Friday, February 7, 2014

Titzaveh;, Shemos 27:20, Variations of Constancy: תמיד

In this week's and last week's parsha we come across the word Tamid many times.  Once you're on the lookout, you will realize that it is found here at a frequency far greater than anywhere else in Tanach.   What you may not realize is this:

The word תמיד appears in the Torah exactly 24 times, either as תמיד  or as התמיד .  How many of those times are in dinim of Kodshim?

Twenty three.

Of the twenty four in Chumash, twenty three are in dinim of Kodshim.  Every one of the seven 'HaTamids' is kodshim.  Of the seventeen 'Tamids' in the Torah, sixteen are Kodshim and one is not.  The sole exception is in Devarim 11:12.
אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ דֹּרֵשׁ אֹתָהּ; תָּמִיד עֵינֵי ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ בָּהּ מֵרֵשִׁית הַשָּׁנָה וְעַד אַחֲרִית שָׁנָה 
A land the Lord, your God, looks after; the eyes of Lord your God are upon it constantly from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.


In a case like this, it is obvious that the exception proves the rule: that the one ostensible anomaly actually teaches us something important about the other iterations.  I intend to speak about this at greater length in Vayikra, but I will put it briefly here:  תמיד is a state of being.  In an ephemeral, time-bound world, תמיד can truly apply only at its nexus with the eternal, where the physical and the spiritual are kneaded together.  Hashgacha Pratis is another manifestation of this integration.  The physical cannot be permanent; solidity is a symptom of impermanence.  It is that which appears to our senses to be insubstantial, the spiritual, that can be permanent.

The main focus of this post is to discuss the various meanings the word has, and also to analyze its place in the structure of certain sentences.

In these two parshios, the word תמיד is found regarding:
the Lechem Hapanim/Shulchan,
the Menorah,
the Choshen Hamishpat (twice),
the Tzitz,
the Korban Tamid (twice),
and the Ketores.

But 'Constant' is inconstant.  The meaning of the word varies with almost every application.  Sometimes it means constant/every night, sometimes it means constant/every twelve hours, and sometimes it means constant/every second of every day.  Sometimes תמיד means that the object itself should be constantly present, sometimes it refers to the object's effect, and sometimes constancy means there should be no lapse of attention.  In our parsha, Rashi mentions this twice: in 27:20 by the Menora and in 29:42 by the Olas Tamid.  Rashi in Chagiga 26b also discusses this, saying that תמיד in the Menora is like by the Olas Tamid and the Chavitin, that 24 hours shouldn't go by without them, but by the Shulchan, it means (according to the Rabanan in Shabbos 133b) constant without a moment's lapse.  In English, the words "continuous" and "continual"  and "constant" distinguish among various sorts of tamid, but in Lashon Hakodesh we often have single words comprising numerous variations, and we are expected to determine the specific meaning from drashos or context.

The Mizrachi and the Gur Aryeh in this parsha speak briefly about the variation.  Nothing I've seen is completely satisfying, and I wouldn't even bother trying to find the principle myself.  (In fact, the Mizrachi, Gur Aryeh, Malbim and others here assume that Tosfos in Chagia 26 argues with Rashi regarding the Menorah, that Rashi holds it means every night, and Tosfos holds it refers to the Ner Maaravi, but I don't see that is what Tosfos means.  Not only is Tosfos not arguing on Rashi at all, I think that Tosfos is reinforcing Rashi's pshat.)


Now let's talk about sentence structure.  Reb Shimon (Yoma 7b) says that regarding the Tzitz, in the passuk of והיה על מצחו ,תמיד לרצון להם the word תמיד is tied to the following words-- Tamid Le'Ratzon; Reb Yehuda holds it finishes the first phrase-- Ahl Mitzcho Tamid. ;Reb Shimon says a similar thing in another context in Menachos 23. The Shaagas Aryeh in Teshuvos OC 38 writes one of his oft cited pieces on the Rambam's psak regarding the machlokes on the Tamid of the Tzitz, as it applies to Tefillin טומאה דחויה בציבור כרב שמעון, אפילו אינו על מצחו מרצה כרב שמעון, לא יסיח דעתו מן הציץ ומן התפילין כרב יהודה.)


It's interesting that in the passuk in Devarim 11:12, the word תמיד can be read either way, too, and the Trop shows that it is read as the first word of the second phrase- תָּמִיד עֵינֵי ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ בָּהּ מֵרֵשִׁית הַשָּׁנָה וְעַד אַחֲרִית שָׁנָה


In Maariv, both at the end of the first bracha and at the end of the last bracha (Baruch Hashem Le'olam, which is not said in Israel, but is said in most places in the US,) there is a word that is called אין לה הכרע.  This means that we do not know whether it belongs at the end of the first half of the sentence or the beginning of the second.  This word is, of course, תמיד.  In the last bracha, it goes המלך בכבודו תמיד ימלוך עלינו לעולם ועד.  Tamid might mean בכבודו תמיד, or it might be intended to mean  תמיד ימלוך עלינו לעולם ועד.  Before saying "Ha, it can't mean the latter, because then it would be repetitive!" please note that the Magen Avraham in  OC 236 favors that way of saying it, without offering any explanation.  The Abudraham says like the Magen Avraham.  On the other hand, the Prisha there, and the Eliahu Rabba brought in the Machtzis Hashekel there, disagree and say it ends the first phrase.   Also, as I mentioned before, the word תמיד in the passuk in Devarim 11:12 seems redundant exactly as our sentence does- תמיד/mei'reishis hashana ve'ahd achris hashana is just likeתמיד/le'olam va'ed.

great Unknown said
we have a parallel construct in "la'ad ul'e olmai olamim [or olmai olmaya"," where no rephrasing is possible. Similarly, "l'olam ul'e olmai olamim."
It is possible that we are dealing here with olam hazeh and olam haba.

The Magen Avraham is particularly interesting to me because around eleven years ago, my father Ztz'l davenned on his father's yahrtzeit and said it like the Magen Avraham.  I heard it from him again a year later, but even without hearing it again, my father, who could finish any passuk in Tanach if you read him the first half, simply did not make mistakes.  I found it interesting that the Magen Avraham's opinion has survived in a world of homogenized nusach and "right way" "wrong way" attitudes.

So, coincidentally, the word תמיד in Maariv and in the passuk of the Tzitz is ein lah hechra.  This really doesn't mean that Reb Shimon and Reb Yehuda's approaches would yield different meanings to the sentence in Maariv, because it obviously depends on the context.  But certainly, the Magen Avraham's opinion echoes Reb Shimon's pshat in the passuk by the Tzitz, and also the passuk in Devarim, where it would make perfect sense as the end of the first phrase but is given the Trop as the first word of the second phrase.



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