Thursday, January 12, 2017

"Adir Apam" and other thoughts on Vaychi

Now this is an interesting variant:

The Samaritans, troubled by the curse to Shimon and Levi among the "blessings" of Yaakov at the end of his life, take away the curse. Our Masoretic text has:
אָרוּר אַפָּם כִּי עָז, וְעֶבְרָתָם כִּי קָשָׁתָה; אֲחַלְּקֵם בְּיַעֲקֹב, וַאֲפִיצֵם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל. {פ}
"Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce, and their wrath, for it was cruel; I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. "

The Samaritans change arur ("cursed") to adir ("mighty"), by changing the resh to the similarly written daled. And they change 'evrasam ("their wrath") to chevrasam ("their partnership"), which is a switch of one guttural letter for another. By dividing them and scattering them, he prevents their chevra.

Note that it isn't introduced as a blessing. Only at the end (Bereishis 49:28) does it state:

כָּל-אֵלֶּה שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר; וְזֹאת אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר לָהֶם אֲבִיהֶם, וַיְבָרֶךְ אוֹתָם--אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר כְּבִרְכָתוֹ, בֵּרַךְ אֹתָם.

BRK also carries the connotation of farewell and greeting (compare with the meeting with Pharaoh), rather than just blessing. But I do think the import of pasuk 28 is to say that he blessed them, and that this is the same as what he said to them, above.

See here (you would need to install the djvu extension):

Also, the following thoughts on parshas Vayechi:

1) If Yaakov is indeed bowing down to Yosef (Bereishis 47:31), then it isn't subserviance but an expression of gratitude.
2) Alternatively, this is a fulfillment of Yosef's dream, of which Yaakov had said (Bereishis 37:10) "Shall your mother and I and your brothers bow down to you?"
3) However, I don't think that Yaakov is bowing here at all. There is an
intended contrast between the end of this pasuk:
וַיֹּאמֶר, הִשָּׁבְעָה לִי--וַיִּשָּׁבַע, לוֹ; וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל, עַל-רֹאשׁ הַמִּטָּה.
and two pesukim later (Bereishis 48:2):
וַיַּגֵּד לְיַעֲקֹב--וַיֹּאמֶר, הִנֵּה בִּנְךָ יוֹסֵף בָּא אֵלֶיךָ; וַיִּתְחַזֵּק, יִשְׂרָאֵל, וַיֵּשֶׁב, עַל-הַמִּטָּה.
Namely, we should redraw the pasuk division lines in our pasuk. (47:21) Yisrael's **laying prostrate** in bed has nothing to do with Yosef's oath. It happened later, and this is indicated that he is weak and sick. And (48:1) Yosef is informed of his father's illness and comes. And (48:2) Yisrael hears that Yosef has come and strengthens himself, and is able to sit up in bed.
4) I forget if it was Ibn Caspi or Shadal, that the whole purpose of the Torah mentioning the rape of Dinah was so that we would understand the reference in Vaychi in Yaakov's message to Shimon and Levi.
5) There is a hidden criticism of Yehuda for the incident with Tamar, just as Shimon and Levi are criticized, and just as what was done to Yosef was criticized.
לֹא-יָסוּר שֵׁבֶט מִיהוּדָה, וּמְחֹקֵק מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו, עַד כִּי-יָבֹא שִׁילֹה, וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּים.
Recall what Yehuda gave as tokens to Tamar as the wages of prostitution. Staff, cord, and engraved seal (signet). They shall not leave Yehuda. Except for that which is between his legs. Why? Because he said "until Shelah shall come," that is, kept postponing Shelah's levirate marriage to Tamar. The word Shiloh is spelled (has a ksiv) with a heh at the end, such that it reads Shelah.


Yavoy said...

Number 5 is cool. How did you notice that?

Alan Green said...

Number 5 is very cool!


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