Friday, January 01, 2010

The yetiv on ad ki yavo Shilo

Summary: According to Rabbenu Bachya's rebbe, the trup on ad ki yavo Shilo led Onkelos to render ad as forever, such that it is "forever once mashiach comes", rather than "until mashiach comes". This is a good response to Christians. But Shadal doesn't find it compelling.

Post: A famous pasuk in parashas Vaychi about Yehuda's kingship, often understood to bear messianic import:


י  לֹא-יָסוּר שֵׁבֶט מִיהוּדָה, וּמְחֹקֵק מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו, עַד כִּי-יָבֹא שִׁילֹה, וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּים.
10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, as long as men come to Shiloh; and unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be.
The trup on this pasuk is:

And Targum Onkelos on that pasuk is:


מט,י לֹא-יָסוּר שֵׁבֶט מִיהוּדָה, וּמְחֹקֵק מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו, עַד כִּי-יָבֹא שִׁילֹה, וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּים.
לָא יִעְדֵּי עָבֵיד שֻׁלְטָן מִדְּבֵית יְהוּדָה, וְסָפְרָא מִבְּנֵי בְּנוֹהִי עַד עָלְמָא, עַד דְּיֵיתֵי מְשִׁיחָא דְּדִילֵיהּ הִיא מַלְכוּתָא, וְלֵיהּ יִשְׁתַּמְעוּן עַמְמַיָּא.


Now, where does עַד עָלְמָא  come from? It could simply be implied as part of  וּמְחֹקֵק מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו. Alternatively, it could be a translation of the Hebrew word עַד. But if so, the next Aramaic phrase,  עַד דְּיֵיתֵי מְשִׁיחָא , has the word 'ad in it as well. Is this a dual translation at play?

Rabbenu Bachya quotes his Rebbe, Rabbi Shlomo, on this, on the basis of the trup:


And the position of Onkelos is "Shiloh -- that the kingship is his". And Rav, my teacher Rabbi Shlomo za"l explained that the {Hebrew} word 'ad in this place is like la'ad {forever}, therefore there is the stress {of the melech, the disjunctive accent of yetiv} in 'ad to teach that it is not drawn after ki yavo shiloh. And from this Onkelos translated 'ad 'almah. And he {Onkelos} translated ki yavo shilo as deyeitei meshicha {"that mashiach comes", NOT "until that mashiach comes"}. And one who translates {or is gores in Onkelos} 'ad deyeitei meshicha errs. 


And {as a result of this translation} the import of the verse is that once mashiach arrives, the kingship shall not cease from Yehuda forever, and it is like the language stated in Daniel {2:44} דִּי לְעָלְמִין לָא תִתְחַבַּל {that "in those days Hashem will raise up a kingdom which will never be destroyed"}. And since those who contend with us {=the Christians} think to prove from this verse that mashiach already came {namely, Jesus}, and they say that since it promises "the scepter shall not depart from Judah until mashiach comes" -- and we see that the kingship and the scepter is departed from Judah, behold this is proof that he already came. And my teacher, za"l, responded to them so, that the prophet {=Yaakov} promised that the kingship would not depart from Yehuda forever, once mashiach came. And since we see that until today, it is departed from Yehudah, this is great evidence that he has not yet come.

All in all, an excellent devar Torah which combines Targum, trup, girsology, and polemic. The trup, with the melech on 'ad, compels Onkelos to offer this explanation, and in particular one that makes sense when we do not repeat the word 'ad. And then, this is a great response to Christians, since the havtacha only begins when mashiach arrives, rather then ending when mashiach arrives. Of course, even if we understand it as continuous until the arrival of mashiach, there are good responses possible to counter their argument.

Shadal, in his commentary on Tg. Onkelos, Ohev Ger, cites this Rabbenu Bachya, but does not find it compelling. He writes:


עד כי יבא שילה , בכל הספרים עד דייתי = ו ז ה לשון ר׳ בחיי :
ומזה תרגם אנקלוס עד עלמא , ותרגם כי יבא שילה דייתי משיחא
והמתרגם עד דייתי משיחא טועה עכ"ל , ונראה לי שאין זה מוכרח .


That is, he notes that the girsa in all of the sefarim is indeed to have this repetition of the word 'ad. Shadal then cites this Rabbenu Bachya which would declare the repetition an error, and says that it appears to him that this is not muchrach.

Is there an alternative explanation of the yetiv? Quite possibly. Mechanically in trup, when there are three words in a clause there must be a division, even if the word(s) divided off  does not ultimately have very strong stand-alone meaning. And so there really had to be a yetiv or a pashta on that first word 'ad. The trup need not inform Onkelos.

And in terms of Onkelos, we could e.g. read the first 'ad 'alma as implicit in the first phrase, as I suggested above.

How does Shadal deal with this, in his own commentary? Well, it is not an issue to start out with, since he does not take acharit hayamim to refer to the end of days, but rather to later times. As such, it is no problem that since that time, the scepter has moved on from Yehudah. A relevant excerpt:
 . לא יסור : לא יחדל ויפסוק, כמו וסר מהם הנגע (ויקרא י"ג נ"ח ), וסר ממני כוחי (שופטים ט"ו י"ז ) לא תסור מעליו אולתו (משלי כ"ז כ"ב ), לפיכך אין הכוונה כפירוש רמב"ן , כל זמן שיהיה שבט בישראל יהיה ביהודה, ולא יסור ממנו לשבט אחר; אלא הכוונה: בהחלט לא יפסוק שבט מיהודה, אלא שעם כל זה אין הכוונה עד סוף כל הדורות, שתמיד יהיה שבט ביהודה, כי לא על סוף כל הדורות נתנבא יעקב אבינו, עיין למעלה פסוק א'. עד כי : לא מצאנו מילת אלה להוראת הזמן אלא להפלגת השיעור וילך הלוך וגדל עד כי גדל מאד (ברא' כ"ו י"ג ) עד כי חדל לספר (שם מ"א מ"ט ) עד כי יגעה ידו ותדבק ידו אל החרב (ש"ב כ"ג י' ) הפליא להיעזר עד כי חזק (ד"ה ב' כ"ו ט"ו ), אבל להוראת הזמן אומרים עד אשר (עד אשר תשוב חמת אחיךלמעלה כ"ז מ"ד ), עד אם (עד אם דברתי דברי) (שם כ"ד ל"ג ) או עד אשר אם (עד אשר אם שאו ערים, ישעיה ו' י"א) או עד ואחריו מקור עד שוב אף אחיד ממך (למעלה כ"ז מ"ה ) או עתיד (עד יגדל שלה בני למעלה ל"ח י"א ) בלא מילת כי. עד כי יבא שילה : שם עיר ושם השליך יהושע גורל לישראל וחילק להם את הארץ, ושם השכינו את אוהל מועד (יהושע י"ח). ואולי לשון זה של יעקב, שנשאר להם בקבלה ושנכתב בתורה, היה הסיבה לשיבחר יהושע את שילה לתת שם אוהל מועד ולהשליך שם הגורל.

4 comments:

shloime said...

i remember someone talking about rafael shimshon hirsh explanation of this pasuk. but i dont have the book with me... do you know anything about that?

joshwaxman said...

not offhand. i'll see if i can check it out on shabbos.

kt,
josh

YMedad said...

On the import of the name Shiloh, can I suggest you view my post here.

joshwaxman said...

thanks. nice.
kt,
josh

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