Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Age of Trup -- part xiv

We continue Shadal's Vikuach Al Chochmat haKabbalah. In the previous segment, he rejected a proof of the earliness of nikkud brought from a Yerushalmi (see last segment here), noting that the derasha which focuses on the fact that uvasheviit ketiv, thus using the word "written" about vowel sounds, might be inexact in its use of language, or better, need not be talking about the patach under the bet but rather the presence of the vav in the beginning of the word. Now, he deals with two references to the word nikkud or a specific nikkud found in midrash, and answers that that is not what nikkud means, and that not every midrash is as early as the Tannaim and Amoraim. This discussion about these midrashim will be finished in the next segment.

The author: Your words are near.

And now, behold, two statements have entered my memory, which are found in midrash, in which the nikkud and trup are mentioned.

The first is in Shemot Rabba parasha 2, and this is the language:
"'And He said Moshe Moshe' -- you find by 'Avraham Avraham' that there is a פסק, 'Yaakov Yaakov' that there is a פסק, 'Shmuel Shmuel' that there is a פסק, but by 'Moshe Moshe' there is no פסק in it."
And the second one is in Midrash Kohelet upon the verse "Tov Shem miShemen Tov," and it is also in Midrash Shmuel parsha 23, and is brought down in Yalkut Kohelet remez 973, and this is the language:
"If they (the names of the tribes engraved upon the heart of Aharon) were missing a single letter they would not have atoned. Rabbi Hoshaya (and in Yalkut Rabbi Yehoshua) taught: Even a single nekuda."
The guest: If you are bringing proof from the midrash, go and I will show you two placed from the midrash which proofs against the early origin of the nikkud, and both of them are in midrash Shir haShirim which is called Midrash Chazit.

For behold, firstly, upon the verse {Shir HaShirim 1:11}:
יא תּוֹרֵי זָהָב נַעֲשֶׂה-לָּךְ, עִם נְקֻדּוֹת הַכָּסֶף. 11 We will make thee circlets of gold with studs of silver.
Rabbi Abba bar Kahana said "these are the letters. Rabbi Acha said: These are the words.

Another explanation: תּוֹרֵי זָהָב נַעֲשֶׂה-לָּךְ -- this is the writing. עִם נְקֻדּוֹת הַכָּסֶף -- this is the sargul. {=sirtut, the lines upon which the text is written}
End quote.

And behold, after they darshen the verse on the writing and on the lines, how did it not enter the mind of one of the Sages to darshen nekudot hakesef upon the nekudot {vowel points}, if the nikkud was known in their days?

{Note that there are two traditions of vowel signs, one which does not involve points. And perhaps neither were called by the name nikkud in their days, even if such did exist?}

And this secondly, on the verse {Shir haShirim 2:4}:
ד הֱבִיאַנִי אֶל-בֵּית הַיָּיִן, וְדִגְלוֹ עָלַי אַהֲבָה. 4 He hath brought me to the banqueting-house, and his banner over me is love.
The author of the matnot kehuna says with full mouth that their sefarim did not have vowel points.

{Upon R' Yissachar's statement:

and he notes that their sefarim lacked nikkud, and noted the Rebbe of Yoav, but this is Matnot Kehuna's interpretation, though a good one. He also notes the old sefarim had the girsa משה מושה and אהרן אהרון but not לעפרן עפרון. Etz Yosef gives a similar explanation. But Yedei Mosh explains this not as error but rather mocking {as the words say mocking}, and that they call Aharon haron without the aleph {see to in Chiddushei Radal for the same Aharon haron text} and Moshe they call Mushi. Such that it is mocking rather than error.}

The author: See, that your words are good and proper. But then, how do you resolve this contradiction between midrash and midrash?

The guest: There are two answers to the matter.

The first answer is that the word פסק mentioned in Shemot Rabba, perhaps the intent in this is a pause in the reading, with voice and not wuith writing. That is to say that so was it as tradition by them in the Oral Torah, that one needs to pause between Avraham and Avraham, Yaakov Yaakov, Shmuel Shmuel, but not between Moshe Moshe.

And so too that "single nekuda" mentioned in Midrash Kohelet, we can say that the intent on this is on the point upon which a few of the letters rest upon, such as the three heads of the ש, and as you have seen that they darshened "nekudot hakesef" -- these are the letters. For when it comes down to it, even if you believe in the early origin of the nikkud, we still have not seen not heard of one who says that the names of the tribes engraved in the stones of the Ephod and Choshen had nikkud.

And the second answer is that not all midrashim, and not all which is found in the midrashim, is as early as the earliness of the Talmud.

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