Thursday, July 06, 2006

late parshat Shelach: Why Is the Mateh Yosef Missing?

There is an oddity in the list of spies Moshe sent to spy out the lad in Bemidbar 13:

ג וַיִּשְׁלַח אֹתָם מֹשֶׁה מִמִּדְבַּר פָּארָן, עַל-פִּי יְהוָה: כֻּלָּם אֲנָשִׁים, רָאשֵׁי בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל הֵמָּה. 3 And Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran according to the commandment of the LORD; all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel.
ד וְאֵלֶּה, שְׁמוֹתָם: לְמַטֵּה רְאוּבֵן, שַׁמּוּעַ בֶּן-זַכּוּר. 4 And these were their names: of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur.
ה לְמַטֵּה שִׁמְעוֹן, שָׁפָט בֶּן-חוֹרִי. 5 Of the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori.
ו לְמַטֵּה יְהוּדָה, כָּלֵב בֶּן-יְפֻנֶּה. 6 Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.
ז לְמַטֵּה יִשָּׂשכָר, יִגְאָל בֶּן-יוֹסֵף. 7 Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph.
ח לְמַטֵּה אֶפְרָיִם, הוֹשֵׁעַ בִּן-נוּן. 8 Of the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun.
ט לְמַטֵּה בִנְיָמִן, פַּלְטִי בֶּן-רָפוּא. 9 Of the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu.
י לְמַטֵּה זְבוּלֻן, גַּדִּיאֵל בֶּן-סוֹדִי. 10 Of the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi.
יא לְמַטֵּה יוֹסֵף, לְמַטֵּה מְנַשֶּׁה--גַּדִּי, בֶּן-סוּסִי. 11 Of the tribe of Joseph, namely, of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi.
יב לְמַטֵּה דָן, עַמִּיאֵל בֶּן-גְּמַלִּי. 12 Of the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli.
יג לְמַטֵּה אָשֵׁר, סְתוּר בֶּן-מִיכָאֵל. 13 Of the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael.
יד לְמַטֵּה נַפְתָּלִי, נַחְבִּי בֶּן-וָפְסִי. 14 Of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi.
טו לְמַטֵּה גָד, גְּאוּאֵל בֶּן-מָכִי. 15 Of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi.
טז אֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת הָאֲנָשִׁים, אֲשֶׁר-שָׁלַח מֹשֶׁה לָתוּר אֶת-הָאָרֶץ; וַיִּקְרָא מֹשֶׁה לְהוֹשֵׁעַ בִּן-נוּן, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ. 16 These are the names of the men that Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua.
Compare pasuk 8 with pasuk 11. In pasuk 8:

ח לְמַטֵּה אֶפְרָיִם, הוֹשֵׁעַ בִּן-נוּן. 8 Of the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun.
there is no mention made of the tribe of Yosef, whereas in pasuk 11:

יא לְמַטֵּה יוֹסֵף, לְמַטֵּה מְנַשֶּׁה--גַּדִּי, בֶּן-סוּסִי. 11 Of the tribe of Joseph, namely, of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi.
The JPS translation above is actually already attempting to solve this irregularity. The word "namely" does not correspond to any specific word in the Hebrew original.

Thus, the Hebrew of pasuk 11 could be rendered:
Of the tribe of Yosef, of the tribe of Menashe, Gaddi ben Sussi.

That is, that the tribe of Menashe was a part of the greater tribe of Yosef. The problem with this is: what is your definition of tribe -- can you have two "tribes" within a "tribe" -- and secondly, it does not say "Of the tribe of Yosef" by Ephraim.

"Namely" seems a good explanation here. That is, the tribe of Yosef is the tribe of Menashe, who is the firstborn. Since Yosef gets a double-portion, Ephraim gets to be a tribe of its own.

Here is one interesting example, which might be an exception. In Bemidbar 34:23-24:

יז אֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת הָאֲנָשִׁים, אֲשֶׁר-יִנְחֲלוּ לָכֶם אֶת-הָאָרֶץ: אֶלְעָזָר, הַכֹּהֵן, וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ, בִּן-נוּן. יח וְנָשִׂיא אֶחָד נָשִׂיא אֶחָד, מִמַּטֶּה--תִּקְחוּ, לִנְחֹל אֶת-הָאָרֶץ. יט וְאֵלֶּה, שְׁמוֹת הָאֲנָשִׁים: לְמַטֵּה יְהוּדָה, כָּלֵב בֶּן-יְפֻנֶּה. כ וּלְמַטֵּה בְּנֵי שִׁמְעוֹן, שְׁמוּאֵל בֶּן-עַמִּיהוּד. כא לְמַטֵּה בִנְיָמִן, אֱלִידָד בֶּן-כִּסְלוֹן. כב וּלְמַטֵּה בְנֵי-דָן, נָשִׂיא--בֻּקִּי, בֶּן-יָגְלִי. כג לִבְנֵי יוֹסֵף, לְמַטֵּה בְנֵי-מְנַשֶּׁה נָשִׂיא--חַנִּיאֵל, בֶּן-אֵפֹד. כד וּלְמַטֵּה בְנֵי-אֶפְרַיִם, נָשִׂיא--קְמוּאֵל, בֶּן-שִׁפְטָן. כה וּלְמַטֵּה בְנֵי-זְבוּלֻן, נָשִׂיא--אֱלִיצָפָן, בֶּן-פַּרְנָךְ. כו וּלְמַטֵּה בְנֵי-יִשָּׂשכָר, נָשִׂיא--פַּלְטִיאֵל, בֶּן-עַזָּן. כז וּלְמַטֵּה בְנֵי-אָשֵׁר, נָשִׂיא--אֲחִיהוּד, בֶּן-שְׁלֹמִי. כח וּלְמַטֵּה בְנֵי-נַפְתָּלִי, נָשִׂיא--פְּדַהְאֵל, בֶּן-עַמִּיהוּד.

Thus, among the descendants of Yosef, their is the tribe of Menashe. Ephraim is in a pasuk by himself. However, one might say that livnei yosef is distributive in this instance - something easy to say because of the vav hachibbur (which, though, occurs by every other tribe as well save the first) and because Ephraim immediately follows Menashe.

When dividing the land in sefer Yehoshua, we find {Yehoshua 16}:

א וַיֵּצֵא הַגּוֹרָל לִבְנֵי יוֹסֵף, מִיַּרְדֵּן יְרִיחוֹ, לְמֵי יְרִיחוֹ, מִזְרָחָה; הַמִּדְבָּר, עֹלֶה מִירִיחוֹ בָּהָר--בֵּית-אֵל. ב וְיָצָא מִבֵּית-אֵל, לוּזָה; וְעָבַר אֶל-גְּבוּל הָאַרְכִּי, עֲטָרוֹת. ג וְיָרַד-יָמָּה אֶל-גְּבוּל הַיַּפְלֵטִי, עַד גְּבוּל בֵּית-חוֹרֹן תַּחְתּוֹן--וְעַד-גָּזֶר; וְהָיוּ תֹצְאֹתָו, יָמָּה. ד וַיִּנְחֲלוּ בְנֵי-יוֹסֵף, מְנַשֶּׁה וְאֶפְרָיִם. ה וַיְהִי גְּבוּל בְּנֵי-אֶפְרַיִם, לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם...

so both are considered benei Yosef in terms of the goral.

Another interesting but, I think, unlikely, possibility occurred to me: By Ephraim, mention of the tribe of Yosef is not necessary, because the previous two words serve double-duty:
ז לְמַטֵּה יִשָּׂשכָר, יִגְאָל בֶּן-יוֹסֵף. 7 Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph.
ח לְמַטֵּה אֶפְרָיִם, הוֹשֵׁעַ בִּן-נוּן. 8 Of the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun.

4 comments:

Josh said...

I recall hearing an explanation (Rashi, perhaps?) that only Gaddi ben Susi of Menashe was connected to Yosef because he followed in his footsteps by being motzi diba. Your explanation that Menashe=Yosef sounds like a possibility, though.

joshwaxman said...

very cute derash.

by the way, you might be interesting in an ealier devar of mine (A Baaaad Report) on parshat vayeishev, in which I claim that Yosef did not speak lashon harah about his brothers. On the level of derash, though, it is certainly very entertaining and nice.

ADDeRabbi said...

any comments on the strange order of tribes in shelach?
that may provide the key to an answer

joshwaxman said...

I *have* been batting around a few ideas of this nature, as a matter of fact. baruch shekivanti!

e.g. if there was some reason to move Ephraim, with Yehoshua bin Nun, earlier (to be closer to Calev, from Yehuda, or because Ephraim is taking the place of Levi) from the original list, then perhaps we could have a similar situation of lemate yosef covering the two. For both the aforementioned reasons, though, we would expect Ephraim one higher. (Binyamin sticks with Ephraim.)

I'm still trying to think it through. any suggestions?

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