The unique verb חפף appears in this verse in the figurative sense of "protecting". Interpreters and lexiographers are divided on the determination of its basic sense. Some mantain that its meaning is to "shelter" (from חוף), others to "cover" (from חפה), and still others to "envelope" (from the Arabic haffa). All these are suppositions without sufficient basis. Rabbi Judah Ib'n Korish proposes a unique interpretation when he compares it to the Aramaic translation of רחף (Deut. 32:11) into חפף, meaning "to spread wings". Such an interpretation is confirmed by the Samarian translation of our verse: "ומרפרף" and by other Hebrew sources of apocryphal literature who use the verb חפף in the sense of "spreading wings", frequently joining it to the verb "רחף". If this is the meaning, the verse in question likens the protection that God offers to Benjamin to the manner a bird of prey protects its chicks, a simile found in Deut. 32:11, and in Isaiah 31:1. The verse which follows: "and he dwelleth between his shoulders" continues with the simile of a bird of prey who rests on the shoulders of Benjamin protecting him, as was shown by Itzchak Avishur. The spreading of wings (and even wings by themselves), as the symbol of protection and shelter is known to us from many passages in Scripture (such as: Psalms 91:4), as well from Talmudic literature.
|Translated title of the contribution||He Covered Him All The Day (Deut. 33:12)|
|Number of pages||2|
|State||Published - 1979|