Tuesday, July 31, 2012

VaEtchanan sources -- 2012 edition

by aliyah
Rishon (Devarim 3:23 lineartrup, with Onkelos)
Sheni (4:5)
Shlishi (4:41)
Revii (5:1)
Chamishi (5:19)
Shishi (6:4 -- shema yisrael)
Shevii (7:1)
Maftir (7:9)
Haftara (nachamu -- in yeshaya 40)

by perek

Geonim (589-1038)
R' Saadia Gaon(882-942) -- see Wikipedia entry:
  1. Arabic translation of Torah, here   at Temanim.org. This is a beautiful PDF, with the Chumash text, Rashi, Onkelos, and Rav Saadia's Tafsir. All of these have nikkud, which is a very nice feature. It also designates the Temani and standard aliyah breaks, and two commentaries, Shemen HaMor and Chelek HaDikduk, on the kriyah, trupnikkud, and dikduk, on the basis of Yemenite manuscripts, which would be worthwhile even absent the other features. Quite excellent, overall.
  2. The same Arabic translation, the Tafsir, here at Google books. No nikkud, Chumash text, Rashi, or Onkelos. But there is a brief supercommentary by Yosef Direnburg at the bottom of each page. 
  3. Collected commentary   of Saadia Gaon on Torah, selected from the writings of various Rishonim and from his commentaries on other works.
Rabbi Yona Ibn Janach (Spain, 990-1050) -- see Wikipedia 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

When the fast of Tisha B'Av ends, in NYC, 2012

This is for Flushing, NY, based on MyZmanim. To find your own local time the fast ends, go to MyZmanim and type in your own zip code:

Fast Ends
R' Tukaccinsky  
  • The fast of תשעה באב ends with the
    emergence of ג' כוכבים בינונים at -
  •  8:48 PM
    R' Moshe Feinstein  
  • One who finds fasting difficult may eat at -
  •  8:52 PM
  • One who does not find fasting difficult
    should wait until the time for מוצאי שבת at -
  •  9:00 PM

    [מהיכא תיתי]

    According to Chabad (but again, look up your own local time):

    Chatzot (midday)
    1:02 pm

    Shkiah (sunset)
    8:14 pm
    Fast Ends
    8:45 pm
    Tzeit Hakochovim (nightfall)
    8:52 pm

    The difference in a few minutes from R' Tukaccinsky is, I think, based on calculations based on elevations.

    and according to the Etz Chaim of KGH bulletin:

     Fast of Tisha B'Av Nidcheh ends at 8:56 PM

    and according to an email sent out by R' Friedman's shul:

    Fast Over-9:04 pm

    Friday, July 27, 2012

    Posts so far for parshat Devarim

    These are the bees, of which
     Moshe spoke to all of Israel...


    1. Devarim sources, 2012 edition. Further improved.

    2. The Wisdom of Solomon -- Rav Chaim Kanievsky asks how the Sifrei can contrast a statement by Shlomo professing inability to judge with a statement that he was wisest of all men. After all, the context of each statement reveals that the former is prior to his request for Hashem for wisdom, and the latter is after Hashem's granting of his request! He answers that Shlomo was wise beforehand, and must have had some level of wisdom in order to merit the subsequent level of wisdom.

    3. Running commentary on parashat Devarim, part i.

    4. How does the trup parse אֲנָשִׁים חֲכָמִים וּנְבֹנִים וִידֻעִים לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶםAgainst Rashi, it seems, such that חֲכָמִים וּנְבֹנִים וִידֻעִים are a unit. But that is acceptable.

    5. YUTorah on parashat Devarim.


    1. Devarim sources, 2011 edition. Links by aliyah and perek to an online Mikraos Gedolos, plus to many meforshim on the parsha and haftara. This is quite expanded over previous years. For instance, there are many more meforshei Rashi here. Here is the 2010 edition, and the 2009 edition.
    2. Two places named Chatzeros -- Rav Chaim Kanievsky considers whether there were two places named Chatzeros, such that the one at the start of Devarim, in Ever Hayarden, is not the same as the one in themasaot, which is the one mentioned in Behaaloscha, where Miriam was punished with leprosy. I consider his words, and use it as a jumping off point. Plus, the Sifrei darshens a Samaritan text!
    3. Did Moshe lose out Eretz Yisrael due to the chet hameraglim?! Why does Moshe relate Hashem's anger, his losing out on entering the Land, and Yehoshua leading them in, as early as the chet hameraglim? Ibn Caspi answers based on essential and incidental causes, as well as free will coexisting with Divine foreknowledge. But I suggest ain mukdam, or that in fact Mei Merivah did occur much earlier.
    4. Justice in the murder of Ibn Gabirol -- Was R' Eleazar HaKallir killed by a scorpion in the sandal, planted by his jealous teacher Yannai. Was Ibn Gabirol such a good poet that he was murdered by a jealous Arab poet, who was caught by miraculous means of early-ripening figs? And what impact this has on how one should regard piyutim. This appears in Kav Hayashar on Devarim.
    5. YU Torah on parashat Devarim.
    1. Is kesufim a comment on anashim or chachamim? Understanding Rashi, in light of the original words of the Sifrei.
    2. Is there an extra yud in our Torah in parshat Devarim? And what Rashi means when he says that the word is chaser yud. Or perhaps chaser aleph.
    3. Siryon or Shiryon, and whether the Targum Yonatan reveals an alternate vocalization. I do not think it does.
    4. The parsing, and meaning, of Et Kol Ir Metim. Shadal asserts that it is a dispute between Targum and trup.
    5. Known to your tribes -- and how Rashi's midrashic interpretation is against the trup.
    6. Considering Ibn Ezra and the secret of the 12 pesukim. The position is well known, but the discussion about it is interesting.
    7. The cubit of Og, and how we can understand it on the level of peshat and in line with derech hateva.
    8. And as a followup, Mizrachi tries to explain Rashi based on the midrashim in the gemara, and how Rambam regards literal interpretation of those midrashim.
    9. A fun story of bribery in Sefarad.
    1. The slew of place names -- and the approach of different meforshim. Are they one place, multiple places, one speech, multiple speeches, etc.
    1. Did Moav or Israel begin the hostilities? With a Rashi suggesting that we did, in a permissible manner.
    2. A mote in the eye or a sliver between the teeth? The idiom, in its various variants.


    In Parsing Devarim 1:1, I discuss the omnisignificant midrashic approach towards the first pasuk of Devarim, which gives each place name an import, positive or negative.

    In Parsing Yeshaya 1:5, I discuss how trup and dikduk interact, and seem to suggest a different parse of the pasuk than the one Ibn Ezra gives.

    In Yeshaya 1, I discuss Yeshaya's initiation prophecy, sacrificial offerings vs. prayer, and some practical derashot of Chazal on some of the pesukim in this perek.

    In Why Begin Here?, I suggest a motivation for the recounting of conquering of various nations by others, similar to the motivation cited by Rashi for beginning the Torah with Bereishit.

    • Moshe: Not a Man of Words?
      • Devarim is a six month long oration, or at least consists of several long speeches. Did Moshe not protest earlier, in Shemot 4, thatלֹא אִישׁ דְּבָרִים אָנֹכִי - " I am not a man of words?" One could see his development as a leader. (According to midrashim that take this as a reference to a physical malady, one can claim this was healed at Har Sinai. On a pshat level one might say that in Hashem's response, He says that He will be with Moshe's mouth.)Rabbi Tanchuma answers this with a mashal, contrasting speech as viewed by the Creator of speech as opposed to how it is viewed by other humans. To Hashem, who created the mouth and speech, Moshe is not a man of words, but to others, his words are words, just as inferior argaman {purple dye} to a king is not argaman, but to others, it is. Then, a note on why someone would deny to the king that he was selling argaman.
    • Believe in Hashem, Become Like Hashem?
      • An interesting, daring midrash, based on a pasuk in Hallel and another in Yirmiyahu. כְּמוֹהֶם, יִהְיוּ עֹשֵׂיהֶם-- כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-בֹּטֵחַ בָּהֶם. If idolators are like idols, then one who serves Hashem, all the more so. To bolster the case,  a pasuk in Yirmiyahu, parsed midrashically and with the end lopped off:בָּרוּךְ הַגֶּבֶר, אֲשֶׁר יִבְטַח בַּה' וְהָיָה ה!
    אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים, אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-כָּל-יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּעֵבֶר, הַיַּרְדֵּן: בַּמִּדְבָּר בָּעֲרָבָה מוֹל סוּף בֵּין-פָּארָן וּבֵין-תֹּפֶל, וְלָבָן וַחֲצֵרֹת--וְדִי זָהָב.
    "These are the words which Moses spoke unto all Israel beyond the Jordan; in the wilderness, in the Arabah, over against Suph, between Paran and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di-zahab."

    Rashi presents one side, in which all the place names convey some hidden meaning, but there is another view, that of R' Yosi ben Dormaskit, that these are in fact actual geographical locations. This argument takes place on other verses in Tanach as well. I categorized the approaches as open vs. closed canon, and suggested that this might give an insight into Chazal's attitude towards the meaning of pshat and drash.
    • Is Devarim rebuke? Or a pep talk?
      • I presented two approaches - the classic one that Dvarim is a rebuke of the Israelites. Then I suggested that it can be viewed as an encouragement, or pep talk, to the Jews at the end of their long stay in the Wilderness. That is, the only reason they had not inherited the land previously was that Hashem did not want it, because of various sins, but now, they would enter the land, under the leadership of Yehoshua. To that end, Moshe also details other groups that inherited the land Hashem wanted them to, even though the previous inhabitants were giants.
        It is good reading, and I hope you enjoy it.
    to be continued...

