Thursday, November 24, 2011

Darshening pesiks in parashat Toledot

Summary: One is indeed a pesik, and one should indeed be darshened. Though I argue on the details. There is a vertical bar after Machalat, and there is a derasha that has Esav's sins forgiven with his marriage. Does this bar indicate the need for distancing oneself from one's past actions? There is a vertical bar after the Shem Hashem in Avimelech's words to Yitzchak. Should this indicate that the wells ceased when Yitzchak left? Read on to find out!

Post: The very last pasuk in parashat Toledot reads (28:9):

9. So Esau went to Ishmael, and he took Mahalath, the daughter of Ishmael, the son of Abraham, the sister of Nebaioth, in addition to his other wives as a wife.ט. וַיֵּלֶךְ עֵשָׂו אֶל יִשְׁמָעֵאל וַיִּקַּח אֶת מָחֲלַת בַּת יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן אַבְרָהָם אֲחוֹת נְבָיוֹת עַל נָשָׁיו לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה:

While in parashat Vayishlach, we have (36:3):

2. Esau took his wives from the daughters of Canaan: Adah, daughter of Elon the Hittite; and Oholibamah, daughter of Anah, daughter of Zibeon the Hivvite;ב. עֵשָׂו לָקַח אֶת נָשָׁיו מִבְּנוֹת כְּנָעַן אֶת עָדָה בַּת אֵילוֹן הַחִתִּי וְאֶת אָהֳלִיבָמָה בַּת עֲנָה בַּת צִבְעוֹן הַחִוִּי:
3. also Basemath, daughter of Ishmael, sister of Nebaioth.ג. וְאֶת בָּשְׂמַת בַּת יִשְׁמָעֵאל אֲחוֹת נְבָיוֹת:

Both of these women are identified as the daughter of Yishmael and sister of Nevayot, and so it seems that they are the same person. And Rashi on Vayishlach reads:

Basemath, daughter of Ishmael: Elsewhere [Scripture] calls her Mahalath (above 28:9). I found in the Aggadah of the midrash on the Book of Samuel (ch. 17): There are three people whose iniquities are forgiven (מוֹחֲלִים) : One who converts to Judaism, one who is promoted to a high position, and one who marries. The proof [of the last one] is derived from here (28:9). For this reason she was called Mahalath (מָחֲלַת), because his (Esau’s) sins were forgiven (נְמְחֲלוּ) .בשמת בת ישמעאל: ולהלן קורא לה (כח ט) מחלת. מצינו באגדת מדרש ספר שמואל (פרק יז) שלשה מוחלין להן עונותיהם גר שנתגייר, והעולה לגדולה, והנושא אשה, ולמד הטעם מכאן, לכך נקראת מחלת שנמחלו עונותיה:
sister of Nebaioth: Since he (Nebaioth) gave her hand in marriage after Ishmael died, she was referred to by his name. — [from Meg. 17a]אחות נביות: על שם שהוא השיאה לו משמת ישמעאל נקראת על שמו:

Thus, they are the same person; and she is called מָחֲלַת here at the end of Toldos because his sins were forgiven.

Shadal makes two interesting points here:
את בשמת בת ישמעאל: למעלה (כ"ח ט') נקראת מחלת, ונ"ל כי שני השמות ענינם אחד, כי מחלת לשון מתוק בל' ארמית, תרגום של מתוק חלי (כגון: שופטים י"ד י"ח) וכן בשם בארמית ענין מתיקות .ברש"י כ"י שבידי כתוב: עונותיה (לא עונותיו).ש

First, he suggests that Machalat and Basemat are related words, and gives an Aramaic etymology for Machalat meaning 'sweet'. Second, he mentions a ktav yad of Rashi in his possession which has עונותיה  rather than עונותיו.

In terms of the latter point, this is possibly not just a matter of slight girsological variance. The implication is that it is her sins which were forgiven, not his. However, I would note that that assumes that the ending of that word is Hebrew and should be read -eha. But it could plausibly be read as Aramaic, as -eih, in which case it still refers to his sins.

