehaAnashim, and to remember that this one has a kadma veAzla.
  4. Why did Yehoshua send the spies? Especially given the problem which resulted from Moshe's sending of spies!
  5. Why would Moshe pray for Yehoshua and not Kalev? Rav Elyashiv has an answer, but I believe it goes against an explicit midrash or two.
  6. Was Rachav an innkeeper or a harlot? The "famous" explanation that she was an innkeeper may be the result of misreading / overreading the Targum, according to Radak. I examine all the places Targum translates zonah as pundekita and weigh it, as well as showing how Radak and Ralbag treat it.
  7. Radak is right; Rachav was a harlot. In this post, I consider one of the pundekita sources I missed, about Yiftach's mother. There, an addendum to the Targum makes it fairly explicit that pundekita means prostitute, in an explanation of the application of the name which corresponds well with Ralbag's explanation.
  8. Why does Rashi shift grasshoppers to ants? A few explanations, but I believe that the correct explanation is that he doesn't, and that by nemalim he means chagavim, since he uses that term elsewhere.
  9. Why the chirik in bin Nun? A cute answer, involving borrowing of dots...
  10. Who in the world is Nun? And I am not just saying "Yehoshua's father"...
  1. From Shadal's Vikuach -- Bamidbar Rabba for parshat Shelach notes that techeles has been hidden away, yet the gemara makes clear that the Amoraim and early Savoraim had techeiles. This can help us date Bemidbar Rabba.
  2. Was sending the spies a good thing? And what is the implication of lecha here and elsewhere? And then Rabbenu Bachya actually says it!
  3. Did Calev go by himself to Chevron? The sudden shift from plural to singular for going to Chevron, but other psukim indicate otherwise. How do different meforshim deal with this question?
  4. The Egyptians, occupied with burial -- cross-listed from Masei, a parallel midrashic theme of the enemy occupied with burying so as to not make trouble.
  5. The metaphor of tzitzis and mezuzah. In the course of this post, I mention Ramban's dismissal of Rashi's explanation of the count associated with tzitzis.
  • The Meraglim Didn't Lie. Also, why mention Hoshea and the name change.
  • From Shadal's Vikuach -- Rashbam uses trup / nikkud to determine what "kol nasi bahem" means every spy was a prince, but not that every prince was a spy.
to be continued...


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