Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Posts so far for parshat vaEtchanan


1. The importance of calculating tekufot -- and why rabbis don't learn how to calculate this nowadays.


1. Vaeschanan sources, 2012 edition -- further expanded, and organized somewhat chronologically. Also with pictures and descriptions of the character of many of the works.

2. YUTorah on parshas VaEschanan.

3. Running commentary on vaEtchanan, pt i

4. The correct trup on לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן, and whether to keep mitzvos in chutz laaretz -- The trup on the words לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן might teach us a diyuk against the Ramban, who understands that primary observance of mitzvos is in Eretz Yisrael, chas veshalom. But there is a dispute as to the trup. Ohr Torah and HaTorah vehaMitzvah explain, and I give my own (Wickes' based) explanation of the trup.


  1. Va'eschanan sources -- further expanded. For example, many more meforshei Rashi.
  2. See | I teach you: Can this be a literal 'see'There is a pesik (actually a munach legarmeih) after the word re'eh. This is taken by Birkas Avraham as cause to interpret it literally, as something one could actually look at.
  3. Why should Moshe Rabbenu desire the gashmiyus of Eretz YisraelMaybe indeed he did. Or maybe it represented the completion of his mission. Or maybe the gashmiyus was only means to a spiritual end.
  4. Changes between the luchos -- the reason for Shabbat Perhaps the elaboration on why servants get to rest is related to the changed reason of Exodus over Genesis.
  5. Was the Torah taken / adapted from contemporary lawShadal argues against it, based on a pasuk in Va'eschanan. How we might say differently.
  6. YU Torah on parashat vaEtchanan
  7. Why does Rashi wait until Ekev to explain gedolim va'atzumim?  The Taz has his explanation of this phenomenon. And I offer my own, based on an analysis of Rashi's sources.
  8. The reason for mezuza --  Well, Rambam states rather clearly that one should not regard the mezuzah as an amulet.  Yet, there are clearly those who so regard it, or else the Rambam would not have to make such a strong contrary statement. Indeed, in the gemara in Menachot 33, there are two positions,one (Rabanan) which stresses the psychological impact of encountering it as one enters one's home, while the other (R' Chanina of Sura) regards it as a protective measure of the entire home. They thus had both 'rationalists' and non-rationalists even in the days of the gemara. Of course, one can explain that it is Hashem who protects the house, and in the merit of keeping his commandments.  Here is how I would explain it, both tefillin and mezuzah...
  9. 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.


  1. vaEtchanan sources -- revamped, with more than 100 meforshim on the parasha and haftorah.
  2. Elohim as kodesh or chol -- Did Elohim assay to take out a nation? Rashi diverts from Targum Onkelos in claiming that this is chol. What might spark this? Also, how Ibn Ezra and Ibn Caspi differ. (See also this 2008 post.)
  3. The masorah regarding the spelling of mezuzot -- Since the word ha-mezuzot appears in parshat Bo, Minchas Shai discusses the issue of the spelling of mezuzot in VaEtchanan and in general. There is a Rashi in VaEtchanan which darshens the word against the masoretic spelling. And this is one example of divergence among many? How can we deal with this? Shall we harmonize it, or leave it alone? I explain why I think the text indeed diverges.
  4. Distant binding for Eretz Zavas Chalav UdvashHow should eretz zavat chalav udvash bind? Distantly, or close by? There are irregularities in each, but why this might be another instance of distance binding. Ibn Ezra and Ibn Caspi.
  5. Ibn Ezra as a Round-Earther -- While there is a seeming Rashi / midrash, and an explicit Mizrachi, in Va'etchanan that the earth is flat, Ibn Ezra on that parasha's haftorah indicates that the earth is round.
  6. Ibn Ezra on the Aseres HaDibros, part onetwothreefour --  Here Ibn Ezra gives a lengthy, and important, essay on whether to make a big deal about minor deviations in the Torah's description of events, malei vs. chaser, etc.

  1. VaEtchanan sources -- links by perek and aliyah to an online mikraos gedolos, and links to a large number of meforshim on the parsha and haftara.
  2. The masorah about the bald field and ox.
  3. The makef vs. the requirement not to run words together in Shema.
  4. Was Mizrachi a flat earther? It would seem so, in which case he would join the ranks of the Vilna Gaon (perhaps) and the Shevus Yaakov. It also might well be the case that the underlying gemara in Chagiga also reveals Chazal (or some of them) to have believed in a flat earth. And this ties into the whole question of whether Chazal (or even later authorities) can err in science; and also, whether disregarding the science of our times in favor of the position of Chazal, or what we perceive to be Chazal, is a brilliant idea.
  5. How does keeping the mitzvot make us a wise and discerning nation? A nice devar Torah in Avi Ezer's supercommentary on Ibn Ezra.
  6. The parsing of Temunat Kol -- depending on whether the phrase continues on or not.
  7. Is is ve'etchanan or va'etchanan? Compensatory lengthening of the patach.

  1. In this excerpt from Shadal's Vikuach, Shadal discusses Rabbenu Bachya's discussion about revocalization, where one pasuk under discussion is in vaEtchanan.
  2. Bal Tigra and Bal Tosif, because law codes devolve. It is Shadal's idea of gradual mutation from a good set of laws to a bad one, and that this happened to gentile law codes.
  3. A Tale of Two Elokims -- Is Elohim holy or profane, in these two instances in vaetchanan?

In Hear O Israel, I discuss the midrash that the beginning of Shema was a discussion between Yaakov and his sons.

In When Did Moshe Pray?, I consider the meaning of בָּעֵת הַהִוא and attempt to show that it implies two events co-occurring rather than happening sequentially.

 In a post in 2005 about the Chronology of Yehuda's Marriage, I make a related point.

In Parshat VeEtchanan - The significance of Nachamu I examine an appropriate story from the second perek of yerushalmi brachot, about the destruction of the bet hamikdash and the birth of the mashiach, and show how Nachamu consoles. :)

In VeEtchanan - Nachamu: Every Valley Shall Be Lifted Up I examine the verse about each valley being lifted up from the perspective of Ibn Ezra and Chazal, but then turn to a yerushalmi in the 8th perek of eruvin and show how this messianic prophecy about the end of days plays a concrete role in a dispute about eruvs between Rabbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish.

In Nachamu Parsing Issue I pull apart the third verse of the haftara. I could probably do a better job at it now with a trup chart like I had in the recent past - as it is it is somewhat difficult to follow. A picture is sometimes worth 1000 words, so I'll put the chart on my To Do List.

Then, in Proof by contradiction in the thought of Chazal, I return to that yerushalmi in the 8th perek in eruvin, and show how a method of proof called Proof by Contradiction seems to be employed in that gemara. It is axiomatic that a public domain must exist for there to be a Biblical prohibition of transfer from one domain to another to exist. Rabbi Yochanan attempts to prove another law by demonstrating that if one assumes the opposite you arrive at an absurdity and falsehood.

to be continued...

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin