Thursday, May 13, 2004

BeHar-BeChukotai, Shavuot, and Shevuot

I saw an interesting gemara in yerushalmi Shevuot 17b the other day.

An oft heard midrash is that Shamor and Zachor were said BiDibur Echad, with a single statement. That is, one account of the Ten Commandments has the commandment to Remember (Zachor) the Shabbat and Keep it holy, while the other has Guard (Shamor) the Shabbat to keep it holy. Presumably only one was said! The midrash states that both were said at once, in one statement, something the mouth is not naturally able to say and the ear is not able to hear.

This statement about Shamor vs. Zachor is actually not found in yerushalmi Shevuot, but rather mentions a bunch of other conflicting psukim. However, this list is repeated in yerushalmi Nedarim 9a, and there Shamor vs Zachor is mentioned!

This repetition of a sugya in two location is called haavara in academic Talmudic jargon. I posted an article earlier from a class in Horayot II about haavara.

In Shevuot the topic is a shvuat shav vs. sheker, types of false oaths. in Nedarim the topic is neder havai, a type of false neder. The origin of the sugya seems to be in Shevuot, since that leads naturally to the opening quote about the difference between the two types of false oath. Yet Nedarim is fuller, in that it has the Shamor/Zachor dichotomy! Shamor/Zachor is mentioned, and is actually a big point, in the sugya in Shevuot Bavli 20b as well.

ירושלמי שבועות:
שוא ושקר שניהן בדיבור אחד נאמר מה שאין אוזן יכולה לשמוע ולא פה לדבר. מחלליה מות יומת וביום השבת שני כבשים בדיבור אחד נאמר. לא תלבש שעטנז גדילים תעשה לך שניהן בדיבור אחד נאמרו. ערות אשת אחיך יבמה יבא עליה בדיבור אחד נאמרו. לא תסוב נחלה וכל בת יורשת נחלה שניהן בדיבור אחד נאמרו מה שא"א לפה לדבר ולא לאוזן לשמוע. וכן הוא אומר אחת דבר אלהים שתים זו שמענו ואומר הלא כה דברי כאש נאם ה

ירושלמי נדרים:
(דברים ה) שוא (שמות כ) ושקר שניהם נאמרו בדיבור אחד מה שאי איפשר לפה לומר ולא לאוזן לשמוע. (שם) זכור (דברים ה) ושמור שניהם בדבור אחד נאמרו מה שאי אפשר לפה לומר ולא לאוזן לשמוע. (שמות לא) מחלליה מות יומת (במדבר כח) ושני כבשים בני שנה תמימים נאמרו בדיבור אחד מה שאי אפשר לפה לומר ולא לאוזן לשמוע. (ויקרא יח) ערות אשת אחיך לא תגלה. (דברים כה) יבמה יבא עליה שניהן נאמרו בדיבור אחד. (במדבר לו) ולא תסוב נחלת בני ישראל ממטה למטה אחר.
(במדבר לו) וכל בת יורשת נחלה שניהן נאמרו בדיבור אחד. (דברים כב) גדילים תעשה לך. (שם) לא תלבש שעטנז שניהן בדיבור אחד נאמרו. וכן הוא אומר (תהילים סב) אחת דבר אליהם בדיבור שתים זו שמענו. וכתיב (ירמיהו כג) הלא כה דברי כאש נאם ה' וכפטיש יפוצץ סלע.

To translate the Shvuot passage:
Shav and Sheker {the two types of false oaths}, the two of them were said in a single Dibbur {statement}.

Shav is said in both versions of the 10 Commandments, inDevarim 5:10 and Shemot 20:6:

לֹא תִשָּׂא אֶת-שֵׁם-ה אֱלֹקֶיךָ, לַשָּׁוְא: כִּי לֹא יְנַקֶּה ה, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-יִשָּׂא אֶת-שְׁמוֹ לַשָּׁוְא.
"Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain."


The contrasting verse, using the word Sheker, is in Vayikra 19:12:

וְלֹא-תִשָּׁבְעוּ בִשְׁמִי, לַשָּׁקֶר: וְחִלַּלְתָּ אֶת-שֵׁם אֱלֹקֶיךָ, אֲנִי ה.
"And ye shall not swear by My name falsely, so that thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD."


Chazal explain this to be two different types of oath: Shav - something known, that a man is woman; Sheker - falsehood about the past: that he ate something, which he did not.

So this is NOT two dibrot, two versions of one of the 10 commandments, that conflict one another. Just 2 mitzvot for which different terminology is used.

The next instance of conflicting statements Shemot 31:14
וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם, אֶת-הַשַּׁבָּת, כִּי קֹדֶשׁ הִוא, לָכֶם; מְחַלְלֶיהָ, מוֹת יוּמָת--כִּי כָּל-הָעֹשֶׂה בָהּ מְלָאכָה, וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מִקֶּרֶב עַמֶּיהָ.
"Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore, for it is holy unto you; every one that profaneth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people."

