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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@saber.towson.edu> Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 00:02:07 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Why do some masoretic explanations appear simpler than others In v33n57 Ben continues the thread on Full-Defectively spelled words in the Bible. Recall that I had given a simple grammatical rule for explaining such words. Ben succinctly explains how he feels >>There are about 5,000 kri/ketiv variations, many of which deal with defective spellings. In many instances the same passage that appears in more than one location in Tanach has different kri/ketiv (a famous example is magdil/migdol before the last paragraph of birchat hamazon which appears in II Samuel and Psalms 18). I don't see how any theory can take all of these into account>>(Ben refers to 2Sam22:51 vs Psalms18:51) Thus Bens question is (rephrased) "How can any rule explain 5000 problems". I think answering this is important since a great deal of talmudic and recent acharonim literature deals with this topic. Let me use the example that Ben provided (2Sam22:51 vs Psalms 18:51) First: Most students of Talmud are familiar with the PROCESS-COMPLETION distinction. A trained talmudic student could easily give SEVERAL 100 examples of this distinction. Here are 3: (a) Shabbath prohibits PROCESS not COMPLETION--hence you can prepare the chulund beforehand and eat it on shabbat. (b) Learning is a commandment of PROCESS not COMPLETION--hence if you spent 5 hours writing mail-jewish postings and they all get refuted you have still performed 5 hours of learning. (c) The writing of the DIVORCE DOCUMENT is a commandment of COMPLETION not of PROCESS--if you spent 5 hours writing a divorce and it was defective then the divorce was not effectuated. Since I am aware of several 100 process-completion examples I find it natural to interpret Ps18:51 vs 2Sam22:51 as "God **is already** the GREATNESS (MIGDOL) behind our salvations" vs "God **will** magnify(MAGDIL) our salvations" So quite simply, the historical account in Samuel uses the is already the GREATNESS form while the Psalms written for future generations uses the "will MAGNIFY " form. As I said I find this simple, clinchy and flowing---but I only find this so because I so often see PROCESS-COMPLETION distinctions. Someone else who is NOT use to seeing such distinctions may find this whole explanation AD-HOC. So Bottom line: I think constant legal studying gives us the experiential awareness needed to cope with the several hundred (not thousand) spellings. However if a person is untrained or not use to such distinctions then I agree with Ben, they will probably find such explanations homiletic. So the solution is to believe that there are explanations and that they can be appreciated thru continual study. Russell Jay Hendel;Phd ASA Dept of Math; Towson Univ Moderator Rashi is Simple http://www.RashiYomi.Com/