Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The target of Re'eh

This week's parsha begins with the word Re'eh:
כו רְאֵה, אָנֹכִי נֹתֵן לִפְנֵיכֶם--הַיּוֹם: בְּרָכָה, וּקְלָלָה.26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse:
But the word ראה is singular while the word לפניכם is plural! How can we account for this?

Naturally enough, many meforshim notice this and comment upon it.

Thus, Ibn Ezra proposes that the singular "Re'eh" distributes across each and every individual.

And Baal Haturim suggests the same, but also that Moshe said this to one individual, Yehoshua; or else that the order of tradition was Moshe to Aharon etc. And Or HaChaim interprets it in a kabbalistic way. Each according to his methodology and style.

Avi Ezer, supercommentator of Ibn Ezra, decides to argue with Ibn Ezra here and notes that the medakdekim say that it is an introduction to speech, just as it was in the case of Yitzchak smelling Yaakov's garment, in Bereishit 27:27:
כז וַיִּגַּשׁ, וַיִּשַּׁק-לוֹ, וַיָּרַח אֶת-רֵיחַ בְּגָדָיו, וַיְבָרְכֵהוּ; וַיֹּאמֶר, רְאֵה רֵיחַ בְּנִי, כְּרֵיחַ שָׂדֶה, אֲשֶׁר בֵּרְכוֹ ה'.27 And he came near, and kissed him. And he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said: See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed.
I wonder if there, there is motivation to say this because of a reluctance to say ראה on an odor. And it does seem to function like the word hinei here. The point being though that if it is mere introduction to speech, then it does not have to agree in gender or number with the rest of the speech.

Some other examples of ראה seeming to function in this role follow. When Lavan warns Yaakov against mistreating his daughters, he says {Bereishit 31:50}

נ אִם-תְּעַנֶּה אֶת-בְּנֹתַי, וְאִם-תִּקַּח נָשִׁים עַל-בְּנֹתַי--אֵין אִישׁ, עִמָּנוּ; רְאֵה, אֱלֹהִים עֵד בֵּינִי וּבֵינֶךָ.50 If thou shalt afflict my daughters, and if thou shalt take wives beside my daughters, no man being with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee.'
מא וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה, אֶל-יוֹסֵף: רְאֵה נָתַתִּי אֹתְךָ, עַל כָּל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם.41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: 'See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.'

and Shemot 7:1:
א וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, רְאֵה נְתַתִּיךָ אֱלֹהִים לְפַרְעֹה; וְאַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ, יִהְיֶה נְבִיאֶךָ.1 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'See, I have set thee in God's stead to Pharaoh; and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.

and Shemot 33:12:
יב וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-ה', רְאֵה אַתָּה אֹמֵר אֵלַי הַעַל אֶת-הָעָם הַזֶּה, וְאַתָּה לֹא הוֹדַעְתַּנִי, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-תִּשְׁלַח עִמִּי; וְאַתָּה אָמַרְתָּ יְדַעְתִּיךָ בְשֵׁם, וְגַם-מָצָאתָ חֵן בְּעֵינָי.12 And Moses said unto the LORD: 'See, Thou sayest unto me: Bring up this people; and Thou hast not let me know whom Thou wilt send with me. Yet Thou hast said: I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in My sight.

ב רְאֵה, קָרָאתִי בְשֵׁם, בְּצַלְאֵל בֶּן-אוּרִי בֶן-חוּר, לְמַטֵּה יְהוּדָה.2 'See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;

ח רְאֵה נָתַתִּי לִפְנֵיכֶם, אֶת-הָאָרֶץ; בֹּאוּ, וּרְשׁוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע יְהוָה לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב לָתֵת לָהֶם, וּלְזַרְעָם אַחֲרֵיהֶם.8 Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD swore unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.'
כא רְאֵה נָתַן ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לְפָנֶיךָ--אֶת-הָאָרֶץ: עֲלֵה רֵשׁ, כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר ה' אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֶיךָ לָךְ--אַל-תִּירָא, וְאַל-תֵּחָת.21 Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee; go up, take possession, as the LORD, the God of thy fathers, hath spoken unto thee; fear not, neither be dismayed.'
כד קוּמוּ סְּעוּ, וְעִבְרוּ אֶת-נַחַל אַרְנֹן--רְאֵה נָתַתִּי בְיָדְךָ אֶת-סִיחֹן מֶלֶךְ-חֶשְׁבּוֹן הָאֱמֹרִי וְאֶת-אַרְצוֹ, הָחֵל רָשׁ; וְהִתְגָּר בּוֹ, מִלְחָמָה.24 Rise ye up, take your journey, and pass over the valley of Arnon; behold, I have given into thy hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land; begin to possess it, and contend with him in battle.

לא וַיֹּאמֶר ה, אֵלַי, רְאֵה הַחִלֹּתִי תֵּת לְפָנֶיךָ, אֶת-סִיחֹן וְאֶת-אַרְצוֹ; הָחֵל רָשׁ, לָרֶשֶׁת אֶת-אַרְצוֹ.31 And the LORD said unto me: 'Behold, I have begun to deliver up Sihon and his land before thee; begin to possess his land.'
ה רְאֵה לִמַּדְתִּי אֶתְכֶם, חֻקִּים וּמִשְׁפָּטִים, כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוַּנִי, ה' אֱלֹהָי: לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן--בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם בָּאִים שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ.5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and ordinances, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the midst of the land whither ye go in to possess it.

טו רְאֵה נָתַתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ הַיּוֹם, אֶת-הַחַיִּים וְאֶת-הַטּוֹב, וְאֶת-הַמָּוֶת, וְאֶת-הָרָע.15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil,

where in this case, it does not go from singular to plural. And Yehoshua 6:
ב וַיֹּאמֶר ה, אֶל-יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, רְאֵה נָתַתִּי בְיָדְךָ, אֶת-יְרִיחוֹ וְאֶת-מַלְכָּהּ--גִּבּוֹרֵי, הֶחָיִל.2 And the LORD said unto Joshua: 'See, I have given into thy hand Jericho, and the king thereof, even the mighty men of valour.
ב וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ, אֶל-נָתָן הַנָּבִיא, רְאֵה נָא, אָנֹכִי יוֹשֵׁב בְּבֵית אֲרָזִים; וַאֲרוֹן, הָאֱלֹהִים, יֹשֵׁב, בְּתוֹךְ הַיְרִיעָה.2 that the king said unto Nathan the prophet: 'See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.'

ג וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אַבְשָׁלוֹם, רְאֵה דְבָרֶיךָ טוֹבִים וּנְכֹחִים; וְשֹׁמֵעַ אֵין-לְךָ, מֵאֵת הַמֶּלֶךְ.3 And Absalom said unto him: 'See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee.'
and II Shmuel 24:

כב וַיֹּאמֶר אֲרַוְנָה אֶל-דָּוִד, יִקַּח וְיַעַל אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ הַטּוֹב בְּעֵינָו; רְאֵה הַבָּקָר לָעֹלָה, וְהַמֹּרִגִּים וּכְלֵי הַבָּקָר לָעֵצִים.22 And Araunah said unto David: 'Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him; behold the oxen for the burnt-offering, and the threshing-instruments and the furniture of the oxen for the wood.'
and Yirmeyahu 1:10:
י רְאֵה הִפְקַדְתִּיךָ הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה, עַל-הַגּוֹיִם וְעַל-הַמַּמְלָכוֹת, לִנְתוֹשׁ וְלִנְתוֹץ, וּלְהַאֲבִיד וְלַהֲרוֹס--לִבְנוֹת, וְלִנְטוֹעַ. {פ}10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, and to destroy and to overthrow; to build, and to plant. {P}

and perhaps Yirmeyahu 40:
ד וְעַתָּה הִנֵּה פִתַּחְתִּיךָ הַיּוֹם, מִן-הָאזִקִּים אֲשֶׁר עַל-יָדֶךָ--אִם-טוֹב בְּעֵינֶיךָ לָבוֹא אִתִּי בָבֶל בֹּא וְאָשִׂים אֶת-עֵינִי עָלֶיךָ, וְאִם-רַע בְּעֵינֶיךָ לָבוֹא-אִתִּי בָבֶל חֲדָל: רְאֵה כָּל-הָאָרֶץ לְפָנֶיךָ, אֶל-טוֹב וְאֶל-הַיָּשָׁר בְּעֵינֶיךָ לָלֶכֶת שָׁמָּה לֵךְ.4 And now, behold, I loose thee this day from the chains which are upon thy hand. If it seem good unto thee to come with me into Babylon, come, and I will look well unto thee; but if it seem ill unto thee to come with me into Babylon, forbear; behold, all the land is before thee; whither it seemeth good and right unto thee to go, thither go.--

טו וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי--רְאֵה נָתַתִּי לְךָ אֶת-צפועי (צְפִיעֵי) הַבָּקָר, תַּחַת גֶּלְלֵי הָאָדָם; וְעָשִׂיתָ אֶת-לַחְמְךָ, עֲלֵיהֶם. {ס}15 Then He said unto me: 'See, I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread thereon.' {S}
ד וַיַּעַן וַיֹּאמֶר, אֶל-הָעֹמְדִים לְפָנָיו לֵאמֹר, הָסִירוּ הַבְּגָדִים הַצֹּאִים, מֵעָלָיו; וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו, רְאֵה הֶעֱבַרְתִּי מֵעָלֶיךָ עֲו‍ֹנֶךָ, וְהַלְבֵּשׁ אֹתְךָ, מַחֲלָצוֹת.4 And he answered and spoke unto those that stood before him, saying: 'Take the filthy garments from off him.' And unto him he said: 'Behold, I cause thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with robes.'

ח וַיַּזְעֵק אֹתִי, וַיְדַבֵּר אֵלַי לֵאמֹר: רְאֵה, הַיּוֹצְאִים אֶל-אֶרֶץ צָפוֹן--הֵנִיחוּ אֶת-רוּחִי, בְּאֶרֶץ צָפוֹן. {ס}8 Then cried he upon me, and spoke unto me, saying: 'Behold, they that go toward the north country have eased My spirit in the north country.' {S}
and I Divrei Hayamim 21::
יב אִם-שָׁלוֹשׁ שָׁנִים רָעָב, וְאִם-שְׁלֹשָׁה חֳדָשִׁים נִסְפֶּה מִפְּנֵי-צָרֶיךָ וְחֶרֶב אוֹיְבֶיךָ לְמַשֶּׂגֶת, וְאִם-שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים חֶרֶב ה וְדֶבֶר בָּאָרֶץ, וּמַלְאַךְ ה מַשְׁחִית בְּכָל-גְּבוּל יִשְׂרָאֵל: וְעַתָּה רְאֵה, מָה-אָשִׁיב אֶת-שֹׁלְחִי דָּבָר. {ס}12 either three years of famine; or three months to be swept away before thy foes, while the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee; or else three days the sword of the LORD, even pestilence in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the borders of Israel. Now therefore consider what answer I shall return to Him that sent me.' {S}

and (same perek)
כג וַיֹּאמֶר אָרְנָן אֶל-דָּוִיד קַח-לָךְ, וְיַעַשׂ אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ הַטּוֹב בְּעֵינָיו; רְאֵה נָתַתִּי הַבָּקָר לָעֹלוֹת, וְהַמּוֹרִגִּים לָעֵצִים וְהַחִטִּים לַמִּנְחָה--הַכֹּל נָתָתִּי.23 And Ornan said unto David: 'Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes; lo, I give thee the oxen for burnt-offerings, and the threshing-instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meal-offering; I give it all'

י רְאֵה עַתָּה, כִּי-ה בָּחַר בְּךָ לִבְנוֹת-בַּיִת לַמִּקְדָּשׁ--חֲזַק וַעֲשֵׂה. {פ}10 Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.' {P}

and perhaps Tehillim 119:159:
קנט רְאֵה, כִּי-פִקּוּדֶיךָ אָהָבְתִּי; ה, כְּחַסְדְּךָ חַיֵּנִי.159 O see how I love Thy precepts; quicken me, O LORD, according to Thy lovingkindness.

and Kohelet 7:
כז רְאֵה זֶה מָצָאתִי, אָמְרָה קֹהֶלֶת; אַחַת לְאַחַת, לִמְצֹא חֶשְׁבּוֹן.27 Behold, this have I found, saith Koheleth, adding one thing to another, to find out the account;

and (same perek):
כט לְבַד רְאֵה-זֶה מָצָאתִי, אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם יָשָׁר; וְהֵמָּה בִקְשׁוּ, חִשְּׁבֹנוֹת רַבִּים.29 Behold, this only have I found, that God made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

Mendelssohn also considers this as a possibility. First he cites Ibn Ezra, and then suggest that it is a ziruz and hazmana, like hava, and this is why it does not modify itself to the target.

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