Friday, June 17, 2011

Resolving Rashi on חַי אָנִי. What does he say? What does he NOT say?

Summary: Two statements of Rashi contradict one another. Is וְיִמָּלֵא כְבוֹד ה  part of the oath or not? The first Rashi puts it in, and as a present tense verb, and the second Rashi reorganizes the verse, taking it out, and has it as a future tense verb. This leads various supercommentators to suggest emendations, but the correct one comes from Berliner, based on manuscript evidence, that the second Rashi is a later insertion, and was authored by Rabbi Yosef Kara.

Post: Here is an interesting Rashi on parshat Shlach:

21. However, as surely as I live, and as the glory of the Lord fills the earth...כא. וְאוּלָם חַי אָנִי וְיִמָּלֵא כְבוֹד יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֶת כָּל הָאָרֶץ:
ואולם: כמו אבל זאת אעשה להם:
 By the life of Me: this is the language of an oath, as in: Just as I live, and just as My Glory fills the earth, so shall I fulfill for them that all the men who see, etc., will not see the land.

Behold, this is a jumbled verse -- As I live that all the men shall not see the land; and [yet], My Glory will fill all the earth, that My Name will not be profaned with this plague to say that it was from lack of ability of Hashem to bring them in, for I will not kill them suddenly as one man, but rather delayed, slowly, over the course of forty years.
חי אני: לשון שבועה. כשם שאני חי וכבודי ימלא את כל הארץ, כך אקיים להם, כי כל האנשים הרואים וגו' אם יראו את הארץ. הרי זה מקרא מסורס, חי אני כי כל האנשים אם יראו את הארץ וכבודי ימלא את כל הארץ, שלא יתחלל שמי במגפה הזאת לאמר מבלתי יכולת ה' להביאם, שלא אמיתם פתאום כאיש אחד אלא באיחור ארבעים שנה מעט מעט:

These two comments of Rashi on חי אני appear to contradict one another. For the first one clearly takes  וְיִמָּלֵא כְבוֹד ה אֶת כָּל הָאָרֶץ as part of the oath, with the continuation in the next verse, while the second one removes  וְיִמָּלֵא כְבוֹד ה אֶת כָּל הָאָרֶץ from the oath entirely, and has it answer a separate objection from Moshe.

How shall we account for this obvious contradiction? Well, Maamar writes:

"It appears to me that the words וכבודי ימלא את כל הארץ fell into the words of Rashi in error. For according to this, ימלא would be in place of a present-tense verb, like the first explanation of Ibn Ezra, and meanwhile in verse 22, Rashi explains that וימלא has the connotation that My Name will not be profaned via this plague, etc. And then the verb וימלא would be future tense, as is its simple sense. And if so, his words contradict one another."

I don't think one really needs to go to grammar in order to show the contradiction, when the obvious mikra mesuras occurs or does not based on the presence or absence of this phrase! But regardless, it is a good point.

Ibn Ezra, with his two explanations of וימלא, reads as follows:
יד, כא]
חי אני -
טעמו: כאשר אני חי, כן יהיה דברי קיים.

וימלא -וכאשר מלא כבודי את כל הארץ.
והקרוב שהוא לעתיד וטעמו זה אעשה, כדי שיודע כבודי בעולם.
Our next, obvious destination, should be Mechokekei Yehuda, by R' Yehuda Leib Krinsky of Minsk (writing in the 1928). His work encompasses four commentaries, which he authored -- Karnei Or and Yahel Or, as supercommentaries on Ibn Ezra; Minchat Yehuda, a supercommentary on Rashi; and Mekorei Rashi, which lists the sources for each Rashi in Rabbinic literature.

This is the perfect nexus, for here is a scholar aware of Ibn Ezra, who also focuses on Rashi and his sources.

What I would like to know is if this is Rashi's own innovative comment, about it being a shevua and just how it is so, or if Rashi is channeling some existing midrash or gemara. Because if he is quoting another source, we can check that source to see if this extra phrase is present there. Also, if he is quoting another source, then perhaps we can simply claim that he is presenting two plausible, yet conflicting, explanations of the verse. So I want to look at Mekorei Rashi.

