Friday, March 8, 2024

ועשה בצלאל ואהליאב

"ועשה בצלאל ואהליאב" (Shemos 36:1)

There are two main types of וי"ו at the beginning of a word: a וי"ו החיבור and a וי”ו ההיפוך. A וי”ו החיבור links the word with that which preceded it, and a וי”ו ההיפוך switches the tense of a verb (and also implies sequence and order). The puzzling thing about all this, is that a וי”ו ההיפוך when switching a verb from past tense to future tense is punctuated in exactly the same manner as a וי"ו החיבור. Usually context can guide us to proper understanding, but sometimes context is not enough. A nice example of an ambiguous וי"ו is ועשה בצלאל ואהליאב. That וי"ו could be either a וי”ו ההיפוך or a וי"ו החיבור . תרגום אונקלוס and תרגום יונתןunderstand it to be a וי”ו החיבור and the אבן עזרא and רש"י מכות יב. understand it to be a וי”ו ההיפוך." There is a further מחלוקת between רש"י and the אבן עזרא regarding whether it is regular future tense or a command which has enough of a relationship with the future to be a possibility within a וי”ו ההיפוך which has switched a verb to future tense.
NOTE: See Weekly Shtikle's blog on the above פסוק.

The obvious question which the camp which understands it to be a
וי”ו החיבור (past tense) must deal with is that according to the plain reading of the text, בצלאל had not even gathered the donations yet, how could he have already done the work? Because of this issue, the אור החיים הקדוש explained that ועשה is referring to making the instruments necessary for the work and not referring to the actual work itself.

One final question: Why would the
תורה create this ambiguous וי"ו?

This is a question one could ask regarding many of the unclear parts of the
תורה system where ראשונים and אחרונים argue. The only possible answer is that the ambiguity is calculated to allow for both interpretations within the text.


Anonymous said...

Both the sefer Hak'sav V'Hakabbalah and the Maharil Diskin (Thanks for the reference Shtikler)assume there is a mistake in the text of the Targum Onkolos and in actuality he translated the word as do Rashi and Ibn Ezra, in future tense.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the claim that there is a mistake in Onkolos:

The claim is based on a question which both the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh and the Shach [see Torah Shleima and Shaarei Aharon who cite this Shach although I am unsure who he was]answer.

Also, I have yet to see a different version of Onkelos in any manuscript editions, so I would not be so quick to say there is a mistake in Onkolos, and prefer to see the existance of a true machlokes.

Shtikler said...

Do you mean evidence of a מחלוקת regarding אונקלוס or regarding how to read the פסוק. Because for that, the רש"י in מכות which is referenced by both the Rogochover and the חזון איש should be enough of a מחלוקת in the proper reading of the פסוק.

Anonymous said...

I meant a machlokes about whether it is a vav hachibur or vav hahipuch. The machlokes Rashi and Ibn Ezra assumes that it is a vav hahipuch. I would be hesitant to require people reading Targum for shnayim mikra to read it twice as the Shaarei Aharon suggests.

ELIE said...

בעניין ועשה בצלאל
ידוע רש"י במכות וראב"ע
אבל לעניין הגרסא בתרגום כל התרגומים המדויקים גורסים "ועבד" ולא ויעבד ואין לנו
רשות לשנות

Moshe said...

Binny, the Shach is the sefer Sifsei Chachomim by Rav Mordechai HaKohen from Sefas about 400 years ago.
Incidently, he explains that when Betzalel heard the details of the Mishkan he imagined them in his mind as if he had already made them.