Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Should Onkelos read דהא or ארי מית אהרון?

Summary: Revisiting a topic from last year, about Rashi's emendation of Onkelos.

Post: In parashat Chukat, the nation sees that Aharon (has) died:

כ,כט וַיִּרְאוּ, כָּל-הָעֵדָה, כִּי גָוַע, אַהֲרֹן; וַיִּבְכּוּ אֶת-אַהֲרֹן שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם, כֹּל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל.  {ס}וַחֲזוֹ, כָּל כְּנִשְׁתָּא, אֲרֵי מִית, אַהֲרוֹן; וּבְכוֹ יָת אַהֲרוֹן תְּלָתִין יוֹמִין, כֹּל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל.  {ס}

Rashi writes on the pasuk -- my translation of Rashi into English:

29. The whole congregation saw that Aaron had expired, and the entire house of Israel wept for Aaron for thirty days.כט. וַיִּרְאוּ כָּל הָעֵדָה כִּי גָוַע אַהֲרֹן וַיִּבְכּוּ אֶת אַהֲרֹן שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם כֹּל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל:

had expired: I say that the one who translates דהא מית is erring, unless he also translates וַיִּרְאוּ {the first word, 'saw'} as ואיתחזיאו, {'and they were seen', the reflexive}. For Chazal only said that the word כי functions as דהא upon the midrash that the Clouds of Glory left, and as Rabbi Abahu said (Rosh Hashana 3a), for Rabbi Abahu said 'do not read it וַיִּרְאוּ {and they saw} but וייראו {vayeirau, and they were seen}, and upon this language falls the language of דהא {'for behold'}, since it is giving a reason for that which is above it, namely why they feared, for behold Aharon died. But upon the Targum וַחֲזוֹ כָּל כְּנִשְׁתָּא there should be no language of דהא {'for behold', meaning 'because'} but rather of אשר, 'that', for it is of the pattern of a functioning אי, for we find אם functioning as a language of אשר, as in Iyov 21:4, וְאִם-מַדּוּעַ לֹא-תִקְצַר רוּחִי; and many explain as in this language (Iyov 14:5) אִם חֲרוּצִים יָמָיו, 'Seeing his days are determined'.כי גוע: אומר אני שהמתרגם דהא מית טועה הוא, אלא אם כן מתרגם ויראו ואתחזיאו, שלא אמרו רבותינו ז"ל כי זה משמש בלשון דהא אלא על מדרש שנסתלקו ענני כבוד, וכדאמר ר' אבהו (ראש השנה ג א), דא"ר אבהו אל תקרי ויראו אלא וייראו ועל לשון זה נופל לשון דהא, לפי שהוא נתינת טעם למה שלמעלה הימנו. למה וייראו, לפי שהרי מת אהרן. אבל על תרגום וחזו כל כנישתא, אין לשון דהא נופל אלא לשון אשר, שהוא מגזרת שמוש אי, שמצינו אם משמש בלשון אשר, כמו (איוב כא ד) ואם מדוע לא תקצר רוחי, והרבה מפורשים כזה הלשון (שם יד, ה) אם חרוצים ימיו:

While I might have read that gemara as וייראו as 'they feared', Rashi understands this as the passive, 'they were seen'. Rashi is saying that you can say that they were seen because of the leaving of the Clouds of Glory at Aharon's death. But if you don't follow this midrashic path, then דהא is not appropriate, for it means 'because' rather than 'that'.

This is a questionable assertion, and we see that Shadal will question this emendation by Rashi. (I discussed some of this last year, back when Chabad's Rashi translation was still up.)

But before we get there, I would like to point out something supremely important. Rashi begins this comment with the words אומר אני. Of course he is saying it. Isn't he saying every comment he says? Back in my Revel days, I learned that when you see אומר אני, it is actually a clue that it is not Rashi. Rather, it is one of Rashi's students, of another Rishon. In order to indicate that it is not Rashi, he wrote 'I say', so that others reading the text would not err in this matter and attribute the idea to Rashi. If I recall correctly, in a large number of these אומר אניs, looking at early manuscripts revealed them not to be there, or to be from {again, IIRC} Rabbi Binyamin.

The earliest Rashi text I have has it, Munich, from 1233, but this is an expansive Rashi text, with plenty of insertions, in general:
Rome, 1470 also has it. And this early one as well -- I am not sure from when:
This one, from Weimar, approximately 1250-1350, has דמית in Onkelos, rather than ארי. But it also has the Rashi.

