Sunday, May 18, 2014

Posts so far for parashat Bemidbar


1. Bemidbar sources, 2012 edition. And for 2013.

2. YUTorah on Bemidbar.

3. What was עַל פְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן אֲבִיהֶם? Nadav and Avihu's death, or Eleazar and Itamar's serviceOne can parse the pasuk so that this phrase,  עַל פְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן אֲבִיהֶם, goes on Nadav and Avihu's death. Or, we can parse it so that it goes on the service of Eleazer and Itamar. This is a case of trup vs. Divrei Hayamim.

From 2013: Daas Soferim and random sparked thoughts


  1. Bamidbar sources -- further expanded. For example, many more meforshei Rashi. I also just started restructuring the Targum section.
  2. The pesik after ועל -- And how these are not actually pesiks, but rather munach legarmeihs. As such, perhaps we should not be darshening them. See also the Bamidbar 2009 Baal HaTurim post, below, though.
  3. Ibn Caspi, and the dots over Aharon; also, a Torah Codes connection! See the two previous posts from Bamidbar 2009, on the dots over ואהרן. Ibn Caspi's note that plural and singular of pakad and pakdu would both be acceptable verbs might shed light on just how the variant of משה vs. משה ואהרן came about. Also, how Aharon's absence would mess up the Torah codes.
  4. YU Torah on parshas Bamidbar.
  5. Does Onkelos translate וַיִּקַּח as וּדְבַר or ונסבThe answer is that it is the latter, despite R' Meir Wolf's variant nusach. Shadal and Lechem Abirim explain.
  6. Why the trup alternation in Yisachar, Binyamin, and Naftali?  Congratulations to Mi Yodeya are in order for getting their proposal accepted. They are now part of StackExchange. Here is a question on the trup of Bamidbar I answered over there this morning. If we examine the trup in the beginning of parashat Bemidbar, we find some slight alternations on the first word of a more or less repeating clause, though the rest of the trup is the same:

  7. Elaborating מעמר's theory of נסיב vs. דבר --  Much as I intuited. Baruch Shekivanti! Basically, directing vs. every other usage.
  8. Further thoughts on translating ויקח as ונסיב vs. ודבר --  As discussed in two previous posts, there are two competing theories of when דבר and when נסב is due. Lechem Abirim vs. (the words of the printer in) Maamar. The former is, roughly, 'taking' humans vs. taking objects; the latter is, roughly, conveying people vs. every other use. We saw each side. Now, to consider further proof to either side, from some rather old Chumashim.
  9. Yet more on נסיב vs. ודבר --  Perhaps evidence from the Samaritan Targum and the Peshitta can put this matter to rest. Or perhaps not. This, BTW, on parashat Bamidbar.  Except I erred in thinking that a certain online source was the Peshitta. So most of the conclusions of this post should be disregarded.
  10. Can the Zohar teach us about acceptable Targumic Aramaic?  Maamar brings it as a counter-proof to Shadal, but would Shadal accept this as evidence?

