Monday, May 11, 2009

The day after the Shabbat, pt vi: Some concluding thoughts

for this year, at least, because we are done with Emor.

1) In terms of the pasuk in Yehoshua 5:11:
יא וַיֹּאכְלוּ מֵעֲבוּר הָאָרֶץ, מִמָּחֳרַת הַפֶּסַח--מַצּוֹת וְקָלוּי: בְּעֶצֶם, הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה. 11 And they did eat of the produce of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes and parched corn, in the selfsame day.
the Karaites do have going for them the pasuk in Bemidbar 33:3
וַיִּסְעוּ מֵרַעְמְסֵס בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן, בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן: מִמָּחֳרַת הַפֶּסַח, יָצְאוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּיָד רָמָה--לְעֵינֵי, כָּל-מִצְרָיִם.
where "the day after the Pesach" is the 15th, that is, the day after the korban Pesach at night, rather than a full day after it. How this fits into the general framework of the argument is another matter.

2) From my understanding of matters, based on the book of Jubilees and various texts at Qumran, the Tzedukim had a purely solar calendar, consisting of 364 days. This divides evenly into precisely 52 weeks. Therefore, whatever day of the week Pesach was one year, it was the same day of the week the subsequent year. And since the year started at the vernal equinox, I believe on Wednesday every year, Pesach on the night of the 14th would be two weeks after that. And the "day after Saturday" would always be a certain, constant day into Pesach.

If so, the Karaites proof-text, interpreting Yehoshua's Pesach as occurring on motza'ei Shabbos would not seem to work out for the Sadducees. Unless of course they did an occassional correction to accord with the vernal equinox. If we do that, would it still fall out on Saturday night during that particular year?

3) Apparently, my suggestion that it can be understood as the day after the last day of Yom Tov is advanced by the Peshita, and the book of Jubilees.

4) The gemara detailing the argument between the Baysusim and Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, in Menachot 65a-b:
שהיו בייתוסין אומרים עצרת אחר השבת ניטפל להם רבן יוחנן בן זכאי ואמר להם שוטים מנין לכם ולא היה אדם אחד שהיה משיבו חוץ מזקן אחד שהיה מפטפט כנגדו ואמר משה רבינו אוהב ישראל היה ויודע שעצרת יום אחד הוא עמד ותקנה אחר שבת כדי שיהו ישראל מתענגין שני ימים קרא עליו מקרא זה (דברים א) אחד עשר יום מחורב דרך הר שעיר
ואם משה רבינו אוהב ישראל היה למה איחרן במדבר ארבעים שנה אמר לו רבי בכך אתה פוטרני אמר לו שוטה ולא תהא תורה שלמה שלנו כשיחה בטילה שלכם
is properly understood as snark. If they are giving a reason, that Moshe established a two-day Yom Tov as a favor to Klal Yisrael, then they are regarding all these commands as the result of human design rather than Divine plan. And if so, what are we to make of the command to stay in the desert for 40 years? Are we to say he is a Sonei Yisrael? And that, too, is the meaning of sicha beteila. The Torah is not random ideas from people, with such motivations in play.

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