So I (personally) don't have any revolutionary kitvei yad to show you, with this Rashi absent. Still, there is the sevara and the pattern that some scholars have established in the general case. (Although I heard that other scholars might argue on this.)

The reason that this is somewhat important is that we want to argue on this Rashi, and it is nice to know whether we are arguing on Rashi or on some marginal note that made its way into Rashi. It shouldn't matter so much, since at the end of the day the force of the arguments should prevail, but some people consider personalities rather than argument. And there is also the Divrei Chaim, and others, who say that one must believe that Rashi was written with ruach hakodesh or else one is a heretic.

An example of דהא as translating כי, such that it means 'because' occurs in Pesachim 93b:
ור' נתן סבר (במדבר ט, יג) וחדל לעשות הפסח ונכרתה דהאי כי לשון דהא הוא וה"ק רחמנא דהא קרבן ה' לא הקריב במועדו בראשון
Rashi writes there:
ורבי נתן - מוקי ליה להאי כי בלשון דהא וקאי אדלעיל מיניה למיתב טעמא למילתיה ונכרת בראשון משום דהא קרבן ה' לא הקריב במועדו בראשון:
(See Point by Point Summary for the English.)

We might answer that דהא is still ambiguous, but given the context and the discussion, the setama degemara still gets its point across as to how Rabbi Natan understands that pasuk.

Shadal argues that the דהא is appropriate, because they did not see the actual dying, or the actual body before them, and thus it is a recognition that he had died. (Perhaps as an explicit pluperfect?) And people then emended their texts left and right to accord with Rashi, so they would not have this 'error'.

This Shadal is what I had discussed last year.

New this year is Maamar's reaction to this Ohev Ger. Maamar takes issue with this bold statement of Shadal:

After citing Rashi, he writes:
'It is known that in Chazal's opinion the word כי functions to mean four things: אי (=if); דלמא (=perhaps), אלא (=unless); דהא (=because). And behold Rashi explains that according to the Targum וחזו, one cannot explain the word כי as meaning דהא, which is giving of a reason, but rather it means אי, and its import is like אשר, for we find the word אם in place of אשר, and the meaning of ויראו is as Rashi explained above, that the ministering angels showed them Aharon stretched out on the bier. And he says further, that if we explain the word כי as דהא, this would be based on the drush that the clouds of glory left, such that vayir'u in kal {active} would be like vayeira'u in nifal {passive}. Since the Clouds of Glory left, the Israelites were seen, and so do Rashi and Tosafot explain (Rosh HaShana daf 3), that they were revelaed. And according to this, it would need to translate into the Aramaic ואתחזאו and not וחזו. Such was the intent of Rashi. However, in my opinion, that which is understood in the words of Rabbi Avuah that read not ויראו but וייראו is that it is not of the root ראה but from the root ירא, and therefore it comes with two yuds. For they fears when the Clouds of Glory left, and as it appeared from the continuation, 'And the Cannaites heard. What did he hear? That Aharon died and the Clouds of Glory left."
Then, the printer adds on commentary:

"כי גוע -- (the printer writes): The language of Rashi that [...and then a citation of Rashi], this is the pattern of itpael, which is a language of יראה, as in {Bereishis 42:1} לָמָּה תִּתְרָאוּ, where Onkelos translates לְמָא תִּתַּחְזוֹן. (And see in the commentary of Rashi there.) And upon this language falls the language דהא, since it is giving of a reason, etc. But to the targum וחזו כל כנישתא the language of דהא does not apply, but rather אשר which function as an אי (see Rashi on Bereishit 18:15). End quote. 
And from Rashi's words it is apparent that he had two sefarim, in one he found written in Targum Onkelos the word דהא and in the second he found written ארי, and he nullified the first and established the second. And all those who correct after him established and accepted the girsa of ארי or דמית, as it is in the Anvirsa printing. And the astonishing thing is upon the scholar Rabbi Shmuel David Luzzatto, that he casts from before him the girsa of the great eagle* Rashi za'l, which is extremely refined, and seizes the girsa which the head of all the pashtanim has declared as corrupt."
I wonder whether Rashi indeed had a girsa in front of him. I suppose one could read that into Rashi's words, שהמתרגם דהא מית טועה הוא. The implication might be that others translate it in other ways. But I am not entirely convinced. It could well be a correction misvara, like the Gra's corrections. Since Rashi knows the function of each of these words, he corrects it.

And of course the אומר אני plays into this. Note how the מדפיס preceded his commentary with אמר המדפיס. IF it is indeed the case that Rashi did not really say this, then Shadal has at least a partial rejoinder to how Shadal could cast away Rashi, and select the girsa Rashi labels as corrupt.

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