Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Et zachar vs. Ve'et zachar

Summary: Another analysis of the absence or presence of a leading vav. In this instance, our Masoretic text is supported by the Samaritan text.

Post: In the first printed Mikraos Gedolos, from 1524, by Bomberg, in Venice, we see a weird encoding of a pasuk at the end of parashat Acharei Mot. :

Even as Onkelos has ve'et zacher, he puts et-zachar as the beginning of the pasuk, in Vayikra 18:22. The Samaritans don't have this, and Vetus Testamentum does not list any Jewish Torah texts which have this variant either. So too, Christian David Ginsburg does not list any such variant. And looking at various sites, such mechon-mamre, there is no such variant.

One of the tasks Minchas Shai took upon himself is to correct the printing of this first Mikraos Gedolos, printed by Daniel Bomberg. And so the Mikraos Gedolos linked to above, available at JNUL, it very useful as a companion to Minchas Shai. (At least I think it is the same one -- I see the same error Minchas Shai discusses, and it is the correct year and place; yet I don't see the Masoretic notes Minchas Shai discusses.)

Minchas Shai writes on this:
"וְאֶת-זָכָר -- with a vav. So I have heard, and it is brought as such in Yevamot at the end of perek haArel {83b; J: also see the Yerushalmi with the same}, see Tosafot Yom Tov and Sefer HaChinuch. And in Sanhedrin, perek daled mitot, and at the end of perek hanisrafin, and in the Sifra on parashat Kedoshim, and so did the sage R' Moshe Nagara darshen in sefer Lekach Tov, which he authored on the Torah. And in the Masora Gedolah, there are 72 pairs, where one is et and the other is ve'et, and this is one of them: ve'ish asher yishkav et zachar mishkevei isha of parashat Kedoshim as opposed to ve'et zachar lo tishkav mishkevei isha. And the printer {of this Mikraos Gedolos, above} himself wrote in parashat Kedoshimleita, ve'achat ve'et zachar -- while here he contradicts his words and messes up all that he wrote, whether within or without. And he needs to write in the verse, ve'et, and in the margins leit ve'achat et zachar, and this is the one of parashat Kedoshim; and so I have seen in masoretic manuscripts."

{Update: Here is the masoretic note in question, in Kedoshim:


I don't think we should expect to see this variant anywhere. Sometimes printers simply make mistakes, and Minchas Shai documented this one quite well. So we don't even need the support of the Samaritan text; though perhaps we could assert that there is a difference in the ve'et vs. the et, yet the Samaritans do not
harmonize it out of existence, lends a bit of credence to our reading. But again, even without this, our reading stands on extremely strong ground.


S. said...

>One of the tasks Minchas Shai took upon himself is to correct the printing of this first Mikraos Gedolos, printed by Daniel Bomberg.

The first Mikraos Gedolos is from 1522. The second is from 1524.

The one you showed and linked is not either Mikra Gedolah; it is a Bomberg Chumash with Rashi, Chizkuni, etc. Not the Mikra Gedola, which is the entire Tanach, and includes the Masorah on the page. So the Minchas Shai is not referring to this.

Minchas Shai corrects the second Mikraos Gedolos. The second Mikraos Gedolos itself corrects and improves the first one. The first one is considered basically useless. (and if you have a look at the page here you'll see that, actually, the first one got it right here.)

So did the second. Here is the page: http://goo.gl/FVmTa. Both read ואת.

However, only the second is printed with the Masorah, and you can see exactly what he cites at the link before.

You did well to show the Chumash because of the error of את.

joshwaxman said...

thanks! very helpful.


Z said...

I'm confused. If Minchas Shai corrects the second Mikraos Gedolos and that one got it right then how do we know what he's correcting?

joshwaxman said...

what S. meant and wrote is that the first edition got it right. the second edition in this instance got it wrong, and that is what Minchas Shai is correcting, just as he consistently does.


Z said...

