Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Vayigash: The Trup On Rav

A quick correction by Shadal about the trup on the first pasuk in Chamishi, apparently based on theory of trup rather than any particular manuscript evidence. (My assumption here is based on how elsewhere, he cites manuscript evidence, as well as how once he parses it he then proposes the trup in line with this parse.) He writes:
רב כוחי עוד יוסף בני חי : אחרי ראותו העגלות אמר די במה שהייתי עד היום ביגון ואבל כי עתה אין עוד ספק, כי יוסף בני חי, ומילת רב ראויה לזקף גדול.
That is, he would change the tevir under rav to a zakef gadol. This makes sense because while tevir breaks up a clause ending in tipcha, the zakef breaks up a clause ending in etnachta. Thus, as written in Mikraot Gedolot, it would read:
וַיֹּאמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל רַב עוֹד-יוֹסֵף בְּנִי חָי
turning into
וַיֹּאמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל
רַב עוֹד-יוֹסֵף בְּנִי חָי
which in turn gets broken up as
רַב עוֹד-יוֹסֵף בְּנִי
which in turn gets broken up into
עוֹד-יוֹסֵף בְּנִי

This is weird because rav should be broken off before chai -- otherwise, it suggests that it is part of the phrase.

In contrast, with Shadal's corrected trup, we have:
וַיֹּאמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל רַב עוֹד-יוֹסֵף בְּנִי חָי
וַיֹּאמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל
רַב עוֹד-יוֹסֵף בְּנִי חָי
and then within the quotation, we have
עוֹד-יוֹסֵף בְּנִי חָי

Which is what Shadal says it means -- it is enough {my days of mourning} -- my son Yosef lives.

Now, is there any other way of parsing this pasuk such that it can work with the trup? I don't see any, nor have I seen any commentator do this, but I have quite possibly not looked far enough.

Update: That is not to say that there are no variants in accordance with Shadal, just that my strong guess is that he is basing himself on the logic of trup. Thus, using some chumashim from JNUL,
1) in this one from 1490, it appears to me to be a mercha kefulah, which many consider a reduced tevir.
2) In this one from 1491, in Naple, we actually do have a zakef gadol. This is the only one of those I checked which have it.
3) In this one from 1494, it appears to have just a meteg on it. But that makes no sense. And at the same time, some have tendency to make their tevirs very vertical, so maybe that is what we are seeing
4) In this one from 1518, we have a tevir, and it is written quite vertically.
5) In this one from 1521, this one from 1524, and this one from 1525, we have tevir.

Meanwhile, in a chumash with Minchat Shai, I see no correction of the tevir to a zakef gadol.

Your Brother, The Son of Your Mother

This may be obvious, but I wanted to speak it out nonetheless. I was learning through a recent daf {Kiddushin 80b} in the daf Yomi cycle and came across this:
From where do we know these words? Rabbi Yochanan said in the name of Rabbi Yishmael: A hint to {the prohibition on} seclusion from the Torah, from where? For it is stated {Devarim 13:7}:
ז כִּי יְסִיתְךָ אָחִיךָ בֶן-אִמֶּךָ אוֹ-בִנְךָ אוֹ-בִתְּךָ אוֹ אֵשֶׁת חֵיקֶךָ, אוֹ רֵעֲךָ אֲשֶׁר כְּנַפְשְׁךָ--בַּסֵּתֶר לֵאמֹר: נֵלְכָה, וְנַעַבְדָה אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים, אֲשֶׁר לֹא יָדַעְתָּ, אַתָּה וַאֲבֹתֶיךָ. 7 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, that is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying: 'Let us go and serve other gods,' which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
{Where "your brother the son of your mother" is understood as a single phrase.}
Now does the son of a mother entice, while the son of a father not entice? Rather to say to you that a son may seclude himself with his mother, but is forbidden to seclude himself with all of the forbidden relations in the Torah.
The gemara continues with trying to figure out the pashteih dikra, and cites Abaye that it means "your mother's son," and all the more so your father's son. So the simple text only refers to a single son.

And my immediate thought was how this is based on how the phrase כִּי יְסִיתְךָ אָחִיךָ בֶן-אִמֶּךָ is taken as a single phrase, such that it is your brother who is the son of your mother; but that we can easily take it as achicha, which would be a "typical" brother, who is a paternal {and possibly simultaneously maternal} brother, and separately, the son of your mother, that is a maternal brother.

Then I looked in Rashi on the pasuk, in Reeh, and found that this is exactly how Rashi interprets it:
your brother from the father[’s side].
the son of your mother from the mother[’s side].

I am not entirely sure how Ibn Ezra understands it. He writes:
יג, ז]
כי יסיתך אחיך -
הטעם אפילו אחיך.

וטעם בן אמך
שהייתם בבטן אחת והאם כגוף והאב כצורה והצורה לא יבינוה, כי אם מתי מעט.

Is he treating brother as one, and son of mother as a separate entity, as an intensifying case of the emotion and connection one would feel to him? It certainly seems that way to me. Or alternatively, is he offering explanation of why the pasuk elaborates, and it is speaking of a single brother, who is both a maternal and paternal brother. I can certainly see it this way as well.

Aharon ben Yosef the Karaite takes it as a single entity, of one who is exclusively the son of the mother and not the son of the father. (At least as I understand him.) He references Tehillim 50:
כ תֵּשֵׁב, בְּאָחִיךָ תְדַבֵּר; בְּבֶן-אִמְּךָ, תִּתֶּן-דֹּפִי. 20 Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son.
This raises an interesting question about Biblical parallelism. Is it mere echoing in other language, or is it an intensification? This is something of a discussion even among modern Biblical scholars. But here, is the achicha the same as ben imecha?

Rashi in Tehillim makes no overt distinction between the two (such that it could be either), but explains why "your own mother's son" should be a reason why it is worse:
your mother’s son with whom you have no [legal] quarrel, since he does not inherit with you.
and indeed, that is a reason Aharon ben Yosef offers for their special closeness.

I would read Onkelos as having them a single individual, as there is not elaboration in:
אֲרֵי יִמְלְכִנָּךְ אֲחוּךְ בַּר אִמָּךְ אוֹ בְּרָךְ אוֹ בְּרַתָּךְ אוֹ אִתַּת קְיָמָךְ, אוֹ חַבְרָךְ דִּכְנַפְשָׁךְ--בְּסִתְרָא לְמֵימַר: נְהָךְ, וְנִפְלַח לְטָעֲוָת עַמְמַיָּא, דְּלָא יְדַעְתָּא, אַתְּ וַאֲבָהָתָךְ.

Tg Yerushalmi has the same non-elaboration. Targum Yonatan makes it overt as "your brother the son of your mother, and all the more so the son of your father" making it clear that the Biblical text only was explicitly talking about one person, the maternal brother. This is then echoing Abaye in our gemara in Kiddushin.

Can the trup help us choose? Not really, since it is after all just going to select one of two possible perushim, and so is a commentary in its own right. But the trup is:

כִּ֣י יְסִֽיתְךָ֡ אָחִ֣יךָ בֶן־אִ֠מֶּךָ אֽוֹ־בִנְךָ֨ אֽוֹ־בִתְּךָ֜ א֣וֹ ׀ אֵ֣שֶׁת חֵיקֶ֗ךָ א֧וֹ רֵֽעֲךָ֛ אֲשֶׁ֥ר כְּנַפְשְׁךָ֖ בַּסֵּ֣תֶר לֵאמֹ֑ר נֵֽלְכָ֗ה וְנַֽעַבְדָה֙ אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁר֙ לֹ֣א יָדַ֔עְתָּ אַתָּ֖ה וַֽאֲבֹתֶֽיךָ

In terms of parsing this, there is a pazer on כִּ֣י יְסִֽיתְךָ֡ and a telisha gedolah on בֶן־אִ֠מֶּךָ. Both are on equal footing breaking off the clause, so the earlier one in the pasuk functions first. So first the pazer breaks off, and then the telisha gedolah. There is a munach on achicha, such that it all is one phrase. But does that really show anything? Not that I know of, since these are the lowest of disjunctive accents, meaning that there are no other disjunctive accents to subdivide it, such that the munach had to come there. And in o vincha o vitecha there is no disjunctive accent in between anyway.

However, perhaps we can make a big deal over the lack of the word או in between achicha and ven imecha. The word או stands between every other scenario in the verse, so its absence here may indeed be significant.

What happens in the general case of lists in Tanach, particularly long lists? Some prime examples:
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֵלָיו, מִי שָׂם פֶּה לָאָדָם, אוֹ מִי-יָשׂוּם אִלֵּם, אוֹ חֵרֵשׁ אוֹ פִקֵּחַ אוֹ עִוֵּר--הֲלֹא אָנֹכִי, יְהוָה
כִּי-תֵצֵא אֵשׁ וּמָצְאָה קֹצִים, וְנֶאֱכַל גָּדִישׁ, אוֹ הַקָּמָה, אוֹ הַשָּׂדֶה--שַׁלֵּם יְשַׁלֵּם, הַמַּבְעִר אֶת-הַבְּעֵרָה.
כִּי-יִתֵּן אִישׁ אֶל-רֵעֵהוּ חֲמוֹר אוֹ-שׁוֹר אוֹ-שֶׂה, וְכָל-בְּהֵמָה--לִשְׁמֹר; וּמֵת אוֹ-נִשְׁבַּר אוֹ-נִשְׁבָּה, אֵין רֹאֶה.
אוֹ נֶפֶשׁ, אֲשֶׁר תִּגַּע בְּכָל-דָּבָר טָמֵא, אוֹ בְנִבְלַת חַיָּה טְמֵאָה אוֹ בְּנִבְלַת בְּהֵמָה טְמֵאָה, אוֹ בְּנִבְלַת שֶׁרֶץ טָמֵא; וְנֶעְלַם מִמֶּנּוּ, וְהוּא טָמֵא וְאָשֵׁם.
נֶפֶשׁ כִּי תֶחֱטָא, וּמָעֲלָה מַעַל בַּיהוָה; וְכִחֵשׁ בַּעֲמִיתוֹ בְּפִקָּדוֹן, אוֹ-בִתְשׂוּמֶת יָד אוֹ בְגָזֵל, אוֹ, עָשַׁק אֶת-עֲמִיתוֹ.
וְהָיָה, כִּי-יֶחֱטָא וְאָשֵׁם--וְהֵשִׁיב אֶת-הַגְּזֵלָה אֲשֶׁר גָּזָל אוֹ אֶת-הָעֹשֶׁק אֲשֶׁר עָשָׁק, אוֹ אֶת-הַפִּקָּדוֹן אֲשֶׁר הָפְקַד אִתּוֹ; אוֹ אֶת-הָאֲבֵדָה, אֲשֶׁר מָצָא.
וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר-יִפֹּל-עָלָיו מֵהֶם בְּמֹתָם יִטְמָא, מִכָּל-כְּלִי-עֵץ אוֹ בֶגֶד אוֹ-עוֹר אוֹ שָׂק, כָּל-כְּלִי, אֲשֶׁר-יֵעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה בָּהֶם; בַּמַּיִם יוּבָא וְטָמֵא עַד-הָעֶרֶב, וְטָהֵר.
אָדָם, כִּי-יִהְיֶה בְעוֹר-בְּשָׂרוֹ שְׂאֵת אוֹ-סַפַּחַת אוֹ בַהֶרֶת, וְהָיָה בְעוֹר-בְּשָׂרוֹ, לְנֶגַע צָרָעַת--וְהוּבָא אֶל-אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן, אוֹ אֶל-אַחַד מִבָּנָיו הַכֹּהֲנִים.
וְאִם-תֵּרָאֶה עוֹד בַּבֶּגֶד אוֹ-בַשְּׁתִי אוֹ-בָעֵרֶב, אוֹ בְכָל-כְּלִי-עוֹר--פֹּרַחַת, הִוא: בָּאֵשׁ תִּשְׂרְפֶנּוּ, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-בּוֹ הַנָּגַע.

A particularly relevant example, IMHO, in Vayikra 18:9:
עֶרְוַת אֲחוֹתְךָ בַת-אָבִיךָ, אוֹ בַת-אִמֶּךָ, מוֹלֶדֶת בַּיִת, אוֹ מוֹלֶדֶת חוּץ--לֹא תְגַלֶּה, עֶרְוָתָן.
such that achotecha is explained as being either one or the other, and there is a notable absence of או in between.
And then in Vayikra 20:
וְאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר-יִקַּח אֶת-אֲחֹתוֹ בַּת-אָבִיו אוֹ בַת-אִמּוֹ וְרָאָה אֶת-עֶרְוָתָהּ וְהִיא-תִרְאֶה אֶת-עֶרְוָתוֹ, חֶסֶד הוּא--וְנִכְרְתוּ, לְעֵינֵי בְּנֵי עַמָּם; עֶרְוַת אֲחֹתוֹ גִּלָּה, עֲו‍ֹנוֹ יִשָּׂא.
And we also have:
אָרוּר, שֹׁכֵב עִם-אֲחֹתוֹ--בַּת-אָבִיו, אוֹ בַת-אִמּוֹ; וְאָמַר כָּל-הָעָם, אָמֵן.

In terms of vav connecting, we can omit it in a list until the last element:
רְאוּבֵן שִׁמְעוֹן, לֵוִי וִיהוּדָה.

So I think just the absence of או is sufficient in this case to establish it like the gemara, and not like Rashi (and whatever midrashic source he relied upon, if he did).

Monday, December 29, 2008

Is Oil Better Than Wax Because It Burns Longer?

So was informally suggested to me. (See my earlier posts about which is more min hamuvchar.) But here is an interesting Darkei Moshe on the subject matter, which I found fascinating. (Note that this represents only some opinions on the matter. For a broader treatment, see the actual sources inside, and/or Aruch Hashulchan.)

First, the Tur. We see that after the zman elapses, one can blow it out, or make use of its light. (Also see this in the Rif, who is basing himself on the gemara.) The implication is that once one has fulfilled for the shiur, they no longer are nerot chanukkah. (Aruch Hashulchan writes that some have the custom not to blow them out, and if so, hold by it, but the minhag is his area is that they blew them out -- see last seif in that siman, 672.)

On the above Tur (note א), Rama writes the what is pictured to the right. Click on it -- or the above-linked PDF, to see it larger. To summarize, in the Hagahot Semak it is written that Rabbi Shimon said to make the wicks "long." What does this mean? The answer is that there is an opinion, when there was pirsumei nisa outside (as in the time of the gemara), there was a reason to make it last a specific length. But nowadays, when lighting inside, one can take tiny candles which will only burn for, say, a minute, and light them. So then it said in Hagahot Semak to make them "long," it merely meant longer than the tiny ones, such that they would last the required shiur. And he shows how this is mashma from the language there. And if one makes them burn longer, this is not for any need, and it is not even hiddur mitzvah, for after the appropriate shiur, they are permitted in benefit, and there is only hiddur mitzvah at the time of the mitzvah.

(One might counter that since one could light later and still fulfill, this is the time of the mitzvah. But his point, I believe, is that after the shiur, it has been fulfilled, and there is no more mitzvah or "time of the mitzvah" as regards the lighting of these candles.)

Still, see Aruch Hashulchan (again, last seif) who says to use long candles, because this is more noy. Thus, it is an issue of beauty, rather than of length.

So if we rely on this Rama, oil is no better than wax in this regard.

Note: Though I think candles are nicer, for reasons I went into in prior posts, none of this is intended halacha lemaaseh. Consult your local Orthodox rabbi.

Junior's Halachic Objections To His Candle Menorah

So Junior continues to be troubled by halachic problems cropping up in hadlakas neiros. Before, it was that I wasn't saying Adoshem and Elokeinu, as he had been taught in pre-K, but rather Adonai Eloheinu.

But more recently, he was troubled by other problems with his candle-menorah, which he built himself.

The first problem was that he had been taught that a kosher menorah has all the lights at the same level, not with one higher than the other. (He had a worksheet where he had to circle all the non-kosher menorahs.) And yet, ten minutes into the lighting, some candles were shorter than others, because different heat in different areas melted them at different rates. So he was upset that his menorah was not kosher.

My on-the-spot answer, to comfort him, was that the bottoms of the candles were all at the same level, even though the tops were not. (His uncle suggested a contraption which would automatically adjust the candles based on weight, so the tops instead would remain ordered.) And furthermore, hadlaka osah mitzvah, so at the time he lit they were all in order. He was not entirely persuaded, and I am not sure I am either.

I have not researched this halachic point sufficiently, but I did research it a bit further. Need they actually be at the exact same height. Halachic works discuss lighting candles for menorah, so they must have encountered this phenomenon at some point. Does anyone note this? I don't know.

But while I have seen many informal statements that the candles must be the same height when they are in their row (e.g. here and here), I do not see this at all in the Rama, in Mishnah Berurah, or in Aruch Hashulchan. Does anyone have any classic standard source for this requirement, or is it just a (possibly incorrect) extrapolation from what is stated.

What we do have is a statement that they should not be arranged in a circle, because that looks like a medurah (bonfire). And we have the Rama (and in Darkei Moshe and Maharil) saying that (by extension) ולכן יש לזהר להעמיד הנרות בשורה בשוה.

Looking in the Rama in Darkei Moshe, it becomes clear, in his citing of Maharil, and of his citing of Hagahot Maimoniyot citing Semak, that "in a row" is the opposite of in a circle. As Darkei Moshe cites, it was a case of echad yotzei veEchad nichnas, such that it was like a medurah. The idea here is that the lights were not in a row, in terms of depth, not in terms of height, and it was the varying depths that some people found problematic.

And this is how Beer Heitiv explains the word beShaveh in the Rama, as an issue of depth rather than of height.

From the wording of the Mishnah Brurah (seif katan 15), it really appears that he does not consider it to be non-kosher. Rather, it is almost like a gezeira. He writes היינו שלעשות אחד נכנס ואחד יוצא גם כן אינו כדאי שלא יבא לעשות כעיגול. The wording that it is not kedai, such that one does not come to make it in a circle, implies that that is just a way of ensuring this other end. And it is also clear from his words that he knows this means depth.

Meanwhile, the Aruch Hashulchan (the end of seif 12) also records the idea that it should be in a shura, which he also defines as depth -- אחד נכנס ואחד יוצא. But his reason is that someone should not think that each one is a davar bifnei atzmo.

But I do not see any definition of this as having varying heights. Perhaps this is explicit elsewhere where I haven't seen (and have not seen cited). Or perhaps it is an extrapolation. But is the extrapolation correct? With varying depths, it starts to approach being arranged in a circle, if that is indeed the concern (and indeed that is what it seems, looking at the early sources of this). But this will not be if the candles are on different levels, either at the top or at the bottom.

On the other hand, if the concern is like Aruch Hashulchan, that they look like each is a separate thing, then perhaps one could apply it here. But this type of concern is extremely subject to the metzius. See the discussion about lamps (lampa), and distance between one and the other, and whether there are concerns one we add a mitigating factor of partitions between lights, and so on and so forth. In a single chanukkiah, even if the bottoms were not lined up, perhaps it is clear that they all of one person, and do not look like a medurah. And certainly if the bottoms are lined up, and they are all in a row, but just the flames do not correspond to one another -- everyone knows that they are all of one person.

But if there is any source I am missing here -- e.g. discussions of the bottoms not lined up -- please comment, and help me out.

Junior's second problem was that despite putting more tiles to elevate the shamash, it ended up either parallel to the other candles, or even lower. He thought it always had to be higher. I told him lower was not a problem. I am not sure about when it is on the same level (again, because of varying heat levels causing varying melting rates; but also because you use the shamash to light, it is lit longer, and also melts faster because you hold it horizontally rather than vertically). But we gave a taller candle for the shamash, apart from the base differential, and the resulting menorah looked much nicer. Does anyone have any insights into this issue?

Note: Not intended halacha lemaaseh, but just exploring a halachic topic. Consult your local Orthodox rabbi for any practical guidance.

Did Yosef Actually Ask About Their Father And Brother, As Yehuda Claimed?

In Yehudah's complaint to Yosef, he says:
יט אֲדֹנִי שָׁאַל, אֶת-עֲבָדָיו לֵאמֹר: הֲיֵשׁ-לָכֶם אָב, אוֹ-אָח. 19 My lord asked his servants, saying: Have ye a father, or a brother?
כ וַנֹּאמֶר, אֶל-אֲדֹנִי, יֶשׁ-לָנוּ אָב זָקֵן, וְיֶלֶד זְקֻנִים קָטָן; וְאָחִיו מֵת, וַיִּוָּתֵר הוּא לְבַדּוֹ לְאִמּוֹ וְאָבִיו אֲהֵבוֹ. 20 And we said unto my lord: We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him.
but we do not see Yosef actually ask this in the narrative of Miketz. What gives?

Some commentators address this indirectly. Thus, Rashi cited Midrash Rabba, and says:
My lord asked his servants From the beginning, you came upon us with a pretext. Why did you have to ask all these [questions]? Were we looking to [marry] your daughter, or were you looking to [marry] our sister? Nonetheless, “we said to my lord” (verse 20). We did not conceal anything. [From Gen. Rabbah 93:8]
By expanding on it, the assumption is that this exchange actually happened, even though the earlier Biblical text does not mention it.

I am not sure what to make of Rashbam. He writes:
אדני שאל -
אתה גרמת לנו להביאו הנה וחולין הוא לך לעכבו.
which might be endorsing the narrative, or else recasting the "asking" after the brother and father as causing them to bring him here. I would favor the former. The other classic meforshim, Ibn Ezra and Ramban, have no comment on the matter.

Chizkuni is the first I saw to directly address this. He writes what is pictured to the right. Namely, that Yehudah would not lie straight to Yosef's face, like this, so it must have happened, though it was not directly mentioned in the narrative. And furthermore, in the previous perek (43), when detailing what happened to Yaakov, we see:

ו וַיֹּאמֶר, יִשְׂרָאֵל, לָמָה הֲרֵעֹתֶם, לִי--לְהַגִּיד לָאִישׁ, הַעוֹד לָכֶם אָח. 6 And Israel said: 'Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother?'
ז וַיֹּאמְרוּ שָׁאוֹל שָׁאַל-הָאִישׁ לָנוּ וּלְמוֹלַדְתֵּנוּ לֵאמֹר, הַעוֹד אֲבִיכֶם חַי הֲיֵשׁ לָכֶם אָח, וַנַּגֶּד-לוֹ, עַל-פִּי הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה; הֲיָדוֹעַ נֵדַע--כִּי יֹאמַר, הוֹרִידוּ אֶת-אֲחִיכֶם. 7 And they said: 'The man asked straitly concerning ourselves, and concerning our kindred, saying: Is your father yet alive? have ye another brother? and we told him according to the tenor of these words; could we in any wise know that he would say: Bring your brother down?'
This does seem at odds with the narrative in perek 42, for that reads:
ט וַיִּזְכֹּר יוֹסֵף--אֵת הַחֲלֹמוֹת, אֲשֶׁר חָלַם לָהֶם; וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם מְרַגְּלִים אַתֶּם, לִרְאוֹת אֶת-עֶרְוַת הָאָרֶץ בָּאתֶם. 9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them: 'Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.'
י וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו, לֹא אֲדֹנִי; וַעֲבָדֶיךָ בָּאוּ, לִשְׁבָּר-אֹכֶל. 10 And they said unto him: 'Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come.
יא כֻּלָּנוּ, בְּנֵי אִישׁ-אֶחָד נָחְנוּ; כֵּנִים אֲנַחְנוּ, לֹא-הָיוּ עֲבָדֶיךָ מְרַגְּלִים. 11 We are all one man's sons; we are upright men, thy servants are no spies.'
יב וַיֹּאמֶר, אֲלֵהֶם: לֹא, כִּי-עֶרְוַת הָאָרֶץ בָּאתֶם לִרְאוֹת. 12 And he said unto them: 'Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.'
where the accusation of spies comes forward. Yet Yehudah makes no claim about this accusation of being spies in Vayigash to Yosef; and it is difficult (though possible) to squeeze this claim in here -- perhaps earlier than the accusation of them being spies?

The Documentary Hypothesis, as least in the version linked here, gives no solution to this obvious difficulty. It assigns all the relevant verses to "J", IMHO. Perhaps one can come up with an alternative hypothesis, and perhaps some do.

Thus, to put words into their mouths -- there might well be something to say. For I seem to recall claims of two narratives, one with Reuven as the actor and the other with Yehuda as the main actor. (And thus they similarly resolve difficulties in Vayeshev, with the sale of Yosef.) And we do have (perek 42)
כט וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל-יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם, אַרְצָה כְּנָעַן; וַיַּגִּידוּ לוֹ, אֵת כָּל-הַקֹּרֹת אֹתָם לֵאמֹר. 29 And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that had befallen them, saying:
ל דִּבֶּר הָאִישׁ אֲדֹנֵי הָאָרֶץ, אִתָּנוּ--קָשׁוֹת; וַיִּתֵּן אֹתָנוּ, כִּמְרַגְּלִים אֶת-הָאָרֶץ. 30 'The man, the lord of the land, spoke roughly with us, and took us for spies of the country.
לא וַנֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו, כֵּנִים אֲנָחְנוּ: לֹא הָיִינוּ, מְרַגְּלִים. 31 And we said unto him: We are upright men; we are no spies.
where the actors are Yaakov, with Reuven responding, against perek 43, where we have Yisrael, with Yehuda responding. And so Yehuda in Vayigash is consistent with the inquiry he related to his father in Miketz. So for Yehudah, Yosef only spoke of family, and for Reuven, Yosef only spoke of spies. (Though perhaps one needs the spy accusation in order to bring them down? Or perhaps not.)

Shadal addresses this issue as well. He writes:
יט ] אדני שאל: באמת לא שאל אותם על כך, אך אמר להם מרגלים אתם והיה זה מה שהכריחם לומר לו שנים עשר עבדיך וגו', ויהודה לא רצה להזכיר מאומה ממה שדיבר איתם קשות, והחליף הסיפור מעט, בחכמה ובתבונה (אח"ם). ולדעת אוהב גר ז"ל באמת שאל אותם יוסף על כל זה והכתוב קיצר למעלה.

Thus claiming that Yosef did not ask them about this, but Yehuda changed the story a bit, with wisdom, so as not to bring the earlier anger to the fore. Perhaps. I am not sure who אח"ם is, BTW.

