Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Age of Trup -- part vii

Continuing Shadal's vikuach al chochmat hakabbalah. In previous segments, Shadal showed how many commentators, despite claims of the importance of adhering to nikkud and trup, feel free to write explanations not in accord with the nikkud or trup. He now continues the conversation between the guest and the author.

Besides for my translation and commentary, the Hebrew text itself is a novelty online, because due to a scanning error, two pages, which include this text, are missing from the Vikuach Al Chochmat haKabbalah in the unsorted bin at SeforimOnline.

The guest: I am in great awe of your excellent recall of the words of all these commentators, in their places and locations!

The authors: Do not be astounded by this, for all these words are gathered and stand by me in a pamphlet which I wrote for myself to remind me. And in it are others just like these that I mentioned before you. And not only from the commentators who I mentioned, but also from the rest of the great commentators and authors, I have kept record of many explanations which oppose the implication of the cantillation marks. And there I explain that also Rav Moshe haKohen, the Rambam, the Baal HaIkkarim, the Chizkuni, Rav Ovadiah Seforno, the author of Maaseh Hashem {Rabbi Eliezer Ashkenazi?}, the Ramban, and Rav Naftali Hertz Wiesel, {thanks, to S.}, all of them divert at times from the path of the cantillation marks. And all of this is for me is as a defense {??, modern Hebrew: apology} if also I, in a small number of places, explain verses not in accordance with their cantillation marks.

The guest: Indeed, what would you say was the belief of all these greats {Gedolim} in the matter of the time of origin of the nikkud and trup, and in the matter of the question of who put them out?

The author: It appears that the did not believe that they were written with Divine Inspiration {ruach hakodesh, }, nor that the Prophets and people of Divine Inspiration, the authors of the books of Scripture, themselves put the vowel points to their books. For if they believed this, they would not have permitted themselves to state an explanation which contradicted its nikkud or trup. And behold we have for the Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra clear testimony that the vowel points are not as old as the Holy Books, for at the end of sefer Tzachot he wrote:
"How could the cantillator {mafsik, divider} have erred -- and even if he be Ezra the Scribe. And the rule is that there was no one after cantillator as wise as him."
And so too in another place in sefer Tzachot, he mentioned the Wise Men of Tiberias, and he said:
"Because from them we received all vowel points."
And at the end of his commentary to Esther, he wrote that Ezra was the one who divided verses.

And Radak, in Michlol, in the nifal {passive} construction of the complete ones {?? with all three root letters ??}, he also brings to his tongue the word {/phrase} "the institutors of the vowel points."

And earlier than these was Rabbi Yehuda Chayuj {a student of Menachem and contemporary of Rashi}, in sefer Otiyot hester vehemshech {??}, or sefer haNoach, which is found by me in manuscript form.

The guest: Is this not an extremely dear thing! Please show it to me.

And I took the sefer and placed it before him, and he read a bit here and there. And afterwards I said to him:

Also Rabbi Yehuda Chayyuj wrote on the root אסף, and these are his words:
"But the scribes, who instituted the cantillation {marks} placed a distinction between nif'ala, which is past tense, where it has a disjunctive cantillation, and nif'ala, which is past tense. For they put the stress {/cantillation mark} in the first case on the ayin of the verb, such as in {Tehillim 34:21}:
כא שֹׁמֵר כָּל-עַצְמוֹתָיו; אַחַת מֵהֵנָּה, לֹא נִשְׁבָּרָה. 21 He keepeth all his bones; not one of them is broken.
{achat mehena lo nishBAra,} in which the bet is in place of the ayin of nif'ala. And they place the stress {/cantillation mark} of the second case in the lamed of the verb, such as in {Tehillim 51:19}:
יט זִבְחֵי אֱלֹהִים, רוּחַ נִשְׁבָּרָה:
לֵב-נִשְׁבָּר וְנִדְכֶּה-- אֱלֹהִים, לֹא תִבְזֶה.
19 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; {N}
a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
{nishbaRA}, where the resh of nishbaRA is in place of the lamed of nif'ala."
And so too on the root יחל he wrote:
"For so is the way of those who established the teamim {trup/stress}, to push back the taam in a word which has after it a small word, in order to place a {temporal} space between the teamim."
And so too on the root בוא he wrote:
"And the ones who thought out the trup established the taam {stress/trup} of BA`ah, which is past tense, upon the bet, and the taam of ba`AH, which is for all time, and it is a name for her {??}, upon the aleph. Such as {I Shmuel 25:19}
יט וַתֹּאמֶר לִנְעָרֶיהָ עִבְרוּ לְפָנַי, הִנְנִי אַחֲרֵיכֶם בָּאָה; וּלְאִישָׁהּ נָבָל, לֹא הִגִּידָה. 19 And she said unto her young men: 'Go on before me; behold, I come after you.' But she told not her husband Nabal.
{with the stress on the aleph} and
{Esther 2:14}
יד בָּעֶרֶב הִיא בָאָה
וּבַבֹּקֶר הִיא שָׁבָה אֶל-בֵּית הַנָּשִׁים שֵׁנִי, אֶל-יַד שַׁעַשְׁגַז סְרִיס הַמֶּלֶךְ, שֹׁמֵר הַפִּילַגְשִׁים: לֹא-תָבוֹא עוֹד אֶל-הַמֶּלֶךְ, כִּי אִם-חָפֵץ בָּהּ הַמֶּלֶךְ וְנִקְרְאָה בְשֵׁם.
14 In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's chamberlain, who kept the concubines; she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and she were called by name.
{which has the stress on the aleph.}
And so too on the root אכה he wrote:
"And there are, when those who established the trup, that upon those taken from the type of the resting ayin they placed the taam on their peh hapoel, which is the beginning of the letters, and the those taken from the type of missing the lamed, the taam on their ayin, which is the second {root} letter, in order to distinguish between them."
And the author of the Kuzari said (maamar 3, siman 30), without a doubt, that the sefer Torah was a plain sefer Torah without nikkud or trup just as we see in a sefer Torah nowadays.