    Thursday, July 26, 2012

    How does the trup parse אֲנָשִׁים חֲכָמִים וּנְבֹנִים וִידֻעִים לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶם?

    Summary: Against Rashi, it seems, such that חֲכָמִים וּנְבֹנִים וִידֻעִים are a unit. But that is acceptable.

    Post: Towards the start of parshas Devarim, we encounter this pasuk:

    13. Prepare for yourselves wise and understanding men, known among your tribes, and I will make them heads over you.יג. הָבוּ לָכֶם אֲנָשִׁים חֲכָמִים וּנְבֹנִים וִידֻעִים לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶם וַאֲשִׂימֵם בְּרָאשֵׁיכֶם:

    Note that Judaica Press translates it in accordance to Rashi, taking וִידֻעִים לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶם as a unit, meaning "known among your tribes".

    Here is how Rashi, channeling the Sifrei, puts it:

    well-known among your tribes: Men whom you recognize, for if one were to come before me wrapped in his tallith, I would not know who he is and of what tribe he is, and whether he is suitable. But you know him, for you have raised him. Therefore, it says,“well-known among your tribes.” (Sifrei)וידועים לשבטיכם: שהם ניכרים לכם, שאם בא לפני מעוטף בטליתו איני יודע מי הוא ומאיזה שבט הוא ואם הגון הוא, אבל אתם מכירין בו, שאתם גידלתם אותו, לכך נאמר וידועים לשבטיכם:

    Compare with JPS which makes it a measure of their knowledge:

    יג  הָבוּ לָכֶם אֲנָשִׁים חֲכָמִים וּנְבֹנִים, וִידֻעִים--לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶם; וַאֲשִׂימֵם, בְּרָאשֵׁיכֶם.13 Get you, from each one of your tribes, wise men, and understanding, and full of knowledge, and I will make them heads over you.'

    Ibn Ezra does not explicitly treat viyduim lishivteichem as unit, as Rashi does, but he does interpret viduim in like manner:

    וידועים -שהם היו ידועים שיכירום הכל.

    That they are known, that all recognize them.

    (After all, it is the passive verb.) The Ramban writes:
    יג): וידעים לשבטיכם - 
    שהיו ניכרים לכם, שאם בא לפני מעוטף בטליתו איני יודע מי הוא ומאי זה שבט הוא, אבל אתם מכירים אותו שגדלתם אותו, לשון רש"י מספרי (דברים יג). ג
    ואם כן, יהיה "לשבטיכם" קשור עם "וידועים" י

    אבל על דרך הפשט טעמו, הבו לכם לשבטיכם אנשים חכמים. 
    ועל דעתי, טעם "וידועים" שהם ידועים לשופטים, כלומר שמעלתם ידועה ונכרת למנותם בה שופטים. וכלל מעלות השופטים במלת "וידועים", כי השופטים צריכין להיות אנשי חיל יראי אלוהים אנשי אמת שונאי בצע כאשר אמר יתרו, ואלה היו ידועים לשופטים מתחלה כי היו הכל אומרים ראוי זה להיות שופט:
    That is, he first cites Rashi and states that if so, the word לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶם is connected with וִידֻעִים. He continues:
    "However, on a peshat level, its import is {via reordering the words} 'Get yourselves, for your tribes, wise men.' {J: and so 'your tribes' is not associated with yeduim at all.}
     And in my opinion, the meaning of yeduim is that they are known to be judges, that is to say, their greatness is known and recognized, to appoint them judges for it. And it encompasses the various positive traits of judges in the word וִידֻעִים, for the judges need to be אַנְשֵׁי-חַיִל יִרְאֵי אֱלֹהִים, אַנְשֵׁי אֱמֶת--שֹׂנְאֵי בָצַעת, as Yisro said {J: such that there is harmonization between Devarim and parashat Yitro in sefer Shemot}. And these were known to be 'judges' from the beginning, since all would say that this one is fit to be a judge.
    In this way, I'll stress once more,  לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶם is not connected with וִידֻעִים on a peshat level according to the Ramban.

    Vilna Gaon
    The Vilna Gaon writes, in Aderes Eliyahu:
    לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶם. לא קאי ידֻעִים בלבד אלא על כל הד׳ דברים שיהא מכל שבט ושבט

    "'to your tribes' -- it does not apply only to וִידֻעִים, but rather to each of the four [sic; three; unless anashim counts, as righteous men, as in the Sifrei, in which case ignore three later in Gra, as well as his supercommentator in the link] things, that they should be from each and every tribe."

    haKsav vehaKabbalah
    Rabbi Yaakov Tzvi Mechlenburg, in his sefer Haksav veHakabbalah, discusses how trup fits into this picture. He cites the Gra, and then writes:

    כי לפי נגינת הטעם מלת וִידֻעִים מתחברת עם חֲכָמִים וּנְבֹנִים

    "For according to the trup, the word וִידֻעִים  is connected to חֲכָמִים וּנְבֹנִים." 

