Monday, May 31, 2004

Sex Segregated Street?

The following can be found in Yerushalmi Succah, the fifth perek:

דף כג, א פרק ה הלכה ב משנה מוצאי י"ט הראשון של חג היו יורדין לעזרת הנשים ומתקנין שם תיקון גדול ומנורות של זהב היו שם

The night following the first day of Succot they would descend to the Women's Courtyard, and there they made a great Tikkun {fix}.


דף כג, ב פרק ה הלכה ב גמרא ומתקנין שם תיקון גדול. מה תיקון היו עושין שם. שהיו מעמידין האנשים בפני עצמן והנשים בפני עצמן כהיא דתנינן תמן וחלקה היתה בראשה והקיפוה כצוצטרא שהנשים רואות מלמעלן והאנשים מלמטן כדי שלא יהו מעורבין. ממי למדו מדבר תורה. (זכריה יב) וספדה הארץ משפחות משפחות לבד תרין אמורין חד אמר זה הספידו של משיח וחורנה אמר זה הספידו של יצר הרע. מאן דאמר זה הספידו של משיח מה אם בשעה שהן אבילין את אמר האנשים בפני עצמן והנשים בפני עצמן בשעה שהן שמחים לא כל שכן מאן דאמר זה הספידו של יצר הרע מה אם בשעה שאין יצר הרע קיים את אמר האנשים בפני עצמן והנשים בפני עצמן בשעה שיצר הרע קיים לא כל שכן:

What Tikkun did they make there? That they stood the men by themselves and the women by themselves. Like that which learn there: It (the women's courtyard in the Bet Hamikdash) was smooth (without mechitzot) initially, and they surrounded it with a balcont so that the women saw from above and the men below so that they do not mix (with each other). From whom did they learn this? From a matter in Torah (here, this means Neviim). Zechariah 12:12
וְסָפְדָה הָאָרֶץ, מִשְׁפָּחוֹת מִשְׁפָּחוֹת לְבָד
"And the land shall mourn, every family apart..."

{Here I digress to give context so you can see this is not a drasha but follows directly from the psukim. Zecharia 12:12-14:
בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, יִגְדַּל הַמִּסְפֵּד בִּירוּשָׁלִַם, כְּמִסְפַּד הֲדַדְרִמּוֹן, בְּבִקְעַת מְגִדּוֹן.
וְסָפְדָה הָאָרֶץ, מִשְׁפָּחוֹת מִשְׁפָּחוֹת לְבָד: מִשְׁפַּחַת בֵּית-דָּוִיד לְבָד, וּנְשֵׁיהֶם לְבָד--מִשְׁפַּחַת בֵּית-נָתָן לְבָד, וּנְשֵׁיהֶם לְבָד.
מִשְׁפַּחַת בֵּית-לֵוִי לְבָד, וּנְשֵׁיהֶם לְבָד; מִשְׁפַּחַת הַשִּׁמְעִי לְבָד, וּנְשֵׁיהֶם לְבָד
כֹּל, הַמִּשְׁפָּחוֹת הַנִּשְׁאָרוֹת--מִשְׁפָּחֹת מִשְׁפָּחֹת, לְבָד; וּנְשֵׁיהֶם, לְבָד.
"In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.
And the land shall mourn, every family apart: the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart;
The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of the Shimeites apart, and their wives apart;
All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart."

So, each family=the men, and the women=their wives, and they are apart in their mourning. Now back to the translation:}

There are two Amoraim. One says this eulogy/mourning (mentioned in the verses in Zecharia) is the eulogy/mourning for the Mashiach {ben Yosef}, and the other says this is the eulogy/mourning for the Evil Inclination.

The one who says this is the eulogy/mourning for Mashiach, if at the hour that they are mourning you say the men by themselves and the women by themselves, at the hour that they are joyous (Simchat Bet HaShoeva) certainly so.

The one who says this is the eulogy/mourning for the Evil Inclination, if at the hour that the Evil Inclination is not around you say the men by themselves and the women by themselves, at the hour that the Evil Inclination is around, certainly so!

So, why am I posting this? Well, besides having to do with Succah, which I recently finished, Miriam, a guestblogger at Protocols posted the following:

According to Ma'ariv, the Admor Mevishna Street in Bnei Brak will now be segregated-- men on one side, women on the other.
I remember when they first suggested seperate buses, the joke was, what's next, segregated streets? So, what's next, seperate cities (perhaps husbands and wives can meet on neutral ground at appointed visiting hours)?

I replied the following in the comments for that post:

i don't find this so nuts. they are talking about a specific, crowded, and narrow street, where they feel the situation led to immodest contact.

I remember some of those streets in Mea Shearim, where there was two way traffic and incredibly narrow sidewalks. People walked in both directions on the narrow sidewalk, and to get past people walking in the opposite direction, I often went into the street, where there was more room. If people do not go into the street, they brush or more than brush past each other, and especially when there is a lot of foot traffic... i could see how they could consider this as creating a situation where there was immodest contact, and enact this ordinance for this specific street.

nowhere is anyone suggesting all city streets, or anything like that.

Sam replied with:

Anecdotal evidence here, but isn't there a tshuva of rav moshe about subways - cramped by anyone's definition - that ridicules this line of thinking?

i don't know. which tshuva is that? i'd have to read it. what do you mean by ridicules? (or do you mean that fact that he matir-ed the subway, that fact ridicules this line of thinking? please elaborate.)

i do know that the gemara in succah speaks positively about the tikkun made in the mikdash. i would think that where it is a situation which continuously presents itself AND you have the capacity to make a simple fix, it certainly would not be a BAD thing.

I caution that I dont have the details, and have not seen it inside, but apparently, someone asked him about riding on the subway and negiah, and he responded that there was no problem, and that if he was having hirhurim from bumping into people on the subway he needed psychological help. As I said, very anecdotal, but I had heard this from a fairly reliable source - I'll see if I can find it inside.

