Monday, August 10, 2009

One understandable, and one perplexing, instance of censorship of Baal Haturim

In the middle of parshat Reeh, we find the following juxtaposition {Devarim 14}:
ב כִּי עַם קָדוֹשׁ אַתָּה, לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ; וּבְךָ בָּחַר ה', לִהְיוֹת לוֹ לְעַם סְגֻלָּה, מִכֹּל הָעַמִּים, אֲשֶׁר עַל-פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה. {ס}2 For thou art a holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be His own treasure out of all peoples that are upon the face of the earth. {S}
ג לֹא תֹאכַל, כָּל-תּוֹעֵבָה.3 Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.
These are two seperate sections, separated by a setuma break, but we darshen semuchin in Devarim, and elsewhere. And so Baal HaTurim writes what he writes.

To the right is the uncensored version and another copy of the same printing, but apparently censored.

The first change is that the original has shelo yitarvu im haumot, vehaumot nimshelo livhemot. By hand, someone clarifies in both cases akum, meaning ovdei kochavim umazalot. This perhaps relaxes the condemnation, restricting it to heathens, perhaps in accord with Meiri. I don't know that Baal HaTurim would have intended it as such, though. I saw in another Tanach that it put Kutim in both places instead, perhaps with similar results. And perhaps most interesting is in our own Mikraos Gedolos, which has shelo yitarvu im haakum, otam shenimshelu livheimot. This is but a minor change, but with drastically different implications, since it is selecting only those who are nimshelu on the basis of their behavior.

More puzzling is the second thing changed in the image above. The words crossed out are sheassur legaddel chazirim. So much so that I was thinking this might just be spilled ink; but elsewhere in the sefer are crossed out phrases, so this is likely one as well.

As far as I understand this Baal Haturim, he is darshening another semichut. The pesukim state:
ז אַךְ אֶת-זֶה לֹא תֹאכְלוּ, מִמַּעֲלֵי הַגֵּרָה, וּמִמַּפְרִיסֵי הַפַּרְסָה, הַשְּׁסוּעָה: אֶת-הַגָּמָל וְאֶת-הָאַרְנֶבֶת וְאֶת-הַשָּׁפָן כִּי-מַעֲלֵה גֵרָה הֵמָּה, וּפַרְסָה לֹא הִפְרִיסוּ--טְמֵאִים הֵם, לָכֶם.7 Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that only chew the cud, or of them that only have the hoof cloven: the camel, and the hare, and the rock-badger, because they chew the cud but part not the hoof, they are unclean unto you;
ח וְאֶת-הַחֲזִיר כִּי-מַפְרִיס פַּרְסָה הוּא, וְלֹא גֵרָה--טָמֵא הוּא, לָכֶם; מִבְּשָׂרָם לֹא תֹאכֵלוּ, וּבְנִבְלָתָם לֹא תִגָּעוּ. {ס}8 and the swine, because he parteth the hoof but cheweth not the cud, he is unclean unto you; of their flesh ye shall not eat, and their carcasses ye shall not touch. {S}
And Baal Haturim is noting the end words of pasuk 7 and the beginning words of pasuk 8, and making a derasha on lachem as ownership, such that even owning and thus raising a pig is forbidden.

But what would the censor find offensive in this? Is it because the gemara juxtaposes and almost equates learning Greek wisdom with raising swine? This would be unlikely. My best guess at the moment is that this was simple ignorance on the part of the censor. I would not guess that he wanted to censorthe earlier part, he saw vesamich leih and censored the text after the second one. But it is possible that he mistakenly associated vesamich leih in the later text and thought that Baal HaTurim was equating the chazirim with the aforemention umot, where Baal Haturim was really making his derasha on the word lachem of the pasuk which is actually juxtaposed.

Unless I am the ignorant one here, and there is some obvious or fine point I am missing. Does anyone spot anything plausibly offensive in this?


Ʀăḥٹლąί said...

First of, do we have any clue as to whom censored the print? I think that would tell us something about his intentions.

It seems to me that the 1514 Kushta and 1544 Venice editions contain the correct version, and Ba'al HaTurim did not mean to write "Akum", "Kutim" or anything else. I would be surprised to discover that the censor was Jewish (the Hebrew handwriting does not prove who the real editor was).

To me the perush makes perfect sense. I know not what the censor found offensive in it, unless he acted by decree of the local ruler.

joshwaxman said...

it's a good question, and i don't know the answer. it might be addressed, in part, in this Jewish Encyclopedia article in the section on Ignorant Censorship:



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