Thursday, October 14, 2004

Shmuel vs. Rav on Bashert

In an earlier post during parshat Pinchas, I posted some source material I had collected on and bashert and zivug. Both Rav and Shmuel make statements about a bat kol announcing a match. However, Rav has this bat kol 40 days before the formation of the fetus, while Shmuel has the bat kol go out every single day. One could spin this as Rav considering this fate while Shmuel considers this reward for one's merit (based on if this was preordained before birth, or a constant, every-day reevaluation of one's merit to determine one's match); on the other hand Rav does cite a statement about God creating matches in a more active, continuous role.

Before Shmuel, we have the Tosefta Moed Katan 1:6, with the statement:
א,ו אין מקדשין נשים במועד רבי יהודה מתיר שמא יקדמנו אחר ברחמים ממאנין ומגרשין וחולצין ומייבמין במועד.
One should not betroth women during Chol HaMoed. Rabbi Yehuda permits, lest one precede him via Mercy. We conduct refusal and divorce, and chalitza and levirate marriage during Chol HaMoed...
This statement is remarkably similar to that of Shmuel, the Amora, as we shall see. Even the elaboration "with Mercy" is remarkable parallel to an elaboration of Shmuel found in the gemara. Yet no mention is made in the gemara to this Tanaaitic statement and basis for Shmuel. I have a rather strong suspicion that this is not Rabbi Yehuda, the Tanna, but Rav Yehuda, the Amora, who cites Shmuel in the gemara. And it is not even really Rav Yehuda, but rather the stama digemara's elaboration of Rav Yehuda in the name of Shmuel, perhaps on the basis of Rava's statement. The Tosefta then included this Amoraic statement, attributing it to R' Yehuda, to contrast with that of the Tanna Kamma in the Tosefta, and it is now taken as Rabbi Yehuda, the Tanna. To the gemara in question - Moed Katan 18b:
Mishna: The following documents may be written on the middle days: contracts of betrothing, bills of divorce, and receipts in discharge of debts; also wills or codicils; deeds of gift; premonitions; and deeds of maintenance, certificates of Halitza, and certificates of refusal; arbitration bonds; decrees of the Beth Din; and powers of attorney.
This lists contracts of betrothing among the list, in a Tanaaitic source, so this can actually be Rabbi Yehuda in the Tosefta. But on the other hand, as we shall see in a moment, the gemara considers this, and rejects the idea that contracts of betrothing are those that effect the actual marriage.
אמר שמואל מותר לארס אשה בחולו של מועד שמא יקדמנו אחר
לימא מסייע ליה: ואלו כותבין במועד קדושי נשים
מאי לאו שטרי קדושין ממש?
לא שטרי פסיקתא, וכדרב גידל אמר רב דאמר רב גידל אמר רב כמה אתה נותן לבנך כך וכך כמה אתה נותן לבתך כך וכך עמדו וקדשו קנו הן הן הדברים הנקנין באמירה
לימא מסייע ליה אין נושאין נשים במועד לא בתולות ולא אלמנות ולא מיבמין מפני ששמחה היא לו הא לארס שרי לא מיבעיא קאמר לא מיבעיא לארס דלא קעביד מצוה אלא אפילו לישא נמי דקא עביד מצוה אסור
תא שמע דתנא דבי שמואל מארסין אבל לא כונסין ואין עושין סעודת אירוסין ולא מיבמין מפני ששמחה היא לו ש"מ
ומי אמר שמואל שמא יקדמנו אחר?
והאמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל בכל יום ויום בת קול יוצאת ואומרת בת פלוני לפלוני שדה פלוני לפלוני
אלא שמא יקדמנו אחר ברחמים
כי הא דרבא שמעיה לההוא גברא דבעי רחמי ואמר תזדמן לי פלניתא א"ל לא תיבעי רחמי הכי אי חזיא לך לא אזלא מינך ואי לא כפרת בה' בתר הכי שמעיה דקאמר או איהו לימות מקמה או איהי תמות מקמיה א"ל לאו אמינא לך לא תיבעי עלה דמילתא הכי
Samuel said: "One is permitted to become betrothed to a woman on the middle days, for fear that he may be preceded by another one."
{Then the gemara rejects the Tanaaitic basis for this, from R Gidel's statement. Note that if the gemara knew about the Tosefta, with the parallel statement to that of Shmuel from Rabbi Yehuda, they should have cited it here. But they do not. Other Tanaaitic sources are attempted.
The stama digemara then challenges Shmuel's statement, on the basis of a second-hand statement of Rav Yehuda, citing Shmuel.}
And does Shmuel indeed say "Lest one precede him? But Rav Yehuda said in the name of Shmuel, "on every single day, a bat kol goes out and says, 'the daughter of Ploni to Ploni. The field of Ploni to Ploni?!"
Rather, lest someone precede him with Mercy.
{The stama digemara thus succeeds in reinterpreting Shmuel by adding the word ברחמים, with Mercy, on the basis of Rav Yehuda. I think it is clear that subsequently the proximity of Rav Yehuda's citation of Shmuel in the gemara to the reinterpretation of Shmuel caused the question and answer to be associated with him, and then Rav Yehuda's opinion is mentioned in the Tosefta, and finally taken to be Rabbi Yehuda. In other versions, where Rav Yehuda's citation is not mentioned, but rather some drashot of Shmuel on psukim, the girsa is lest someone preempt him with תפלה, prayer. There is thus a close relationship between the tosefta and this gemara.
The stama continues to explain what it means by the suggestion that one might preempt with Mercy, which is prayer, by citing Rava.}
Like this instance, in which Rava heard a certain main pleading for Mercy and said "Plonita should marry me." Rava said to him, do not request Mercy in such a manner. If it is fitting to you, she will not leave you. And if not, you will have denied God. (Rashi: your faith will be weakened because your request will not be granted.) Afterwards he heard it said, either he will die before her, or she will die before him...
The citation of Shmuel by Rav Yehuda here is also a bit suspect. Why?
1) Because of other gemaras where Rav Yehuda cites Rav, in a remarkably similar statement to that of Shmuel (as we shall see); the only difference being that Rav has the bat kol come out 40 days before the creation of the child, while Shmuel has the bat kol come out every single day.
2) This change to every single day is a phrase that could have come from elsewhere that an original opinion of Shmuel differing from that of Rav. Specifically, bat kol's coming out every single day is not unique to Shmuel's statement. The terminology might be borrowed from, say, the brayta in Pirkei Avot 6:2: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said, every day a bat kol goes forth from Mount Chorev and says, "Woe to the peoples [of the earth] because of the disgrace shown to the Torah."
3) In other gemaras where a contrast is made between Shmuel's fear lest one preempt him in marriage as opposed to Shmuel's belief in bashert, Rav Yehuda's citation of Shmuel about a bat kol does not appear; instead there is reference to a drasha Shmuel makes on Tehillim 68 and Tehillim 62. For example, consider Yerushalmi Betza 20b, 5:2:

