Tuesday, June 16, 2009

vehaAnashim asher alu imo: a Masoretic note on Shelach

This from the Perush al HaMesorah, for Shelach. The mesorah ketanah reads:
"And the men who ascended with him, etc., ascended on high."
The explanation, according to my humble opinion: והאנשים which is written next to עלו has two trup marks above, on high, which is kadma veazla. But והאנשים which Moshe sent, the trup is one below {=the munach} and one above, which is zakef katon.
That is, in parshat Shelach, the word והאנשים occurs only two times. Once is in Bemidbar 13:30, and one is in Bemidbar 14:36. Here they are, pictured to the right. The reasons for this difference are mechanical, but it does not matter, because what we are dealing with here is a useful mnemonic device for a baal koreh or for a masorete.

I would add one twist to this. Look at how יעקב דוד ב"ר יצחק מצויזמר interprets this, possibly. He takes אשר עלו עמו to mean that the word והאנשים which is next to the word עמו. A cute rereading of the pasuk to be part of the statement, if this is what he intends. One need not say this, of course. It could just be a quote of the pasuk and then a play on עלו to suggest עלו ברמה, which is also intended, of course.


Hebrew Student said...

This is a really interesting post. I know about Ginsburg's Massorah, but I hadn't heard of Perush al haMasorah before. Do you know where the whole book could be downloaded from in PDF format? HebrewBooks.org has the PDF single page, but is the whole book available? Toda raba.

joshwaxman said...

i believe that on the page you saw, there is a link to download the entire book. (the link says 2MB PDF).



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