Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Age of Trup -- part xi

Shadal continues his Vikuach Al Chochmat haKabbalah, discussing a potention Talmudic reference to nikkud brought down by Rabbenu Bachya, and whether absence of Talmudic evidence is evidence of Talmudic absence. (See previous segment.) The text follows:

The author: I have also found, to Rabbenu Bachya, in parshat Vayera, that he wrote:

"And so do they say in Masechet Megillah {the aforementioned derivation from the pasuk in Nechemiah 8:8} -- ושום שכל -- this is the nikkud."

And also this I sought and did not find, but rather I found in Megillah daf 3 and in Nedarim daf 37: ושום שכל -- these are the pesukim. And its intent is that they paused in their reading between one verse and another, and this they did בשום שכל {with giving thought}, that is to say that there was not the end of the verse marked in the sefer, for if it were so, what reason would there be to give thought. But what I see is that also, even if no mention or hint to any of the nekudot is found in the Ralmud, behold absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, for perhaps there never was never a cause to mention them.

The guest: Behold there are two places that they would require to mention the nekudot, if they had existed in their days. The first is in terms of a sefer Torah, for why did they not inform us that a sefer Torah with nikkud is invalid. And the second is in the matter of writing on Shabbat, for how did it not enter the thoughts of one of them to ask: "Two letters with their vowel points do we require, or perhaps even without their vowel points? And if you find to say even with their vowel points, if he wrote two vowel points, what is the law? And if you find to say he is liable, if he wrote two dots, one next to the other, what is the law? Is it a single tzeirei and he is exempt, or perhaps it is two chiriks and he is liable?" And are there not in the Talmud as far-fetched questions as these?

And in terms of the cantillation marks, in a thousand places they could have mentioned them, in order to derive from them the explanation of the Scriptures.

{Note: Elsewhere Shadal conflates nikkud and trup, though here he makes the distinction. It is true that in both the gemaras cited the words ושום שכל are attached to "these are the pesukim," though on Megillah daf 3 we actually have "these are the pesukin." But both gemaras also continue with ויבינו במקרא אלו פיסקי טעמים. Though he can say, as he cited the teshuvat hageonim, that these were transmitted orally. Elsewhere, as in teshuvat hageonim, the word nikkud is used to designate even trup. But the idea is that Rabbenu Bachya, by citing a gemara that used the word nikkud, would explicitly refer to an orthographic convention, something not done byאלו פיסקי טעמים. Since Shadal did not have access to computer searches, it is quite possible that he was unaware of the third gemara which cites this, which IMHO is the original of the statement (for reasons I elaborate upon in another post), and which is also likely the basis of Rabbenu Bachya. This is the Yerushalmi Megillah 28a:
ר' זעירה בשם רב חננאל (נחמיה ח) ויקראו בספר תורת ה' זה המקרא מפורש זה תרגום ושום שכל אלו הטעמים ויבינו במקרא זה המסורת ויש אומרים אלו ההכריעים ויש אומרים אלו ראשי פסוקים
Here, the drasha is actually on ושום שכל, and it corresponds to אלו הטעמים, which presumably becomes pisukei teamim in our girsaot in Bavli. Rabbenu Bachya likely either had a girsa which had "nikkud," or rephrased it himself, using "nikkud" as connoting trup, in the same usage as the geonim. In terms of his two places these nikkud symbols should be mentioned. In terms of nikkud, perhaps a Talmudic passage should have mentioned this, but the place we would expect it is in Megillat Soferim, which he already discussed (see previous post). And it seems that Megillat Soferim is late, Savoraic (and so says e.g.) Rosh, and Shadal eventually attributes the development of nikkud and trup to the Savoraim -- which would make it difficult for him. Perhaps he does not agree with a late authorship of Megillat Soferim. The give and take about writing on Shabbat is not convincing to me, since such questions are not always consistent, and indeed are a mark of the setama degemara, which also is Savoraic. Shadal is accidentally arguing against his own position here. Also, in terms of the vowel points being specifically the ones which include tzeirei and chirik, there is also nikkud Bavli, which has no such features that one could ask this about. And if sefer Torahs used in public had no nikkud, it would perhaps be obvious that one could violate for writing without nikkud.}

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin