Post: Here is how our parasha, of Vayakhel, leads off:
|3. You shall not kindle fire in any of your dwelling places on the Sabbath day."||ג. לֹא תְבַעֲרוּ אֵשׁ בְּכֹל מֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת:|
We correctly understand this to mean to start a fire, that is to kindle one. The Tzedukim, Samaritans and Karaites took this to mean burn, with the sense that there may not be any flame in one's house. This leads to dark rooms and cold food.
I was somewhat surprised to see the following emendation in the Samaritan Pentateuch:
Note that they replace the word תבערו in our Masoretic text with the word תבעירו. What is the difference? Perhaps there is no difference, and they are just replacing it with the more common current word. But the grammatical different would appear to be that teva'aru is the kal, while tav'iru is the hiphil. (I think.) This is then the difference between , to burn, and , to light or to kindle. While I would assert that the plain old kal can also mean to kindle, once one makes a conscious effort to emend, one is making a statement.
And if so, wouldn't this go against the point they are trying to make? By saying that kindling is forbidden, isn't the implication that keeping burning is not? I think that one could answer that they are saying the opposite. Tav'iru is the causative. Thus, you should not cause fire to be burning in all your dwelling places on the Shabbat day. How would one cause them to be burning? By kindling, even before the Shabbat day arrives.
(The reason they would emend is to make explicit any interpretation they have, so that it is in the Torah Shebichsav rather than the Torah SheBaal Peh.)