So what does this mean?

So did the second. Here is the page: http://goo.gl/FVmTa. Both read ואת.

joshwaxman said...

ah. yes, you are right. and good point.

i think that in general, though, his corrections match that of the Mikraos Gedolos, rather than that of the Chumash.

Z said...

I dont see any indication in his (Minchas Shai) words that he is referring to a different printing than the one he usually comments on so maybe he usually does comment on the Chumash? S.?

S. said...

Let me clarify.

Bomberg printed two editions of the Mikraos Gedolos. The first, it is generally acnowledged, was lousy. That's why Bomberg printed a second one. Two different men edited the two editions. The first was edited by Felix Pratensis in 1517 (he was a meshumad) and the second was edited by Yaakov ben Chaim ibn Adoniyah in 1525 (he was not a meshumad - yet - but became one later).

Yaakov ben Chaim was much more competent than Praetensis, and he gathered and used many manuscripts, and he basically knew what he was doing. Also, he arranged and printed the Masorah on the page. So his edition was intended to improve upon the 1st one, and he did this.

Nevertheless he made mistakes too, and the Minchas Shai corrects *them*. In fact in a certain sense "Tanach" is really "The 2nd Mikraos Gedolos with the improvements and corrections of the Minchas Shai." This is, basically, the Masoretic Bible.

However he doesn't only deal with the 2nd Mikraos Gedolos. He also deals with mistakes in general. So here he begins by setting the record straight about a mistake, that some seforim have no vav - but they should, in his opinion.

As it happens, Bomberg printed a Chumash (nothing to do with the Mikraos Gedolos) which has such a mistake, and Josh showed it. However, there is no Masorah printed in this Chumash (or in the 1st Mikraos Gedolos), and he doesn't mean this one Chumash specifically.

What the Minchas Shai is saying regarding the Masorah is that in the 2nd Mikraos Gedolos the *Masorah* makes a mistake, and the Masorah in Kedoshim is inconsistent, because according to it there should be no vav here. Yet, it is printed here with a vav! (which, of course, according to MS is actually correct)

What happened, presumably, was that Yaakov ben Chaim mistakenly printed a Masorah Gedola comment from a manuscript which has the word without a vav. The problem of mixing Masorahs with texts that don't match it was a big problem, and that's what the later masoretic scholars are concerned with. If Masores syag le-Torah, then this only applies if the Masorah matches the text!

Minchas Shy said...

The first Mikraos Gedolos is from 1517, not 1522.

Minchas Shy said...

Re the first Mikraos Gedolos, I see the year was corrected in a later comment.

FYI, Hanau "proves" that "V'Et Zachar" is correct because "Et Zachar" would have received a zakef-gadol, not a metigah, based on the rules for how these two trup are placed.

Z said...

Thank you S. for the clarification however I cannot find the mesorah without the vav on the page you provided the link to. On the contrary I see it lists the pasuk as having a vav. Can you point me to where on the page that is cited?
Thank you.

S. said...

Sure. The Masorah is in Kedoshim (as he says) while the page I provided is at the end of Achrei Mos. I wanted to show the reading of the pasuk, as Josh did with his picture of the Chumash without the vav.

But Minchas Shai says the mistake is in the Masorah in Kedoshim, and indeed it is, 5 pages later, right in middle of the page:


Z said...

Thank you S.! With your help I think I finally understand what the Minchas Shai is saying here but I have to disagree with you (with all due respect of course) in that I think that he is referring to the masorah note here at the end of Achrei Mos. The note says ל וא' ואת meaning that the phrase as written here is unique but there is a similar one with a vav ואת implying that this one is without a vav. This contradicts the one in Kedoshim which says ל וא' ואת זכר meaning that the phrase as written there את זכר is unique but a similar one with a vav exists namely the one in Achrei Mos. So the Minchas Shai says that the note here should read ל וא' את זכר referring to the one in Kedoshim which is without a vav.


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