According to Rashbam (on the parellel verse 28:14) the meaning that comes in mind regards the word "Ve'nivrechu" in Genesis 12:3 is 'to graft' a branch.

But then I looked up the possible sources (Sotah 43a, Yevamot 63a, Babylonian Talmud, Seder Moed,Tractate Shabbat 73a and others) from which he took this meaning and it seems that Rashbam connects the root ברך with מרכיב but they don't seem to be synonyms, so how did the Rashbam came to this conclusion?

A non Jewish source pointing out some arguments the 'translation' or interpretation of Rashbam is possibly wrong: http://www.shma-israel.org/articles/Barach_Shma_2007_12_03.pdf

  • The English translation on Sefaria on 28:14 doesn't have "grafted" but "an expression meaning “refining and improving thereby.” It means that these nations will be improved through intermarriage with your family. " On 12:3 it has "refining through adding superior ingredients". – rosends May 25 '17 at 10:21
  • @rosends so are the one's being married to the descendants of Avraham the one's being refined? – Levi May 27 '17 at 8:07
  • 1
    it seems so ", an expression meaning “refining and improving thereby.” It means that these nations will be improved through intermarriage with your family. כל משפחות האדמה. The word is in a passive, weak mode as I have already explained on the same phrasing in Genesis 12,3 " The Radak has a different view. – rosends May 28 '17 at 1:59
  • @rosends thanks for the clearification, I will look into it – Levi May 28 '17 at 17:05

I don't think this is a mistake! First of all, the Rashbam mentions "מבריך ומרכיב". So the first word indeed sounds like "ונברכו". Second, even the other word "מרכיב" - according to rashbam - comes from the shoresh "ברך", it is just a variation of the first word. We find words like these all over Tanach. Take for example the words "כבש" and "כשב", they both mean the same thing but sometimes its written like that and sometimes like that. And there are numerous other examples: "שמלה" "שלמה"; "מלתעות" "מתלעות"; "עיף" "יעף"; "בהלה" "בלהה".

I think the Rashbam merely linked the word of "ברך" with the word "מבריך" (and its sister variant "מרכיב") found in the language of Chazal. see Ramban Vayikara 19:20, Rashi 20:17 for similar idea. The Chizkuni on "ונברכו" also adopts this interpretation.

  • I can agree that they are linked, but if they mean the same thing then how does one translate - והדר כרבי תנא הזורע והזומר והנוטע והמבריך והמרכיב כולן מלאכה אחת - and - וֶאָחד ַהַמְּבִריD,ְוֶאָחד ַהַמְּרִכּיב,ְוֶאָחד ַהלּוֵֹקַח,ְוֶאָחד ַהיּוֵֹרשׁ,ְוֶאָחד ֶשִׁנַּתּןלוֹ ַמָתָנה - for example (from the sources I note). – Levi May 26 '17 at 4:55
  • Can you clarify your question? I'm not sure i understand what your asking. – Bach May 26 '17 at 13:57
  • well both 'ברך' and 'מרכיב' are used in these examples, but don't seem to have the same meaning. I would like to know how to translate these verses in the light of your answer which seems to purpose that ברך could mean 'to graft' which is also the meaning of מרכיב in these verses. – Levi May 26 '17 at 20:09

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