Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The masorah regarding the spelling of mezuzot

Summary: Since the word ha-mezuzot appears in parshat Bo, Minchas Shai discusses the issue of the spelling of mezuzot in VaEtchanan and in general. There is a Rashi in VaEtchanan which darshens the word against the masoretic spelling. And this is one example of divergence among many? How can we deal with this? Shall we harmonize it, or leave it alone? I explain why I think the text indeed diverges.

Post: In Shemot 12:7:

ז  וְלָקְחוּ, מִן-הַדָּם, וְנָתְנוּ עַל-שְׁתֵּי הַמְּזוּזֹת, וְעַל-הַמַּשְׁקוֹף--עַל, הַבָּתִּים, אֲשֶׁר-יֹאכְלוּ אֹתוֹ, בָּהֶם.
7 And they shall take of the blood, and put it on the two side-posts and on the lintel, upon the houses wherein they shall eat it.

Minchas Shai discusses the spelling of the word הַמְּזוּזֹת

וְנָתְנוּ עַל-שְׁתֵּי הַמְּזוּזֹת -- all mezuzot of sefer Shemot is written with its latter vav {=the cholam} deficient and the first vav {=the shuruk} plene, and there are three in this parsha of Bo. And those within Shema Yisrael {which references Mezuzot} have its first vav {=the shuruk} deficient and with the latter vav {=the cholam} plene; that in Vehaya im Shamoa are plene and plene. And in parshat VaEtchanan, in Shema Yisrael, Rashi wrote as follows {Devarim 6:9}:

9. And you shall inscribe them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.

ט. וּכְתַבְתָּם עַל מְזֻזוֹת בֵּיתֶךָ וּבִשְׁעָרֶיךָ:
the doorposts of your house: The word is מזוזת to indicate that there is need for only one מְזוּזָה - mezuzah per door.

מזזות ביתך: מזוזת כתיב, שאין צריך אלא אחת:

{which is at odds with the spelling of the verse}. And so did R' Eliyahu Bachur the medakdek 
in his Sefer Masoret Hamesoret, in the 5th section the the name of the gemara, and he wrote that we find many times that the gemara differs from our masorah, such as ולבני הפלגשים in Chayei Sarah, where Rashi writes:

6. And to the sons of Abraham's concubines, Abraham gave gifts, and he sent them away from his son Isaac while he [Abraham] was still alive, eastward to the land of the East.

ו. וְלִבְנֵי הַפִּילַגְשִׁים אֲשֶׁר לְאַבְרָהָם נָתַן אַבְרָהָם מַתָּנֹת וַיְשַׁלְּחֵם מֵעַל יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ בְּעוֹדֶנּוּ חַי קֵדְמָה אֶל אֶרֶץ קֶדֶם:
concubines: (Gen. Rabbah 61:4) This [the word [פִּילַגְשִׁם] is spelled defectively [missing the letter “yud”], because there was only one concubine. That was Hagar, who was identical with Keturah. [The“yud,” denoting the plural, is absent, hence Rashi understands that the word פִּילַגְשִׁם denotes the singular. In our Torah scrolls, the plene spelling appears.] Wives are those who have a marriage contract, whereas concubines have no marriage contract, as is explained in Sanhedrin (21a) regarding David’s wives and concubines.

הפילגשים: חסר כתיב, שלא היתה אלא פלגש אחת, היא הגר היא קטורה. נשים בכתובה, פילגשים בלא כתובה, כדאמרינן בסנהדרין (כא א) בנשים ופילגשים דדוד:

and this is drawn from Bereishit Rabba {from the Amoraim of Eretz Yisrael}, and it is against the masoret, for we have a masoret upon it that there are two which are plene upon plene {with two malei yuds}. And so too, regarding ביום כלות משה, in Bemidbar 7:1, it states in the midrash {which Rashi cites}

1. And it was that on the day that Moses finished erecting the Mishkan, he anointed it, sanctified it, and all its vessels, and the altar and all its vessels.

