Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Iyyov Lo Haya VeLo Nivra/Atid Lihyot

Another interesting yerushalmi Sotah (25b, perek 5 halacha 6):

רבי שמעון בן לקיש אמר איוב לא היה ולא עתיד להיות.
מחלפה שיטתיה דר' שמעון בן לקיש.
תמן אמר רבי שמעון בן לקיש בשם בר קפרא בימי אברהם אבינו היה
והכא הוא אמר הכין
אלא הוא היה וייסורין לא היו.
ולמה נכתבו עליו
אלא לומר שאילולי באו עליו היה יכול לעמוד בהן.
Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said: Iyyov did not exist and he will not exist in the future
Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish's statements are contradictory
There Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said in the name of Bar Kappara that he {Iyyov} existed in the days of our forefather Avraham
And here he says this!?
Rather, he existed and his sufferings did not exist.
And {if so} why were they written about him?
Rather to say that if they had come upon him he would have been able to withstand them.
I would have answered the question differently - that one is Resh Lakish citing a different opinion, that of Bar Kappara, with whom he does not agree, and the other is Resh Lakish's own opinion. Indeed, this is actually an answer given on occassion by the gemara.

Anyway, the harmonization/resolution is an interesting one: real people, but a fictional account.

This is a different version that that presented in the Bavli in two ways. First, we have this harmonization such that Iyyov did exist though the events did not, while in Bavli Iyyov is left nonexistent.

In Bavli Bava Batra 15a we have the following:

יתיב ההוא מרבנן קמיה דר' שמואל בר נחמני
ויתיב וקאמר איוב לא היה ולא נברא אלא משל היה
א"ל עליך אמר קרא איש היה בארץ עוץ איוב שמו.
אלא מעתה (שמואל ב יב) ולרש אין כל כי אם כבשה אחת קטנה אשר קנה ויחיה וגו' מי הוא?
אלא משל בעלמא
הכא נמי משל בעלמא
א"כ שמו ושם עירו למה
A certain rabbi sat before R Shmuel bar Nachmeni
And he said and said: Iyyov did not exist and was not created; rather he is allegorical.
He {R Shmuel bar Nachmeni} said to him: To you the Scriptures state (Iyyov 1:1) "There was a man in land of Utz; Iyyov was his name."
{The gemara objects}
But now, in 2 Shmuel 12:3: And to the poor man there was nothing except one little ewe, which he had bought and nourished... Who was he?
Rather he was entirely allegorical.
So too here he was entirely allegorical.
{The gemara answers}
If so, his name and the name of his city {really, his land, but
שמו ושם עירו is idiomatic, from the laws of contracts} what for?
Thus, the R Shmuel bar Nachmeni rejects the suggestion that Iyyov was allegorical, and we have not the harmonization of him being real with the story being fictional.

The second difference is in the specific language. In Bavli, we have Lo Haya VeLo Nivra. But In yerushalmi we have Lo Haya Velo Atid Lihyot = he will not exist in the future.

This perhaps has a different connotation. The Bavli's language just suggests Iyyov is fictional. The Yerushalmi's language, that he will not exist in the future, might suggest an impetus for ascribing the story of Iyyov to allegory - namely, a difficulty coming to grips with, or else a refusal to accept, the idea that a tzaddik veRa' Lo (righteous person who has bad things befall him) story such as that described in Iyyov, and to the extent described in Iyyov, could actually occur, for Hashem would not allow this to happen. Iyyov could then only be theoretical.

Indeed, this wording of Lo Haya VeLo Atid Lihyot only occurs in one other place: Bavli Sanhedrin 71a, where it is used to deny the existence of Ben Sorer UMoreh (the rebellious son),
Ir HaNidachat (the Idolatrous City), and Bayit HaMenuga (the Leprous House). Ben Sorer UMoreh, because of incredulity that parents would bring their son to such a fate for so little cause, the Idolatrous city, since if there were one mezuza it would be spared, and the Leprous House, because the appearance of leprosy has to be very specific. Why are they written? In order to be learned and darshened in order to accept reward for doing so. Thus, they are purely theoretical.

(In each case, someone argues with anecdotal evidence of at least one instance, thus disproving that it is purely theoretical. Twice this is Rabbi Yochanan. I would say this contradicts my post about proof by contradiction in the thought of Chazal, but I would point out that there it is R Yochanan who appeals to proof by contradiction, and it is he that here argues for the existence of these Biblically described cases. Further, by Ben Sorer UMoreh, Ir HaNidachat, and Bayit HaMenuga, the objections are that the cases are so farfetched so as to be practically impossible, such that it never came to be nor would come to be, while in that post, the cases are such that they could could not exist theoretically.)


AARON said...

By the same token you can say that the case of iyov was simply following the pattern of the other 3 cases.

joshwaxman said...

I not quite sure I understand (elaborate?) but I think I am in agreement.

That is, I want to say that just as in those three instances, because the situation was so *farfetched*, there could not ever have been such an instance as that described in Iyyov, nor would there be in the future. Just as Ben Sorer UMoreh couldn't be, because it is impossible that parents would treat their child in such a fashion for a relatively minor infraction, the story with God, Satan, and Iyyov could not be because it is similarly inconceivable that a Parent could treat His child in such a fashion for such a cause.


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