Then, I tracked down the tshuva (even haezer 2:14), and posted the following. Note that Rav Moshe did not in fact say anything negative about people having hirhurim from bumbing into people on subways, and what he did say something negative somewhat about (someone who developed an erection as a result) was not that the person needed psychological help, but they should work on their nature by not being idle. Anyway, here is what I posted:

i looked up the tshuva, and will post on this soon. i would not exactly say ridicule...

So, I looked up Rav Moshe's tshuva. The question was basically whether one was permitted to ride on buses and subways since it one might be pressed against a woman.

The first, and largest part of the tshuva is demonstrating that physical contact between the sexes not done "derech chiba," in an affectionate way (such as taking a woman's pulse) does not present a problem.

The second part is the application. He says one need not, therefore worry about the contact that arises from the subway, or sitting next to a woman on the bus.

But all this is only from the perspective of just negia which is not derech chiba.

A close translation of the last part: And similarly there is no prohibition for this reason also to sit next to a woman *when there is no other spot* (emphasis mine) because this too is not the way of desire and affection. And if it were his wife who was a Nidda when they needed to sit pressed, perhaps there would be to prohibit according to the Bet Yosef. But, since the majority of Acharonim it seems hold like the Shach, and even according to the Bet Yosef it is not clearcut to prohibit since perhaps even with sitting next to each other we need not be concerned about the intent of hanaah (benefit); therefore there is not to prohibit.

(Note: The next paragraph is key; it seems he is talking about taking the subway and bus in general in the following paragraph.) But, if he knows that he will be brought to Hirhur (improper thoughts) he should hold himself back from going then if it not pressing (that is, important) for him to go, and if he has to go then to his work, there is not to prohibit him even in such circumstance, and he should make himself strong to move his mind away from them (the improper thoughts) and to thing about words of Torah, as per the advice of the Rambam there Halacha 19, and via this he will be able to rely and to go to his work. ***And if he knows that his nature is bad and he will come from this to have an erection, it is prohibited for him to go then, even for his work. But Chas VeShalom that a man should be such, for this comes from idleness, as it appears in Bavli Ketubot page 59 regarding the woman and similarly for the man, and he needs to involve himself in Torah and work, and so it will not be so for him.***

what i would surmise from this is:

even though Rav Moshe said there was issur in terms of the negia which was not derech chiba, it is not a good position to put oneself into. i derived that from his statement that it is ok to sit next to a woman if there is no other place. that implies that if there were another place, perhaps one should not sit there.

#2: Rav Moshe realized that people had different reactions to this type of contact. Some people would come to hirhur, in which case one should not go, or if one must go for work, to try to think thoughts of Torah. He is no way ridicules the person who has this reaction, and indeed, thinks that if someone has this reaction he should avoid such situations.

#3: Some people might get an erection, which is a reaction that involves various bad issurim, in which case even for work one should not put himself into that situation.
He does not ridicule the idea that someone would have that reaction. He seems to have come up with this case by himself (for the purpose of showing how to apply his tshuva), and such a reaction is something that one can find in some people, notably those who are idle from learning Torah and doing work. He does not thing this is a good nature to have, and gives a recommendation to try to change this nature, but he recognizes that some might have this reaction and tells them what to do.

finally, this all really has nothing to do with the Rabbis enacting ordanances where they see there are problems.

Rav Moshe nowhere attacks, or addresses, the gemara in the 5th perek of Succah that they makes a great Tikkun (fixing) of the Women's Courtyard so that the men did not commingle with the women.

Now, one could argue that bumbing into a woman at the Simchat Bet HaShoeva was not a problem if not done derech chiba, for the reasons specified by Rav Moshe.

However, that is on a personal level. On a communal level, there are some people who might have different reactions - the three types of people discussed by Rav Moshe. Some might even use it as a way to engage in licentious behavior. If you live in America and cannot specify how the subway/buses should be conducted, you need a tshuva about what to do on a personal level, and whether, after a self evaluation, you can board the subway or not, or whether you should distract yourself with Torah, etc.

But that does not mean that if you *do* have the power to specify how such matters are conducted (as these Rabbis did on this specific street in Mea Shearim where there were issues for the reasons I mentioned above), I would still say that it is probably a good thing (and I don't think based on what I have read that Rav Moshe would disagree). After all, there is precedent in which Chazal did this.

Two prakim, and masechet! and masechet!

Been a busy Shavout week:
הדרן עלך פרק רבי ישמעאל!
הדרן עלךהשוכר את הפועל!
(4th, 5th perek yerushalmi shavuot)
וסליקא לה מסכת עבודה זרה

and then back to seder moed:
הדרן עלך סוכה!
הדרן עלך הישן!
הדרן עלך לולב הגזול!
הדרן עלך לולב וערבה!
הדרן עלך החליל!
וסליקא לה מסכת סוכה

Friday, May 28, 2004

Naso #2: A Hair-raising experience

This week's parsha is big on hair. We have the nazir, who grows his hair long, and at the end his hair is shaved off at the door of temple and offered on the altar together with his korban.

Bamidbar 6:16
וְגִלַּח הַנָּזִיר, פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד--אֶת-רֹאשׁ נִזְרוֹ; וְלָקַח, אֶת-שְׂעַר רֹאשׁ נִזְרוֹ, וְנָתַן עַל-הָאֵשׁ, אֲשֶׁר-תַּחַת זֶבַח הַשְּׁלָמִים.
"And the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the door of the tent of meeting, and shall take the hair of his consecrated head, and put it on the fire which is under the sacrifice of peace-offerings."

This obviously has parallels to the issue of the Indian wigs *if* the Indian wigs are indeed takrovet avoda zara (which has not been determined).

Naso #1: A Count

Bamidbar 4:22-23

int sum = 0;
for(int i = 0; i < SonsOfGershon.Length; i++)
if (30 >= SonsOfGershon[i] && SonsOfGershon[i] <= 50)

cout << sum << endl;

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

A perek! and masechet! and 3 more prakim!

הדרן עלך ארבעה שומרין!
(8th perek yerushalmi שבועות)
וסליקא לה מסכת שבועות

הדרן עלך לפני אידיהן!
הדרן עלך אין מעמידין!
הדרן עלך כל הצלמים!
(1st, 2nd, 3rd perek yerushalmi עבודה זרה)

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Burning Wigs

An interesting issue came up with regard to the wigs which may have been תקרובת עבודה זרה, offerings to idolatry. The Jews in Williamsburg burned some of these wigs, prompting the question in a letter to the editor in the New York Times, and in some blogs, such as the Village Idiots and Lammpost who link to this letter: Why did they have to burn it? Could they not have donated it to some charity/cancer organization, such as "Locks of Love" and "Wigs for Kids"?

As the Town Crier asks on the Village Idiots:
"I myself had asked a similar "Locks of Love" question earlier in the week toungue-incheekly. Indeed, why not? Would giving the expensive wigs away to a non-Jewish charity be deriving hanaah form avodah zarah that is worse than burning it? I wonder..."

Note that I am not paskening here - however, it seems to me that the answer is that there are indeed (3) halachic issues with donating the wigs. Also, I use Yerushalmis here, not because there is (or is not) a Bavli addressing the issue, but because I am learning Yerushalmi and read through the 1st perek of Yerushalmi Avodah Zara over Shabbos.

We see from various sources that one disposes of takrovet avodah zara via burning, and the hanaah from it is thrown into the Yam HaMelach. But what of donating it to a charity, as listed above.

I can see 3 problems:

1) Will these cancer charities give any of the wigs to Jews? Is there some way of preventing it? *Assuming* the wigs are אסור בהנאה, then the Jewish cancer patients, who might not be aware of the issue or who might not be religious, will be violating this prohibition. Further, by donating it, you caused them to violate this prohibition, and thus there may be issues of Lifnei Iver Lo Titen Michshol - "Though shall not place a stumbling block before a blind man."

The next two issues are predicated on the following gemara in
Yerushalmi Avoda Zara, the first perek, daf 7b, Halacha 9:
רבי זעירה בשם רבי יוסי בן חנינה רבי אבא רבי חייה בשם רבי יוחנן לא תחנם לא תתן להם חן לא תחנם לא תתן להם מתנת חנם לא תחנם לא תתן להם חניה בארץ.
לא תחנם לא תתן להם מתנת חנם והתני מעשה ברבן גמליאל שהיה מהלך בדרך וראה קלוסקין אחת מושלכת בדרך אמר לטבי עבדו טול לך קלוסקין זו ראה נכרי אחד בא כנגדו אמר לו מבניי טול לך קלוסקין זו רץ אחריו רבי אילעאי אמר לו מה שמך אמר לו מבניי ומאיין אתה אמר לו מן העיירות של בורגנין ומכירך הוא רבן גמליאל מימיך אמר לו לא. כיוון ר' גמליאל ברוח הקודש. ולמדנו ממנו שלשה דברים למדנו שאין מעבירין על האוכלין ושחמיצו של נכרי מותר לאחר הפסח מיד ושהולכין אחר רוב עוברי דרכים.

2) So, the second issue is Rabbi Yochanan's drasha: לא תחנם yields לא תתן להם מתנת חנם. We saw before a problem if the recipients were Jewish. This would be a problem if the recipients were not Jewish, and has nothing to do with the fact that the wigs are assur beHanaah. Further, if we tried to get around this by charging some nominal fee, we would be back to the problem that the wigs are assur BeHanaah and this charging of a fee would constitute getting Hanaah.

However, the gemara challenges R Yochanan's drasha by showing Raban Gamliel did not consider giving a מתנת חנם a problem. However, even here there seems to be a problem:

3) Raban Gamliel saw a loaf of bread lying on the road, and sent his servant Tavi to fetch it (since it is not proper to leave food lying on the road). He saw a gentile coming towards him and said "Mavnai (the man's name was Mavnai), go take the loaf of bread." Rabbi Ilai ran after the man and asked him some questions, and determined that the man's name was indeed Mavnai, but Raban Gamliel had never met him before, but must have known the man's name via Ruach HaKodesh.

The gemara continues that they derive three things from that story, and one of those things was ושחמיצו של נכרי מותר לאחר הפסח מיד, that the chametz (such as a loaf of bread) of a non-Jew is permitted immediately after Pesach.

That is, Raban Gamliel assumed, based on the majority of travellers on the road, that this bread had belonged to a gentile (one of the other things deduced from this story). If it were not permitted immediately after Pesach, then it would have been prohibited to derive benefit from it. Yet, he gave it to a non-Jew as a gift, which the gemara considers to be deriving benefit from it. (Why? As the pnei Moshe writes, giving of a gift has within it something called Tovat Hanaah, the benefit of deciding who you will give it to. Alternatively, perhaps because the recipient is thankful, or perhaps people think of him as a generous person as a result.) Thus, it must be that he considered benefit of the chametz of a non-Jew immediately after Pesach to be permitted.

We can see from here that giving a gift, to a Jew or to a non-Jew, is (or seems to be) considered Hanaah, and if the chametz were assur BeHanaah, he could not have given it.

Similarly, takrovet Avoda Zara is assur BeHanaah, so giving it to a Jew or to a non-Jew as a gift would be prohibited.

Also, a footnote to issue #2: we see earlier, in Yerushalmi Avoda Zara daf 4a in terms of a charity and darkei Shalom the following brayta:
תני עיר שיש בה נכרים וישראל אם נותנין הנכרים לגבאין גובין מהן ומישראל ומפרנסין עניי נכרים ועניי ישראל ומבקרין חולי נכרים וחולי ישראל נוחמים אבילי נכרים ואבילי ישראל וקוברין מיתי נכרים ומיתי ישראל ומכניסין כלי נכרי וכלי ישראל מפני דרכי שלום

This is obviously not the same case as what was being proposed, but perhaps is similar in terms of the Darkei Shalom issue. But it seems to me this would only be relevant to issue #2. I don't think that issue #1 and #3, which revolve around the issur Hanaah, could be overcome by a Darkei Shalom concern.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Three more prakim!

הדרן עלך שבועת הפקדון!
הדרן עלך שבועת הדיינין!
הדרן עלך כל הנשבעין!
(5th, 6th, 7th prakim ירושלמי שבועות)

Thursday, May 20, 2004

I summarize below the first two prakim of Bamidbar

as a chart as as an excel spreadsheet. You can click on an image to get a closeup, which will be needed for the excel screenshot at least.

Explaining the excel spreadsheet.
Each color represents an encampment. Three tribes to an encampment, each associated with the tribe on the first line of the encampment. Each given a compass direction.

For each tribe, the total number of people within the appropriate age range, and a subtally for each set three tribes (as given in the second perek).

Finally a tally at the end.

In the post below, a bar graph showing the number of people per shevet.

I thought of doing this because it is easier looking at numbers in digit form rather that written out in full as in the parsha.

Bamidbar 1:19
כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה, אֶת-מֹשֶׁה; וַיִּפְקְדֵם, בְּמִדְבַּר סִינָי"As the LORD commanded Moses, so did he number them in the wilderness of Sinai."
Posted by Hello

chart summary of Bamidbar perek 1 and 2 Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Two prakim!

הדרן עלך שבועות שתים!
הדרן עלך שבועות העדות!
(3rd, 4th perek, ירושלמי שבועות)

BeHar-BeChukotai, Shavuot, and Shevuot

I saw an interesting gemara in yerushalmi Shevuot 17b the other day.

An oft heard midrash is that Shamor and Zachor were said BiDibur Echad, with a single statement. That is, one account of the Ten Commandments has the commandment to Remember (Zachor) the Shabbat and Keep it holy, while the other has Guard (Shamor) the Shabbat to keep it holy. Presumably only one was said! The midrash states that both were said at once, in one statement, something the mouth is not naturally able to say and the ear is not able to hear.

This statement about Shamor vs. Zachor is actually not found in yerushalmi Shevuot, but rather mentions a bunch of other conflicting psukim. However, this list is repeated in yerushalmi Nedarim 9a, and there Shamor vs Zachor is mentioned!

This repetition of a sugya in two location is called haavara in academic Talmudic jargon. I posted an article earlier from a class in Horayot II about haavara.

In Shevuot the topic is a shvuat shav vs. sheker, types of false oaths. in Nedarim the topic is neder havai, a type of false neder. The origin of the sugya seems to be in Shevuot, since that leads naturally to the opening quote about the difference between the two types of false oath. Yet Nedarim is fuller, in that it has the Shamor/Zachor dichotomy! Shamor/Zachor is mentioned, and is actually a big point, in the sugya in Shevuot Bavli 20b as well.

ירושלמי שבועות:
שוא ושקר שניהן בדיבור אחד נאמר מה שאין אוזן יכולה לשמוע ולא פה לדבר. מחלליה מות יומת וביום השבת שני כבשים בדיבור אחד נאמר. לא תלבש שעטנז גדילים תעשה לך שניהן בדיבור אחד נאמרו. ערות אשת אחיך יבמה יבא עליה בדיבור אחד נאמרו. לא תסוב נחלה וכל בת יורשת נחלה שניהן בדיבור אחד נאמרו מה שא"א לפה לדבר ולא לאוזן לשמוע. וכן הוא אומר אחת דבר אלהים שתים זו שמענו ואומר הלא כה דברי כאש נאם ה

ירושלמי נדרים:
(דברים ה) שוא (שמות כ) ושקר שניהם נאמרו בדיבור אחד מה שאי איפשר לפה לומר ולא לאוזן לשמוע. (שם) זכור (דברים ה) ושמור שניהם בדבור אחד נאמרו מה שאי אפשר לפה לומר ולא לאוזן לשמוע. (שמות לא) מחלליה מות יומת (במדבר כח) ושני כבשים בני שנה תמימים נאמרו בדיבור אחד מה שאי אפשר לפה לומר ולא לאוזן לשמוע. (ויקרא יח) ערות אשת אחיך לא תגלה. (דברים כה) יבמה יבא עליה שניהן נאמרו בדיבור אחד. (במדבר לו) ולא תסוב נחלת בני ישראל ממטה למטה אחר.
(במדבר לו) וכל בת יורשת נחלה שניהן נאמרו בדיבור אחד. (דברים כב) גדילים תעשה לך. (שם) לא תלבש שעטנז שניהן בדיבור אחד נאמרו. וכן הוא אומר (תהילים סב) אחת דבר אליהם בדיבור שתים זו שמענו. וכתיב (ירמיהו כג) הלא כה דברי כאש נאם ה' וכפטיש יפוצץ סלע.

To translate the Shvuot passage:
Shav and Sheker {the two types of false oaths}, the two of them were said in a single Dibbur {statement}.

Shav is said in both versions of the 10 Commandments, inDevarim 5:10 and Shemot 20:6:

לֹא תִשָּׂא אֶת-שֵׁם-ה אֱלֹקֶיךָ, לַשָּׁוְא: כִּי לֹא יְנַקֶּה ה, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-יִשָּׂא אֶת-שְׁמוֹ לַשָּׁוְא.
"Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain."

The contrasting verse, using the word Sheker, is in Vayikra 19:12:

וְלֹא-תִשָּׁבְעוּ בִשְׁמִי, לַשָּׁקֶר: וְחִלַּלְתָּ אֶת-שֵׁם אֱלֹקֶיךָ, אֲנִי ה.
"And ye shall not swear by My name falsely, so that thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD."

Chazal explain this to be two different types of oath: Shav - something known, that a man is woman; Sheker - falsehood about the past: that he ate something, which he did not.

So this is NOT two dibrot, two versions of one of the 10 commandments, that conflict one another. Just 2 mitzvot for which different terminology is used.

The next instance of conflicting statements Shemot 31:14
וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם, אֶת-הַשַּׁבָּת, כִּי קֹדֶשׁ הִוא, לָכֶם; מְחַלְלֶיהָ, מוֹת יוּמָת--כִּי כָּל-הָעֹשֶׂה בָהּ מְלָאכָה, וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מִקֶּרֶב עַמֶּיהָ.
"Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore, for it is holy unto you; every one that profaneth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people."

Contrast this with Bamidbar 28:9
וּבְיוֹם, הַשַּׁבָּת--שְׁנֵי-כְבָשִׂים בְּנֵי-שָׁנָה, תְּמִימִם; וּשְׁנֵי עֶשְׂרֹנִים, סֹלֶת מִנְחָה בְּלוּלָה בַשֶּׁמֶן--וְנִסְכּוֹ.
"And on the sabbath day two he-lambs of the first year without blemish, and two tenth parts of an ephah of fine flour for a meal-offering, mingled with oil, and the drink-offering thereof."

So one verse prohibits work, and the second commands the slaughter and sacrifice of two he-lambs, which would normally be considered work on a Shabbat. Thus it is an exception to the rule, and this sacrifice is permitted on Shabbat.

The next instance is Vayikra 18:16 , which prohibits a man from sleeping with his brother's sister, while the brother is alive or after the brother's death:

עֶרְוַת אֵשֶׁת-אָחִיךָ, לֹא תְגַלֵּה: עֶרְוַת אָחִיךָ, הִוא.
"Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness"

Contrast with Dvarim 25:5-6, that tells the law of yevama, where the man is to marry his brother's widow:
כִּי-יֵשְׁבוּ אַחִים יַחְדָּו, וּמֵת אַחַד מֵהֶם וּבֵן אֵין-לוֹ--לֹא-תִהְיֶה אֵשֶׁת-הַמֵּת הַחוּצָה, לְאִישׁ זָר: יְבָמָהּ יָבֹא עָלֶיהָ, וּלְקָחָהּ לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה וְיִבְּמָהּ.
וְהָיָה, הַבְּכוֹר אֲשֶׁר תֵּלֵד--יָקוּם, עַל-שֵׁם אָחִיו הַמֵּת; וְלֹא-יִמָּחֶה שְׁמוֹ, מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל.
"If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not be married abroad unto one not of his kin; her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother unto her.
And it shall be, that the first-born that she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother that is dead, that his name be not blotted out of Israel."

One verse prohibits the relationship, and one commands it. Yet, they do not really conflict. This is a special case, when the brother dies childless.

Next, in Bamidbar 36: complains to Moshe about the aftermath of the daughters of Tzelofchad. They were given their father's portion, and the tribe complained that when the daughters of Tzelofchad married, the portion would be inherited by their children, and thereby would be transferred to another tribe.

Moshe replies:(5-9)

וַיְצַו מֹשֶׁה אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, עַל-פִּי ה לֵאמֹר: כֵּן מַטֵּה בְנֵי-יוֹסֵף, דֹּבְרִים.
זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר-צִוָּה יְהוָה, לִבְנוֹת צְלָפְחָד לֵאמֹר, לַטּוֹב בְּעֵינֵיהֶם, תִּהְיֶינָה לְנָשִׁים: אַךְ, לְמִשְׁפַּחַת מַטֵּה אֲבִיהֶם--תִּהְיֶינָה לְנָשִׁים.
וְלֹא-תִסֹּב נַחֲלָה לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, מִמַּטֶּה אֶל-מַטֶּה: כִּי אִישׁ, בְּנַחֲלַת מַטֵּה אֲבֹתָיו, יִדְבְּקוּ, בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
וְכָל-בַּת יֹרֶשֶׁת נַחֲלָה, מִמַּטּוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל--לְאֶחָד מִמִּשְׁפַּחַת מַטֵּה אָבִיהָ, תִּהְיֶה לְאִשָּׁה: לְמַעַן, יִירְשׁוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, אִישׁ, נַחֲלַת אֲבֹתָיו.
וְלֹא-תִסֹּב נַחֲלָה מִמַּטֶּה, לְמַטֶּה אַחֵר: כִּי-אִישׁ, בְּנַחֲלָתוֹ, יִדְבְּקוּ, מַטּוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה, אֶת-מֹשֶׁה, כֵּן עָשׂוּ, בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד.
"And Moses commanded the children of Israel according to the word of the LORD, saying: 'The tribe of the sons of Joseph speaketh right.
This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying: Let them be married to whom they think best; only into the family of the tribe of their father shall they be married.
So shall no inheritance of the children of Israel remove from tribe to tribe; for the children of Israel shall cleave every one to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers.
And every daughter, that possesseth an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel, shall be wife unto one of the family of the tribe of her father, that the children of Israel may possess every man the inheritance of his fathers.
So shall no inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe; for the tribes of the children of Israel shall cleave each one to its own inheritance.'
Even as the LORD commanded Moses, so did the daughters of Zelophehad.

Within two consecutive psukim, we have conflicting commands:
וְלֹא-תִסֹּב נַחֲלָה לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, מִמַּטֶּה אֶל-מַטֶּה: כִּי אִישׁ, בְּנַחֲלַת מַטֵּה אֲבֹתָיו, יִדְבְּקוּ, בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל
"So shall no inheritance of the children of Israel remove from tribe to tribe; for the children of Israel shall cleave every one to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers."

and then:

וְכָל-בַּת יֹרֶשֶׁת נַחֲלָה, מִמַּטּוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל--
"And every daughter, that possesseth an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel"

which shows a daughter can inherit from her father, like the Benot Tzelofchad. This seems a conflict, until Moshe shows how to reconcile the two, by requiring, or perhaps merely suggesting, that as a practical matter they only marry within the tribe.

