Monday, 21 March 2011

HHH - Mishnah P'sachim 1:1 "v'Lamah"

Originally published 3/21/11, 10:03 am.
"v'Lamah amru sh'tei shurot bamarteif?"
Nireh Li -
The question here is not really a true why question or a "madua" question
The Mishnah here [and in several similar cases] reads better by changing the girsa to "uVAmeh" with a veit instead of lamed. Namely - "And in what case did they say two rows in the wine cellar?"
An actual physical change of girsa is not really needed. Just a mental note that this does now mean "why?" so much as "in what or which case?"


1 comment:

Mordechai Y. Scher said...

If we carefully consider the two words, למה and מדוע, it should be apparent they have different connotations. It is unfortunate that they're both translated as 'why' in English.

למה may be thought of as ל-מה, 'to what' end? It is a 'forward looking' question: what should come of this?

מדוע may be thought of as coming from מ-דע, 'from what notion or thought'? It is a question of source or motivation.

Granted the nuances aren't really obvious; but I think these are legitimate distinctions that allow us to use the words more correctly and accurately.

Just my own theory; I don't know if it holds water.