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Yohai,which we discussed at great length above, is (at least for the moment) unmatchedin the Mekhiltaof RabbiIshmael. To conclude otherwise would require that we ignore an overwhelmingamountof corroborativeevidence. Concurrently,however,the distinctions between the two versions reveal a frameworkthat is both fluid and flexible, readily adaptedto suit the exegetical whim and fancy of its many tradents. Our base verse serves to trigger these mutual associations in the collective memories of those who have encountered previously versions of these traditions of interpretation,bringing to mind this shared frameworkin correlative and distinctive fashion.

Cf. n. 115. ThoughCapsaliwas primarilyconcernedwith chroniclingthe historyof theyeshivot in NorthernItaly,'8he openedhis SipureVeneziawith a survey of Venetianhistory from its legendaryorigins to the year 1516. 20Not long afterwards,however,he returnedto Candiawhere from 1518 he served as rabbiand was appointedseveraltimes as the civil representative-condestabulo-of the Jews to the Venetianauthorities,once again following in the 13. In this position, ElkanahCapsali oversawthe relief work for Jewish refugees after the expulsions from the IberianPeninsula;see Capsali'sdescriptionin chapter73 of SEZ, 1:218.

Oral Orthography Because of these characteristics,this section is most plausiblyunderstoodas a self-contained,independentunitthatwas interpolatedin its entiretyinto our commentaryat this juncture,presumablybecause of the thematicunity it displays at [5A]. 32The rhetoricalpatternof this exercise is: BeforeX wasdesignated, allY weresuitableforZ. OnceX wasdesignated, allY wereeliminated, As it saysin Scripture [prooftext(s)]. In this manner,the rabbinicdisciple could incorporateany suitableexample fromthis frameworkinto his orationwith apparentease and lack of effort.

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Association for Jewish studies 2005-29(1) by Association for Jewish studies


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