Monday, November 28, 2005

Does our sefer torah have an extra letter(s)?

Rashi in last week's parsha (Chayei Sarah) comments on the pasuk (25,6) ולבני הפילגשם that פילגשים is written חסר and therefore we learn out that Avraham only had 1 pilegesh Hagar. The only problem is that in our sifrei torah it is actually written ולבני הפילגשים with the extra י (and therefore the drasha is not valid). In other words either our sifrei torah have an extra letter or Rashi's is missing one.

This is not the only case either. R' Akiva Eiger (Shabbos 55a) collects over 20 cases from all over Shas, medrashim, etc. where our mesora differs from either Chazal's or the Rishonim.

The Beis Yosef (Yoreh Deah 275 at the end) quotes a Rashba who refers to this Rashi and says that if there is a conflict we go after the majority.

In short, while our mesora is very good it is not perfect and there are places where our sifrei torah are different then what Chazal and/or the Rishonim had.


Jameel @ The Muqata said...

And how does Artscroll deal with this issue - that our Mesora isn't 100%?

If we missed on a letter or two, maybe we're missing other things as well?

Anonymous said...

The Sapirstein edition has this note:

Rashi's text of the torah had the spelling פילגשם without the letter Yud of the ym suffix which indicates the plural (see also bereishis rabbah 61:4). See Gilyon Hashas to Shabbos 55a and Teshuvos HaRashba cited in Beis Yosef, Yoreh Deah, 275, s.v. kosav harashba.

bluke said...

It is intersting to note that Artscroll just refers you to other sources without explicitly asking the question/raising the issue.

I think Artscroll meant to (or should have) refer to Chiddushei R' Akiva Eiger, that is where he has a list of the 20+ places where the mesora is different, I don't see that he addresses this issue in the Gilyon Hashas there. The Rashba is the one that I referred to.

Anonymous said...

"It is intersting to note that Artscroll just refers you to other sources without explicitly asking the question/raising the issue."

Yeah I know, but they do mention that rashi's text was different. It's basically just a translation of chumash/rashi, and so it seems appropriate enough for the intended audience.

The one thing this edition does that I think is very valuable is translate the Old French. Since I discovered the translations of the OF, I can't be as down on AS.
In the time I'm using it, I've found things one can quibble on, an error here or there, but not too bad, and the agenda doesn't seem too heavy.

I think the different volumes are done by different people, and so are bound to vary in quality.

Anonymous said...

honesty is the best policy.