Thursday, September 17, 2009

Is Vayin`atz a transitive or intransitive verb?

There was a whole tumult last week about Arami Oved Avi, and whether Oved could function as a transitive verb. We have a related question this week in Haazinu, about the verb וינאץ. See a discussion of נאץ, with examples, in Radak's sefer Shorashim, on the bottom on the first column. The Radak does not mention it, Shadal does -- נאץ is always a transitive verb, so there must be a direct object. Thus, he writes:

יט] וירא ה ' וינאץ : נאץ פועל יוצא תמיד , גם אל תנאץ למען שמך אל תנבל כסא כבודך ( ירמיה י " ד כ " א ), ענינו אל תנאץ ואל תנבל כסא כבודך , והיה ראוי לקרוא וירא ה ' וינאץ מכעס , רק בא האתנח באמצע הפסוק כדי להשוות שני חלקיו , לנועם השיר , וזה מצוי בשירי הקודש , כגון ( תהלים ק " ב ח ') שקדתי ואהיה כצפור בודד על גג , גל עיני ואביטה נפלאות מתורתך ( שם קי " ט י " ח ). ומה שהזכיר הבנות שלא כמנהג , נראה שהיא נבואה על ימי ירמיה , שבימי החרבן היו גם הנשים אדוקות הרבה לע " ז

This impacts how we are to view the parsing of the pasuk. JPS has it:

יט וַיַּרְא ה', וַיִּנְאָץ, {ר} מִכַּעַס בָּנָיו, וּבְנֹתָיו. {ס}19 And the LORD saw, and spurned, because of the provoking of His sons and His daughters.

but that would have וינאץ as an intransitive verb, lacking a direct object. But this is only if we stop there, after וינאץ. As indeed the etnachta on וינאץ tells us to.

But Shadal says to keep reading, such that it should read "and spurned, from anger, His sons and His daughters." Thus "His sons and His daughters" would be the direct object.

I don't know that this is necessary, as it is Biblical poetry such that weird, archaic forms surface. And it has the drawback of breaking up the structure of the poetry, in this case of the second half of the verse neatly expanding upon the ideas of the first half. But it is an interesting alternative parse nonetheless.

I wonder how the pasuk is understood in this derasha in Ketubot, daf 8:
פתח ואמר (דברים לב) וירא ה' וינאץ מכעס בניו ובנותיו דור שאבות מנאצים להקב"ה כועס על בניהם ועל בנותיהם ומתים כשהם קטנים
I see two ways of parsing this, but this might be from my own deficiency.

If I understand the parse correctly, it is that a generation who are menaatzim Hashem, that generation is angry at their sons and daughters. Thus Hashem sees their actions and becomes נאץ as a result of their מנאצים of Hashem. And they do this because of their "anger", keviyachol, at their children. That is the role of the mi in mikaas.

The more standard parse, which is in Soncino and also seems to be Rashi's parse, is "[This means, in] a generation [in which the fathers spurn the Holy One, blessed be He, He is angry with their sons and their daughters and they die when they are young." I don't see how this accounts for the מ in מכעס.

In the former parse, ונאץ would appear to be an intransitive verb. In the latter parse, it would appear that, effectively, the sons and daughters become almost the direct object of וינאץ (though one can argue that it is כועס), such that it can be a transitive verb.


Menachem Mendel said...

The new JPS translates the verse differently:

"The LORD saw and was vexed And spurned His sons and His daughters"

Everett Fox translates it this way:

"When YHWH saw, he spurned (you),
from the vexation of his sons and daughters."

joshwaxman said...

interesting. thanks. in the new JPS, they thus keep it as the intransitive, but i am not sure what they are doing now with the "mi" of mikaas.

fox makes it into the transitive, yet keeps the object of the transitive verb implicit. i suppose that is slightly better than leaving it as intransitive.



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