The next conflict is between Shaatnez, wearing a forbidden mixture of wool and linen, with the mitzvah of wearing tzitzit, fringes. Devarim 22:11 states:
לֹא תִלְבַּשׁ שַׁעַטְנֵז, צֶמֶר וּפִשְׁתִּים יַחְדָּו.
"Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together."

while the next pasuk states:
גְּדִלִים, תַּעֲשֶׂה-לָּךְ, עַל-אַרְבַּע כַּנְפוֹת כְּסוּתְךָ, אֲשֶׁר תְּכַסֶּה-בָּהּ.
"Thou shalt make thee twisted cords upon the four corners of thy covering, wherewith thou coverest thyself."

The garment and string can be made of a mixture of wool and linen. The techelet string must be dyed wool, and this can go on a linen garment. This is not a contradiction, but an exception, or elaboration.

The Shamor/Zachor, present in Nedarim:
Shemot 20:6:
זָכוֹר אֶת-יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת, לְקַדְּשׁוֹ.
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. "

In contrast, Devarim 5:11, in the other account of the 10 commandments:
שָׁמוֹר אֶת-יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת, לְקַדְּשׁוֹ, כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוְּךָ, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ
"Observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD thy God commanded thee."

{Note this pasuk seems to mention that an earlier command was made, so perhaps one can argue this is te second set of luchot given, or better, Moshe's paraphrase of the 10 commandments, which we see this is from the beginning of the perek.}

Shamor and Zachor have different connotations and different halachic repercussions. Yet, they are not in conflict.

Basically, we say in all these cases that they were said in one Utterance, what the mouth cannot speak and the ear cannot hear.

Two prooftexts are given. Tehillim 62:12:
אַחַת, דִּבֶּר אֱלֹקִים--שְׁתַּיִם-זוּ שָׁמָעְתִּי: כִּי עֹז, לֵאלֹקִים.
"God hath spoken once, twice have I heard this: that strength belongeth unto God;"

Leacing aside the question of the translation of Zu as "this" rather than "which" - the simple reading of the pasuk states, in a nice Biblical poetry parallelism, God has spoken it once, and he has heard it twice (this parallel God/man, spoken/heard, once, twice), thus making it clear the truthfulness of the following statement: Strength belongs to God.

The drash seems to ignore the end of the pasuk. God speaks in certain situations one statement. But man hears it as two.

Or, I would add, the end of the pasuk is intended as well. How can God speak once and man hear two things? Because this is part of God's strength.

I would suggest the following, based on a Maimonidean (and seemingly obvious) understanding that descriptions of God having an arm or a finger, or speaking, or getting angry, are all somewhat metaphorical. It is the closest human parallel to whatever was actually done, but there are not human terms, nor is it necessarily within human comprehension, to understand what actually is meant by God speaking.

However, Hashem communicated to Moshe in some way, called in the Torah speech. These concepts and ideas were transferred, but human language could not record it as a single item. Thus, Moshe broke it down, and focused in various places in Torah on specific aspects of the command. They were thus both said in one Dibur.

The second prooftext is from Yirmiyahu 23:29:
הֲלוֹא כֹה דְבָרִי כָּאֵשׁ, נְאֻם-יְהוָה; וּכְפַטִּישׁ, יְפֹצֵץ סָלַע.
"Is not My word like as fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?"

Hashem's words are like fire, and like a hammer. The pieces of rock are the various elements of the command, which are scattered throughout Torah in various places.

In other words, do not see contradictions so much as elaborations, or focus in certain sections on particular elements of mitzvot, and by looking at different sections with different focuses, you can reconstruct the full, complex idea.

This is the idea from Acharei Mot, where there is a rule against using Bamot, altars, and all peace-offerings must be brought to the Ohel Moed. Meanwhile, somewhere is Devarim, we are told that when the way gets far, you do not need to bring domesticated animals as peace-offerings to the Mikdash to eat it, but can eat them as non-sacrificial meat. Each segment has a different focus in its location, and we would be distracted if every parameter must be mentioned in one place. Rather, it is divided in two, and you figure out what is meant by reconciling two statements.

This is the case in this parsha, Behar-Bechukotai as well. We read in Vayikra 25:8 about Yovel, the Jubilee. It is a Doron, a time when all debts are cancelled, all Hebrew slaves go free, and all men return to their ancestral lands.
In pasuk 39f:
וְכִי-יָמוּךְ אָחִיךָ עִמָּךְ, וְנִמְכַּר-לָךְ--לֹא-תַעֲבֹד בּוֹ, עֲבֹדַת עָבֶד.
כְּשָׂכִיר כְּתוֹשָׁב, יִהְיֶה עִמָּךְ; עַד-שְׁנַת הַיֹּבֵל, יַעֲבֹד עִמָּךְ.
וְיָצָא, מֵעִמָּךְ--הוּא, וּבָנָיו עִמּוֹ; וְשָׁב, אֶל-מִשְׁפַּחְתּוֹ, וְאֶל-אֲחֻזַּת אֲבֹתָיו, יָשׁוּב.
in 54:
וְאִם-לֹא יִגָּאֵל, בְּאֵלֶּה--וְיָצָא בִּשְׁנַת הַיֹּבֵל, הוּא וּבָנָיו עִמּוֹ.

"And if thy brother be waxen poor with thee, and sell himself unto thee, thou shalt not make him to serve as a bondservant.
As a hired servant, and as a settler, he shall be with thee; he shall serve with thee unto the year of jubilee.
Then shall he go out from thee, he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.
{after telling the regular ways in which he can go free, and how you should treat him well, in 54:}
And if he be not redeemed by any of these means, then he shall go out in the year of jubilee, he, and his children with him."

Thus, among other things that revert to their natural state during Yovel, so goes the Hebrew servant.
This is true for even for the so-called perpetual servant.
In parshat Mishpatim, 21:5f:
וְאִם-אָמֹר יֹאמַר, הָעֶבֶד, אָהַבְתִּי אֶת-אֲדֹנִי, אֶת-אִשְׁתִּי וְאֶת-בָּנָי; לֹא אֵצֵא, חָפְשִׁי.
וְהִגִּישׁוֹ אֲדֹנָיו, אֶל-הָאֱלֹהִים, וְהִגִּישׁוֹ אֶל-הַדֶּלֶת, אוֹ אֶל-הַמְּזוּזָה; וְרָצַע אֲדֹנָיו אֶת-אָזְנוֹ בַּמַּרְצֵעַ, וַעֲבָדוֹ לְעֹלָם.

But if the servant shall plainly say: I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free;
then his master shall bring him unto God, and shall bring him to the door, or unto the door-post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever."

What is the meaning of וַעֲבָדוֹ לְעֹלָם, and he shall serve him for ever?

Onkelos says LeOlam, for ever, giving a literal translation.
Tg Yonatan states Ad Yuvla, until Yovel.

This harmonizes the two texts.

Rashi cites Bavli Kedushim 15 which also harmonizes. Specifically, לְעֹלָם might mean literally forever, or perhaps until Yovel. Since we see in Vayikra that he goes out by Yovel, we see לְעֹלָם means a period of 50 years.

Ibn Ezra tries to be more of a pashtan while remaining true to the halachic interpretation and law. Olam means time, Zman. Thus, until the time he becomes a gadol. לְעֹלָם he says means 50 years, for there is no longer period of time in Moadei Yisrael. Further, going free, it is like the world (Olam) is renewed. {This is nice, since we see the Dror by Yovel refreshes a lot of things.} Or, he returns to his original zman (לְעֹלָם, since that means zman, time) in which he was free.

I don't think we need go that far. The context is someone who is sold for six years. Such a person has a limited period of service, at which point the deal is over and he goes free. The opposite of that is לְעֹלָם, a perpetual servant, with no time limit.

It is true that he goes free by Yovel, but that is an incidental law. For example, what if we do not have the majority of Jews living in Israel at the time Yovel rolls around. Then, there is no Yovel, and so he does not go free. Similarly, people would not get back their ancestral lands, etc.

In other words, he is a perpetual servant. There happens to be another law, in another location, of the Doron, where debts are forgiven and property and people revert to their original state, which happens to overlap somewhat with this law and impact it. We do not have to focus on every possible detail when we fist discuss the law, particularly when it is a different law which sometimes colors the current one.

This, perhaps, is similar to the idea of BeDibur Eched mentioned earlier.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Computation Girsology Variant File

A partial file. Have not finished yet.

Two prakim!

הדרן עלך שבועות שתים!
הדרן עלך ידיעות הטומאה!
(1st and 2nd perek of ירושלמי שבועות)

Friday, May 07, 2004

Relying upon the kabbala:

Vayikra 22:22 speaks of certain blemishes in an animal that make it unfit for sacrifice. The thing is, in Hebrew certain words are common, because they are commonly used. "Say, eat, walk, hand, arm, leg, head, table, etc." And so, the translation of these words are well known.

However, what happens when arcane words are used. Here, these are words to describe various types of blemishes and medical conditions. Consider English. Eczema, scabs, cataracts, etc.. Not necessarily would one know what they mean. Absent some definite passed down information, all one could do it look at the roots of the words, see how they occur in various contexts in the language and related languages, and make a best guess.

That seems to be what Ibn Ezra is doing here.
עַוֶּרֶת אוֹ שָׁבוּר אוֹ-חָרוּץ אוֹ-יַבֶּלֶת, אוֹ גָרָב אוֹ יַלֶּפֶת--לֹא-תַקְרִיבוּ אֵלֶּה, לַיהוָה; וְאִשֶּׁה, לֹא-תִתְּנוּ מֵהֶם עַל-הַמִּזְבֵּחַ--לַיהוָה.

Ibn Ezra translates עַוֶּרֶת as some eye ailment, and says that some say שָׁבוּר is a broken arm and חָרוּץ on the leg (that is, fore-leg and hind-leg respectively), and יַבֶּלֶת means תְּבַלֻּל בְּעֵינוֹ, white in the iris of the eye.

This last one is interesting. Presumably his prooftext (and the one mentioned in the link for Ibn Ezra above) is the word in 21:20 about a blemish in the Kohen. Both words would have the root בלל, meaning mixed. And the next two words in both verses are the same, אוֹ גָרָב אוֹ יַלֶּפֶת in 21:20, and אוֹ גָרָב אוֹ יַלֶּפֶת in 22:22.

Tg Yonatan gives the same translation.

Finally, Ibn Ezra states, and this is really why I am citing this:
וכללו של דבר, אנחנו נסמוך על הקבלה ולא נשען על דעתנו החסרה

To translate, "And (But?) the general rule of the matter is that we shall rely on the received tradition and will not depend upon our faulty intellect."

This is a somewhat surprising statement from Ibn Ezra. As a pashtan, he often does not seem to agree with the tradition as given in the drashot Chazal.

I think he is alluding to this difficulty I mentioned earlier. The best source for what these words and phrases mean, especially esoteric or uncommon words, is tradition. If tradition is accurate, it can tell us what the original connotation of words are, contemporary to the time they were written/spoken. Absent tradition, we do not stand on firm ground. We can try to find an etymology, or deduce from context in parallel verses, but the results should rightfully be considered doubtful.

Thus this statement, while frum, need not stem from frumkeit so much as a rational conception of the limits of intellectual inquiry.

