Monday, January 21, 2008

The Age of Trup -- part xv

Shadal's Vikuach al chochmat hakabbalah continues. The guest just suggested that midrashim talking about trup is not proof of the early date of trup, for perhaps these are late midrashim.

The author: This is a novelty by me. For until today I believed that the midrashim and the Talmud had the same age of origin, and all of them were the words of our Rabbi the Tannaim and Amoraim. And is your intent to say that also some of the midrashim well known in Israel are forged sefarim?

The guest: No, forfend! I also believe that all the statements found in the midrashim well-known in Israel, which are stated in the name of one of the Tannaim or of the Amoraim, that Sage mentioned actually in truth said it.

However, that which is stated anonymously, sometimes they are the words of the author and the collector who is writing upon the sefer of early midrashim, which were transmitted mouth to mouth, and not all of the midrashim were written authored, collected, and written down in a single generation. But rather there are early midrashim such as the Talmud, and there many are later midrashim.

And for example, come and I will show you that Midrash Shemot Rabba (in which the פסק is mentioned) was written, with no doubt, after the Talmud.

For behold it is revealed and known from the Talmud, and the Rambam also writes in the halachot of kiddush hachodesh perek 5, that in the days of the Sages of the Mishnah and also in the days of the Sages of the Talmud until the days of Abaye and Rava, they established it based on seeing, and those who dwelled outside the land {of Israel} relied upon the establishing in the land of Israel. And so you find in the Talmud (Rosh HaShana 21) that Rava would fast for Yom Kippur for two days, because of doubt of the day, and one time it was found like him {that he managed to fast while others fasted the wrong day}. Thus is is evident that until the days of Rava they sanctified it based on sight {of the moon by witnesses}.

And behold, in Shemot Rabba (parsha 15) you will find written:
"When our Rabbis entered to make a leap year, ten elders entered, etc."
You will further find there:
"One who sees the moon, at the time that Israel consecrate the month."
Thus it is clear that they did not consecrate based on seeing at the time that Midrash Shemot was authored. If so, this Midrash is later than

the Talmud, or these statements were gathered after the closing of the Talmud.

And similar to this there is to say upon Bamidbar Rabba, for behold at the end of parshat Shelach you will find that the techelet was hidden away, and in the Talmud (Menachot 43) you will find that the techelet was practiced during the entire time of the Amoraim, and even in the days of Rav Achai who was of the Rabbanan Sovarai.

The author: These words are words of meaning. And besides the proofs that you have brought, also from the language of these and other midrashim, in many places, it is recognizable that they are not from the language of the Tanaim and Amoraim, and it is much different in their idioms and their manner of speaking from Bereshit Rabba and Vayikra Rabba.

And behold, from the two answers that you have written, my mind leans to accept the second response as an answer to the first question, and the first response as an answer to the second question. For the statement found in Shemot Rabba which mentions a פסק is written anonymously, and not in the name of one of the early Sages. However, the statement in Midrash Kohelet, in which the נקודה is mentioned, is stated in the name of Rabbi Hoshaya or Rabbi Yehoshua. And in truth that which they darshen "nekudot hakesef -- these are the letters" much assists what you have said that they called nekudot the tips of some of the letters, which had at their head a point or points.

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