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Chronicling an ‘Error’ in the Karaite Siddur

Let’s take a look at this highlighted line.

I just lately found something lovely. There’s an error in the traditional Karaite siddur. It might sound unusual to call an error lovely, but I really mean it. The Karaite group has gone to nice lengths to preserve – what is in my opinion – the incorrect aspect of a principally obscure debate over a single letter in a phrase in the Ebook of Chronicles.

I solely first understood that this debate even exists two months ago, as I was working on a learner’s edition of the erev shabbat prayer e-book for the American Karaite group.

It’s also possible to give me your opinion on what I ought to print in this re-creation of the siddur, by voting in the reader poll.

Let’s start with some background with two very comparable verses: 1 Chronicles 17:20 and a couple of Samuel 7:22.

The Leningrad Codex on 1 Chronicles 17:20 and a couple of Samuel 7:22

Here are the two verses as they seem in the Leningrad codex.[1]

  • 1 Chronicles 17:20:
    יְהוָה֙ אֵ֣ין כָּמ֔וֹךָ וְאֵ֥ין אֱלֹהִ֖ים זוּלָתֶ֑ךָ בְּכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־שָׁמַ֖עְנוּ בְּאָזְנֵֽינוּ

LORD, there’s none like you and there’s no god, apart from you in accordance with (bekhol) all that we’ve got heard with our ears.

עַל־כֵּ֥ן גָּדַ֖לְתָּ אֲדֹנָ֣י יְהוִ֑ה כִּֽי־אֵ֣ין כָּמ֗וֹךָ וְאֵ֤ין אֱלֹהִים֙ זֽוּלָתֶ֔ךָ בְּכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־שָׁמַ֖עְנוּ בְּאָזְנֵֽינוּ

Subsequently, you’re nice, Adonai, LORD, for there’s none such as you and there is no god, apart from you in line with (bekhol) all that we now have heard with our ears.

These verses are nearly similar as a result of they report the similar story – one among David’s prayer after wars and surviving assassination makes an attempt and turning into King of Israel.

(As famous under, despite the fact that the Leningrad Codex accommodates bekhol twice, the Masora Gedola clearly tells us that it ought to be “bekhol” in chronicles, and “kekhol” in Samuel.)

The Karaite Siddur on 1 Chronicles 17:20

Now here’s what is in the Karaite siddur printed in Vilna in 1891 in a passage containing the verse in Chronicles.

The Vilna Siddur prints kekhol. Click image to enlarge.

Uh. Oh.

You’ll be able to see that this Karaite siddur (and it’s *not* an anomaly or an accident) has kekhol as an alternative of bekhol for 1 Chronicles 17:20.  That is, despite the fact that the Leningrad indicates that the verse should include the word bekhol, the siddur has kekhol.

Simply to drive the point residence that the choice for kekhol over bekhol is intentional and an previous one – take a look at this image of the printing of this verse in the Venice Karaite Siddur, printed in 1528.

The Venice Karaite Siddur appears to have printed “bekhol” and someone “corrected” it by hand to “kekhol.” Click picture to enlarge.

And right here is the similar image zooming in on the phrase in query – notice how the preliminary “kaf” in kekhol seems very totally different from the second kaf.

This specific photograph is of a replica of the siddur presently housed in the National Library of Israel, in Jerusalem. In 1715, this copy was in the possession of the Karaite Jewish group of Chufut Kale, in Crimea; sooner or later between 1715 and 2017, it arrived in Jerusalem.

You possibly can see that the initial printing (virtually definitely learn) bekhol and someone changed it to kekhol by hand. In fact, we don’t know when the change was made – however this does present you that there was an older development in Karaite siddurim to learn the verse as kechol (and never bekhol, because it appears in the Leningrad Codex).

Analyzing the Proof for Bekhol: The Leningrad Codex’s Masora Gedola on 1 Chronicles 17:20

Okay, I know what you’re considering; perhaps the text in the Leningrad Codex was incorrect (and the Karaites had it proper all alongside). To look at this potential, let’s take a look at the evidence. Right here is the masora gedola of the Leningrad Codex.

The Masora Gedola of the Leningrad clearly says that it’s “bekhol” in chronicles. Click on image to enlarge.

The masora gedola are masoretic notes by scribes they usually present information about all types of nuanced gadgets. Right here, the masora gedola clearly says that the phrase ought to be “kekhol” in Samuel, and “bekhol” in Chronicles (whereas discussing different variations between the verses). Which means, that the mesora gedola tells us that the Karaites have the incorrect phrase printed in their siddur.

