Monday, January 09, 2006

parshat Vayigash/Vayechi: Issi ben Yehuda's Five (And Rav Chisda's One) As Disambiguated by Trup

In this post on Vayigash, I discussed Ibn Ezra's suggestion that the ambiguous verse in Bereishit 44:22 be listed among Issi ben Yehuda's five miqra`ot she`ein lahem hekhreia'. I can list this as a post on Vayechi since this is when I am posting this, and the fourth example occurs in the parsha. As I wrote on that post:
What we can note of Issi ben Yehuda's five is that in each the ambiguity is of the same type. The words of the pasuk are:
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p
which form two distinct phrases. There is a middle word, say, g, which might be part of the first phrase or part of the second phrase. That is, either
[a b c d e f g] [h i j k l m n o p]
[a b c d e f] [g h i j k l m n o p]
Thus, the ambiguity is one where to make a pause, and to which of two phrases the middle word belongs. The ambiguity of meaning follows from the ambiguity of to which phrase the middle word belongs.
Once again, to identify Issi ben Yehuda's five, listed in Yoma 52b:

I would like to go through each of the five verses and see how the trup disambiguates. For the purpose of trup is to syntactically subdivide the verse, and so it forms a commentary whose very purpose is to deal with this type of issue.

1) The first of the list occurs in parshat Bereishit. In Bereishit 4:7:
ו וַיֹּאמֶר ה, אֶל-קָיִן: לָמָּה חָרָה לָךְ, וְלָמָּה נָפְלוּ פָנֶיךָ. 6 And the LORD said unto Cain: 'Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
ז הֲלוֹא אִם-תֵּיטִיב, שְׂאֵת, וְאִם לֹא תֵיטִיב, לַפֶּתַח חַטָּאת רֹבֵץ; וְאֵלֶיךָ, תְּשׁוּקָתוֹ, וְאַתָּה, תִּמְשָׁל-בּוֹ. 7 If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door; and unto thee is its desire, but thou mayest rule over it.'
Rashi explains the ambiguity of the word שְׂאֵת in that it can either join the expression before or after:

הֲלוֹא אִם-תֵּיטִיב שְׂאֵת
שְׂאֵת אִם לֹא תֵיטִיב

If the former, it connotes pardon - lifting up; if the latter, it connotes bearing of one's sin. Indeed, we see a similar dual usage of שְׂאֵת, where the butler and the baker both had their heads "lifted up" - the butler had his head lifter to his former glory and the baker had his head lifted off his shoulders.

On this verse in Chumash, Rashi decides in favor of the former, explaining that its interpretation follows its Targum, which renders this as pardon.

But what of the latter interpretation? Interestingly, Rashi appears to emend the text in his interpretation in Yoma. He writes, as I wrote above, שְׂאֵת אִם לֹא תֵיטִיב, "you will bear if you do not repent," removing the vav from וְאִם. Indeed, with the vav there, it is hard to see how the verse can be ambiguous - the vav appears to present an almost insurmountable obstacle. Did Rashi emend the text in order to show more or less what the verse would mean, or did he actually have a variant text of the verse? Rashi does not cite the verse in his commentary on the verse, but the Targum to which he refers does have the vav in place. Still, it would be interesting to see what sort of variant manuscripts exist on this verse, such that Issi ben Yehuda might have had.

Even with the joining of שְׂאֵת to אִם לֹא תֵיטִיב, it seems hard to make sense of the verse. Without שְׂאֵת, what do we make of הֲלוֹא אִם-תֵּיטִיב? Perhaps: shouldn't you do well?

In terms of trup, we can decide in favor of Rashi and Targum:

ז הֲל֤וֹא אִם־תֵּיטִיב֙ שְׂאֵ֔ת וְאִם֙ לֹ֣א תֵיטִ֔יב לַפֶּ֖תַח חַטָּ֣את רֹבֵ֑ץ וְאֵלֶ֨יךָ֙ תְּשׁ֣וּקָת֔וֹ וְאַתָּ֖ה תִּמְשָׁל־בּֽוֹ׃

The etnachta on רֹבֵ֑ץ subdivides the verse. That is subdivided first by the zakef on שְׂאֵ֔ת, then the second half of that again by the zakef on תֵיטִ֔יב, and then finally by the tipcha on לַפֶּ֖תַח. Thus, the first half of the verse is divided into:
הֲל֤וֹא אִם־תֵּיטִיב֙ שְׂאֵ֔ת
וְאִם֙ לֹ֣א תֵיטִ֔יב לַפֶּ֖תַח חַטָּ֣את רֹבֵ֑ץ

If we had chosen the latter interpretation, the zakef should have been on אִם-תֵּיטִיב.

2) The second of the list occurs in parshat Teruma, in Shemot 25:34. (And the same in Shemot 37:20.)

לד וּבַמְּנֹרָה, אַרְבָּעָה גְבִעִים: מְשֻׁקָּדִים--כַּפְתֹּרֶיהָ, וּפְרָחֶיהָ. 34 And in the candlestick four cups made like almond-blossoms, the knops thereof, and the flowers thereof.
Ignore the misleading translation "made like almond-blossoms." Rashi again renders keTargumo, that is מצירין, which is a specific type of some form of metalwork, modelling, as they do on gold and silver vessels, called nellier in Old French. (See Rashi on previous verse.)

Here, Rashi notes that this is one of Issi ben Yehuda's five, and that it is ambiguous, as either אַרְבָּעָה גְבִעִים מְשֻׁקָּדִים - four cups which are meshuqadim, or מְשֻׁקָּדִים כַּפְתֹּרֶיהָ וּפְרָחֶיהָ - that the knops and flowers were meshuqadim.

What about the trup?

לד וּבַמְּנֹרָ֖ה אַרְבָּעָ֣ה גְבִעִ֑ים מְשֻׁ֨קָּדִ֔ים כַּפְתֹּרֶ֖יהָ וּפְרָחֶֽיהָ

The etnachta is on גְבִעִ֑ים. Thus the verse is divided into:
וּבַמְּנֹרָ֖ה אַרְבָּעָ֣ה גְבִעִ֑ים
מְשֻׁ֨קָּדִ֔ים כַּפְתֹּרֶ֖יהָ וּפְרָחֶֽיהָ

If so, the trup seems to suggest that it is the knops and flowers which are meshuqadim.

(On the other hand, I am confused about the zakef on מְשֻׁ֨קָּדִ֔ים, which divides it off from כַּפְתֹּרֶ֖יהָ וּפְרָחֶֽיהָ. Perhaps the second half of the verse describes features of the cups. So perhaps - they (= the cups) are meshaqadim, and with knops and flowers. Based on Wickes' rules for syntactic division, I am not sure that we would have expected a disjunctive accent here - I suspet we should have had a servus such as mercha. So I will leave this as a teiku until such time as I can resolve this.)

3) The third example is in Beshalach, in Shemot 17:9:
ח וַיָּבֹא, עֲמָלֵק; וַיִּלָּחֶם עִם-יִשְׂרָאֵל, בִּרְפִידִם. 8 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.
ט וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בְּחַר-לָנוּ אֲנָשִׁים, וְצֵא הִלָּחֵם בַּעֲמָלֵק; מָחָר, אָנֹכִי נִצָּב עַל-רֹאשׁ הַגִּבְעָה, וּמַטֵּה הָאֱלֹהִים, בְּיָדִי. 9 And Moses said unto Joshua: 'Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek; tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.'
The word מָחָר could either join וְצֵא הִלָּחֵם בַּעֲמָלֵק מָחָר, or מָחָר אָנֹכִי נִצָּב עַל-רֹאשׁ הַגִּבְעָה. Rashi decides in favor of the latter: Tomorrow, I will stand.

Indeed, the trup decides likewise:

ט וַיֹּ֨אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֤ה אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֨עַ֙ בְּחַר־לָ֣נוּ אֲנָשִׁ֔ים וְצֵ֖א הִלָּחֵ֣ם בַּֽעֲמָלֵ֑ק מָחָ֗ר אָֽנֹכִ֤י נִצָּב֙ עַל־רֹ֣אשׁ הַגִּבְעָ֔ה וּמַטֵּ֥ה הָֽאֱלֹהִ֖ים בְּיָדִֽי׃

There is an etnachta on בַּֽעֲמָלֵ֑ק subdividing the verse there, such that it cannot join מָחָ֗ר.

4) In Yaakov's blessings to his sons, in parshat Vayechi, he addresses Shimon and Levi. Bereishit 49:6-7:
ה שִׁמְעוֹן וְלֵוִי, אַחִים--כְּלֵי חָמָס, מְכֵרֹתֵיהֶם. 5 Simeon and Levi are brethren; weapons of violence their kinship.
ו בְּסֹדָם אַל-תָּבֹא נַפְשִׁי, בִּקְהָלָם אַל-תֵּחַד כְּבֹדִי: כִּי בְאַפָּם הָרְגוּ אִישׁ, וּבִרְצֹנָם עִקְּרוּ-שׁוֹר. 6 Let my soul not come into their council; unto their assembly let my glory not be united; for in their anger they slew men, and in their self-will they houghed oxen.
ז אָרוּר אַפָּם כִּי עָז, וְעֶבְרָתָם כִּי קָשָׁתָה; אֲחַלְּקֵם בְּיַעֲקֹב, וַאֲפִיצֵם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל. {פ} 7 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.
This is one of the more interesting ones, for it spans a pasuk boundary. The word in question is אָרוּר. Perhaps אָרוּר belongs to the previous verse, in which case we have:

וּבִרְצֹנָם עִקְּרוּ-שׁוֹר אָרוּר = "and in their self-will they houghed a cursed ox." This would be a reference to Shechem.
Then, the next verse would be אַפָּם כִּי עָז, וְעֶבְרָתָם כִּי קָשָׁתָה, with כִּי being the asseverative כִּי, denoting intensity, rather than causality. Thus, Yaakov is not cursing them, but stating how strong and fierce their anger and wrath.

Alternatively, אָרוּר joins אָרוּר אַפָּם כִּי עָז, in which case he is cursing their anger.

Obviously, here the verse division, as denoted by the trup of silluq, decides in favor of the latter. Did Issi ben Yehuda disagree with the verse divisions? Were they not solid in his day. Or is he pointing out ambiguity in the text were it not for the tradition of how verses should be divided?

The setama raises one ambiguous verse of Rav Chisda, and concludes that Issi ben Yehuda did not list it because he was sure about how one should read that verse. The implication is that for the others he was not sure. So if we can believe the setama, then he did not know the proper verse division.

I think a nice explanation would be that these are five instances in which, since we may harness the power of derash, the verse may be usefully interpreted with the word joining the preceding of following phrase.

At any rate, perhaps there is a better explanation of why Issi ben Yehuda did not include Rav Chisda's query in his reckoning. See (6).

5) In parshat Vayelech, Devarim 31:16:
טז וַיֹּאמֶר ה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, הִנְּךָ שֹׁכֵב עִם-אֲבֹתֶיךָ; וְקָם הָעָם הַזֶּה וְזָנָה אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהֵי נֵכַר-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר הוּא בָא-שָׁמָּה בְּקִרְבּוֹ, וַעֲזָבַנִי, וְהֵפֵר אֶת-בְּרִיתִי אֲשֶׁר כָּרַתִּי אִתּוֹ. 16 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Behold, thou art about to sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go astray after the foreign gods of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake Me, and break My covenant which I have made with them.
the word וְקָם could either work with the preceding phrase:
הִנְּךָ שֹׁכֵב עִם-אֲבֹתֶיךָ וְקָם - behold, you will sleep with your fathers and rise up - a reference to resurrection of the dead.
or with the following phrase:
וְקָם הָעָם הַזֶּה - and this people will rise up.

Here, we have etnachta on avotecha:
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה הִנְּךָ֥ שֹׁכֵ֖ב עִם־אֲבֹתֶ֑יךָ וְקָם֩ הָעָ֨ם הַזֶּ֜ה וְזָנָ֣ה ׀ אַֽחֲרֵ֣י ׀ אֱלֹהֵ֣י נֵֽכַר־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֨ר ה֤וּא בָא־שָׁ֨מָּה֙ בְּקִרְבּ֔וֹ וַֽעֲזָבַ֕נִי וְהֵפֵר֙ אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֔י אֲשֶׁ֥ר כָּרַ֖תִּי אִתּֽוֹ׃

6) Rav Chisda had one which the gemara discusses. In Shemot 24:5:
ה וַיִּשְׁלַח, אֶת-נַעֲרֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וַיַּעֲלוּ, עֹלֹת; וַיִּזְבְּחוּ זְבָחִים שְׁלָמִים, לַה--פָּרִים. 5 And he sent the young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt-offerings, and sacrificed peace-offerings of oxen unto the LORD.
Does "oxen" at the end describe only the peace-offerings, while the burnt-offerings were sheep?
Or does it describe both peace-offerings and burnt offerings?

To distinguish between the two - do we pause after עֹלֹת, in which case פָּרִים would not describe it, or do we not pause on it, and join it to וַיִּזְבְּחוּ זְבָחִים, such that פָּרִים would describe it.

Interestingly, Rashi notes here, because this is an historical question and so should make no halachic difference, that the nafka mina would be determining the proper trup, which we have been using in all these examples to disambiguate. Should the word עֹלֹת get an etnachta or a geresh. The trup:

ה וַיִּשְׁלַ֗ח אֶֽת־נַעֲרֵי֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיַּֽעֲל֖וּ עֹלֹ֑ת וַֽיִּזְבְּח֞וּ זְבָחִ֧ים שְׁלָמִ֛ים לַֽיהוָ֖ה פָּרִֽים

As you can see, we have an etnachta.

This Rashi raises an interesting more general question. If I know the rules of trup, and I know that we read a certain narrative or a certain halacha in a certain way which turns out to be against the trup, should I change the trup. Since Rashi explains Rav Chisda's nafka mina as just this, it would seem that we should. Or perhaps this was only when trup was not yet solidified, but now we keep to the masora even where it contradicts our understanding of halacha?

Rav Chisda's example is different from Issi ben Yehuda's, which is presumably why he did not include it. While it certainly is an example of uncertainty of pause, and together with that, whether a certain phrase joins with the preceding or not, this can be cast as a question of distribution of פָּרִֽים. We are not taking a single word and radically reinterpreting a phrase or phrases based on whether it joins before or after it. Compare with the other examples. And the ambiguity of joining is on a much later word. But, צ"ע

7) The midrash rabba discusses another case which is of the Issi ben Yehuda type, which I discussed on parshat Vayishlach:
In midrash rabba, someone suggests that a pasuk from Vayishlach should be added to a list of four pesukim with ambiguous parsing.

In Bereishit 34:7 we read:

ז וּבְנֵי יַעֲקֹב בָּאוּ מִן-הַשָּׂדֶה, כְּשָׁמְעָם, וַיִּתְעַצְּבוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים, וַיִּחַר לָהֶם מְאֹד: כִּי-נְבָלָה עָשָׂה בְיִשְׂרָאֵל, לִשְׁכַּב אֶת-בַּת-יַעֲקֹב, וְכֵן, לֹא יֵעָשֶׂה.
7 And the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought a vile deed in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done.
At issue is whether the word כְּשָׁמְעָם, "when they heard it" associates with the pasuk up to this point - they came as soon as they heard - or if is associates with the next part of the pasuk - so that they came, and when they heard, they were grieved and very wroth. The English translation above already disambiguates the parsing issue in favor of the former parsing of the pasuk. It also accords with the trup on the pasuk:

Bereishit 34:7:
ז וּבְנֵ֨י יַֽעֲקֹ֜ב בָּ֤אוּ מִן־הַשָּׂדֶה֙ כְּשָׁמְעָ֔ם וַיִּֽתְעַצְּבוּ֙ הָֽאֲנָשִׁ֔ים וַיִּ֥חַר לָהֶ֖ם מְאֹ֑ד כִּֽי־נְבָלָ֞ה עָשָׂ֣ה בְיִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל לִשְׁכַּב֙ אֶת־בַּֽת־יַעֲקֹ֔ב וְכֵ֖ן לֹ֥א יֵֽעָשֶֽׂה׃

Here, the disjunctive accent, in the form of a zaqef katon on the word כְּשָׁמְעָם, separates the pasuk such that the word belongs to the first half.

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