Thursday, August 02, 2012

The correct trup on לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן, and whether to keep mitzvos in chutz laaretz

Summary: The trup on the words לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן might teach us a diyuk against the Ramban, who understands that primary observance of mitzvos is in Eretz Yisrael, chas veshalom. But there is a dispute as to the trup. Ohr Torah and HaTorah vehaMitzvah explain, and I give my own (Wickes' based) explanation of the trup.

Post: In parashat vaEtchanan, in Devarim 4:5, consider the trup, and in particular, note the zakef on the word כן, which I have underlined in red:

Minchas Shai writes against a corresponding taut sofer, I suppose in one of Bomberg's Mikraos Gedolos. (I used to have this at JNUL, have to find it again, as the link now returns an empty result.)

"And the word כן should be with a zakef katon, rather than a pashta; and go and see the words from the scholarly man, the author of Ohr Torah."

Here is the faulty trup in the Bomberg Chumash:

See what Ohr Torah writes here, but you can also see it cited in full in Tikkun Sofer of Rabbi Shlomo Dubno. After citing Minchas Shai, he writes:

"And this is the language of the Or Torah: לעשת כן, in the letter si"n, a shofar yashar {J: a munach} rather than a mercha, and in כן a zakef katon rather than a pashta.

Menachem {di Lunzano, the author of Ohr Torah} says: so I have found in all the sefarim of Sefarad and Ashekenaz, and thus is seems that one should not be concerned. Even though just the opposite is the nusach of the print, which is more deliberate {mechavenet ?}, for such is the way of the Scriptures to have first a pashta and afterwards a zakef katon. {J: I believe he is saying that what one would generally expect is that there should be a pashta on ken, and the zakef katon is the one that is already present on ha'aretz.} Therefore, I have come to enlighten you with understanding, and you stand and be informed of the wonders of God, and see with your eyes the tuv taam vadaat (the good discernment and knowledge {but note the wordplay})  of the Author of the taamim  }. For He is not a human being, who does not know how to be careful. And behold, the matter is true and correct that according to the custom of Scriptures it would have been appropriate to have the word לעשות with a mercha and the word כן with a pashta. However, since the Giver of the Torah Yisbarach saw fit to change the custom in this place. For He saw that if he wrote the word לעשות with a mercha and the word כן with a pashta as was the rule, a great destruction would come of it. And this was that, if so, the implication of the matters and their explanation would be that the laws and statutes which Hashem commanded Moshe, howbeit, He only commanded them

to fulfill within the land, but outside the land, no. Therefore, the Giver of the Torah Yisbarach acted wisely and placed a zakef katon in the word כן, which is a disjunctive {separating} accent, in order that the implication of the matters and their intent is "the laws and statutes which Hashem commanded to do so" plainly, implying in every place under the entire Heavens. And afterwards he says "within the land, etc." For if we merit, we will fulfill it within the land {of Israel}, and if we do not met, we will fulfill it outside the land. And in this path is written in proximity {in pasuk 14, later in the perek}:
יד  וְאֹתִי צִוָּה ה, בָּעֵת הַהִוא, לְלַמֵּד אֶתְכֶם, חֻקִּים וּמִשְׁפָּטִים:  לַעֲשֹׂתְכֶם אֹתָם--בָּאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם עֹבְרִים שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ.14 And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and ordinances, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.

with a zakef katon on אֹתָם {thus separating it from בָּאָרֶץ}. And don't retort to me, 'but isn't the pashta {J: which is the usual order of Scripture, as he said above} also called a disjunctive accent?' For while it is indeed called a disjunctive accent in terms of determining whether {phonologically speaking} the letters בדג כפ"ת at the start of a word {receives a dagesh} when it is juxtaposed to {the preceding word ending in} aleph, heh, vav, or yud, still, it does not create a semantic pause in the same manner as a zakef, etnachta, and the like."

HaKsav veHakabbalah has this to say:

That is, he cites R' Shlomo Dubno citing the Ohr Torah, and concludes with (third line) 'however, his intent in explaining the verse is a bit forced, see inside.' He then continues:

"And it seems to me, according to the melody of the trup which is before us (meaning the zakef), that the intent of the Scriptures is to inform us that because of the greatness of the sanctity of the land, the only ones who sustain themselves in it are religious men who accept the yoke of His commandments, Yisbarach. This is as is written (??) (II Melachim 17:26):
כו  וַיֹּאמְרוּ, לְמֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר לֵאמֹר, הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר הִגְלִיתָ וַתּוֹשֶׁב בְּעָרֵי שֹׁמְרוֹן, לֹא יָדְעוּ, אֶת-מִשְׁפַּט אֱלֹהֵי הָאָרֶץ; וַיְשַׁלַּח-בָּם אֶת-הָאֲרָיוֹת, וְהִנָּם מְמִיתִים אוֹתָם, כַּאֲשֶׁר אֵינָם יֹדְעִים, אֶת-מִשְׁפַּט אֱלֹהֵי הָאָרֶץ.26 Wherefore they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying: 'The nations which thou hast carried away, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land; therefore He hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land.'

And to this intent He warned in his idiom, 'that the land not vomit you out as it vomited out, etc.' The intent is that just as the walls of the stomach only accept foods fit for it by virtue of its nature, so does the holy land does not accept as its inhabitants those who violate the will of Hashem, but will rather vomit them out just as the belly will vomit out a food which is not fit for it by virtue of its nature.

And upon this intent He said as well here, that the Torah and the Mitzvah I have given to you in order that you have a basis and kiyum, and a correct situation to stay permanently in the midst of the land. 

And the word כן functions as כון, from 'he has made you and established you', in Devarim 32:
6. Is this how you repay the Lord, you disgraceful, unwise people?! Is He not your Father, your Master? He has made you and established you. ו. הֲ לַי־הֹוָ־ה תִּגְמְלוּ זֹאת עַם נָבָל וְלֹא חָכָם הֲלוֹא הוּא אָבִיךָ קָּנֶךָ הוּא עָשְׂךָ וַיְכֹנְנֶךָ:

See Rashi there:
and established you: After [making you a special nation, God established you] upon every kind of firm base and foundation (כַּן) [i.e., made you self-contained]: your kohanim are from among yourselves; your prophets are from among yourselves, and your kings are from among yourselves. [Indeed, you are like] a city from which all [resources] are [drawn]. — [Sifrei 32:6] ויכננך: אחרי כן בכל מיני בסיס וכן. מכם כהנים מכם נביאים ומכם מלכים כרך שהכל תלוי בו:

... [J: And he proceeds to give other examples of כן as basis.]

And the intent is that because of keeping the laws and statutes, there will be for you an establishment within the holy land."

So ends the words of HaTorah veHamitzvah. My own analysis follows.

I don't agree that the usual order of trup is first the pashta and then the zakef. This indeed happens in a number of places, but so does a run of zakefs in a row. Also, pashta can sometimes be just as much a disjunctive trup as a zakef. And the author of trup, whether it is Hashem or some later author, is not really deviating from the natural order of trup in this instance.

Here is not to go into an in-depth discussion of Wickes' rules of continuous dichotomy. In short, the verse is continuously divided, first on logical grounds and then on syntactic grounds, so long as there are three words left in the clause. The specific trup chosen is based on the trup at the end of the clause combined with the distance, measured in words, to the end of the clause. Whether a subject, object, verb phrase, prepositional phrase, etc., leads off the pasuk determines whether elements are divided off at the beginning of end of the clause.

Here is how to analyze the division according to the zakef version.

According to this, there are three trup symbols which divide off elements from the second half of the pasuk. (That is, these trup symbols are selected based on the silluq on lerishta.) These are the zakef on ken, the zakef on haaretz, and the tipcha on shama. Therefore, we divide as follows:

לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם בָּאִים שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ

is divided into:

לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן
בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם בָּאִים שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ

then, the second half of this (which still, note, end in silluq on lerishta), is divided into:

בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ
אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם בָּאִים שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ

and finally, the second half of that is divided into:

אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם בָּאִים שָׁמָּה

It certainly seems that elements of this pasuk are getting lopped off from the front, rather than from the rear.

The alternative, were there a pashta on ken, would be somewhat different. For pashta subdivides not a phrase ending in silluq, but a phrase ending in zakef. Thus, if the pasuk had trup like this,

then the second half of the pasuk would be subdivided as follows. Start with:

לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם בָּאִים שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ

which becomes:
לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ
אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם בָּאִים שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ

The first half, לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ, gets divided into

לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן
בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ

and the second half, אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם בָּאִים שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ, gets divided into:

אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם בָּאִים שָׁמָּה

Finally, אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם בָּאִים שָׁמָּה is divided into:

אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם
בָּאִים שָׁמָּה

If I had to choose between these two parsings, without looking too deeply into the particular syntactic rules of trup, I would choose the former. It indeed seems as if we are chopping off each phrase from the beginning of the pasuk. Is this purely mechanical and syntactic? It could be.

It could also be something akin to what Or Torah suggested. After all, that division of

לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן

בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם בָּאִים שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ

indeed puts laasot ken as a separate item from bekerev haaretz. But still, I think it is because he is doing it somewhere. And where is that somewhere? As a single entity, 'within the land which you are entering into to inherit.' It just works.

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