Thursday, February 15, 2007

Moove Over, חיות רעות

Shemot/Exodus 21:35

ֿוְכִֿי־יִגֹּףֿ שׁוֹר־אִישׁ אֶתֿ־שׁוֹר רֵעֵהוּ, וָמֵת...

On the phrase שור איש, R' Shelomo Yarhhi/Yitzhhaqi comments:
שור איש = שור של איש

In other words, he explains the juxtaposition ("semikhut") of the two nouns, שור (ox) and איש (man), to be a typical Semitic semikhut compound: shor-ish means shor shele-ish, "an ox of a man" and hence the first half of the verse reads:
And if a man's ox hurt his fellow's ox, and it dies...


Obviously, it must be that without recognizing that the semikhut compound means "a man's ox", we might have assumed that it meant "a man-ox" or "an ox-man"! Wereoxen!

I guess now we know what werewolves eat...


Anonymous Manna Eater said...

This is the verse with my favourite Ibn Ezra joke. I would blog about it, but I see that Simon Holloway has beaten me to it. I'm sure my family are getting tired of hearing it every year, but luckily we're invited out this evening so I will have a new audience.

2/16/2007 2:31 AM  
Anonymous Simon Holloway said...

Hooray, I was just going to mention Ibn Ezra and I see that somebody has done it for me! I am truly honoured. In other news, however, perhaps this is Rashi's concern as well? By emphasising the genitive construction in relation to שור איש, perhaps he is also emphasising the same in relation to שור רעהו?

2/16/2007 3:24 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Heh, thanks (M.E.) for pointing me there, and (S.H.) for blogging about it. I feel like i learned that one once, but didn't remember it.

Hmm... the emphasis-spread could be possible.

2/16/2007 9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Warren Zevon write a song "Werewolves of Jerusalem"?

2/16/2007 12:06 PM  

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