This could resolve the debate – apart from one small drawback. The Leningrad Codex doesn’t learn “bekhol” in Chronicles and “kekhol” in Samuel – as noted above, it reads “bekhol” in each. This doesn’t cause too much heartache here, as a result of I’m making an attempt to prove what it says in Chronicles (not Samuel), and the masoretic notice and textual content in the Leningrad Codex indicate that the phrase in Chronicles is bekhol.[2]

Analyzing the Proof for Bekhol: The Aleppo Codex on 1 Chronicles 17:20

I do know in principle, I ought to have started with the Aleppo Codex, given the esteem with which Karaites (and the Jewish and educational worlds) hold the work. The rationale I didn’t is as a result of at lease one well-known researcher Rav Breuer believed that the text of the Aleppo Codex was indecipherable on this verse. (Extra on that under.)

Here is what is in the Aleppo Codex for 1 Chronicles 17:20.

The word in question in the Aleppo Codex

And here’s a close-up of the actual phrase in query in 1 Chronicles 17:20.

An in depth up of the Aleppo Codex.

I asked a professor whom I consider to be amongst the foremost authorities (if not the foremost authority) on these issues. Despite Rav Breuer’s uncertainty (described under) this professor states unequivocally that the Aleppo Codex reads bekhol.  He says that the stains surrounding the letter aren’t an indication of an erasure or any change from one letter to another.

My very own eyes tell me that he is right: it clearly, no doubt reads bekhol, however be happy to attain your personal conclusion.

So far, I hope I’ve demonstrated that the Karaite printing of kekhol

  1. is at odds with the Masora Gedola of the Leningrad Codex;
  2. is just not according to the appearance of “bekhol” in the Leningrad Codex on 1 Chronicles 17:20
  3. isn’t in step with the look of the Aleppo Codex, as interpreted by a foremost professional.

Analyzing the Proof for Bekhol: Rav Breuer’s Purple Guide on 1 Chronicles 17:20

As I’ve famous, I feel that it a high decision photograph of the Aleppo exhibits that the phrase is bekhol not kekhol. But Rav Breuer believed it was unclear when he investigated this situation very rigorously his ebook נוסח המקרא בכתר ירושלים (The Biblical Text in the Jerusalem Crown Version and its Sources in the Masora and Manuscripts, Jerusalem 2003). On this guide, affectionately generally known as “the red book” because of its purple material binding, Breuer exhibits how he built the textual content of Tanakh in his famous editions. He goes via all the words about which he found disagreements, and exhibits, in each case, what the numerous manuscripts learn.

He determines that the phrase ought to be bekhol and here is what he puts in his guide on the matter:

Rav Breuer’s investigation led him to consider the phrase is “bekhol” in Chronicles.

Here is the best way to understand his notice:

  • The far-right column lists the verse in question:

1 Chr 17:20

  • Then, shifting one column to the left, he lists the word as he has printed it in his editions:


  • Then he lists the help for his conclusion in the middle part:

Leningrad, Sassoon 1053, Cambridge 1753, Minḥath Shai [by Yedidya Shelomo Raphael Norzi, 16th century]; Masorah Gedolah of Leningrad 1 Chr 17:20 [reads] thus: “of Samuel kekhol” ([referring to] 2 Sam 7:22) [but] Chronicles bekhol ([as we have printed] right here).

  • Finally, in the far-left column he lists other potential readings and their help:

kekhol: Aleppo Codex(?), Bomberg 1524 edition

At this level, it’s imperative to watch two issues:

First –  Rav Breuer features a query mark for the Aleppo Codex (represented by the Aleph), an image of which we’ve included above, because he isn’t completely positive find out how to read it. I’ve noted above that others (together with me) consider it’s conclusively bekhol.

Second – Rav Breuer relies on the 1524 Venice Bomberg printing (represented by the letter Dalet, for the Hebrew phrase defus, printing) an image of which we shall embrace under. Though Breuer trusted this printing enough to use it as considered one of his sources for developing his textual content, different scholars have famous that it is problematic, for reasons detailed in this footnote. [3] Notice that already Yedidya Shelomo Refa’el of Norzi (1560-1626), in his work Minḥath Shai, famous and corrected hundreds of errors that appear in the Venice printing. [4]

Up to now, I hope I’ve demonstrated that the Karaite printing of kekhol

  1. is at odds with the Masora Gedola of the Leningrad Codex;
  2. just isn’t according to the look of “bekhol” in the Leningrad Codex on 1 Chronicles 17:20
  3. is just not in step with the look of the Aleppo Codex, as interpreted by a foremost professional
  4. shouldn’t be supported by the following manuscripts and editions: Sassoon 1053 (picture under) Cambridge 1753 (image under) or Minḥath Shai (image under);
  5. is supported by the 1524 Venice Bomberg printing (picture under), however there are scholarly questions about the printing – even from close after the printing was made (as famous in Minḥath Shai).

Analyzing the Evidence for Kekhol: “Later” European Manuscripts on 1 Chronicles 17:20

Once I reached out to the professor who is among the leaders in this space, I asked him instantly whether he was aware of any early masoretic manuscripts that learn kechol as is printed in the Karaite siddur. He responded that we might in fact verify the Geniza challenge to see if early manuscripts learn the method the Karaites print it in their siddur. He added, though, that once we think about all of the necessary evidence Aleppo, Leningrad, Sassoon and Cambridge, we’ve got robust and dependable proof that bekhol is right [and the Karaite siddur is incorrect], “even if we find one or two [manuscripts] that read kekhol.”

He’s in fact, right. For nearly another phenomenon, we’d accept Aleppo and Leningrad as decisive (and once you mix it with the others, we should always sleep properly at night time). But if anybody has proof that other early Tiberian masoretic manuscripts learn kekhol, I might welcome it with open arms.

There are manuscripts that *do* say kekhol, however as far as I’ve been offered – they’re from European sources which might be a bit “later”.

For instance, this Manuscript Parma Palatina 3189, from fourteenth-century Archiac, France, (Notice the Kafs and Bets look very comparable, so it took me a while to conclude it indeed stated kekhol.)

As another instance, is a 15th-century European manuscript that has kekhol. Parma-Palatina 2515. Written in Civitanova Marche in 1425. (Because of the similarity of the Kafs and Bets I highlighted in pink for you our phrase in question and in blue for you an occasion of bekhol, so you possibly can decide for yourself.)

To be clear, there were others from Europe that learn “bekhol”, corresponding to this one from 1473 (Parma-Palatina 2809).

So How Did this the Karaite Siddur Get it ‘Wrong’ – A Concept:

Considered one of the individuals I consulted on this advised a quite simple answer about how the word “kekhol” obtained entrenched in the Karaite siddur.

(1) Crucial early Tiberian sources read bekhol.

(2) The Venice printers of the Bomberg Tanakh in 1524 printed kekhol — probably on the basis of late European manuscripts, or probably simply a typesetter’s error in the printing home.

(three) In the very same printing house, in 1528, the Venice Karaite siddur is printed, and it (virtually definitely) reads bekhol.

(four) Later Karaite communities, in the 16th or 17th century, notice the discrepancy between the printed Tanakh from Venice and their siddur from Venice. Because they know that the Venice printed Tanakh makes an enormous deal about being printed “in accordance with the Masora”, they assume that it is extra accurate, they usually “correct” their siddur, by hand, to fit this. This happened in a minimum of one siddur (pictured above) and probably in many more.

(5) Later printed Karaite siddurim print kekhol in reliance on this “correction.”

(6) Minhath Shai, which corrects the Bomberg Edition, is printed some time in the 18th century (a century after it was written). Later printed Bibles fix kekhol to bekhol, however the studying kekhol has by now been entrenched in Karaite printed siddurim.

Vindication for the Tiberian Masoretic Tradition

In all of this, one in every of my associates jogged my memory not to lose sight of the most essential facet: the precision and care of the Tiberian Masoretic scribal endeavor.

When the early masoretes have been proofreading their manuscripts, they observed that they inherited two separate traditions – one that says “bekhol” in 1 Chronicles 17:20, and another that claims “kekhol” in 2 Samuel 7:22.  The Masora of the Leningrad Codex notes that these two verses are very comparable so it supplies very clear instructions to the scribes to ensure they obtained it right. (Even with this observe, they obtained it “right” in Chronicles and “wrong” in Samuel!)

But a problem remains in that we don’t know what David truly stated in his prayer?! Did he “kekhol” (as reported in Samuel) or “bekhol” (as reported in Chronicles)?

The distinction in which means between the two phrases is nearly non-existent in Hebrew and nearly unattainable to symbolize in English. [Editor’s Note: I added this previous line in response to a question in the comments.]

The Masoretic Scribes have been okay with this inconsistency and they didn’t try to harmonize the two verses. And it is just as a result of they have been so exact in carrying out their mission that we’re capable of even “rely” on their work. Had they simply harmonized readings left and proper, we might by no means know what to make of the text.

Fact be advised, I had by no means actually considered – and positively never appreciated – the masoretic precision until it came time to gathering convincing evidence that my siddur has a ravishing ‘mistake’.

Reader Poll:

So, now that you’ve all the evidence I have set forth above and under, what do you assume?

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Under, I present the further sources talked about by Rav Breuer. The only one that exhibits “kekhol” in Chronicles is the Venice Bomberg Edition.

Sassoon 1053 – 10th century – bekhol

MS Cambridge Add. 1753 – bekhol: This manuscript is from the 16th century, which is late. Nevertheless, it is thought-about one among the closest manuscripts to the Aleppo Codex and (in accordance with a pal) might have been proofread utilizing the Aleppo Codex itself.

1524 Venice Bomberg printing of the Tanakh (web page 74) – kechol:

*    *     *

In addition to the manuscripts referenced by Breuer in the Chronicles discussion, we will show another essential manuscript, British Library Or. 2375; it, too, reads bekhol.

This manuscript is essential because Breuer himself used it to resolve points where his foremost sources have been deficient. It’s also fascinating from a Karaite perspective. This manuscript is a 15th-century Yemenite manuscript; incidentally, the manuscript also incorporates in it a portion of the work Hidaayat Al-qaari, by the Karaite Abu ‘l-Faraj Harun, about masoretic pronunciation.

*    *     *

And here is the Aleppo Codex on 2 Samuel 7:22 – in case you look intently it seems that the scribe who wrote the consonants initially wrote “bekhol”.  However it additionally appears that somebody (perhaps Aaron ben Asher, or maybe the unique scribe) corrected it to “kekhol”.

Does this appear to be somebody changed bekhol to kekhol in Samuel?

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[1] I need to instantly acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Gabriel Wasserman and Nehemia Gordon, each of whom offered copious sources and images and worded/translated a few of the educational notes in this article. They offered their notes to me separately and have given me permission to weave them into this article.

[2] This inner inconsistency has been well-observed, for example, Professor Dotan writes:

סתירה לפנים כה”י, שכן בו בשמואל: “בכל”, כנוסח שבדה”י. גרסת “ככל” מצויה אצל א ד, והיא מתאימה להערת מס”ג זו

“Internal contradiction in the [Leningrad] manuscript, because in Samuel it has “Bekhol”, the similar as in Chronicles. The version Kechol [in Samuel] is discovered in Aleppo and the Second Rabbinic Bible (1524-1525) and matches this Masorah Gedolah notice.”

Masora of Codex Leningrad (B19a) as arranged, deciphered, and annotated by Prof. Aron Dotan with the assistance of Nurit Reich, Tel Aviv College, 2014; Accordance edition hypertexted and formatted by OakTree Software program, Inc. Model 5.zero.

[3] Menachem Cohen, in his introductory essay to the Mikra’ot Gedolot ‘Haketer’ collection (printed at the finish of the Joshua-Judges volume, Bar-Ilan University, 1992) has  an extended description of this Venice printing of the Tanakh (pp. 1*-42*). He features a part explaining the drawbacks of this version: (a) the editor in Venice had access only to late Ashkenazic manuscripts of Tanakh, not early Tiberian ones; (b) the edition was put out in too brief a time period to allow Jacob ben Adoniah to make enough textual determination (pp. 9*-10*). Cohen then proceeds to point out all types of issues with the textual content. Afterward (pp. 54* ff.), he notes that Mordecai Breuer built his Tanakh textual content from several foremost early manuscripts, plus the Venice printing; he writes: “Rabbi Breuer’s nice success in utilizing his algorithm of majority [that is, choosing the text that appeared in the majority of his sources] was as a consequence of the reality that the majority of his manuscripts certainly have been at the prime of the ladder of accuracy; solely his selection to use also [Jacob] Ben-Ḥayyim’s version ruined the algorithm a bit. We will see just how a lot [Breuer’s] results have been as a consequence of probability from the incontrovertible fact that if he had included even yet one more manuscript on the [low] degree of accuracy of the Ben-Ḥayyim edition, the results would have been very totally different.

[4] ככל אשר שמענו. בספרים כתובי יד מדוייקים בבי”ת.

Kekhol asher shama‘nu. In accurate manuscript books, it is with a beth.

One may find it unusual that Rav Breuer used the Bomber edition, when he also had entry to Minḥath Shai, which right numerous Bomber mistakes. The reason is that he seen them as separate sources and needed to preserve their separateness in the event that Minḥath Shai obtained one thing improper that Bomberg acquired right,

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