א. וַיְהִי בְּיוֹם כַּלּוֹת מֹשֶׁה לְהָקִים אֶת הַמִּשְׁכָּן וַיִּמְשַׁח אֹתוֹ וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אֹתוֹ וְאֶת כָּל כֵּלָיו וְאֶת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְאֶת כָּל כֵּלָיו וַיִּמְשָׁחֵם וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אֹתָם:
{translation missing; I, Josh, will supply}: kalat {the bride of} it is written. The day of the erection of the Tabernacle, all of Israel was like a bride who was entering the bridal canopy.

ויהי ביום כלות משה: כלת כתיב, יום הקמת המשכן היו ישראל ככלה הנכנסת לחופה:

as is written there, yet there is a masorah upon it leit malei {meaning that this is unique in being plene}, end quote.

And in Niddah perek Benot Akum, upon the verse in parashat Metzora, והנושא אותם יכבס בגדיו ורחץ את בשרו, we say there that it is written והנשא, deficiently. And Tosafot write there that it is a wonder, for in the masoret is is written plene. However, we find that the masoret differs from the gemara in masechet Shabbos regarding בני עלי, that מעבירם is written {deficiently}, whereas in our Scriptures it is written מעבירים, plene, end quote.

And so does he bring their words from R' Yuda Mintz in his responsa, siman 8. And see that which he wrote there in I Shmuel 2 and in parashat Metzora upon the aformentioned verse והנושא.

And the author of Or Torah in parshat vaEtchanan  objects to the words of R' Elya Levita {above} in his poetic introduction to the sefer Masoret Hamasoret, and also upon what the gloss writes in the introduction to Masorah Gedolah, and upon the explanation of Rashi upon the Torah which I cited above, and also in his commentary to the sugya of gemara in perek Hakometz Rabba, and writes as quite a length. At the end of the day, he expends great effort to answer up the words of Rashi za"l upon the Torah such that it is in agreement to what the author of Lekach Tov writes, that one need not affix upon both mezuzot {doorframes}, but rather on one mezuza, so did Rashi explain. And in Menachot, perek Hakometz, they learn {in a brayta}:

"I would deduce, etc., until the Scriptures explicitly delineates two". {The brayta:
דתניא מזוזות שומע אני מיעוט מזוזות שתים כשהוא אומר  (דברים יא, כ) מזוזות בפרשה שניה שאין תלמוד לומר הוי ריבוי אחר ריבוי ואין ריבוי אחר ריבוי אלא למעט מעטו הכתוב למזוזה אחת דברי ר' ישמעאל ר"ע אומר אינו צריך כשהוא אומר  (שמות יב, כג) על המשקוף ועל שתי המזוזות שאין ת"ל שתי מה ת"ל שתי זה בנה אב כל מקום שנאמר מזוזות אינו אלא אחת עד שיפרט לך הכתוב שתים 

and see the context, and Rashi, there.} {Midrash} Rabba and Yalkut Shimoni 844.

However, in explanation of the sugya in the gemara, in my humble opinion, the words of the scholar are good, not in accordance with Rashi, and I found a great proof to his explanation from the language of the Sifrei and the Pesikta, parashat VaEtchanan, see there. But, that which he objected to Rabbi Eliyahu Levita is not an objection. For that which he wrote in his rhyming introduction is according to the way of Rashi in his commentary of Chumash, and the author himself, in section 5, wrote that according to the masorah it is plene.

Afterwards, I discovered in the Mordechai to the Halachot Ketanot an alternative girsa in the sugya of gemara, and this is its language: What is the reason of Rabbi Meir? It is written מזוזת. What is the reason of the Sages? It is written מזוזות. Therefore, perhaps this was the girsa of Rashi in the gemara, while that which he wrote upon the Torah that it only needs one, this is one doorpost {rather than one mezuza per door}, just as the Rosh rules as well. It is further written in the Mordechai that Tosafot went at great length in the girsa of the sefarim, and that it appears to the Ri that primary is as we find in the parchment from Borgonia that in parashat Shema it is written מזזות while in parashat Vehaya Im Shamoa מזוזות, end quote. And so it is found in העתק הללי. And so is the position of the Rif, Rambam, Semag, Tur, Rabbenu Yeshaya {du Trani} I, Ri"az, Sefer HaTerumah, Ibn Yarchi, Rama, and the Meiri za"l. And so do all printed and manuscript masorot testify, in parashat Tzav and parashat VaEtchanan. And that which is darshened in midrash Rut Haneelam {in Zohar} that מזוזת is written, such that from its {rearranged} letters is implies מות זז {death moves}, etc., this is not the opposite of our intent. For even if it were written מזזות that derasha can be darshened, and indeed works out even better, for there is no vav intervening between the letters of זז.

This ends Minchas Shai. I would now note some rather interesting things. When citing Rashi above, I took it from the Judaica Press edition. But the version of the pasuk did not match the masorah, and the version of the pasuk in Rashi did not match what Minchas Shai ascribed to him. And so I fixed it, to make it match. But quite possibly the editors of Judaica Press engaged in various Rashi studies, and emended to match. But would they emend the pasuk?! I suspect there is an editing error here, where they chose the girsa of Rashi to match the pasuk, and the pasuk to match Rashi, such that they crossed over each other and did not match.

Let us now consider the various girsaot of the pasuk, and Rashi, in Vaetchanan, on the word mezuzot.

In terms of the pasuk:
The masorah: מזזות.
Mechon-mamreh, based on Yemenite tradition: מזזות.
Our Mikraot Gedolot: מזזות.
Judaica Press: מזוזת!!!

In terms of the Rashi:
Berliner's printing of Rashi: מזזות ביתך -- מזוזת כתיב; but there is more to consider
Minchat Shai: the same, מזזות ביתך -- מזוזת כתיב
Our Mikraot Gedolot: מזזות ביתך -- מזזות כתיב, such that both Rashi and d"h match the masorah.
Judaica Press: מזזות ביתך -- מזזות כתיב, the same as Mikraot Gedolot

In Judaica Press, the pasuk juxtaposed with the Rashi:

9. And you shall inscribe them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.

ט. וּכְתַבְתָּם עַל מְזוּזֹת בֵּיתֶךָ וּבִשְׁעָרֶיךָ:
the doorposts of your house: The word is מְזֻזוֹת [and not, מְזוּזוֹת, i.e., without the letter“vav”] to indicate that there is need for only one מְזוּזָה - mezuzah per door.

מזזות ביתך: מזזות כתיב, שאין צריך אלא אחת:

Judaica Press makes it its business to translate the pasuk in line with Rashi. Perhaps they emended the text of the pasuk here, against the masorah, to match Rashi? (They don't do this for other instances where Rashi diverges from the masorah.) But in explaining Rashi, they chose this text which matches the masorah, and explain it in a slightly more forced manner, that the derasha is on the missing internal vav. Why this should indicate only one is not so clear, and not as compelling as mezuzat, which is a type of derasha we see elsewhere. I suspect the girsa in the pasuk may simply be the result of an editing error, but maybe it was the result of two separate attampts to bring Rashi and the pasuk in line.

There is more to say. Berliner indeed gave the same text as Minchas Shai for Rashi, in which Rashi darshens against the masorah. But in a footnote on that page, he writes:

We indeed see that, that Rabbenu Bachya has  באחת {in one of them} rather than אחת {which would imply one mezuzah}. But he also notes various variants of Rashi, from Sefer Hazikaron, and Or Torah {here, at the tail end of his lengthy discussion} citing the Portugal printing, which have Rashi saying מזזות, just

And at the end, in his Likutim, he writes the following, noting the approach of Minchas Shai to get it in like with the gemara, but gives his own suggestion, relating it to a different midrash.

I will end with the following. My gut tells me that Rashi was indeed bringing a derasha on the spelling as מזוזת, against the masorah. For the masorah is one tradition, but perhaps there were other mesorot reflecting other textual traditions. And indeed, that is the reading that makes the derasha flow most readily.

More than that, the Samaritan Torah, which reflects an old tradition from the time of Chazal, indeed has מזוזת, like Rashi. And several Jewish texts match this variant as well. From Vetus Testamentum,

the text on the right is the Masoretic text, while the text on the left is the text of the Samaritan Torah. And under SAMAR., he has מזוזת, just like Rashi!
As far as I can make out {someone correct me if I am wrong}, this text follows the majority of Samaritan manuscripts, and notes the variants. And there are but a few Samaritan manuscripts which diverge. But under Hebrew texts, there are indeed quite a number which have מזוזת. It seems quite possible that Rashi had such a text.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin