Thursday, September 27, 2012

Interesting Posts and Articles #382

1. Yeranen Yaakov notes that Rav Chaim Pinto has six dead bodies buried in his office. People previously only knew about four. Don't cross R' Haim Pinto!

Seriously, though, I don't understand what use he has for all these meisim in his office. I can understand needing two, maybe three, corpses in an office setting. But six?

Of course, to each his own. Collecting can be an interesting hobby. And some folks collect Yoda alarm clocks:

2. At the Seforim blog, Concerning the Zohar and other matters, about various rabbis who incline to the view of Rav Yaakov Emden about the authorship of the Zohar.

R' Yitzchak Chaver discusses the addition, taken from Rabbenu Tam, to the Zohar. Dr. Shapiro gives one such example:
What does Haver mean when he mentions that there is material from R. Tam in the Zohar? I am aware of one obvious example. It says in Kiddushin 30b that “one should always divide his years into three: [devoting] a third to Mikra, a third to Mishnah, and a third to Talmud.” R. Tam explains why the practice in his day was not in accord with what the Talmud states, an explanation that became very influential and served as a justification for the widespread ignoring of the study of Tanakh in the Ashkenazic world[4]

בלולה במקרא ובמשנה וכו': פירש רבינו תם דבתלמוד שלנו אנו פוטרין עצמנו ממה שאמרו חכמים לעולם ישלש אדם שנותיו שליש במקרא שליש במשנה שליש בתלמוד.

What he says is that since the Talmud itself contains Bible and Mishnah, there is no need to divide one’s time among the three categories. Rather, by studying Talmud one combines all three areas.
Then, a bit later:
Well it turns out that R. Tam’s explanation, which we have just been discussing, is also found in the Zohar Hadash (ed. Margaliyot), Tikunim p. 107b:

תקינו רבנן לשלש שנותינו במקרא בתלמוד . . . ואוקמוה דמאן דמתעסק (במשנה) [בתלמוד] כאלו התעסק בכלא בגין דאיהי בלילא במקרא במשנה בתלמוד.

There is no question that this passage is adopted from R. Tam, who lived a millennium after R. Shimon ben Yohai.
In terms of this interpretation of shlish bemikra, he writes:
I always found this a difficult explanation, for if the Talmud agreed with this perspective, it would have said so, instead of stating that one is to divide one’s time. The intention of the talmudic instruction in Kiddushin was that people become well acquainted with all three subjects, and if they only devote themselves to Talmud, there is a great deal of Bible and Mishnah [5] they will never encounter.
Related, see my discussion of shlish bemikra.

3. On the Main Line has fourteen commonly asked American she'elot from 1922.

4. On the Fringe is bothered by the idea of the academy of Shem and Ever.
If we're talking about Noah's son Shem and Shem's grandson Ever, how could either of them still have been alive by the time of Yitzchak/Isaac, who allegedly studied at their academy?
The math actually does work out.

5. Moriah's Place has how tznius saved a Jew's life on 9/11. Sounds like an urban legend to me, of the sort that was circulating at the time. Certainly most of these "inspirational" tales are urban legends.

6. Via Circus Tent, the Making of a Gadol, the movie. In Hebrew.

7. At DovBear, a guest post about converting useless knowledge. The author loses my trust when he writes, as a purported insider:
There were only two of us left standing, and the other boy did not know the
name of the servant of Abraham who had arranged to bring Isaac and Rebeccah
together. It was esoterica: a scholar could study for years without running across
the name.
Meanwhile, that the servant is Eliezer is taught as the standard explanation to elementary school children everywhere. It takes a scholar studying for years to develop enough of a peshat sense to see that the Biblical text does not name Eliezer, and that it might well be another servant. And that same scholar, perhaps studying still more years, to understand what would motivate the midrash to associate this servant with Eliezer. But to call this esoterica?! This strikes me as an outsider pretending to be an insider, in order to knock Jewish belief, practice, and study.

8. They Call Me Shev about how Bet Yaakov ruined her life.
As we got older, we were split into two classes. The "high" class and the "low" class. Premeditated or not, the "high" class all had fathers in Kollel and lived in the same religiously insulated community. My daddy was a doctor, and it didn't matter that he finished all of Shas and had a chavrusah every night. My house was a mere ten minute walk from the neighborhood the other girls lived in, but that didn't make a difference. I wasn't "Bais Yaakov" and that was it.
Later, though, she writes:
I have ADD to an insane degree, and davening was basically impossible for me. I had a system with my friends where we would all leave at different points and meet up in the bathroom until it was over. We got caught a few times, but no one ever spoke to me to find out why I was skipping it. I just got in trouble over and over, reinforcing in my mind the idea that there was something wrong with me. I just wasn't ever going to be good at being religious. 
Knowing something about other yeshivas, and how they divide classes, isn't it possible that this wasn't discrimination of high class and low class on the basis of her father's profession, but on the basis of learning potential. A student with ADD might not be successful in the higher-stress, more focused class, and could gain more from a more relaxed approach?

9. Here on parshablog, Does Ibn Ezra deny resurrection of the dead from the Torah?


Yosef Greenberg said...

Its been a while since you've had one of these.

How does 4 work out?

On 7. I think the writer is being sarcastic. It was obvious to me, at least.

joshwaxman said...

on 4, see for example this chart, based on the life lengths described in sefer Bereshit, and when in their lives they fathered the one through whom the genealogy continues:


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