Thursday, June 30, 2011

Should Onkelos on הֲבֵאתֶם read אֲתִיתוֹן or אעילתון?

Summary: Shadal vs. Maamar. In the end, I side with Shadal.

Post: Onkelos writes (using the Temani girsa of Onkelos) in parashat Chukat:

כ,ד וְלָמָה הֲבֵאתֶם אֶת-קְהַל יְהוָה, אֶל-הַמִּדְבָּר הַזֶּה, לָמוּת שָׁם, אֲנַחְנוּ וּבְעִירֵנוּ.וּלְמָא אֲתִיתוֹן יָת קְהָלָא דַּייָ, לְמַדְבְּרָא הָדֵין, לִמְמָת תַּמָּן, אֲנַחְנָא וּבְעִירַנָא.
כ,ה וְלָמָה הֶעֱלִיתֻנוּ, מִמִּצְרַיִם, לְהָבִיא אֹתָנוּ, אֶל-הַמָּקוֹם הָרָע הַזֶּה:  לֹא מְקוֹם זֶרַע, וּתְאֵנָה וְגֶפֶן וְרִמּוֹן, וּמַיִם אַיִן, לִשְׁתּוֹת.וּלְמָא אַסֵּיקְתּוּנָא, מִמִּצְרַיִם, לְאֵיתָאָה יָתַנָא, לְאַתְרָא בִּישָׁא הָדֵין:  לָא אֲתַר כָּשַׁר לְבֵית זְרַע, וְאַף לָא תֵּינִין וְגֻפְנִין וְרִמּוֹנִין, וּמַיָּא לֵית, לְמִשְׁתֵּי.
Ohev Ger comments:

"In most early nuschaot, and in Codex 1411, וּלְמָא אֲתיתון. And so in Targum {Pseudo-} Yonatan. And the later ones corrected it as אעילתון. And it appears to me that the language of אעילתון does not apply to entering the wilderness."

I am familiar with אתא as to come, and עול means to enter. It can also mean to bring, as in Targum to Yoel 3:5. They are related words but might have slight variances. Shadal is suggested that this is not how we would expect עול to be used.

The printer of Maamar, points out just such an instance:

"[Cites variants, though just giving a single instance f איתיתון, giving the sense that this is a minority variant. Then cites Ohev Ger. Then,] perhaps the Targum Yonatan to Yechezkel (20:10) was concealed from him, which translates ואביאם אל המדבר as ואעלתינון למדברא. (The words of the printer.)"

It is a good point, and proof, that the word can support this meaning. This does not mean that this must be the only possible lexical item. And then we might follow the weight of the various manuscripts.

I will add two points to the above. First, note how לְהָבִיא אֹתָנוּ is translated in the very next pasuk. I would expect some consistency. And Berliner does not mention any variants on this following pasuk.

Second, note the Hebrew word הֶעֱלִיתֻנוּ in the following pasuk. It, too, is a causative. It means something different -- indeed, the very reverse of ואעלתינון. And they are both in causative. Given its surface level similarity of the Hebew to the Aramaic, this could really have sparked a scribal emendation.

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