Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Can anyone help me out with this Rashi

Can anyone explain the last Rashi in Parshat Noach:

בראשית י”א ל”ב

וַיִּהְיוּ יְמֵי תֶרַח חָמֵשׁ שָׁנִים וּמָאתַיִם שָׁנָה וַיָּמָת תֶּרַח בְּחָרָן


בחרן - הנו"ן הפוכה לומר לך עד אברם חרון אף של מקום

The Nun is inverted to tell you that until the time of Abraham, the fierce anger (חרו) of the Omnipotent was kindled against the world

(Translation from Silberman)

I looked in a few commentaries on Rashi (Siftei Chachamim, Gur Ariyeh) but couldn’t find any explanation as to what Rashi means by נון הפוכה. In our Sifrei Torah there is nothing unusual about the Nun in that word.

Silberman has a footnote that on the word “Inverted” that “According to some authorities this should be so” – does he mean that there are opinions that the Nun at the end of חרן should be upside-down like the end of Bamidbar 10 ( ׆ )

Anyone else have any idea what Rashi may be referring to?


Garnel Ironheart said...

I've heard it said that in Rashi's Torah one of the nun's in that verse was written upsidedown. This was his source.

Michael Sedley said...

It seems that this was the case - my brother actually found a Rishon that said that Bidivad if a Sefer does not have a backwards nun here it is still kosher.

The next question is how can you have a backwards final nun - the letter is symetrical....

zach said...

A nun sofit is certainly NOT symmetrical. Are you perhaps just looking at the font used in this post?

Michael Sedley said...


In Ktav Stam a Nun Sofit is Symetrical, a mirror image would look identical.
see example here: