Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Milchemet Yachid, with one's will -- and whether such a derasha is justified

Ki Teitzei begins {Devarim 21}:
י כִּי-תֵצֵא לַמִּלְחָמָה, עַל-אֹיְבֶיךָ; וּנְתָנוֹ ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בְּיָדֶךָ--וְשָׁבִיתָ שִׁבְיוֹ.10 When thou goest forth to battle against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God delivereth them into thy hands, and thou carriest them away captive,
In the word oyevecha, the segol under the bhet and the unpronounced yud which follows marks it as a plural noun. Thus, "your enemies," in plural. Constrast this to, for example, Devarim 28:55:
נה מִתֵּת לְאַחַד מֵהֶם, מִבְּשַׂר בָּנָיו אֲשֶׁר יֹאכֵל, מִבְּלִי הִשְׁאִיר-לוֹ, כֹּל--בְּמָצוֹר, וּבְמָצוֹק, אֲשֶׁר יָצִיק לְךָ אֹיִבְךָ, בְּכָל-שְׁעָרֶיךָ.55 so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat, because he hath nothing left him; in the siege and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall straiten thee in all thy gates.
There, oyivcha, with a chirik under the first yud, a sheva under the bhet, and no unpronounced yud following demostrates that this is a singular noun, rather than plural. Thus, "enemy."

Sometimes, the krei and ketiv can differ, and the word can be pronounced as plural, as if the yud were there, even though as written in the sefer Torah is it absent. One such example was in last week's parsha, in Shofetim:
דברים פרק כ
  • פסוק א: כִּי-תֵצֵא לַמִּלְחָמָה עַל-אֹיְבֶךָ, וְרָאִיתָ סוּס וָרֶכֶב עַם רַב מִמְּךָ--לֹא תִירָא, מֵהֶם: כִּי-ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ עִמָּךְ, הַמַּעַלְךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם.
But also a few pesukim before the examples in Devarim 28:
דברים פרק כח
  • פסוק נג: וְאָכַלְתָּ פְרִי-בִטְנְךָ, בְּשַׂר בָּנֶיךָ וּבְנֹתֶיךָ, אֲשֶׁר נָתַן-לְךָ, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ--בְּמָצוֹר, וּבְמָצוֹק, אֲשֶׁר-יָצִיק לְךָ, אֹיְבֶךָ.
  • פסוק נה: מִתֵּת לְאַחַד מֵהֶם, מִבְּשַׂר בָּנָיו אֲשֶׁר יֹאכֵל, מִבְּלִי הִשְׁאִיר-לוֹ, כֹּל--בְּמָצוֹר, וּבְמָצוֹק, אֲשֶׁר יָצִיק לְךָ אֹיִבְךָ, בְּכָל-שְׁעָרֶיךָ.
  • פסוק נז: וּבְשִׁלְיָתָהּ הַיּוֹצֵת מִבֵּין רַגְלֶיהָ, וּבְבָנֶיהָ אֲשֶׁר תֵּלֵד, כִּי-תֹאכְלֵם בְּחֹסֶר-כֹּל, בַּסָּתֶר--בְּמָצוֹר, וּבְמָצוֹק, אֲשֶׁר יָצִיק לְךָ אֹיִבְךָ, בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ.
Thus, the first example was oyevecha (plural), while the other two were oyivcha (singular).

It can also go in the opposite direction, with the yud present in the Biblical text but with an Oral tradition that it is pronounced as if without. Thus:
שמואל א פרק כד
  • פסוק ד: וַיֹּאמְרוּ אַנְשֵׁי דָוִד אֵלָיו, הִנֵּה הַיּוֹם אֲשֶׁר-אָמַר יְהוָה אֵלֶיךָ הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי נֹתֵן אֶת-איביך (אֹיִבְךָ) בְּיָדֶךָ, וְעָשִׂיתָ לּוֹ, כַּאֲשֶׁר יִטַב בְּעֵינֶיךָ; וַיָּקָם דָּוִד, וַיִּכְרֹת אֶת-כְּנַף-הַמְּעִיל אֲשֶׁר-לְשָׁאוּל--בַּלָּט.

יז בִּנְפֹל אויביך (אוֹיִבְךָ), אַל-תִּשְׂמָח; וּבִכָּשְׁלוֹ, אַל-יָגֵל לִבֶּךָ.17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thy heart be glad when he stumbleth;

In certain instances it does not really matter, from a peshat perspective, which one it is, because many enemies can be considered plural, or else singular if viewed as a collective. Sometimes when it deals with one person being an enemy, the choice really matters.

At any rate, Baal Haturim notes in his commentary to this pasuk in Ki Teitzei that oyevecha is written with the yud deficient. And he gives the naturally sensible derash on this -- if one were to insist on making a derash on it -- that the pasuk is speaking of a milchemet yachid. In our Mikraos Gedolos, the cited words are indeed written chaser yud.

Though in earlier printings, the citation is written as maleh yud -- though not, I think, to indicate a text contrary to Baal Haturim's very comment, but to show how to pronounce it, and thus highlight that the chaser yud is contrary to the way it is pronounced, such that it should certainly be darshened.

What does Baal HaTurim mean by milchemet yachid? I would guess that milchemet yachid, he means the milchemet hayetzer. This is a man's struggle with his own inclination. Indeed, the pasuk is only speaking keneged the yetzer hara. As we see in Kiddushin 21b:
ת"ר וראית בשביה בשעת שביה אשת ואפילו אשת איש יפת תואר לא דברה תורה אלא כנגד יצר הרע מוטב שיאכלו ישראל בשר תמותות שחוטות ואל יאכלו בשר תמותות נבילות (דברים כא, יא) וחשקת אע"פ שאינה נאה בה ולא בה ובחברתה ולקחת ליקוחין יש לך בה לך לאשה שלא יקח שתי נשים אחת לו ואחת לאביו אחת לו ואחת לבנו (דברים כא, יב) והבאתה מלמד שלא ילחצנה במלחמה:

and the idea is found locally in Rashi as well; and this would influence Baal Haturim in his novel derasha, in bolstering an existing message.

In our own times, we see Rav Mordechai Eliyahu make a similar derasha, though without focusing on the krei and ketiv. Thus:
ואומר הגאון הרב מרדכי אליהו שליטא: הדבר רמוז בפסוק במעבר שבין הפתיחה בלשון רבים לסיום בלשון יחיד. בתחילה אומרת התורה "כי תצא למלחמה על אויביך" – לשון רבים, ובסוף – "ונתנו ה' אלוקיך בידך ושבית שביו". שהתורה רומזת כאן למלחמה של האדם כנגד יצרו. דרכו של היצר הרע לבוא אל האדם בערמה ותחבולה בדמות "אויבים רבים" אותו יצר (יחיד) בא לו לאדם בצורות ודרכים שונות על מנת להחטיאו לבל יקיים תורה ומצוות, ובאה התורה ללמד את האדם שידע מהי הדרך בה ילחם עם יצרו עד שיקויים בו "ונתנו ה' אלוקיך בידך ושבית שביו".ש
Certainly the lashon yachid that occurs later in the pasuk, in וּנְתָנוֹ and perhaps as well in שִׁבְיוֹ, helps this along. But the Baal Haturim's prooftext is still the almost krei and ketiv, that it is written chaser, even though it is pronounced as if malei.

The problem with this, as Minchas Shai points out, is that this word oyevecha is not written chaser. Scroll up and examine the pasuk again.

Indeed, looking at a Tanach with masoretic notes on the side, we see that it is written malei, and no masoretic note on the side indicates otherwise. Minchas Shai attributes this error to Baal Haturim's hurriedness. There is indeed such a masoretic note, but on the previous instance of ki teitzei lamilchama al oyevecha, which occurred in parshat Shofetim. There, we have {Devarim 20}:
א כִּי-תֵצֵא לַמִּלְחָמָה עַל-אֹיְבֶךָ, וְרָאִיתָ סוּס וָרֶכֶב עַם רַב מִמְּךָ--לֹא תִירָא, מֵהֶם: כִּי-ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ עִמָּךְ, הַמַּעַלְךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם.1 When thou goest forth to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, thou shalt not be afraid of them; for the LORD thy God is with thee, who brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
and so do the Rama and Meiri write, that this instance of oyevecha is malei. And one should not ask from the singular unetano and shivyo, because there are other such examples. And that Or Torah writes the same thing.

We can see Or Torah here. Basically, he says, with apologies to Baal Haturim, that Baal Haturim was not exacting here and misread the masoretic note, which was actually referring to the pasuk in parshat Shoftim. And that it is indeed malei, in all the holy sefarim, as well as ancient sefarim.

Looking again at our Tanach with masoretic notes on the side, this time in parshat Shofetim, we encounter what is pictured to the right. It states that there are two which are chaser, despite being plural and pronounced with a segol. Perhaps this can provide us with an inside with Baal Haturim's motivation. Perhaps he did know that it was on the pasuk in Shofetim, but he thought that the second occurrence was the next plural oyevecha, which occurred in close proximity. Whereas in reality the only other time this occurs in Tanach is in Devarim 28, in the example discussed above.

Or else, the following happened to me yesterday. I was called up for Levi for Mincha, and had difficulty finding the place for about 30 seconds. Neither could the baal korei. This because it had opened to the earlier column, such that I glanced at Ki Teizei and thought that I was in the correct parsha. It was only after being confounded in finding the second aliyah that I looked more closely. Perhaps he could have done the same.

Or perhaps he was not looking in a chumash or sefer Torah for this -- since much of this commentary is based on malei or chaser, or tagin on certain letters, perhaps when writing this he only looked at the text of the masoretic notes.

Or perhaps despite Minchas Shai, Or Torah, Rama and Meiri, there indeed was a variant text in which the word is written chaser. I would note that the masoretic note claims there are two such chaser instances, and we have identified those two. But perhaps he still had a variant. I would point to another pasuk in parshat Ki Teitzei, which presumably everyone has malei, since it is not one of these two, and since I saw no discussion of it in Minchas Shai. That pasuk is in Devarim 23:10:
י כִּי-תֵצֵא מַחֲנֶה, עַל-אֹיְבֶיךָ: וְנִשְׁמַרְתָּ--מִכֹּל, דָּבָר רָע.10 When thou goest forth in camp against thine enemies, then thou shalt keep thee from every evil thing.
However, if we look in Yerushalmi, where this pasuk is cited, we find it written chaser! Thus, in Yerushalmi Kiddushin 45b:
רבי שמואל בר נחמן בשם רבי יונתן כתיב (דברי הימים א ז) והתייחשם בצבא במלחמה זכות יחסיהם עומדת להם במלחמה עד כדון מן הקבלה מדברי תורה (דברים לז) לא יבא ממזר בקהל י"י. (דברים לז) לא יבא פצוע דכא וגו' וגו' מה כתיב בתריה כי תצא מחנה על אויבך וגו':

Confounding this of course is the malei vav, but we saw Baal Haturim write it as such as well, in terms of the first pasuk. And that malei is more necessary as a cue to how to pronounce. At any rate, perhaps one can use this to mount a defense of Baal Haturim's purported nusach. Though I don't know that one should.

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