Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Acharei Mos: Why is the esnachta on לַפָּרֹכֶת?

The placement of the etnachta on the second pasuk in Acharei Mot seems a bit odd:

The etnachta usually marked the logical midpoint of the pasuk, yet this does not seem to be the case here. Namely, the etnachta is at the place of the double-dashes, [--]:
and the LORD said unto Moses: 'Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil [--] before the ark-cover which is upon the ark; that he die not; for I appear in the cloud upon the ark-cover.
We should expect that it would appear after the word "ark", or after the phrase "that he die not", rather than in the middle of the description of the holy place.

Rabbi Yaakov Tzvi Mecklenburg, in his sefer haKsav vehaKabbalah, asks this very question:

He writes:

haKsav vehaKabbalah
"within the veil -- the author of the trup connected אֶל-פְּנֵי הַכַּפֹּרֶת [namely, the phrase immediately following the etnachta] with the end of the verse, rather than putting the break in the statement via the etnachta upon וְלֹא יָמוּת, for the primary reason that he should not come [there] is because of the revelation of the Divine Presence, and that is upon the ark-cover [kapores] between the cherubs. Therefore he placed the etnacha on the word לַפָּרֹכֶת."

I am not sure who רל"ש is. Anyone know?

Meanwhile, here is how Shadal addresses the issue:

"וְאַל-יָבֹא בְכָל-עֵת אֶל-הַקֹּדֶשׁ -- The trup assigned here is quite strange, for the etnachta should properly be under וְלֹא יָמוּת. [Josh: Here he rewrites the trup as it would be were the etnachta moved over.] And perhaps the position of the author of the trup is like Rabbi Yehuda [in Menachot 27b], that within the veil is a prohibition [punishable by lashes] while before the ark-cover is [punishable] by death:

 רבי יהודה אומר כל היכל כולו ומבית לפרכת בארבעים ואל פני הכפרת במיתה

'Rabbi Yehuda said: the entire heical as well as mibeit laparochet is with forty [lashes], while el penei hakapores is [punished] with death'. 

And it is further possible to say that perhaps, in the Second Temple, there was one who said that nowadays, that there is no ark and no ark-cover, it is fitting that it would be permitted to enter into the Holy of Holies. Therefore the Sages saw fit to split the statement in the verse as if it were two statements, namely 

  1. "that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil" (even if there is no ark or ark-cover there, it is forbidden to approach there, and still)
  2. "before the ark-cover which is upon the ark" (do not come at all times) - "lest you die" -- 

[Thus] during the time that the ark is there, there is death, and at the time the ark is not there, there is not death, but there is still a prohibition [warning]. And the authors of the trup (who were after the closing of the Talmud) appointed the trup based on the reading which was received orally from the Sages of the Second Temple era."

I would note that the Chachamim in the gemara, as per the gemara's parsing, also separate the pasuk in an odd way:
רבנן סברי אל הקודש בלא יבא מבית לפרכת ואל פני הכפרת בלא ימות
ור' יהודה סבר אל הקודש ומבית לפרכת בלא יבא ואל פני הכפרת בלא ימות

The Malbim has the same idea as Shadal. In his commentary on the Sifra, HaTorah veHamitzvah, he writes the following.

"And the position of Rabbi Yehuda that מִבֵּית לַפָּרֹכֶת relates to the earlier part [of the verse], and also it is only with a warning [prohibition], and אֶל-פְּנֵי הַכַּפֹּרֶת alone falls under 'lest he die'. (And the author of the trup who pointed the etnachta upon the word לַפָּרֹכֶת, it appears that his position was like Rabbi Yehuda."
Meanwhile, William Wickes, in his book on the system of trup, on page 41-42, considers this pasuk to be one instance of many of a trup pattern which occurs during specification:

The red arrow points to where he mentions the specific pasuk:

In a lengthy footnote, #21, he discusses this pasuk and argues with Shadal, Malbim, Geiger and Dillman in attributing the trup to the interpretation of Rabbi Yehuda in Menachos. While he is not unwilling to say that trup, particularly strange trup, was influenced by Rabbinic interpretation, here he does not think it likely since Rabbi Yehuda is a daas Yachid. On the contrary, he suggests that perhaps Rabbi Yehuda drew on the trup (really caused by reason Wickes gave) in order to support his own unique position.

See also Rashi on Yoma 52b, d"h vayaalu olot kevasim:

If there is a nafka mina in disputes as to the proper trup, and if as Malbim and Shadal say, the trup is like Rabbi Yehuda, and if Rambam paskens like the Chachamim, should we change our trup to match?


Reuven Chaim Klein said...

(commenting so that I can subscribe to the comments)

jake said...

Rashal is Rabbi Yehuda Leib Schapiro, who wrote "הרכסים לבקעה". The explanation cited by Mecklenburg can be found here: http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=45410&st=&pgnum=119

jake said...

That should be "Ralash".

joshwaxman said...


Eric said...

The Rechasim L'bika was also the brother of R. Mendel Frankfurter, grandfather of R. S. R. Hirsch.

DF said...

Well-presented post. I learn so much from this site.



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