Contrast this with Bamidbar 28:9
וּבְיוֹם, הַשַּׁבָּת--שְׁנֵי-כְבָשִׂים בְּנֵי-שָׁנָה, תְּמִימִם; וּשְׁנֵי עֶשְׂרֹנִים, סֹלֶת מִנְחָה בְּלוּלָה בַשֶּׁמֶן--וְנִסְכּוֹ.
"And on the sabbath day two he-lambs of the first year without blemish, and two tenth parts of an ephah of fine flour for a meal-offering, mingled with oil, and the drink-offering thereof."

So one verse prohibits work, and the second commands the slaughter and sacrifice of two he-lambs, which would normally be considered work on a Shabbat. Thus it is an exception to the rule, and this sacrifice is permitted on Shabbat.

The next instance is Vayikra 18:16 , which prohibits a man from sleeping with his brother's sister, while the brother is alive or after the brother's death:

עֶרְוַת אֵשֶׁת-אָחִיךָ, לֹא תְגַלֵּה: עֶרְוַת אָחִיךָ, הִוא.
"Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness"

Contrast with Dvarim 25:5-6, that tells the law of yevama, where the man is to marry his brother's widow:
כִּי-יֵשְׁבוּ אַחִים יַחְדָּו, וּמֵת אַחַד מֵהֶם וּבֵן אֵין-לוֹ--לֹא-תִהְיֶה אֵשֶׁת-הַמֵּת הַחוּצָה, לְאִישׁ זָר: יְבָמָהּ יָבֹא עָלֶיהָ, וּלְקָחָהּ לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה וְיִבְּמָהּ.
וְהָיָה, הַבְּכוֹר אֲשֶׁר תֵּלֵד--יָקוּם, עַל-שֵׁם אָחִיו הַמֵּת; וְלֹא-יִמָּחֶה שְׁמוֹ, מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל.
"If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not be married abroad unto one not of his kin; her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother unto her.
And it shall be, that the first-born that she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother that is dead, that his name be not blotted out of Israel."

One verse prohibits the relationship, and one commands it. Yet, they do not really conflict. This is a special case, when the brother dies childless.

Next, in Bamidbar 36: complains to Moshe about the aftermath of the daughters of Tzelofchad. They were given their father's portion, and the tribe complained that when the daughters of Tzelofchad married, the portion would be inherited by their children, and thereby would be transferred to another tribe.

Moshe replies:(5-9)

וַיְצַו מֹשֶׁה אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, עַל-פִּי ה לֵאמֹר: כֵּן מַטֵּה בְנֵי-יוֹסֵף, דֹּבְרִים.
זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר-צִוָּה יְהוָה, לִבְנוֹת צְלָפְחָד לֵאמֹר, לַטּוֹב בְּעֵינֵיהֶם, תִּהְיֶינָה לְנָשִׁים: אַךְ, לְמִשְׁפַּחַת מַטֵּה אֲבִיהֶם--תִּהְיֶינָה לְנָשִׁים.
וְלֹא-תִסֹּב נַחֲלָה לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, מִמַּטֶּה אֶל-מַטֶּה: כִּי אִישׁ, בְּנַחֲלַת מַטֵּה אֲבֹתָיו, יִדְבְּקוּ, בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
וְכָל-בַּת יֹרֶשֶׁת נַחֲלָה, מִמַּטּוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל--לְאֶחָד מִמִּשְׁפַּחַת מַטֵּה אָבִיהָ, תִּהְיֶה לְאִשָּׁה: לְמַעַן, יִירְשׁוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, אִישׁ, נַחֲלַת אֲבֹתָיו.
וְלֹא-תִסֹּב נַחֲלָה מִמַּטֶּה, לְמַטֶּה אַחֵר: כִּי-אִישׁ, בְּנַחֲלָתוֹ, יִדְבְּקוּ, מַטּוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה, אֶת-מֹשֶׁה, כֵּן עָשׂוּ, בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד.
"And Moses commanded the children of Israel according to the word of the LORD, saying: 'The tribe of the sons of Joseph speaketh right.
This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying: Let them be married to whom they think best; only into the family of the tribe of their father shall they be married.
So shall no inheritance of the children of Israel remove from tribe to tribe; for the children of Israel shall cleave every one to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers.
And every daughter, that possesseth an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel, shall be wife unto one of the family of the tribe of her father, that the children of Israel may possess every man the inheritance of his fathers.
So shall no inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe; for the tribes of the children of Israel shall cleave each one to its own inheritance.'
Even as the LORD commanded Moses, so did the daughters of Zelophehad.


