Sunday, December 13, 2009

Further thoughts on tzadeka mimeni

Summary: As discussed in a previous post, saying that tzadeka mimeni are two separate statements ("she is righteous; the pregnancy is from me"; or else "the situation is from Me") is at odds with the trup, which has no pause between them. Yet Rashi endorses this as both peshat and midrash. And it appears that so does Ibn Ezra. Here, I give further thought to what could influence this explanation -- the word yakir and the otherwise absence of an admission by Yehuda.

Post: As discussed in the summary, saying that tzadeka mimeni comprises two separate statement appears to go against trup, but is endorsed by both Rashi and perhaps Ibn Ezra. In giving more thought to what could influence this interpretation, I had two ideas.

First off, in the pasuk:

כה  הִוא מוּצֵאת, וְהִיא שָׁלְחָה אֶל-חָמִיהָ לֵאמֹר, לְאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר-אֵלֶּה לּוֹ, אָנֹכִי הָרָה; וַתֹּאמֶר, הַכֶּר-נָא--לְמִי הַחֹתֶמֶת וְהַפְּתִילִים וְהַמַּטֶּה, הָאֵלֶּה.
25 When she was brought forth, she sent to her father-in-law, saying: 'By the man, whose these are, am I with child'; and she said: 'Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and the cords, and the staff.'
כו  וַיַּכֵּר יְהוּדָה, וַיֹּאמֶר צָדְקָה מִמֶּנִּי, כִּי-עַל-כֵּן לֹא-נְתַתִּיהָ, לְשֵׁלָה בְנִי; וְלֹא-יָסַף עוֹד, לְדַעְתָּהּ.
26 And Judah acknowledged them, and said: 'She is more righteous than I; forasmuch as I gave her not to Shelah my son.' And he knew her again no more.

what does vayaker mean? Does it mean that he recognized these signs? Or does it mean that he acknowledged and admitted them? The first is a private recognition, while the second is an overt admission of guilt and that he was the one who had slept with her (or at least could be).

Above, JPS renders it "acknowledged", but Judaica Press has instead "recognized":

Then Judah recognized [them], and he said, "She is right, [it is] from me, because I did not give her to my son Shelah." But he no longer continued to be intimate with her.

I think we see both meanings to this word. In this week's parsha, when they bring Yosef's ketonet pasim, Yaakov recognizes it. (Though he also identifies it as that of his son.) But in parshat Ki Teitzei, ki et habechor ben hasenua yakir, I think it means "acknowledge".

Once it is acknowledgement, we might expect the rest of the pasuk to be the text of the acknowledgement. He says that it is his fault, in not giving her Shela. That is an admission of sorts. But where does he overtly confess that he is the father? Now, I think as a matter of peshat, there was likely this admission of being the father, which is why she was not killed, and why she was tzadeka -- and not that he was saying that she had the right to sleep around because he did not give her Shelah. But the way Rashi reads the text, he explicitly admits this. And so it works out quite well in the narrative.

(As an aside: If this is so, perhaps the acknowledgement should be about the items, rather than the pregnancy.)


Baal Kriah said...

I don't think the interpretation is against the trop at all. No two words in Tenach *must* be separated by a disjunctive accent, even if they constitute two separate phrases. Only three words need the disjunctive accent to tell which word is separate.

Even if "tzadkah mimeni" are two phrases, they are still more connected to each other than to the previous word "vayomer", which rightly gets a disjunctive. There is no need for a further disjunctive between the two words.

joshwaxman said...

i agree 99.9%. since only the primary dichotomy is on logical grounds, and subsequent ones on syntactic grounds, as well as word-count in the phrase. and, as i wrote in the the previous post, "Third, this is not as stark a contrast as we might hope for. After all, this is a lack of disjunctive accent, such that the words flow together. This is not the same as a trup chart, or else a disjunctive accent, firmly separating two words which we would require to stand together."

i'll try to explain in another comment where the contrary 0.1% comes from...


Baal Kriah said...

Ah, so that's what you meant by that paragraph...

Also bear in mind:

1) Having a disjunctive between two words means next to nothing syntactically (is that the same as 0.01%? LOL...) as such a disjucntive can and does occur even when the two words are definitely connected, as in "lo, tishkach" (end of P. Zachor) when certain musical factors warrant it.

2) If tzadkah were to have a disjunctive, it would neccessarily be another pashta. This would create a somewhat choppy sequence of the four disjunctives "revia, pashta, pashta, zakef-katon" on four consecutive words, which ought generally to be avoided.

joshwaxman said...

thanks for your comments.

here is what i was thinking in terms of the 0.1%.

1) while this idea of splitting only where there are three words in the subclause, together with the idea of continuous dichotomy which gives us these subclauses, is the invention of William Wickes, in the 1800s. Now, I think he is absolutely correct, but this was not the theory of trup in the time of the rishonim, such as Ibn Caspi, Ibn Ezra, and Rashi. For them, these are just pauses, of different strengths. And so I would guess that according to contemporary theories of trup, Ibn Caspi is on stronger ground, and this is something Rashi *might* have to contend with. (except of course that absence of disjunctive accent is not the same as violating a border formed by a disjunctive accent.)

2) even if the laws of division of trup could not allow a disjunctive accent, we can and do have a paseik | sign introducing a pause. this is over and above the typical rules of trup. so lack of that can be taken as an indication.

3) not really to the point, but some consider the tipcha at the end there to be a mere foretone, and not have the disjunctive meaning of a typical tipcha.

4) back to the point, an additional pashta is certainly *one* way of further dividing it. but i am not sure that would reflect the intended meaning. tzadeka mimeni as one unit and ki al ken as the next works because of how these two interact. but if tzadeka and mimeni are distinct, then a sequence of zakefs, each dividing off the next phrase, would seem possible. thus, a zakef katon on tzadeka. then, a zakef gadol on mimeni. and then, continuing the trup as it is on to the end.

an added point, related to (4), is that if we divide in this way, then even according to Wickes there would consistently be a phrase consisting of three or more words, where we are dividing off elements from the beginning.

despite all this, i am not convinced that absence of disjunctive trup *really* means as much as presence of disjunctive trup. and even if it *were* so, we see that many meforshim are willing to argue with trup.

kol tuv,


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