Friday, April 04, 2008

Discussion of Maggid Meisharim -- pt iv

Shadal continues his Vikuach al Chochmat haKabbalah. (See previous segment.) The author defends the words "I wrote" said by the maggid. In terms of an apparently nonsensical and blasphemous derasha on the shem Shakkai to drink 14 cups of wine on Shabbat, he suggests that it was an insertion by a student, but that this could not have been said with Divine Inspiration. The guest now suggests a general answer to it all -- that it was not a heavenly maggid speaking but that the "maggid" was only conveying to him his own thoughts. The text of the Vikuach follows:

The author: It appears that Maran Rav Yosef Karo, when he wrote in the sefer that which he heard from the maggid, because of his speed he was not exact, and he wrote in his usual language, and he said "that I wrote" rather than "that I said." And this does not detract at all from the truth of his prophecy and Divine Inspiration which rested upon him.

The guest: And what will you say when you see the maggid (Lublin printing, page 59d, Zalkwa printing, page 27a) say to Maran Rav Yosef Karo that he is able to drink 14 cups {of wine} on Shabbat, 6 at night and eight during the two meals of the day, and that this is hinted by the name Shakkai, for the Shin hints to Shabbat, and the daled yud hints to the cups which it is sufficient to drink on it.

The author: I am astounded at the sight which my eyes see. And there is no doubt that these words, one of the students added them, and Maran Rav Yosef Karo did not write them, for forfend for a man who is a holy one of Hashem, to desecrate the holy and to take out the Holy Names for faulty derashot; Also forfend that the Divine Inspiration, or one who was sent from on high, said over such things.

The guest: And what will you say about the number of cups that he drank on Shabbat, at each and every meal? Does it not appear that he made Purim during each and every Shabbat? For behold, in the midrash (Bemidbar Rabba parasha 10), the Sages mean a measure for drunkenness, with four reviits of undiluted wine, which are four cups. If a man drinks a single cup, which is a reviit, 1/4 of his sense leaves, etc., etc.

Rather, one should not be astounded at this, for it appears that the kabbalists were mighty in drinking wine, for behold in the sefer haZohar (chelek 1, page 70 {270?} b), it is written that the 1/4 of a hin (which is the measure of 3 log, that is to say 12 reviits, of 12 cups) was the measure which, if one drank, he would rejoice, and rest {?} would happen to him.

Behold, according to the midrash, once a man drinks four cups, all his intelligence {/sense} leaves him, all the kidneys become dispirited {? bored?}, and his heart is torn up and his tongue is stopped, he wishes to speak and is unable. And according to the Zohar, once a man drinks 12 cups, he is not drunk, but rather happy and good of heart.

See how mighty are the kabbalists!

The author: This is nothing, for there is wine and there is wine, and not all wines are equal. And furthermore, the midrash says unmixed wine, and perhaps the wine of the Zohar and of Maran Rav Yosef Karo was mixed wine.

However, what I do not understand, and it is in my eyes a great wonder, it that the maggid darshened one of the holy Names for the matter of the cups that a man should drink. This is, in my eyes, greatly astounding.

The guest: If in your eyes it is wondrous, it is not wondrous in my eyes. For the maggid did not speak to Maran Rav Yosef Karo except according to what was in the thoughts of Rav Yosef Karo himself.

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