Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A defense of Rabbi Eleazer HaKallir from Ibn Ezra's criticisms pt i

JNUL put something interesting up today, listed under kabbalistic works after Shabbetai Tzevi. The item is from Rabbi Zechariah Mendel : ספר זכריה המבין : ... כולל יסודות חכמת האלוהות וחכמת הקבלה האמיתית ... גם ביאר ... דברי רבי אליעזר הקליר במקומות שהשיג עליו הראב"ע / חברו ... מוהר"ר זכריה מענדל בן ... ליב ...

For some of Ibn Ezra's criticism in Hebrew and in English summary, see this post at the Seforim blog:
Even if we disagree with Milton and grant the value of rhyme, we must still consider whether it is right to sacrifice grammar on the altar of rhyme. Rav Avraham Ibn Ezra, in his notorious, sarcastic diatribe against the Kallir is quite clear that he does not think so:
We see that Ibn Ezra criticizes the Kallir for alleged grammatical lapses, and in response to a defense by “one of the sages of the generation” that his deviations were compelled by the rhyme, he sneers that many of his rhymes are actually of very poor quality. It seems clear, however, that Ibn Ezra believes that even exemplary rhyming does not justify disobedience to the laws of grammar.
One of the criticisms was that R' Eliezer HaKallir put ויום up against פדיון and עליון. Thus: וכן חיבר ויום עם פדיון ועליון, גם זה איננו נכון, אע"פ שנמצא מ"ם במקום נו"ן כמו חיין וחטין, איך יחליף מ"ם יום שהוא שורש עם נו"ן עליון, פדיון שהוא מן עלה ופדה והוא איננו שרש

To the right is the defense on this point. Mem and nun are both nasals. And there are times where the mem and nun switch off, where he gives examples. But Ibn Ezra noted that there are such examples. His issue is that in this case, it is a root letter, which should not switch off. The answer is to find a mem/nun switch where the letter is a root letter.

Specifically, in Yechezkel 29:3:
הִנְנִי עָלֶיךָ פַּרְעֹה מֶלֶךְ-מִצְרַיִם, הַתַּנִּים הַגָּדוֹל, הָרֹבֵץ בְּתוֹךְ יְאֹרָיו: אֲשֶׁר אָמַר לִי יְאֹרִי, וַאֲנִי עֲשִׂיתִנִי

with tanim instead of tanin. I would add that there, Radak gives another example of the mem / nun switchoff, which is not even at the end of the word, in Hoshea 9:6, with Mof instead of Nof.
כִּי-הִנֵּה הָלְכוּ מִשֹּׁד, מִצְרַיִם תְּקַבְּצֵם מֹף תְּקַבְּרֵם; מַחְמַד לְכַסְפָּם, קִמּוֹשׂ יִירָשֵׁם, חוֹחַ, בְּאָהֳלֵיהֶם

I do seem to recall this feature in some dialects, where we would have Adan (!) rather than Adam.


Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

אַדְֿנֵי הַשָּׂדֶֿה

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

that's coming out funky on my screen — suppposed to say adney hasadeh

joshwaxman said...

sorry, can you clarify? what does adnei hasadeh have to do with Ibn Ezra and REK?


joshwaxman said...

ah, now i get it. it took me a moment. adan as adnei hasadeh.



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