Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Those Bad Egyptians


In the beginning of the פרשה we are promised ז:ט"ו וְכָל מַדְוֵי מִצְרַיִם הָרָעִים אֲשֶׁר יָדַעְתָּ, לֹא יְשִׂימָם בָּךְ, we will not be subjected to "madvei Mitzrayim hara'im".  It seems that most of the meforshim explain it to mean the bad sicknesses of Mitzrayim. However, a while back, it seemed to me that the notes in the pasuk suggest otherwise. The notes קדמא and עזלא are often together and when they are, they join the two words. The notes קדמא and עזלא appear on the words מצרים and רעים. It would seem, therefore, that the word רעים is describing מצרים and it means the sicknesses of the bad Egyptians. This in fact, would seem to be the way that the תרגומים translate it. אונקלוס is slightly ambiguous but תרגום יונתן seems clear.


However, I was very soon notified by my friend, Ari Brodsky that my assumption on the טעמים was incorrect:
I disagree with the suggestion from the te'amim.  If I'm not mistaken, there
is a telisha ketana on the word madvei.  A telisha ketana is a mesharet,

just as is the kadma.  If I remember correctly from what I read in Rav

Breuer's book Ta'amei Hamikra beKaf Alef Sefarim uveSifrei Eme"t, he
explains that when you have the sequence telisha ketana - kadma - azla,
there is no way to tell from the te'amim whether the word with the kadma is
more closely connected to the word with the azla, or to the word with the
telisha ketana.  It could be either way.  (I'm not saying that there's
anything wrong with understanding it the way the Targumim do, I'm just
saying that you can't prove it either way from the ta'amei hamikra in this
case.)

1 comment:

stjust said...

of course, if we put the ta3amim on the side and stick to the Hebrew language, then mitzrayim here describes the country/nation of mitrayim as a singular entity, while ra3eem in plural is obviously referring to the plural madvei.
otherwise the torah would be referring to mitzrayim ha ra3ah, in singular. don't you think?
PS: I wonder if r' onqelos or ben uzziel derived their translation from the ta3amim or midrashim they were trying to expound on.