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Many, many times in Tanach, including Chumash, a verb has its infinitive nearby. Examples include B'reshis 2:16 מִכֹּל עֵץ הַגָּן אָכֹל תֹּאכֵל (I think that's the first example in Chumash) and Bamidbar 16:13 כִּי תִשְׂתָּרֵר עָלֵינוּ גַּם הִשְׂתָּרֵר. This is generally translated as providing emphasis; thus, for example, R' Kaplan's chumash translates B'reshis 2:16 as "You may definitely eat", and the JPS chumash translates Bamidbar 16:13 as "but thou must needs make thyself also a prince over us". (FWIW Christian translators, l'havdil, usually translate it similarly.) IIRC when I learned Chumash in grade school, the repetition was translated with an added "surely".

My question is, does anyone have a written (Jewish) source for such interpretation of the repetition (or for any other interpretation of it), especially among the rishonim?


Note that my question is about the p'shat of such p'sukim, not about d'rashos on them.

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Is תֹּאכֵל the infinitive of אָכֹל ? I thought it would be l'echol. nonetheless, the doubling question still stands –  Jeremy Jul 27 '10 at 21:35
    
as a corollary, why does this construct occur so many times in parshat mishpatim? (mot yumat; shalem yeshalem; etc.) Perhaps something profound about the importance and emphasis on mitzvot bein adam l'chavero... –  Jeremy Jul 27 '10 at 21:37
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No, אָכֹל is the infinitive, Jeremy. See what Gesenius says (linked to below by Dave). –  msh210 Jul 28 '10 at 14:44
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2 Answers

I subsequently asked this question in another forum, and will relay an answer I received (though I'm unsatisfied with it, as I'll note). The respondent pointed me to Rashi, B'reshis 27:30. When I replied "Sifse Chachamim there (and Mat'nos K'huna on Midrash Raba) indicate that that's a d'rasha rather than a translation", he said "Maybe, but in any case, it's a clear indication that the rishonim assumed that a verb plus its infinitive indicates some sort of emphasis".

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Which other forum? –  SimchasTorah Aug 10 '10 at 15:42
    
That also seems like a special case, in that it's possible to assign the two verbs to two different actors, which is unlikely to be an available interpretation everywhere you see this form. –  Isaac Moses Aug 10 '10 at 16:06
    
@YS: The "mesorah" listserv at aishdas.org. But the reply I got was off-list (i.e., to me only). –  msh210 Aug 10 '10 at 16:41
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Another example is the Mishnah in Chullin chapter 12, which states that one who performs Shiluach HaKan must send away the mother bird even multiple times due to the verse's command שלח תשלח. Rambam, in his Perush HaMishnah there, explains that the derivation is from the inclusion of the additional term שלח ("sending"), which because it is the infinitive absolute (מקור) form of the word, implies an open-ended number of sendings. I imagine a similar logic could be used in other cases, e.g., אָכֹל would mean to make sure that an "eating" has been done.

I don't have any other Jewish sources at the moment, but you might find interesting what Gesenius has to say.

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There are various such drashos throught shas, especially in Bava Metzia (31b). The implication is that the double language expands the halacha to include something else. The other shittah holds that a double verb is a normal manner of speech and does not necessarily imply extending the halacha (though see Tos.) There are non-halachic drashos, too (Darosh Darash by Seir haChatas) msh's question, however would apply to translating a pasuk simply: How do we know it means "surely", as opposed to being a normal narrative? –  YDK Jul 27 '10 at 18:24
    
Right, YDK, thanks for clarifying what I should have: that my question applies on the p'shat level only. Thanks for the link to Gesenius, Dave: it does answer my question, except that I'm still seeking a Jewish source, especially among the rishonim. –  msh210 Jul 27 '10 at 18:58
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