  1. Bemidbar sources -- revamped, with over 100 meforshim on the parasha and haftara.
  2. What is bothering Rashi? Why specify nesiim? Rashi appears to make a rather simplistic statement, and so his supercommentators trip over themselves trying to explain just what is bothering Rashi, and why he should go out of his way to point out the obvious. But they arrive at an incorrect solution. Here, I offer just what is motivating Rashi, and how Rashi is very much a pashtan, rather than the darshan they end up making him.
  3. What is bothering Rashi? part ii -- After composing the previous post, I saw that Aish HaTorah posted a selection from Rabbi Dr. Avigdor Bonchek on the same topic, how to understand this particular Rashi, about the nesiim. My comments is interspersed with the text of his article. Much I like, but some I disagree with.
  4. How the Jews merited mattan Torah -- Trying to trace a midrash, and its meaning. As far as I can tell, the idea that they traced their lineage via sifrei yuchsin is a late midrash, and the midrash itself tells us the import.
  5. How should we spell vehachonimA divergence among Masoretes about how to spell the word, in the context of the tribe of Shimon. That the Samaritan Torah, at odds with the masoretic text, is like one side in the dispute, does not really matter and is no evidence at all, for a reason I explain.
  1. Bamidbar sources -- links by aliyah and perek to an online Mikraos Gedolos, and links to many meforshim on the parshah and haftarah.
  2. Was Nadav, or Aharon, the firstborn? An analysis of the role of a pasek. Baal Haturim claims that this is to associate habechor with Aharon, and not with Nadav, who died childless. I disagree with Baal Haturim as to its purpose, and I bring pesukim to prove it.
  3. Two faced humans -- as a quick followup to the two hundred foot tall, two-headed hermaphrodites envisioned for yemos hamashiach in a previous post, here a Zohar about Adam and Chava intially one.
  4. The dots over Aharon, the meaning of Rashi's explanation according to the supercommentaries, and how really their purpose is to mark the word's doubtful status. The Samaritan Torah omits the word veAharon. And in a followup post, the implications of such an approach, in terms of ikkarei emunah and in terms of the age of trup.
  5. The pasek between Moshe, and Aharon and his sons: Once again I disagree with Baal HaTurim. Simply put, that is no pasek. It is an entirely expected munach legarmeih, and so does not shout out darsheini!
  6. The krei of kru'ei. Baal HaTurim ascribes it to the presence of Zimri. Unsatisfied with that answer, I explore other possibilities.
  7. The kametz in the zakef on tikkach -- and why the variant nikkud makes so much sense.
  1. Bemidbar Sinai: Why mention it, and how is it different from Behar Sinai? Is it to date it, to distinguish it from Behar Sinai, just the standard way of beginning a Biblical book, or something else?
  2. How the sums of two separate censuses can be identical -- as per Shadal, and my expansion upon him.
  3. Eleph as military unit -- rather than thousand. And how this would shrink the number of Israelites in the desert to non-miraculous size. And in the comment section, why I don't find this necessarily compelling, nor am I troubled by the initial "problem".
  • In the presence of Aharon their father
    • whether this phrase is connected to service or death, associated with the beginning or end of the pasuk, and how that interacts with trup. I was about to recreate this post in 2008, but then realized that I had already done it in 2007. One extra point is that the note about redrawing the trup appears to be based on Mendelssohn's Biur.
  • Mah Inyan Shemitta Etzel Har Sinai
    • cross-listed with Behar. I consider Rashi's explanation that this is just one example of many, and then cite Rashbam (echoed by Shadal) on Bamidbar that for the first year, it always said Behar Sinai, and this changes to beMidbar Sinai beOhel Moed once the Mishkan is constructed. Other Rashbams are that the count was to assemble an army to enter Eretz Yisrael.
  • haftarat Bamidbar
    • How the mashal in the haftara from Hoshea seems ahalachic; how "you will not call me 'my Baal' is a pun; the irregular word vayadaat.
  • The Duel Between Deuel and Reuel
    • how to account for the discrepancy? Shadal and Cassuto both suggest the name had both letters, but one letter was dropped in different instances, and gives parallels to this. The letters are also similar, so one might intuit a scribal error. The fact that the Septuagint and the Samaritan Torah have opposites, but are consistent across the board, is evidence that these are not attestations of alternate girsaot but rather harmonizations. Finally, I suggest that this was a deliberate change from one theophoric name to another, to eliminate reference to the Egyptian deity Ra.
      I consider other evidence of this in a post on Shelach, about the names of the spies in the parsha.
  • Lift Up The Heads
    • in its various connotations
  • cross-listed from Parshat Pinchas: A Real Shlumiel
    • Why is Shlumiel ben Tzurishaddai the namesake of all Shlumiels?
to be continued...

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