Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Fasting on the 17th of Tammuz, pt v

In the previous segment, we discussed Ran with a picture and link to the Chiddushei haRan available online. To quickly summarize his position, the gemara in Rosh haShana defined fasting during the 17th of Tammuz as a reshus, by stating רצו מתענין רצו אין מתענין. In the time of the gemara, he declares, it was accepted practice to fast, for otherwise where does the gemara's question begin? Yet with this statement, it was declared to be a reshut. (And this is perhaps on the individual level.) And so there would be no difference nowadays, where it also is accepted widespread practice to fast -- it would still have the status of reshus.

However, he notes that the Ramban takes a contrary position, and interprets the gemara in another way. And this Ramban is the topic of this segment. I could simply translate the long excerpt Ran makes above, but I feel it is better to see Ramban inside. And there is material in the longer text I would perhaps like to make a diyuk out of. And Ramban's Toras HaAdam is available online as well, again at HebrewBooks.org, and we can link directly to the correct page. We start translating with the last word on the first line, אמר:

I will first quote the actual text of the gemara so that we can see where Ramban adds explanatory material or diverges from the text. Though perhaps we should check for variant girsaot? It would really seem that he has the word tzara rather than gezeirat hamalchut or shmad in place.

אמר רב פפא הכי קאמר בזמן שיש שלום יהיו לששון ולשמחה יש [גזרת המלכות] {שמד} צום אין [גזרת המלכות] {שמד} ואין שלום רצו מתענין רצו אין מתענין

On to the translation of Ramban:

{First a paraphrase[?] of the gemara}:
Rav Pappa said: At a time that there is peace, it is made into joy. At a time that there is tzara, it is made into a fast-day. And nowadays {ha`idna} {by this, he refers to the "nowadays" of Rav Pappa, rather than the present day in the time of the Ramban}, that there is no peace and there is no tzara, if they want they fast, and if they want they do not fast. If so, Tisha BeAv as well {why should they send out}? Why does the Mishna state "upon six months the messengers go out -- on Av, because of the fast day? Rav Pappa said: Tisha BeAv is different, since the tzarot were doubled on it.

{Now he gives interjections into the preceding text.}
The explanation of:
"there is peace" -- this was in the time that the Temple was standing.

"there is no peace" -- such as {kegon} at the time of the destruction.

"and there is no tzara" -- in {any} known place in Yisrael.

"if they want" -- most of Israel, and they have a consensus

"not to fast" -- we do not bother them to fast, and messengers do not go out.

"if they want" -- most of of the community {here he uses the word tzibbur}

"to fast, they fast" -- and nowadays {veAchshav -- and here, Ramban means in Ramban's day, or perhaps in earlier generations of post-Talmudic times, but certainly not in Rav Pappa's day}, the majority of the community {tzibbur} wants {ratzu}, and is accustomed, to fast, and they have accepted it upon themselves. Therefore, it is forbidden for an individual {yachid} to breach their fence.

And all the more so in these generations, for behold, because of our sins, tzaros have increased in Israel, and there is no peace. Therefore, all are obligated to fast, from the words of kabbalah {=Neviim} and the institution of Neviim. {For it is not that middle ground Rav Pappa laid out.}
End excerpt of the Ramban.

The first thing I think is important to note is that I do not believe that he is really arguing with Rashi in defining shalom. Ramban's concern here is to lay out different eras, where different halacha applied. Thus, the eras were:

I - Second Temple times, where there was shalom, and it was sasson
II - After the destruction of the Temple, where there was no shalom:
IIa: In Rav Pappa's day {ha`idna}, when it was optional and they did not reach a consensus to fast - no fast.
IIb: Post-Talmudic times up to Ramban's day {achshav}, when they reached such a consensus, such that fasting was now required, as per Rav Pappa's statement. This requirement for each individual may come under poretz geder.
IIc: Ramban's day, where there was not just no shalom but also tzarah, such that Rav Pappa's statement does not apply, and the obligation is exactly the obligation darshened from the pasuk in Zechariah.

He is concerned with halachic states in various eras, rather than specific definitions of terms such as shalom.

Indeed, if we look carefully at what he says when defining shalom and ain shalom, he says:
"yesh shalom" -- haynu bezman sheBeis haMikdash kayam.
and on
"ain shalom" -- kegon bizman churban.

The kegon, "such as," especially convinces me. He is not saying that "shalom" equals the Temple in a built state. And he is not saying that "ain shalom" equals the Temple in ruins. Had he meant that, he should have said kelomar, rather than kegon, in my opinion.

Rather, he is saying that the state that yesh shalom was true was during the days of the Second Temple. And this is indeed true. And it was only true then, and not in any time from the time of the churban up until the time of the Ramban. And even Rashi, who defines shalom as yad akum tekifa al Yisrael, would agree that the only time this shalom existed was in the time of the Second Temple. He states as much in the first Rashi on the daf.

This also makes sense to me, because I can understand how Rashi can interpret shalom as he does. But I truly cannot understand how shalom in any peshat sense can refer specifically to the Beis HaMikdash being in a built rather than ruined state.

I would therefore surmise that Ramban would define shalom as something which is actually related to shalom. Perhaps as Rashi defines it, or perhaps Israel at peace in her land.

If this is true, as I think it is, that it is not a dispute between Rashi and Ran on the one hand, and Ramban on the other, in defining shalom. And if so, perhaps our Shivasar BeTammuz, and Tisha BeAv, should be a festival, and fasting should be forbidden, as Rashi and Ran required. (We have thus harmonized Ramban to be in accordance with Rashi, after opposing Divrei Yatziv who attempted to harmonize Rashi to be in accordance with Rabbenu Chananel and Ramban.)

We still have to turn to Tur, who I believe takes Ramban the other way, and analyze him. As well as Beis Yosef. But if he is incorrect, we will be obligated to disagree. That in a later post.

What about Rabbenu Chananel? Here is the gemara, with Rabbenu Chananel, again (and click on the image to see it larger):

Uparik Rav Papa: Hachi Kaamar - bizman sheyesh shalom - kelomar kol zman shebeis hamikdash kayam - yihyeh lesason ulsimcha. {as per the pasuk in Zechariah 8: יִהְיֶה לְבֵית-יְהוּדָה לְשָׂשׂוֹן וּלְשִׂמְחָה}

He uses the word kelomar, which more strongly suggests a translation. But perhaps we can understand this Rabbenu Chananel in the same way we understood the Ramban. But sill, this peshat in Rabbenu Chananel is somewhat iffy.

There is more to discuss in this Ramban. Namely, how he parses רצו מתענין רצו אין מתענין, whether this is compelling and/or plausible, and who argues with this reading. This is important if we insist that we are not in state of shalom nowadays -- we need to understand the state of reshut, or lack thereof. This, beEzrat Hashem, in the next segment.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin