Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Darshening psiks in parashat Bo

Summary: Birkas Avraham interprets three of them. I present them, with minimal comment.

Post: I saw the following interpretations of psik in Birkas Avraham on parashas Bo.


"1. Psik after the word ואכל, to allude to that beside the eating, the locusts also ruined and destroyed.

In the verse (Shemos 10:5):

5. And they will obscure the view of the earth, and no one will be able to see the earth, and they will eat the surviving remnant, which remains for you from the hail, and they will eat all your trees that grow out of the field.ה. וְכִסָּה אֶת עֵין הָאָרֶץ וְלֹא יוּכַל לִרְאֹת אֶת הָאָרֶץ וְאָכַל אֶת יֶתֶר הַפְּלֵטָה הַנִּשְׁאֶרֶת לָכֶם מִן הַבָּרָד וְאָכַל אֶת כָּל הָעֵץ הַצֹּמֵחַ לָכֶם מִן הַשָּׂדֶה:

there is the trup symbol of psik after the word וְאָכַל:
Certainly this alludes to an addition which is oral. And it appears that it is understood with that which is translated in Targum Yonasan the word ואכל as וישיצי (which is not like Onkelos who translated ויֵכול which means only eating). And in truth, also in the explanation of the Seforno he writes upon וְאָכַל אֶת כָּל הָעֵץ (at the end of the pasuk):
פסוק הוְאָכַל אֶת כָּל הָעֵץ. יְקַלְקְלֵהוּ, כְּמו "וְהָיָה לֶאֱכל" (דברים לא, כז), "כִּי אָכַל אֶת יַעֲקב" (תהלים עט, ז). ש
 that they will ruin it, as in (Devarim 31:17)

17. And My fury will rage against them on that day, and I will abandon them and hide My face from them, and they will be consumed, and many evils and troubles will befall them, and they will say on that day, 'Is it not because our God is no longer among us, that these evils have befallen us?'
יז. וְחָרָה אַפִּי בוֹ בַיּוֹם הַהוּא וַעֲזַבְתִּים וְהִסְתַּרְתִּי פָנַי מֵהֶם וְהָיָה לֶאֱכֹל וּמְצָאֻהוּ רָעוֹת רַבּוֹת וְצָרוֹת וְאָמַר בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא הֲלֹא עַל כִּי אֵין אֱלֹהַי בְּקִרְבִּי מְצָאוּנִי הָרָעוֹת הָאֵלֶּה:

and Tehillim 79:7:

ז  כִּי, אָכַל אֶת-יַעֲקֹב;    וְאֶת-נָוֵהוּ הֵשַׁמּוּ.7 For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his habitation.

End quote [of Seforno]."

And end quote of Birkas Avraham.

As an aside, it an interesting editorial mixup that ascribed the pasuk in Tehillim to sefer Devarim, and copied the incorrect pasuk within the perek for it.

Of course, I view this psik as a munach legarmeih. And darshening every munach legarmeih makes the phenomenon much more plentiful than simply the psiks, and thus potentially less out of the ordinary and worthy of derash. I still like mentioning when people darshen trup. And I think it is telling for remez in general that even when seeing something which is not legitimately there, a clever and creative person will be able to point out what it is a remez to. Perhaps this raises questions about the legitimacy of the entire enterprise.

Certainly without the remez, the word אכל has a wider semantic range that just 'eat'.

#2: Next, Birkas Avraham writes:

"17. In אך ביום הראשון תשביתו שאור מבתיכם כי, the psik after the word כי associates it with what comes before, to inform that there is a manner of removal from thirty days before.

In the pasuk (Shmos 12:15):

15. For seven days you shall eat unleavened cakes, but on the preceding day you shall clear away all leaven from your houses, for whoever eats leaven from the first day until the seventh day that soul shall be cut off from Israel.טו. שִׁבְעַת יָמִים מַצּוֹת תֹּאכֵלוּ אַךְ בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן תַּשְׁבִּיתוּ שְּׂאֹר מִבָּתֵּיכֶם כִּי כָּל אֹכֵל חָמֵץ וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל מִיּוֹם הָרִאשֹׁן עַד יוֹם הַשְּׁבִעִי:

as well as a bit later in the pasuk (Shemos 12:19)

19. For seven days, leavening shall not be found in your houses, for whoever eats leavening that soul shall be cut off from the community of Israel, both among the strangers and the native born of the land.יט. שִׁבְעַת יָמִים שְׂאֹר לֹא יִמָּצֵא בְּבָתֵּיכֶם כִּי כָּל אֹכֵל מַחְמֶצֶת וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מֵעֲדַת יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּגֵּר וּבְאֶזְרַח הָאָרֶץ:

In both of them there is a trup symbol of psik (a vertical bar) after the word כי:

whose implication is to encompass the word כי with that which is written above. And it is possible to say that this alludes to what is stated in maseches Pesachim (6a)

ואמר רב יהודה אמר רב המפרש והיוצא בשיירא קודם שלשים יום אין זקוק לבער תוך שלשים יום זקוק לבער
Rab Judah also said in Rab's name: He who sets sail, and he who sets out in a [caravan] company,
before thirty days [prior to Passover], is not bound to remove [the leaven]; if within thirty days, he is
bound to remove [it].

To state this idea more explicitly, the gematria of כי is 30, and the vertical bar separates the ki from what follows with a pause, such that in each of these cases, we will attach it to the preceding statement, which is that chametz should not be found in your house. A nice remez.

Again, this is not strictly a psik, but is rather a munach legarmeih, such that rather than there being a semantic cause for the break, it is a regular pausal accent brought about by syntax, verse length, the context of other trup symbols, and the distance to the end of the clause it is dividing. And if one wants to find a remez, the odds are that in the entirety of Rabbinic literature, one can find a remez. And if not, one can simply avoid discussing the particular item and focus on remazim in other pastures.

#3: Finally, Birkas Avraham writes:

7. The psik after the word ולכל of ולכל בני ישראל, for Datan and Aviram were still in Egypt.

In the verse (Shemo 11:7)

7. But to all the children of Israel, not one dog will whet its tongue against either man or beast, in order that you shall know that the Lord will separate between the Egyptians and between Israel.'ז. וּלְכֹל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא יֶחֱרַץ כֶּלֶב לְשֹׁנוֹ לְמֵאִישׁ וְעַד בְּהֵמָה לְמַעַן תֵּדְעוּן אֲשֶׁר יַפְלֶה יְ־הֹוָ־ה בֵּין מִצְרַיִם וּבֵין יִשְׂרָאֵל:

there is a trup symbol of psik after the word וּלְכֹל:

And it is possible to say that this hinds that not all of Israel was there, for Datan and Aviram still remained in Egypt, as it stated in Targum Yonasan ben Uziel on the verse [in Beshalach] (Shemot 14:3):

3. And Pharaoh will say about the children of Israel, They are trapped in the land. The desert has closed in upon them.ג. וְאָמַר פַּרְעֹה לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל נְבֻכִים הֵם בָּאָרֶץ סָגַר עֲלֵיהֶם הַמִּדְבָּר:

'And Pharaoh said to Datan and Aviram, [who were] the children of Israel who remained in Egypt, The people of the house of Israel are bewildered in the land...'

{J: Thus taking לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל as the people spoken to, rather than the people spoken about; or perhaps both.}

And in this way it is possible to explain further, for behold on that which is written later (Shemot 12:37):

37. The children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot, the men, besides the young children.לז. וַיִּסְעוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵרַעְמְסֵס סֻכֹּתָה כְּשֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת אֶלֶף רַגְלִי הַגְּבָרִים לְבַד מִטָּף:

Chazal darshen that which is written כְּשֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת, like six hundred, that it is as if {if one could say it} Hashem was with them and completed the sum of six hundred thousand. And as Moreinu Harav Yitzchak Karo za"l explained in Toldos Yitzchak regarding that which was stated in Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer (perek tet' lamed {??} that these words are coming to explain that which is written כְּשֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת אֶלֶף. For in Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer there is the statement in the following language:
When Israel ascended from Egypt, all the males gave their lineage, 600,000, minus 1. What did Hashem do? He entered into the count with them, such that their count was 600,000.
See there, and  in Torah Shleima there, item 579.

And behold, in the verse there, it is not fitting to explain the deficiency in the count by aspect of missing Datan and Aviram, but here, by way of drush which is given over to be darshened when it does not go against the halacha, I would essay to explain that therefore it is written כְּשֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת אֶלֶף רַגְלִי as they traveled from Raamses, because of Datan and Aviram's absence at that time, for behold, according to Targum Yonasan, only after that, when Pharaoh pursued after the Israelites, did Datan and Aviram go and mingle within the Israelites who left Egypt. And according to our words, it is possible to explain why, in parashat Behaalotecha, it is written that Moshe Rabbenu said (in Bemidbar 11:21) שש מאות אלף רגלי העם אשר אנכי בקרבו {without the כ}, for Datan and Aviram were already there."

All in all, a nice construction, despite from my repeated objection that this is a munach legarmeih rather than a psik.

1 comment:

Mark Symons said...

Perhaps it's not a so-called p'sik that's the issue, but a pausal note, (albeit level 4)on a word whose meaning seems conjunctive that's somewhat anomalous. For example it would seem to make more sense for u'l'chol-b'nei to be hyphenated, with a munach, and yisrael to have a revia. The other instances could conceivably have a darga instead of a legarmei - though admittedly that is a much less common sequence. I've never thought about before, but it does seem strange that there can't be more than one "ordinary" munach before a revia - as there can be before a zakef-katon - as a default position - perhaps this is for musical reasons.


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