Monday, July 27, 2009

The masorah about the bald field and ox

A short commentary on the masorah on va`etchanan, from the sefer which does it. We have the Aseres Hadibros in Vaetchanan, and the last pasuk in it is:
יז וְלֹא תַחְמֹד, אֵשֶׁת רֵעֶךָ; {ס} וְלֹא תִתְאַוֶּה בֵּית רֵעֶךָ, שָׂדֵהוּ וְעַבְדּוֹ וַאֲמָתוֹ שׁוֹרוֹ וַחֲמֹרוֹ, וְכֹל, אֲשֶׁר לְרֵעֶךָ. {ס}17 Neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's wife; {S} neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's house, his field, or his man-servant, or his maid-servant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's. {S}
and it is interesting to contrast it with the text of the Dibros as found in parshat Yisro. There, it ends:
יג לֹא תַחְמֹד, בֵּית רֵעֶךָ; {ס} לֹא-תַחְמֹד אֵשֶׁת רֵעֶךָ, וְעַבְדּוֹ וַאֲמָתוֹ וְשׁוֹרוֹ וַחֲמֹרוֹ, וְכֹל, אֲשֶׁר לְרֵעֶךָ. {פ}13 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house; {S} thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. {P}
Note that if not coveting your neighbor's wife is to be separate from the other not coveting, which is the traditional non-Jewish interpretation, and is reinforced by the petuchas and setumas, then it is indeed strange that the grouping and ordering of coveting wife and house are reversed.

At any rate, there is a masorah ketana which appears to note a slight difference in this pasuk, and focuses either internally within the pasuk in va`etchanan or else has in mind the pasuk in Yisro as well:
vaeschanan, masorah ketanah: שָׂדֵהוּ שׁוֹרוֹ, etc., ש"ש are bald.
To explain: In my humble opinion, ש"ש are the first letters of שָׂדֵהוּ שׁוֹרוֹ. These two words are bald, and do not take a vav in the beginning of the word, for it is not written ושדיהו and ושורו, but rather שדיהו and שורו, etc. But, {within the same pasuk here in vaeschanan, all the rest have leading vavs:} וְעַבְדּוֹ וַאֲמָתוֹ, etc., take a vav in the beginning of the word. And in parshas Yisro, in the 10 commandments, it is not written שדיהו {at all} and it is written ושורו {with a leading vav}, see there.
See also Minchas Shai on this, who says the same thing, and who explains why he is even bothering to explain something so simple.

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