Friday, July 31, 2009

Posts so far for parshat vaEtchanan


  1. vaEtchanan sources -- revamped, with more than 100 meforshim on the parasha and haftorah.
  2. Elohim as kodesh or chol -- Did Elohim assay to take out a nation? Rashi diverts from Targum Onkelos in claiming that this is chol. What might spark this? Also, how Ibn Ezra and Ibn Caspi differ. (See also this 2008 post.)
  3. The masorah regarding the spelling of mezuzot -- Since the word ha-mezuzot appears in parshat Bo, Minchas Shai discusses the issue of the spelling of mezuzot in VaEtchanan and in general. There is a Rashi in VaEtchanan which darshens the word against the masoretic spelling. And this is one example of divergence among many? How can we deal with this? Shall we harmonize it, or leave it alone? I explain why I think the text indeed diverges.

  1. VaEtchanan sources -- links by perek and aliyah to an online mikraos gedolos, and links to a large number of meforshim on the parsha and haftara.

  2. The masorah about the bald field and ox.

  3. The makef vs. the requirement not to run words together in Shema.

  4. Was Mizrachi a flat earther? It would seem so, in which case he would join the ranks of the Vilna Gaon (perhaps) and the Shevus Yaakov. It also might well be the case that the underlying gemara in Chagiga also reveals Chazal (or some of them) to have believed in a flat earth. And this ties into the whole question of whether Chazal (or even later authorities) can err in science; and also, whether disregarding the science of our times in favor of the position of Chazal, or what we perceive to be Chazal, is a brilliant idea.

  5. How does keeping the mitzvot make us a wise and discerning nation? A nice devar Torah in Avi Ezer's supercommentary on Ibn Ezra.
  6. The parsing of Temunat Kol -- depending on whether the phrase continues on or not.
  7. Is is ve'etchanan or va'etchanan? Compensatory lengthening of the patach.

  1. In this excerpt from Shadal's Vikuach, Shadal discusses Rabbenu Bachya's discussion about revocalization, where one pasuk under discussion is in vaEtchanan.

  2. Bal Tigra and Bal Tosif, because law codes devolve. It is Shadal's idea of gradual mutation from a good set of laws to a bad one, and that this happened to gentile law codes.
  3. A Tale of Two Elokims -- Is Elohim holy or profane, in these two instances in vaetchanan?
In Hear O Israel, I discuss the midrash that the beginning of Shema was a discussion between Yaakov and his sons.

In When Did Moshe Pray?, I consider the meaning of בָּעֵת הַהִוא and attempt to show that it implies two events co-occurring rather than happening sequentially. In a post in 2005 about the Chronology of Yehuda's Marriage, I make a related point.

2003 (summaries taken from this roundup)
In Parshat VeEtchanan - The significance of Nachamu I examine an appropriate story from the second perek of yerushalmi brachot, about the destruction of the bet hamikdash and the birth of the mashiach, and show how Nachamu consoles. :)

In VeEtchanan - Nachamu: Every Valley Shall Be Lifted Up I examine the verse about each valley being lifted up from the perspective of Ibn Ezra and Chazal, but then turn to a yerushalmi in the 8th perek of eruvin and show how this messianic prophecy about the end of days plays a concrete role in a dispute about eruvs between Rabbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish.

In Nachamu Parsing Issue I pull apart the third verse of the haftara. I could probably do a better job at it now with a trup chart like I had in the recent past - as it is it is somewhat difficult to follow. A picture is sometimes worth 1000 words, so I'll put the chart on my To Do List.

Then, in Proof by contradiction in the thought of Chazal, I return to that yerushalmi in the 8th perek in eruvin, and show how a method of proof called Proof by Contradiction seems to be employed in that gemara. It is axiomatic that a public domain must exist for there to be a Biblical prohibition of transfer from one domain to another to exist. Rabbi Yochanan attempts to prove another law by demonstrating that if one assumes the opposite you arrive at an absurdity and falsehood.

to be continued...


Anonymous said...

Are you going to take up the Tishbav Questions?

joshwaxman said...

the most I can say is that I will put it on the queue and hopefully get to it. I would want to get into the sugya quite deeply before answering anything. Also see here:

Off the cuff, though, my reactions would be:

1) there would not be a problem with zugging tehillim, since the issue with learning Torah is that it is simcha, while zugging Tehillim is more in the realm of tefillah. and besides, we say tehillim in the context of pesukei dezimra.

2) In terms of wearing Shabbos clothing, I can find two excuses. First, tisha beAv (and the other three fasts as well) has the status of quasi-moed, as we've been discussing in the series on shivasar beTammuz. And secondly, this is merely not changing from the clothes already on, in a sort of shev veAl Taaseh -- perhaps similar to the way Rabbi Abahu left on his tefillin at night (see Yerushalmi Berachot 14b, with the suggested explanation:
והא ר' אבהו יתיב מתני ברמשא ותפילוי עילוי מצדדין הוה וכמין פיקדון היו בידו אית דבעי מימר לא אמר אלא הנותן אבל אם היו עליו מבעוד יום מותר
) True, on could not say this for leather shoes already on, as we see that the current prescribed practice is to change them, but perhaps this would be acceptable to say for something which is not innuy.

3) In terms of Avinu Malkenu, it certainly seems that it is the "moed" aspect of it. See here:

Still, I must stress that this was all off the cuff, and more investigation could lead me in a different direction. Perhaps at some later date I can get to it. Otherwise, consult your local Orthodox rabbi.

Kol Tuv,

Talelei Oros said...

לא תגנב
The famous story of Solomon's wisdom in threatening to split a child in half is known far and wide. There is another story of lesser, but similar wisdom that is told of the Mahral of Prague. There was a Pauper in Prague who because of lack of funds was forced to go to Hungary on buisness. On the journey home he was traveling home by foot and he happened upon a well to do citizen of Prague. The kindly man offered him a ride in his wagon. The pauper was only too happy to accept the offer. The wealthy citizen was transporting Barrels of wine back to Prague and the pauper hid his savings in one of the barrels for safe keeping for the duration of the trip. Upon arrival back to Prague the pauper went to retrieve his earnings and saw it was missing. Sensing foul play he called "The Kind Sir" to the Mahral of Prague for a Din Torah. The Mahral understood the situation and right away came to his decision. He said since the man who owns the barrels says he did not take the money I can only draw one conclusion on the trip one of the Gentile workers opened the Barrel looking for money. Then it would seem that I must rule all the Barrels to be Yayin Nesach, as he most probably went through all the barrels looking for money. Now our "Kind Sir" broke into a sweat, as the mere penance he had stolen from the pauper was hardly worth the thousands of rubles the wine was worth. The Mahral's decisions meant his shipment would be almost worthless. It was at this point the Sir made a wise decision and asked to see the Rabbi in his private study and the kind Rabbi was only to happy to oblige his request. There he admitted to the indiscrepency, but the Mahral told him that all is good and fine but I can not believe you to change my judgment because of the Talmudic law that a person can not incriminate himself.The only way he would accept his repentance and reverse his decision was if he got up publicly in the Shul and admitted in front of all to his heinous crime.
-Talelei Oros

Anonymous said...

The Shabbos Nacha~moo I am going to use that one repedately this week that is the greatest Drush I ever heard!!


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