Thursday, August 05, 2010

Malbim's Peshat on Yonah 2:4 Confirmed?

R' Yair Hoffman (5TJT/VIN/Matzav) found a "scientific proof" for the Malbim's explanation on Yonah 2:4 from a Daily Telegraph article that shows that scientists discovered a river flowing on the sea bed.

From the Five Towns Jewish Times article:
The results are striking. The reader is urged to see the Malbim with his or her own eyes. The term utilized by the Malbim - “Levav Yamim” clearly means sea bed.

Let's look at this inside. The verse in Yonah is:

וַתַּשְׁלִיכֵנִי מְצוּלָה בִּלְבַב יַמִּים, וְנָהָר יְסֹבְבֵנִי; כָּל-מִשְׁבָּרֶיךָ וְגַלֶּיךָ, עָלַי עָבָרוּ.

For Thou didst cast me into the depth, in the heart of the seas, and the flood was round about me; all Thy waves and Thy billows passed over me.

Mechon-Mamre translates נהר as "flood" instead of its common meaning of "river".

The Malbim explains (my translation):
...שתחלה השלכת אותי מצולה בלבב ימים שהוא מה שהשליכו אותו מן האניה אל הים ,ונהר יסובבני, שם נהר בא אל המים המושכים, ומובדל מן הים שהמים שבו עומדים ונקוים , אבל אז שהסערה שהתחוללה בים היה מן התהום שמי הים עצמו התרגשו ונשאו דכים למטה , נקרא נהר , כי אז לא עמדו המים רק נמשכו בעיגול סביב עצמם, וסבבוהו סביב סביב

...because at first, Thou didst cast me into the depth, in the heart of the seas - that is when they threw him from the ship to the sea, and the flood was round about me - the name "נהר" comes to [denote] flowing water, and it is separated from the sea since the water in it [the sea] stands still and gathers together. However, then [during Yonah's story], that the storm which took place in the sea was from the deep since the water of the sea itself was agitated and "lifted their roaring" downward, it was called a "נהר" because then, the water didn't stand still - rather, it was drawn in a circle around itself, and it surrounded him [Yonah] all the way around.

I'm usually the first to shout "Wow!" from the rafters, but unfortunately, I don't see it here. "Levav Yamim" is the term used by the verse itself not having much to do with the bottom of the sea. Later, he does mention תהום - the deep - but not saying that there's a river in the deep, but rather, we can call moving water a "נהר" - a river whenever it's moving.

I see that comment #13 on VIN also was not impressed.

I now see that my cousin Josh beat me to this. ברוך שכוונתי.


At Fri Aug 06, 01:24:00 AM 2010, Blogger Yehudi Yerushalmi said...

I posted this without first having looked at that Malbim myself.

Having read it, it sounds more like a Whirlpool/Maelstrom/Vortex (all terms meaning more or less the same thing) that pulled him downward.


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