Sunday, September 30, 2012

Doing the Daf summary #7

To see this picture debunked, see here
It has been difficult posting lately, especially because of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and now Succot. It is not for lack of thoughts on the Daf but for lack of opportunity to write them down. But we are coming soon to the end of masechet Berachot.

Here are some recent posts on the Daf Yummy blog.

Daf 54: Miracles personal and non-existent. A seeming machlokes between the Bavli and Yerushalmi about personal miracles. Also, the brayta lists miracles which are non-existent, and tells the bracha for them. If Og was not so large and did not lift a mountain, but it is rather allegorical, as some Rishonim have it, then how can there be a bracha for seeing that rock? If Lot's wife was not turned into a pillar of salt, but rather she saw that the city was turned into a pillar of salt, as Ralbag, a rishon, writes, then how can the brayta give a bracha for seeing Lot's wife?

Daf 58: Censored texts -- min and goya become Tzeduki and Mitri, perhaps.

For 59, a repost from parshablog about causes of earthquakes.

For daf 60: Regarding vain prayers, see what I wrote here. Regarding the prayer for bloodletting, see what I wrote here.

For daf 61, about the counsel of the kidneys, see this parshablog post and this post at Rationalist Judaism. I think it was intended literally. About common descent (part of evolutionary theory), see this post.

Friday, September 28, 2012

YUTorah Sukkot To-Go 5773

Individual Articles download

You can also download the entire packet at one shot, and see entries from previous years, at the Sukkot To-Go web site.

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?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

YUTorah on parashat Haazinu

Audio Shiurim on Haazinu
Rabbi Chaim Brovender: Ending With A Song 
Rabbi Ally Ehrman: Am Naval 
Rabbi Meir Goldwicht: Zechor Yemos Olam 
Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky: The Connection of Vayeilech and Haazinu 
Rabbi Dr. Jacob J Schacter: Why couldn't Moshe do Teshuva? 
Rabbi Baruch Simon: The power of speaking divrei Torah
Rabbi Reuven Spolter: The Frightening Future 
Rabbi Michael Taubes: Birkas HaTorah 
Rabbi Yaacov Thaler: Shuva 
Dr. Raphael Zarum: Moshe's Last Day 

Articles on Haazinu
Rabbi Chaim Eisenstein: Kabbalas Hatorah Through Fire and Water
Rabbi Beinish Ginsburg: Ha'azinu and Succos
Rabbi Avraham Gordimer: Lessons of Heaven and Earth
Rabbi Maury Grebenau: The Bracha on Joy
Rabbi Mordechai Greenberg: כי כל דרכיו משפט
Rabbi David Horwitz: A Note on the Invocation of Heaven and Earth as Witnesses 

Parsha Sheets on Haazinu
Toronto Torah: Haazinu/Shuvah 5771

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

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Yeshiva University's Center for the Jewish Future is proud to present the newest issue of the To-Go series, Sukkot To-Go 5773. This year's issue features articles from Rabbi Zevulun Charlop (Special Advisor to the President on Yeshiva Matters),  Rabbi Joshua Flug (Director of Torah Research, Yeshiva University's Center for the Jewish Future), Rabbi Meir Goldwicht (Rosh Yeshiva, RIETS), Rabbi Yosef Kalinsky (Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Torah Studies) Mrs. Deena Rabinovich (Faculty, Stern College for Women) Rabbi Kenny Schiowitz (Rabbi. Cong Shaare Tefillah, Teaneck, NJ; Faculty, Ramaz Upper School;, coordinator of, a project of the YU Institute for University-School Partnership) Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner (Rosh Beit Midrash, Zichron Dov YU Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash of Toronto) and Dr. Ilana Turetsky (Faculty, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration) Plus 6 years of Sukkot To-Go archives with additional articles and divrei Torah.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

posts so far for parshat Haazinu


  1. Haazinu sources -- begun in 2008 as links to an online Mikraos Gedolos, by aliyah and perek. In 2009, added more than 100 meforshim on the parsha and haftorah. In 2010, further improved and expanded. In 2011, even more sources. For instance, many more meforshei Rashi and meforshei Onkelos.
  2. Rabbi Avner the apostate in a Haazinu Torah Code -- Except of course that it is a likely a bubbe mayseh, and it is no Torah Code.
  3. Is Pikei'ach Nefesh docheh ShabbosNo, that is not a typo in the title.
  4. The 'peshat' in Shamayim, in Haazinu HaShamayim --  Tur vs. Tur, peshat vs. hanachon.
  5. The shaking, or shaken, earth --  Considering a krei and ketiv in the haftara, according to Meshech Chochma.
  6. YUTorah for parashat Haazinu

  1. Why Chomsky went off the derech -- He fulfilled the first part of the pasuk, of שְׁאַל אָבִיךָ וְיַגֵּדְךָ, though his father did not know enough about the topic to inform him correctly. (Deep knowledge of Hebrew is different from deep knowledge of the relevant sugyot and the derivation of a halacha.) He should have followed up with זְקֵנֶיךָ וְיֹאמְרוּ לָךְ, by asking his grandfather.
  1. 'The Vile nation', censored out of Baal HaTurim.
  2. Har Sinai, the smallest of all the mountains -- and a good question from Junior.
  3. Is corruption His? Reading shiches lo as an accusation by the children of Israel.
  4. How many lines in Haazinu? Though the printed Rambams have encoded the number of lines as 70, in the good kitvei yad, the number is 67, and people just modified Rambam to accord with their local practice. And this let Cassuto to think that the Aleppo Codex was not for real.
  5. Teshi, with a unique small yud -- that does not appear elsewhere, because there should not be a small yud in Pinchas. And possible meanings of this unique small yud, from a midrashic perspective.
  6. Does parshat Haazinu include the promise that Israel will enjoy non-kosher fats?Ibn Ezra might be able to use this pasuk to bolster his assertion in parshat Tzav that really, the only forbidden fats are on animals that are actually korbanot, but on your typical animal of the same species, the prohibition is only derabbanan. Though Ibn Ezra does not cite this pasuk of Haazinu, Shadal brings it up and dismisses it as proof.
  7. Is vayin`atz a transitive or intransitive verb? Much like oved in Arami oved avi. Given that it is usually transitive, how do we explain it seeming to occur in an intransitive context in Haazinu?
  8. According to the number of the sons of... A difficult pasuk in Haazinu, with several of the many explanations offered given the traditional reading. And the reading of the Septuagint, of angels of God, and the fragmentary reading of the Dead Sea Scrolls, of bnei el-, which works out well with developed Jewish tradition as well as Ugaritic myth, in a way that neatly fixes up the entire "problem." Perhaps a broader discussion of this in a later post.
  9. The Natural Order, and the Sun in Giveon -- trying to figure out just what is bothering Ibn Ezra in his missing commentary on sefer Yehoshua, which he hints at in this week's parsha, and why the Moon standing still is somehow an answer to his problem. I think I figured it out.
  10. Alexander's ascent, via griffin or griffin-vulture -- related to the parsha, but discusses a Yerushalmi of Alexander ascending high into the air and seeing the world like a ball. Pnei Moshe says this was via his  nesher, basing himself on Greek accounts. In fact, in (some of?) those Greek accounts, it was via griffin.
  11. Is the second Pru Urvu a blessing or a command? A post on Bereishit, but an important principle is established from a pasuk in the tail-end of Haazinu, וּמֻת בָּהָר אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה עֹלֶה שָׁמָּה, where an imperative form is used for something outside Moshe's power. So too Pru Urvu.
  1. In Shadal's Vikuach, in the chapter on the age of trup, an interesting Rabbenu Bachya -- that despite the sof pasuk dividing the two psukim, it should be read as דּוֹר עִקֵּשׁ וּפְתַלְתֹּל with הַ לְיְהוָה, תִּגְמְלוּ-זֹאת. That is, "a generation crooked and perverse, Do ye thus requite the LORD?..."
  • Lech Lecha (2005): And I Will Make Your Name Great
    • Name as "Title," Name as "Renown." Towards the end, we turn to analyze כִּי שֵׁם ה, אֶקְרָא: {ס} הָבוּ גֹדֶל, לֵאלֹקֵינוּ, and claim this is a case of synonymous parallellism.
2003, 2004
  • Haazinu: The Shva Na/Nach Problem
    • A vocalization problem with Devarim 32:6: הַ לְיְקוָק, תִּגְמְלוּ-זֹאת. Is the shva under the lamed a na or nach? An interesting grammatical analysis.
  • The Shva Na/Nach Problem, Take 2
    • A reworking of the above, such that it is clearer, with more background. Additionally, an image of the Aleppo Codex is included, as well as a discussion of information provided by Ibn Ezra and Shmuel HaNagid on its pronunciation and way of writing it (with three different traditions). Also, I offer an explanation of the phenomenon. As we see in Targum, the הַ is not the heh expressing wonder, but rather a congnate of the Aramaic הָא, meaning hineh {=behold}. The open patach was initially allowed as an odd archaic feature of Biblical poetry, but then seized the lamed from the next word to close the syllable.
  • Related, at Lion of Zion: Ha'azinu's Homoeoteleuton (in Radak), 2008
  • A Source for ברכת התורה
    • Vayelech/Haazinu/ Vezot HaBeracha - A neat derivation, or hint, to the practice of saying a bracha, blessing, before and after being called up in shul for an aliya to the Torah.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Doing the Daf summary #6

To see this picture debunked, see here
I missed a week, but here is the lastest on my Daf Yomi site.

