Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Did Chazal have the Samaritan spelling of Yimatzei? pt ii

Summary: In this second part, I consider how the Chizkuni on parashat Vayikra stacks up against various gemaras in Zevachim, and against differing girsaot of various gemaras in Zevachim.

Post: In part i, I noted how the Samaritans were consistent by spelling two words against the Masoretic text -- the word ונמצא in Vayikra 1:15 and the word ימצא in Vayikra 5:9. In both cases, the Masoretic text has it (correctly) as with a ה in place of the aleph, such that it conveys squeezing, rather than taking out. The Samaritan text is not generally to be trusted, because of an overt harmonizing and simplifying trend. However, Chizkuni on 1:15, though not realizing it as an issue, quotes the word as ונמצא with an aleph. And on 5:9, he goes out of the way to note that though the word means ימצה, it is written ימצא with an aleph. And that this is how Chazal, and Rashi, darshen it in the gemara in Zevachim. This Rishon thus has an alternate sefer Torah, and alternate masorah, in line with the Samaritans, and he thinks that this is the only masorah. There is no evidence that he thinks that what he is saying is controversial. And further, that it was clear to him that Chazal and Rashi had the same.

I analyzed a gemara or two, and a Rashi, in Zevachim, but I think that in my haste I analyzed one other than the one intended by Chizkuni. Minchas Shai takes issue with Chizkuni, by pointing out that the gemara in Zevachim cites Rava that the basis of the derasha discussed by Chizkuni is מי כתיב ימצה ימצה כתיב, which Rashi also has. Since both ימצהs are spelled with a heh, the derasha must be based on the vowel pattern, and that we pronounce it yimatezei. Though I point out that is slightly difficult since they lacked vowel points in the time of Chazal, such that the word ketiv is slightly inappropriate in context -- it should read krei. Minchas Shai says, in defense of Chizkuni, that perhaps he had a different girsa of that gemara where it read מי כתיב ימצה ימצא כתיב, where the second word was aleph. Well, I discovered such a manuscript! Ktav Yad Vatican has precisely this!

I would now like to go back and analyze the Chizkuni and the relevant gemaras. The pasuk (Vayikra 5:9) read:

ט  וְהִזָּה מִדַּם הַחַטָּאת, עַל-קִיר הַמִּזְבֵּחַ, וְהַנִּשְׁאָר בַּדָּם, יִמָּצֵה אֶל-יְסוֹד הַמִּזְבֵּחַ; חַטָּאת, הוּא.9 And he shall sprinkle of the blood of the sin-offering upon the side of the altar; and the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar; it is a sin-offering.

Chizkuni writes:

It is written ימצא with an aleph, which implies sprinkling as well, that in any case the man squeezes against the wall. So did they teach in the Brayta and so does Rashi write in Zevachim, in perek Kodshe Kodoshim.

It would seem that Chizkuni was referring to this gemara, in Zevachim 64b:
גמ' ת"ר  (ויקרא ה, ט) והזה מדם החטאת מגוף החטאת הא כיצד אוחז בראש ובגוף ומזה על קיר המזבח ולא על קיר הכבש ולא על קיר היכל ולא על קיר אולם ואיזה זה קיר התחתון או אינו אלא קיר העליון ודין הוא ומה בהמה שעולתה למטה חטאתה למעלה עוף שעולתו למעלה אינו דין שחטאתו למעלה ת"ל  (ויקרא ה, ט) והנשאר בדם ימצה אל יסוד המזבח קיר שהשירין שלו מתמצים ליסוד ואיזה זה קיר התחתון ונעביד מעילאי והדר נעביד מתתאי 
אמר רבא מי כתיב ימצה ימצה כתיב דממילא משמע

Rashi on the daf writes this:
מי כתיב ימצה ימצה כתיב - אי הוה כתיב ימצה הוה משמע שמזהיר את הכהן שיחזור וימצה אחר הזאה השתא דכתיב ימצה משמע נמי לענין הזאה דממילא יהיה דם מצוי אצל היסוד:

Aren't both these words written the same way??Our Vilna Shas, as on e-daf (and HebrewBooks as well)  helpfully adds nikkud, as above. Footnote 12 above, also from e-daf, is Shitta Mekubetzet (1700s) who gives a variant of the first word as ימציא, though noting that Rashi is not gores like this. HebrewBooks has a listing of variants from the first instance of ימצה , but not the second, because the second is, after all, our Masoretic text. Thus:

However, it seems rather clear that Chizkuni
would not have had that girsa of the gemara and Rashi. Rather, as Minchas Shai suggests, he would have had ימצא with an aleph in the second instance.

