Monday, January 24, 2011

Rashi on Asher Zadu

Summary: And peshat and derash.

Post: In parashat Yitro, we read:
11. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the deities, for with the thing that they plotted, [He came] upon them."יא. עַתָּה יָדַעְתִּי כִּי גָדוֹל יְ־הֹוָ־ה מִכָּל הָאֱ־לֹהִים כִּי בַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר זָדוּ עֲלֵיהֶם:
Rashi comments on this with two separate comments:

 "For with the thing they they plotted ... upon them" -- in accordance with its Targum -- with water they intended to destroy them, and they were destroyed with water.כי בדבר אשר זדו עליהם: כתרגומו במים דמו לאבדם והם נאבדו במים:

"which they plotted" -- which they intended wickedly. And our rabbis expounded it as the language of (Bereishit 25:29) "and Yaakov cooked a pottage". In the pot which they cooked, they were cooked.
אשר זדו: אשר הרשיעו. ורבותינו דרשוהו לשון (בראשית כה כט) ויזד יעקב נזיד, בקדרה אשר בשלו בה, נתבשלו:

We can see this Targum Onkelos here:
יח,יא עַתָּה יָדַעְתִּי, כִּי-גָדוֹל יְהוָה מִכָּל-הָאֱלֹהִים:  כִּי בַדָּבָר, אֲשֶׁר זָדוּ עֲלֵיהֶם.כְּעַן יָדַעְנָא, אֲרֵי רָב יְיָ וְלֵית אֱלָהּ בָּר מִנֵּיהּ:  אֲרֵי בְּפִתְגָמָא, דְּחַשִּׁיבוּ מִצְרָאֵי לִמְדָּן יָת יִשְׂרָאֵל בֵּיהּ דָּנִנּוּן.

"For in the way that the Egyptians thought to judge (=punish) Israel, so they were judged". The 'trick' here is that עֲלֵיהֶם is taken as "upon the Egyptians" rather than "upon the Israelites". This based on the way that Judaica Press rendered the pasuk. (The translation of Rashi is my own.) I am not absolutely sure that this is what Onkelos is saying. There are two ways of inserting something implicit into this pasuk. It could be:

"For in the way that they Egyptians thought to judge them, [so were they judged]"


"For in the way that they Egyptians thought to judge [them], [so it was] upon them."

Is aleihem to be "them" or "upon them". Yet, I would lean towards the former, as that seems to be Rashi's intent, and proof from the Targum.

Can the trup help us choose a parsing, and meaning? Perhaps:

Note how in the second half of the verse, there is a zakef katon upon the word vadavar and a tipcha on the word zadu.

(I am going to explore a bit first, which means that I am about to present an analysis I will ultimately decide is false. Please bear with me.) To focus just for a moment on the tipcha on the zadu, this tipcha is a disjunctive accent, a melech, and so it severs asher zadu from aleihem. So, we could assert that this gives us:

which they intended || upon them

as opposed to

which they intended upon them

Maybe we could then say that this supports the parsing we saw in Rashi and Onkelos, that "upon them" refers to the Egyptians. However, the counter-argument to this is that, as we know from Wickes, there is a continuous dichotomy in which sections and subsections are further and further divided in twain until there are less than three words to a phrase. And given the division that exists in the pasuk, with first ki vadavar being divided off via the zakef katon, there were three words left -- asher zadu aleihem. Where else could we have placed the melech to split this subsection? We cannot separate asher from zadu, and we cannot place it on the last word of the pasuk, which already has a silluq present. Thus, I don't think that this particular bit of trup can aid us in disambiguating the parse. (End of presentation of what I think is ultimately incorrect.)

However, there is another bit of trup which might help us out. On the word zadu is a zakef katon. The alternative would have been a tevir. Since we have a zakef katon, this divides off at the same level as the tipcha, namely, that it divides off a phrase which has been marked with a silluq. This means that first the zakef katon works, and only afterwards does the tipcha work. Thus, the division occurs like this:

ki vadavar  || asher zadu aleihem

and then, once ki vadavar has been divided off, asher zadu aleihem is divided into

asher zadu aleihem.

To me, this means that we have:
"for in the matter || which they attempted upon them."

