Monday, February 02, 2009

Beshalach: Is the command not to leave one's place intended leDoros?

A very short sefer haChinuch on this week's parsha, since Beshalach only has one mitzvah. Click on the image to the right to make it larger, and thereby readable.

The mitzvah is rooted on the pasuk in Shemot 16:29:
כט רְאוּ, כִּי-יְהוָה נָתַן לָכֶם הַשַּׁבָּת--עַל-כֵּן הוּא נֹתֵן לָכֶם בַּיּוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי, לֶחֶם יוֹמָיִם; שְׁבוּ אִישׁ תַּחְתָּיו, אַל-יֵצֵא אִישׁ מִמְּקֹמוֹ--בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי. 29 See that the LORD hath given you the sabbath; therefore He giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.'
As Rashi notes:
let no man leave, etc. These are the 2,000 cubits of the Sabbath limits (Mechilta), but this is not explicit, for [the laws of Sabbath] limits are only Rabbinic enactments [lit., from the words of the scribes] (Sotah 30b), and the essence of the verse was stated regarding those who gathered the manna.
Rambam indeed interprets this as one of the 613, not to go past the techum shabbat. In sefer haMitzvot he gives this as 2000 cubits, but this was the limit imposed by Chazal. The Biblical limit, which he gives in Mishneh Torah, is 3 parsangs. But Ramban takes issue with both of these, saying that all of this, according to our gemara, the Bavli, is midivrei Soferim. But that the verse means a different commandment leDorot, namely that of hotzaah, taking an item from the private domain to a public domain, or by extension vice versa, such that we are to read, as someone suggests in a gemara, אַל-יֵצֵא as al-Yotzi. So, within this paragraph, a summary of Sefer Hachinuch.

I am not sure I agree with Judaica Press' translation of Rashi here. Translating Divrei Soferim as "rabbinic enactments" implies that it is a Din deRabbanan. But Divrei Soferim is a homonym, meaning different things in different contexts, and Divrei Sofrim can encompass something with the status of DeOrayta. As an example, kiddushei kesef and shava kesef is miDivrei Soferim, and there is, related to this, a preference for this method -- for we are Pharisees. But it is surely kiddushin on a DeOrayta level, and a betrothed woman who was betrothed via kiddushei kesef who then committed adultery would surely earn the Biblical penalty. It thus means, at times, simply that the methodology used in determining the deOraysa is one which is not explicit, but it midivrei Soferim. And that is perhaps what Rashi means to say here, in order to clearly delineate the difference between peshat and derash, which is one of his concerns.

And so it is no Rabbinic enactment. It is Rabbinic interpretation, establishing the Din DeOrayta. There are many such deOraytas, and they do not merit to be counted as one of the 613. And I think that is what Ramban means by his objection as well.

What are we to make of these interpretations of Rambam and Ramban? Can Ramban really be saying that a revocalization of the word should be valid as an explicit din deOrayta, such that it should be counted as one of the 613, rather than midivrei soferim? What about Rambam? As Rashi notes, this is surely not the intent on a peshat level of the verse? Can he really be saying that a mitzvah about the man should be taken out of context and applied ledoros?

Let us first focus on Ramban. As Sefer Hachinuch noted, in Eruvin, there is one who implies so, that al-yetze is intended as the source for hotzaah. And this could perhaps be taken as an explicit verse, though I would still contend that revocalization is no longer explicit. Though who says that the vocalization matters in such things -- and perhaps no revocalization is intended, but just a strange grammatical contruction.

I will complicate matters a bit. There is a gemara in Horayot, analyzing a Mishna. The Mishnah in Horayot 3b reads:
יש שבת בתורה אבל המוציא מרה"י לרה"ר פטור
The idea being that this is an example of הורו לבטל מקצת ולקיים מקצת, where one is covered by the par heelem davar shel tzibbur. But this would not work if it was ketiva, something written explicitly. (See inside in context for why.)

תנן יש שבת בתורה אבל המוציא מרשות לרשות פטור
ואמאי הוצאה הא כתיבא (ירמיהו יז) לא תוציאו משא מבתיכם [דאמרי הוצאה הוא דאסור הכנסה מותר
ואיבעית אימא] דאמרי הוצאה {והכנסה} הוא דאסירא מושיט וזורק שרי

The (setama de-) gemara does raise this objection, but not from the pasuk in parshat Beshalach, but rather from the pasuk in Yirmeyahu. And offers an answer. This is all weak, of course, since something written in Nach is not ketiva in the same sense.

Perhaps we should consider that pasuk in Yirmeyah 17:
כא כֹּה אָמַר ה, הִשָּׁמְרוּ בְּנַפְשׁוֹתֵיכֶם; וְאַל-תִּשְׂאוּ מַשָּׂא בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת, וַהֲבֵאתֶם בְּשַׁעֲרֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָם. 21 thus saith the LORD: Take heed for the sake of your souls, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;
כב וְלֹא-תוֹצִיאוּ מַשָּׂא מִבָּתֵּיכֶם בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת, וְכָל-מְלָאכָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ; וְקִדַּשְׁתֶּם אֶת-יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת, כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִי אֶת-אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם. 22 neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work; but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers;
Can a Navi innovate halacha, as more than a horaas shaah, but rather leDoros? We generally assume not, and that attempting to is to be a navi sheker. So how could Yirmeyahu do this?

I might suggest that Yirmeyahu is restating what was already known to be Biblical law? And where was that verse? It is in parshat Beshalach.

So shall we revocalize, or assume some strange grammatical construction? Or shall we make some derasha on the pasuk, and assume Yirmeyahu knew the same derasha. Perhaps. But I would suggest as follows.

The pasuk in Beshalach has meaning in context. Every day they were to go out to the field and collect the manna which Hashem rained down for them. This meant picking up the manna in a reshut harabbim and carrying it to their tents. And if collecting an omer for each gulgolet, they would presumably also need vessels to put it in, which they would take out to the fields with them. That is hotzaah and hachnasah. And on Shabbat, they were not supposed to engage in this activity -- אַל-יֵצֵא אִישׁ מִמְּקֹמוֹ--בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, which in context, and on a peshat level, is not going out to the fields to collect man. Was this only during that time? That is a distinct possibility, that this was just for when the Israelites were in the midbar, where Hashem issued this command as a test. But another possibility is that there was an underlying prohibition, brought to the fore by this command not to collect, and that this is what Yirmeyahu is voicing in his later restatement of the Biblical law.

Of course, in Bavli Shabbat 96a, this is derived from Shemot 36:6:
ו וַיְצַו מֹשֶׁה, וַיַּעֲבִירוּ קוֹל בַּמַּחֲנֶה לֵאמֹר, אִישׁ וְאִשָּׁה אַל-יַעֲשׂוּ-עוֹד מְלָאכָה, לִתְרוּמַת הַקֹּדֶשׁ; וַיִּכָּלֵא הָעָם, מֵהָבִיא. 6 And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying: 'Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.' So the people were restrained from bringing.
where the idea is also to no longer bring from their private domain -- their tent -- to the public domain -- by the Mishkan. But I like the derivation I provided better, on a peshat level.

What about Rambam? Apparently, the encampment of the Israelites -- which was 3 parsangs -- was their makom, and outside of it was outside, where they were not to go. Perhaps we can similarly argue an underlying obligation, of rest by not traveling outside of your established makom, where going out to collect manna was just a manifestation of the underlying obligation. This would be nothing as extreme as the Karaitic interpretation of staying inside the house all day, like a prisoner in the dark. But it would be the idea of remaining settled in one's general area. I still like Ramban on a peshat level, if we have to choose between the two.

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