Thursday, May 05, 2011

יִקְרְח֤וּ written as יקרחה, etcetera

Summary: Considering some Minchas Shais on parashat Emor.

Post: As I started to discuss in this previous post, many of Minchas Shai's comments are corrections to the Bomberg Mikraos Gedolos. (There, I got the edition wrong, and linked to a Bomberg Chumash, but Mississippi Fred MacDowell helpfully corrected me on several of the facts.) Here, I'd like to present a few of the comments of Minchas Shai on parashat Emor.

Minchas Shai writes:

His first comment is on Vayikra 21:3, that in the word הקרובה, there is a dagesh chazak in the kuf. This is something it seems that the Mikraos Gedolos had correct:

Perhaps there were other texts which had it wrong. Or perhaps this was prone to error. Why might one expect the dagesh to be absent? Well, it should be present because of the definite article ha- which geminates the following letter. But with a sheva present under that letter, sometimes (usually where there is a mem or yud) the dagesh chazak drops out. But here, it is correctly present.

His next comment is on Vayikra 21:5, on the word יִקְרְח֤וּ. There is a krei / ketiv here:
ה לֹֽא־יקרחה (יִקְרְח֤וּ) קָרְחָה֙ בְּרֹאשָׁ֔ם וּפְאַ֥ת זְקָנָ֖ם לֹ֣א יְגַלֵּ֑חוּ וּבִ֨בְשָׂרָ֔ם לֹ֥א יִשְׂרְט֖וּ שָׂרָֽטֶת׃
Naturally, the Samaritans 'correct' this heh to a vav. How would I account for this, on a peshat level? Simply what scholars write, that early on, when these consonants were introduced as matres lectiones, indicators of vowels, there was no regularization to their spelling. And so this heh indicates that there is a vowel present, but not which vowel it is. And the weirdness of it, yet the fact that it is still acceptable, reinforces the likelihood that it is the original -- the principle of lectio difficilior.

Minchas Shai writes:

"and it is one of 14 words which are written with a heh at the end of the word and yet read with a vav, and the siman in the Mesorah Gedolah is at the end of the fourth aleph bet which is there. And that that it is written with a heh and not with a vav, this is a hint to what our Sages said in Mesechet Makkot {20a}, in perek Elu Hen Halokin, that if he makes five bald spots, such that he anoints his fingers with Nasa {see next amud}, that is to say, a potion which causes hair to fall out, and applies it at once to five places, while they gave him only a single warning, even so he is liable to five. And so is is darshened in Lekach Tov on the Torah, from R' Moshe Gagara and in the Pesikta of R' Tovyahu ben Rabbi Eliezer. And see another reason in the Zohar page 89."

Here is where Lekach Tov / Pesikta darshens this.

And here is the Zohar he mentions:

21. "They shall not make baldness (Heb. yikrechuh) on their head" (Vayikra 21:5). Rabbi Yosi said, What is the reason 'yikrechuh' is spelled with Hei AT THE END? HE ANSWERS, That supernal ointment, THE PLENTY OF ABA, is the holy anointing oil that consecrates all seven days, CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET, NETZACH, HOD, YESOD AND MALCHUT, as we learned from the words, "for seven days shall he consecrate you" (Vayikra 8:33). That supernal oil is removed from him and baldness is made on him, if he blemishes his head. For the head of the High Priest, NAMELY THE FIRST THREE SFIROT OF ZEIR ANPIN, is this supernal oil, THE LIGHTS OF ABA. Hence the priest below must not demonstrate any blemish in himself, as we have already learned, FOR CORRESPONDING TO THE PRIEST ABOVE, HIS OWN DEEDS BLEMISH HIM. Hence, "MAKE BALDNESS" is spelled with Hei.

In terms of Lekach Tov / Pesikta Zutrata, this is fine if it is a mere hint. The derivation in the gemara is different, though. That gemara reads:
תנו רבנן (ויקרא כא, ה) לא יקרחו יכול אפילו קרח ארבע וחמש קריחות לא יהא חייב אלא אחת תלמוד לומר קרחה לחייב על כל קרחה וקרחה
It seems like a classic plural / singular derash -- that  yikrechu is plural, even though the plurality is on the actors, not on the action. But we might take it to refer to many actions. Comes the singular korcha and tells us that he is liable for each and every korcha, even among the plural.

