Thursday, July 6, 2023

כבש vs כשב

This is a question I have had for some time and a reader recently brought it up with me again in person and pointed out that it is very applicable with פינחס coming up:
Is the mistaking of כבש for כשב (or vice-versa) a correctable mistake? While the words are different, their meanings are exactly the same. What say you?

UPDATE: Once again, the Dikdukian is rescued by its readers:

MG said...
According to the Malbim these two words do NOT have the exact same meaning, and might even be referring to two different "types" of sheep:
Link to ספר at HebrewBooks

However, as per my comment  below, the מסורת הש"ס to :שבת צב might imply otherwise. As well, I happened upon a ספר חותם תכנית written in the 1860's which asserts that they are the same here.

Additionally, the משנה ברורה קמ"ג:כ"ו (which was recently learned as part of the Dirshu דף היומי בהלכה program), based on מגן אברהם counts כשב/כבש as an example of a change in pronunciation without a change in meaning which would nevertheless necessitate putting the Torah back and laining from another.

Nevertheless, Jack Gross's comment is very poignant.  Whether there is a difference in meaning and whether this is a correctable mistake are likely two completely separate discussions. The difference in meaning might very well be debatable. But as for the קריאה aspect, it's simply a different word and the fact that it is almost the same is irrelevant. If the consonants are out of order, the word has not been pronounced properly and this needs to be corrected.
(Perhaps the same argument may be made regarding R' Marwick's position on בלילה הוא.)

5780: This topic is, in fact, covered by R' Michoel Reach in his recently published ספר מימיני מיכאל (available on Amazon.) With his permission, here is his entry for פרשת צו in which he points out that there is a very clear distinction to determine when the תורה will use כשב and when כבש. It all depends on the other animals that are being contrasted. Read below:
(or, since the viewing area might make this harder to read, it might be easier to follow this direct link.)


MG said...

According to the Malbim these two words do NOT have the exact same meaning, and might even be referring to two different "types" of sheep:

Shtikler said...

Well, that settles that then, doesn't it.
Thank you MG (and Malbi"m, of course) for enlightening us.

Anonymous said...

The reading has to be true to the written word -- in enunciation and meaning.

In enunciation: it must be a plausible way of reading the unpointed written text. The reading must render
את הכתוב,
ומתוך הכתב.

In meaning: It must not differ from the meaning of the correct reading.

Pronouncing כבש when the written word you see is כשב simply does not constitute reading the written text, even if we assume the two words are completely synonymous.

IIRC, כבש vs. כשב is in fact an example used by the acharonim to illustrate "שינוי גמור" where there is no change in meaning.

Jack Gross

Anonymous said...

I realize that this is old blog, but i recently has the question of the difference between כבש and כשב
Thank you so much MG for leading me to the Malbim.

Shtikler said...

I recently stumbled on a marginal gloss in דף יומי which might lend some doubt as to whether there is actually a difference between the two words.

שבת צב:

Towards the bottom, the word מלגז is used. רש"י translates as "forke." The מסורת הש"ס comments:
פי׳ מזלג ע״ד חילוף האותיות כמו כבש כשב מוסף ערוך

To me, that seems to imply that the words are the same but the letters can simply switch around. But I suppose that is up for interpretation.

Unknown said...

See metzudat Tzion in shofetim: 2:9