I also should probably look at Yosef Daas. This work, by R' Yosef ba"r Yissachar Miklish, focuses on all the various girsaot of Rashi in old printings and manuscripts. If Maamar is right that this was a scribal error which fell into Rashi's words, then perhaps we can find support for it there. I should also look at Berliner's Beur, for dfus Rishon / girsology / critical comments, and at the various kitvei yad and early printings I link to in my Shelach source roundup.

I write this before investigating further. I don't know how it will shape up, but I figure it is nice to occasionally telegraph my plans, so as to give a bit of insight into how I put together a parshablog post.

Mekorei Rashi has nothing. This would indicate to me that this is Rashi's innovation. But it gets better. In Minchas Yehuda, he explicitly addresses this issue and even cites Maamar. Here is what he says:

"See in Levushei HaOrah, that he writes 'it appears to me that an error fell here in the nusach of Rashi, and according to my opinion, one needs to say דבר אחר אם יראו את הארץ. הרי זה מקרא מסורס, etc."

I'll just interject here and explain that this is as I suggested above, that these are two competing explanations within Rashi. Of course, we should check early manuscripts where we can, to try to establish this more concretely. He continues:

"And see in the Maamar what he suggested as well upon this. And see in Zechor LeAvraham {=Berliner} who orders the matters based on a manuscript, in such manner that the first explanation is associated with Rashi, while the second one is associated with his student, Rabbi Yosef Kara {Mahari Kara, from the school of Rashi, not to be confused with Rav Yosef Karo}. And from הרי זה until מעט he surrounds with parentheses, in order to inform that they are not from Rashi."

This sounds rather promising! This is certainly something to check out, and present. He continues in the next comment, associated with the end of Rashi, after the word מעט:

"See the previous letter {=note}, and here it is written in Zechor LeAvraham, מפי ר' יוסף, and there is another girsa of כך למדנו ר' יוסף."

Since there is such a girsa, it would seem that everything is resolved.

We should now turn to Zechor LeAvraham, which is Berliner's Beur:

I had been relying on Judaica Press, above. I see now that the two explanations were actually separated by another comment, such that one is on pasuk 21 while the second is on pasuk 23. Maamar said as much.

Sometimes such movements occur as a result of scribal insertions as a second run of commentary, followed by corrective movement into the 'proper' place.

But also, see what Minchat Yehudah described -- parentheses around the latter comment, to indicate that it is not really Rashi saying it.

And the comment there, as described by Minchat Yehuda:

Looking at some old Rashi manuscripts, here is one from Munich, 1233:
ואולם -- אבל זאת אעשה להם
Thus, missing the word כמו. Then, skipping the dibbuk hamatchil of חי אני, and skipping the introduction of לשון שבועה, it jumps right in to:
. כשם שאני חי וכבודי ימלא את כל הארץ, כך אקיים להם, כי כל האנשים הרואים וגו

Then, if we keep reading, even until we reach pasuk 23, we don't see the latter explanation. This would further bear out what Berliner observed.

Another early manuscript, though I am not sure from when:

It has an identical pattern to the above, in all respects.

This manuscript, from Rome, 1470, has identical in all respects to the Judaica Press I recorded at the top -- the dibbur hamatchil, the leshon shevua, and the juxtaposition of these two Rashis:

And then, finally, we strike pay-dirt! The following is a Chumash with Rashi, from Weimar, printed somewhere between 1250 and 1350. And it juxtaposes both perushim, but has the same text that Berliner mentioned -- כך לימדני ר' יוסף:

This is a pretty exciting find, I must say.

Given that Berliner found these texts, some without the second perush and some with it attributed to Mahari Kara, it is pretty straightforward that he is correct. And further, that Maamar is incorrect in assuming that this phrase of וכבודי ימלא את כל הארץ was an accidental insertion. After all, we see rather early manuscripts which have it, and simply don't have the confounding later peirush. And further, levush haOrah had a good suggestion, that דבר אחר dropped out. It does not seem to be precisely the case, but it is close enough. The point is that these are NOT meant to be harmonized, for indeed, they come from two separate sources.

This post is already running too long, so at this point I'll give a document dump, of the other two sources I had planned to examine and discuss. Here is what Yosef Daas has to say for himself -- he discusses the girsaot of this Rashi at length:

And here is the Levush HaOrah:

Perhaps I will continue this in a follow-up post; still, I think we have a correct answer.

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