    This is precisely correct. Let us examine the trup on the pasuk:

    The one trup symbol appearing which subdivides an etnachta is the tipcha on וִידֻעִים, such that it is the first item knocked off. All the other trup symbols divide the clause ending in the tipcha. Thus, it is:

    הָבוּ לָכֶם אֲנָשִׁים חֲכָמִים וּנְבֹנִים וִידֻעִים

    Can Rashi (and Ibn Ezra perhaps) give an interpretation against the trup? Yes. But even without that, we already have Ramban aligning peshat vs. the non-peshat (so I suppose derash) in Rashi based on different parsings. Noting that the trup is like the peshat parsing does not necessarily do away with the derash, even if we took trup as dispositive.

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    YUTorah on parashat Devarim

    Audio Shiurim on Devarim
    Rabbi Etan Moshe Berman: Who Authored Sefer Devarim? 
    Rabbi Dr. Joshua Berman: Inconsistences in the Torah: Looking Beyond R. Breuer and Source Criticism 
    Rabbi Chaim Brovender: What Torah Did Moshe Write?
    Rabbi Ally Ehrman: When Enough Is Not Enough 
    Rabbi Beinish Ginsburg: Rav Hirsch's approach to Chumash Devarim 
    Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb: Threatening Judges, Jury Tampering, and Witness Intimidation The Parameters of Lo Saguru 
    Rabbi Jesse Horn: Aspiring for religious greatness 
    Rabbi Aharon Kahn: Moshe Rabainu and Yisro's advice 
    Rabbi Ari Kahn: The Source of Hatred 
    Rabbi Akiva Koenigsberg: How the Torah refers to the Euphrates River
    Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz: The Sun Will Rise in the Mourning 
    Rabbi Menachem Leibtag: Insights on Magid in light of Sefer Devarim 
    Rabbi Eliezer Lerner: Without Torah we can't survive
    Rabbi Yoni Levin: Who wrote Sefer Devarim? 
    Rabbi Shmuel Marcus: The Art of Rebuke 
    Rabbi Shmuel Maybruch: Mishnah Torah
    Rabbi Zev Reichman: How Can We Say God Hates Us?
    Rabbi Baruch Simon: The Galus of Sanhedrin 
    Mrs. Shira Smiles: Dignity of Man
    Rabbi Reuven Spolter: The Disturbing Original Plan 
    Rabbi Michael Taubes: Refraining from Meat and Wine
    Rabbi Yaacov Thaler: Terrorism 
    Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner: Meraglim: Who was at fault?
    Rabbi Yaakov Werblowsky: What have we lost from the Churban? 
    Rabbi Ari Zahtz: The Uniqueness of Sefer Devorim 

    Articles on Devarim
    Rabbi Solomon Drillman: The Role of Sefer Devarim
    Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn: Good for no Reason
    Rabbi Ozer Glickman: Torah and the Acquisition of Eloquence
    Rabbi Avraham Gordimer: Opportunities for Kedusha
    Rabbi Maury Grebenau: A Word of Prophecy
    Rabbi Josh Hoffman: Straight from the Heart
    Rabbi David Horwitz: Moshe Rabbenu’s Retelling of his Appointment of Judges
    Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl: It Is What Is In The Heart That Counts

    Rabbi Jeremy Wieder: Laining for Parshat Devarim
    See all shiurim on YUTorah for Parshat Devarim

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    Running commentary on parashat Devarim, part i

    Parshas Devarim begins:

    א  אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים, אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-כָּל-יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּעֵבֶר, הַיַּרְדֵּן:  בַּמִּדְבָּר בָּעֲרָבָה מוֹל סוּף בֵּין-פָּארָן וּבֵין-תֹּפֶל, וְלָבָן וַחֲצֵרֹת--וְדִי זָהָב.1 These are the words which Moses spoke unto all Israel beyond the Jordan; in the wilderness, in the Arabah, over against Suph, between Paran and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di-zahab.

    What is the purpose of mentioning all of these place names? Some meforshim take them as coded references to incidents of misbehavior, thus being in line with Devarim as a mussar shmooze. Others say that he spoke to them in each of these different places.

    I would say that sefer Devarim is mishneh Torah. It stands apart from the rest of the Torah, and therefore needs bolstering. Someone might suggest that it was of separate authorship, say, by Chilkiyahu (II Melachim 22:8):

    ח  וַיֹּאמֶר חִלְקִיָּהוּ הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל, עַל-שָׁפָן הַסֹּפֵר, סֵפֶר הַתּוֹרָה מָצָאתִי, בְּבֵית ה; וַיִּתֵּן חִלְקִיָּה אֶת-הַסֵּפֶר אֶל-שָׁפָן, וַיִּקְרָאֵהוּ.8 And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe: 'I have found the book of the Law in the house of the LORD.' And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan, and he read it.

    Elsewhere, appeals to authenticity are made as in halo hem ketuvim, על כן יאמרו המושלים, and so on. Fixing the precise place of this address by Moshe might similarly be a way of establishing its authorship. Here precisely is where Moshe delivered this address.

    בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן -- See Ibn Ezra:
    וכן פירוש: ככל אשר צוה ה' אותו אליהם בעבר הירדן במדבר בערבה ואם תבין סוד (השרים) [צ"ל השנים] עשר, גם ויכתוב משה, 
    והכנעני אז בארץ,
    בהר ה' יראה

    גם והנה ערשו ערש ברזל תכיר האמת. 

    The secret of the 12 is that Moshe did not write the last 12 pesukim of the Torah; rather Yehoshua wrote it. As Ibn Ezra writes on Devarim perek 34:1, twelve pesukim from the end:
    ויעל משה -לפי דעתי: כי מזה הפסוק כתב יהושע, כי אחר שעלה משה לא כתב ובדרך נבואה כתבו. 
    והעד ויראהו ה' גם: ויאמר ה' אליו גם ויקבור.
    These pesukim are explanatory ones, and ones which make reference to fact not yet known at the time it was written. For instance, 'and the Canaanites were then in the land.' How could one say 'then' when at the time of the conquest the Canaanites were still in the land.

    What bothers Ibn Ezra is that Ever HaYarden in clearly Eretz-Yisrael-centric. It means 'across the Jordan', but it is only across the Jordan river for a speaker who is standing in Eretz Yisrael proper. While Ibn Ezra believes this to be true, it might be too heretical for many readers, and so he disguises it under the category of sod. That he is willing to be more open about it at the end of sefer Devarim is because, for these specific pesukim at the end of Devarim, there is a maamar Chazal which is accord with it (one side of a machlokes), even though he extends it from 8 pesukim to 12. But to say this for multiple pesukim scattered across the Torah, that is another matter. Plus, some of these might need to be post-Yehoshua. For example, 'and the Canaanites were then in the land' is true throughout Yehoshua's life.

    I've seen some people kvetch this in various ways. They point to Ibn Ezra's condemnation of Yitzchaki, for suggesting late authorship of the list of 8 kings of Edom. But they don't fully appreciate the extent of Yitzchaki's kefira. Read my extensive post on the subject. An excerpt:
    It is no longer so astonishing to me that Ibn Ezra would criticize Yitzchaki, even as Ibn Ezra lived in a glass house. Yitzchaki was not just suggesting, in this one place, a way of understanding peshat in the pesukim. He was not simply persuaded to suggest that a few running pesukim were authored at a later date.

    Rather, it seems that Yitzchaki was arguing against the integrity of the text of the Chumash. He was engaging in Lower Biblical Criticism, by asserting that the text was riddled with typographical errors. (Indeed, Hadar / Hadad now makes sense.) He suggested that Moshe misspoke. I am not certain that Yitzchaki was engaging in Higher Biblical Criticism, by suggesting a late editor / author only for this one section. Quite possibly, Yitzchaki was suggesting late authorship, in the days of Yehoshafat, for the entirety of sefer Bereshit, or all of Torah.
    I should note that Ibn Ezra, by labeling these pesukim as later editorial insertions, is actually being quite conservative. After all, the alternative would be to declare these to be from the same author as the rest of Torah, and thus date the Torah past Moshe. Yet, these do look / feel like editorial parenthetical insertions.

    Here is Spinoza on the subject. I got it from this excellent post on the subject by Curious Jew.

    Shadal disagrees with Spinoza's read of Ibn Ezra on this. He writes (here):

    Thus, Ibn Ezra only was speaking about select pesukim, and not about the entirety of Torah. And, according to Shadal, Ibn Ezra's issue is not with בעבר הירדן, but rather, that is the close of the preceding section of his commentary.

    In terms of בעבר הירדן, I don't see it as particularly problematic (, even if it was what was bothering Ibn Ezra). Nowadays we have a place called Transjordan. Official place names can be appointed by people living in specific areas and used by others even when not appropriate. 

    Still, the goal of these first two pesukim, to fix the location of Moshe's address in their minds in contemporary terms, strikes me as being from a post-Mosaic editor.

    וְדִי זָהָב -- I don't have enough knowledge of Biblical geology to know where this is, and therefore the full import of the statement on either a peshat of derash level. In this context I'll cite myself:
    Rashi cites R Yochanan, who said (Rashi dibur hamatchil "Bein Paran UVein Tofel VeLavan") "We reviewed all of Scriptures and we found not a place whose name was Tofel and Lavan; rather, he (Moshe) rebuked them on the fact that they complained (tiflu) about the Manna that was white (lavan), as they said..." and then brings the source pasuk where complained about the Manna. 

    In fact, Rashi explains all the place names in this way - Chatzeiros, Di Zahav, etc. 

    The Sifrei has the same explanations of place names, without (at least as far as I read) R Yochanan's justification that these place names never occur elsewhere in Scriptures. However, it does record an objection: 

    "R Yosi ben Dormaskit said to him, 'Yehuda BeRabbi, why do you pervert to us the Scriptures? I call Heaven and Earth upon me as my witnesses that I reviewed all the placesand all of them are (actual) places, but rather they are called that because of actual happenstance (they recieved their place names because of some occurance there).
    Even if these are actual places, perhaps one can make a derasha over their inclusion despite being wholly unnecessary. Though I explained a plausible purpose above; and it seems that even Rabbi Yochanan would not make the derasha if these were actual locations.

    The next pasuk:

    ב  אַחַד עָשָׂר יוֹם מֵחֹרֵב, דֶּרֶךְ הַר-שֵׂעִיר, עַד, קָדֵשׁ בַּרְנֵעַ.2 It is eleven days journey from Horeb unto Kadesh-barnea by the way of mount Seir.

    This is another way of fixing the position at which Moshe gave his address, rather than a criticism / reference to their missing out on entering Eretz Yisrael because of the chet hameraglim.

    The next pesukim:

    ג  וַיְהִי בְּאַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה, בְּעַשְׁתֵּי-עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ; דִּבֶּר מֹשֶׁה, אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה אֹתוֹ, אֲלֵהֶם.3 And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spoke unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them;
    ד  אַחֲרֵי הַכֹּתוֹ, אֵת סִיחֹן מֶלֶךְ הָאֱמֹרִי, אֲשֶׁר יוֹשֵׁב, בְּחֶשְׁבּוֹן--וְאֵת, עוֹג מֶלֶךְ הַבָּשָׁן, אֲשֶׁר-יוֹשֵׁב בְּעַשְׁתָּרֹת, בְּאֶדְרֶעִי.4 after he had smitten Sihon the king of the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, who dwelt in Ashtaroth, at Edrei;
    ה  בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן, בְּאֶרֶץ מוֹאָב, הוֹאִיל מֹשֶׁה, בֵּאֵר אֶת-הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת לֵאמֹר.5 beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, took Moses upon him to expound this law, saying:

    This forms a secondary introduction to the sefer. Would Ibn Ezra say that the editorial insertion ended at pasuk 2? If indeed בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן was bothering him, then it is repeated in pasuk 5.

    Relevant here is that he had starting the conquest. What follows in pasuk 6 is a repetition of Hashem's initial command at Chorev to inherit the land. And this is now (again) relevant to them, so review of the command is appropriate.

    בְּעַשְׁתֵּי-עָשָׂר -- this word עשתי has no relation to "two" or "ten". Ibn Ezra on Bemidbar 7:72 writes:
    I've already written in Moznayim why this numeral is different: eshte is like eshtonosav, "the offspring of his thoughts", as if ten had sired: it's a big secret. Rabbi Yona, the Spaniard, explains it as al shte asar, the number it precedes, but he erred doubly: first, because twelve is al eleven (as we see from miben esrim shana vama'la), whereas he said the opposite, and, second, if it were al twelve, it should say ashne asar rather than ashte asar, as the latter is feminine. Rather, it's one word.
    Ibn Ezra was not aware of the evidence from the Akkadian language, and therefore suggests what he suggests from a mixture of partial textual evidence and sevara.
    As I discuss in this parshablog post (linked in another answer), it is from Akkadian ishteneshret, meaning eleven. And this from the Akkadian ishten + eshret, where ishten means 'one' (and there are examples of Akkadian usage of this) and eshret means ten. Ishten does not appear by itself in Tanach.
    Had Ibn Ezra and Radak been aware of this, they would have said the same and retracted their explanations.
    אַחֲרֵי הַכֹּתוֹ, אֵת סִיחֹן מֶלֶךְ הָאֱמֹרִי -- it seems plausible that this is not only to fix the time, which we already have from it being the fortieth year, but that it signifies a demonstration that the Israelite's fears were shown to be groundless. Under Moshe's direction, they had now already defeated these great kings and took partial possession of what was to be Eretz Yisrael.

    The next pasuk:

    ו  ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ דִּבֶּר אֵלֵינוּ, בְּחֹרֵב לֵאמֹר:  רַב-לָכֶם שֶׁבֶת, בָּהָר הַזֶּה.6 The LORD our God spoke unto us in Horeb, saying: 'Ye have dwelt long enough in this mountain;

    "You have dwelt long enough" -- yet they ended up dwelling for forty years in the wilderness!

    בְּחֹרֵב -- this is Sinai, says Ibn Ezra. Ramban disagrees and says it is a place near Sinai.

    בָּהָר הַזֶּה -- would then refer to Har Sinai or else close to Har Sinai.

    The next pasuk:

    ז  פְּנוּ וּסְעוּ לָכֶם, וּבֹאוּ הַר הָאֱמֹרִי וְאֶל-כָּל-שְׁכֵנָיו, בָּעֲרָבָה בָהָר וּבַשְּׁפֵלָה וּבַנֶּגֶב, וּבְחוֹף הַיָּם--אֶרֶץ הַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַלְּבָנוֹן, עַד-הַנָּהָר הַגָּדֹל נְהַר-פְּרָת.7 turn you, and take your journey, and go to the hill-country of the Amorites and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the Arabah, in the hill-country, and in the Lowland, and in the South, and by the sea-shore; the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates.

    Rashi writes:

    until the great river [the Euphrates]: Since it [the Euphrates] is mentioned [in association] with the Land of Israel it is referred to as “great.” A popular parable says: A king’s servant is a king. Associate yourself with the ruler, and [people] will bow down to you; attach yourself to an person anointed [with oil] and you will become anointed [with oil yourself] (Shevuoth 47b).עד הנהר הגדול: מפני שנזכר עם ארץ ישראל, קראו גדול. משל הדיוט אומר עבד מלך מלך, הדבק לשחוור וישתחוו לך, קרב לגבי דהינא ואידהן:

    But we might also say that since the Euphrates is the longest river in Western Asia, it merits this name.

    Next pasuk:

    ח  רְאֵה נָתַתִּי לִפְנֵיכֶם, אֶת-הָאָרֶץ; בֹּאוּ, וּרְשׁוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע ה לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב לָתֵת לָהֶם, וּלְזַרְעָם אַחֲרֵיהֶם.8 Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD swore unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.'

    This is to be the fulfillment of the Divine plan and promise all the way from sefer Bereshit. And they are to take the entirety of it, with Divine assistance. Thus, רְאֵה נָתַתִּי לִפְנֵיכֶם, אֶת-הָאָרֶץ is a promise of assistance, rather than leaving it entirely in their hands.

    To be continued, perhaps...

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

    The Wisdom of Solomon

    Summary: Rav Chaim Kanievsky asks how the Sifrei can contrast a statement by Shlomo professing inability to judge with a statement that he was wisest of all men. After all, the context of each statement reveals that the former is prior to his request for Hashem for wisdom, and the latter is after Hashem's granting of his request! He answers that Shlomo was wise beforehand, and must have had some level of wisdom in order to merit the subsequent level of wisdom.

    Post: Towards the beginning of parashat Devarim, the following pasuk and Rashi:

    9. And I said to you at that time, saying, 'I cannot carry you alone.ט. וָאֹמַר אֲלֵכֶם בָּעֵת הַהִוא לֵאמֹר לֹא אוּכַל לְבַדִּי שְׂאֵת אֶתְכֶם:

    I cannot alone: Is it possible that Moses could not judge Israel? The man who brought them out of Egypt, split the sea for them, brought down the manna, and caused the quails to fly, could not judge them? Rather, he said to them: “The Lord, your God, has multiplied you”- [i.e.,] He has made you superior and elevated you higher than your judges. He took the punishment away from you and imposed it upon the judges [in cases where they could have prevented your wrongdoing and did not]. Solomon made a similar statement: “For who is able to judge Your great people?” (I Kings 3:9) Is it possible that he [i. e., Solomon] of whom it is said (I Kings 5:11), “He was wiser than all men,” could say, “Who is able to judge?” But this is what Solomon meant: The judges of this people are not like the judges of other peoples, for if [one of the judges of other nations] gives judgment and sentences a person to death, to lashes, or to strangulation, or perverts judgment and robs him, it means nothing; if, however, I cause a person to pay unjustly, I am liable with my life, as it is said (Proverbs 22:23), “And He robs the life of those who rob them” (Sifrei , San. 7a).לא אוכל לבדי וגו': אפשר שלא היה משה יכול לדון את ישראל, אדם שהוציאם ממצרים וקרע להם את הים והוריד את המן והגיז את השליו לא היה יכול לדונם, אלא כך אמר להם, ה' אלהיכם הרבה אתכם, הגדיל והרים אתכם על דייניכם נטל את העונש מכם ונתנו על הדיינין. וכן אמר שלמה (מלכים א' ג, ט) כי מי יוכל לשפוט את עמך הכבד הזה, אפשר מי שכתוב בו (שם ה, יא) ויחכם מכל האדם, אומר מי יוכל לשפוט, אלא כך אמר שלמה אין דייני אומה זו כדייני שאר האומות, שאם דן והורג ומכה וחונק ומטה את דינו וגוזל אין בכך כלום, אני אם חייבתי ממון שלא כדין נפשות אני נתבע, שנאמר (משלי כב, כג) וקבע את קובעיהם נפש:

    Rav Chaim Kanievsky writes in Taama deKra:

    Rav Chaim Kanievsky

    ואומר אליכם בעת ההיא וגר, פירש״י וכן אמר שלמה כי מי יוכל לשפוט את עמך הכבד הזה אפשר מי שכתוב בו ויחכם מכל האדם אומר מי יוכל לשפוט אלא כך אמר כו׳ והוא מספרי וכבר תמהו רבים ש"מי יוכל לשפוט" אמר קודם שנחכם, ונ׳ ע״פ הגמ׳ ברכות נ״ה א׳ אין  הקב״ה נותן חכמה אלא למי שיש בו חכמה  ובודאי לפי הערך שיש בו חכמה הקב״ה מוסיף בו חכמה וא״כ אם אח״כ נאמר בו ויחכם מכל
     האדם בודאי גם מתחלה הי׳ בו חכמה עכ״פ לדון. ועי׳ באו״מ עמ׳ שמ״ח מחכמת שלמה כשהי׳ תינוק וגם דוד א״ל כי איש חכם אתה.

    Basically, he points out what others before him have pointed out, that if we look at the context of Shlomo HaMelech's statement in I Melachim 3:9:

    ט  וְנָתַתָּ לְעַבְדְּךָ לֵב שֹׁמֵעַ, לִשְׁפֹּט אֶת-עַמְּךָ, לְהָבִין, בֵּין-טוֹב לְרָע:  כִּי מִי יוּכַל לִשְׁפֹּט, אֶת-עַמְּךָ הַכָּבֵד הַזֶּה.9 Give Thy servant therefore an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to judge this Thy great people?'

    It is when Hashem appeared to Shlomo in a dream and offered to fulfill any request of his. And Shlomo then said that he desires wisdom, for who is able to judge this Thy great people. But, in response to this, Hashem grants this requested wisdom. Meanwhile, the pasuk that describes Shlomo's great wisdom, in 1 Melachim 5:11,

    ט  וַיִּתֵּן אֱלֹהִים חָכְמָה לִשְׁלֹמֹה וּתְבוּנָה, הַרְבֵּה מְאֹד; וְרֹחַב לֵב--כַּחוֹל, אֲשֶׁר עַל-שְׂפַת הַיָּם.9 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea-shore.
    י  וַתֵּרֶב חָכְמַת שְׁלֹמֹה, מֵחָכְמַת כָּל-בְּנֵי-קֶדֶם, וּמִכֹּל, חָכְמַת מִצְרָיִם.10 And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east, and all the wisdom of Egypt.
    יא  וַיֶּחְכַּם, מִכָּל-הָאָדָם, מֵאֵיתָן הָאֶזְרָחִי וְהֵימָן וְכַלְכֹּל וְדַרְדַּע, בְּנֵי מָחוֹל; וַיְהִי-שְׁמוֹ בְכָל-הַגּוֹיִם, סָבִיב.11 For he was wiser than all men: than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the nations round about.

    is after Hashem has granted him that wisdom! So how can the midrash, and Rashi, oppose these two Scriptural passages?

    In answer, Rav Kanievsky points to Berachos 55a:
    R. Johanan said: The Holy One, blessed be He, gives wisdom only to one who already has wisdom, as it says, He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding.27  R. Tahlifa from the West28  heard and repeated it before R. Abbahu. He said to him: You learn it from there, but we learn it from this text, namely, In the hearts of all that are wise-hearted I have put wisdom.29
    Thus, Shlomo must have already been quite wise. He refers us further to some midrash (או"מ -- I am not sure what this is a reference to, perhaps Ozar Midrashim) which relates Shlomo's wisdom while yet a child. And also he notes that David Hamelech called Shlomo wise even before this, in I Melachim 2:9:

    ט  וְעַתָּה, אַל-תְּנַקֵּהוּ, כִּי אִישׁ חָכָם, אָתָּה; וְיָדַעְתָּ אֵת אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה-לּוֹ, וְהוֹרַדְתָּ אֶת-שֵׂיבָתוֹ בְּדָם שְׁאוֹל.9 Now therefore hold him not guiltless, for thou art a wise man; and thou wilt know what thou oughtest to do unto him, and thou shalt bring his hoar head down to the grave with blood.'

    An example of Shlomo's widsom as a youth would be the following midrash:

    If I recall correctly, the loan was an egg off a plate, at a feast to which both were invited. But I doubt that this midrash was truly intended literally. Would a beis din enforce the payment of ribbis? See Bava Kamma 30b:

    1. (Beraisa - R. Meir): If a loan document specifies that Ribis (usury) will be charged, we fine the lender, and he may not collect even the principal;
    2. Chachamim say, he collects the principal, but not the Ribis.

    I like the question posed by Rav Kanievsky better than the answer. The Sifrei is contrasting the level of knowledge described, וַיֶּחְכַּם מִכָּל-הָאָדָם, with his professed inability to serve. This answer adds to much, IMHO. Rather, I would offer the unsatisfying answer that the midrash is not concerned with (rather than being unaware of) the context of each of the statement by / regarding Shlomo, since midrash often enough takes statements out of context.


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