We have the following in Birkas Avraham:

בפסוק (בראשית כח ט, ) וילך עשו אל ישמעאל ויקח את מחלת בת ישמעאל בן אברהם וגו' . בתלמוד ירושלמי מס' ביכורים פ"ג ה"ג איתא, תניא תני, חכם , חתן , נשיא , גדולה , מכפרת. חתן, דכתיב וילך עשו וגו' , וכי מחלת שמה, והלא בשמת  שמה ( פי' שבפרשת וישלח כתיב (בראשית ל"ו ג ) עשיו לקח וגו בשמת בת ישמעאל). אלא שנמחלו לה כל עונותיה, כך היא  גירסת הר"ש סיריליאו ז"ל ובנוסחתנו כתוב שנמחלו לו כל עונותיו

וכן איתא בבראשית רבה בזה"ל , וילך עשו אל ישמעאל, רבי יהושע בן לוי אמר נתן דעתו להתגייר. מחלת, שמחל לו הקב"ה על כל עונותיו. בשמת, שנתבסמה דעתו עליו. אמר ר' אליעזר, אילו הוציא את הראשונות יפה היה, אלא על נשיו, כאב על כאב. ומכל מקום, מבואר במדרש שחתן מוחלין לו עוונותיו

והנה שתי דעות לפנינו במדרש, ולדעת רבי יהושע בן לוי שנמחלו לעשו עוונותיו, הוא הרהר תשובה במעשה זה, ורבי  אליעזר טוען כנגדו שמעשיו מוכיחין שהוא לא נתכוון לפרוש מרשעותו, וממילא שלא נמחלו עוונותיו. ומעתה ברור שחתן הרוצה לזכות במחילת עוון, צריך להכין לבו לזה, ואז מוחלין לו עוונותיו. ובזה שונה הוא החתן משאר אנשים, שהאחרים צריכים להרבות בסוגי תשובה ותיקון החטאים .

ודע שעם דרשת חז"ל מ'מחלת' שנמחלין עוונות החתן והכלה, מובן טעם פסיק [קו] שאחרי תיבת מחלת כי אכן מה שהיה היה
ועתה פנים חדשות באו בלא רישום עוונות .

After citing the pasuk at the end of Toldos, he writes:
"In Talmud Yerushalmi, Masechet Bikurim, perek 3 halacha 3 there is {Josh: here, but rather messed up}: a Sage, a groom, a prince, greatness, atone... A groom, for it is written [in Toledot], וַיֵּלֶךְ עֵשָׂו אֶל יִשְׁמָעֵאל וַיִּקַּח אֶת מָחֲלַת. Now was her name מָחֲלַת? Was it not בָּשְׂמַת? (That is to say that in parashat Vaishlach is written "Esav took Basemat bat Yishmael.") Rather, all her sins were atoned for her, שנמחלו לה כל עונותיה. Such is the girsa of Rabbi Shlomo [ben Yosef] Sirillo [d. ca. 1558]. And in our nusach is written שנמחלו לו כל עונותיו, that all of his sins were forgiven."
Note the parallel to the two girsaot in Rashi. One could also read the masculine into R' Sirillo's girsa, with לה meaning לֵהּ, but still, it can be taken most readily to refer to her. Though it is strange. Why should we care about her and her sins?! Unlike Esav, she is a minor character not mentioned elsewhere, and we know of none of her sins. The girsa makes little sense to me. Besides, it says chatan. And it is clear from the other examples in context.

You can see the gemara in full, with commentary by Yedid Nefesh, here -- a great set of Yerushalmis to purchase, by the way:

At any rate, Birkas Avraham continues:
"And so is stated in Bereishit Rabba in this language:
"And Esav went to Yishmael... Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: He gave mind to convert. Machalat... that Hashem forgave him for all his sins. Basmat... that his mind was sweetened upon him.  
Rabbi Eliezer said: If he had cast out the first ones, this would have been fine. But al nashav, 'upon his [other] wives', [understand this as] pain upon pain.
And yet, it is clear in the midrash that a groom, they forgive him his sins.

