Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Age of Trup -- part xxix

Shadal continues his Vikuach al Chochmas HaKabbalah. (See previous segment.) Having concluded that the trup and nikkud is Savoraic, he turns to deal with whether there were Biblical (rather than halachic) scholars among Talmudic and Savoraic Chazal.

The guest: You have seen well.

And now, I will add that it appears that the Rabbanan Sovarai, who put the Oral law on a sefer, and wrote the Mishna and Talmud and Targum which until those days were all preserved Orally -- they are the ones who commanded to a few Sages fit for this task that they should find a device to make a guard for the reading so that it should not be forgotten; and they did so, and they brought out the nikkud and the trup, and put nikkud in all of Tanach. And the Rabbanan Savorai rested {samchu} their hands on their work, and praised it and established it, and on the basis of this it was accepted by all of Israel.

The author: The matter is good. But who told you that there were found in Bavel in the days of the Rabbanan Savorai Sages fit for the work of the nikkud? And is it not seen from all of the Talmud that the work of the Sages of these generations were only in halacha or aggada, not in the investigation of the simple meaning of the Scriptures and their reading?

The guest: Know that beside the Sages who engaged in halacha and aggada, there were already in the days of the Sages of the Talmud another group {perhaps "sect"} of Sages, who were called by the name kara, such as Rabbi Chanina Kara (Taanit 27b), in Rashi explains that he was a master of Mikra, and knowledgeable in girsa, and expert in it teamim. And Levi bar Sisi, upon whom they said (Yalkut Hoshea, siman 533) קחו עמכם דברים {from Hoshea 14}, "take with you good Karaim, good Darshanim, such as Levi bar Sisi and his colleagues.

And in Pesachim 117, "the kara`ei added also these," and Rashi explains masters of Mikra.

And behold, Kara {with two kemeitzim} is a Hebrew noun of the form dayyan, naggach {with a patach dagesh chazak kametz form, though Shadal does not indicate the dagesh. The extension of the patach to a kametz is the result of compensatory lengthening since the quasi-guttural resh cannot receive a dagesh.}/ And they said as well on the Aramaic linguistic wat karoi, karoya, in the pattern of karoza, katola, or in the pattern of Rabbinic Hebrew karay, in the pattern of zakkay, bannay; {See the scan in Hebrew for the vowels -- though in my text, rather than the text above, there are degeishim where appropriate.} Such as "Abba Chalifa Karoya inquired from Rabbi Chiyya bar Abba (Bava Batra 123), when Rabbi Eleazar bar Shimon died, his generation called upon him {the verse, Shir haShirim 3:6}
ו מִי זֹאת, עֹלָה מִן-הַמִּדְבָּר, כְּתִימְרוֹת, עָשָׁן: מְקֻטֶּרֶת מֹר וּלְבוֹנָה, מִכֹּל אַבְקַת רוֹכֵל. 6 Who is this that cometh up out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?
that he was a Karayei, a Tanayei, a Paytan and a Darshan. (Vayikra Rabba parasha 30.)

And in Kiddushin daf 49 it is set out clearly who is fit to be called Kara, and this is one "who reads the Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim with precision."

{Note: This last scan was from my own copy of the Vikuach. Note the different font. This is more than what was previously available online, as the scanner of SeforimOnline somehow missed the last page of this chapter.}

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