Thursday, July 02, 2009

Masorah on Balak: The peruyei of Balak and the keruyei of Bilaam

From the commentary of the masorah, on parshat Balak, on the pasuk {or one similar} of Bemidbar 23:30:
ל וַיַּעַשׂ בָּלָק, כַּאֲשֶׁר אָמַר בִּלְעָם; וַיַּעַל פָּר וָאַיִל, בַּמִּזְבֵּחַ.30 And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered up a bullock and a ram on every altar.

וַיַּעַל פָּר -- as a mnemonic, beduyei of Yosef; keruy of Balak; keruyei of Bilaam; bezuyei of Mishlei; kevarei of Kohelet; kaluyei of Daniel -- all of them are with kametz, and all the rest are with patach, except for in instance in Mishlei where there is a kametz {Mishlei 11:26}:

כו מֹנֵעַ בָּר, יִקְּבֻהוּ לְאוֹם; וּבְרָכָה, לְרֹאשׁ מַשְׁבִּיר.26 He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him; but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.
So it is in all the sefarim, and it is a scribal error. And this is what you need to say: Beruyei of Yosef; peruyei of Balak; keruyei of Balak, etc.

To explain: beruyei is a language of bar {grain}, as it is written by Yosef {Bereshit 41:35}
לה וְיִקְבְּצוּ, אֶת-כָּל-אֹכֶל הַשָּׁנִים הַטֹּבוֹת, הַבָּאֹת, הָאֵלֶּה; וְיִצְבְּרוּ-בָר תַּחַת יַד-פַּרְעֹה, אֹכֶל בֶּעָרִים--וְשָׁמָרוּ.35 And let them gather all the food of these good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it.
where bar is with a kametz.

Peruyei of Balak is the language of par {bullock}, where {Bemidbar 23:30}
ל וַיַּעַשׂ בָּלָק, כַּאֲשֶׁר אָמַר בִּלְעָם; וַיַּעַל פָּר וָאַיִל, בַּמִּזְבֵּחַ.30 And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered up a bullock and a ram on every altar.

with a kametz.

Keruyei of Bilaam is the language of {Bemidbar 23:4}
ד וַיִּקָּר אֱלֹהִים, אֶל-בִּלְעָם; וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו, אֶת-שִׁבְעַת הַמִּזְבְּחֹת עָרַכְתִּי, וָאַעַל פָּר וָאַיִל, בַּמִּזְבֵּחַ.4 And God met Balaam; and he said unto Him: 'I have prepared the seven altars, and I have offered up a bullock and a ram on every altar.'
with vayikar with a kametz under the kuf.

Bezuyei of Mishlei such as {Mishlei 13:13}
יג בָּז לְדָבָר, יֵחָבֶל לוֹ; וִירֵא מִצְוָה, הוּא יְשֻׁלָּם.13 Whoso despiseth the word shall suffer thereby; but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
with baz with a kametz.

Kavruyei of Kohelet, as a language of kevar, such as {Kohelet 1:10}:
י יֵשׁ דָּבָר שֶׁיֹּאמַר רְאֵה-זֶה, חָדָשׁ הוּא: כְּבָר הָיָה לְעֹלָמִים, אֲשֶׁר הָיָה מִלְּפָנֵנוּ.10 Is there a thing whereof it is said: 'See, this is new'?--it hath been already, in the ages which were before us
with kevar with a kametz.

Kaluyei of Daniel is a language of roasted in fire, such as {Daniel 3:5}:
ה בְּעִדָּנָא דִּי-תִשְׁמְעוּן קָל קַרְנָא מַשְׁרוֹקִיתָא קיתרס (קַתְרֹס) שַׂבְּכָא פְסַנְתֵּרִין, סוּמְפֹּנְיָא, וְכֹל, זְנֵי זְמָרָא--תִּפְּלוּן וְתִסְגְּדוּן לְצֶלֶם דַּהֲבָא, דִּי הֲקֵים נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר מַלְכָּא.5 that at what time ye hear the sound of the horn, pipe, harp, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up;
End quote. What I do not fully understand is that there is this implication that in all other locations it is with a patach. But this is clearly not the case, at least according to our nikkud. Thus, for example:

יואל פרק ב
  • פסוק כד: וּמָלְאוּ הַגֳּרָנוֹת, בָּר; וְהֵשִׁיקוּ הַיְקָבִים, תִּירוֹשׁ וְיִצְהָר.
עמוס פרק ח
  • פסוק ה: לֵאמֹר, מָתַי יַעֲבֹר הַחֹדֶשׁ וְנַשְׁבִּירָה שֶּׁבֶר, וְהַשַּׁבָּת, וְנִפְתְּחָה-בָּר--לְהַקְטִין אֵיפָה וּלְהַגְדִּיל שֶׁקֶל, וּלְעַוֵּת מֹאזְנֵי מִרְמָה.
תהילים פרק סה
  • פסוק יד: לָבְשׁוּ כָרִים, הַצֹּאן-- וַעֲמָקִים יַעַטְפוּ-בָר;יִתְרוֹעֲעוּ, אַף-יָשִׁירוּ.
this one which was mentioned explicitly as an exception:
משלי פרק יא
  • פסוק כו: מֹנֵעַ בָּר, יִקְּבֻהוּ לְאוֹם; וּבְרָכָה, לְרֹאשׁ מַשְׁבִּיר.
משלי פרק יד
  • פסוק ד: בְּאֵין אֲלָפִים, אֵבוּס בָּר; וְרָב-תְּבוּאוֹת, בְּכֹחַ שׁוֹר.
Kevar is correct, once we exclude the Nehar Kevar, which has a different meaning.

For par, essentially correct, except for two instances in Tehillim in the pausal form:
תהילים פרק נ
  • פסוק ט: לֹא-אֶקַּח מִבֵּיתְךָ פָר; מִמִּכְלְאֹתֶיךָ, עַתּוּדִים.
תהילים פרק סט
  • פסוק לב: וְתִיטַב לַיהוָה, מִשּׁוֹר פָּר; מַקְרִן מַפְרִיס.
Vayikar as a verb (as opposed to nouns such as viykar) is correct. Baz is correct. And kal is correct.


Ariella's blog said...

Josh, which translation are you using? "ye," "hath," "despiseth," etc., make it sound so 18th century.
For contrast, the JPS Tanach translates that verse of Mishlei as follows: "He who disdains a precept will be injured thereby; He who respects a command will be rewarded."

joshwaxman said...

mechon-mamre, which put the Masoretic text against the English JPS 1917 Edition. so they did not yet update the English. Still, I like the text and font of the Hebrew...


yankel said...

במ"א means "bar min alef", i.e. except for one (a common expression in the Masorah, along with "bar min bet" etc.

The Masorah is clearly not talking about pausal forms, such as the Bar and Par you brought.

This commentator slipped up when translating kal as roasted in fire; it's actually "sound," as in kol in Hebrew.

joshwaxman said...

thanks. i'll fix the במ"א. and you're absolutely right about the rest.

thanks again,


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