[Avodah] Final letters in Hebrew and ksav ivri vs ksav ashuri

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Thu Jan 31 14:36:13 PST 2013

On Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 05:00:18PM +0200, Marty Bluke wrote:
: Recently the Daf Yomi (Shabbos 104a) learned about the letters that have
: final letters (mem, nun, tzadik, peh, chof)...

Cutting through to the chase...


    The amora'im in mesechtes Sanhedrin take three positions:
    3- R' Shim'on ben Elazar, and a mass of others, give the final
    opinion. The two factors, number and finality, leads a few rishonim
    to decide that this is the gemara's conclusion.

Which is why I only included it in "the chase", and not the other 3.

                                                     The script was
    always used in sacred texts. Rather, it was only popularized for
    other writing in Ezra's day.

    The Radvaz..., in his commentary on the Yerushalmi, suggests that
    there is no dispute between the two talmuds on this point. The first
    luchos were in Ashuris, and after the loss of holiness caused by the
    Golden Calf, the second pair were given in kesav Ivris. The Bavli
    cited a quote about the former, the Yerushalmi, about the latter.

    The Radvaz's resolution would lead to the state described by Rav
    Shim'on ben Elazaer et al as well. It would mean that the sacred
    Ashuris was known to only a few. Only Moshe saw the first tablets
    unbroken -- possibly Yehoshua caught a glimpse. But the masses were
    given the second set, the one in Ivris.

    It would also explain the use of the words "nitenah Torah leYisrael"
    rather than simply "nitenah Torah". Because Mar Zutra in Sanhedrin
    is discussing how it was given to the masses, to "Yisrael" as a whole
    rather than only the intelligentsia. If understood this way, then the
    reference to Aramaic is that the masses in the days of Ezra, speaking
    Aramaic and not Lashon haQodesh, were given a targum. However, no one
    proposed changing the language of the text itself. (What would happen
    to derashos, the derivation of halakhah through textual analysis,
    if that really were the proposal?)

    Last, it would explain why Daniel would be able to read the writing
    on the wall, while most people could not -- it was in Ashuris!

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Every second is a totally new world,
micha at aishdas.org        and no moment is like any other.
http://www.aishdas.org           - Rabbi Chaim Vital
Fax: (270) 514-1507

More information about the Avodah mailing list