Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Targum on Yevarechecha

In Naso, in my Mikraos Gedolos, I noticed the following discrepancy between the Targum Onkelos and the Targum (Pseudo-) Yonatan on three famous pesukim in Naso. The Targum Onkelos reads:

That is, it is a translation into Aramaic. Meanwhile, the Targum Yonatan reads:

having first the Biblical Hebrew and only afterwards an expansive Targum into Aramaic.

Looking to Shadal in Ohev Ger, we get a clue as to what is going on:

247. יְבָרֶכְךָ, יָאֵר, יִשָּׂא, these three pesukim do not have Targum (מא”ד, and Savyonita). And so is correct according to the halacha, that Birkat Kohanim is read and not translated. Also, the author of the sefer יא”ר, even though he writes at length about the Targum of אָמוֹר לָהֶם [which are the words immediately preceding יְבָרֶכְךָ], writes not a matter or half a matter regarding Birkat Kohanim. It appears from his silence that his girsa was without a Targum on it.

So while my Mikraos Gedolos had a Targum Onkelos on these pesukim, dfus Savyonita does not. This Chumash with Onkelos, which Shadal often refers to, has the nice feature of trup on the Targum Onkelos. Here is what appears there. The Chumash:

and the Targum, on the facing page:

At Mechon Mamre as well, they note that in the early Yemenite manuscripts, there is no Targum on these three pesukim, even as they give one:

ו,כג דַּבֵּר אֶל-אַהֲרֹן וְאֶל-בָּנָיו לֵאמֹר, כֹּה תְבָרְכוּ אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל:  אָמוֹר, לָהֶם.  {ס}
מַלֵּיל עִם אַהֲרוֹן וְעִם בְּנוֹהִי לְמֵימַר, כְּדֵין תְּבָרְכוּן יָת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל:  כַּד תֵּימְרוּן, לְהוֹן.  {ס}  (בכתבי יד תימן עתיקים אין ברכת כוהנים בתרגום אונקלוס:
ו,כד יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָה, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ.  {ס}
יְבָרְכִנָּךְ יְיָ, וְיִטְּרִנָּךְ.  {ס}
ו,כה יָאֵר יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶּךָּ.  {ס}
יַנְהַר יְיָ שְׁכִינְתֵיהּ לְוָתָךְ, וִירַחֵים יָתָךְ.  {ס}
ו,כו יִשָּׂא יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם.  {ס}
יִסַּב יְיָ אַפּוֹהִי לְוָתָךְ, וִישַׁוֵּי לָךְ שְׁלָם.  {ס}  )

Interesting that Targum Yonatan has both the Hebrew and the Aramaic, thus also fulfilling having and not having a Targum. If Targum Yonatan was ever read aloud in shul as the Targum, this would make sense.

What does Shadal mean that Bikrat Kohanim is read but not translated? This is a reference to Megillah 25b:

ברכת כהנים נקרין ולא מתרגמין מ"ט משום דכתיב (במדבר ו, כו) ישא:

There is an interesting contrast to what seems to be the text of the Mishna (on the previous amud) there, that it isn’t read either:

מתני' מעשה ראובן נקרא ולא מתרגם מעשה תמר נקרא ומתרגם מעשה עגל הראשון נקרא ומתרגם והשני נקרא ולא מתרגם ברכת כהנים מעשה דוד ואמנון נקראין ולא מתרגמין אין מפטירין במרכבה ורבי יהודה מתיר ר' אליעזר אומר אין מפטירין (יחזקאל טז, ב) בהודע את ירושלם:

See Dikdukei Soferim on this:

As well as this interesting discussion in Hebrew Wikipedia:
במשנה במסכת מגילה נאמר שברכת כהנים אינה נקראת בקריאת התורה. אמירה זאת נחשבה תמוהה והביאה לפירושים רבים. על פי התלמוד, הכוונה היא שלא מתרגמים את פסוקי ברכת כהנים לארמית בעת הקריאה בציבור. על פי פירושו של חנוך אלבק, בעת קריאת התורה, היה הקורא מפסיק לקרוא והכהנים היו עומדים ומברכים את העם במקומו. יוסף היינמן כתב שאמירה זאת לא כוונה לקריאה בתורה אלא לכך שבעת קיום נשיאת כפיים הכהנים הורשו לומר את הפסוקים בעל פה. רחמים שר שלום[9] טוען שהאיסור על קריאת ברכת כהנים התקיים בעת שהקריאה בתורה לא נעשתה על הסדר, ונועדה למנוע מצב בו כולם קוראים את ברכת כהנים בגלל הפופולריות של הפסוקים.


SL said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention the Yerushalmi at the end of the fourth perek that explains the mishnah this way:
כה תברכו לברכה ניתנה לא ניתנה לקריאה
Frankly I wonder why no one you quoted mentioned it. Clearly the confusion over the girsa goes all the way back to a machlokes amoraim.

joshwaxman said...


Thanks, good spot! I'm planning a follow-up post, where I actually look at some of the variants. It is possible that some of the people I quote do mention the Yerushalmi in their discussion - the Wikipedia reference is, after all, second hand. As one spoiler, this certainly looks like a dispute with the immediately preceding statement in Yerushalmi, that דא"ר חלבו בשם רב חונה ברכת כהנים נקראות ולא מיתרגמות. But perhaps this is in line with the Bavli as well, which says מ"ט משום דכתיב (במדבר ו, כו) ישא. That is, it is not meant to be read by the baal koreh. Rather, they pause and have the kohanim do nesiat kapayim, because it says yisa (and not like Rashi and Rambam explain, that there is a theological issue with the word yisa which the hamon am won't understand). And thus כה תברכו לברכה ניתנה לא ניתנה לקריאה, that they should do it only as a beracha, which they perform right there. And since it is a beracha rather than keriah, by extension, there is no Targum.


SL said...

To be honest, this whole thing smells a little fishy to me. I don't have Albeck's peirush al hamishnah, but from what little I can see, I'm not sure how you can darshen yisa to mean that the kohanim should do nesias kapayim. Furthermore, saying the "kriah" with regards to birkas kohanim refers to nesias kapayim and not krias hatorah, unlike every other usage in our mishnah is very contrived; by trying to read that into the שו״ט of the yerushalmi, you would only compound that problem. And that's just the language of the gemara. In svara also, the suggestion that we might insert birkas kohanim into krias hatorah is incredibly problematic. The conceptual model for nesias kapayim depends on an element of הזמנה on the part of the ציבור--and for a ש״ץ who *represents* the ציבור to make a formal invitation, as is in the nusach (or an implicit invitation bdieved), this works well. In Albeck's model, there is not only no formal invitation, but no basis for making one, as the ב״ק does not represent the ציבור in the same way. Without this, a lot of the halakhic minutiae of nesias kapayim become impossible to explain, such as when the kohanim must go up, the nusach the ש״ץ says beforehand, etc.

Meanwhile, Rashi's pshat is not so hard to read into the gemara. As he himself implies, the idea that the text of birkas kohanim provides for theological difficulties is not unique to this sugya. I would like to add that when I first went through this perek, it seemed clear to me that everything revolved around two issues: the relationship between two adjacent pieces of text (and the people reading them)--to what extent were they continuous or disjunctive--and also the internal dynamics of a group of people--to what extent were they disparate individuals or a cohesive group. Rashi's pshat falls squarely in the latter category: if you say that our model for the "audience" in shul is one of passive listeners, then we can assume they will not extrapolate any theological problems from the text, but the dynamic approaches one similar to one person *giving* a brachah and one person *receiving* a brachah--thus reading a text which is reserved fro use a brachah is problematic (like the yerushalmi)--but if the "audience" is active, we may assume they will extrapolate theological problems, but, on the other hand, the dynamic is one in which reading a text reserved for use as a brachah is more similar to a narration than a simple "reading", and thus not inherently problematic. Albeck, on the other hand, does not fit very cleanly into the sugya, at least to my understanding.

I look forward to your follow-up. Please make sure to post Albeck's original language if you can.


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