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Friday, November 17

The Weekly Shtikle - Toledos

This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my rebbe and Rosh HaYeshivah of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel, Harav Yaakov Moshe Kulefsky, zt"l (Yaakov Moshe ben Refael Nissan Shlomo) whose 23rd yahrtzeit was yesterday, 3 Kisleiv.

Most of the notes we encounter when reading the Torah with the proper cantillation are part of a group of mainstream notes which are distributed, according to their rules, fairly evenly over the entire Torah. There are a number of notes, however, that appear very infrequently. The shalsheles, which appeared in both of the last two parshiyos, is probably the best known of this group. In this week's parsha we find another unusual note - the mercha kefulah. When Yaakov dresses up as Eisav to receive the blessings, after feeding Yitzchak the "fast food" that Rivkah prepared, Yaakov gives Yitzchak wine to drink (27:25). The mercha kefulah appears under the word lo, for him. Whereas the placement of the regular notes is usually governed by strict grammatical rules, the special notes usually hold a deeper intrinsic significance. (In an old parshas Tzav shtikle, the significance of the shalsheles was discussed.)

Although it is not evident that his intention is to account for the use of the mercha kefulah, Chizkuni makes a comment on this pasuk that may offer some insight into this issue. Chizkuni writes that Yaakov brought his father wine because wine has a tendency to cloud one's judgment, thus making it less likely for Yitzchak to discover that he was being fooled. A mercha kefulah, as its name indicates, appears simply as a doubling of the popular mercha note, just as a "w" is actually made up of two "u"s… sort of. Thus, it is usually used to denote a double meaning. (I have seen this quote but I am unsure of the exact source.) Perhaps, the word lo in this pasuk has two interpretations as well. The obvious reading is that Yaakov brought the wine for Yitzchak to drink, whereby the pronoun lo refers to Yitzchak. However, with Chizkuni's interpretation, Yaakov was bringing the wine as part of his scheme. Since he was doing this to further his own cause, lo may alternatively refer to Yaakov himself. The mercha kefulah is therefore used to indicate that there are two ways to read this pasuk.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: (From the) The Fats of the Land

Dikdukian: Be'er Sheva / Shava

Dikdukian: I will eat, You will eat

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