And Ramban wrote in a teshuva (brought down in Bet Yosef, in Tur Yoreh Deah siman 275), that a sefer Torah with nikkud is invalid, because it is not as it was given from Sinai.

And this is taken from the teshuvat hageonim. For so is written in Machzor Vitri (siman 120):
"In teshuvat hageonim: And that which you have asked if it is forbidden to place nikkud in a sefer Torah -- the sefer Torah which was given to Moshe at Sinai, we have not heard that there was nikkud in it, but rather the Sages designated it as a sign, and it is forbidden to add of our own accord, lest we violate bal tosif {you shall not add}. Therefore we do not place nikkud in a sefer Torah. And even though the divisions of the trup and the tunes of the reading were received tradition from Sinai, as is written {Nechemiah 8:8:

ח וַיִּקְרְאוּ בַסֵּפֶר בְּתוֹרַת הָאֱלֹהִים, מְפֹרָשׁ; וְשׂוֹם שֶׂכֶל, וַיָּבִינוּ בַּמִּקְרָא. {ס} 8 And they read in the book, in the Law of God, distinctly; and they gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. {S}
That was relayed orally, but not with signs pointed in the sefer.

{Note: וַיָּבִינוּ בַּמִּקְרָא is interpreted in gemara to refer to the trup, or rather, "pisuk teamim."

The reference is to the gemara in Megilla 3a:
והא אמר רב איקא בר אבין אמר רב חננאל אמר רב מאי דכתיב (נחמיה ח) ויקראו בספר תורת האלהים מפורש ושום שכל ויבינו במקרא ויקראו בספר תורת האלהים זה מקרא מפורש זה תרגום ושום שכל אלו הפסוקין ויבינו במקרא אלו פיסקי טעמים ואמרי לה אלו המסורת
or Nedarim 37b:
מ"ט לא אמר שכר פיסוק טעמים קסבר <שכר> פיסוק טעמים דאורייתא הוא דא"ר איקא בר אבין אמר רב חננאל אמר רב מ"ד (נחמיה ח) ויקראו בספר תורת האלהים מפורש ושום שכל ויבינו במקרא ויקראו בספר תורת האלהים זה מקרא מפורש זה תרגום ושום שכל אלו הפסוקים ויבינו במקרא זה פיסוק טעמים ואמרי לה אלו המסורות

Or, since the citation, after all, was to וְשׂוֹם שֶׂכֶל, it is quite possible that the geonim were working off of Yerushalmi Megillah 28b, which attrivutes teamim to that part of the verse.

מניין לתרגום ר' זעירה בשם רב חננאל (נחמיה ח) ויקראו בספר תורת ה' זה המקרא מפורש זה תרגום ושום שכל אלו הטעמים ויבינו במקרא זה המסורת ויש אומרים אלו ההכריעים ויש אומרים אלו ראשי פסוקים


Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...


נפתלי הירץ ויזל

Excellent series, BTW.

joshwaxman said...

thanks. and thanks.
I'll add that, including attribution.


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