And behold, there are two opinions before us in the Midrash. And according to the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, that Esav was forgiven his sins, he thought to do teshuva with this act. And Rabbi Eliezer argues against him that his [=Esav's] actions prove that he did not intend to separate from his wickedness, and thus naturally, his sins were not forgiven. And thus, it is clear that a groom who wishes to take advantage of the forgiveness of iniquity needs to prepare his heart for this, and then his iniquities are atoned for. And with this, the groom differs from other men, that others require an abundance of types of teshuva and correction of the sins.
And know that which the derasha of Chazal from מחלת that the sins of the groom and the bride are atoned for, the pasek [vertical bar: | ] which is after the word Machalat is understood, for therefore, what was, was, and now new faces have come, with no impression of iniquities."
Birkas Avraham continues on at length with this devar Torah, but I'll end my citation here.

Besides not being convinced that a kallah is indeed included in this, I am not really convinced that the derasha in Midrash Rabba is really of the same nature as that in Bikurim. The Midrash Rabba reads:
וירא עשו כי רעות בנות כנען וילך עשו אל ישמעאל רבי יהושע בן לוי אמר:נתן דעתו להתגייר. 

שמחל לו הקדוש ברוך הוא על כל עונותיו. 

ש(בראשית לו) בשמת 
שנתבסמה דעתו עליו. 

אמר ר' אלעזר:אילו הוציא את הראשונות, יפה היה, אלא על נשיו, כאב על כאב.

דבר אחר: כוב על כוב, תוספת על בית מלא. 
and the translation was more or less given above. I think that, while one feed into the midrash was the difference between the two names and the connotation of Mechila inherent in Machalat, the first part of the pasuk (previously uncited), וירא עשו כי רעות בנות כנען, shows a possible change of heart on his part. And so, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi darshens the names in this way. And Rabbi Eleazar argues that this would not indicate a change of heart if he is still keeping those benot kenaan who were bad in his parents' eyes, and so, the derasha should not be made.

But not necessarily do either of them say that simple marriage is what causes the sins to be forgiven. Who says we need to bring in that idea from Yerushalmi Bikkurim? Rather, the change of heart indicated teshuva, and then both names should be interpreted in a positive manner, in which his act of choosing a good girl this time demonstrates his change of heart.

If so, there is perhaps no derasha of Chazal that explicitly indicates that a change of heart is necessary to obtain this teshuva. Or course, it might well be true, within Chazal's intention.

Here is where I get (even more) nitpicky and argumentative, according to some. Birkas Avraham saw in this derasha of Chazal, and in the detail that one must have a change of heart to take advantage of the exemption, justification / explanation for the pesik after the word Machalat. However, that is no pesik. Rather, it is a munach legarmeih!

The pasuk looks like this -- I underlined the vertical bar in red:

Yes, it is a munach legarmeih rather than a psik, even though it does not appear before a revii, but I will explain that point in a bit.

Now one can argue to salvage the derasha on the vertical bar by pointing out the extreme likelihood that this was a deliberate choice on the part of the Masoretes to have a vertical bar functioning to turn the orthographic munach, which is a conjunctive accent (meshares) into a disjunctive accent (melech). Thus, it is the bar causing a pause. I would admit to this, but would also point out that many other melachim are modified mesharsim. For instance, a kadma and pashta share a symbol. It is only position that distinguishes them. The same for yesiv and mahpach, and telisha ketana and gedola. In this instance, it was the addition of a pasek after the word to indicate how to reinterpret the munach, but the munach is not really alone in being reinterpreted in this way. And in other systems of trup orthography, they don't even use the vertical bar to mark the legarmeih. (Rather, it is a script nun, the first letter of neged, looking much like a munach, appearing over the word.)

One could also argue that a geresh or gershayim would be equally acceptable -- or in this instance, actually, a telisha, and the choice of the munach and then the vertical bar to modify it makes it into a quasi-pasek. Perhaps, but I am not convinced. Wickes argues that this regular though optional divergence occurs in specific scenarios, and is simply to provide musical variation. I don't think we interpret every pashta and tipcha, so neither should we interpret every munach legarmeih. It is not the same as a pesik which occurs over and above the ordinary divergence provided by trup, and often appears for semantic rather than semantic syntactic purposes. And I think Birkas Avraham would agree.

Even so, in this instance, something strange is indeed going on. If this is a munach legarmeih, then how come it is not in revii's clause. The separating trup symbol which follows is a geresh, not a revii!

William Wickes writes that in almost all instances, a revii will follow a legarmeih. But, there are a total of 11 exceptions in the entirety of Tanach:

Note that out Machalat pasuk is the first one listed. So forget about pasek! Our legarmeih is unique and, even according to Wickes, called out darsheni!

What could be the derasha here? I still don't think that it is what Birkas Avraham wrote, that it is the separation from one's previous actions. Nor is it that it is the last pasuk of the sidra (assuming that this was a possible motivating factor, and they did not use the parshiyot of Eretz Yisrael). Rather, it is that Machalat differs from Basemat elsewhere. And that, then, deserves special notice or special emphasis. Then, of course, kick in the derasha about Esav's sins being forgiven.

There is another place that Birkas Avraham darshens a pesik. And in this instance, it most certainly is a pesik. The pasuk is in Bereishit 26:28, and describes Avimelech coming to make peace with Yitzchak. This is what they say:

Yes, the vertical bar is after a munach, and there is a revii in close proximity. But intervening is the segolta, which is basically a zakef. The clause belongs to the segolta, not to the revii. And the first dividing accent before it is the zarka on ראינו. There are two munachs in between, which is acceptable. Indeed can have long runs of munach. But still, there is the shem Hashem there, and it should be divided from the following word. This is the type of psik that Wickes refers to as paseq emphaticum.

Birkas Avraham writes:
When Yitzchak left Gerar, the wells stopped [פסקו], and therefore they said ראו ראינו [we have seen], and it is hinted in the pesik [פסק]
In the verse {and he cites it}, there is a pesik [ a vertical bar:   |    ] between the words יקוק and לעמך. Certainly they did not intend to say that this has ceased, that Hashem was with him, for behold they said that this they have seen, that Hashem was with him. Rather, it appears that it hints to that which is in Targum {Pseudo-}Yonatan Ben Uziel here, that they said to him that they saw with their eyes that Hashem was in his aid, for in his merit was to them all the good, and that when he left their land the wells dried up and the trees did not produce fruit. And now is understood as well the trup symbol of pesik, which hints to the ceasing [פסיקת] of the waters of the wells, and the fruits, with him.
An admittedly clever and creative explanation. Though I don't think it is necessary. The pesik does not have to refer to the ceasing of Hashem being with Yitzchak if it were not darshened in this other manner. Rather, it need not be darshened at all. It simply stands to give the Shem Hashem its proper reverence, just as it does in many other instances.


anon2 said...

"It is not the same as a pesik which occurs over and above the ordinary divergence provided by trup, and often appears for semantic rather than semantic purposes."


Not sure what you mean here, but again, I would say that the legarmeh is not just like a tipcha or kadmah.
All of those trup are necessary, in the sense that within our sysem of rules, we have precise reasons for every trup occuring where it does. In virtually every instance of legarmeh, a different mafsiq could have been used. Instead, the Masoretes chose to use this particular mafsiq that carries a vertical line, which looks like a pesik and has the same pausal value as a pesik. Wickes, a non-Jew, says this is for musical variation; the Bircas Avraham believes in a deeper meaning. And why musical variation here and not there? Again, within the realm of drashot, it is perfectly fine to darshen this.

Your argument from other trup systems is irrelevant. Within this trup system, which has become the only one in practice, the drasha is valid. One could discard every drasha based on trup, or nekudot for that matter, with that argument. Perhaps that's your point, but those who make drashot would argue that the fact that these systems came to be accepted over others is not a matter of historical accident, but contain an element of providence and are an indication that we are to delve deeper.

(You yourself acknolwedge this implicitly in other posts on trup. When you argue, for example, against the GRA's darshening of the revia in the first pasuk of "Vayigash", it is on the basis of the fact that the "real" name for the trup is revia and not revii. That's a valid point; but why not take it further and argue that in other trup systems, those names don't exist, so the drasha is not necessary?)

This is especially true in this case, where the use of legarmeh is extremely odd and unexpected. It certainly cries out for a drasha. Even Wickes was unwilling to just hide behind musical variation here.

Lastly, if you're going to be that technical, then you can't really ever allow for the darshening of pesiks either. From the literature it is clear that a pesik comes after a mesharet in specific cases and for specific technical reasons. (See the excellent chapter in Breuer's Taamei Hamikrah on this.) There are very few cases where we don't know why a pesik is there. In this case, the strong preference is to have a pesik after the Shem HaShem, as you yourself indicate. Yet you admit that the Baal HaTurim does darshen pesiks.

Bottom line, no drasha is "necessary". But tearing down drashot isn't necessary either, unless they are made under wrong assumptions or are in error. These drashot of the legarmeh seem to fall well within acceptable standards for drashot.

joshwaxman said...

"Not sure what you mean here"

In other words, regular trup is typically motivated by syntactic concerns. It knocks off verb, noun, and prepositional phrases at the beginning and end of clauses, where there are still three words in the clause and we have not exhausted the depth of the trup symbols.

Psik comes on top of that, and for semantic reasons, such as to distance a Divine Name, or bring further emphasis (paseq emphaticum), or to divide between two words that are to be distinguished as to sense (distinctivum). There are other times psik occurs, but regardless, there ARE times where the purpose is semantic rather than musical or syntactic.

Yes, in terms of getting technical the Baal HaTurim extends this semantic notion to further distance, and we might well argue on him and his derash. But this was a Rishon, and one extending the notion by a trup symbol which is semantic rather than syntactic. We could get technical about every derash of Chazal or Rishonim as well. If one is extending the derasha, it deserved at the least some sort of note.

If you want to make a justification, yes, you can make a justification. But then it is a kasha with a teretz, not something smooth with no difficulties whatsoever. I thought I presented your side in this post.

"Wickes, a non-Jew, says this is for musical variation; the Bircas Avraham believes in a deeper meaning."
Ad hominem. And I think Wickes made a stronger, more consistent study of trup. Also, who is "the" Bircas Avraham? Honestly, I don't know who R' (?) Avraham Albert is. He certainly is a recent writer, as he refers to e.g. Rav Kanievsky's sefer, Taama deKra.

(While I often differ with him, we share many of the same interests. For instance, how trup contributes to meaning, how to understand Tg Yonasan, and establishing the correct girsa in rabbinic texts.)

"the Bircas Avraham believes in a deeper meaning."
Are you sure? Or is it just that he hasn't studied trup in depth and so honestly does not know the different, saw the Baal HaTurim dashening psik, and innocently darshened other psiks? (Such that it would be like darshening kadmas as though they were pashtas.) Both are possible, but don't leap to attribute your teretz to him and be so confident that that is what is going on.

"Your argument from other trup systems is irrelevant."
I don't agree. It is not irrelevant. It demonstrates that, on an underlying level, this trup symbol variation does not come BECAUSE we need a psik. (Though I would note that where a psik is due in revii's clause, it will appear as a munach legarmeih. Those are indeed both.) The orthography of trup developed at a later time than the assignment of trup values to different words.

"In virtually every instance of legarmeh, a different mafsiq could have been used."
This is true for other instances of musical variation, if I am not mistaken.

"but those who make drashot would argue"
or **could** argue. i am not certain that they all **would**.

Anyway, at the end of the day, I don't think I shortchanged the other side. I presented it, though I am not personally persuaded by it, and gave reasons for my disagreement.

kol tuv,

Anonymous said...

1) I weas pointing out a typo: "for semantic rather than semantic purposes". I know what you were getting at.

2) My point is not to defend "the" Bircas Avraham per se. I have no idea who he is either.
Of course this is not a pesik, and he is mistaken in that assumption. I say this in my first post. I'm saying that legarmeh can be darshened, in a way that other trup cannot, because it is not "necessary" within the rules of trup, as other trup are.

3) Not an ad hominem. Wickes was clearly superior in his understanding of the system of trup. But he was in no position to make drashot, which by definition veer away from the technical. There is no way he would account for a mystical interpretation, for example. And his suggestion about musical variation is only a guess. There is no evidence of that.

4) "In virtually every instance of legarmeh, a different mafsiq could have been used."
This is true for other instances of musical variation, if I am not mistaken.

I disagree on this point. Please demonstrate. We are not talking about a trup out of place, such as an etnachta where you wouldn't expect it (Vayihi Acharei Hamagefa etc.) there another symbol that could be replaced within our system of trup with no loss of pausal value?

At the end of the day, we don't really disagree on the value of this drasha. Yes, you did present both sides. One could easily take the other side of most drashot. Just saying that despite the Bircas Avrahams (seeming) ignorance of what this line is, it still has value as a drasha.

joshwaxman said...

ah. thanks. i corrected the "semantic" typo.

"is there another symbol that could be replaced within our system of trup with no loss of pausal value"
Sure. Without even going to those Wickes mentions as musical variation: tipcha, zakef katon, zakef-gadol, kadma-katon, segolta, and shalsheles all are the same level of pausal value. Get rid of kadma-katon and zakef-katon and make everything a zakef gadol. Or make all of the above into a tipcha, no matter the distance from the etnachta, allowing tipcha to repeat, just as we presently allow zakef to repeat.

For one example (of others) of something Wickes labels musical variation, see at the top of page 77, here.

kol tuv,

Anonymous said...

None of those are good examples. We're not just talking about trup that have the same pausal value. I said "within our system of trup" -- within our system of rules, there are specific reasons, based on syllable count or other factors, why certain trup are replaced with other trup.
For example, one cannot just replace every yetiv with a pashta. The yetiv comes under specific circumstances, namely when it appears on the first syllable of the word. Likewise zakef katon, zakef gadol and metiga (kadma katon) come under specific circumstances based on syllable count, if the word can take a gaaya, and whether there is a prior mesharet. So you can't just "make everything" a zakef gadol. Shalshelet replaces segol under specific circumstances. Kadma and munach can replace each other based on whether the accent comes on the first letter of the word. Mahpach vs. mercha before pashta come under specific circumstances. Mercha vs. darga before tevir come under specific circumstances. Pashta replaces revia under speciufic circumstances. And so on. (And our system does not allow for repititions of tipcha.) That's not under dispute.

The point is, legarmeh has no technical "reason" for being there; it can always be replaced by a form of geresh (if before revia) or telisha (if before geresh, as in Parashat Toldot). Wickes himself just chalks it up to musical variation. Others may want to see a drasha every time a legarmeh appears. Elu v'Elu. These drashot aren't my cup of tea either, but it is different that just darshening every tipcha.

The only other examples I can think of are m'aylah, which doesn't seem to be necessary from a rules standpoint, and yerach ben yomo/karnei farah. And if one were to darshen those occurences as well, I think that is legitimate within the realm of drash.

joshwaxman said...

hey, you asked for examples. had they not been interested in musical variation, they would not have introduced these variant trups at different lengths.

(I can also think of pashtas *transformed* to revii to avoid repetition.)

at specific intermediate levels, one can have EITHER a tipcha or a zakef. IIRC, this is a matter of probability, rather than a hard-and-fast rule.

Legarmeih also occurs at a specific distance. Thus, where on the first word before revii (parallel to tipcha as first word before etnachta or silluq) you get a geresh. Where on the second word before revii (parallel to tipcha alternating with zakef before etnachta or silluq) you still get a geresh, EXCEPT where there are only three words in the clause, where Legarmeih can alternate, especially where there are small words in between. Where there are more words (four or more), we no longer get Legarmeih. Rather, it is either Geresh (with an intervening legarmeih for minor dichotomies, thus for the "musical variation" purpose of not repeating geresh, or telisha gedola with a geresh to mark the minor dichotomy.

There are thus rules, involving surrounding trup at the same level, and involving word-counts, which triggers munach legarmeih.

Even if it all IS entirely legitimate within the realm of derash, as you know, I like to analyze peshat alongside derash. Great that they darshen this, but how shall we explain it on a peshat level?

In the realm of darshening trup, though, my sense is that people engaged in it have developed a theory that this is the primary meaning of the trup, and that it is *peshat* in the trup. Thus, tevir always means X, and yetiv always means Y. And they say this because of a lack of awareness of a competing theory, and will then use it not to bolster existing derash, but to form a new commentary of their own making.

Anonymous said...

"had they not been interested in musical variation, they would not have introduced these variant trups at different lengths."

Or, perhaps they were interested not in musical variation, but in drashot.
There is no question that there is a musical aspect to trup. But there might also be a drasha aspect, when a trup occurs where it isn't necessary, or when another trup could have been used _within our system of rules_.

"Legarmeih also occurs at a specific distance etc."

Red herring. Of course there are rules for where and when one finds a legarmeh; you're not going to have a legarmeh immediately before an etnachta, for example. That isn't the point. There is no such thing as a legarmeh that cannot be replaced by a geresh without any loss of pausal value. (And even if you do find a few, we can darshen the ones that are not.) There is no "word-count" rule or "word-syllable" rule that triggers legarmeh instead of another expected trup, as we find with yetiv vs. pashta, for example. Your own source, Wickes, admits to this, and can only find musical variation as the reason for its occurence. And even he agrees, with respect to unusual occurences such as Mochlat, that there might be something deeper.
We can agree that this may not be the "correct" drasha on Mochalat, but it seems obvious that the Masoretes wanted to tell us something.

"Great that they darshen this, but how shall we explain it on a peshat level?"

The peshat level can simply be musical variation.

I agree that trup are frequently misused for drashot, and you hit the nail on the head when you say that often people think "tevir means X, and yetiv means Y". It's a pet peeve of mine as well. For example, your comments on Shalshelet sit better with me because there we have clear rules about where a shalshelet is found - so to darshen that trup is more of a stretch. I'm just not as harsh on this kind of drasha with respect to legarmeh, for the reasons I've elaborated... and despite the author's (lack of) knowledge on the matter, we can still salvage the drasha. I would say the same for the GRA's drashot on trup; despite the fact that they aren't muchrach, there is still some drashetic (is that a word?) value.

Where do you find pashta transformed into a revia to avoid repitition? Revia into pashta happens all the time. Don't recall the converse.

Again I will emphasize that I don't think our points of view are that far away from each other. And it's nice to have a place to discuss these details, so thank you.

joshwaxman said...

"There is no such thing as a legarmeh that cannot be replaced by a geresh without any loss of pausal value."

do you typically find repetitions of geresh? it would (often) be the earlier variation of geresh vs. telisha which will trigger the munach legarmeh in the intervening trup.

"There is no "word-count" rule or "word-syllable" rule that triggers legarmeh instead of another expected trup"
There is. Short (one-syllable) intervening words will commonly trigger legarmeh rather than geresh, though this is not exclusive.

I agree we won't find parallels to every aspect, but (without research) I suspect that there are unique parculiarities to the system throughout.

"The peshat level can simply be musical variation."
Right. So I like to explicitly SAY this.

"Where do you find pashta transformed into a revia to avoid repitition? Revia into pashta happens all the time. Don't recall the converse."
Yes. Sorry, I misspoke.

"Again I will emphasize that I don't think our points of view are that far away from each other. And it's nice to have a place to discuss these details, so thank you."

Have a great shabbos.


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