Monday, June 04, 2012

Why the pasek after the word tamei?

Summary: Midrashically, as well as from a system of trup.

Post: In parashat Behaalotecha, consider the following pasuk (Bemidbar 9:10):

10. Speak to the children of Israel saying, Any person who becomes unclean from [contact with] the dead, or is on a distant journey, whether among you or in future generations, he shall make a Passover sacrifice for the Lord.י. דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר אִישׁ אִישׁ כִּי יִהְיֶה טָמֵא לָנֶפֶשׁ אוֹ בְדֶרֶךְ רְחֹקָה לָכֶם אוֹ לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם וְעָשָׂה פֶסַח לַה':

The trup on this is:

Note the vertical bar between טמא and לנפש. In Chelek HaDikduk, the following explanation:
There is a psik between טָמֵא and לָנֶפֶשׁ to tell you that there is a distinction between those who are ritually impure. A single individual is pushed off, but the entire tzibbur is not pushed off. (Mahari"v)
See this in Baal HaTurim here.

I wonder, though. Might this be a munach legarmeih? Consider the revii on lachem, and that pazer, telisha, geresh, and munach legarmeih are all accents used to subdivide a clause ending in a revii. Or how munach legarmeih is occasionally used in place of telisha gedola to subdivide a geresh.

But, let us say not. Let us say that it is indeed a psik. Here is an alternate explanation for why we would expect a psik.

This makes the most sense, I think. Look back at the original pasuk and see that there is repeated division towards the end of the clause, starting at the revii.

Some other interesting features raised in Chelek HaDikduk. Later, in 11:26, there is the following:

where there is a vertical bar + munach before the first pazer, and a dispute as to whether there should be a vertucal bar by the munach before the second pazer.

And later, in 11:31:

where the printers put the vertical bar, but it does not seem to be warranted based on their masoretic texts. (Unless perhaps it is to be a munach legarmeih.)

I don't have the time to investigate this today, so I'll leave it at pointing out these interesting features.


MG said...

The Masorah lists those places where a munach-paseq that precedes a Pazer is a Legarmeh. There are only <2> of them, neither in the Torah. There are also listed <12> places where a Legarmeh precedes a Kadma-Veazla, <3> where it precedes a Pashta, and <1> before a Tevir.

The definition of "precedes" is: the next _immediate_ mafsiq. I.e. even if that mafsiq is subordinate to revia.

All other cases of munach-paseq preceding any other trup (except Revia) are not Legarmeh, but Paseq.

Otherwise, all munach-paseqs preceding revia are Legarmeh, except one, in Is. 42:5.

As the next mafsiq here is Pazer, and it's not listed as an exception, this is certainly not a Legarmeh.

joshwaxman said...


Anonymous said...

Actually, to be precise, there are <11> (not <12>) places where a Legarmeh precedes a Kadma-Veazla (i.e. Kadma-Geresh), and the <1> place before a Tevir mentioned by MG, is where a Darga is in lieu of a Geresh. See Breuer, Ta'amei Hamiqra (1989), p. 118/119.


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