And so, I searched online in Ktav Yad Minkin and Ktav Yad Vatican. And in Ktav Yad Vatikan, I discovered the following version of our gemara, towards the bottom of the first column (follow link):

Thus, instead of
אמר רבא מי כתיב ימצה ימצה כתיב דממילא משמע
we have:
אמר רבא מי כתיב ימצה ימצא כתיב דמעיקרא משמע

A bit higher, earlier in the gemara, the pasuk was cited with the heh, but there is was not the main point of the derasha, so such a slip is not relevant. But we have two changes here. The first is from ימצה to ימצא . The second is from דממילא  to דמעיקרא.

My strong inclination is that this variant found in Ktav Yad Vatikan is original, and our text is not. Because one is more likely to "correct" the text to match the Masoretic text than vice versa. (Unless the person "correcting" it happened to have a version like the Chizkuni, and the Samaritans.) I am not certain if there is a semantic difference between דממילא and דמעיקרא, and if there is one, what it is precisely -- I'd need to learn the gemara more carefully. But perhaps, once ימצה changed, the difference had to be one of vowels, and so they replaced it with דממילא .

If so, it would seem that Chazal, or at least Rava, had the version of this pasuk which we know existed in his day, in the Samaritan Torah, and which would seem to have continued in Jewish hands for many generations afterwards (as Chizkuni has it). But if so, Rava would be darshening a non-masoretic text lehalacha. Should we really rely on our masoretic texts over what seems solidly what Amoraim (and perhaps Tanaim) had?

Chizkuni also appears to believe that Rashi had this understanding of the gemara. This is rather difficult, as Rashi writes  אי הוה כתיב ימצה הוה משמע שמזהיר את הכהן שיחזור וימצה אחר הזאה השתא דכתיב ימצה משמע נמי לענין הזאה דממילא יהיה דם מצוי אצל היסוד. But, just as we have variant texts of the gemara, it seems more than possible that we have variant texts of Rashi. (We certainly have variant texts of Rashi on Chumash!) If Rashi had based himself on the gemara and his own sefer Torah, and written ימצא , but later gemaras spelled it with a heh, then a sofer could quite readily have "corrected" Rashi as well. And this is my strong suspicion, for otherwise what is Chizkuni seeing that he says otherwise?

There is another gemara in which ימצה  is mentioned. In Zevachim 37a:
פקא ליה מדרבי דתניא רבי אומר  (ויקרא ה, ט) והנשאר בדם ימצה שאין ת"ל בדם ומה ת"ל בדם לפי שלא למדנו אלא לניתנין מתן ד' שטעונין מתן דמים ליסוד שאר דמים מנין ת"ל והנשאר בדם ימצה שאין ת"ל בדם ומה ת"ל בדם לימד על כל הדמים שטעונין מתן דמים ליסוד

with Rashi writing:
והנשאר בדם וגו' - בחטאת העוף כתיב והנשאר ימצא הוה ליה למכתב:

There, as well, in Ktav Yad Vatikan we have it with an aleph, rather than a heh! -- see the word yimtza, four lines from the bottom, spelled with an aleph:

Thus, the same derasha might be in play.

In terms of Rashi, he wrote ימצא הוה ליה למכתב. This would appear to indicate that Rashi did not have the word spelled with an aleph, which would then counter Chizkuni's claim that Rashi also assumes the word is spelled with an aleph. On the other hand, we say how the gemara on daf 64 was corrected; and if Chizkuni is relying on Rashi there, then likely that Rashi was "corrected" as well, either to match Chizkuni's version of the gemara or to match our own version of the gemara. And if Rashi could be corrected there, then it could be "corrected" here as well. Now, what we should really do is start looking at medieval manuscripts of Rashi on Zevachim, to look for such variants. But I'm just going to leave it at that for now.

In sum, I am not convinced that Rashi had it spelled with an aleph in his gemara, or in his Chumash. Perhaps, but perhaps not, and we have some evidence which might well indicate that he did not. At the same time, I do strongly suspect that the original version of the gemara(s) indeed had it with an aleph, which matches the Samaritan version of the Torah and matches Chizkuni's version of the gemara and the Torah. If so, Rava was darshening a non-masoretic text; and we need to give some serious thought as to whether the text in our sifrei Torah should have an aleph or a heh.

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