Friday, February 01, 2008

The Age of Trup -- part xix

Shadal's Vikuach al Chochmat haKabbalah continues. (See last segment.) Here, he talks about doubts in parsing, which could have been resolved had Chazal had trup written in sefarim. Rather, it was an Oral tradition, and when forgotten or confused, they attempted to resolve it using logic:

The guest: The doubts by plene and deficient words are born even in our days, because it is very difficult that all the scribes are always careful not to write a single vav or a single yud less or more; however, in the issue of the placement of a sof pasuk, there has not been seen nor heard of a dispute between the scribes, whether in writing or printing, after the time that the nikkud was known; therefore, it is not possible for me to believe at all that the nikkud and the ends of the pesukim were forgotten from Ezra until the Sages of the Talmud in such as manner that they would say "in pesukim as well we are not experts," and that the residents of the West {=Eretz Yisrael} would split a single verse into three, if it were in fact so that Ezra pointed {nakad} the sefarim, whether he innovated this or reintroduced what was so from before.

Is this possible?! At a time that there was the Sanhedrin and the Tannaim and the Amoraim, and the great Yeshivot, that the sefarim {of Tanach} were kept worse than they were kept from the time of the Geonim until today, with all the many sufferings, the great dispersions, and the nullification of the Yeshivot, which the nations was confounded with after the Sages of the Talmud, to an extent that it was necessary to write the Oral law down in a book? And how did Rav Chisda inquire (Chagiga 6b), this verse, how is it written? {Shemot 24:5, at the end of parshat Mishpatim}
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.
Is it וַיִּשְׁלַח, אֶת-נַעֲרֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וַיַּעֲלוּ, עֹלֹת which were sheep, and וַיִּזְבְּחוּ זְבָחִים שְׁלָמִים, לַה--פָּרִים {which were oxen}? Or perhaps both this and that were oxen?

And how does the Talmud say upon this:
"To what practical distinction -- to the cantillation"?
And behold, you see that they were careful with the cantillation, from the fact that they said "To what practical distinction -- to the cantillation," and so do they say in another place, "one who reads without melody {J: which Rashi defines as such as the trup; the gemara in Megillah 32a actually continues "and who learns without song," which Tosafot explains as a song to which they sang Mishnayot} upon him the verse states, {Yechezkel 20:25}:
כה וְגַם-אֲנִי נָתַתִּי לָהֶם, חֻקִּים לֹא טוֹבִים; וּמִשְׁפָּטִים--לֹא יִחְיוּ, בָּהֶם. 25 Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and ordinances whereby they should not live;
and even so they had doubts about them; for if they had the cantillation {marks}, they would have seen that "oxen" does not associate with the burnt-offerings but only the peace-offerings; and when the doubt was born to to them, they did not say to inspect the carefully written books, or to go after the majority of the sefarim, and to establish what was in two of them and nullify one.

Behold it is clear that they did not have by them cantillation {marks}, but rather it was like the rest of the Orall Law. And when some doubt was born to them, they strove to resolve it based on logic, just as they did by all the rest of the laws.

And so too, how do they argue (in Menachot 27) in the verse {Vayikra 16:2}
ב וַיֹּאמֶר ה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, דַּבֵּר אֶל-אַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ, וְאַל-יָבֹא בְכָל-עֵת אֶל-הַקֹּדֶשׁ, מִבֵּית לַפָּרֹכֶת--אֶל-פְּנֵי הַכַּפֹּרֶת אֲשֶׁר עַל-הָאָרֹן, וְלֹא יָמוּת, כִּי בֶּעָנָן, אֵרָאֶה עַל-הַכַּפֹּרֶת. 2 and the LORD said unto Moses: 'Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil, before the ark-cover which is upon the ark; that he die not; for I appear in the cloud upon the ark-cover.
The Sages hold that "into the holy place" is encompassed under "he shall not come" -- as if the etnachta is under הַקֹּדֶשׁ; while "within the veil, before the ark-cover" is encompassed under "that he die not."

And Rabbi Yehuda holds that "into the holy place" and "within the veil" is encompassed under "he shall not come," while "before the ark-cover" is encompassed under "that he die not," just as it is divided by the trup which is before us today?

And so too, how do they say (Yoma 52b) that there are 5 verses in the Torah which have no hechreia {disambiguation}. {J: See my post on the subject of Issi ben Yehuda's five.} שְׂאֵת {by Kayin}; מְשֻׁקָּדִים {by the Menorah}; מָחָר {by the war with Amalek}; אָרוּר {by Yaakov's blessings}; וְקָם {by Moshe's death}. And in Bereishit Rabba (parsha 80), {also discussed in that post} Rabbi Tanchuma adds one: And the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it?

Behold, there was not by them a disambiguation if one should read {by Yaakov's blessing} "and in their self-will they houghed an ox," or "and in their self-will they houghed an accursed ox" {taking arur from the beginning of the next verse}, and Ezra had already established the nikkud, and there were after him the Men of the Great Assembly and the Sanhedrin, and the Tannaim and Amoraim. And was it really so that the sefarim were so mangled, to such an extent that there was no disambiguation where the place of the end of the pasuk was, or where the place of the etnachta was? And from the days of the Geonim and on there was not anything like this. Did the generations improve so much? This I certainly will not believe.

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