Wednesday, August 05, 2009

After you, or after them?

Towards the end of parshat Ekev {Devarim 11:4} Moshe recounts the pursuit of the Egyptians after the Israelites, and how they drowned in the Yam Suf:
ד וַאֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לְחֵיל מִצְרַיִם לְסוּסָיו וּלְרִכְבּוֹ, אֲשֶׁר הֵצִיף אֶת-מֵי יַם-סוּף עַל-פְּנֵיהֶם, בְּרָדְפָם, אַחֲרֵיכֶם; וַיְאַבְּדֵם ה', עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה.4 and what He did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how He made the water of the Red Sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the LORD hath destroyed them unto this day;

Chizkuni cites the pasuk, but slightly differently: rather than בְּרָדְפָם אַחֲרֵיכֶם, he writes בְּרָדְפָם אַחֲרֵיהֶם. And he explains this as "as the water pursued after the Egyptians." And this is what is written {in parshat Beshalach, Shemot 15:8}
טו,ח וּבְרוּחַ {ר}
אַפֶּיךָ נֶעֶרְמוּ מַיִם, {ס} נִצְּבוּ כְמוֹ-נֵד {ר}
נֹזְלִים; {ס} קָפְאוּ תְהֹמֹת, בְּלֶב-יָם. {ס}
וּבְמֵימַר פֻּמָּךְ חֲכִימוּ מַיָּא, קָמוּ כְּשׁוּר אָזְלַיָּא; קְפוֹ תְּהוֹמֵי, בְּלִבָּא דְּיַמָּא.
where נֶעֶרְמוּ מַיִם is translated by Onkelos as חֲכִימוּ מַיָּא, the waters were wise, that they were wise and acted cleverly to perform the will of their Creator, to chase after the Egyptians.

The problem is that this entire explanation is based on a different letter in the pasuk than we have. And Minchas Shai takes this point up:
בְּרָדְפָם אַחֲרֵיכֶם -- there is a lot to be astounded from the Chizkuni who wrote אחריהם {with a heh} and explains ... {what I wrote above}.

And so too, in an old Tikkun sefer Torah I found this gimgum. And soo too, in Mikra Gedolah {perhaps the first printing of Mikraos Gedolos} is written in a gloss: "it requires consideration, to Raz"al there is אחריהם."

And until now I have not seen any explicit midrash about this -- perhaps they relied upon this which is in the midrash of the Mechilta on parshat Beshalach, upon the pasuk {Shemot 14:27}:
כז וַיֵּט מֹשֶׁה אֶת-יָדוֹ עַל-הַיָּם, וַיָּשָׁב הַיָּם לִפְנוֹת בֹּקֶר לְאֵיתָנוֹ, וּמִצְרַיִם, נָסִים לִקְרָאתוֹ; וַיְנַעֵר ה' אֶת-מִצְרַיִם, בְּתוֹךְ הַיָּם.27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

which teaches that every place there was an Egyptian, the sea ran toward him.

And so do they say in the Midrash, brought down in the Yalkut on the aforementioned parshah, remez 235. And so wrote the Radak in sefer Yehoshua, perek 24, upon the pasuk {Yehoshua 24:7}:
ז וַיִּצְעֲקוּ אֶל-ה', וַיָּשֶׂם מַאֲפֵל בֵּינֵיכֶם וּבֵין הַמִּצְרִים וַיָּבֵא עָלָיו אֶת-הַיָּם וַיְכַסֵּהוּ, וַתִּרְאֶינָה עֵינֵיכֶם, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשִׂיתִי בְּמִצְרָיִם; וַתֵּשְׁבוּ בַמִּדְבָּר, יָמִים רַבִּים.7 And when they cried out unto the LORD, He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes saw what I did in Egypt; and ye dwelt in the wilderness many days.
this is his {=Radak's} language:
And in derash, upon each and every individual of them; that if there was among the Egyptians one who did not wish to enter the sea, the wave would drive him to the see.
And certainly, if it is from here, this does not inform {that the pasuk had a heh rather than a khaf}.
Perhaps that gloss was merely referring to Chizkuni, and yet considered it Raz"al, or thought Chizkuni must have been depending on some derasha of Chazal. Is anyone aware of any other midrash which, explicitly or otherwise, relies upon such a reading of the pasuk?

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