Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Impure to the bone? Part ii

Summary: Continuing a topic from last year on parshat Naso, about whether לטמי means bone or impure, and whether דאינשא should be present.

Post: To start off, read this 2010 parshablog post. A summary:
Rashi explains Onkelos, who deviates from his usual manner and explains tamei lenefesh as tamei to the bones of a dead person. This sort of expansion is quite irregular. But maybe Rashi isn't really saying this. And even if Rashi says this, this may not be what Onkelos says, or what Onkelos means, as Shadal explains.
What Shadal explains is that it is likely that לטמי refers to ritual impurity, rather than to a bone.

This year, I decided to check what the various non-Jewish Targumim had on this verse. The Samaritan Targum (matching their Torah) has no expansion, and thus forms a perfect match to our Masoretic Torah text.  The Peshitta, from Syriac Christians, has something remarkably similar to Onkelos:

Note the existence of לטמי, just as in our Onkelos. And the word דאינשא is written without nikkud, to indicate that this is a variant which is not in all Peshitta texts and should be discarded. A similar variant, with and without this word found in the parallel in Behaalotecha, is in our Onkelos texts. So perhaps we can talk about this as evidence of really early Targumic text which has these words, whatever theie meaning. Or perhaps we can talk of parallel development, from readily apparent causes.

There is a dispute whether the Tanach translation in Peshitta was by Jews or Christians. If by Christians, I would assume that they would not be making careful midrashic diyukim in halacha and modifying the Targum to match. If so, it would bolster the idea that לטמי is not due to some special halacha, but due to some Aramaic idiom about ritual impurity, just as Shadal understood it. And conversely, if it indeed due to some special diyuk, this would bolster the idea that the authors were Jews.

{Update: Not the Peshitta! See David's note in the comment section.}

Rabbi Bentzion Berkowitz, Lechem Abirim, discusses this text of Onkelos. He writes:
"See Rashi, zal, that which he writes on the Targum, that he adds the word לטמי, which is a language of the bones, like אובא טמיא {J: which Rashi in Berachot 59a renders בעל אוב של עצמות שעושה כשוף בעצמות המת. טמיא עצמות ודומה לו במסכת כלים בית מלא טמיא ופי' רב האי מלא טמיא בית שהוא מלא עצמות והביא ראיה על זה מבראשית רבה דקתני אדרינוס שחיק טמיא דהיינו שחיק עצמות ואין לפרש אוב טמא שאין זה הלשון.} See what Rabbi Eliyahu Mizrachi wrote in this; I recorded his words in sefer Oteh Or, klal 2 [sic; should be 3], tziyun 7. And there I commented on his words and proved that this language does not move from the connotation of ritual impurity, just as it is in parashat Emor, where we find the Targum of the verse:

כב,ד אִישׁ אִישׁ מִזֶּרַע אַהֲרֹן, וְהוּא צָרוּעַ אוֹ זָב--בַּקֳּדָשִׁים לֹא יֹאכַל, עַד אֲשֶׁר יִטְהָר; וְהַנֹּגֵעַ, בְּכָל-טְמֵא-נֶפֶשׁ, אוֹ אִישׁ, אֲשֶׁר-תֵּצֵא מִמֶּנּוּ שִׁכְבַת-זָרַע.גְּבַר גְּבַר מִזַּרְעָא דְּאַהֲרוֹן, וְהוּא סְגִיר אוֹ דָּאִיב--בְּקֻדְשַׁיָּא לָא יֵיכוֹל, עַד דְּיִדְכֵּי; וּדְיִקְרַב, בְּכָל טְמֵי נַפְשָׁא, אוֹ גְּבַר, דְּתִפּוֹק מִנֵּיהּ שִׁכְבַת זַרְעָא.
and as Rashi explains over there, בכל טמא נפש: במי שנטמא במת.

And also with the sending out of the camps, Chazal darshen in Pesachim from the language of וכל טמא לנפש to include one who becomes ritually impure from a sheretz {not just a human bone}. And Rashi, zal explains that so is the case for a neveilah {carcass of an un-schechted animal} and all that convey ritual impurity from physical contact. Thus, also the rishon letum'ah is sent out. And in this the 'proof' of Rabbi Eliyahu Mizrachi is contradicted, in that which he wrote. For if the language of טומאה compelled from this that one who touched one who was impure from a dead body, he is an av hatumah, from the fact that the Scripture commands to send him outside the camp. And from the fact that is equated him with a zav and leper, who are av hatumah. And the matter is not so! For one who touches one who is impure from a dead body is only a vlad ha-tumah, not an av hatumah. And behold in the gemara it is clear that even the rishon letumah is sent out. And is there not no difference between one who touches a sheretz and one who touches one who is ritually impure from a human corpse, for both of them are a vlad hatumah? (And all these that we include there

like zav and kol zav to include one with a seminal emission, they are tradition.) As well as that which they deduce from the Scriptures equating it to zav and leper, it implies that it is an av hatum'ah -- this is no proof at all, for also in parashat Emor by the eating of kodshim it also states zav and metzora, and even with all this it mentioned there also one who touched one ritually impure from a corpse, as Rashi explains there. And so too these who arrive in this via inclusions, the one who had a seminal emission and one impure from a sheretz, are stated there explicitly. And further, I bring a bit of a proof that before the Meturgeman {R' Eliyahu Bachur, in his dictionary of Targum} it appears that he did not have the language of Rashi in this, but only in parashat Behaalotecha in the language of impure to nefesh adam, see what I wrote there. And so wrote the scholar Shadal regarding this as well, that it does not move from the meaning of ritual impurity, and so is primary. And also the phrases which Rashi za"l brings are not language of bones alone, but rather they are grafts with language of ritual impurity as well, 'impure bones', (as the Maamar writes), for all language of 'bone' is translated as garma, and even the bones of a corpse, such as 'and Moshe took the bones of Yosef', garmei Tosef, and so too 'or with a human's bone'."

