Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Interesting Posts and Articles #73

  1. Welcome back, JRants. We've missed you. You serve an important role in the JBlogging community. {Update: Oh well, it was up for a few hours, at least.}

  2. Motts will help you water down your juice if you like.

  3. Andrew Jackson famously said "One man with courage makes a majority." Avakesh discusses "the three ways of pesak," with an Ashkenazic / Sefardic divide. And that was a comment on an interesting series of posts on Ishim veShitot on autonomy vs. precedent in pesak (see here, here and here, and the comment sections in those places.)

  4. Well, the mystically inclined community has been publically predicting mashiach before Rosh HaShana of this year for a while now. But now that the year is almost over, Dreaming Of Moshiach is surprised:
    One word - SURPRISE. We were so sure Moshiach would arrive.
    But then the recent financial woes have her hopes back up. Even so, the shift is already being made from the claim that mashiach must come in the 7th of the 7th, on shemitta, to yovel, which is next year. And they found a source to back this up. This gives them another year to hyperventilate.

    And so Shirat Devorah has a nice gematria proving next year mashiach is coming. There was another post I cannot locate right now, on the same blog, saying about two years from now, 5770, being a good year for mashiach to come, because 770 is a gematria of Beis Mashiach. Of course, that term "Beis Mashiach" is a term used specifically by Chabad, and they made the gematria up because of the prominence of 770. (And chamor beli daas, an insulting expansion of the acronym Chabad, also has the gematria of 770.) But it was being touted here divorced from any meshichist connection -- she was not saying the Rebbe is mashiach.

    At any rate, my point is that if, chas veshalom, mashiach does not come tomorrow, certain apocalyptic websites have a whole year to hyperventilate. And if, chas veshalom, next year passes without messianic fulfillment, they have the next year already in hand, with a nice gematria to boot. And so on and so forth.

  5. Also at Shirat Devorah, she announced a new lecture, tomorrow, from "Redemption 5768" (I wonder what they will do in terms of their name and website in a month). Part of what will be discussed is: say:
    Ezekiel 38 describes Gog as the head of Meshech and Tuval. Who in the world today represents Gog, and are Meshech and Tuval real places? How come no one over the past thousands of years could identify their location?
    I guess the Torah Temimah should be miffed at being considered a no-one. After all, as we see in this Yeranen Yaakov post:
    Yoma 10 - Tuval - this refers to Beit Onayki. Meshech - this refers to Musia. Tiras - R' Simai and the rabbis disagree about it. One opinion says that this refers to Beit Tirayki, and the other says that this refers to "Paras".

    The Torah Temima commentary to Bereishit (10,2) says: Tuval - this refers to Beit Onayki. In the Yerushalmi Megilla (1:9) and in Midrashim, there are various versions of the text, and instead of "Beit Onayki", the textual version is "Bitunya". In fact, there is today a portion of Asia Minor by the Black Sea (i.e. in Russia) by the name "Bitunya". Meshech - this refers to Musia, that is the land of Musia that's in Asia Minor, close to the land of Bitunia (in Russia).
    That does not mean that the identification is necessarily the correct one, but it seems incorrect to say that no one has identified it.

  6. Don't forget that you can follow the Rif on Daf Yomi Gittin at my Rif Yomi blog.

  7. Plastics linked to heart disease and diabetes? From Reuters:
    A study has for the first time linked a common chemical used in everyday products such as plastic drink containers and baby bottles to health problems, specifically heart disease and diabetes.
    Steven Hentges of the American Chemistry Council, a chemical industry group, said the design of the study did not allow for anyone to conclude BPA causes heart disease and diabetes.


Lion of Zion said...

can you use a different color for the words that have links?

גילוי said...

Regarding the Yovel, it is rather interesting. The sefer puts forth that 5767 would be the last Shmitah of Galut, a clear difference from accepted halachah, and that *this* year is Yovel.

Adding a year to this year count is also arbitrary, as the author writes that he is giving all these years from Shnat Tohu.

Devorah said...

If, G-d forbid, Moshiach hasn't come by the end of 5768, he will come in 5769. If G-d forbid He doesn't come then, he will come in 5770. Anyone who doesn't believe that Moshiach can arrive today, and every day, is not adhering to the 13 Principles of Jewish faith.... Ani Ma'amin...be'emnuah shleimah, beviat haMoshiach.
What about you Josh? Don't you expect him every day?

joshwaxman said...

I can hope that he will come any day. But that has no connection to any gematria, or interpretation of sources about a specific year. when I can interpret sources to mean *anything*, then I feel like those sources are meaningless.

also, I feel that there is a difference between hoping that mashiach will come every day, on the one hand, and being *convinced* that he is coming tomorrow, over and over and over. I do not believe that the Rambam, e.g., felt that it was compulsory to regard every war in turn as the war of Gog and Magog, or to interpret every news event as fulfillment of Biblical or Talmudic messianic predictions.

More bli neder in a subsequent comment.
Kol Tuv,

joshwaxman said...

As a quick followup, I will note what Shadal said in terms of the multiple messianic predictions of the end time which found in the Zohar (all of which have already passed). See Shadal here:


Based on Yeshaya 60:22
הַקָּטֹן יִהְיֶה לָאֶלֶף, וְהַצָּעִיר לְגוֹי עָצוּם; אֲנִי ה, בְּעִתָּהּ אֲחִישֶׁנָּה -- "The smallest shall become a thousand, and the least a mighty nation; I the LORD will hasten it in its time."

which is interpreted as:
"if they merit, I will hasten it; if they do not merit, in its time?

If so, if Israel merits, the redemption can be any day; and if they do not merit, there is one set end-time and it will not pass."

According to this interpretation, if we are hoping that mashiach will come each day, it need not be connected with a specific prediction within Tanach or Chazal about the Ketz HaGeulah, such that we need to interpret sources to mean that each day is the Ketz HaGeulah. Because coming any day has nothing to do with the specific predicted Ketz.

Kol Tuv,

גילוי said...

Very well put, Josh.

Understanding prophecies, and subsequently that they mean that the final keitz is not* tomorrow is not kefirah, rather it is the proper understanding of "today, if you heed His Voice."

גילוי said...

And thank you, I must add, for the translation of Shadal there. I would suggest that the word you translated as become pregnant is talking from lashon לעבור and not להתעבר, as the meaning of the Zohar appears to be there.

Where does Shadal get that Moshiach would come in 566? The 66 is obvious, but the text obviously doesn't say 500 explicitly.

joshwaxman said...

Thanks. I'll check it out.

In terms of why Shadal thinks specifically 6th millennium, I don't know. But I would guess that it might have to do with the Zohar writing in the introduction that it would not be discovered until the 6th millennium, with the implication that the years then given being within that millennium. See the next segment of Shadal, here:


I would guess that it could not be an earlier millennium since the Zohar knew it would not be discovered before then. And a later millennium is I guess possible -- I will state outright that I am no expert in Zohar. But context might be what was guiding Shadal.

Kol Tuv,

גילוי said...

The 6th millenium is understandable, but halfway through is a drash at best. The Zohar there uses the expression עבורא דדשא. Namely that there is a Pekidah at 60 years to the עבורא דדשא, and then at 66 is Moshiach.

The Zohar implies quite heavily against the whole Moshiach-now line of thought. The Raya Mehemna that Shadal quotes talks about Geulah at 56, 60, 66, and 72, but the Zohar itself only talks about 66 as beign the revelation of Moshiach. That means that if someone believes that Moshiach will come any minute B'itah, (as opposed to the way that we explained this above), they must already believe that Am Yisrael has been redeemed twice in the process of the Geulah Shleimah.

joshwaxman said...

You're right. And I don't know...

Kol Tuv,

LazerA said...

On predictions of moshiach, see R' Reuvain Margolios' footnote to teshuva 72 in his edition of Shu"t Min HaShamayim.

joshwaxman said...

thanks for both of your comments.



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