Thursday, February 26, 2015

The trup on מַעֲשֵׂה חָרַשׁ אֶבֶן

Summary: Shadal writes that one would expect it to be different, based on Rashi. One should put חָרַשׁ אֶבֶן together as a single phrase. I am not entirely convinced. Also, an interesting cross-out in Wickes about the trup in the Aleppo Codex on Ezra 7:13.

Post: In parashat Tetzaveh, Shemot 28:11, the pasuk reads:

The first three words of the pasuk could be translated as either

(a) the work of | a gem engraver
(b) an engraver's work | of gems

There is a very slight difference between the two. In the former, charash even is a unit (a craftsman), and maaseh is the work done by that unit. In the latter, maaseh charash is a unit (a craftsman's work), and even modifies that, clarifying upon what substance the maaseh charash was done.

At least, that is my attempt to distinguish between the two. One could perhaps suggest other ways to parse this.

The zarka (snake-like symbol) subdivides a clause ending in segolta (upside-down segol), so the trup would appear to decide in favor of (b).

According to Rashi on the pasuk, because of the patach under the resh, charash is in the construct form and so the meaning is "engraver" of gems.

[Similar to] the work of an engraver of gems, [similar to] the engravings of a seal, you shall engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel; you shall make them enclosed in gold settings.יאמַעֲשֵׂה חָרַשׁ אֶבֶן פִּתּוּחֵי חֹתָם תְּפַתַּח אֶת שְׁתֵּי הָאֲבָנִים עַל שְׁמֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מֻסַבֹּת מִשְׁבְּצוֹת זָהָב תַּעֲשֶׂה אֹתָם:
[Similar to] the work of an engraver of gems: Heb. אֶבֶן מַעִשֵׂה חָרַשׁ. The work of a craftsman of precious stones. This [word] חָרַשׁ is connected to the following word. Therefore, it is vowelized with a “pattach” at the end, and likewise, “The carpenter (חָרַשׁ עֵצִים) stretched out a line” (Isa. 44:13). [This is like] חָרָשׁ שֶׁל עֵצִים. Likewise, “The iron smith (חָרַשׁ בַּרְזֶל)” (Isa. 44:12). All these are connected and are [therefore] vowelized with “pattach” s.מעשה חרש אבן: מעשה אומן של אבנים. חרש זה דבוק הוא לתיבה שלאחריו, ולפיכך הוא נקוד פתח בסופו, וכן (ישעיה מד יג) חרש עצים נטה קו, חרש של עצים. וכן (ישעיה מד יב) חרש ברזל מעצד, כל אלה דבוקים ופתוחים:

IMHO, just asserting that charash is the construct and connected to the following word need not rule out either (a) or (b). It works readily with (a), charash even as a unit. But it could work readily with (b) as well, with the last word of the unit (maaseh charash) needing to be in construct form as the whole unit should be in construct form because of the connection to the following word.

On the other hand, מעשה אומן של אבנים might be taken to imply (a), that is, by explicitly putting in the word shel, Rashi might be saying that uman shel avanim is a unit, and it is the work of such a craftsman. I am not so convinced. I think one can parse מעשה אומן של אבנים as (b) just the same, and the only reason shel is there is to emphasize that the charash is in construct rather than absolute form.

Shadal argues that the trup is fit to be modified, to place the zarka on the first word. Thus:

"Maaseh | charash even. So it would be appropriate for the trup on these words to be. See Rashi."

See this post from 2012, where I also mentioned this pasuk, trup, Rashi and Shadal. The difference is that here I am not so convinced.

While checking to see if Wickes had anything on this, I saw the following interesting emendation of Wickes' text (pg 88) in the scan in Google Books:

By "it has been already mentioned", Wickes means footnote 1:

Note that someone has crossed out the sentence "Even Ben Asher's famous Codex at Aleppo is wrong."

I don't think someone crossed this out due to religious fervor, taking offense on behalf of the Aleppo Codex. I would guess that someone believes that this statement is incorrect.