I don't know that I am convinced that in general טמיא is מורכב. I have not examined Mizrachi in this instance, but it does fit my general impression of Mizrachi, and other meforshei Rashi, developing elaborate theories which can be debunked on careful analysis, by comparing with the derashot that Chazal make.

To see Rabbi Berkowitz's lengthy analysis of this Onkelos and Rashi in his work, Oteh Or, see here, klal 3, tziyun 7. This klal is that even though there are Aramaic equivalents, Onkelos will bring the Hebrew word  -- see here for his statement of the rule, and its reason.

In Oteh Or, his conclusion is that this Rashi has been uprooted from its place, in parshat Behaalotecha, about the bones of Yosef, and brought here for some reason. His proof is from R' Eliyahu Bachur's dictionary of Targum Onkelos, on the root טם:
That is, he cites טמאים לנפש אדם, with the Targum, and notes that there are two such ones, and that there is also כי יהיה טמא, and notes the Targum. And then that Rashi explains this as bones. All three instances, as cited, are in Bemidbar 9, in Behaalotecha:

ט,ו וַיְהִי אֲנָשִׁים, אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ טְמֵאִים לְנֶפֶשׁ אָדָם, וְלֹא-יָכְלוּ לַעֲשֹׂת-הַפֶּסַח, בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא; וַיִּקְרְבוּ לִפְנֵי מֹשֶׁה, וְלִפְנֵי אַהֲרֹן--בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא.וַהֲווֹ גֻּבְרַיָּא, דַּהֲווֹ מְסָאֲבִין לִטְמֵי נַפְשָׁא דַּאֲנָשָׁא, וְלָא יְכִילוּ לְמֶעֱבַד פִּסְחָא, בְּיוֹמָא הַהוּא; וּקְרִיבוּ קֳדָם מֹשֶׁה, וּקְדָם אַהֲרוֹן--בְּיוֹמָא הַהוּא.
ט,ז וַיֹּאמְרוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים הָהֵמָּה, אֵלָיו, אֲנַחְנוּ טְמֵאִים, לְנֶפֶשׁ אָדָם; לָמָּה נִגָּרַע, לְבִלְתִּי הַקְרִיב אֶת-קָרְבַּן יְהוָה בְּמֹעֲדוֹ, בְּתוֹךְ, בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.וַאֲמַרוּ גֻּבְרַיָּא הָאִנּוּן, לֵיהּ, אֲנַחְנָא מְסָאֲבִין, לִטְמֵי נַפְשָׁא דַּאֲנָשָׁא; לְמָא נִתְמְנַע, בְּדִיל דְּלָא לְקָרָבָא יָת קֻרְבָּנָא דַּייָ בְּזִמְנֵיהּ, בְּגוֹ, בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
ט,ח וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם, מֹשֶׁה:  עִמְדוּ וְאֶשְׁמְעָה, מַה-יְצַוֶּה יְהוָה לָכֶם.  {פ}וַאֲמַר לְהוֹן, מֹשֶׁה:  אוֹרִיכוּ עַד דְּאֶשְׁמַע, מָא דְּאֶתְפַּקַּד מִן קֳדָם יְיָ עַל דִּילְכוֹן.  {פ}
ט,ט וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר.וּמַלֵּיל יְיָ, עִם מֹשֶׁה לְמֵימַר.
ט,י דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֵאמֹר:  אִישׁ אִישׁ כִּי-יִהְיֶה-טָמֵא לָנֶפֶשׁ אוֹ בְדֶרֶךְ רְחֹקָה לָכֶם, אוֹ לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם, וְעָשָׂה פֶסַח, לַיהוָה.מַלֵּיל עִם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, לְמֵימַר:  גְּבַר גְּבַר אֲרֵי יְהֵי מְסָאַב לִטְמֵי נַפְשָׁא דַּאֲנָשָׁא אוֹ בְּאוֹרַח רַחִיקָא לְכוֹן, אוֹ לְדָרֵיכוֹן, וְיַעֲבֵיד פִּסְחָא, קֳדָם יְיָ.

and he does not make any mention of the earlier one, in parashat Naso. Thus, these must be the only ones before R' Eliyahu Bachur, and the Rashi he mentions must be on these in Behaalotecha as well! An interesting possibility, indeed.

You can read the Maamar (divrei hamadfis) here, where he responds to Shadal, and rejects his interpretation.


Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that isn't the Peshitta. They refer to those files as "Trilinear Targums," and in the forum on the site* the one who posted the files says that it's Targum Yonatan [sic]. You can access the Peshitta text at the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon site (that is, once they get it running again). As you know, Pseudo-Yonatan is often very similar to Onkelos, which suits your observation. The text they use matches neither the Onkelos nor the Pseudo-Yonatan of Bar Ilan or Accordance.


He wrote: "Yup, it's Targum Yonathan, not sure which manuscript though - might have spelling variations."

joshwaxman said...

argh! and thanks for letting me know.



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