Berachot 38-39: When is it proper to fulfill all positions? Sometimes we see an Amora praised, and sometimes we see an Amora criticized, for trying to fulfill all positions. Can we figure out some sort of pattern or guiding principle to this?

Daf 42: Why didn't Abaye get a shkoyach? Because of an issur to give someone a shkoyach on Shabbos or Yom Tov.

Daf 50: Who is Rabba Tosfaa? A bridge to the savoraim.

Also, נברך שאכלנו משלו and the meaning of ש. I suggest that the she means "because".

Daf 51: Sitting for bentching -- it is not that one must sit, rather than recline. It is that one may sit, and we do not force him to recline, or wrap himself in a tallis.

Also, Asparagus in the gemara and in ancient science. Parallels. We see both have wine mixed in, and that depending on the ingredients, there are different effects to this asparagus drink mix.

Daf 51-52: Why say the halacha is like Bet Hillel? Because the Tosefta, written by Rav Oshaya or Rabbi Chiyya, is saying we pasken in all of the four instances of dispute like Bet Hillel, not just in this first one. And thus, it argues about how we pasken in the dispute about order of washing vs. sweeping, where some Amoraim hold we pasken like Bet Shammai.

Also, the Tosefta here is a proto-gemara, and it is not Bet Hillel who is giving two explanations, under davar acher, but the setama deTosefta. Note how the Tosefta here, repeatedly first gives the dispute and then gives the explanation of the dispute. And that is also the reason for halacha ke-X. The setama degemara meanwhile analyzes this proto-gemara as if it were your typical brayta. Also, don't make to much of the use of the word teikef.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Why you didn't hear 100 shofar blasts on Rosh HaShanah

Albert Joseph  Moore
The Mother of Sisera Looked out a Window
There is an old minhag to blow 100 shofar blasts on Rosh HaShanah. As I cite here:
The Aruch also mentions a custom to blow 100 blasts = tarat tashat tashrat each three times while seated {for a total of 30}, another during the Shemoneh Esrei on the seder of Malchuyot, Zichronot, Shofarot of the chazarat haShatz, for a total of 60. The additional 40 were thirty during the silent Shemoneh Esrei and 10 at the end. To cite a secondary source:

h) 100 - The ARUCH himself does not count just 60 Teki'os. He mentions that the custom is to blow 100 Teki'os altogether, corresponding to the 100 wails that Sisera's mother wailed for him when he did not return from the war with the Jews. (He apparently had a Midrashic source for these 100 wails.) It is from the Yevava (cry) of the mother of Sisera that we learn what a Teru'ah is (33b). The extra 40 sounds were blown as follows: 30 during the silent Shemoneh Esreh, and another 10 at the end of the Tefilah, before leaving the synagogue.
Others apparently connect it to the 101 letters in Sisera's mother's lament, but I am not sure how they reckon these 101 letters.

The Meshech Chochma has another take on the 100 blasts, which does not have to do with Sisera's mother. From the same secondary source:

The MESHECH CHOCHMAH (Parshas Tazria) cites another allegorical source for blowing one hundred blasts. The Midrash (Vayikra Raba 27:7) says that when a woman gives birth, she wails and cries out one hundred times. 99 of those cries are out of the conviction that she is going to die, and the final, 100'th cry is out of the realization that she is going to live after all. Similarly, we blow one hundred Teki'os on Rosh Hashanah. 99 are blown out of our fear of the judgment of the day, but with the one- hundredth we demonstrate our confidence that we will emerge from our judgment blessed with life.
How do we arrive at a 100 count?
A total of thirty sounds (as described above) are blown during the official shofar blowing ceremony which follows the Torah reading.
During three breaks in the silent part of the Musaf Amidah, another 30 blasts are sounded, ten (tekiahshevarim-teruahtekiahtekiahshevarimtekiahtekiahteruahtekiah) during each break. 
The same thing repeats itself during three breaks in the repetition of the Musaf, another 30.
Following Musaf, during a break in the Kaddish, another 10 blasts are sounded.
However, the 30 is not really 30. It is 27! How so? Well, how do you count a tashrat? Is it tekia; shevarim; teruah; tekia, as four separate blasts? Or is it tekia; shevarim-teruah; tekia as three separate blasts.

This was what I was discussing in the previous post. There were some who held that a terua is what we call a terua and some who held that a terua is what we call a shevarim. Rabbi Abahu instituted in Caesaria to blow tashrat.

According to the simple reading of Rabbi Abahu in context; and according to the way that his contemporary Amora in the same location, Eretz Yisrael understood it; and according to Ravina, the redactor of the Talmud, this means that Rabbi Abahu was fulfilling blowing a terua according to both shitot. If so, shevarim and terua in tashrat are two blasts.

However, according to the setama degemara, and the way we pasken halacha lemaaseh, Rabbi Abahu actually blew this tashrat in addition to tarat and tashat. If so, what is the purpose of tashrat? The setama degemara answers that this is a third position in the definition of terura, that Rabbi Abahu was thinking that perhaps the Biblical terua was a shevarim-terua. If so, shevarim and terua are a single blast.

So take away 3 from each set of 30, and 1 from the final set of 10.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

posts so far for parshat Vayelech

Here is a link to the mobile version of these posts. This will allow you to print each post without worry for the advertisements on the sides.


1. YUTorah on Vayelech

2. Does Ibn Ezra deny resurrection of the dead from the Torah? A straightforward reading of his commentary would suggest that he disagrees with Chazal's alternate parse, at least on the level of peshat.

  1. Vayelech sources -- from 2008, links by aliyah and perek to an online mikraos gedolos, as well as links to many meforshim on the parsha and haftara. In 2009, more meforshim, plus groupings into categories like Meforshei Rashi and trup. In 2010, further expansion. And in 2011, even more meforshim, in many categories.
  2. YU Torah on parashat Nitzavim / Vayelech
  3. Would Moshe's death pain Yocheved if she was already deceased There are two ways of interpreting the Yalkut Shimoni, and Rav Chaim Kanievsky supports each one. Then, I bring in some girsological evidence.
  4. Hashem is *your* God. Does this make Moshe a heretic Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz asks a question based on a non-existent pesikdarshened in a particular manner. Does this derasha then make Moshe a heretic, as bad as Yeravam ben Navat?
  5. The order of Rashi at the start of Vayelach -  Indeed, some people reorder it.
  6. Elohei Neichar-HaAretz --  Why does the makef connect neichar to ha'aretz, rather than to elohei? How Ibn Ezra, Onkelos, and Shadal deal with this strange phenomenon. This on Vayelech, but I neglected to post it in its time.
  1. Length of days -- Does it refer to long life, or long dwelling in the land of Israel?
  1. Did Ibn Ezra endorse idols? A cryptic Ibn Ezra is interpreted this way, seemingly plausibly, by Mekor Chaim, one of his supercommentators.
  2. An alternative to Ibn Ezra as endorser of idolatry -- I didn't have time to ruminate fully on this, but here is Ibn Caspi's interpretation of this cryptic Ibn Ezra, in which Ibn Ezra is giving a reason against idolatry.
  3. Moshe didn't go anywhere! Despite the pasuk stating Vayelech. And there is no real "difficulty", such that there should be a reason to prefer variants to the masoretic text.

  • "And I am not able"-- does this mean that Moshe physically was not able, due to his advanced age? If so, what about the pasuk describing him in old with the same vigor as in his youth? And how many meforshim grapple with this.
  • A Source for ברכת התורה
    • Actually crosses over to Haazinu and VeZot HaBeracha as well. A neat derivation, or hint, to the practice of saying a bracha, blessing, before and after being called up in shul for an aliya to the Torah.

Does Ibn Ezra deny resurrection of the dead from the Torah?

In parashat Vayelech, the following pasuk:
טז  וַיֹּאמֶר ה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, הִנְּךָ שֹׁכֵב עִם-אֲבֹתֶיךָ; וְקָם הָעָם הַזֶּה וְזָנָה אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהֵי נֵכַר-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר הוּא בָא-שָׁמָּה בְּקִרְבּוֹ, וַעֲזָבַנִי, וְהֵפֵר אֶת-בְּרִיתִי אֲשֶׁר כָּרַתִּי אִתּוֹ.16 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Behold, thou art about to sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go astray after the foreign gods of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake Me, and break My covenant which I have made with them.

There is a famous gemara in Sanhedrin 90b:
Sectarians [minim]17  asked Rabban Gamaliel: Whence do we know that the Holy One, blessed be He, will resurrect the dead? He answered them from the Torah, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa, yet they did not accept it [as conclusive proof]. 'From the Torah': for it is written, And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers and rise up [again].18  'But perhaps,' said they to him, '[the verse reads], and the people will rise up?'
This pasuk is also listed in Yoma 52b as one of five pesukim which Issi ben Yehuda considers ambiguous, in the sense that it can be read associating both forward and backwards. Which to me shows that one is not obligated to believe it only binds to what follows and not what precedes.

It seems important that resurrection of the dead be deduced specifically from the Torah. To cite the Mishna in Sanhedrin 90a:
Of course, there are many such derivations of this from the Torah. With "from the Torah" taken to mean Nach as well, in some sources from Chazal. Thus:
R. Yehoshua ben Levi[25] said: "Where is Resurrection derived from the Torah? - From the verse,[37] Ashrei Yoshvei Beisecha, Od Yehalelucha Selah ('Happy are those who dwell in Your house; they shall praise You forever'). The verse does not say, 'they praised You,' but 'they shall praise you.' Thus Techiyas HaMeisim is taught in the Torah.
Ashrei is not in the Pentateuch. At any rate, on our verse of vekam, Ibn Ezra writes:
וקם העם הזה -לא יתכן היותו דבק עם אשר לפניו, כי מה טעם העם הזה וזנה?!ש

"and this nation shall arise: it is not possible for it [the word וקם] to be joined to what precedes [namely, הִנְּךָ שֹׁכֵב עִם-אֲבֹתֶיךָ], for then what would be this import of 'this nation and it will go astray."

In other words, considered alone, וקם could either connect to the preceding or following phrase. But there is context in the verse, and the entire verse, rather than just the single phrase, needs to be parsed. And so it is not ultimately ambiguous. And this is against Chazal's derasha or reading, that this is a support, from the Torah, for resurrection of the dead.

This is how Mekor Chaim (middle of the way down, right side) understands it. So too Mechokekei Yehuda. And so too this Perush al Ibn Ezra.

Meanwhile, Avi Ezer is ever vigilant to defend Ibn Ezra against charges of heresy. And he makes here a good point. Consider the trup on the pasuk. Note how there is an atnachta on the word et-avotecha, such that it binds with the preceding phrase, rather than the following phrase. This is how it has to be, because this is the peshat meaning of the pasuk.

Avi Ezer comments:
"Forfend for the Rav [Ibn Ezra] to take a position opposite the words of Chazal, where they said 'from where is the resurrection of the dead from the Torah? For it states 'and this nation shall arise', etc.'

Rather, he is explaining on behalf of the author of the trup, that he did not connect it to with the trup of a melech and its great ones, and why did it split off the word אֲבֹתֶיךָ with an etnachta. And he answers that it is impossible in any alternate fashion, and one who knows the trup, their pattern and function knows that the words of the Rav are correct.

And it is astonishing that the author of Mekor Chaim explained the words of the Rav in their plain sense, and did not worry for the honor of Chazal."

I think that concern for the honor of Chazal may be misplaced. As the pasuk states, לא תכירו פנים במשפט. Chazal can stand up for themselves. And quite probably, they knew that on a peshat level, the verse cannot read straight if one associates vekam with what precedes. Rather, it is clearly a derash. And Chazal (I would argue) can maintain that a derash operates independently of what the pasuk says on a peshat level.

While Ibn Ezra could be referring to the trup, which of course must give a straight parsing of the pasuk, even Avi Ezer realizes that this reading is a bit forced. Was he referring to the gemara in Sanhedrin? Perhaps. He might have also been referring to Issi ben Yehuda's five, as we see in Vayigash that Ibn Ezra plays with this idea and even suggests his own ambiguous parse, to add to the five. But Ibn Ezra will often give a peshat at odds with Chazal, which occasionally will cause Avi Ezer to say that an erring talmid of Ibn Ezra must have written that particular comment.

It is to the greater honor of both Ibn Ezra and Chazal to have them say what they really say.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

YUTorah on parashat Vayelech

Audio Shiurim on Vayeilech
Rabbi Etan Moshe Berman: A Deeper Look at the Mitzvah to Write a Sefer Torah
Rabbi Chaim Brovender: The Last Days of Moshe 
Rabbi Ally Ehrman: The Special Relationship Between Hakhel And The King
Rabbi Joel Finkelstein: Joshua: Failed Successor? 
Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb: Mitzvah of Writing a Sefer Torah 
Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky: Roots of Sin 
Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz: Start With What We Already Do 
Rabbi Eliezer Lerner: Don't Give Up on Bnei Yisrael
Rabbi Shmuel Marcus: Hester Panim
Rabbi Hershel Reichman: Three Levels of Teshuva
Rabbi Baruch Simon: Man as a Holech 
Mrs. Shira Smiles: Symbiotic Song 
Rabbi Reuven Spolter: The Real Peace Process of Teshuvah 
Rabbi Moshe Taragin: What is challenging , accessible and eternal? 

Articles on Vayeilech
Rabbi Avraham Gordimer: The Significance of Hakhel 
Rabbi Maury Grebenau: Torah To Go
Rabbi David Horwitz: God’s "Hiding of the Face"
Rabbi Aharon Kahn: Teshuvah--It's Time!

Parsha Sheets on Vayeilech
Einayim L'Torah: Vayeilech 2005
Toronto Torah: Netzavim-Vayyelech 5771
Rabbi Jeremy Wieder: Laining for Parshat Vayeilech
See all shiurim on YUTorah for Parshat Vayeilech
New This Week

When the fast of Tzom Gedalia begins and ends in NYC, 2012

Check your own local times at the listed websites, since they will likely be different depending on your zip code. For me, here are the times.

From MyZmanim:

Fast Begins

at 5:18 AM Dawn - Degrees
or at 5:28 AM Dawn - Fixed Minutes
Eating of a settled character - אכילת קבע - may not be started
during the half hour immediately preceding dawn. Please
consult your Rabbi for details. 

Fast Ends
R' Tukaccinsky
  • The fast ends no later than the
    emergence of ג' כוכבים בינונים at -
  • 7:27 PM
    R' Moshe Feinstein
  • One who finds fasting difficult may eat at -
  • 7:30 PM
  • One who does not find fasting difficult
    should wait until the time for מוצאי שבת at -
  • 7:38 PM

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    Nitzavim sources -- 2012 edition

    by aliyah
    rishon (Devarim 29:9)
    sheni (29:12), shlishi (29:15)
    revii (30:1)
    chamishi (30:7), shishi (30:11)
    shevii (30:15), maftir
    haftara (Yeshaya 61)

    by perek

    Geonim (589-1038)

    R' Saadia Gaon(882-942) -- see Wikipedia entry:
    1. Arabic translation of Torah,   here  at 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, September 16, 2012

    Why Tashrat should really suffice

    The Mishna in Rosh Hashana (33b):
    מתני' סדר תקיעות שלש של שלש שלש שיעור תקיעה כשלש תרועות שיעור תרועה כשלש יבבות
    Or, in English:
    Thus, the Mishna defines a teruah as 1/3 of a tekiah, and a yevava as 1/3 of that. This is important since the Torah had declared that we are to blow teruot, as for instance in Bemidbar 29:1:
    א  וּבַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ, מִקְרָא-קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם--כָּל-מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה, לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ:  יוֹם תְּרוּעָה, יִהְיֶה לָכֶם.1 And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have a holy convocation: ye shall do no manner of servile work; it is a day of blowing the horn unto you.

    and we now seem to have a definition of a teruah.

    The gemara has as follows:
    שיעור תרועה כג' יבבות:
    והתניא שיעור תרועה כשלשה שברים אמר אביי בהא ודאי פליגי דכתיב (במדבר כט, א) יום תרועה יהיה לכם ומתרגמינן יום יבבא יהא לכון וכתיב באימיה דסיסרא (שופטים ה, כח) בעד החלון נשקפה ותיבב אם סיסרא מר סבר גנוחי גנח ומר סבר ילולי יליל
    THE LENGTH OF THE TERU'AH IS EQUAL TO THE LENGTH OF THREE YEBABOTH. But it has been taught, ‘The length of the teru'ah is equal to three shebarim’? — Abaye said: Here there is really a difference of opinion. It is written, It shall be a day of teru'ah unto you, and we translate [in Aramaic], a day of yebaba, and it is written of the mother of Sisera, Through the window she looked forth, [wa-teyabab]. One authority thought that this means drawing a long sigh, and the other that it means uttering short piercing cries.
    The pasuk in Bemidbar, cited above, certainly says Yom Teruah. And the Targum on that is:
    כט,א וּבַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ, מִקְרָא-קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם--כָּל-מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה, לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ:  יוֹם תְּרוּעָה, יִהְיֶה לָכֶם.וּבְיַרְחָא שְׁבִיעָאָה בְּחַד לְיַרְחָא, מְעָרַע קַדִּישׁ יְהֵי לְכוֹן--כָּל עֲבִידַת פֻּלְחַן, לָא תַּעְבְּדוּן:  יוֹם יַבָּבָא, יְהֵי לְכוֹן.

    So we know that teruah is equal to the Aramaic yabava. And what does yabava mean? See what how it is defined in Biblical Hebrew, by the mother of Sisera, in Shofetim 5:28:
    כח  בְּעַד  {ר}  הַחַלּוֹן נִשְׁקְפָה וַתְּיַבֵּב אֵם סִיסְרָא, בְּעַד הָאֶשְׁנָב:  {ס}  מַדּוּעַ, בֹּשֵׁשׁ רִכְבּוֹ  {ר}  לָבוֹא--  {ס}  מַדּוּעַ אֶחֱרוּ, פַּעֲמֵי מַרְכְּבוֹתָיו.  {ס}28 Through the window she looked forth, and peered, the mother of Sisera, through the lattice: 'Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why tarry the wheels of his chariots?

    Note the translation of teyabev as "peered", taken as parallel to nishkefa, "looked forth". Abaye took this at as making a teruah sound.

    See Radak, who writes:
    [ה, כח]
    ותיבב -
     הריעה.  מתרגם:  תרועה - יבבא. 
    ויונתן תרגם:  ואודיקה לשון הבטה.
    Thus, it could either be the same as making a teruah sound or, according to the local Targum Yonatan, peering.

    It is interesting that the term יבבא has possibly undergone a change. Otherwise how can one say in the gemara that teruah, which had been translated as יבבא, means 3 יבבות, and another that it means 3 שברים?

    At any rate, we only have two possible definitions of teruot / yevavot here, and nothing Tannaitic which defines it as both the sound long sighs followed by short piercing cries. That would be rather unexpected, since יבבא means one particular thing, and Sisera's mother is only a means to the end of discovering what that Targum Onkelos meant.

    On the next daf, 34a, we have the following:
    אתקין רבי אבהו בקסרי תקיעה שלשה שברים תרועה תקיעה מה נפשך אי ילולי יליל לעביד תקיעה תרועה ותקיעה ואי גנוחי גנח לעביד תקיעה שלשה שברים ותקיעה מספקא ליה אי גנוחי גנח אי ילולי יליל 
    מתקיף לה רב עוירא ודלמא ילולי הוה וקא מפסיק שלשה שברים בין תרועה לתקיעה דהדר עביד תקיעה תרועה ותקיעה 
    מתקיף לה רבינא ודלמא גנוחי הוה וקא מפסקא תרועה בין שברים לתקיעה דהדר עביד תש"ת אלא רבי אבהו מאי אתקין אי גנוחי גנח הא עבדיה אי ילולי יליל הא עבדיה מספקא ליה דלמא גנח ויליל אי הכי ליעבד נמי איפכא תקיעה תרועה שלשה שברים ותקיעה דלמא יליל וגנח סתמא דמילתא כי מתרע באיניש מילתא ברישא גנח והדר יליל:
    Or, in English:
    R. Abbahu prescribed in Caesarea that there should be a teki'ah, three shebarim, a teru'ah and a teki'ah. How can this be justified? If [the sound of teru'ah] is a kind of wailing, then there should be teki'ah, teru'ah and teki'ah, and if it is a kind of groaning, there should be teki'ah, three shebarim, and teki'ah? — He was in doubt whether it was a kind of wailing or a kind of groaning.
    R. ‘Awira strongly demurred against this procedure, saying, Perhaps it is a kind of wailing, and the three shebarim make an interruption between the teru'ah and the [first] teki'ah? — We assume that he afterwards blows teki'ah, teru'ah, teki'ah. 
    Rabina strongly demurred against this, saying, Perhaps it is a kind of sighing and the teru'ah makes an interruption between the shebarim and the [second] teki'ah? — We suppose that he afterwards blows teki'ah, shebarim, teki'ah. 
    What then is the point of R. Abbahu's regulation? If it is a groaning sound, it has already been made, and if it is a wailing sound it has already been made? — He was in doubt whether it does not include both groaning and wailing. If so, the reverse should also be carried out, namely, teki'ah, teru'ah, three shebarim, teki'ah, since perhaps it is wailing and groaning? — Ordinarily when a man has a pain, he first groans and then wails.
    I would say that the correct understanding of Rabbi Abahu is as the gemara originally understood. That is, with tashrat, he was trying to fulfill all the shitos. Therefore, misafek, he instituted tashrat. Thus, a tekia before; and then, for the teruah, both shevarim and yevavot (what we call teruah), such that whatever it was, he fulfilled; and finally, tekia to close.

