Monday, April 13, 2009

Rav Shmuel Palagi's polemic against songs after Hallel, pt ii

Rav Shmuel Palagi's polemic against songs after Hallel continues. See part i.

"And according to the position of those who permit which appellations found in verses, they did not permit flipping their meaning and to ascribe accidental attributes {as opposed to essential attributes, such as Socrates' paleness} to His Blessed Divinity, this no skilled sage in the world permitted.

By way of example, King David, alav hashalom, in song that he spoke and praised Hashem, said {in Tehillim 18:3}:
ג ה, סַלְעִי וּמְצוּדָתִי-- וּמְפַלְטִי:
אֵלִי צוּרִי, אֶחֱסֶה-בּוֹ; מָגִנִּי וְקֶרֶן-יִשְׁעִי, מִשְׂגַּבִּי.
3 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; {N}
my God, my rock, in Him I take refuge; my shield, and my horn of salvation, my high tower.
Behold, according to the position of some, it is permitted for us to say as well "The LORD is my rock and my fortress." And also in plural language, "The LORD is our rock and our fortress." However, to say "He is a rock; he is a fortress," something like this the halachic decisors have not permitted us. And how can one say "He is Bachur; He is Lamud; Zisser Gott {sweet God}; Finer Gott {fine God}?" Forfend for us, for these appellations are not found in all of the Twenty Four {books of Tanach}; also the Men of the Great Assembly did not establish for us appellations such as these, neither in prayers nor blessings. Thus we may deduce that it was not fit in their eyes.

And therefore, whoever guards his soul will distance himself from them, for these appellations suggest forces of body and physicality which He, Yitbarach, is not in possession of. May His name be praised forever, who overcomes us with His pleasantness, and conceals Himself from us due to of the Power of His Visage.

And whoever desires to stand {/and understand} the main point of this drush should delve durther in perek 50, part 1, in Moreh Nevuchim, and will find rest for his soul. For I have abbreviated, and only said the beginning of words.

And behold, our eyes have seen that sin causes further sin, as Chazal have said. Because of the iniquity of the aforementioned songs which are said on the night of Pesach, we did not pay heed to the command of the Torah which commanded us to speak and relate about the Exodus from Egypt on this night. And that which we have been commanded we have not done, while that which we have not been commanded, we do do, to sing and make melody all the night, and because of this we are abstaining from the command of the Torah which commanded us {Shemot 13:8}:
ח וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ, בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר: בַּעֲבוּר זֶה, עָשָׂה ה לִי, בְּצֵאתִי, מִמִּצְרָיִם. 8 And thou shalt tell thy son in that day, saying: It is because of that which the LORD did for me when I came forth out of Egypt.
And it is stated {Shemot 10:2}:
ב וּלְמַעַן תְּסַפֵּר בְּאָזְנֵי בִנְךָ וּבֶן-בִּנְךָ, אֵת אֲשֶׁר הִתְעַלַּלְתִּי בְּמִצְרַיִם, וְאֶת-אֹתֹתַי, אֲשֶׁר-שַׂמְתִּי בָם; וִידַעְתֶּם, כִּי-אֲנִי ה. 2 and that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what I have wrought upon Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them; that ye may know that I am the LORD.'
and our Sages, za"l, have explained further this commandment which is cast upon us on the night of Pesach, when they said "and all who increase in relating the exodus from Egypt, behold he is praised." And they did not say that "whoever sings and makes melodies in the exodus from Egypt." Since the purpose of this commandment is that via the relating about the exodus

from Egypt, and speaking about the miracles which Hashem did in the world, in Egypt and by the sea, His Name and His ability will be known, that he is a Master without limit, and that he is the Ruler in the realms above and below. For in those days, and at this time {of year}, he overturned and changed the nature of all the four elements. And if so, that he is the Master of all of them, and that He, blessed be His name, created them. And that there is over Israel individual providence {hashgacha pratis}, and that when we call to Him, the God will hear us and answer us. All this is known and was advertised to us via the Exodus from Egypt. And this story brings about love of Hashem, and knowledge of Him in our hearts, and just as the aforementioned pasuk concluded, "that ye may know that I am the LORD," which is a fundamental of the Torah. And therefore, Chazal said that whoever increases in relating the Exodus from Egypt, behold he is praised. And they will instruct the minors, and fear of Hashem will remain engraved and impressed in their hearts, for they are soft in yeard, and then they are strong in their faith in the Torah and the Fear of Hashem. And this we learn from the extraneous wording of "thy son's son," for when a man has grandchildren, he is then old, coming on in years.

And I do not believe that there is any person possessing intellect in the world that will say that the language of tesaper {"relate"} suggests songs and melodies; or that there is a person which is deficient in his knowledge of the Holy Tongue. And the witnesses are:
Bereishit 24:66: {Eliezer}
וַיְסַפֵּר הָעֶבֶד, לְיִצְחָק, אֵת כָּל-הַדְּבָרִים, אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה.
Bereishit 29:13: {Yaakov}
וַיְסַפֵּר לְלָבָן, אֵת כָּל-הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה.
Bereishit 40:8: {Yosef to the butler and baker}
סַפְּרוּ-נָא, לִי
Shemot 18:8:
וַיְסַפֵּר מֹשֶׁה, לְחֹתְנוֹ, אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה ה לְפַרְעֹה וּלְמִצְרַיִם

The meaning of this word is neither song nor melody, but rather only a relating of matters of an incident that occurred. And from all this, it is made clear to us that the iniquity of the inappropriate songs and melodies prevent us from fulfilling the commandments of Pesach, as the Torah commanded us.

And with the order of the Haggadah alone, we have not fulfilled nor accomplished the commandment of the Torah in accordance with its halacha. And the incident with our Sages will prove it, for all the night they related the exodus from Egypt, until their students came and told them "the time of reading the Shema in the morning has approached."

How many fine matters do we derive from this incident. (1) That even though they arranged the Haggadah with Hallel and the Four Cups, they did not sleep after this, but rather they spoke about the exodus from Egypt, for according to their opinion, they did not fulfill the commandment of Pesach as I have written."

to be continued...


Anonymous said...


joshwaxman said...

on the first count, I am not sure. on the second, wait till you see the next part. :)

I may write a partial response to this when it is finished, explaining where i disagree.


yaak said...

The original (I'm not sure about the revised edition) Hazon Ovadia Hagada has no Nirtza.

Also, the Simhat Torah song of "Mi Pi El" should be objectionable for the same reasons (אין אדיר כהשם, etc.).

Anonymous said...

I wait with Baited Breath!!!


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