Thursday, July 30, 2009


Listening to Eichah last night, I realized a simple thing, namely that of the first 4 chapters in which the Psukim are composed in alphabetical order, there is a discrepancy in the order used. Only the first chapter goes according to the order we're familiar with, chapters 2-4 have Peh before Ayin in all three chapters. Is this a mistake in transmission, or more likely, there were different orders used in different times? Has anyone noticed this, also any suggestions about literature on this topic.
What disappointed me about this finding last night, was the following: I've read Eichah dozens of times already, and it took me to become an Apikores to realize something as simple as this? Were we really that blind? I know we were, but that blind!
Another simple thing that came to my attention is that the meaning of the Posuk,
רְאֵה יְהוָה וְהַבִּיטָה, לְמִי עוֹלַלְתָּ כֹּה: אִם-תֹּאכַלְנָה נָשִׁים פִּרְיָם עֹלְלֵי טִפֻּחִים, אִם-יֵהָרֵג בְּמִקְדַּשׁ אֲדֹנָי כֹּהֵן וְנָבִיא
'See, O LORD, and consider, to whom Thou hast done thus! Shall the women eat their fruit, the children that are dandled in the hands? Shall the priest and the prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the Lord? (Lamentations 2:20)
has nothing to do with the Gemara's Pshat that says the latter half of the Psouk is a retort by God, referring to the slaying of Zecharyah by the Jews hundreds of years prior. This I kind of knew, but still the Drush which RSH"I brings down was always so vivid, I would automatically read it that way.

Nu, so what's the Mussar Haskel. Don't read TN"KH without Meforshim: you will become an Apikores. And conversely, the surest way to become an Apikores is to read the text of TN"KH by itself! But please boys and girls don't try this at home, it is dangerous.


zdub said...

They messed up with the links, but this should still work:

The Peh/Ayin Order in the Acrostics of the Book of Eichah.

Baal Habos said...

Acher, great catch!

Some will say, what's the big deal? Chazal already caught all this, as pointed out by zdub. Well, Chazal had a much smaller corpus of literature to work with. I.e. they never had to mess with Tosifos (or even Gemarah)! So while we are attuned to scouring the details of the Mishna Berurah and Toisfois, Chazal had the luxury of analyzing the core texts. (Obviously I didn't do such a fine job with my Sanhedrin, because I don't ever recall hearing about this Ayin/Peh issue.)

And zdub, thanks for that link.

Interestingly enough, with the reversed order, this vort does not hold true.

Acher said...


First, I'm happy to know that I have more than a dozen readers, maybe with 13 it means we can make a Pesach Seder, (Lfum Chad Girsa) :)

Anyway, thanks for the link, and that means I should check my emails from the Sforimblog more often for good stuff like this.


I was actually very disappointed that I didn't remember the Gemarah in Sanhedrin myself, I did go through Sanhedrin some years back. But again, my greater disappointment lies in the fact that it took me till now to realize it.

And that Vort is true, I mean the good part of it: Elvis = Lives, Mamesh what can be more Poshut than that :)
And please if you have anything more like that please email me, you know I love this type of stuff.

Modernorthodoxhistorian said...

I wrote an article on this:

it is the last article on the site

Mitchell First