ולא מקדשין: רבי בא בר כהן אמר קומי ר' יוסה ר' אחא בשם ר' יעקב בר אידי אסור לארס אשה בע"ש הדא דאת אמר שלא לעשות סעודת אירוסין הא לארס יארס שמואל אמר אפילו בתשעה באב יארס שלא יקדמנו אחר מחלפא שיטתיה דשמואל תמן הוא אמר (תהילים סח) מושיב יחידים ביתה (תהילים סב) במאזנים לעלות המה מהבל יחד והכא הוא אמר הכין שלא יקדמנו אחר בתפילה אפילו כן לא קיימה
And they do not betroth: Rabbi Ba bar Kohen said before R Yosa; R Acha cited R Yaakov bar Idi: It is forbidden to betroth a woman on Friday. This that you say, is not so make a feast of Betrothal. But, to betroth, he should betroth. Shmuel said, even during Tisha BeAv he should betroth, so that another should not precede him.

Shmuel's positions are inconsistent! There he said (Tehillim 68) "אֱלֹקִים, מוֹשִׁיב יְחִידִים בַּיְתָה-- מוֹצִיא אֲסִירִים, בַּכּוֹשָׁרוֹת;" - "God maketh the solitary to dwell in a house; He bringeth out the prisoners into prosperity"
and (Tehillim 62) "if they be laid in the balances, they are together lighter than vanity." And here he says this!! The answer: that one should not precede him with Prayer. Even so, it will not last.
Conversely, the Moed Katan gemara is more expansive (as it uniquely cites Rava as an explanation of the harmonized thought), and refers to a basis for the elaboration of either ברחמים or בתפלה, and is has a match in the Tosefta for Moed Katan, so the case can be made that the original sugya was in Moed Katan and summarized elsewhere. If so, we would have Rav Yehuda citing both Rav and Shmuel with roughly parallel statements about and bat kol and bashert; much or little may be made about the difference about 40 days preceding the formation vs. every day.

However, please note that we see the first drasha of Shmuel (though not the second, on Tehillim 62) in another gemara - Sanhedrin 22a (which I will cover soon) - associated with Rabbi Yochanan, which then leads into a quote (which they feel contrdicts this drasha!) by Rav Yehuda of Rav. This suggests there is some ha'avara going on, with some gemaras choosing the statement of R Yochanan to attribute to Shmuel to form a contradiction, and others choosing the statement of Rav Yehuda citing Rav to attribute to Shmuel to form a contradiction. In which case none of the Shmuel elaborations are actually original, but are attributed to Shmuel under the impression that they must be in order for there to be a contradiction. For certainly citing Rav to contradict Shmuel is not very effective, nor is citing a derasha of Rabbi Yochanan, as Chazal are not monolithic in their attitudes.

For Rav's opinion, we have Sota 2b and Sanhedrin 22a. Let us examine Sanhedrin:
א"ר שמואל בר רב יצחק כי הוה פתח ריש לקיש בסוטה אמר הכי אין מזווגין לו לאדם אשה אלא לפי מעשיו שנא' כי לא ינוח שבט הרשע על גורל הצדיקים
אמר רבה בר בר חנה אמר ר' יוחנן וקשין לזווגן כקריעת ים סוף שנאמר אלהים מושיב יחידים ביתה מוציא אסירים בכושרות
והא אמר רב יהודה אמר רב ארבעים יום קודם יצירת הולד בת קול יוצאת ואומרת בת פלוני לפלוני בית פלוני לפלוני שדה פלוני לפלוני
לא קשיא הא בזוג ראשון הא בזוג שני:

R Shmuel bar Rav Yitzchak said: when Resh Lakish began with Sota, he said as follows: A man is not matched with a wife except according to his deeds. As it states, "For the rod of wickedness shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous;" (Tehillim 125:3)

Rabba bar bar Chana said in the name of R Yochanan. And it is difficult to match them as the splitting of the Red Sea, as the verse states, מושיב יחידים ביתה מוציא אסירים בכושרות, "God maketh the solitary to dwell in a house; He bringeth out the prisoners into prosperity."

{The stama degemara then asks:}
Is this truly so? But did not Rav Yehuda say citing Rav, 40 days before the formation of the child a Bat Kol goes out and says, 'The daughter of Ploni to Ploni. Such and such a house to Ploni. Such and such a field to Ploni. This is no question. Here for the first match, and here for the second match.
(Rashi: Zug rishon: based on his mazal. Zug sheni: based on his deeds. And it is difficult to match them because she is not his match (bat zugo).)
Thus, we have a contradiction between various different personages, as opposed to a singe person as in the Shmuel gemaras. This is thus a harder contradiction to make; but perhaps the principle of lectio difficilior should come into play to declare this the original of the two text, if indeed there was only one original.

See also how the text of the stama, the question of the contradiction, and the resolution remain constant, even as the philosophies behind the positions change!

In the Rav gemara, the initial position is that of Resh Laskish and/or that of Rabbi Yochanan. I would claim only that of Resh Lakish.
Resh Lakish: a derasha to show one gets a wife in accordance to one's merits.
(Rabbi Yochanan: Making matches is as difficult as splitting the Red Sea is the focus. Implied is that Hashem is arranging these matches, in parallel to other sources of Hashem making these matches continuously since the 6 days of creation. The verse he cites about the difficulty is used by Shmuel though to connote a notion of Hashem guiding people to their match.)
Rav Yehuda citing Rav: 40 days before the creation of the baby.

Thus, Rav = fate, predestination, while Resh Lakish = in accordance with one's deeds, merit.
{Or else, Rav = fate, while Rabbi Yochanan = Hashem's setting up appropriate matches.
The former is a better contrast, I think.

In the Shmuel gemara, we have an internal contradiction within Shmuel.
Shmuel 1: Do hishtadlut, and marry even on 9 Av lest someone precede you.
Shmuel 2: Two derashot, the first one referring to the same pasuk and similar in nature to that of Rabbi Yochanan. Thus, Hashem is in charge. Is this predestination or merit at work? Unclear. Regardless, this contradicts Shmuel 1, for if Hashem controls it, why fear preemption?
Shmuel 3: In the alternative Shmuel gemara, Rav Yehuda, who in the Rav gemara cited Rav, cites a similar statement. A bat kol announces every day the match. Is this predestination or merit at work? Unclear. Does "every day" mean that each man gets reevaluated every day, which would imply merit, or is it that the bat kol comes out every day (just as in Pirkei Avot), but about different people, in which case it can mean predestination. I think predestination is meant. And if it is fate, this contradicts Shmuel 1.

Thus, while in the parallel Shmuel gemara both Shmuel 2 and Shmuel 3 are used to contradict Shmuel 1, in the Rav gemara, the position similar in form to Shmuel 3 (Rav) is used to contradict the position similar in form to Shmuel 2 (Rabbi Yochanan). Looking at the Shmuel gemaras alone since Shmuel 2 and Shmuel 3 might be seen as in agreement since they are both used to combat Shmuel 1. However, the Rav gemara seems to show Shmuel 2 and 3 in disagreement.

All this seems to suggest to me that the Shmuel gemaraya are derivative of the Rav gemara. There are of course other features that suggest otherwise.

Tosafot knows both sugyot, and questions why in the Rav gemara the answer in the first and second match, while in the Shmuel gemara it is lest someone precede him with Mercy/Prayer. I would suggest that the answer is clear - the contradictions are different in the two sugyot. For Rav, it is Fate vs. Merit. Fate would determine the first match, since this is stated before the formation of the child, and subsequently one's merit kicks in to determine the next matches, as the one who is appropriate for him, as Resh Lakish stated.
For Shmuel, it is a question of Man's effort vs. God's control through either Fate or based on merit. If so, the answer which was good for Rav does not work well here. The answer of the first vs. the second match would be arbitrary and erroneous. Why is the first match subject to God's control and the second due to Man's efforts. Further, Shmuel did not state that only for second marriages should one betroth on 9 Av! A better answer is given by the stama, which fits the contradiction. Hashem indeed decides, but still one must do effort, for someone else can preempt him by appealing directly to Hashem - to Hashem's mercy, through prayer.

More on Rav and bashert
Consider the following gemara:
Rab said in the name of R. Reuben b. Atztrubli: It appears from the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings that the union of a woman to her husband comes from God himself. The Law [Gen. xxiv. 50]: "Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said: The thing hath proceeded from the Lord," etc.; the Prophets [Judges, xiv. 4]: "But his father and his mother knew not that it was from the Lord"; the Hagiographa [Prov. xix. 14]: בַּיִת וָהוֹן, נַחֲלַת אָבוֹת; וּמֵה' אִשָּׁה מַשְׂכָּלֶת - "Houses and wealth are an inheritance from fathers; but from the Lord cometh an intelligent wife."

{Note about Shmishon: it is from Judges 14:1-4: And Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said: 'I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore get her for me to wife.' Then his father and his mother said unto him: 'Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines?' And Samson said unto his father: 'Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.' But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD; for he sought an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines had rule over Israel.}
However, this is Rav citing someone else, so it is not necessarily indicative of his own opinion. Further, while it does show Hashem's involvement in making matches, in a continuous manner, this might be implementing the decision Hashem predestined 40 days before the formation of the child.

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