A complex family of roots
It is interesting to note that R’ Yona ibn Janah deals with the word kol both in the entry for the root Kaf Lamed Heh and also under the entry for the root Kaf Lamed Lamed. Mandelkern in his Concordance lists kol in the entry for the root Kaf Lamed Lamed but writes that this root is close to the root Kaf Vav Lamed and that in turn he connects to the four letter root Kaf Lamed Kaf Lamed. R’ Yona ibn Janah writes in the entry Kaf Vav Lamed vechol bashalish afar ha’aretz (Isai. 40:12) (‘and measured with a large measuring instrument the dust of the earth’) treating vechol as a verb.
He also includes here ru’ach ish yechalkel machalehu, veru’ach neche’ah mi yisa’ena (Prov. 18:14) which he explains to mean ‘If a person has a strong mind/spirit it will help against an illness of the body, but a disease of the mind/spirit won’t be helped by a strong body but it will be lost, for even though the strength of the mind/spirit follows the type of body, the mind/spirit can cope with disease of the body, more than the body can cope with disease of the mind/spirit.’
[This may explain why we precede prayer for health of the body with prayer for the health of the mind/spirit.]
From the above we can see that the following roots may be regarded as part of a family: Kaf Lamed Alef, Kaf Lamed Heh/Yud, Kaf Vav Lamed, Kaf Lamed Kaf Lamed, Kaf Lamed Lamed. Perhaps Yud Kaf Lamed can also be added to the list!
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When we read Hebrew from previous eras we must take care not to impose
asor (Gen. 24:55) (‘a [block of] ten [months]’) Radak writes ‘asor is an adjective including the entire mispar (quantity), not so be’asor lachodesh (Levit. 23:27) (‘tenth of the month’) for there it is an adjective denoting the tenth day of the month (position in series of days)’. In current Hebrew we often use the word mispar in connection with a street number or a telephone number. However *donations of money for building particular houses in the 19th century neighborhoods of Jerusalem are recorded in beautiful Hebrew excepting for the Yiddish or German word ‘number’ prior to the number identifying the house. They would not use mispar to indicate a position. Therefore when studying Tenach, Mishna and even later writings, one must take care not to impose the ordinal meaning on mispar as this is a new meaning that the word only acquired in recent generations. This is why Radak writes on our pasuk that asor is an adjective including the entire mispar (quantity), that is to say it indicates the total number of months, but when he writes about the date in the month he does not use the word mispar (as it meant quantity) at all, and instead he writes ‘it is an adjective denoting the tenth day of the month.’
*My thanks to R’ David Stone for showing me the record of his great-grandfather’s donation.
I will be
pleased to have comments on these notes on the Parasha.
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