Thursday, March 26, 2009

The trup on Min HaBeheimah

To the right is much of the pasuk in Vayikra 1:2. Note the etnachta on LaHashem, and the revii on Min-HaBeheima.

There are actually two subtly-different ways to parse this pasuk, related to how we view the Olah of birds, and Ibn Ezra and Ramban are on opposite sides.

One way of translating this verse, ignoring other irrelevant ambiguities, is:

If a person from you offers a korban to Hashem, then from the domesticated animals, namely from the herd or from the flock shall you offer your korbanot.

This is in line with the trup, which has an etnachta on LaHashem. Therefore, the entire category of Olah is being given. And one should offer beheimah for this purpose, and specifically, from the herd or the flock.

Ibn Ezra appears to say this:

מן הבהמה -
יהיה הקרבן כלל, ואחר כן: מן הבקר ומן הצאן, שהם מין כבש ועז פרט, גם מלת קרבנכם כלל.
Thus, from the domesticated animals yihyeh hakorban, shall be the offering. The "problem" with this is that an olah need not only come from a beheima. Sure, it must come from a beheima rather than a chayah, but as we see a bit later in the same perek:
יד וְאִם מִן-הָעוֹף עֹלָה קָרְבָּנוֹ, לַה': וְהִקְרִיב מִן-הַתֹּרִים, אוֹ מִן-בְּנֵי הַיּוֹנָה--אֶת-קָרְבָּנוֹ. 14 And if his offering to the LORD be a burnt-offering of fowls, then he shall bring his offering of turtle-doves, or of young pigeons.
If so, this section about an olah from fowl seems like an afterthought. Perhaps we can say that it is indeed an afterthought, or it is a bedieved for those who cannot afford the larger animals. But still, it would be nice to have mentioned it earlier, and not give the false impression that it must be from the beheimot.

That is presumably what is "bothering" Ramban. He has a different parsing and interpretation of our pasuk He writes:

ב): אדם כי יקריב מכם קורבן לה' מן הבהמה -
שיעור הכתוב הזה אדם מכם כי יקריב מן הבהמה קורבן לה' מן הבקר ומן הצאן תקריבו. והעניין, בעבור שיצווה אחרי כן בקורבן העוף ובקורבן המנחה, אמר כאן כשיקריב אדם קורבן בהמה יקריב מאלה השנים, ולא חיה ולא שאר בהמות. והנה זה לאו הבא מכלל עשה במקריב חיה, כמו שאמרו בזבחים פרק שלישי (לד א): ק
המעלה איברי חיה, ר' יוחנן אומר: עובר בעשה.
Thus, he effectively rewords the pasuk, moving min habeheima earlier. If one sacrifices from the beheimah, it should be of the following two groups, the tzon or the bakar, to the exclusion of wild animals or other domesticated animals.

I would add that then there is no contradiction to the later olah of birds. He is saying the pasuk is saying that if you sacrifice from beheimot these are the parameters; and later the pasuk is saying that if you sacrifice from ofot these are the the parameters. This all leads to a nice structure.

However, as Shadal notes, this goes against the trup. If it were as Ramban said, the etnachta should be moved two words later -- so that the pasuk would read:
A person among you who brings a korban to Hashem from the beheima || from the bakar and the tzon you should bring your korban.

In Shadal's Vikuach al Chochmat haKabbalah (follow link for my translation), he uses this as evidence that Ramban, among other commentators, have absolutely no problem arguing with the trup in offering peshat; and that therefore they regard trup as the work of an excellent exegete but not necessarily does it go all the way back to Sinai.

Now, I would say one might be able to still kvetch it with the existing trup, at least for this particular example. (The others are mre difficult, IMHO.) Thus: If one offers a korban olah, then, if from the beheimah, from the bakar or from the tzon. That is not strictly what Ramban says in that particular structure, but we can say that he was just rewording it for the sake of clarity.

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