7

Many copies of Chumash list, after each parasha (weekly reading), the number of verses in that parasha. By and large, they omit it for parashas P'kude; why?

(And if the answer is that they copy the information from some version of the m'sora, which omits the information for P'kude, my question is transferred to that m'sora: why does it omit the information for P'kude?)

  • 1
    col.org.il/… – Gershon Gold Mar 16 '15 at 0:47
  • The copy I have in my bag (one volume cheap edition that I bought for shnayim mikra on the train, not a particularly notable edition) has the number of pesukim listed but without a mnemonic. – Yitzchak Mar 16 '15 at 17:43
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Aharon Ahrend has a detailed article in Rabbi Mordechai Breuer's Festschrift (vol. 1 p. 157) titled "The Mneumotechnical Notes of the Numbers of Verses in the Torah Portions" where he goes through the history of these notes. Turns out Pekudei's mnemonic was first erroneously dropped in the Venice Mikraot Gedolot along with Toldot's and Haazinu's. This edition had a number of other errors in regards these notes which he details (such as Vayikra getting the mnemonic צו or Lekh Lekha getting מכנדב instead of מכנדבי). In later editions the mnemonics for Bechukotai, Vayechi, Yitro were each dropped too. An edition in 1859 (which had some of its own errors, like using מכנדיב instead of מכנדבי) added them all back in except Pekudei's, and that's why you often still see it missing.

In old texts we can still find mnemonics for its 92 verses such as עזיה or סבכי.

  • Interestingly he shows that the earliest lists of these mnemonics use exclusively names of people from Tanakh as spelled in Tanakh with the given explanation of having some person to metaphorically "guard the number" so that nothing is left out. That's why they regularly use such obscure names in Ezra or Chronicles, since it's not easy to find names of important people with the right numerical value. – Double AA May 24 '17 at 22:35
  • Does he suggest a reason why it was left out? Like it was an oversight perhaps? The OP seems pretty adamant that he wants a reason for the omission in this type of answer. – user6591 May 24 '17 at 23:50
  • @user6591 As indicated the edition was riddled with errors. Call it sloppiness. Call it oversight. It doesn't seem there's anything deeper than that. – Double AA May 25 '17 at 1:47
  • Fair enough. +1. – user6591 May 25 '17 at 17:35
  • @user6591 We can speculate that the note for number of verses in the whole book confused someone or something like that. That could explain Bechukotai and Vaychi getting dropped later too. But that'd just be me making things up. – Double AA May 25 '17 at 17:38
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From Chabad.org this question was once asked by Rabbi Alexander-Sender Yudasin to the Lubavitcher Rabbi Zatzal. The Rabbi said that perhaps since the Siman was = the words "בלי כל" the original Siman said "בלי כל ֿ סימן". A publisher who misunderstood took it that there was no Siman and left it out, thus it was not in future editions.

הרב אלכסנדר-סנדר יודאסין, שהיה רב בתל-אביב, שיגר מכתב אל הרבי מליובאוויטש ושאל מדוע בסוף פרשת פקודי בחומשים לא מופיע 'סימן' לפסוקי הפרשה (מילה או כמה מילים שהגימטרייה שלהן היא כמניין הפסוקים), שלא כמו בפרשות האחרות.

"הרבי השיב לו תשובה מפתיעה בפשטותה הגאונית. וכך כתב: "יש לחפש בדפוסים הראשונים, כי לדעתי אין זה אלא השמטת המדפיס, ונמשך הדבר כן גם אצל שאר המדפיסים שבאו אחריו"

"לאחר מכן מציע הרבי הסבר מדוע השמיט זאת המדפיס: בפרשת פקודי יש תשעים ושניים פסוקים. הגימטרייה של המילים "בלי כל" היא תשעים ושניים. ייתכן איפה שהיה כתוב "בלי כל ֿ סימן". לאחר מכן בא מדפיס ('הבחור הזעצער') שלא הבין את משמעות הדבר, אלא תפס את העניין כפשוטו, שאין כאן שום סימן, והחליט שאם כך, אין טעם לציין זאת"...

  • Brilliant, especially since according to my pocket chumash, which does list the number of pesukim it's 92. – Yitzchak Mar 16 '15 at 17:46
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    Do we have any example of this missing link (a Chumash that does says בלי כל סימן)? This seems highly improbable. – Double AA May 20 '15 at 4:30

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