Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Joshua's Home Front

At the AishDas shabbaton, R' Micha suggested the following idea to me as a way to read one of the pesuqim in last week's parasha:

Devarim/Deutemaronomy 31:7

וַיִּקְרָ֨א מֹשֶׁ֜ה לִֽיהוֹשֻׁ֗עַ וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֵלָ֜יו לְעֵינֵ֣י כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל֮ חֲזַ֣ק וֶֽאֱמָץ֒ כִּ֣י אַתָּ֗ה תָּבוֹא֙ אֶת־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה אֶל־הָאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֨ר נִשְׁבַּ֧ע יְהוָ֛ה לַֽאֲבֹתָ֖ם לָתֵ֣ת לָהֶ֑ם וְאַתָּ֖ה תַּנְחִילֶ֥נָּה אוֹתָֽם׃

This is usually translated something like:
And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel: 'Be strong and of good courage; for thou shalt go with this people into the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.


However, it doesn't quite fit the grammar of the trop (cantillation marks). Most verses in the Tanakh are split in half by the sign etnahh(ta),  ֑  (assuming your computer can handle Unicode). And when they're split into three, etnahh(ta) is the second of the pseudo-semicolons — the first being segol,  ֒ . No, not  ֶ ,  ֒  !

So now let's break up the pasuq according to the trop:

וַיִּקְרָ֨א מֹשֶׁ֜ה לִֽיהוֹשֻׁ֗עַ וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֵלָ֜יו לְעֵינֵ֣י כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל֮ חֲזַ֣ק וֶֽאֱמָץ֒
כִּ֣י אַתָּ֗ה תָּבוֹא֙ אֶת־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה אֶל־הָאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֨ר נִשְׁבַּ֧ע יְהוָ֛ה לַֽאֲבֹתָ֖ם לָתֵ֣ת לָהֶ֑ם
וְאַתָּ֖ה תַּנְחִילֶ֥נָּה אוֹתָֽם׃


And then Moshe called to Yehoshua‘, and said to him:
"In the sight of all Israel, be strong and courageous!

For you will come with this nation to the Land
that God swore to their ancestors to give to them;

And you will distribute it to them."


So, according to this reading, it's possible that Moshe wasn't telling Yehoshua‘ all this in front of the people — instead, he was telling him specificly to be strong in front of the people, i.e. don't let them see your weakness! Moshe had a lot of trouble with the Israelites disrespecting him, and he was giving Yehoshua‘ advice as to how to be a good leader for the whiny, needy and stiff-necked people: keep up a good front of being strong for them, even if you're not really feeling strong inside. And hey, read Yehoshua‘'s book. It seems to work.

6 Comments:

Blogger Ari Kinsberg said...

1) i think the "third semicolon" (melekh) can be a zakef or a tipha, depending on the case (though here it is a segol)

2) i'm too tired to think this through now, but according to the proposed revised translation, why is אליו tropped with a shalish (azla) and ישראל with a mishneh (zarka). Shouldn't it be the other way around?

3) In his book on Devarim, Perlman gives this pasuk as an example of when the etnahta does not divide the pasuk into the 2 main ideas. (after years of searching, just yesterday i got in touch with someone who sells his books.)

thanks, i love trop posts. there was an exchange recently on b-hebrew regarding trop in gen. 1:16.

i sent you an email on an unrelated matter.

9/21/2006 2:00 AM  
Blogger Knitter of shiny things said...

My computer can't handle the trop. I wonder if this is a mac vs. PC thing...

9/21/2006 8:47 AM  
Blogger Ari Kinsberg said...

knitter:
no.
it worked fine at home on a pc but in school now i can't see it, also on a pc

9/21/2006 9:28 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Ari Kinsberg:

As you can see, trop is not my field of expertise. It probably isn't R' Micha's, either, considering that he just suggested this as a possible understanding, and not as the One True Reading And Everyone Else Is Wrong.

9/21/2006 9:40 AM  
Blogger thanbo said...

You need a font with trop, e.g. SPTiberian. It has the trop system from the BHS, though, so some of the symbols may be a bit less than familiar. I don't know what font to use for traditional trop symbols.

9/21/2006 6:50 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Arial Unicode, Cardo, Lucida Grande and SBL Hebrew seem to have 'traditional' trop.. at least their etnahh(ta), for instance, looks like a tower-on-a-hill, as opposed to the one in Code2000 and Everson, that looks like a ^.

9/21/2006 8:14 PM  

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