Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What is the role of shalshelet?

Summary: Should we darshen the psik of it? What about the shalsheles leads to these various interpretations?

Post: In Bereishit 39:8, in response to the attempted seduction by Potiphar's wife:

The word וימאן means 'and he refused'.

Birkas Avraham writes of the meaning of the shalshelet and the pesik which follows:

בפסוק ( בראשית לט ח) וימאן ויאמר וגו,  יש טעם פסיק (קו נטוי) אחר תיבת וימאן,  ואפשר לבאר זאת עם מה שכתוב בס' דברי  יחזקאל להרב משינובע ז"ל , על טעם  השלשלת שעל תיבת וימאן, שתחילה מיאן  ושילש במיאון וענה איני רוצה, בלא לתת  טעם, כי אפשר שדרך ויכוח יתפתה, ורק נוסף  למיאון זה, הוסיף אחר כך הטעם עיי"ש .

ושוב ראיתי שיסוד זה על טעם השלשלת  כאן, כתב כבר רבנו מהר"מ אלשיך ז"ל , שעל כן בראשונה החליט שוימאן, כמו שקושר  עצמו בשלשלת, ואחר כך אמר והשיב טענות  הן אדוני וכו'. והוסיף הרב אלשיך ז"ל  שבתיבת הן רמז לה יוסף מה שידענו  מרבותינו ז"ל כי אותיות ה' ון' אין להם בן זוג,  כי כל אחת נפרדת עיי"ש

וכבר דרשו במדרש 'לקח טוב' ומדרש 'שכל  טוב' על הטעם 'שלשלת' שעל תיבת וימאן,  שרומז שהיה מיאון אחר מיאון,  וכעין שלשלת' שעל תיבת (בראשית יט,טז ) ויתמהמה. ובלקח טוב דייק זה גם מהפסיק וגם מהטעם .

ועיין בס' קדושת לוי כאן, שפירש  ששלשלת הוא הרמת קול, כאדם אשר ממאס  בדבר ומרים קול במיאוס הדבר ההוא  עיי"ש" .  ועיין במדרש 'שכל טוב' ובדברינו בפסוק  (בראשית כד יב, ) ויאמר ה' אלקי אדוני  אברהם, הקרה נא לפני

"In the pasuk of וימאן..., there is a trup symbol of pesik (a vertical bar: | ) after the word וימאן, and it is possible to explain this based on what is written in sefer Divrei Yechezkel from the Rav of Szeniawa, za'l, upon the trup symbol of shalshelet on the word וימאן, that first he refused and tripled {? chained?} in refusal, and said 'I do not want', without giving a reason; for it is possible that while arguing he would be seduced. And only in addition to this {absolute} refusal, he added after this a reason... see inside.

And I further saw a principle upon this trup of shalshelet here, that the Alshich za'l already wrote, that therefore at first he was absolute in וימאן, like one who ties himself in chains; and afterwards he spoke and answered arguments of 'behold my master...' And the Rav Alshich za'l adds that in the word הן is hinted by Yosef that which our Sages za'l knew, that the letters ה and ן do not have a match, but rather each of them is separate... see inside.

And they already darshened in the Midrash of Lekach Tov and the Midrash Sechel Tov regarding the shalshelet upon the word וימאן, that it hints that there was refusal after refusal, just as in the shalshelet upon the word (in Bereishit 19:16) ויתמהמה. And in Lekach Tov they deduced this from both the psik and the trup {of shalshelet}.

And see in sefer Kedushas Levi here {R' Levi Yitzchak of Berdichiv}, that he explains that the shalshelet represents the raising of the voice, like a person who is disgusted by a matter and raises his voice in disgust of that matter. See there. And see in midrash Sechel Tov, and in our words in the verse (Bereishit 24:12) ויאמר ה' אלקי אדוני  אברהם, הקרה נא לפני."

This is, again, a psik which does not seem to be a true psik. The vertical bar appears to follow every instance of shalshelet, and thus is a part of the shalshelet. Thus, to extract the list from Wickes:

To cite R' Breuer on this:
The vertical bar that always follows a shalshelet is not a psik, but rather is part of the shalshelet itself, just like the vertical bar is part of the munach legarmeh.
Darshening the psik here seems similar to darshening the psik by a munach legarmeih. Some do it -- we saw, last week, Chizkuni do it. But one can take exception to it, I think.

Here is what Lekach Tov writes about it:
Miun achar miun harbeih peamim, dichsiv bifsik uveshalsheles.
So, yes, it does mention the psik, though as part of the shalsheles.

I think that we can take stock of these various suggestion and consider how they arose.

  1. Absolute in his refusal -- based on the word shalshelet, which means "chain". Maybe also the orthography, representing the same chain. Then, the word it is upon is the refusal.
  2. 'Refusal after refusal' -- primarily based on the musical value of the shalshelet. It sounds like someone repeating something.
  3. Raising the voice -- again, based on the special musical value of the shalshelet.

Wickes repeats an explanation for the shalshelet -- and it is a consistent one, across all examples -- from R' Yehuda HaChassid (at least, it would seem to be that famous 12th-13th century one, since Zalman HaNakdan was 13th century):

"In every place that it [=shalsheles] comes, the matter speaks of an angel, either explicitly or in the midrash -- in the name of Rabbenu Yehuda Chassid."

This might have started from the explicit, and perhaps the midrash comes from the pattern of shalsheles with the angelic details in other places. Maybe we should consider the seven instances at this juncture.

1) Bereishit 19:16, by Lot fleeing Sodom, in Vayera:

16. But he tarried, and the men took hold of his hand and his wife's hand, and the hand of his two daughters, out of the Lord's pity for him, and they took him out and placed him outside the city.טז. וַיִּתְמַהְמָהּ וַיַּחֲזִקוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים בְּיָדוֹ וּבְיַד אִשְׁתּוֹ וּבְיַד שְׁתֵּי בְנֹתָיו בְּחֶמְלַת יְ־הֹוָ־ה עָלָיו וַיֹּצִאֻהוּ וַיַּנִּחֻהוּ מִחוּץ לָעִיר:

The men who took hold of Lot's hand were angels.

2) Bereishit 24:12, in Chayei Sarah, when Eliezer asks for Divine assistance in identifying Yitzchak's proper mate:

12. And he said, "O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, please cause to happen to me today, and perform loving kindness with my master, Abraham.יב. וַיֹּאמַר יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֵי אֲדֹנִי אַבְרָהָם הַקְרֵה נָא לְפָנַי הַיּוֹם וַעֲשֵׂה חֶסֶד עִם אֲדֹנִי אַבְרָהָם:

This assistance had been more or less promised by Avraham, earlier in pasuk 7, with the words:
הוּא יִשְׁלַח מַלְאָכוֹ לְפָנֶיךָ וְלָקַחְתָּ אִשָּׁה לִבְנִי מִשָּׁם

Thus, this is the work of an angel.

3) Here in Vayeshev, in Bereishit 39:8:

8. But he refused, and he said to his master's wife, "Behold, with me my master knows nothing about anything in the house, and all he has he has given into my hand.ח. וַיְמָאֵן וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל אֵשֶׁת אֲדֹנָיו הֵן אֲדֹנִי לֹא יָדַע אִתִּי מַה בַּבָּיִת וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר יֶשׁ לוֹ נָתַן בְּיָדִי:

I don't know what angel there is here. However, if I had to guess, I would identify Yosef seeing his father's image, as recounted in the midrash. And then I would guess that some midrash makes this into an angelic appearance. After thinking this, I discovered that this is indeed so -- that some sources do make this equation. Thus:
 Gabriel is mentioned as protecting Joseph when tempted by Potiphar's wife, the angel assuming the guise of Joseph's father. This occurs also in the works of Arabic authors (Ṭabari, Zamakhshari).
(Maybe we can also deduce something from the sources brought down by Ibn Caspi, later.)

4) In Vayikra 8:23, in parashat Tzav:

23. And he slaughtered [it], and Moses took some of its blood, and placed it on the cartilage of Aaron's right ear, on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot.כג. וַיִּשְׁחָט וַיִּקַּח מֹשֶׁה מִדָּמוֹ וַיִּתֵּן עַל תְּנוּךְ אֹזֶן אַהֲרֹן הַיְמָנִית וְעַל בֹּהֶן יָדוֹ הַיְמָנִית וְעַל בֹּהֶן רַגְלוֹ הַיְמָנִית:

I don't know of a midrash that brings angels into this picture, and do not have time to research it.

5) Then, in Yeshaya 13:8:
8. And they shall panic; pangs and throes shall seize them; like a woman in confinement they shall writhe; each man shall be amazed at his fellow; their faces are faces of flames.

Perhaps the midrash brings in angels causing this panic?

6) Then, in Amos 1:2:
2. And he said: The Lord shall roar from Zion, and He shall give forth His voice from Jerusalem, and the dwellings of the shepherds shall be cut off, and the choice of the fruitful land shall wither.

7) and in Ezra 5:15:
15. And he said to him, 'Take these vessels, go, bring them down into the Temple that is in Jerusalem, and the House of God shall be built on its place.'

I have no insight into the angelic involvement in these. But perhaps, as I suggested, this was a derivation on the basis of the shalsheles and the pattern begun in sefer Bereishit.

Here is an article suggesting that shalsheles denotes hesitation. Once again, I would point to a musical cue here. The notes of shalsheles, as presently sung, do suggest hesitation. And furthermore, we can build up from Lot, where the actual words denote hesitation.

One Rishon who says this is Rabbi Yosef Ibn Caspi. Thus:

"And he refused: Also, the trup of shalsheles is of the commentary of the Men of the Great Assembly, who learned it from Moshe. And I already wrote this regarding Bereishit 19:16, וַיִּתְמַהְמָהּ. And meanwhile, it does not appear on the instances of וַיְמָאֵן which occur by Yaakov twice (in Bereshit 37:35 and 48:19). And be not astonished if the chacham Yosef hesitated regarding this dangerous matter, forwards or backwords, for so is fitting to every chacham[4]. And perhaps his fellow, who name is like his name, took a different path[5]. And what was kept back from our Sages, za'l, who said regarding Yehuda that an angel of Hashem pushed him {to act}[6], while by Yosef they said he inspected himself and did not find himself {ready}[1]? Praised by one who knows to recognize the loftiness of their words."

See also the footnotes designated in [square brackets].

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you can get to any of these or maybe you alredy did it would be appreciated



or this Rambam Chanukah one:



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