Wednesday, May 11, 2011

וְעַ֛ל כָּל־נַפְשֹׁ֥ת מֵ֖ת as chaser, etcetera

Summary: Continuing Minchas Shai on Vayikra perek 21.

Post: Continuing to present Minchas Shai on Emor, we turn now to Vayikra 21:11. That pasuk reads:
יא וְעַ֛ל כָּל־נַפְשֹׁ֥ת מֵ֖ת לֹ֣א יָבֹ֑א לְאָבִ֥יו וּלְאִמּ֖וֹ לֹ֥א יִטַּמָּֽא
Minchas Shai writes:

That is, he notes that the Masorah records the word נַפְשֹׁ֥ת as being chaser. He notes that this chaser is darshened by the Chachamim of Rabbi Akiva, in the first perek of Sanhedrin, on Sanhedrin 4a:
דתניא ר"ע אומר מניין לרביעית דם שיצאה משני מתים שמטמא באהל שנאמר (ויקרא כא, יא) על כל נפשות מת לא יבא שתי נפשות ושיעור א' ורבנן נפשת כתיב
Or, in English:
As to R. Akiba's opinion — it has been taught:18  R. Akiba said: Whence is it deduced that a fourth of a log19  of blood which issues front two corpses carries uncleanness according to the law relating to the pollution of tents.20  It is said: He shall not go in unto any dead body.21  [The plural nafshoth translated 'body' indicates that] even from two bodies a single [vital] quantity suffices to carry uncleanness; but the Rabbis argue that it is written nafshath [singular], [denoting that a vital quantity can defile only if it issues from one corpse].
He also refers (I think) to a commentary on Sifra, on this derasha, called Korban Aharon. And to Lekach Tov, where the girsa of the derasha is different from the Sifra. In Lekach Tov, they darshen the fact that it is chaser to arrive at Rabbi Akiva's conclusion. Besides being against the girsa in the Sifra, this was the rejoinder of the Chachamim opposing Rabbi Akiva in the brayta!

Minchas Shai also refers us to the second Mishna of the third (rather than the second, as in the text above) perek of Ohalot. See here.

Minchas Shai then critiques the Masoretic note on the side in Bomberg's Mikraos Gedolos:

That note states, on the word nafshot, that throughout the entire Torah, it is chaser. He points out that this is simply not possible, for we find in Bereishit 36:6,
וַיִּקַּח עֵשָׂו אֶת-נָשָׁיו וְאֶת-בָּנָיו וְאֶת-בְּנֹתָיו, וְאֶת-כָּל-נַפְשׁוֹת בֵּיתוֹ, וְאֶת-מִקְנֵהוּ וְאֶת-כָּל-בְּהֶמְתּוֹ וְאֵת כָּל-קִנְיָנוֹ, אֲשֶׁר רָכַשׁ בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן; וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל-אֶרֶץ, מִפְּנֵי יַעֲקֹב אָחִיו. 

Actually, turning to Vetus Testamentum, there are a few Jewish (rather than Samaritan) texts which have this word chaser. Thus:

However, I would say that we should favor maximum entropy, and view any harmonious spelling throughout Torah with some suspicion. And so I agree that it is most likely malei.

Minchas Shai also reports on the Rama's statement regarding that pasuk at the end of Vayishlach: This alone is malei in the Torah, and one is chaser, namely וְעַ֛ל כָּל־נַפְשֹׁ֥ת מֵ֖ת, here in Emor.

Indeed, I would just add that this Bomberg Mikraos Gedolos itself is inconsistent, because on that pasuk in Vayishlach, they have an masoretic note akin to that of Rama, that it is malei, alone in the Torah. Thus:

On Vayikra 21:12, Minchas Shai notes that it is a telisha at the head of the word. Why mention this? Again, in contrast to Bomberg's Mikraos Gedolos:

There, the telisha is on the end of the word. The telisha is not typically placed at the place of stress. Rather, at the end of the word, it is telisha ketana, regarded by Wickes as a conjunctive accent (though he notes elsewhere that Ben Naftali treated it as disjunctive). At the beginning of the word, it is a telisha gedolah, a disjunctive accent. In early manuscripts it was just a circle. The line forming the tail, going in different directions for ketanah and gedolah, arose later.

Often, telisha ketana and telisha ketana switch off in different manuscripts. To just quickly investigate, the Leningrad Codex has it in accordance with Minchas Shai:

 21:12וּמִן־הַמִּקְדָּשׁ֙ לֹ֣א יֵצֵ֔א וְלֹ֣א יְחַלֵּ֔ל אֵ֖ת מִקְדַּ֣שׁ אֱלֹהָ֑יו כִּ֡י נֵ֠זֶר שֶׁ֣מֶן מִשְׁחַ֧ת אֱלֹהָ֛יו עָלָ֖יו אֲנִ֥י יְהוָֽה׃

So too the Teimanim. But see Ginsburg for competing lists of telisha ketana vs. gedolah.

Perhaps more Minchas Shai later.

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