Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dessert for the Shabbos Table: Haven't I Seen You Fellas Somewhere Before?

At the end of Sefer BaMidbar we are introduced to the new younger generation. The repalcement of the old guard. The Torah introduces us to a completely new set of Nesiim. The class of 2488, the "new blood". I have never heard of these fellows before so I am happy to make their acquaintance.

Hey, you know something? Some of these fellows don't look so young after all, and they seem to be a bit familiar. Well, of course I know the Nasi from Shevet Yehuda - that's our old friend Kalev ben Yefuna, glad he's still with us. But these two other fellows, the one from Binyamin and the one from Efraim, I know them, too.

Of course! These are the two great elders that said prophesy inside the camp 38 years ago. They were known as Eldad and Meidad then. All of the meforshim say so. I wonder why the second one changed his name? Did he change his Shevet, too?

But there is one other of these other Nesiim... I know this isn't the first time I am meeting him. One that looks quite a bit older. Even older than Moshe. Perhaps even old enough to be his father!

Oh that must be him! The one from Shevet Zevulun. I know him! Where was it, now?

Oh yes. He's been around a while. He is discussed in Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel in BaMidbar 11:26. Could this actually be the same fellow? Elitzafan ben Parnoch is not a very common name, you know. There aren't many in the phone book.

But that is truly a strange accounting there in Targum Yonasan. And why him of all people? There must be more to this story. Can anybody explain to me what was going on?

1 comment:

Avie said...

See Daas Zekenim on Bamidbar 11:26 for a different view of who fathered Eldad and Medad. It is clear from Daas Zekenim that the opinion that Elidad is Medad does not have to agree with the other source regarding their parents and Shevet.