We cannot examine the Aleppo Codex itself to confirm that there is a segolta there rather than an etnachta. Ezra is currently missing from the Aleppo Codex:
The Aleppo Codex, as it reached Israel has 294 parchment pages, written on both sides. Examination revealed that many pages were missing as a result of the damage to the Codex in 1947. Mainly the first part of the manuscript was damaged, the Pentateuch, of which only the last eleven pages remained. Almost all the Five Books of Moses had been lost, except the final chapters of the Book of Deuteronomy, which were preserved. The final pages of the Aleppo Codex are also missing, including part of the Song of Songs, and all of Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. In the rest of the books of the prophets, some pages are missing. In all, the Aleppo Codex originally had 487 pages.
(Wickes' book is copyright 1887.) However, the Leningrad Codex, which should be the same, definitely has a segolta there, and no etnachta is to be seen.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

posts so far for parashat Tetzaveh


1. Preemptive atonement for the golden calf? So suggests Rav Chaim Kanievsky, to explain why Rashi writes that the taking of a young bull was to atone for sin the golden calf, when it hadn't happened yet. I suggest an alternative, that Midrash Tanchuma (which is Rashi's source) as well as Rashi himself explicitly in parashat Ki Tisa, maintains that this was after the sin of the golden calf.

1. Tetzaveh sources -- expanded and improved.

2. The zarka and segolta on מַעֲשֵׂה חָרַשׁ אֶבֶן -- Shadal writes that one would expect it to be different, based on Rashi. One should put חָרַשׁ אֶבֶן together as a single phrase.

3. The trup symbol of psik in וְאַתָּה תְּצַוֶּה | אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל --  to hint that it was not from the money of the Israelites, but rather that clouds brought it from Gan Eden. This according to Birkas Avraham.

4. The trup on לְבָּשָׁם הַכֹּהֵן תַּחְתָּיו -- How shall we make sense of Rashi's comment on the tevir? Shadal makes up newtrup and makes it simpler.

5. YUTorah on parashat Tetzaveh.

6. Tzav in Tetzaveh -- Why does Rashi only analyze the word tzav in parashat Tzav, but not in parashat Tetzaveh? So asks the Siftei Chachamim. I think the answer is that Rashi only repeats midrash in this, rather than innovates, and Torat Kohanim is only on sefer Vayikra.


  1. Tetzaveh sources, further improved. For example, many more meforshei Rashi.
  2. Hakeves echad -- a missing heh for some Rishonim! Ibn Ezra, Rabbi Moshe haKohen, and Radak are missing a heh in hakeves ha-echadi,in parashat Tetzaveh!
  3. Arrange the lamps, or estimate the lamps I don't think Ibn Ezra is actually endorsing Yefet ben Ali's novel theory.
  4. YU Torah on parashat Tetzaveh.

  1. Tetzaveh sources -- revamped, with over 100 meforshim on the parsha and haftara.
  2. What makes a gadol? Comparing a list of traits listed in an Emes veEmunah post with a midrash about required traits. What of broad secular knowledge?
  3. What was bothering Ibn CaspiContinuing the conversation on a post in Mishpatim. How Rashbam differing from Chazal is not the same as Rashi differing from Chazal. And considering how Ibn Caspi onegrof would potentially argue with the conclusions of Chazal.
  4. Is nature incapable of making squares and right angles? Considering a position of Rav Shamshon ben Refael Hirsch.
  5. When you cause to ascend the lamps -- What is bothering Rashi? He explains בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ in a particular way, but is inconsistent elsewhere in explaining לְהַעֲלֹת נֵר תָּמִיד. Meanwhile the derasha is not initially on Behaalotecha. I consider Gur Aryeh, and then differ, and explain my own take on the matter.

  • Tetzaveh sources -- links by aliyah and perek to an online Mikraos Gedolos, and links to many meforshim on the parsha and haftara.
  • Remove me Na -- also for Ki Tisa. How Moshe was removed from a sefer.
  • A Populist Midrash
    • Different approaches to atonement, progressing from the elite, to the common people, to the poor, to the poor unlearned. Interestingly, Torah learning is given as an option before prayer.
  • The Purpose of the Tzitz
    • is "bearing the iniquity of the holy things." What does this mean? What iniquity? Three traditional answers: Rashi, that iniquity which belongs to the korbanot (e.g. tamei) but not which belongs to the owners (taking it out of designated areas); Tg. Yonatan, the iniquity of promising to bring a korban but not following up; Rashbam, recalling the korbanot so that the Jews' sins will be forgiven for them. Then, my suggestion: the "iniquity" of a mere mortal intruding in this holy place, such that he must be announced by the tinkling of bells and designated at "Holy to Hashem" to justify his presence.
To be continued...

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Cappadocia, and the Authenticity of the Zohar

Bumped to the top, so that people can comment without my prior approval. Rabbi Miller has recently visited parshablog, and while I have his attention, I was hoping that he would consider and answer to the points raised here.

Summary: More debunking of debunkings, from an article by Rabbi Moshe Miller. Was Kapotkia in Israel or in Asia Minor? Previous posts in this series discuss Rabbi Yesa and Rabbi Abba, as mentioned in the Zohar.

Post: Continuing the list of purported debunkings from this five-part article, we have this:
Scholem (and his student Tishby) cites 18 places in the Zohar where a place called Kapotkia is mentioned. Scholem argues that no such place ever existed in Israel, and it was never mentioned in Talmudic or Midrashic sources as a place in Israel, but rather as a province named Kappadokia in Asia Minor. Yet, "there is absolutely no doubt that the Zohar did not intend to refer to Kappadokia in Asia Minor but (correctly or incorrectly) to a village or town in the Land of Israel, close to Lod, as mentioned several times in the Zohar." (She'elot Bikoret, Tzion p. 43.) 
The obvious conclusion is that "the author had never so much as set foot in Palestine and that his knowledge of the country was derived entirely from literary sources which he misunderstood!" (She'elot Bikoret, Tzion, ibid.)
The following is a list of sources where the place Kapotkia appears - in Targum Onkelos, Targum Yonatan, Mishnah, Babylonian Talmud and several Midrashim! An examination of these sources reveals that none other than Scholem and Tishby were either ignorant of basic sources… or attempted to deliberately mislead their readers. 
Targum Onkelos to Devarim 2:23; Targum Yonatan to Amos 9:1 ("the Philistines from Kapotkia" - the land of the Philistines is in the Gaza Strip area, not very far from Lod); Mishnah Ketubot 13:10, 11; Shabbat 26a, 134a; Yevamot 25b, 121a; Ketubot 10a, 110b; Bava Batra 58b; Chulin 47b; Yerushalmi Yevamot 38a; Shir Hashirim Rabba 7:5; Kohelet Rabba 11:1; Tanchuma Va'era 13; ibid. BeHa'alotecha 1. 
Also: Jerusalem Talmud Yevamot 38a tells about a trip from Casarea to Kapotkia (Caesarea was also in the Mediterranean coastal region. See #3 below).
Bolding, in this instance, is my own. An examination of these sources does NOT reveal Scholem and Tishby to be ignorant of basic sources. If we start looking through this list -- for this is what it is, a mere list -- we see support for Scholem and Tishby. Indeed, in such a way that either Rabbi Miller does not know how to learn, never bothered to carefully examine the sources, or is attempting to deliberately mislead his readers.

Let us begin with the Mishna in Ketubot 13:10, which we would find in Ketubot 110b. The relevant part of the Mishna reads:
That is, the Mishna is contrasting the land of Israel, and the currency of Israel, to that of Cappadocia. This would indicate that Cappadocia is not in the land of Israel!

The next source he cites to "prove" that Kapotkia is in Eretz Yisrael is Shabbat 26a:
[To turn to] the main text: R. Simeon b. Eleazar said: One may not kindle [the Sabbath lamp] with balsam. And thus did R. Simeon b. Eleazar say: Balsam [zari] is merely the sap of resinous trees. R. Ishmael said: All that proceeds from trees, one may not light. R. Ishmael b. Berokah said: One may light only with the produce of fruit.11  R. Tarfon said: One may light [the Sabbath lamp] with nought but olive oil. Thereupon R. Johanan b. Nuri rose to his feet and exclaimed, What shall the Babylonians do, who have only sesame oil? And what shall the Medeans do, who have only nut oil? And what shall the Alexandrians do, who have only radish oil? And what shall the people of Cappadocia12  do, who have neither the one nor the other, save naphtha?
There is certainly nothing here to indicate that that Cappadocia is in Eretz Yisrael. And indeed, Soncino puts a footnote there indicating that Cappadocia is a district in Asia Minor. And indeed, compare the list of nations and places -- the Babylonians, the Medeans, the Alexandrians, and the people of Cappadocia. Why should we suddenly take this as some town in Eretz Yisrael, given a context that indicates otherwise?

To add a further proof -- if Cappadocia is in Eretz Yisrael, why would they only have naphtha? Why can't they get the olive oil Rabbi Tarfon demands, and which is surely present in every other town in Eretz Yisrael. This is a proof against Rabbi Miller's position.

What in the world is Rabbi Miller doing with this list?! And to bring these sources to indicate that Scholem and Tishby were ignorant of basic sources! Yikes!

Rabbi Miller's next "proof" is from Yevamot daf 25b:
'I KILLED HIM' etc., 'WE KILLED HIM' … MAY MARRY etc. What is the practical difference between 'I killed him' and 'we killed him'?11  — Rab Judah said: [Our Mishnah speaks of the case] where he said, 'I was present together with his murderers' — 12 Has it not, however, been taught: They said to R. Judah, 'It once happened that a robber when led out to his execution in the Cappadocian Pass13  said to those present,14  "Go and tell the wife of Simeon b. Kohen that I killed her husband when I entered Lud" [others Say: When he entered Lud], and his wife was permitted to marry again'!15  He answered them: Is there any proof from there? [It was a case] where he said, 'I was present together with his murderers'.12  But it was stated, 'a robber'! — He was apprehended on account of robbery.16  But it was stated, 'led out to his execution'! — [He was sentenced by] a heathen court of law who executed without due investigation.17 
I suppose if one reads this gemara not so carefully, one could draw the conclusion that this Cappadocia is near Lud, and thus in Eretz Yisrael. But the Cappadocian Pass, or Ford, was only the place of execution. That does not mean that the murder took place in the same country!

His next proof is a mere mention of Cappadician coins. It is as if Rabbi Miller mistakenly believes that a mere mention of the place is enough to debunk that it is in Asia Minor! The gemara is Ketubot 10a:
We have [already] heard that R. Simeon the son of Gamaliel said that thekethubah is from the Bible, for we learnt: Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says: He22  gives her23  [the kethubah] in Cappadocian coins.24
Which Soncino explains means as opposed to the coins of Eretz Yisrael. So does Rashi:
נותן לה ממעות קפוטקיא - בפרק בתרא תנן נשא אשה בא"י וגירשה בקפוטקיא נותן לה ממעות א"י שהן קלות נשא אשה בקפוטקיא וגירשה בא"י נותן לה ממעות א"י מנין הכתוב בכתובה דאזלינן לקולא רשבג"א נותן לה ממעות קפוטקיא שנשתעבד בהן כשאר מלוה דקסבר כתובה דאורייתא:

This isn't so surprising, since it is, after all, a mere reference to the Mishna we saw above.

His next source is Ketubot 110b. But that is the Mishna we saw above, just giving the daf it appears on in the Bavli. It is almost as if he is trying to increase the number of sources! I could have advised him to give the daf in the Yerushalmi where this Mishna appears as well, and he would have had a third source!

