Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The fricative feh in פרה, and more Minchas Shai on Chukat

Post: Minchas Shai on parashat Chukat begins:
"חקת -- has a petucha gap."

This simply because it is masoretic interest how each sidra begins. Then, one pasuk 19:1, he writes:

"וידבר ה -- has a zakef katon"

Why point this out? Usually this is due to some other text (often Bomberg's Mikraot Gedolot) having something different.

Leningrad Codex and Mechon-Mamre (from the Temanim) have the same. While I have not done a comprehensive search, Bomberg's first Mikraos Gedolos, his second, and his Chumash all have the zakef. I strongly suspect that, therefore, in this instance this is NOT the spark for Minchas Shai's comment.

Rather, it a masoretic note. See this early Chumash, which predates Minchas Shai's comment, but elsewhere as well:

תנ"ך. תורה. רנ"א. ליסבון
(אשבונה : דפוס אליעזר [טולידאנו], אב רנ"א).

There is a circle, indicating a masoretic note, over the word YKVK, and the note on the side reads בזקף קטן.

Why is this noteworthy? Because usually, Aharon is not a target of Hashem's speech. And with such a short pasuk, the trup is mercha tipcha mercha silluq. Because of the added ואל-אהרן, the pasuk is longer. And by the rules of trup, only at a certain distance would we have the tipcha as the pausal trup preceding silluq, and after that, we should expect a zakef. Thus, while this change is entirely appropriate by the science of trup, it is a divergence from the expected and common, and thus deserved a masoretic note and a comment by Minchat Shai.

Minchas Shai next says, on pasuk 19:2:

"ויקחו אליך פרה -- the feh in farah is fricative {that is, a feh rather than a peh}, for the tarsa at the end of the word, even though its tune is close to a talsha, does not have the law of a disjunctive accent."

This requires a little bit of background and explanation. The letters בגד כפת are plosive, meaning that they have a dagesh kal, in the beginning of a word and after a sheva nach. The general idea is that there are closed syllables (of the form Consonant Vowel Consonant = CVC) and open syllables (CV). In the beginning of a word, which is a new start, or after a closed syllable, which is also a new start, we will place the dagesh and make bgdkft a plosive. If there is a vowel preceding, which happens if the preceding syllable is open, then we would not place the dagesh and leave bgdkft as fricative.

Now, if the preceding word ends in a vowel -- that is, it is an open syllable -- then that might be enough cause to make bgdkft at the start of the next word fricative. This depends if the trup symbol is a dividing, disjunctive accent, or a joining, conjunctive accent. If it is disjunctive, then there is enough of a divide that we would have a plosive in bgdkft.

Now, there is a tarsa on the preceding word, אליך, eilecha. It ends with a vowel. If the tarsa is a disjunctive accent, then the פ of פרה will be a peh, the plosive. If it is conjunctive, then it will be a feh, a fricative.

What is a tarsa? A shield, meaning a circle. This is used for telisha gedola and telisha ketana, though I am not certain how Minchas Shai uses this terminology - to refer to the sign in general, or only to telisha ketana. The telisha ketana is a conjunctive accent. The telisha gedola is a disjunctive accent. The way to tell the difference between these identical signs is where it is placed on the word. (Also the direction of the tail, but the tail not initially there.) If it is placed at the end of the word, then it is a telisha ketana; if at the beginning, it is a telishah gedolah. They sound similar and look similar, but they are different.

Some (e.g. Ben Naftali) would grant telisha ketana a level of disjunctiveness. As Wickes writes:

 None of Bomberg's texts have it. But looking at this Chumash:

תנ"ך. תורה. רמ"ב. בולוניה

[בולונייא : דפוס יוסף בן אברהם קרוויטה ; אברהם בן חיים מן הצבועים, רמ"ב].

There does seem to be a dagesh in the peh of parah. It is under the loop of the peh, just as in other examples of the same in this text. (Click on the image to see it larger.) Perhaps I am seeing things, though. This one, from 1546, and this one, from 1547, in Amsterdam, might also have it.

On the same pasuk, 19:2, Minchas Shai continues:

"אין בה מום -- with a maarich and a makef."

So we have it in the Leningrad Codex.

The maarich is the gaaya, that vertical bar under the aleph, while the makef is the dash joining ain to bah. See immediately above for a text which lacks the gaaya.