He then cites Ohev Ger, z"l. Shadal wrote a commentary on Onkelos called Ohev Ger, but this is not what he is referring to. Rather, he is quoting his son, whom he named Ohev Ger (Philoxenon) {Update: Rather, Filosseno}.

Philoxenon says that in truth, Yosef asked them about all this, but Scriptures shortened earlier. Indeed, this is basically what the earlier Chizkuni suggested.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Why we should ban playing dreidel, pt ii

Continuing the previous post about gambling and dreidel playing, we have some further sources to present. Firstly, from the Zchus Avos blog, we have that playing cards and klipos is well connected. I do not believe that they are really well connected, on a spiritual level. If playing cards for money is problematic, it is because of halachic violations involved, or developing certain negative middot from the type of attitude one must take in playing cards. And whether or not the specific rabbonim believed their statements about klipot and connection to satan, etc., or whether this was a poetic way of expressing their opposition, in the end, at the least, the opposition is the same.

Thus, the Bnei Yissasschar found an appropriate gematria to satan, but one can easily come up with gematrias that fit. He knew to look for this gematria (and to choose this particular word of קרטן and switch the kuf and resh for the numerically equivalent sin) because he knew it was bad to do. But you obviously cannot argue that tennis is similarly forbidden because כדור טניס is the same gematria (359). And he knew that one could not argue that it is an appropriate way of having simchat Yom Tov on Chanukkah, because the same is the gematria of חג שמח. (The same Bnei Yissasschar speaks of mystical aspects of the dreidel.)

And connecting it to klipot -- how can one write a post on the subject without making the obvious connection between klafim (from klaf, parchments, thus playing cards) to klipot. Perhaps because it was so obvious. But it is best made overt. And when the words are the same, except for the feminine vs. masculine ending, is there to wonder that R' Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev made the connection and said that in each card there is a big klipah?

But moving on. Card play = bad. Dreidel = good, for the most part.

But dreidel is a fairly modern invention. To cite the seforim blog (Dan Rabinowitz), from 2005. After giving all sorts of mystical explanations for features of dreidels:
Despite all of these explanations, in truth, dreidel is not Jewish in origin. Rather, driedel is really the rather old game of teetotum. Teetotum, which uses a top with four sides and four letters is one and the same with dreidel. The letters that appear on the dreidel are really just the Hebrew letters that appear on a German or Yiddish teetotum, G, H, N, S. G= ganz (all), H halb (half), N nischt (nothing) and S schict (put). Teetotum dates back to at least the 16th century long before we have any Jewish allusions to dreidel(it was originally totum or top, but became TEEtotum due to the use of T for take all, on the top). The well-known depiction of children's games done by Brueghel in 16th century includes Teetotum(see here and here for the complete painting). The earliest Jewish mention of dreidel or the significance of it dates to the late 18th century.

The story connecting dreidel to the ruse of the Maccabis was first published in the book Minhagi Yeshurun, which was first published in 1890 (the name was changed to Otzar Kol Minhagi Yeshurin in the third edition, which is available online here from . The author included a nice picture of himself at the beginning, although he was a Rabbi in Pittsburgh at the turn of the twentieth century, he is holding a quill pen.) His source is a contemporary of his. [As an aside, although his explanation of dreidel is well-known he offers a similar explanation for playing cards on Chanukah, i.e. that the Maccabi did so. However, that one is not nearly as well know (sic).]

Since the time that blog post was published, many of the links have become defunct. Including the one to, and a search could no longer locate that sefer at that site. Lucky for us, we still have, which maintained several copies. (See page 95 in the PDF.)

{Update: Thanks to an anonymous commenter who provided the following new links on, here and here.}

I am pretty sure I disagree with the Seforim blogger's categorization of Ozar Kol Minhagei Yeshurun's explanation playing of cards. I present it here for your consideration (see right). He uses the term naaseh heter, with the implication that it is not really permitted. And he says mishum shechoshvim -- that they believe -- though it is not really so. And that they believe it is a zecher of the wars that the Maccabees did in those days. Not that it is a zecher to the wars, because the Maccabees did this (playing cards), which is apparently how the Seforim blogger is reading it. (Unless my reading is off.) And therefore it has no basis in out religion and faith. And it is sufficient (??) for gentile children. And in a footnote, a haarah that it was created as a game for the many wives of a certain king.

So it is not the case that he offers a similar explanation for playing cards.

However, this is apparently the first written source for dreidel, in seif 4. To see that again:

"4: The children play on Chanukkah with a game of tops (dreidel).
The reason is that they decreed that they should not learn Torah, just as we say in Al HaNisim, 'to cause Your Torah to be forgotten,' and at that time, they all learned orally, and in one band, in order that each person should remind his brother, lest he forget a matter. And the decree was that they should not gather in a single place in bands. The Sages found, at the time of the decree, a wondrous suggestion, in this that they made the game of dreidel to show their enemies if they were discovered, that they were playing with the game of tops, and that they were not learning. And with this development like this they were able to learn and teach. Therefore, it remains for us this game, as a remembrance of the miracle, that because of it the Torah of Hashem was not forgotten, that it stood for our fathers and us. (In the name of the rav, the author (?) of sefer Avodat Eved and the sefer Tiferet Tzvi, and the Rav Ziw (?) brings it down.)

I would guess, if the author of Avodat Eved is his contemporary, that this is the sefer being referenced, printed in 1877.

Of course, if the dreidel is known to have been invented much later than the Chashmonaim, then this is a spurious etiology of the practice.

Indeed, it calls to mind the rather similar story with Rabbi Akiva and his students, going hunting with bows and arrows as a pretext for going off together, where the real intent was to learn and teach Torah. So I would doubt this explanation. And rather, just as they played one form of gambling -- card playing -- they played this other form of gambling as well, and then all sorts of mystical explanations were attached to it in the 1900s. So one false explanation failed, and one took off. But such that there is no real distinction between playing cards for pennies or playing dreidel for pennies.

Meanwhile, here is another writeup of the practice of playing dreidel.

Note: I see nothing wrong with playing dreidel on Chanukkah, but this post was not intended as halacha lemaaseh. If you really have questions on how to act, consult your local Orthodox rabbi.

Interesting Posts and Articles #108

  1. Zchus Avos has some Chanukkah segulas, and how playing cards and klipos are well-connected. My thoughts on these in separate posts.

  2. Life In Israel on conversations of a secular father with his son, and a religious father with his son, explaining the Maccabim. And a "psak" by Rav Aviner -- who were the Maccabbees?

  3. Kankan Chadash feels compelled to delete most comments from a post on Chabad and "the Rebbe runs the world," but then pulls out some selected comments.

  4. Divrei Chaim continues a discussion of hilchot borer with "Waiter, There's a Fly in My Soup."

  5. Doc's Talk: A Saudi court says no to divorce, because the mother brought the suit, and it should be the daughter, who is not yet of age to do so.

  6. Daas Torah: God erred in India, chas veshalom. This reminds me of the gemara in Bava Basra 16a, where Iyov suggested God confused Iyov with Oyev.

  7. Dung souvenir based on holy phrase, in the BBC. I have a separate post about this.

  8. HaEmtzah on the violence in Bet Shemesh.

  9. Yeranen Yaakov points out this article at Matzav, about Rav Kanievsky via an intermediary correcting the record, about statements attributed to him about bomb shelters on Chanukkah and the price of real estate going down. As I pointed out there in the comments,
    this is a good reminder that such speculation is not just fun and games (and an expression of fervent messianic belief), but has real implications to people on the ground.
  10. Mystical Paths on Mishpacha photoshopping a modestly dressed Laura Bush out of a picture, and not making note that they did so.

  11. Dreaming of Moshiach, despite claiming elsewhere that she never claimed to be a prophetess, believes that 2 years ago Sarah Imeinu appeared to her in a dream, and that this was prophecy (for this is what she herself calls it in a post title), and that Sarah Imenu told her that the Messianic war would begin in Gaza; and therefore now believes that this recent assault in Gaza is the beginning of the messianic war.

  12. Meanwhile, here is an interesting post, and discussion thread, about the Gaza assault, over at the Yeshiva World. One person is upset about the "chillul Shabbos," when the truth is that the halacha is that one may fight even over kash veTeven on border towns on Shabbos (and this day was chosen for the element of surprise) -- and that this was a halacha innovated by Chazal about the time of Chanukkah, over against the chassidim who felt that it would not be docheh Shabbos. And someone else cites Rav Kanievsky who said that people would be in bomb shelters on Chanukkah -- except of course that Rav Kanievsky publically issued a denial that he ever said this; and the Zohar which talks about 32 days after the synagogue is destroyed in Mumbai -- except the Zohar does not say this.

Don't Transform the Mitzvah of Hadlakas Neros into a Segulah!

In Pirkei Avos, we learn:

אנטיגנוס איש סוכו קיבל משמעון הצדיק. הוא היה אומר, אל תהיו כעבדים המשמשין את הרב, על מנת לקבל פרס, אלא הוו כעבדים המשמשין את הרב, על מנת שלא לקבל פרס; ויהי מורא שמיים עליכם.

That does not mean that there is no reward; rather, there certainly is sechar veOnesh -- and that is part of why reality is just -- but that should not be your reason for performing mitzvot.

So why take a mitzvah that people are going to be doing anyway, and transform it into a segulah?! From Zechus Avos, about Chanukkah segulos:
The Gemara (Shabbos 23b) says that one who habitually lights candles will have sons that are Talmidei Chachomim. Rashi explains that the posuk (Mishlei 6, 23) says כִּי נֵר מִצְוָה וְתוֹרָה אוֹר - "the candle is a mitzvah and the Torah is light". By lighting candles of mitzvah, Shabbos candles and the Chanuka Menorah, one will merit what the Gemara says.
And we have the Rif giving the same explanation. Bli neder, my own (divergent) explanation in a subsequent post.

But what frum Jewish woman does not light neros Shabbos? (Though see Tosafot, about two lights and two talmidei Chachamim.) And what frum Jewish man does not light neros Chanukkah for his household? And yet, even after this ritualization of neros Shabbos, not everyone is a talmid chacham, even from frum families. Why?

But forget about the why not every family has talmidei Chachamim. Let us focus elsewhere.

Specifically, everyone is going to do it anyway. Why give this as a Chanukkah segulah? Is there going to be anyone who will say, "well, I wasn't planning on fulfilling this mitzvah, but now that it is a segulah, I will certainly perform it?" I would hope not -- that would be very depressing.

To label a mitzvah a "segulah" cheapens it, IMHO. The mitzvos are not witchcraft, where the focus is to acheive (magically) some aim. They are fulfillments of Hashem's command, or else the Rabbis' command, to acheive specific aims -- to publicize the nes Chanukkah and perhaps internalize and spread the message behind Chanukkah. And the lighting of Shabbos candles is for the purpose of Shalom Bayis.

IMHO, if person A lights Chanukkah candles to fulfill the mitzvah, and person B lights candles as a segulah for having specific types of sons, I would say that person A has fulfilled the mitzvah better, and perhaps is even more likely to see the promised reward than person B. Because the pasuk says "Ki Ner Mitzvah veTorah Or." It does not say "Ki Ner Kishuf veTorah Or."

Another segulah, associated with lighting candles, is to turn a specific kepittel of Tehillim into an incantation, by making ritual repetition in a specific context a method of guaranteeing some practical aim. Perhaps as Bilaam used repetitions of 7 to try ensure some result, and as we see in all sorts of ANE and modern incancations.
The Baal Shem Tov to say וִיהִי נֹעַם and יֹשֵׁב בְּסֵתֶר עֶלְיוֹן, (last posuk of Tehilim 90, and the whole Chapter 91, with the last posuk of chapter 91 repeated twice) 7 times after lighting the Menorah. This is a segula to protect from many calamities. (Ramban says to say each word 7 times, but I haven't seen anyone do it like that. I've only seen people saying the whole chapter 7 times.)
When the Baal Shem Tov said it, or when the Ramban said it -- I would not label that a magical incantation. (Though I would like to see that Ramban inside, to try to understand it -- where is it?? repeating each word individually 7 times has the general effect of taking it out of its context, making it more of a magic word rather than saying a pasuk in praise or prayer to Hashem.) They were operating within a specific mystical system, and so they attributed specific meanings to this. But to promulgate this to followers of segulahs (who seek out segulas for all occassions), among lists of many other segulahs to be ritually performed as kosher magic -- I find that more problematic.

The eating of a festive meal also gets transformed into a segulah, for healing:
In Shulchan Aruch (570, 2) it says that eating a meal for Chanuka is a סעודת הרשות, a non-obligatory meal. Chazal (Berachos 60a) say that Hashem gave רשות (permission) for doctors to heal. This is what סעודת הרשות alludes to; eating a special meal in honor of Chanuka, which is a special time for healing, can bring about healing. (Shaar Yisaschor, Yimei Orah 72)
It is extremely unlikely that this is what the Shulchan Aruch meant. This is just free association. Much more likely, it means something along the lines of this.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Selling Donkey Dung To Gullible Tourists

So goes the short article -- and video -- from the BBC:
The manager of a tourist centre in the Holy Land has come up with an unusual idea for a souvenir.

Visitors to Menachem Goldberg's tourist compound at Kedem village in Galilee can buy pieces of donkey dung presented in a plastic cube inscribed with religious text.

Mr Goldberg based the idea on a phrase in the Jewish Talmud which says, '"Let the messiah come... may I be worthy to sit in the shadow of his donkey's dung."
Uch and vey! This just goes to show that if you designate something a souvenir, a tourist will buy all sorts of cr*p. Frankly, I don't see this statement (from Rav Yosef in the gemara) is being desecrated in any sense by this, but still, it is crass, and cheapens Judaism, all in the name of making a shekel.

The context of the statement is as follows. In Sanhedrin 98b, we read:
'Ulla said; Let him [The Messiah] come, but let me not see him.
Rabbah said likewise: Let him come, but let me not see him.
R. Joseph said: Let him come, and may I be worthy of sitting in the shadow of his donkey's dung.
If this is indeed how we are to read the gemara, then the point of the someone extreme statement is that despite the awfulness of the situation in the time of mashiach, it would be worth it. Perhaps shades of denigrating oneself as well.

And if this is indeed how we are to read the gemara, then it is metaphorical, and refers specifically to the dung of a specific donkey, namely the donkey that the messiah comes riding in on. It is disgusting and pointless to take random donkey dung and frame it, elevating it into something "significant." And if the words of Rav Yosef are "holy," one should not be putting it on top of donkey dung.

All of this is if the gemara, and Rav Yosef, means that. Stop thinking for a moment about the ickiness of it. Let us assume it was meant literally. Donkey dung is typically not that large. Indeed, the video has several examples of it. How big a donkey is the donkey of mashiach, and how much fiber must it have consumed to create a pile capable of casting a shadow large enough for a human being to take shade in?! Perhaps the word is not dung? Indeed, there are alternate girsaot at play, and even keeping our girsa, I believe that there are alternate explanations of the word.

The gemara in question, on Sanhedrin 98b, reads:
אמר עולא ייתי ולא איחמיניה וכן אמר [רבה] ייתי ולא איחמיניה רב יוסף אמר ייתי ואזכי דאיתיב בטולא דכופיתא דחמריה

The Soncino translation is:
'Ulla said; Let him [The Messiah] come, but let me not see him.
Rabbah said likewise: Let him come, but let me not see him. R. Joseph said: Let him come, and may I be worthy of sitting in the shadow of his ass's saddle*.
Note that the translation is "saddle" rather than dung. In a footnote, the explanation:
[Following the reading in Yalkut (v. Levy,) [H]. Our texts read: [H], 'dung'.]
Unfortunately, I do not actually own a physical Soncino, so I had to rely on the online partial Soncino from a certain anti-Semitic website. And so I do not know what the Hebrew word designated by [H] is. (If anyone wants to tell me in a comment, though...) And the Yalkut standard text appears to be identical to our gemara. Yalkut Shimoni on Yirmeyahu:
ר' יוסף אמר ייתי ואחמינה ואזכה ואיתיב בטולא דכופיתא דחמריה
At JNUL, there is a Yalkut Shimoni, and on page 104, we have the text to the right. I underlined the relevant text in Yellow. "His donkey" becomes "his camel" and דכופיתא becomes דכפתא.

My guess is that the version of Yalkut which Soncino refers to is similar, stripping out the yud and vav. Or else duplicating the peh. The result would be not "dung," but rather "saddle," "collar-band," or "muzzle with fodder-basket." (The latter two from Jastrow.)

Looking up variants of the word in Jastrow, we have several words it could be. And in one instance he actually cites this gemara and translates it. The following represents my rewording of things pulled from Jastrow:
kufta - inverted seat. (Josh: and thus perhaps saddle?)
kefita - binding, collar-band for animals. see Kel XII, I.
Jastrow: page 636: keifta = stocks, muzzle with fodder-basket, compare with kefifa, kefeiftoi -- what happens is a dropping of the second peh. This is where he cites our gemara.
These things are higher up from the ground, and can thus cast a shadow. Therefore, given the choice between saddle/muzzle with fodder-basket on the one hand, and dung on the other, I would choose the former.

And again, even if the word were to mean dung, that does not justify this silly and disgusting souvenir.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Miketz - Daniel Parallel

In a previous post on parshat Miketz, I noted a Miketz theme in sefer Melachim, around the area of the portion chosen as the haftara of Mikeitz. But there is perhaps a better parallel, and that is in the second perek of sefer Daniel, where Nevuchadnetzar has a dream which Daniel eventually interprets.

First I will note the obvious parallels, in which Daniel echoes Miketz. Then I intend to turn around and show how Chazal, noting these parallels, composed midrashim borrowing in the opposite direction, from sefer Daniel to the narrative in Miketz.

The obvious parallels, in which sefer Daniel echoes parshas Miketz, are:
1) In Daniel 1, echoing the cows in Pharaoh's dream:
טו וּמִקְצָת, יָמִים עֲשָׂרָה, נִרְאָה מַרְאֵיהֶם טוֹב, וּבְרִיאֵי בָּשָׂר: מִן-כָּל-הַיְלָדִים--הָאֹכְלִים, אֵת פַּת-בַּג הַמֶּלֶךְ. 15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer, and they were fatter in flesh, than all the youths that did eat of the king's food.
2) Then, in Daniel 2, it leads off with:
א וּבִשְׁנַת שְׁתַּיִם, לְמַלְכוּת נְבֻכַדְנֶצַּר, חָלַם נְבֻכַדְנֶצַּר, חֲלֹמוֹת; וַתִּתְפָּעֶם רוּחוֹ, וּשְׁנָתוֹ נִהְיְתָה עָלָיו. 1 And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams; and his spirit was troubled, and his sleep broke from him.
The second year, paralleling Miketz Shnatayim yamim. He dreamed dreams in the plural, just as Pharaoh dreamed more than one dream.

3) Nevuchadnetzar's spirit was troubled, just as by Pharaoh we see:
ח וַיְהִי בַבֹּקֶר, וַתִּפָּעֶם רוּחוֹ, וַיִּשְׁלַח וַיִּקְרָא אֶת-כָּל-חַרְטֻמֵּי מִצְרַיִם, וְאֶת-כָּל-חֲכָמֶיהָ; וַיְסַפֵּר פַּרְעֹה לָהֶם אֶת-חֲלֹמוֹ, וְאֵין-פּוֹתֵר אוֹתָם לְפַרְעֹה. 8 And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof; and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.
The parallel is in וַתִּפָּעֶם רוּחוֹ.

4) The response of Nevuchnetzar is to summon all his wise men, his chartumim, just as we see in the pasuk I just cited about Pharaoh. Thus, in
ב וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לִקְרֹא לַחַרְטֻמִּים וְלָאַשָּׁפִים, וְלַמְכַשְּׁפִים וְלַכַּשְׂדִּים, לְהַגִּיד לַמֶּלֶךְ, חֲלֹמֹתָיו; וַיָּבֹאוּ, וַיַּעַמְדוּ לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ. 2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the enchanters, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.
5) The Chartumim are not able to explain the dream to the king, in both instances.

6) Yosef is mentioned by one of Pharaoh's ministers as one able to interpret dreams -- he is a Hebrew of low station:
יב וְשָׁם אִתָּנוּ נַעַר עִבְרִי, עֶבֶד לְשַׂר הַטַּבָּחִים, וַנְּסַפֶּר-לוֹ, וַיִּפְתָּר-לָנוּ אֶת-חֲלֹמֹתֵינוּ: אִישׁ כַּחֲלֹמוֹ, פָּתָר. 12 And there was with us there a young man, a Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret.

and Arioch, the captain of the guard, gives Daniel a similar introduction:
כה אֱדַיִן אַרְיוֹךְ בְּהִתְבְּהָלָה, הַנְעֵל לְדָנִיֵּאל קֳדָם מַלְכָּא; וְכֵן אֲמַר-לֵהּ, דִּי-הַשְׁכַּחַת גְּבַר מִן-בְּנֵי גָלוּתָא דִּי יְהוּד, דִּי פִשְׁרָא, לְמַלְכָּא יְהוֹדַע. 25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him: 'I have found a man of the children of the captivity of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation.'
7) Indeed, that is not the only connection involving the captian of the guard. As the pasuk I just cited mentions, Yosef was servant to the captain of the guard, the sar hatabachim. And that was indeed Arioch's position as well, in sefer Daniel:
יד בֵּאדַיִן דָּנִיֵּאל, הֲתִיב עֵטָא וּטְעֵם, לְאַרְיוֹךְ, רַב-טַבָּחַיָּא דִּי מַלְכָּא--דִּי נְפַק לְקַטָּלָה, לְחַכִּימֵי בָּבֶל. 14 Then Daniel returned answer with counsel and discretion to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, who was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon;
8) Nevuchadnetzar thinks that the power to interpret dreams is in Daniel, and Daniel corrects him that the power is in the hands of Hashem:
כו עָנֵה מַלְכָּא וְאָמַר לְדָנִיֵּאל, דִּי שְׁמֵהּ בֵּלְטְשַׁאצַּר: האיתיך (הַאִיתָךְ) כָּהֵל, לְהוֹדָעֻתַנִי חֶלְמָא דִי-חֲזֵית--וּפִשְׁרֵהּ. 26 The king spoke and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar: 'Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?'
כז עָנֵה דָנִיֵּאל קֳדָם מַלְכָּא, וְאָמַר: רָזָא, דִּי-מַלְכָּא שָׁאֵל--לָא חַכִּימִין אָשְׁפִין חַרְטֻמִּין גָּזְרִין, יָכְלִין לְהַחֲוָיָה לְמַלְכָּא. 27 Daniel answered before the king, and said: 'The secret which the king hath asked can neither wise men, enchanters, magicians, nor astrologers, declare unto the king;
כח בְּרַם אִיתַי אֱלָהּ בִּשְׁמַיָּא, גָּלֵא רָזִין, וְהוֹדַע לְמַלְכָּא נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר, מָה דִּי לֶהֱוֵא בְּאַחֲרִית יוֹמַיָּא; חֶלְמָךְ וְחֶזְוֵי רֵאשָׁךְ עַל-מִשְׁכְּבָךְ, דְּנָה הוּא. {פ} 28 but there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and He hath made known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the end of days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these:
Similarly, Yosef said:
טו וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה, אֶל-יוֹסֵף, חֲלוֹם חָלַמְתִּי, וּפֹתֵר אֵין אֹתוֹ; וַאֲנִי, שָׁמַעְתִּי עָלֶיךָ לֵאמֹר, תִּשְׁמַע חֲלוֹם, לִפְתֹּר אֹתוֹ. 15 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: 'I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it; and I have heard say of thee, that when thou hearest a dream thou canst interpret it.'
טז וַיַּעַן יוֹסֵף אֶת-פַּרְעֹה לֵאמֹר, בִּלְעָדָי: אֱלֹהִים, יַעֲנֶה אֶת-שְׁלוֹם פַּרְעֹה. 16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying: 'It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.'
9) The purpose of the dream was to inform the king of Hashem's plan for the world. By Yosef:
כח הוּא הַדָּבָר, אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתִּי אֶל-פַּרְעֹה: אֲשֶׁר הָאֱלֹהִים עֹשֶׂה, הֶרְאָה אֶת-פַּרְעֹה. 28 That is the thing which I spoke unto Pharaoh: what God is about to do He hath shown unto Pharaoh.
and by Daniel:
כח בְּרַם אִיתַי אֱלָהּ בִּשְׁמַיָּא, גָּלֵא רָזִין, וְהוֹדַע לְמַלְכָּא נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר, מָה דִּי לֶהֱוֵא בְּאַחֲרִית יוֹמַיָּא; חֶלְמָךְ וְחֶזְוֵי רֵאשָׁךְ עַל-מִשְׁכְּבָךְ, דְּנָה הוּא. {פ} 28 but there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and He hath made known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the end of days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these
10) Finally, because of their interpretations of the respective dreams, there is a recognition of God's power, and an elevation of the dream interpreter to greatness. By Daniel,
מז עָנֵה מַלְכָּא לְדָנִיֵּאל וְאָמַר, מִן-קְשֹׁט דִּי אֱלָהֲכוֹן הוּא אֱלָהּ אֱלָהִין וּמָרֵא מַלְכִין--וְגָלֵה רָזִין: דִּי יְכֵלְתָּ, לְמִגְלֵא רָזָא דְנָה. 47 The king spoke unto Daniel, and said: 'Of a truth it is, that your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou hast been able to reveal this secret.'
מח אֱדַיִן מַלְכָּא לְדָנִיֵּאל רַבִּי, וּמַתְּנָן רַבְרְבָן שַׂגִּיאָן יְהַב-לֵהּ, וְהַשְׁלְטֵהּ, עַל כָּל-מְדִינַת בָּבֶל; וְרַב-סִגְנִין--עַל, כָּל-חַכִּימֵי בָבֶל. 48 Then the king made Daniel great, and gave him many great gifts, and made him to rule over the whole province of Babylon, and to be chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.
and by Yosef:
לח וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה, אֶל-עֲבָדָיו: הֲנִמְצָא כָזֶה--אִישׁ, אֲשֶׁר רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים בּוֹ. 38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants: 'Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom the spirit of God is?'
לט וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה אֶל-יוֹסֵף, אַחֲרֵי הוֹדִיעַ אֱלֹהִים אוֹתְךָ אֶת-כָּל-זֹאת, אֵין-נָבוֹן וְחָכָם, כָּמוֹךָ. 39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: 'Forasmuch as God hath shown thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou.
מ אַתָּה תִּהְיֶה עַל-בֵּיתִי, וְעַל-פִּיךָ יִשַּׁק כָּל-עַמִּי; רַק הַכִּסֵּא, אֶגְדַּל מִמֶּךָּ. 40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled; only in the throne will I be greater than thou.'
מא וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה, אֶל-יוֹסֵף: רְאֵה נָתַתִּי אֹתְךָ, עַל כָּל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם. 41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: 'See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.'
מב וַיָּסַר פַּרְעֹה אֶת-טַבַּעְתּוֹ מֵעַל יָדוֹ, וַיִּתֵּן אֹתָהּ עַל-יַד יוֹסֵף; וַיַּלְבֵּשׁ אֹתוֹ בִּגְדֵי-שֵׁשׁ, וַיָּשֶׂם רְבִד הַזָּהָב עַל-צַוָּארוֹ. 42 And Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck.
מג וַיַּרְכֵּב אֹתוֹ, בְּמִרְכֶּבֶת הַמִּשְׁנֶה אֲשֶׁר-לוֹ, וַיִּקְרְאוּ לְפָנָיו, אַבְרֵךְ; וְנָתוֹן אֹתוֹ, עַל כָּל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם. 43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him: 'Abrech'; and he set him over all the land of Egypt.
מד וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה אֶל-יוֹסֵף, אֲנִי פַרְעֹה; וּבִלְעָדֶיךָ, לֹא-יָרִים אִישׁ אֶת-יָדוֹ וְאֶת-רַגְלוֹ--בְּכָל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם. 44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: 'I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.'
מה וַיִּקְרָא פַרְעֹה שֵׁם-יוֹסֵף, צָפְנַת פַּעְנֵחַ, וַיִּתֶּן-לוֹ אֶת-אָסְנַת בַּת-פּוֹטִי פֶרַע כֹּהֵן אֹן, לְאִשָּׁה; וַיֵּצֵא יוֹסֵף, עַל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם. 45 And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-phera priest of On. And Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.--
מו וְיוֹסֵף, בֶּן-שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה, בְּעָמְדוֹ, לִפְנֵי פַּרְעֹה מֶלֶךְ-מִצְרָיִם; וַיֵּצֵא יוֹסֵף מִלִּפְנֵי פַרְעֹה, וַיַּעֲבֹר בְּכָל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם. 46 And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt.--And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.
As noted, once Chazal saw these obvious parallels in one direction, they saw fit to borrow heavily in the other direction, using Daniel material to embellish the Miketz narrative. Of course, many of the fine points can be deduced locally from pesukim in Miketz, but the overall scheme of the interpretation is to transfer Daniel material.

This is readily apparent when we compare material from a midrashic work such as Sefer haYashar with the second perek on Daniel. Follow the links and read it, and see what I mean, in terms of language, and in terms of parallels.

Thus, going through Sefer HaYashar, we find (as additions to the Biblical text, which find parallels in sefer Daniel):
1) On page 140, sentence 2: "and dreamed dreams" Compare Daniel 2:1.

2) sentence 7: They ask the king to relate the dreams to them. In this instance, the king complies. Compare Daniel 2:4

3) sentence 8: In their reply: "Oh king, live forever." Compare Daniel 2:4, מַלְכָּא לְעָלְמִין חֱיִי

4) sentence 11: "What is this thing that you have spoken to me? Surely you have uttered falsehood and spoken lies; therefore, now give the proper intepretation of my dreams, that you may not die." Compare Daniel 2:5 for the punishment -- הֵן לָא תְהוֹדְעוּנַּנִי, חֶלְמָא וּפִשְׁרֵהּ, הַדָּמִין תִּתְעַבְדוּן, וּבָתֵּיכוֹן נְוָלִי יִתְּשָׂמוּן. And compare Daniel 2:9 -- "that, if ye make not known unto me the dream, there is but one law for you; and ye have agreed together to speak before me lying and corrupt words, till the time be changed; only tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can declare unto me the interpretation thereof.' "

5) sentences 13-16 -- the expansion of seeking someone to interpret it.
sentence 26-28: the king commands all the wise men in Egypt be slain, as punishment for not providing him with the correct interpretation. Compare Daniel 2:12-13: "For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree went forth, and the wise men were to be slain; and they sought Daniel and his companions to be slain."

6) sentences 46-48: ascending the steps to the throne in terms of as many languages one could speak. This finds local purchase in Miketz as:
מ אַתָּה תִּהְיֶה עַל-בֵּיתִי, וְעַל-פִּיךָ יִשַּׁק כָּל-עַמִּי; רַק הַכִּסֵּא, אֶגְדַּל מִמֶּךָּ. 40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled; only in the throne will I be greater than thou.'
such that only by the throne and not the steps. Other details of the midrash may come from elsewhere. But compare, perhaps, Daniel 1:4, for ability to speak a certain language as being connected to being in the king's palace.

ד יְלָדִים אֲשֶׁר אֵין-בָּהֶם כָּל-מאוּם וְטוֹבֵי מַרְאֶה וּמַשְׂכִּלִים בְּכָל-חָכְמָה, וְיֹדְעֵי דַעַת וּמְבִינֵי מַדָּע, וַאֲשֶׁר כֹּחַ בָּהֶם, לַעֲמֹד בְּהֵיכַל הַמֶּלֶךְ; וּלְלַמְּדָם סֵפֶר, וּלְשׁוֹן כַּשְׂדִּים. 4 youths in whom was no blemish, but fair to look on, and skilful in all wisdom, and skilful in knowledge, and discerning in thought, and such as had ability to stand in the king's palace; and that he should teach them the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
7) Finally -- and I do not see this in sefer haYashar, but I have seen it in other midrashic sources, though I cannot place it at the moment. The midrash notes the slight divergences with first Pharaoh's actual dream, then a slightly different retelling to Yosef, and a slightly different retelling when Yosef interprets it. They say this is deliberate -- that Pharaoh, as a means of testing Yosef, actually deliberately modified the dream. Yosef was able to tell Pharaoh his correct dream, and then proceeded to explain it. And this is how Pharaoh knew up front that Yosef's interpretation was the correct one.

There is that local feature, of the divergence in Pharaoh's retelling, for sure. However, on the macro scale, there is the parallel to Daniel 2:5-6 and elsewhere, where the king refuses to tell them the actual contents of the dream, as a means of testing if they are legitimate.

There may be other features I have missed. And I have not taken pains to see exactly which of these parallels in sefer haYashar are found in earlier midrashim, which might be something important to do, given what we saw last week in terms of Zuleika, Potiphar's wife. Still, I think this post demonstrates the parallels going in both directions. And indeed, there are other instances of this at play in Biblical text and then midrash, which beEzrat Hashem and bli neder I will get to elaborate in its proper place.

JNUL puts up Midrash Rabba with commentary of Rabbi Avraham ben Asher; also a pamphlet against the Frankists

It is only on Bereishit Rabba in its printing, and is available here (record here). It is called Or HaSechel, and is written up in the wonderfully named The Biographical Dictionary of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. The Biographical Dictionary discusses the authorship of the work, which it calls Or HaShekel -- and also refers to Rashi and Rabbi Solomon Jarchi, due to an erroneous conflation of Rashi with Rabbi Shlomo of Lunel (=moon = yareach).

They also put up "A Discussion Between the Years 5560 and 5561" (1800 and 1801) a polemic against the Frankists in Prague, by Baruch ben Yonah Jeitteles, in which the years 5560 and 5561 speak to one another about the Frankists. Fascinating reading, and it struck me that there is much in common with the mystical bloggers and mystical community, with their false predictions about last year and this. Thus, for example, on page 4 (JNUL pages, which include left and right pages), we have what is pictured to the right. Where it seems (as far as I understand it) that certain predictions were made for the year 1800 which did not come to fruition. Click on it to see it larger, or else follow the above link.

On page 8, how their women do not speak the sichat chullin of most women, but rather are always taking about kabbalistic concept. The response -- נזם זהב באף חזיר גלי רזין בפי אשה.
How the Frankists support their false positions: לסמוך דעתיהם הכוזבות על פסוקי המקרא וקורי רופי אותיות.

On page 10, how they discouraged classical learning of Talmud, as well as of science, because the latter can lead to apikorsus. And the response -- a wonderful defense of the idea of Torah U-Maddah. And how their lack of knowledge of Talmud and of science helped them believe in the false prophecies and futile visions. And how in truth, Torah and science are sister fields, which help one understand the workings of Hashem, His Deeds, Greatness, and his creation. And so on and so forth.

On page 13, about the utilizing remazim, combining letters, gematriot and the like, to resolve certain doubts.

All in all, a fascinating read. And I haven't read it all myself yet, but just quickly skimmed it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Parsha points on Miketz, including the connection

1) The Chocolate Lady of On Mol Araan asked a question last year, in a comment, that I did not notice until today. She asked:
Is this the only parsha that is all one paragraph?
In fact, there is at least one other parsha which is all in one paragraph, namely Vayeitzei, as discussed in this post about how exactly Vayeitzei is setumah. However, I am not certain if there are any others with the same feature.

