Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How many lines in Haazinu?

According to Rambam, who based himself on the Aleppo Codex, 67. As he writes in Hilchot Sefer Torah,

יא צוּרַת שִׁירַת הַאֲזִינוּ (דברים לב,א-מג)--כָּל שִׁטָּה וְשִׁטָּה, יֵשׁ בְּאֶמְצָעָהּ רֵוַח אֶחָד כְּצוּרַת הַפָּרָשָׁה הַסְּתוּמָה, וְנִמְצֵאת כָּל שִׁטָּה חֲלוּקָה לִשְׁתַּיִם; וְכוֹתְבִין אוֹתָהּ בְּשֶׁבַע וְשִׁשִּׁים שִׁטּוֹת. וְאֵלּוּ הֶן הַתֵּבוֹת שֶׁבְּרֹאשׁ כָּל שִׁטָּה וְשִׁטָּה:

However, in most editions of the Rambam, they have him say 70. This misled Cassuto into thinking that the Aleppo Codex was not the Ben Asher Codex which Rambam relied upon. For the Aleppo Codex has 67 lines for Haazinu! (See here and here.)

Minchas Shai takes note of this difficulty. He notes that the author of Or Torah, a masoretic work, notes that in three manuscripts of Rambam it says that there should be 67 lines. (And indeed, as On The Main Line points out, such exists in the manuscript to which Rambam attests that he looked over.) Yet the printed Rambam says 70. And then the question is what to do.

I remember hearing in Revel an explanation, that people used these texts of Mishneh Torah as halachic texts, and so they corrected them to conform to local practice.


ysh said...

Dr. Leiman gave a shiur about this. The girsa in the Rambam is wrong. It should read 67. He's got some pretty convincing proof, which escapes me now. Unfortunately its not online at www.leimanlibrary.org.


joshwaxman said...

indeed; it is quite likely that i heard the same in Dr. Leiman's Intro to Bible class...


Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

67 lines is pretty out there. We've got a broader sweep because we can see all the evidence at the same time, but more or less anyone throughout the ages who copied the Rambam could not have but assumed 67 to be an error. Even Cassuto who got to look at the Aleppo Codex itself for more than 20 hours didn't have the key to the puzzle!

David Freedman said...

My question is how our local practice became 70? It is clear that everyone should have used 67 (before the printers changed it to say 70).

joshwaxman said...

Can you elaborate on why it is clear that everyone should have used 67? On what basis?

Alex Schindler said...

Basis 1) The Aleppo Codex, and no there are no doubts about this section of it.

basis 2) the original girsa'oth of maimonides, to which Cassuto sadly lacked access. There aren't really any doubts about this halakha in the mishneh tora anymore; you can check any of the good manuscripts whether the QafiH edition, mechon mamre or the maqbili edition.

Alex Schindler said...

Ah now that i read through the commens I see what Josh Waxman is asking re: David Freedman.

I second David's point.

The information on this blog page alone is sufficient to answer, really. For a slightly more detailed discussion, part of this (which is all interesting anyway) leads to the same reasonable assumptions

Before a norm emerged to have 70 rather than 67, and reject what was in the Ben-Asher codex, and "correct" the mishne tora to reflect the "right" number of 70 lines-- typical of the process M. Yusif QaafiH describes in his introduction to the Mishne Tora-- we would need some manuscript evidence that 70 was prevalent. This week a complete 12th century Italian torah scroll was identified. I have my money on 67 lines in it.

Does anyone know of manuscript evidence of 70 being practiced at any point before the mishne tora's publication (with 67 as its number)?

joshwaxman said...

while the Aleppo Codex had 67, apparently other parallel traditions had 70. just as there are other traditions as to plene and deficient spellings of certain words, as is immediately apparent on reading Mincha Shai.

my question to David Freedman is why assume that everyone "should" have conformed to the Aleppo Codex. Yes, the Allepo Codex has it. But why assume that there was an absence traditions parallel and/or predating it, such that any shift to 70 must have come later?

I have not inspected manuscripts.

joshwaxman said...

see Minchas Shai on this. i might be reading him incorrectly, but if i do read him correctly, he refers to Codex Hilleli (c. 600) as well as early sefarim Yerushalmiyim, and maseches Soferim (8th century eretz yisrael) with 70, as opposed to the Sefardic practice (as recorded by Rambam and Allepo Codex).

So codex vs. codex, sefarim vs. sefarim, and a late-ish minor tractate to boot. dueling traditions.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin