(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org

Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 19:14:56 -0400 (EDT)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Torah Trivia

Ilana Friedman in Bais Medrash Volume 2 Number 15 writes:
<  <  Where in chumash is there an instance where five words are repeated three
times in a row? (where in chumash is there where in chumash is there where
in chumash is there)>  >

I object to calling this "TRIVIA". Most people are unaware that there is a
whole commentary on the Bible which collects such coincidences. This
commentary is called the MESORAH (meaning "The Tradition"). There is the
BIG MESORAH and LITTLE MESORAH. You can find the MESORAH commentary in good
bibles surrounding the text in very small fonts. A typical MESORAH
commentary will eg list all occurences of a word or phrase. There are many
mesorahs that can eg list all verses with words or phrases repeated. Many
mesorahs are sophisticated enough that they can't be obtained by Bible

The MESORAH was one of the key methods of preserving our Biblical text.
After all--to use Ilanas example--if 5 words occur 3 times in a row it
would be a natural mistake for a scribe to accidentally forget one of the 3
times (and only write the phrase twice).  Thus the MESORAH is simply a set
of marginal notes that help preserve the text.

Besides answering the question I will point out how easily a mistake could
arise: For the 5-word-phrase in Ex 25:35 is repeated THREE times while the
7 word phrase in Ex 25:33 is only repeated TWICE! Thus we see how easy it
would be to make a mistake and how great the MESORITES were in preserving
the text.

Praise be Him who chose them and their learning.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA; RHendel@Towson.edu
Moderator Rashi is Simple, http://www.shamash.org/rashi/