Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Singers and Gatekeepers

I recently came across a גמרא whose grammar puzzled me.

(:מיתיבי משורר ששיער ומשוער ששורר אינן במיתה (ערכין י"א


The גמרא is discussing the לוים and the two different jobs they held in the בית המקדש - to sing and to be the gatekeepers. Each לוי was designated as either one or the other. The question at hand is the punishment involved for a לוי who performs the other duty which is not his. What puzzled me is that the word שיער would seem to be in the past tense - a singer who "gatekept." But the word שורר seems to be present tense - a gatekeeper who sings, rather than a gatekeeper who sang. Is this correct? Why would the גמרא change tense? But then again, what would be past tense of שורר?

5 comments:

Dave said...

I thought that שורר is the past. Isn't this a פולל root - an extension of the original ע"י form. I would expect the present to be משורר.

Simon said...

שורר might be present Qal if the root was שר"ר, but from the root שו"ר, it's a Polel past tense.

The form I don't understand is משוער: I would have expected מְשָׁעֵר.

Simon said...

... or, after looking at the forms in I Chronicles 9 (thank you Tosafot!) I would expect the sentence to beמשורר
.ששער ושוער ששורר

ELIE said...

השורש הוא שיר כלומר ע"ו -ע"י
לדעת הבחור פולל הוא בניין פיעל
לדעת הרד"ק הוא בניין בפני עצמו

לפי הדקדוק צריך להיות משורר ששיער כי בניין פיעל מצוי בלשון חז"ל
ושוער ששורר
אין לנו רשות להגיה בלי מקורות מדויקים

Elyakim said...

The gatekeeper could sing while he is gatekeeping, but not the reverse.
Not only should the duties not be exchanged, they must even not be mixed