This realization is something I have seen missing in certain scholarly approaches.

Is Ibn Ezra affirming his opinion or rejecting it in his statement? He would seem to be deducing יבלת from the shparallel pasuk, since Tg Yonatan was not known in his day. So it would seem that he is saying that when all is said and done, his educated guesses are just that, and we should rely on the kabbalah, received tradition, instead.

My favorite example of this type of tradition vs. deduction is the phrase "between your eyes" in Shema. The Sadduccees took this to mean literally between the eyes. Chazal say there is a "halacha liMoshe miSinai," and law taught to Moshe on Har Sinai, that "between the eyes" means in the center of the head pate (which is above the hairline). Tzedukim (Sadduccees) rejected the Oral Law (or at least Chazal's Oral Law) and so they took the verse literally.

Now, one can make the argument that a halacha liMoshe miSinai means that they had a very early tradition as to the meaning of the phrase. "Between the eyes" seems to be an idiom, and a contempory understanding of an idiom would be more accurate that an attempted literal translation.

By way of analogy, when they were first working on machine translation, they translating English phrases into Russian and then back into English to see how accurate the translations were. Here is some examples of the input and output, on idioms:

Input: "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."
Output: "The vodka is good but the meat is rotten."

Input: "Out of sight, out of mind"
Output: "Invisible and insane"
Output: "Invisible idiot."

So if "between the eyes" is indeed an idiom, a Tzeduki or Karaite approach should be expected to get a wholly inappropriate and inane result. Ibn Ezra dealt with Karaites, so perhaps this is why he makes his statement. (Perhaps he is even affirming his own position from some other tradition and rejecting a different approach.)

Indeed, Biblical scholars a while back discovered the Baal chronicles, in which Baal slays Prince Yam. Poetry from that time, like Biblical poetry, is formed by a sentence in which the second phrase echoes the first, just in different words. For example, "he held the bowl in his hand {something like yado}, he held the cup in his right {hand - something like yemino}." This does not mean that he held two things, a bowl in his {left} hand and a cup in the right. Rather, the two words have close or identical connotations, and the phrases are saying that he held a cup in his right hand. One such phrase is, "He smote prince Yam in the head pate {where we, Pharisees, place tefillin}, he smote prince Yam between the eyes.

There are two such examples in this week's parsha I wanted to address, but don't have the time right now. The first is when we start counting Sefirat HaOmer, based on the meaning of שבת and the phrase ממחרת השבת in Vayikra 23:11 and 15. The second is נֶפֶשׁ תַּחַת נָפֶשׁ in Vayikra 24:18 and on.

In various places, Shabbos means cessation of something. For example, Vayikra 26:6:
וְנָתַתִּי שָׁלוֹם בָּאָרֶץ, וּשְׁכַבְתֶּם וְאֵין מַחֲרִיד; וְהִשְׁבַּתִּי חַיָּה רָעָה, מִן-הָאָרֶץ, וְחֶרֶב, לֹא-תַעֲבֹר בְּאַרְצְכֶם.
And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid; and I will cause evil beasts to cease out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.

and Vayikra 25:4:
וּבַשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת, שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן יִהְיֶה לָאָרֶץ--שַׁבָּת, לַיהוָה: שָׂדְךָ לֹא תִזְרָע, וְכַרְמְךָ לֹא תִזְמֹר.
But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath unto the LORD; thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.

It can also mean week, or a period of seven days, or a period of seven years. Vayikra 25:8

וְסָפַרְתָּ לְךָ, שֶׁבַע שַׁבְּתֹת שָׁנִים--שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים, שֶׁבַע פְּעָמִים; וְהָיוּ לְךָ, יְמֵי שֶׁבַע שַׁבְּתֹת הַשָּׁנִים, תֵּשַׁע וְאַרְבָּעִים, שָׁנָה.
And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and there shall be unto thee the days of seven sabbaths of years, even forty and nine years.

Tzedukim took ממחרת השבת to mean the day after Saturday = Sunday, and thus you count 7 Saturdays. I think Chazal take the first one to mean the day after the *Shabbat*, that is the first period of Pesach when work was prohibited, which we see mentioned a few psukim earlier.

We see elsewhere in this perek that this is a possible definition of Shabbat: Vayikra 23:39:

אַךְ בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי, בְּאָסְפְּכֶם אֶת-תְּבוּאַת הָאָרֶץ, תָּחֹגּוּ אֶת-חַג-יְהוָה, שִׁבְעַת יָמִים; בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן שַׁבָּתוֹן, וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי שַׁבָּתוֹן.
Howbeit on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruits of the land, ye shall keep the feast of the LORD seven days; on the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest.

and the second one a period of 7 days.

The words Shabbat is those idiomatic and perhaps highly context dependent.

In terms of נפש תחת נפש, while it literally means a life for a life, it seems to be referring to monetaryt payment:

וּמַכֵּה נֶפֶשׁ-בְּהֵמָה, יְשַׁלְּמֶנָּה--נֶפֶשׁ, תַּחַת נָפֶשׁ

This, and the meaning of יֵעָשֶׂה לּוֹ and כֵּן יִנָּתֶן בּוֹ (and Ibn Ezra's commentary on it) in the following psukim is something I hope to treat in more detail later.

I also eventually want to talk about whether the altars outside the Mishkan were only directed towards Seirim, but it is getting late, so I will try so post on this in the near future.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

I have a test tomorrow in avoda zara

(a class I am taking). I posted some updated notes for the class here:

and then have a presentation in computational girsology later this weak, so my guess is that posting for this week will be somewhat sparse.

Another masechet!

Hadran alach yerushalmi yoma!

I started yerushalmi Shevuot in preparation for the upcoming holiday. For some reason it is in Seder Nezikin instead of Moed. ;)


Blog Widget by LinkWithin