Note that in this brayta, it is not specifically five. It is four or five. In analyzing this braysa, on the next amud, the setama degemara suggests that it is one action with five korchot.  Thus:
הני ד' וה' קריחות ה"ד אילימא בזה אחר זה ובחמש התראות פשיטא
אלא בחדא התראה מי מחייב והתנן נזיר שהיה שותה יין כל היום אינו חייב אלא אחת אמרו לו אל תשתה אל תשתה והוא שותה חייב על כל אחת ואחת 
 לא צריכא דסך חמש אצבעותיו נשא ואותבינהו בבת אחת דהויא ליה התראה לכל חדא וחדא
Thus, anointing his five fingers with Nasa and applying it at once, such that the previous single hatraah applies to each and every one of them, is a heicha timtza of applying the din discussed in the brayta. It is not something that needs to be darshened independently via the ketiv of the heh at the end of יקרחה. And four is equally a possibility as five. (Or six, if one used a tool to apply it.) Still, it is nice, in that we can read it as לֹֽא־יקרח ה קָרְחָה֙, you shall not make five bald patches.

Meanwhile, I see that this particular Minchas Shai has been discussed elsewhere:
What is the significance of the number five? At first glance, there would seem to be none. After all, the rule that one receives a new set of flagellations for each bald spot is independent of the total number, so long as there is a separation between each empty patch. Why then does the Torah seem to emphasize the importance of the number five? 

There is an argument between Rashi and Tosafos regarding whether, in order to receive multiple sets of lashes, one must make the bald spots all at once. Rashi explains the gemara’s law based on the idea that when all the acts are done simultaneously, we cannot say that the warning applies to any one of them, to the exclusion of the others. Therefore we apply it to all of them, and it is as though there were a separate warning for each act, in which case we have a general rule that each act is punished separately. 

Tosafos, however, hold that even if one were to make the bald spots consecutively, rather than simultaneously, he would be liable, so long as one does not pause too long in between each act. They base this on the “g’zeiras ha-kasuv”. 

According to our midrash, it seems to me that we have a specific emphasis on the number five. This seems to almost explicitly evoke the five-fingered application of depilatory powder described by the gemara, which of course is significant in that it allows for the patches to be created all at once. Thus it seems credible to suggest that the “g’zeras ha-kasuv” was made only in reference to the five-fingered case; when the bald spots are made consecutively, however, the Torah tells us nothing, and we revert to the normal rule that only one set of lashes is administered.
In other words, that this midrash is siding with Rashi over Tosafot. Perhaps. I would not put too much stock in it, especially not lehalaha. It is rather just post-Talmudic darshanim taking the heicha timtza suggested by the setama degemara and using it to account for the irregular ketiv. But the darshan would never think to replace the actual derasha as it appears in the brayta, with halachic ramifications.

Perhaps more Minchas Shai in a subsequent post.


Unknown said...

joshwaxman said...

yes, thanks. shimon matisyahu already sent me this link. bli neder, i'll include it in future blogging.

kol tuv,

S. said...

Please keep up the Minchas Shai posts!

Unknown said...

Hopefully a public apology to Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi will be forthcoming from this blog.

joshwaxman said...

why in the world would an apology be forthcoming?! just because ONE rabbi claims (with no evidence) that charges against Rabbi [sic] Nir Ben Artzi are false, and are therefore motzi shem ra. So he is saying to cast out of the machaneh Rabbi Amar, Rabbi Aviner, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Rabbi Bakshi Doron, Rabbi Shmuel Tal, Rabbi Yigal Kaminetsky, Rabbi Yosef Kapach, etc., because they are ALL being motzi shem ra? And what is his proof?

I have no doubt that there are rabbis who will support this charlatan. There are two inputs into any halachic question. One is the metzius on the ground, and the other is the application of the halacha. He obviously disagrees with me as to the metzius. What is the *evidence*, please. Just as there are rabbis who foolishly believe in facilitated communication, there are rabbis who foolishly believe in delusional psychics or con-men.

a post will come, bli neder, analyzing what this rabbi is saying, and why he and Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu support Nir Ben Artzi.

kol tuv,


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