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From: rhendel@king.mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Mon, 13 May 1996 12:49:57 -0400 Subject: Impecability of Torah Texts I am responding to [Oren Vol 23 # 92] who asserts that Torah texts as we have them were occasionally changed (the so called Tikunay sofrim). First of all it is my understanding that it is doctrinal to believe that the torah that we now have was transmitted to Moses on Sinai (language of the Rambam in the 13 articles of faith). In other words the impecability of the Mesorah is doctrinal (I would appreciate it explicit halachic sources from people if they think this is not true). Second, with regard to the tikunay sofrim--there is a commentary that deals with matters of mesorah--the minchas shai--who incidentally, for those who have not yet had the treat of reading him, often brings midrashic pearsl to defend various texts. He of course deals with the so called 18 tikunay sofrim and assures us that the text was never changed (he does not repeat this on all 18 occurrences but frequently cross references the tikun sofrim in Teray Asar). At the very least there is an opinion that tikunay sofrim does not imply change of text. To the best of my knowledge there are no variants in text except the following: (1) about 1-2 dozen one letter variations in all of Tenach (pesuah dacah with an aleph or hay, or e.g. bishnaim or lishnaim in Megillath esther). (2) controversy on full and deficient spellings (3) controversy on cantillations and hypenations. Again, I am well aware of the literature so what I would like are *halachick& sources (from respected rishonim or the shulchan aruch or known poskim among the acharonim) who seriously disagree with what I have just said. Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d. ASA, rhendel @ mcs . drexel . edu