2) An apparent dalet-resh switchoff in retelling Pharaoh's dream about cows and sheaves.
In the narrative about the dream:
The cows:
רָעוֹת מַרְאֶה, וְדַקּוֹת בָּשָׂר
רָעוֹת הַמַּרְאֶה וְדַקֹּת הַבָּשָׂר
followed by the sheaves of grain:
דַּקּוֹת וּשְׁדוּפֹת קָדִים
הַשִּׁבֳּלִים הַדַּקּוֹת

and then in Pharaoh's retelling:
The cows:
דַּלּוֹת וְרָעוֹת תֹּאַר מְאֹד, וְרַקּוֹת בָּשָׂר
הַפָּרוֹת, הָרַקּוֹת, וְהָרָעוֹת
followed by the sheaves of grain:
צְנֻמוֹת דַּקּוֹת שְׁדֻפוֹת קָדִים
הַשִּׁבֳּלִים הַדַּקֹּת

and then in Yosef's interpretation:
וְשֶׁבַע הַפָּרוֹת הָרַקּוֹת וְהָרָעֹת
וְשֶׁבַע הַשִּׁבֳּלִים הָרֵקוֹת

Now, there are many adjectives which change in the retelling. The sudden resh-daled switchoff in dakot vs rekot/rakot is interesting, though.

3) Compare Yosef's statement that it is not from him:
טז וַיַּעַן יוֹסֵף אֶת-פַּרְעֹה לֵאמֹר, בִּלְעָדָי: אֱלֹהִים, יַעֲנֶה אֶת-שְׁלוֹם פַּרְעֹה. 16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying: 'It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.'
with his rise to power:
מד וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה אֶל-יוֹסֵף, אֲנִי פַרְעֹה; וּבִלְעָדֶיךָ, לֹא-יָרִים אִישׁ אֶת-יָדוֹ וְאֶת-רַגְלוֹ--בְּכָל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם. 44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: 'I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.'
4) Finally, there is the obvious parallel and not so obvious parallels linking the Haftara to this week's parsha.

The obvious one is that the haftara begins with:
טו וַיִּקַץ שְׁלֹמֹה, וְהִנֵּה חֲלוֹם; וַיָּבוֹא יְרוּשָׁלִַם וַיַּעֲמֹד לִפְנֵי אֲרוֹן בְּרִית-אֲדֹנָי, וַיַּעַל עֹלוֹת וַיַּעַשׂ שְׁלָמִים, וַיַּעַשׂ מִשְׁתֶּה, לְכָל-עֲבָדָיו. {פ} 15 And Solomon awoke, and, behold, it was a dream; and he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt-offerings, and offered peace-offerings, and made a feast to all his servants. {P}
Compare with:
ז וַתִּבְלַעְנָה, הַשִּׁבֳּלִים הַדַּקּוֹת, אֵת שֶׁבַע הַשִּׁבֳּלִים, הַבְּרִיאוֹת וְהַמְּלֵאוֹת; וַיִּיקַץ פַּרְעֹה, וְהִנֵּה חֲלוֹם. 7 And the thin ears swallowed up the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream.
at the end of Pharaoh's second dream. I would say that this implies a significant dream, with a real message.

Indeed, that is how Rashi interprets it there:
And Solomon awoke, and behold it was a dream and behold he understood that his dream was true. He would hear a bird chirp and understand its language, a dog would bark and he would understand its language.
That is, he saw that the promise made in the dream was kept. This is quite possibly the correct intepretation even on a peshat level -- that he saw that it was a portentious dream. And the fulfillment would not necessarily be understanding the language of animals, but rather the correctly deciding the case of the two harlots in the subsequent narrative, and perhaps the building of the Mikdash.

{The idea that he was a Dr. Doolittle, and that this was his wisdom, however, is a midrashic interpretation of a pasuk two perakim later, in Melachim perek 5:

יא וַיֶּחְכַּם, מִכָּל-הָאָדָם, מֵאֵיתָן הָאֶזְרָחִי וְהֵימָן וְכַלְכֹּל וְדַרְדַּע, בְּנֵי מָחוֹל; וַיְהִי-שְׁמוֹ בְכָל-הַגּוֹיִם, סָבִיב. 11 For he was wiser than all men: than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the nations round about.
יב וַיְדַבֵּר, שְׁלֹשֶׁת אֲלָפִים מָשָׁל; וַיְהִי שִׁירוֹ, חֲמִשָּׁה וָאָלֶף. 12 And he spoke three thousand proverbs; and his songs were a thousand and five.
יג וַיְדַבֵּר, עַל-הָעֵצִים, מִן-הָאֶרֶז אֲשֶׁר בַּלְּבָנוֹן, וְעַד הָאֵזוֹב אֲשֶׁר יֹצֵא בַּקִּיר; וַיְדַבֵּר עַל-הַבְּהֵמָה וְעַל-הָעוֹף, וְעַל-הָרֶמֶשׂ וְעַל-הַדָּגִים. 13 And he spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall; he spoke also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.
He spoke of beasts, and of fowl, that is about them, not to them. But presumably that is where the midrash gets it.}

Radak has another interesting interpretation of vehinei chalom. And it was a dream that was before him, in that he remembered it, and did not forget it, and so it was before him. Maharya explains (see Kli Yakar who summarizes it) that while in the midst of the dream, he did not realize it was a dream (perhaps because it was so intense and real a dream), but he only realized that it was a dream when he awoke. Ramban suggests that it means that he did not go to sleep and have further dreams. Perhaps akin to how it was a chalom in Pharaoh's second dream. If I understand Aharon ben Yosef correctly, he says that this vehinei chalom is to distinguish it from prophecy -- that it was a dream, and not really God speaking in a dream, as with prophets, as we see in Bemidbar 12:6. And then the same can perhaps be said in terms of Pharaoh's dream -- that was a dream, rather than prophecy, despite the fact that there was a Divine message in it.

So this is one link between the haftara and the parsha, but I believe there are others, in the context.

For example, earlier in the perek in Melachim, Shlomo Hamelech allies himself with Pharaoh, and takes Pharaoh's daughter as a wife:
א וַיִּתְחַתֵּן שְׁלֹמֹה, אֶת-פַּרְעֹה מֶלֶךְ מִצְרָיִם; וַיִּקַּח אֶת-בַּת-פַּרְעֹה, וַיְבִיאֶהָ אֶל-עִיר דָּוִד, עַד כַּלֹּתוֹ לִבְנוֹת אֶת-בֵּיתוֹ וְאֶת-בֵּית ה, וְאֶת-חוֹמַת יְרוּשָׁלִַם סָבִיב. 1 And Solomon became allied to Pharaoh king of Egypt by marriage, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.
perhaps granting his quasi-Pharaoh status, such that the echoing is appropriate. Also, in the previous perek, we have Miketz terminology:
לט וַיְהִי, מִקֵּץ שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים, וַיִּבְרְחוּ שְׁנֵי-עֲבָדִים לְשִׁמְעִי, אֶל-אָכִישׁ בֶּן-מַעֲכָה מֶלֶךְ גַּת; וַיַּגִּידוּ לְשִׁמְעִי לֵאמֹר, הִנֵּה עֲבָדֶיךָ בְּגַת. 39 And it came to pass at the end of three years, that two of the servants of Shimei ran away unto Achish, son of Maacah, king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying: 'Behold, thy servants are in Gath.'
and perhaps the two servants rebelling parallels the two servants of Pharaoh who were thrown in the dungeon? Weak, I will admit, but the miketz terminology is there.

Also, what Shlomo is granted in perek 3 is wisdom,
יב הִנֵּה עָשִׂיתִי, כִּדְבָרֶיךָ; הִנֵּה נָתַתִּי לְךָ, לֵב חָכָם וְנָבוֹן, אֲשֶׁר כָּמוֹךָ לֹא-הָיָה לְפָנֶיךָ, וְאַחֲרֶיךָ לֹא-יָקוּם כָּמוֹךָ. 12 behold, I have done according to thy word: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there hath been none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
Compare with parshat Miketz:
לח וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה, אֶל-עֲבָדָיו: הֲנִמְצָא כָזֶה--אִישׁ, אֲשֶׁר רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים בּוֹ. 38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants: 'Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom the spirit of God is?'
לט וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה אֶל-יוֹסֵף, אַחֲרֵי הוֹדִיעַ אֱלֹהִים אוֹתְךָ אֶת-כָּל-זֹאת, אֵין-נָבוֹן וְחָכָם, כָּמוֹךָ. 39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: 'Forasmuch as God hath shown thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou.
There is also the public-works involving a tax on many people, which we have in Melachim perek 6 about Shlomo, and in Miketz about Yosef taking control of Egypt, which is parallel.

Even so, there is at least one other place in Tanach which is a better parallel, and which therefore manifests itself in certain midrashim in Miketz. These, Bli Neder, to be discussed in a subsequent post.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin