[b-hebrew] Re: Diggers

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Tue May 4 00:03:44 EDT 2004

Interestingly enough, even Rashi, who knew very little about Near Eastern
animals, understands Xapor Perot as "idols in the shape of Xaparperot [one
word! - Yigal], a type of rodent that digs in the earth." He gives no
thought to the fact that the MT divides it into two words.
Kimhi, on the other hand, says, "The Lamed [of Laxpor] relates to Ya$lik,
that is they will throw their idols to the burrows [Xapirot] and the holes
of the `Atalepim [which he obvliously does not understand as bats], and
[Targum] Yonatan understood the Lamed as relating to 'bow', since he
translated 'they worship idols and statues', understanding them to bow to
statues in the shape of an `Atalep. And he understood Laxpor Perot as one
word even though it is two words, and is to be understood as a bird that
pecks fruit. And there are those who think that it means a rodent that digs
in the earth, and understand Perot as Xarirot [digs], like our rabbis wrote
'Piria' meaning 'dig' and meaning that the idols shall be thrown into pits."

The use of the Aramaic piriah (which modern Hebrew, BTW, has adopted as
"pir" - "shaft",or "pit") to explain the word in Isaiah, is a typical
midrshic type of interpretation, but Prof. Feliks (who was a teacher of
mine) will have to excuse me when I say that it is irrelevant. Kimhi's idea,
that LaXapor Perot means "to dig fruit" is a good attempt to explain the
text exactly as he knew it. But I would have to assume that the original MT
had one word, "Laxaparparot", with a prepositional Lamed, meaning "to the
diggers". As to presicely what species of "digger" Isaiah would have been
reffering to, I take Feliks' word on that.

What I find interseting is teh fact that Rashi finds no reason to "explain"
the fact that the text actually has two words, which he then explains as
one. Might Rashi have been using a text in which the two words were

What does the Aleppo text have here?

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joseph I. Lauer" <josephlauer at hotmail.com>
To: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2004 12:58 AM
Subject: [b-hebrew] Re: Diggers

>     With regard to the meaning of "perot", Prof. Yehuda Feliks mentions in
> note regarding "nefel esheth" in Psalm 58:9/8: "The ashuth, or mole, is
> called .hafarpereth in Hebrew, or as Isaiah has it, .hafor-peroth, that
> who digs burrows (pera in Aramaic is a burrow).  The prophet describes
> 2:21) the day of God in which the pride of man will be brought low in that
> he will cast away his idols to 'the moles and to the bats'.").  Y. Feliks,
> Nature & Man in the Bible (The Soncino Press, 1981), p. 192, n. 8.
>     In the text (p. 192), though, Prof. Feliks states that "Ashuth is
> identical with the mole-rat, Spalax ehrenbergi, an eyeless rodent which
> burrows in the ground and gnaws at plant roots.  In the Mishnah [Moed
> 1:4], ashuth is mentioned, together with mice, as a field pest."
>     Joseph I. Lauer
>     Brooklyn, New York
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