Thursday, November 16, 2017

Different types of kissing

A reader recently asked me about the different forms of the word "to kiss" found in the תורה. As a simple illustration:

בראשית ל"ג:ד וַיִּשָּׁקֵהוּ
בראשית ל"ב:א וַיְנַשֵּׁק

There seem to be two different בנינים used. Is there a difference in meaning between the two or any reasoning behind why one would be used more than the other?

In last week's פרשה we had:
  בראשית כ"ז:כ"ו גְּשָׁה נָּא וּשְׁקָה לִּי בְּנִי
Is that yet a third בנין or simply a conjugation of the first one above?

I will eat, you will eat

יעקב , כ"ז:י"ט tells קוּם נָא שְׁבָה וְאָכְלָה מִצֵּידִי ,יצחק. Mispronouncing it וְאֹכְלָה would drastically change the meaning from the second-person "you shall eat" to the first-person "I shall eat," as evidenced by its use in פסוק כ"ה. Fortunately, our בעל קריאה last year was, what my son would call, an oy-er, and a very consistent one at that, so the mistake stood out and I was able to catch it. But this is a mistake that an oh-er could very easily get away with, unfortunately.

It should also be noted (as Elie did below) that וְאֹכְלָה has a שוא נע under the כ whereas וְאָכְלָה has a שוא נח.

A reader has cleverly pointed out:
An amusing mnemonic device: The pasuk states: "קוּם־נָ֣א שְׁבָ֗ה" and not קוּם שְׁבָ֗ה נָ֣א -- It is not a שוא נע!

(From) the Fats of the Land

The ברכה to יעקב begins ויתן לך האלהים מטל השמים ומשמני הארץ כ"ז:כ"ח. One might be tempted to translate the last phrase as "from the fats of the land," with the מ"ם as a prefix meaning "from." However, if that were the case, there should be a דגש in the שי"ן. But there is not. It therefore seems to be that the מ"ם is in fact part of the word - משמן. The same would apply in עשו's ברכה in פסוק ל"ט although it is harder to understand in context there.

Anonymous MG said...
The Minchas Shai brings down old manuscripts that in fact did have a dagesh in the shin, then dismisses these versions. He quotes the Eben Ezra and the Radak who both say that the "מ" of "מטל" applies to both words, implying that the "מ" of "משמני" is not one of שימוש. Then he quotes the Chizkuni who seems to imply that the "מ" is indeed a שימוש here.
עיין שם.
November 22, 2009 9:31 PM

Friday, November 10, 2017

My Master's Brother(s)

פרק כד contains two very similar phrases with one very important distinction which would seem to change the meaning:
כ"ז בַּדֶּרֶךְ נָחַנִי ה' בֵּית אֲחֵי אֲדֹנִי
מ"ח לָקַחַת אֶת בַּת אֲחִי אֲדֹנִי לִבְנוֹ
The first one seems plural and the second is singular. However, there are two points that trouble me about the above observation:

1) I cannot understand why it would be plural. It doesn't really make much sense in context.

2) The תרגום of both is אחוהי which would seem to imply singular on both counts. When תרגום translates אֲחֵי that is clearly plural, such as במדבר כ"ז:ד, he actually leaves the word untouched and translates as אֲחֵי.
Is it possible that even אֲחֵי is singular here? (And if so, perhaps does not need to be corrected.) And of course, if so, the next question would be why does the word change?

Update 2016: Based on Anonymous's comment below (the second one) question #2 is not a question at all. In looking into it further, I came up with a theory to address my first question. The first פסוק is אליעזר's actual private prayer. אברהם sent him to find a girl from his family, seemingly without any further direction. So in truth, he could have ended up at any of אברהם's relatives and that would have sufficed. He was praising השם for guiding him to "the house of [one of] his master's brothers," אחי being used more loosely as a general reference to all relatives.

When telling over the story to רבקה's family, however, he felt that wouldn't make them feel terribly special. Using the singular form implied that he was specifically pleased with having found a girl from this particular family.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

באר שבע

The episode of the wells involving יצחק and אבימלך comes to a conclusion in באר שבע. However, it was called באר שבע before they got there. Then, after the covenant between יצחק and אבימלך, it is named באר שבע. Is this the same באר שבע as the one named by אברהם? If so, why did they name it the same name all over again?

רשב"ם writes that this was in fact a different באר שבע from the one in the times of אברהם. However, an interesting explanation is given by the ספורנו. He writes that the name in אברהם's time was בְּאֵר שָׁבַע. After the episode with יצחק and אבימלך, it was renamed to בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע. It is very interesting that this theory can not be disproved. Any time that the city is mentioned until now, it appears either at the end of a פסוק, or an אתנחתא. Even if it were בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע from before, the סגול would have always changed to a קמץ. So we have no way of knowing if it called בְּאֵר שָׁבַע because of its position in the פסוק or if it is because that is really its name. ספורנו writes that it was in fact its name since it was only named as such to reflect the vow that אברהם made. Now that it reflected the number seven as well, corresponding to the seven wells that were found, it was changed to בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע.

One year, on ראש השנה, the בעל קריאה said בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע and I almost corrected him based on the ספורנו. But I didn't.

Different forms of יירש

Previously, I have discussed the intricate difference between the ברכה given to אברהם after the עקידה and that given to רבקה before she departed to marry יצחק. However, I recently noticed that in וירא, the word is written וירש whereas in חיי שרה it is ויירש with two יו"דs. תרגום אונקלוס is identical. Any explanation for why they would be written differently?