Within two consecutive psukim, we have conflicting commands:
וְלֹא-תִסֹּב נַחֲלָה לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, מִמַּטֶּה אֶל-מַטֶּה: כִּי אִישׁ, בְּנַחֲלַת מַטֵּה אֲבֹתָיו, יִדְבְּקוּ, בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל
"So shall no inheritance of the children of Israel remove from tribe to tribe; for the children of Israel shall cleave every one to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers."

and then:

וְכָל-בַּת יֹרֶשֶׁת נַחֲלָה, מִמַּטּוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל--
"And every daughter, that possesseth an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel"

which shows a daughter can inherit from her father, like the Benot Tzelofchad. This seems a conflict, until Moshe shows how to reconcile the two, by requiring, or perhaps merely suggesting, that as a practical matter they only marry within the tribe.

The next conflict is between Shaatnez, wearing a forbidden mixture of wool and linen, with the mitzvah of wearing tzitzit, fringes. Devarim 22:11 states:
לֹא תִלְבַּשׁ שַׁעַטְנֵז, צֶמֶר וּפִשְׁתִּים יַחְדָּו.
"Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together."

while the next pasuk states:
גְּדִלִים, תַּעֲשֶׂה-לָּךְ, עַל-אַרְבַּע כַּנְפוֹת כְּסוּתְךָ, אֲשֶׁר תְּכַסֶּה-בָּהּ.
"Thou shalt make thee twisted cords upon the four corners of thy covering, wherewith thou coverest thyself."

The garment and string can be made of a mixture of wool and linen. The techelet string must be dyed wool, and this can go on a linen garment. This is not a contradiction, but an exception, or elaboration.

The Shamor/Zachor, present in Nedarim:
Shemot 20:6:
זָכוֹר אֶת-יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת, לְקַדְּשׁוֹ.
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. "

In contrast, Devarim 5:11, in the other account of the 10 commandments:
שָׁמוֹר אֶת-יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת, לְקַדְּשׁוֹ, כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוְּךָ, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ
"Observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD thy God commanded thee."

{Note this pasuk seems to mention that an earlier command was made, so perhaps one can argue this is te second set of luchot given, or better, Moshe's paraphrase of the 10 commandments, which we see this is from the beginning of the perek.}

Shamor and Zachor have different connotations and different halachic repercussions. Yet, they are not in conflict.

Basically, we say in all these cases that they were said in one Utterance, what the mouth cannot speak and the ear cannot hear.

Two prooftexts are given. Tehillim 62:12:
אַחַת, דִּבֶּר אֱלֹקִים--שְׁתַּיִם-זוּ שָׁמָעְתִּי: כִּי עֹז, לֵאלֹקִים.
"God hath spoken once, twice have I heard this: that strength belongeth unto God;"

Leacing aside the question of the translation of Zu as "this" rather than "which" - the simple reading of the pasuk states, in a nice Biblical poetry parallelism, God has spoken it once, and he has heard it twice (this parallel God/man, spoken/heard, once, twice), thus making it clear the truthfulness of the following statement: Strength belongs to God.

The drash seems to ignore the end of the pasuk. God speaks in certain situations one statement. But man hears it as two.

Or, I would add, the end of the pasuk is intended as well. How can God speak once and man hear two things? Because this is part of God's strength.

I would suggest the following, based on a Maimonidean (and seemingly obvious) understanding that descriptions of God having an arm or a finger, or speaking, or getting angry, are all somewhat metaphorical. It is the closest human parallel to whatever was actually done, but there are not human terms, nor is it necessarily within human comprehension, to understand what actually is meant by God speaking.

However, Hashem communicated to Moshe in some way, called in the Torah speech. These concepts and ideas were transferred, but human language could not record it as a single item. Thus, Moshe broke it down, and focused in various places in Torah on specific aspects of the command. They were thus both said in one Dibur.

The second prooftext is from Yirmiyahu 23:29:
הֲלוֹא כֹה דְבָרִי כָּאֵשׁ, נְאֻם-יְהוָה; וּכְפַטִּישׁ, יְפֹצֵץ סָלַע.
"Is not My word like as fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?"

Hashem's words are like fire, and like a hammer. The pieces of rock are the various elements of the command, which are scattered throughout Torah in various places.

In other words, do not see contradictions so much as elaborations, or focus in certain sections on particular elements of mitzvot, and by looking at different sections with different focuses, you can reconstruct the full, complex idea.

This is the idea from Acharei Mot, where there is a rule against using Bamot, altars, and all peace-offerings must be brought to the Ohel Moed. Meanwhile, somewhere is Devarim, we are told that when the way gets far, you do not need to bring domesticated animals as peace-offerings to the Mikdash to eat it, but can eat them as non-sacrificial meat. Each segment has a different focus in its location, and we would be distracted if every parameter must be mentioned in one place. Rather, it is divided in two, and you figure out what is meant by reconciling two statements.

This is the case in this parsha, Behar-Bechukotai as well. We read in Vayikra 25:8 about Yovel, the Jubilee. It is a Doron, a time when all debts are cancelled, all Hebrew slaves go free, and all men return to their ancestral lands.
In pasuk 39f:
וְכִי-יָמוּךְ אָחִיךָ עִמָּךְ, וְנִמְכַּר-לָךְ--לֹא-תַעֲבֹד בּוֹ, עֲבֹדַת עָבֶד.
כְּשָׂכִיר כְּתוֹשָׁב, יִהְיֶה עִמָּךְ; עַד-שְׁנַת הַיֹּבֵל, יַעֲבֹד עִמָּךְ.
וְיָצָא, מֵעִמָּךְ--הוּא, וּבָנָיו עִמּוֹ; וְשָׁב, אֶל-מִשְׁפַּחְתּוֹ, וְאֶל-אֲחֻזַּת אֲבֹתָיו, יָשׁוּב.
in 54:
וְאִם-לֹא יִגָּאֵל, בְּאֵלֶּה--וְיָצָא בִּשְׁנַת הַיֹּבֵל, הוּא וּבָנָיו עִמּוֹ.

"And if thy brother be waxen poor with thee, and sell himself unto thee, thou shalt not make him to serve as a bondservant.
As a hired servant, and as a settler, he shall be with thee; he shall serve with thee unto the year of jubilee.
Then shall he go out from thee, he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.
...
{after telling the regular ways in which he can go free, and how you should treat him well, in 54:}
And if he be not redeemed by any of these means, then he shall go out in the year of jubilee, he, and his children with him."

Thus, among other things that revert to their natural state during Yovel, so goes the Hebrew servant.
This is true for even for the so-called perpetual servant.
In parshat Mishpatim, 21:5f:
וְאִם-אָמֹר יֹאמַר, הָעֶבֶד, אָהַבְתִּי אֶת-אֲדֹנִי, אֶת-אִשְׁתִּי וְאֶת-בָּנָי; לֹא אֵצֵא, חָפְשִׁי.
וְהִגִּישׁוֹ אֲדֹנָיו, אֶל-הָאֱלֹהִים, וְהִגִּישׁוֹ אֶל-הַדֶּלֶת, אוֹ אֶל-הַמְּזוּזָה; וְרָצַע אֲדֹנָיו אֶת-אָזְנוֹ בַּמַּרְצֵעַ, וַעֲבָדוֹ לְעֹלָם.

But if the servant shall plainly say: I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free;
then his master shall bring him unto God, and shall bring him to the door, or unto the door-post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever."

What is the meaning of וַעֲבָדוֹ לְעֹלָם, and he shall serve him for ever?

Onkelos says LeOlam, for ever, giving a literal translation.
Tg Yonatan states Ad Yuvla, until Yovel.

This harmonizes the two texts.

Rashi cites Bavli Kedushim 15 which also harmonizes. Specifically, לְעֹלָם might mean literally forever, or perhaps until Yovel. Since we see in Vayikra that he goes out by Yovel, we see לְעֹלָם means a period of 50 years.

Ibn Ezra tries to be more of a pashtan while remaining true to the halachic interpretation and law. Olam means time, Zman. Thus, until the time he becomes a gadol. לְעֹלָם he says means 50 years, for there is no longer period of time in Moadei Yisrael. Further, going free, it is like the world (Olam) is renewed. {This is nice, since we see the Dror by Yovel refreshes a lot of things.} Or, he returns to his original zman (לְעֹלָם, since that means zman, time) in which he was free.

I don't think we need go that far. The context is someone who is sold for six years. Such a person has a limited period of service, at which point the deal is over and he goes free. The opposite of that is לְעֹלָם, a perpetual servant, with no time limit.

It is true that he goes free by Yovel, but that is an incidental law. For example, what if we do not have the majority of Jews living in Israel at the time Yovel rolls around. Then, there is no Yovel, and so he does not go free. Similarly, people would not get back their ancestral lands, etc.

In other words, he is a perpetual servant. There happens to be another law, in another location, of the Doron, where debts are forgiven and property and people revert to their original state, which happens to overlap somewhat with this law and impact it. We do not have to focus on every possible detail when we fist discuss the law, particularly when it is a different law which sometimes colors the current one.

This, perhaps, is similar to the idea of BeDibur Eched mentioned earlier.

2 comments:

Nachman Levine said...

Meshech Chochmah, Mishpatim (as Omek Peshuto . . .) notes that the literal (Rashbam) reading would in fact be true and imbedded in the text where Beis Din/Yoevel stopped: he would indeed work LeOlam.

Good Shabbos
Nachman Levine

Anonymous said...

R' Breuer. Shitat habechinot. Blah blah blah.

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