Thursday, March 06, 2008

Pekudei: Who Brought the Ketoret During the Days Of Miluim? Aharon or Moshe?

In the very last perek of Shemot, we are told:
כז וַיַּקְטֵר עָלָיו, קְטֹרֶת סַמִּים--כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה, אֶת-מֹשֶׁה. {ס} 27 and he burnt thereon incense of sweet spices; as the LORD commanded Moses. {S}
Who is "he"? Looking back to pasuk 18, it seems clear that it was Moshe. However, Rashi may or may not say differently. Rashi, on this pasuk, states:
He made the incense go up in smoke upon it in the morning and in the evening, as it is said: “every morning when he sets the lamps in order [he shall make it go up in smoke]” (Exod. 30:7).
But in some manuscripts of Rashi, it states:
Aharon in the morning and in the evening, as it is said, etc., ...
Shadal was in possession of such a manuscript:

ברש"י כתב-יד שבידי: "אהרן שחרית וערבית"; וכן מצא גם הרמב"ן, ואמר "ולא ידעתי אם הוא טעות סופרים (כלומר אין טעות רש"י, כי אמנם אין ספק שהעבודה היתה במשה) וע' ספר הזכרון.

Indeed, Rambam has doubts whether this is really the correct text of Rashi, with the word Aharon. Because of course Moshe did all these acts in the miluim all the seven days, until Aharon was appointed. (Siftei Chachamim on the next Rashi says all 8 days, and there was overlap on that 8th day.)

You can understand the confusion, and how such a textual variant could arise. Rashi cited Shmot 30:7-8:
ז וְהִקְטִיר עָלָיו אַהֲרֹן, קְטֹרֶת סַמִּים; בַּבֹּקֶר בַּבֹּקֶר, בְּהֵיטִיבוֹ אֶת-הַנֵּרֹת--יַקְטִירֶנָּה. 7 And Aaron shall burn thereon incense of sweet spices; every morning, when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn it.
ח וּבְהַעֲלֹת אַהֲרֹן אֶת-הַנֵּרֹת בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם, יַקְטִירֶנָּה--קְטֹרֶת תָּמִיד לִפְנֵי יְהוָה, לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם. 8 And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at dusk, he shall burn it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.
in which two things are true. Aharon does it. And it is done in the morning and the name.

What was motivating Rashi here? My guess is -- the local pasuk in parshat Pekudei states כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה, אֶת-מֹשֶׁה, and we see that command to Moshe about how it was to be done elsewhere, in Shemot 20. Thus, Moshe's was also in the morning and the evening. But someone could also read this and think that he meant that Aharon should do it -- something which was not so.

Mossad haRav Kook's version puts this "Aharon" in square brackets, notes it was not in the first printing of Rashi, and that it is an error which should be omitted.

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