Friday, December 28, 2007

Shemot: Vikuach Al Chochmat HaKabbalah: The Age of Trup

The following is from Shadal (Shmuel David Luzzatto)'s Vikuach Al Chochmat haKabbalah, in which he has an imaginary conversation with a guest. Shadal defends kabbalah while the stranger attacks it. Of course, Shadal is writing both sides of the conversation, and the "guest" eventually convinces him with several persuasive arguments. This is from the beginning of the chapter "Third Night."

Here, the guest brings up the question of how old the tradition of, and orthography of trup is. And this has repercussions in terms of whether he, as a parshan, can argue with trup or nikkud if he sees fit. And he claims that not only does he do it, but other classic meforshim due as well, including Rashi, Rashbam, Ibn Ezra, and so on. In addressing Rashi he mentions a pasuk brought up recently on parshablog, on parshat Shemot in terms of whether amata means the arm or the maidservant of Phraoh's daughter. (I like translating it as handmaiden. :-] ) The nikkud, says Rashi, absolutely casts out the possibility of "arm" on the level of peshat. But then, we may point out, if one can argue with nikkud, then a slight change will yield a fine peshat. (And as I suggested before, this might be part of the impetus for the dispute in this regard, by the Tannaim and Amoraim.) The citation starts here:

And it was, on the night of Simchat Torah after prayers, and we returned to the house together, and we ate and were satisfied, that the man opened up his mouth and said to me:

"Behold, I am about to do what is good and upright in your eyes, my dear master. And behold I will lift up my words to a matter from the matters of peshat, and this is a matter which touches you, and its knowledge and investigation affects you, as well as all who love the wisdom of the holy tongue."

The author: Say your words, and may your words be to me for rejoicing and for the joy of my heart. What is the matter of investigation which you place before me?

The guest: Is it not the investigation of the time of origin of the vowel points and the cantillation marks.

The author: You have judged well that this investigation is necessary to a man such as me. For behold, many times it happened to me that I explained some text with an explanation which did not agree with its vowel points or with its cantillation marks. And {even so}, when I saw that the explanation worked well with the language of the Scriptures, I did not turn back from writing it in a sefer, even though it was opposed to the cantillation marks. And even with all this, when I saw that my explanation accorded with the cantillation marks, I did not hold back from drawing support from them and from bringing proof from them. And I did this because this I have seen, that all the commentators who came before me.

For example, Rashi z"l, upon the pasuk {Shemot 2:5}
ה וַתֵּרֶד בַּת-פַּרְעֹה לִרְחֹץ עַל-הַיְאֹר, וְנַעֲרֹתֶיהָ הֹלְכֹת עַל-יַד הַיְאֹר; וַתֵּרֶא אֶת-הַתֵּבָה בְּתוֹךְ הַסּוּף, וַתִּשְׁלַח אֶת-אֲמָתָהּ וַתִּקָּחֶהָ. 5 And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe in the river; and her maidens walked along by the river-side; and she saw the ark among the flags, and sent her handmaid to fetch it.
rejects the midrash of our Sages because of the vowel points.

{Rashi writes:
her maidservant Heb. אֲמָתָהּ, her maidservant. Our Sages (Sotah 12b), however, interpreted it as an expression meaning a hand. [The joint from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger is known as אַמָּה, hence the cubit measure bearing the name, אַמָּה, which is the length of the arm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger.] Following [the rules of] Hebrew grammar, however, it should have been vowelized אַמָּתָהּ, with a dagesh in the mem. They, however, interpreted אֶתאֲמָתָהּ to mean her hand, [that she stretched out her hand,] and her arm grew many cubits (אַמוֹת) [so that she could reach the basket]. [From Sotah 12b, Exod. Rabbah 1:23]

And also at the start of Yechezkel, he wrote:
"had I not seen the cantillation mark zakef gadol punctuating upon ufeneihem, I would not know how to explain it."

{The pasuk is Yechezkel 1:11:
יא וּפְנֵיהֶם, וְכַנְפֵיהֶם פְּרֻדוֹת מִלְמָעְלָה: לְאִישׁ, שְׁתַּיִם חֹבְרוֹת אִישׁ, וּשְׁתַּיִם מְכַסּוֹת, אֵת גְּוִיֹּתֵיהֶנָה. 11 Thus were their faces; and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.
and there, Rashi states:
And so were their faces, and their wings were extended upward Had I not seen the cantillation sign of a “zakef gadol” [indicating a pause] punctuating “And so were their faces,” I would not know how to explain it, but the punctuation taught me to separate them [the words of the verse] one from the other and to place the word וּפְנֵיהֶם by itself. And so, [this] is its explanation: And they had faces and their wings were extended above their faces and covered them. How so? “Each had two wings joined to each other” to each face, their two wings were joined. On each one, the wing of this living being was stretched out towards the side of that living being, and this one’s towards the side of this one, and the face that was in between was covered by them. [A verse whose wording] is similar to the language of this verse appears again in this chapter (verse 18): “And they had backs, and they were very high and they were dreadful.” The word וְגֲבֵּיהֶן, “and they had backs,” stands by itself.

And also on the verse {Devarim 11:30}
ל הֲלֹא-הֵמָּה בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן, אַחֲרֵי דֶּרֶךְ מְבוֹא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ, בְּאֶרֶץ הַכְּנַעֲנִי, הַיֹּשֵׁב בָּעֲרָבָה--מוּל, הַגִּלְגָּל, אֵצֶל, אֵלוֹנֵי מֹרֶה. 30 Are they not beyond the Jordan, behind the way of the going down of the sun, in the land of the Canaanites that dwell in the Arabah, over against Gilgal, beside the terebinths of Moreh?
he brings a proof from the cantillation marks -- even though in truth is a proof which proves the opposite, to one who understands the depth of the teaching of the parsing provided by the cantillation marks -- even so, beholds his words prove that he relied upon the vowel points and the cantillation marks.
Rashi writes:
[on the other side of the Jordan, way beyond,] in the direction of the sunset [i.e.,] beyond the Jordan, toward the west. And the cantillation marks of the verse prove that [אַחֲרֵי and דרך] refer to two separate things, for they are marked with two [conjunctive] accents [thus demonstrating that these words are not connected]: אַחֲרֵי is punctuated with a pashta [which separates the word from the succeeding one], and דרך is punctuated with a mashpel [which we call a yetib]. In addition, [the דּ of the word דרך has a dagesh inside it [which indicates that the word דרך begins a new phrase or topic]. If, however, אַחֲרֵי דֶּרך were one phrase [meaning“beyond the direction”], then אַחֲרֵי would have been punctuated by a conjunctive accent, namely a shofar hafuch [which we call a mahpach] and דרך by a pashta [the combination of which indicates the connection between those words. Additionally, the ד of the word דרך ] would not have a dagesh inside it. [But this is not so, and thus אַחֲרֵי and דרך are separate words in this verse.]
{A slight disagreement with Judaica Press's translation here. They write "for they are marked with two [conjunctive] accents" but this should be "[disjunctive]."

If you want to know why Shadal disagrees with Rashi on this pasuk, see his perush al haTorah, here:
ל ] אחרי דרך מבוא השמש : שתלכו אחרי דרך מערב ותמצאום ( ראב " ע ), ומילת אחרי היא סמוכה , אבל אינה סמוכה למילת דרך לבדה . אבל היא סמוכה לשלוש תיבות : דרך מבוא השמש , לפיכך מילת מבוא שהיא סמוכה למילה אחת היא בטעם מ שרת כמו ( ויקרא כ " ח ח ') שבתות השנים , ומילת דרך שאינה סמוכה למילת מבוא , אלא לשתי תבות מבוא השמש , הוצרכה להיות בטעם מפסיק ( יתיב ) , כמו שבע שתות השנים , ומילת אחרי שאינה סמוכה למילת דרך לבדה . אלא לשלוש תיבות : דרך מבוא השמש , הוצרכה למפסיק יותר , והוא פשטא ( כידוע כי שני מפסיקין רצופים , הראשון מפסיק יותר , וידוע כי היחיד כוחו ככוח הפשטא ), כמו ימי שבע שבתות השנים . ורש " י נכשל בהבנת כוחם של טעמי המקרא הזה , כי משפטי הטעמים לא היו ידועים יפה בימיו , ויש לתמוה על הרמבמ " ן שהיה מבין בפסוקי הטעמים , ואעפ " כ תירגם כפירש " י , ואחריו המבאר העתיק דברי רש " י ככתבם ולא העיר עליהם דבר , וכבר פירשתי הענין הזה ב " בכורי העתים " תקפ " ט עמוד צ " ו . מול הגלגל : איננו המקום שנקרא כן בימי יהושע , כי הוא היה סמוך לירדן וסמוך ליריחו , ושם נימולו בתחילת כניסתם לארץ ( יהושע ה '), אבל גלגל זה הוא סמוך לעיר שכם ורחוק הרבה מיריחו . ורש " י פירש מול הגלגל , רחוק מן הגלגל , אך אין זה במשמעות מילת מול

And with all this, we find to him that he wrote upon {Shemot 25:34}:
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.
a, "this is one of 5 verses which are unresolvably ambiguous," {see my post on Issi Ben Yehuda's 5 Ambiguous Pesukim}, and he should have added, "however, according to the cantillation marks there is a resolution to the ambiguity," as the students of the Sages of Tosafot said (Yoma 52);

{Rashi writes:
decorated…its knobs and its flowers This is one of the five verses whose meaning cannot be determined. It is unknown whether [to read] “decorated goblets” or “decorated its knobs and its flowers."-[from Yoma 52b]

and so too he reads it

{Yeshaya 1:9:
ט לוּלֵי ה צְבָאוֹת, הוֹתִיר לָנוּ שָׂרִיד כִּמְעָט--כִּסְדֹם הָיִינוּ, לַעֲמֹרָה דָּמִינוּ. {פ} 9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, we should have been like unto Gomorrah. {P}

as "we were almost {kim'at} like Sodom," and not "Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small {kim'at} remnant" in the way of the cantillation marks;

{Rashi there writes:
Had not the Lord of Hosts left us a remnant by His own volition and with His mercy, not because of our merits.
we would soon {kim'at} be like Sodom All of us would be destroyed.
and this is against the trup since there is an esnachta on the word kimat.

and so too he explains {Yirmiyahu 6:29}:
כט נָחַר מַפֻּחַ, מאשתם (מֵאֵשׁ תַּם) עֹפָרֶת--לַשָּׁוְא צָרַף צָרוֹף, וְרָעִים לֹא נִתָּקוּ. 29 The bellows blow fiercely, the lead is consumed of the fire; in vain doth the founder refine, for the wicked are not separated.
that the bellows is heated from the power of the fire, and this is against the cantillation marks.

{Rashi writes:
The bellows is heated This is an allegory. When they refine silver, they blow with a bellows, and they always put lead into the crucible, which helps for the refining. But youI have come to refine you. The bellows is heated and parched because of the fire, and the lead is completely consumed. נחר is an expression related to (Job 42:7) “My wrath has been kindled (חרה) ” ; (ibid. 30: 30) “And my bones are burned (חרה) with heat,” (esrast in O.F.).
That is, we can either parse it as:
1) נָחַר מַפֻּחַ מֵאֵשׁ followed by תַּם עֹפָרֶת, as Rashi does, or else we can parse it as
2) נָחַר מַפֻּחַ followed by מֵאֵשׁ תַּם עֹפָרֶת.

and there is a zakef katon on the word esh with an etnachta on the word ofaret, showing that the phrase boundary according to the trup is like (2).

Note also that מֵאֵשׁ תַּם is written in the krei as one word, further supporting a reading like (2) in which they are in the same phrase.

And also on II Shmuel 12:30:
ל וַיִּקַּח אֶת-עֲטֶרֶת-מַלְכָּם מֵעַל רֹאשׁוֹ וּמִשְׁקָלָהּ כִּכַּר זָהָב, וְאֶבֶן יְקָרָה, וַתְּהִי, עַל-רֹאשׁ דָּוִד; וּשְׁלַל הָעִיר הוֹצִיא, הַרְבֵּה מְאֹד. 30 And he took the crown of Malcam from off his head; and the weight thereof was a talent of gold, and in it were precious stones; and it was set on David's head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city, exceeding much.
{with the word malkam, not like the JPS translation above, but with the implication of "the crown of their king."}

he writes that the idol of the sons of Ammon was named Milkom, and behold he pushes off the vowel points because of the derash (from Avodah Zara 42).

{Rashi writes:
and the crown of Malkam the name of the abomination of the sons of Ammon was Malkam from [the name] Molech.
I would note that this might tie in to how Rashi regards derash vs. peshat. And furthermore, even with the vocalization Malkam, there is a certain echoing which is surely intended besides the pashut peshat meaning king.

At any rate, this is the end of examples coming from Rashi, where despite citing nikkud and trup as evidence, he is willing to violate the nikkud and trup.

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