Bomberg's first Mikraos Gedolos points it as mercha pashta:

So does his second, and his Chumash.

What is the practical difference? Neither variant introduces a pausal accent, so in either case, the words are joined. But with a mercha, ain is a separate word, and with a gaaya and makef, it is joined into a single 'word'. This is then joined even more closely, as a single unit. Personally, my feeling is that I 'like' the closer joining by the makef; it captures the value of אין-בה better.

Next, on the same pasuk, Bemidbar 19:2, Minchas Shai writes:

"לא עלה עליה על -- the word על is chaser vav. And see in sefer HaZohar and in Pesikta of R' Tuviah {=Lekach Tov}, that אשר לא עלה עליה על is chaser vav, and על {rather than עול} is written. And from here they said that not absolutely an עול {yoke}, but even anything whatsoever, as they learn in the {third} Mishna in the second perek of Parah, 'If he rode on it, leaned upon it, hung upon its tail, crossed the river via it, folded upon it the reigns, placed his tallit upon it, it is invalid.' And see the sefer Paneach Raza."

One should stress the difference between the halacha and the derivation. Chazal might have darshened it from some other prooftext, while the Zohar and Pesikta of Rav Tuviah find an additional remez to the existing halacha.

It seems that there could be other derivations -- and in fact, if you look at R' Ovadia MiBartenura, you will see that this is derived from a connection to the laws of eglah arufah, rather than a direct diyuk; There is also a Yerushalmi Pesachim to examine. And we can make a diyuk that it was merely עלה עליה, rather than that you did specific work with it. (Although keep reading the Mishnah to see that some actions are allowed without invalidating. We can still work that out, as different implications of the pasuk crossing with each other, since after all it says עלה עליה, but then it says עול, implying something labor-related.) My point is that we do not need this diyuk from the chaser.

The Zohar reads:
20. "...in which there is no blemish..." (Ibid.) is as it is written, "you are all fair, my love; there is no blemish in you" (Shir Hashirim 4:7). SHE SHINES WITH THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH, AND SHE IS CONSIDERED BEAUTIFUL SINCE ALL BLEMISHES ARE HEALED THROUGH THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH. "...and upon which never came a yoke (Heb. ol, Ayin-Lamed)..." (Bemidbar 19:2). The word "ol" is spelled WITHOUT A VAV, which is as it is written: "and the man who was raised up on high (Heb. al, Ayin-Lamed)" (II Shmuel 23:1). What is the reason? It is because she is "the peaceable and faithful in Yisrael" (II Shmuel 20:19), and he is not above her but rather with her. "...and upon which never came a yoke..." is as it is written: "the virgin of Yisrael" (Amos 5:2), and, "a virgin, neither had any man known her" (Beresheet 24:16).

And the Midrash Lekach Tov reads:

Meanwhile, is עול ever spelled malei in Tanach? Yes, the Samaritans have it malei, but what else would we expect of them? Yeshaya 9:3 has it chaser. Yirmeyahu 27 has it chaser. Eichah 1:14 has it chaser. Elsewhere, Ibn Ezra criticizes the practice of derash, common in his days, of darshening when a word was chaser and turning around and darshening it when it is malei. Any sort of excuse, rather than only darshening when the word was out of its ordinary spelling. (Even there, he would argue that there is just irregular and not-yet-standardized spelling.) This is a good case in point. There is nothing strange about the chaser vav, and so the derasha on על is not very convincing.

I am not sure of the specifics of the derasha. It is that since the עול is chaser, so too even a non-complete עול invalidates? Alternatively, are they interpreting it as a revocalized word? It seems to me that both are true, one for the Zohar and one for Lakach Tov.

Finally, presumably Minchas Shai cited Paneach Raza for just this reason, to explain the nature of the derasha. Here is what he says:


Eliyahu said...

I really enjoy these Minchat Shai posts, thanks. Do you have any recommendations on classic works of dikduk, especially rules of nekudot and te'amim like the ones you bring up in these posts. Preferrably something available on hebrewbooks.org or elsewhere online...

joshwaxman said...

bli neder, i'll try to respond soon...

Hayyim UWS said...

The Sephardic terms for telisha gedola and telisha qetana are talsha and tirsa, respectively. Evidently, MS is using the same terminology in this case, although he does not always use the Sephardic terms for ta`amim. Evidently, in his reading tradition the melodies of the two were similar though not identical.


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