    Rav Avira (see here, here, and here; presumably the one who was contemporary to Rabbi Abahu and student of Rabbi Yochanan) and Ravina's (later) objection is that it would form a hefsek. One held that the hefsek would come from before, the other held the hefsek would even apply after, such that he is not fulfilling anything. And the setama degemara supplied that he also would perform tarat and tashat. (Why Ravina would need to give this objection after Rav Avira is open to discussion. Perhaps as I suggested above in this paragraph, perhaps as displaying a preference for teruah or shevarim as primary. Unless all of this setama degemara was supplied by the 8th generation Amora, Ravina II.)

    I would say that Rabbi Abahu does not hold that Sisera's mother both groaned and wailed, and thus a Targumic yevava, and thus a Biblical teruah, is shevarim teruah, wailing and groaning. As I noted above, there is no Tannaitic source for this position. Nor do I see any Amora explicitly suggesting this. This is the setama degemara adding to what Rabbi Abahu's institution was, on the basis of objections by Amoraim, and extrapolating from the earlier statement of Abaye about groans and wails. It seems that the named Amoraim, namely Rabbi Avira, who was a contemporary of Rabbi Abahu and could see for himself, as well as the much later Ravina, both understood Rabbi Abahu's institution as a compromise shitta, and objected because they did not believe that he separately blew other sets.

    Even in Yerushalmi, there is no mention of this third position, that teruah is actually groan + cries. Rather, only two positions are mentioned. Yerushalmi 21b:
    איזו היא הרעה רבי חנניא ורבי מנא חד אמר אהן טרימוטה וחורנה אמר תלת דקיקן.  רבי חנניה חשש להדא דר' מנא ולהדא דידן.
    What is a haraah {teruah}? Rabbi Chanania and Rabbi Mana: One said these terimota {one light blast?}, and the other said three light ones. Rabbi  Chanania was choshesh for the position of Rabbi Mana as well as these of ours. Perhaps that means short ones and slightly longer ones?

    In terms of hefsek mentioned by Rav Avira and Ravina, we can simply point to Rabbi Yochanan's position. For Rabbi Yochanan was the teacher of Rabbi Abahu. At the end of the amud, going on to the next:
    אמר רבי יוחנן שמע תשע תקיעות בתשע שעות ביום יצא תניא נמי הכי שמע תשע תקיעות בתשע שעות ביום יצא מט' בני אדם כאחד [לא יצא] תקיעה מזה ותרועה מזה יצא ואפי' בסירוגין ואפי' כל היום כולו
    R. Johanan said: If one heard nine blasts at nine different times of the day, he has performed his religious obligation. It has been taught to the same effect: ‘If one heard nine blasts at nine different times of the day, he has performed his religious obligation. If, however, he heard nine different people at once, he has not performed his obligation. If he hears a teki'ah from one and a teru'ah from another, he has fulfilled his obligation, even if the intervals extended over the whole day’.
    The gemara goes on to contrast it with a conflicting opinion, of Rabbi Yochanan citing his teacher Rabbi Shimon ben Yehotzadak. But Rabbi Yochanan himself holds this, and thus so does Rabbi Abahu. Just as you can hear these nine blasts spaced out across the entire day, so can you happen to hear other blasts which do not undo the legal blasts you have heard.

    At the end of the day, I am convinced that tashrat tashat tarat is a waste, and tircha detzibura. I think that we could say like Rabbi Abahu and just do tashrat. Or, we can pick a tradition and run with it. Or, if we want to be choshesh for all traditions, and believe that the opposite tradition is a hefsek, we can do tashat and tarat. But if so, for goodness sake, skip the tashrat! Don't reinterpret Rabbi Abahu to this extremely forced explanation, that he was innovating a completely new teruah, to be blown alongside the other two.

    So nine blasts became (for Rabbi Abahu) twelve (tashrat tashrat tashrat, with shevarim and teruah separate), and at the end of the gemara, more than that: 3 tashat, 3 tarat, and 3 tashrat. See this post how it got expanded even further, though with some bending for and acknowledgement of tircha detzibura. And then expanded more to 100 shofar blasts, with no concern for tircha detzibura. Also, a note there about speaking after the first round of tekiot, and whether it is really an issue.

    Note: Not halacha lemaaseh. In other words, if you want to act for yourself, don't blame me. And learn through the sources yourself. This is more my reason for getting aggravated at the development of halacha is an expansive fashion, which ends up more burdensome upon the tzibbur.


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