Next up, he cites Bava Batra 58b:
Over the gateway of Kaputkia2  there was an inscription, Anpak, anbag, antal.3  And what is an 'antal'?4  It is the same as the 'fourth part in Jewish ritual measurements.5
This is Cappadocia. So? What is there to indicate where this Kaputkia is?!

His next proof is from Chullin 47b:
רבי נתן אומר פעם אחת הלכתי לכרכי הים באתה אשה אחת לפני שמלה בנה ראשון ומת שני ומת שלישי הביאתו לפני ראיתיו שהיה אדום אמרתי לה בתי המתיני לו עד שיבלע בו דמו המתינה לו ומלה אותו וחיה והיו קורין אותו נתן הבבלי על שמי ושוב פעם אחת הלכתי למדינת קפוטקיא באתה אשה לפני שמלה בנה ראשון ומת שני ומת שלישי הביאתו לפני ראיתיו שהיה ירוק הצצתי בו ולא היה בו דם ברית אמרתי לה בתי המתיני לו עד שיפול בו דמו המתינה לו ומלה אותו וחיה והיו קורין אותו נתן הבבלי על שמי
What proof, besides that he encountered a Jewish woman there, is there that the medina of Cappadocia (rather than the sea towns) is in Eretz Yisrael?

The next source (which he lists twice) is Yerushalmi Yevamot 38b:
תני אמר רבי נתן מעשה שהלכתי לקיסרין של קפוטקייא והיתה שם אשה אחת והיתה יולדת זכרים והיו נימולים ומתים.  ומלת את הראשון ומת שני ומת שלישי ומת.  רביעי הביאתו לפני נסתכלתי בו ולא ראיתי בו דם ברית.  אמרתי להם הניחוהו לאחר זמן והניחוהו ומלוהו ונמצא בן קיימא והיו קורין אותו נתן בשמי.

But this is an identical story to the one that appears immediately above, from Chullin 47b, of Rabbi Natan's travel to the medina of Cappadocia, gives halachic advice to a woman, such that the baby is named Natan HaBavli after him!

But this time, at least, Rabbi Miller explains why he thinks this is a proof, more than the mere mention:
Also: Jerusalem Talmud Yevamot 38a tells about a trip from Casarea to Kapotkia (Caesarea was also in the Mediterranean coastal region. See #3 below).
But the Yerushalmi does not tell "about a trip from Casarea to Kapotkia"! The words are מעשה שהלכתי לקיסרין של קפוטקייא, "there was an incident in which I traveled to Cesarea of Cappadocia"!

Apparently, Rabbi Miller is under the mistaken assumption that the Caesaria in Eretz Yisrael was the only one in the world. It is most assuredly NOT. To cite Wikipedia,
Caesarea, a city name derived from "Caesar", was the name of numerous cities and locations in the Roman Empire, many of which bear different names at present (or might have had alternate names also in the Roman period itself). Among them:

  • Caesarea Maritima/Caesarea Palaestina, Roman provincial capital of Palestine

  • Caesarea Philippi (Banias), in the Golan Heights

  • Caesarea Mazaca, city in Cappadocia, modern Kayseri, Turkey

  • Anazarbus, name of the city of Caesarea in Cilicia after the fall of the Roman Empire

  • Antioch, Pisidia, proper name of the city of Caesarea Antiochia, near modern Yalvaç, Turkey

  • Germanicopolis (Bithynia), the city of Caesarea Germanice in Bithynia

  • Cherchell, modern name of the city of Caesarea in Algeria

  • Shaizar (or Saijar), the proper name of the city of Caesarea Magna, in Syria

  • The island of Caesarea, modern Jersey, in the Channel Islands (the derivation of the island's name is disputed)

  • Caesarea, in Italy, was a disappeared city, forming a Pentapolis with RavennaForlìForlimpopoli and Classe

  • Thus, there is a Caesara in the medina of Cappadocia, and when Rabbi Natan said לקיסרין של קפוטקייא, it was a way of making sure you didn't confuse it, e.g., with the one in Eretz Yisrael. And Rabbi Miller has the chutzpa to call Scholem and Tishbi amaratzim?!

    Rabbi Miller's next source is Shir Hashirim Rabba 7:5. But this is the same incident with Rabbi Natan, where it is refered to as the Medina of Cappadocia!
    אמר רבי נתן:
    מעשה שבאתי למדינת קפוטקיא והיתה שם אשה אחת והיתה יולדת בנים זכרים ונמולים ומתים. מלה ראשון ומת, שני ומת, שלישי ומת, רביעי הביאתו לפני וראיתי בשרו ירוק נסתכלתי בו ולא מצאתי בו דם ברית.
    אמרו לי: מה אנו מולין אותו? 
    אמרתי להם: המתינו והניחו אותו, עד שיבא לו דם ברית.
    דתנינן תמן:
    הקטן החולה אין מולין אותו עד שיבריא והניחו אותו.
    מלו אותו ונמצא הבן של חיים והוציאו שמו נתן כשמי, הוי, כמו חלאים

    Rabbi Miller's next source is Kohelet Rabba 11:1:

    But this is Rabbi Akiva traveling at sea, seeing a ship sink, and then arriving at the medina, that is, country, of Cappadocia. Just as Rabbi Natan HaBavli!

    Rabbi Miller's next "proof" is from the Midrash Tanchuma on parashat Vaera.
    אמר רבי אליעזר:
    כל צר חסר שבמקרא, במלכות אדום הכתוב מדבר, שהיא מצירה לישראל.
    וכל צור מלא, בקפוטקייא הכתוב מדבר. מצרים לקו בדם, אף אדום כן. 
    The point is in disambiguating the two Tyres, Tzor. When it is chaser, it refers to the one of the kingdom of Edom, while is malei, it refers to that of Cappadocia. But what is there to show that this refers to Eretz Yisrael? Indeed, one might well be able to demonstrate this one way or another, by examining every instance of Tzor spelled malei in Tanach, and seeing which makes sense in context. I won't bother, because there is no reason yet given by Rabbi Miller for thinking there was a Cappadocia in Eretz Yisrael!

    His next "proof" is from Midrash Tanchuma on Behaalotecha, which is just another rehash of something already cited above. It is great how one can multiply these lists in this manner:
    רבי טרפון אומר:

    אין מדליקין אלא בשמן זית בלבד. 
    עמד רבי יהודה על רגליו ואמר ליה לרבי טרפון:
    מה יעשו אנשי מדי שאין להם אלא שמן אגוזים, מה יעשו אנשי אלכסנדריא שאין להם אלא שמן צנונות, ומה יעשו אנשי קפוטקיא שאין להם לא זה ולא זה? 
    This is about what sort of oil one may use to light. As I demonstrates above, this is actually a proof against Rabbi Miller's position.

    There was also the Targum Onkelos and Targum Yonatan. It has been a while since we've seen Rabbi Miller's words, so I'll give the relevant quote:
    Targum Onkelos to Devarim 2:23; Targum Yonatan to Amos 9:1 ("the Philistines from Kapotkia" - the land of the Philistines is in the Gaza Strip area, not very far from Lod)
    The pasuk in Devarim 2:23 reads:

    כג  וְהָעַוִּים הַיֹּשְׁבִים בַּחֲצֵרִים, עַד-עַזָּה--כַּפְתֹּרִים הַיֹּצְאִים מִכַּפְתֹּר, הִשְׁמִידֻם וַיֵּשְׁבוּ תַחְתָּם.23 and the Avvim, that dwelt in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorim, that came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.--

    So Caphtorim came from Caphtor, destroyed the Avim who lived in Gaza, and dwelt in their stead. Did these Caphtorim come from nearby or from far away? To be determined. But Onkelos writes:

    ב,כג וְהָעַוִּים הַיֹּשְׁבִים בַּחֲצֵרִים, עַד-עַזָּה--כַּפְתֹּרִים הַיֹּצְאִים מִכַּפְתֹּר, הִשְׁמִידֻם וַיֵּשְׁבוּ תַחְתָּם.וְעַוָּאֵי דְּיָתְבִין בִּרְפִיחַ, עַד עַזָּה--קְפֻטְקָאֵי דִּנְפַקוּ מִקְּפֻטְקְיָא, שֵׁיצִיאוּנוּן וִיתִיבוּ בַּאֲתַרְהוֹן.

    Thus, Caphtor = Keputkeya.

    The pasuk in Amos reads:

    א  רָאִיתִי אֶת-אֲדֹנָי נִצָּב עַל-הַמִּזְבֵּחַ, וַיֹּאמֶר הַךְ הַכַּפְתּוֹר וְיִרְעֲשׁוּ הַסִּפִּים וּבְצַעַם בְּרֹאשׁ כֻּלָּם, וְאַחֲרִיתָם, בַּחֶרֶב אֶהֱרֹג:  לֹא-יָנוּס לָהֶם נָס, וְלֹא-יִמָּלֵט לָהֶם פָּלִיט.1 I saw the Lord standing beside the altar; and He said: Smite the capitals, that the posts may shake; and break them in pieces on the head of all of them; and I will slay the residue of them with the sword; there shall not one of them flee away, and there shall not one of them escape.

    where "smite the capitals" is smite the Kaphtor in Hebrew. The Targum takes this as a reference to the Kaphtorites, or at least the Plishtim who were initially in Kaphtor. I don't see it inside this Targum, but perhaps I'm looking in the wrong place. Maybe there is some other Targum of this pasuk somewhere.

    So, where did they come from. Where is the Biblical Caphtor? Where did the Plishtim initially come from? Well, read this:
    This fits with the idea that the Plishtim originated among the "sea peoples"
    and read up on Caphtor:
    "The Septuagint translates the name as "Kappadokias" and the Vulgate similarly renders it as "Cappadocia". The seventeenth-century scholar Samuel Bochart[5] understood this as a reference to Cappadocia in Anatolia but this was not the understanding of the Jewish targumists who rendered this name in Aramaic as "Caphutkia" meaning the town of Pelusium at the eastern edge of the Nile delta. This identification is also made by the tenth century commentator Saadia Gaon and Benjamin of Tudela, the twelfth-century Jewish traveller from Navarre, who both wrote that "Damiata" (Arabic Dumyat), the name for the region of Pelusium in their day, was the biblical Caphtor. "
    So this is not the only source that puts it as Cappadocia. Either one of these Cappadocias -- meaning, even the one at Pelusium, is not in Eretz Yisrael. So why take this mere reference to the city or country as evidence that it is in Eretz Yisrael. Certainly others put Caphtor as Cappadocia and yet located this place outside of Eretz Yisrael.

    What gets me upset about this piece is that it is written in such an erudite style that the reader is just astonished at how much the writer knows and how little Scholem and Tishby know. Hardly any reader will bother to look up the sources, and discover the truth. And that truth is that Scholem and Tishby likely looked up these very sources, and this was what led them to the conclusion that Kapotkia is not in Eretz Yisrael, but is in Asia Minor.

    The copious errors in this article might give us insight into what misled Rav Moshe de Leon, or whoever the late author of the Zohar was. For example, he might have seen the Yerushalmi mention Ceasaria of Cappodocia, and thought that Caesaria is in Eretz Yisrael, though attributing such amaratzus to Rav Moshe de Leon seems unlikely. But he might have simply seen the Onkelos in parashat Devarim and assumed that the Philistines conquered from nearby. Or seen that Rabbi Akiva arrived in Kapodkia, and for some reason assumed that it is a place in Eretz Yisrael.

    Wednesday, February 04, 2015

    Archeih, and the Authenticity of the Zohar

    Note: Bumped this rather old post (from 2/13/2011) to the top so that comments can go through without my explicit approval each time.

    Summary: Continuing to debunk Rabbi Moshe Miller's debunkings. This time, based on the word ארחיה Here are some earlier posts responding to the article on the basis of Rabbi Yesa, Rabbi Abba, Cappadocia, and Kefar Kanya, as mentioned in the Zohar.

    Post: Rabbi Moshe Miller wrote a seemingly erudite article debunking many proofs of late authorship of the Zohar. But when we actually look up the sources, we see that he is either incapable of understanding peshat in a gemara or else is deliberately misleading his readers.

    Here is  what Rabbi Miller writes:
    The claim is that Hebrew expressions first used in medieval times were used by the author of the Zohar, showing that it must have been compiled by someone [i.e., Moshe de Leon] during this era. As demonstrated below, many of these expressions are also found in early sources, contrary to the skeptics' claims.
    Demonstrate away!
    Archeiha, meaning "manner" or "way" found many times in Zohar. Also found in Niddah 20b. This is also written many times as orcheiha in Zohar and in Shabbat 11b, 123b, Eruvin 42a, 68a; Rosh HaShanah 15a; Ketuvot 31b, etc., etc.
    (It seems that Rabbi Miller does not know the correct nikkud for this Aramaic word.) So, if we look at Niddah 20b, will we find the word archeiha, or rather archeih, meaning "manner" or "way"? This is the gemara in Niddah:
    דההיא אתתא דאייתא דמא לקמיה דרבי אלעזר הוה יתיב רבי אמי קמיה ארחיה אמר לה האי דם חימוד הוא בתר דנפקה אטפל לה רבי אמי א"ל בעלי היה בדרך וחמדתיו קרי עליה (תהלים כה, יד) סוד ה' ליראיו אפרא הורמיז אמיה דשבור מלכא שדרה דמא לקמיה דרבא הוה יתיב רב עובדיה קמיה ארחיה אמר לה האי דם חימוד הוא
    So the word appears. But what does it mean?
    Because a woman once brought some blood before R. Eleazar when R. Ammi sat in his presence. Having smelt it he6  told her, 'This is blood of lust'.7  After she went out R. Ammi joined her and she told him, 'My husband was away on a journey but I felt an intense longing for him'. Thereupon he8  applied to him6  the text, The counsel of the Lord is with them that fear Him.9
    Ifra Hormiz,10  the mother of King Shapur, once sent some blood to Raba when R. Obadiah was sitting in his presence. Having smelt it he said to him, 'This is blood of lust'.7 
    This is NOT the word orach, as a translation of the word derech! Rather, it would appear to be based on the word re'ach, smell.

    What about the other examples? It seems that Rabbi Miller has changed the goalposts. He is inserting a vav into the word, to make it urcheih. Is this part of the original claim? I would guess not, and that the point was that in the Zohar, all these times, it says archeih instead of urcheih.

    But the word with a vav indeed appears in Shabbat 11b:
    א"ל אביי אימור דשמעת ליה לרבי מאיר במידי דלאו היינו אורחיה במידי דהיינו אורחיה מי שמעת ליה
    Or, in English:
    Abaye said to him. When have you heard R. Meir [to give this ruling], in respect to something which it is not natural [to carry thus]; but have you heard him in respect to something which demands that mode [of carrying]?
    Thus, his normal way or manner of carrying. I won't bother investigating these other cases, because I agree that orcheih / urcheih would mean that. But this does not seem to match the argument put forth by the Zohar skeptics.

    Of course, he could simply claim that all these chaser vav examples are scribal errors, or that the word is similar enough that it would have existed in all these forms. Whether one finds this plausible is another story, but regardless, he hasn't uprooted the question posed by these scholars.


    Blog Widget by LinkWithin