Thursday, October 22, 2009

posts so far for parshat Noach

  1. Is the Ran an apikores by his own definition, part ii -- In this post, part of a short series, I note how the Ran says anyone who argues on midrash is an apikores, yet on parshas Noach he has an elaborate reinterpretation of the situation at the time of the Dor Haflaga (Palaga), which goes against midrashim. In the first part, I showed that he argued on the midrash about the definition of the bechor who died in makkas bechoros. And in the third part, I show that Ran's concern is with a particular type of arguing on midrash, in which all of Scripture is allegorized.

  2. Noach sources -- links by aliyah and perek to an online Mikraos Gedolos, and more than 100 meforshim on the parsha and haftorah.

  3. "Only Noach", or "Only Noach And Those With Him"? Two parses, one from trup, and the other from Shadal. Shadal explains how he would slightly change the trup so that the parse would match the idiom which recurs in the next perek.

  4. What if Ararat is not the highest mountain? Assuming a global rather than local flood, how can we work out 15 cubits over Ararat and yet covering all mountains in the world, if it turns out that other mountains are higher?

  5. How are the days of man 120 years? Was 120 years man's new lifespan? This would go against the genealogical section which follows. Was it a ketz until the manifestation of God's wrath? This is what many meforshim prefer, but I prefer the lifespan theory as best local peshat, despite more global difficulties.

  6. Was there a preexisting covenant with Noach? Ibn Ezra thinks so, and shows how Biblical style is to suddenly introduce facts not yet in evidence. Both others don't think it necessary.

  7. The kaf / gimel switch, and how Ibn Ezra on Noach seems at odds with Ibn Ezra elsewhere. Is this evidence of reversal, or the work of an erring student?

  8. Moral lessons from parshas Noach from the Ralbag.

  9. Junior on parshas Noach, in terms of mizvos in the parsha and the demise of dinosaurs. (And unicorns.)

  10. The fourth son of Noach, and how not all sources are created equal. Even if a late midrash says something, we need not treat it as halacha leMoshe miSinai...
  • In Shadal: A Revii or Zakef on Noach, I discuss the expected trup of the word based on the rules of continuous dichotomy.

  • In Shadal's Rejection of the Documentary Hypothesis, I first was negligent and too-quicly read Shadal's statement as an endorsement of a version of it. But in fact he is claiming that the switchoff to different Divine names in the way it appears in Noach is cause for rejection of the DH.
  • Parallels between Noach and Lot.

  • In The Perverted Law Code of Nimrod, a tenuous connection between Nimrod and Hammurabi. Nimrod as Amraphel as Hammurabi, as well as midrashic description of Nimrod as a giver of law in competition with the good laws taught by Shem and Ever.

  • How Noach left the teiva, an amazing "midrash."

  • Where is Shem's Blessing? Yefet gets one, and Cham gets a curse, but how is this a blessing to Shem? To have an intrusive brother? I would suggest an al tikra of elokei as ohalei. Or an anonymous commenter would read it as a textual emendation.

  • Related to the above, How Shem lost the kehuna -- and preceding Avraham's blessing to that of Hashem. I think that underlying this midrash might be, in part, the total lack of a blessing to Shem, and only a blessing to Hashem. Yet Shem failed to learn the lesson.

  • What Did The Builders of The Tower of Bavel Do Wrong? On a surface level, it is hard to see what. First, the idea from Derashot HaRan. But then my own suggestion, that they did nothing wrong, but this is part of a theme in sefer Bereishit of Hashem limiting human power.

  • Is Canaan the Brother of Shem and Yefet? A possibility of conflicting traditions, which would cause Moshe to continuously note that Canaan was the son of Cham.

  • The Tower of Bavel and the Development of Language -- as per Ibn Ezra's theory that this was not a sudden miraculous changing of the language, but rather that Hashem scattered them, which had the eventual effect of diverging languages.

  • Noach had a teva. But what is a teva? A ship, a box, a dwelling, a coffin? Connections to Moshe Rabbeinu and to the Epic of Gilgamesh.

  • Who was Yiskah? And why did Chazal identify her with Sarah?

  • Chazak, Chazak veNitchazek -- where the pasuk of "Ish Et Re'ehu" might well refer to building an idol, or building the Tower of Bavel. But see Josh M's comment, there, that this is darshened in Bereishit Rabba 44:8 as referring to Avraham and Malkitzedek: זה עוזר לזה בברכות, וזה עוזר לזה במתנות.

  • Gilgamesh, Utanpishtim, and Gan Eden -- and the connection to Noach, among other things.
  • Nimrod -- Saint or Sinner?
    • A video. Lifnei Hashem -- does this mean that he was a good guy or a bad guy? Plus more.
  • And Cham Was the Father of Canaan
    • A video. Why Canaan is punished for Cham's sin, and why every time Cham is mentioned we mention that he is the father of Canaan.
  • Bill Cosby on Noah.
    • Here. Quite funny.
  • Noach-related Amstel Commercial.
  • Tower of Bavel Translator
    • which translates subvocalizations.
  • Thus Did Noach -- Different Girsa, or Harmonization?
    • What is being reflected in Tg Onkelos on this pasuk of "thus did Noach?"
  • Cute Noach-related Commercial
    • Yet another one. Here.
  • Parsing Tzaddik Tamim
    • A video. Two or three ways of parsing Noach Ish Tzaddik Tamim Haya BeDorotav. The midrashic parse, Targumic parse, that of Rashi, Ramban, Ibn Ezra.
  • Toledot -- Generations or Events?
    • A video. The first pasuk of Noach, and the meaning of Toledot according to Rashi, Ibn Ezra, and Shadal. Some motivations for choosing each. Plus more.
  • The Correct Identification of Noach's Rainbow
    • There is a special "fire rainbow" which appears specifically "in the clouds." This may answer Ramban's difficulty.
  • The Antedeluvian Years: A Possible Explanation
    • Recalculating the years before the flood and after the flood until Avraham. I suggest shana might mean "period of two months" (as opposed to chodesh), and in keeping with a popular numbering system based on 60. And that after the flood, it means "season." I made an error in calculation at this point in that post (in that we would have to divide by 4 rather than 3), and I still need to figure that out.
  • Explaining the Sumerian King List
    • With the realization from the aforemention post, I realized that the same seemed to be true for the Sumerian King List, which had normal years later on but early on insanely large figures. However, assuming that the numbers are years groups into sets of 360 days, and thus dividing by 360, we end up will very perfect numbers such as 100 years! Needs fixing. This seems incorrect.

to be continued...


Anonymous said...

"This is what many meforshim prefer, but I prefer the lifespan theory as best local peshat, despite more global difficulties."

This phrasing bothers me. Presumably we believe there is one right answer to the question of "what did God say/mean at this moment in time". Other answers are wrong, even if we cannot identify which is which. So how do you differentiate between "local" and "global" pshat? That sounds more like there are multiple authors, each with his own pshat, who got lumped together to make the text we have today.

joshwaxman said...

that is one way of reading it.

another way of reading it is that we acknowledge that we are human, and that we likely are not going to arrive in all instances at the one correct peshat. and we might be misinterpreting the meaning, or the very purpose, or other sections. if so, we should at the least develop and state what seems to be the most persuasive peshat on a local level. if other sections appear to contradict it, then we can state that it is a good question, and perhaps we can deal with it, perhaps even by reinterpreting that other section.

there is perhaps a parallel to the method of learning in Spain in the years surrounding the expulsion. this was one of extreme iyun, where they read very carefully, including making certain that every hava amina mentioned in the gemara worked out as a working theory/system. and each gemara had to make sense on its own, even if another gemara seemed to suggest otherwise.

when they encountered tosafot, they were very upset at it. and we are trained to think in the ways of tosafot, harmonizing disparate gemaras to acheive the best global peshat in gemara, often at the expense of the best local peshat.

it is at the least a valuable derech halimud, i think.



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