In Ketubot, 103a the text discusses what the "et" words include in the phrase כַּבֵּ֥ד אֶת־אָבִ֖יךָ וְאֶת־אִמֶּ֑ךָ

Each et refers to another spouse of the parent so the non-biological step parent is included.

The gemara then explains what it calls an extra vav: וָיו יְתֵירָה לְרַבּוֹת אֶת אָחִיךָ הַגָּדוֹל

The extra vav is to include your older brother.

Rashi explains that the vav referred to is דואת אמך the vav on the "et" in v'et imecha.

To say that the vav is extra indicates that without it, the text would be sufficient. In fact, the Schottenstein posits that the phrase could have been כַּבֵּ֥ד אָבִ֖יךָ אִמֶּ֑ךָ (Honor your father, your mother).

But without a conjunction, the phrase is not clear. What does "honor your father, your mother" mean? Are there other examples where a verb is applied across items that are not connected by a conjunction (especially after a tzivui verb)?

How is the vav superfluous?

  • 1
    שֶׁ֥מֶשׁ יָרֵ֖חַ עָ֣מַד זְבֻ֑לָה and רְאוּבֵ֣ן שִׁמְע֔וֹן לֵוִ֖י וִיהוּדָֽה (Radak's favorite examples of missing 'implied' vav)
    – Double AA
    Dec 3, 2021 at 1:45
  • The list of names has a comma before the last item on the list (like the father and mother) and the Chabakuk list has two items as the subject, not object of the verb, but is closer and begs the question of whether every vav that joins items in a list is necessarily "extra" and subject to explication.
    – rosends
    Dec 3, 2021 at 1:56
  • Search radak on tanach for שמש ירח to find dozens of examples. It's not like את is actually extra either, recall. It's a grammatical word that denotes the direct object (or so). Extra here doesn't mean completely pointless.
    – Double AA
    Dec 3, 2021 at 2:02
  • I found 3 shemesh Vyare'ach (and if I understood the michat shai on the Chabakuk example, that might help distinguish the cases). The Radak in Ber 9:3 is speaking of a different construction, and he still explains why there is a lack of a vav because the lack changes the meaning. It might be that the notion of "יְתֵירָה " needs to be explained or what a וי"ו השמוש is and does that makes it available for explication or is exclusively necessary for the meaning of the phrase.
    – rosends
    Dec 3, 2021 at 2:23
  • On the simplest level (perhaps the best way to view Rashi) one’s Mother and Father would be presumed to be Husband and Wife. The Torah view is that Husband and Wife are one, literally. In that context, the addition of the letter Vav would seem to be superfluous and indicative of a Father who is not the biological parent of the offspring. Dec 3, 2021 at 3:35


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