Monday, July 06, 2009

Should the yud of Pinchas be small? part one

An interesting discussion of a textual feature in Minchas Shai, on the beginning of parshat Pinchas.
"Pinchas: They say in the Zohar here, as well as in parshat Acharei Mot that this Pinchas is with a small yud, and that it is of the alphabet of small letters. However, in all the sefarim and masorot, and in our alphabet of small letters, there is only found the yud of Tzur Yeladecha Teshi {from Haazinu}. It is further implied from the Zohar that only here is Pinchas written plene, with a yud. And the Rema za"l wrote
vateled lo et Pinechas as plene with yud, and the entire Torah is like it, plene,
end quote. And so it is found in all the sefarim. And the Masorot and the author of Or Torah go on at length to explain the Zohar, such that it would not be against our sefarim. And I don't know of things which are concealed from me.
Just a quick look at Tzur Yeladecha Teshi, so that we can see the small yud. Note the comment on the side that the yud is small.

We have a similar note in our Mikraos Gedolos on the first word Pinchas.

We should also see it in Zohar. A commentary inserted into this translation in ALL-CAPS, from the same site:
35d. Come and see: The secret of the holy covenant is the letter Yud that adorns itself with a Supreme heavenly impression, NAMELY THE DIADEM OF YESOD OF ZEIR ANPIN and this is recorded forever in the everlasting covenant. And because Pinchas was zealous for the covenant, that letter Yud was inserted into the spelling of his name. The Yud in the spelling of 'Pinchas' is a small one, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF MALCHUT, THE SECRET OF DIADEM OF YESOD, FOR 'PINCHAS' HERE IS SPELLED WITH YUD, which is definitely the covenant, which emanated from the upper holy Yud BECAUSE MALCHUT EMANATED FROM THE YUD OF THE YUD HEI VAV HEI IN THE SECRET OF THE FATHER ESTABLISHING HIS DAUGHTER. And this is why PINCHAS has a perfect existence before the Holy King and shall never perish from the world. And because of this he was without guilt at Peor. For he never lost himself from the world's holiness. "or where were the upright cut off?" (Iyov 4:7): this refers to Nadab and Abihu, who did not totally perish from the world BECAUSE THEIR SOULS INCARNATED IN PINCHAS, WHO CORRECTED THEM.
Perhaps one could claim that it does not mean a small letter, but referring to the yud of Zeir Anpin? No, it does not seem so, when we look at the other quote from Zohar brought down in Or Torah.

At any rate, what is the status of all our sifrei Torah? Do we actually have small yuds in them, or not? The Zohar is of the 13th century, assuming it is a forgery, in which case it need not be binding in any sense. Of course, it seems quite possible that the Zohar's interpretation is based on an existing feature in the Bibilical texts, which makes it into testimony of some 13th century Torah texts.

Meanwhile, the gemara makes no mention of a small letter yud in Pinchas. Now, this is an argument from absence of evidence, which I do not like. However, given that the gemara in Kiddushin does take note of the vav ketia in the word Shalom in immediate context. Absence of mention of this other similar feature, either in the immediate context or elsewhere, is then somewhat unexpected, and so perhaps we can add this evidence to the evidence we already have of texts which do not have the yud small.

(Here, I suggest that it is to tell us to read it as Pinchas rather than Pinechas.)

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