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Parasha MiKetz 5763

What is the difference?

vatipa'em rucho (Gen. 41:8) (the verb is in the Nif'al form) Onkelos translates umtarfa ruchehh 'his spirit was disturbed'and Rashi writes 'it jingled like a bell.' Rashi understands vatipa'em as a meaningless noise and as such is interpreting quite similarly to Onkelos. However Rashi, basing his comment on Midrash Rabba, adds that with regard to Nevuchadnezzar it says vatitpa'em rucho (Dan. 2:1) (the verb is in the Hitpa'el form) 'because there were two disturbances there, the forgetting of the dream, and the suppression of its meaning.' Ramban explains the difference to be that the form vatipa'em referring to Pharaoh means that he was disturbed only once - in the morning, while the form vatitpa'em referring to Nevuchadnezzar indicates that he was disturbed immediately and all night. Sefer HaZikaron says that the Nif'al and the Hitpa'el have the same meaning but the Midrash uses the difference in language to make a point.

There are no distinct meanings of the various conjugations, as can be seen in the discussion of the meanings of Nif'al, Hitpa'el and other conjugations in Sefer Hadikduk leRamchal (Shaar 2, Chelek 2, Perek 4). Generally the Aramaic conjugation Itpa'el is used as the translation of Nif'al and during the period when Aramaic was the spoken language this influenced the meaning of Hitpa'el in Hebrew. When Daniel was written Aramaic was widely spoken and indeed much of the book of Daniel is in Aramaic. This supports the assertion of Sefer HaZikaron that Nif'al and Hitpa'el have the same meaning.

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What does avrech mean?

vayikre'u lefanav avrech (Gen. 41:43) ('and they called before him avrech') Rashi quotes three interpretations of avrech 1/ following Onkelos den abba lemalka ('this is the father of the king') and two further interpretations from Sifre 2/ av bechochma verach beshanim ('father in wisdom and young in years') and 3/ an expression of birkayim ('knees') that is to say all come and go subject to him. It would seem that current usage of avrech for a scholar learning in a Kollel is adopted from the second interpretation in Rashi. However the root of the word would appear to be Bet Resh Kaf and this supports interpretation no 3). As the form of the word is unusual (leading to the other interpretations) how is the plain meaning to be explained?

R' A. ibn Ezra explains that every-man called before Yosef 'I will bow down and I will prostrate myself' and that it is in the Hif'il conjugation although it also exists in the Kal conjugation and all [these examples] are an expression of birkayim (as Rashi 3/). R' A. ibn Ezra reports R' Yona ibn Janach the Sefaradi grammarian that avrech is the infinitive and that the Alef is in place of the Heh. However R' A. ibn Ezra maintains that the Alef is that of the speaker (1st person).

R' O. Sforno follows R' Y. ibn Janach and writes: vayikre'u lefanav avrech like havrech, that is to say every-man must bow on his knees as is announced before the King to tell the people that every knee must bow to him.

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kamatz katan

ronni vesimchi (Zech. 2:14) ('rejoice and be happy') mim'on kodsho (ibid 17) ('from His holy dwelling place'). It is important for all traditions of reading Hebrew to identify the Kamatz katan, as a Sheva following it is silent. It is of particular importance for the Sefaradi reading tradition as according to the Sefaradi tradition Kamatz katan is read [o] as distinct from the Kamatz gadol which is read [a]. How do we distinguish between the two? The rule is that if the syllable is unaccented and there is either a Dagesh in the following letter (e.g. ronni), or it represents a permutation of a word which elsewhere has a Cholam (e.g. kodesh> kodsho), it is a Kamatz katan and is followed by a silent Sheva.

I will be pleased to have comments on these notes on the Parasha.
Good Shabbos, Meshullam Klarberg, 35/4 Meshech Chochma, Kiryat Sefer, Israel 71919
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