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Where are all the references to floating or buoyancy in Tana"ch?

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closed as too broad by WAF, Shmuel Brin, not-allowed to change my name, Bruce James, avi Dec 28 '13 at 18:39

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So, now that you have some results, why? –  Isaac Moses Jan 3 '11 at 17:16
    
I wanted to know about the semantic value of whatever word refers to floating in an attempt to hypothesize about ergativity in Tana"ch. I should have improved the question by explaining this, but it would only have served to bring out the fact that this is really a Hebrew Language question, and I am therefore flagging it for deletion. –  WAF Dec 25 '13 at 14:29

4 Answers 4

There's II Kings 6:6, ויצף הברזל (the iron [axe-head] floated up); this phrase, and Targum Yonasan's rendering of it as וקפא פרזלא, is quoted by Rashi over a dozen times in his commentary on the Gemara.

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Maybe a new question. . . but what is the פשט in that verb? רש"י equates it to צף (intransitive) with no discussion. רד"ק suggests it could be the intransitive הפעיל (?) of the same verb that appears as a transitive הפעיל in דברים יא:ד. The מצודת ציון (characteristically) cites the latter reference with no explanation. What is going on? Is it causative? Transitive? Is there such thing as an intransitive causative and could that be רד"ק's way of describing ergative, which is the closest thing (I think) to "float"'s type (no pun intended) in English? Pardon my ignorance of רד"ק's terminology. –  WAF Jan 2 '11 at 23:46
    
As far as I know, פועל עומד means intransitive, and פועל יוצא is transitive. So Radak is saying that הציף in Deut. 11:4 is definitely the latter, while ויצף here could either be intransitive (it floated) or transitive (the prophet caused it to float). I would have thought, actually, that the nikkud on this word (kamatz and segol) necessarily marks it as transitive, like וַיָּמֶת (Gen. 38:10) or וַיָּשֶׁב (Ex. 4:7), since if it was intransitive it ought to have had two kamatzim. –  Alex Jan 3 '11 at 0:44
    
@R'Alex, the n'kudos mark it as hif'il AFAICT, but what it means (v.i. or v.t.) is not necessarily answered by that (cf. modern hishmin, became fat: any Biblical examples?), & Radak's 1st p'shat seems to say that the hif'il can be either a v.t. or a v.i. No? (Or maybe his 1st p'shat is saying it's kal here? Is vayasem another example of this form in kal?) –  msh210 Jan 3 '11 at 3:35
    
Doesn't הפעיל ("he caused x to happen") necessarily equal v.t. - it requires a grammatical subject, even if only "himself"? V.i., I'd think, would be kal. Not sure about hishmin (the closest Biblical examples I can think of are וישמן (Deut. 32:15), a kal, and השמן (Is. 6:10), either an infinitive or an imperative), but other examples of this binyan - הבחין, השמיע, etc. - are definitely v.t. As for Radak, since all he says for his first pshat is פועל עומד and then goes on to contrast that with the verse in Deut., that sounds like indeed he views it as kal. –  Alex Jan 3 '11 at 15:11
    
Hif'il is a binyan, a way of building words. What it means is another question: generally it's v.t., of course. I'll certainly defer to your reading of Radak; vayasem would then seem to be similar. –  msh210 Jan 3 '11 at 17:29

Noach's Tevah, Moshe Box as a Newborn

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I don't think there is any reference to Moshe's teva floating per se , is there? –  WAF Jan 2 '11 at 22:15
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@Yahu How do you know it wasn't just protective? –  WAF Jan 3 '11 at 3:41
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Alex, OK, granted by Moshe it just says "Vatasem Basuf" but you must admit that the Torah does go to great lengths to give us the exact measurements of Noah's teivah and the depths and the dates. Rashi in Perek 8 Posuk 4 hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=9597&st=&pgnum=126 shows us that this is how we learn that the teivah was sunken into the water 11 cubits. All that detail just to teach us the draft of the teivah! - If that is not a real reference to buoyancy, then what is?! –  Yahu Jan 3 '11 at 22:20
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Or should I say a reference to how much of the teivah had a lack of buoyancy. –  Yahu Jan 4 '11 at 1:04
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You don't really even need to go so far; the verse explicitly says of Noach's ark, ותלך התבה על פני המים - the ark moved on the surface of the water. I was talking about Moshe's box, though, where there's really nothing about its buoyancy per se. –  Alex Jan 4 '11 at 3:35

Leviticus 14:50: "אֶל כלי חרס עַל מים חיים"

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I may be misunderstanding the question, but you have a few merachef's:

וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים, מְרַחֶפֶת עַל-פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם

כְּנֶשֶׁר יָעִיר קִנּוֹ, עַל-גּוֹזָלָיו יְרַחֵף

As well as the Merkava (Yech. 1:19-21):

וּבְהִנָּשֵׂא הַחַיּוֹת מֵעַל הָאָרֶץ, יִנָּשְׂאוּ הָאוֹפַנִּים

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Yes, I was thinking specifically of floating in the sense of a static density differential causing an upward force on an object by a surrounding fluid. –  WAF Jan 3 '11 at 5:11

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