If the trup were to be as the parse we seem to have in Rashi and Onkelos, that aleihem refers to the Egyptians, then I would have expected a tevir, which subdivides a phrase ending in tipcha. If we had had a tevir, then it would have been divided as:

ki vadavar asher zadu || aleihem

Which would mean: "for in the matter which they attempted || was upon them" Then, within ki vadavar asher zadu, the tevir would have divided:

ki vadavar || asher zadu

Thus, my inclination is to say that this Rashi, and Onkelos, are against the trup, even if they don't know this by dint of having a different theory of trup.

Ibn Ezra seems to say something in accordance with the trup:
וטעם כי בדבר -
בעבור הדבר שזדו המצרים על עם ישראל. וכן הזכיר למעלה ידעתי כי גדול ה' מכל האלהים - ה' שעושה דין על שהעבידו אותם בפרך.
וכן כתוב: כי ידעת כי הזידו עליהם, כאדם שיעשה בזדון רצונו וכבר כתוב: כי ידעתי את מכאוביו וארד להצילו מיד מצרים.
since he does not insist that aleihem means "upon the Egyptians", as far as I can see. Rather, upon the Israelites. So too Ramban:
(יא): כי בדבר אשר זדו עליהם - פירושו בדבר אשר הזידו המצרים על ישראל ידעתי שהוא גדול מכל האלוהים. וטעם זה, מפני שהשם גזר על ישראל ועבדום וענו אותם (בראשית טו יג): ולא היה על המצרים בזה העונש הגדול, אבל הזידו עליהם וחשבו להכרית אותם מן העולם, כמו שאמר (לעיל א י): הבה נתחכמה לו פן ירבה, וצוה למילדות להמית הבנים, וגזר עליהם כל הבן הילוד היאורה תשליכהו (שם כב), ומפני זה היה עליהם העונש המשחית אותם לגמרי, וזהו שאמר וגם את הגוי אשר יעבודו דן אנכי (בראשית טו יד), כמו שפרשתיו (שם ולעיל יב מב). והנה השם ראה מחשבתם, ונקם מהם על זדון לבם. וכן אמר הכתוב עוד כי ידעת כי הזידו עליהם (נחמיה ט י), כי העונש בעבור הזדון שחשבו לעשות להם. והנה ה' רואה ללב ועושה משפט העשוקים, ונוקם ובעל חמה, ואין מוחה בידו. ואונקלוס שאמר ארי בפתגמא דחשיבו מצראי למידן ית ישראל ביה דנינון, ירצה לומר כי היה ענשם על טביעת הילדים ביאור שאיננו בכלל ועבדום וענו אותם, ועל כן אבדם במים:
Back to analyzing this Rashi, we encounter the following Mizrachi on this Rashi.

He doesn't know where Rashi gets the idea that the derasha is based on a reinterpretation of the word zadu, since the midrash in Shemos Rabba makes no such assertion, but just states: בקדרה אשר בשלו בה, נתבשלו. Perhaps, then, this is just middah keneged middah, and they seized upon this idiom. The idiom itself contains no word nzd!

I cannot find the midrash in our Midrash Rabba. And Mekorei Rashi tells us that we can find the source for this in Pesikta deRav Kehana on Beshalach, there, on pasuk 7, as well as in Sota daf 11a. If we look at the gemara in Sotah, we find that this connection is made explicit by the setama degemara, which is where Rashi then gets it from:
והיינו דא"ר אלעזר מאי דכתיב (שמות יח, יא) כי בדבר אשר זדו עליהם בקדירה שבישלו בה נתבשלו מאי משמע דהאי זדו לישנא דקדירה הוא דכתיב (בראשית כה, כט) ויזד יעקב נזיד
Or in English:
This is what R. Eleazar said: What means that which is written: Yea, in the thing wherein they zadu [dealt proudly] against them?26  In the pot in which they cooked were they cooked. Whence is it learnt that 'zadu' means cooking? — Because it is written: And Jacob sod [wa-yazed] pottage.27
I would add slightly more. The derasha is such that not does zadu mean cooking, but badavar is what refers to the item used for cooking and asher/she is constant throughout. Thus:
ki badavar asher zadu, aleihem
ki bakedeira asher bishlu bah, aleihem

My strong suspicion is that the Onkelos / Rashi syntactic parse is identical to the syntactic parse in the gemara in Sotah.

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