Monday, August 04, 2008

The World Created In Ten Statements, pt ii

Where we left off last time, Shmuel, a commenter, noted a relevant Bereishit Rabba:

ויאמר ה' אלהים לא טוב היות
בעשרה מאמרות נברא העולם, ואלו הן:
ורוח אלהים מרחפת;
ויאמר אלהים יהי אור;
ויאמר אלהים יהי רקיע;
ויאמר אלהים יקוו המים;
ויאמר אלהים תדשא הארץ;
ויאמר אלהים יהי מאורות;
ויאמר אלהים ישרצו המים;
ויאמר אלהים תוצא הארץ;
ויאמר אלהים נעשה אדם.

מנחם בר יוסי:
מוציא ורוח אלהים מרחפת, ומביא ויאמר ה' אלהים לא טוב היות האדם.

אמר רבי יעקב בן קורשאי:
מאמר ניתן לרוח בפני עצמה

It would certainly seem that in Rosh haShana Daf 32a:

הני עשרה מלכיות כנגד מי
אמר [רבי לוי] כנגד עשרה הלולים שאמר דוד בספר תהלים
הלולים טובא הוו
הנך דכתיב בהו (תהילים קנ) הללוהו בתקע שופר
רב יוסף אמר כנגד עשרת הדברות שנאמרו לו למשה בסיני
ר' יוחנן אמר כנגד עשרה מאמרות שבהן נברא העולם
הי נינהו ויאמר דבראשית
ט' הוו
בראשית נמי מאמר הוא דכתיב (תהילים לג) בדבר ה' שמים נעשו

which has 9 vayomers + 1 Bereishit, the counting is in accordance with that of Menachem bar Yossi. So this is likely what the setama digmara had in mind. (Even if I would prefer a different counting.)

Thus, even though the Tannaitic statement in Bereishit Rabba makes no reference to the pasuk in Tehillim 33, that בדבר ה' שמים נעשו, it is likely that this pasuk influenced the decision to reckon bereishit as a separate statement. And so indeed do Etz Yosef and Maharzu say in explaining this in Bereishit Rabbati.

What about this advancing of ורוח אלהים מרחפת as a separate maamar, according to Rabbi Yaakov ben Korshai? If we look to Etz Yosef, we see an interesting explanation. The one who holds it is a maamar by itself -- that is why it is written ורוח אלהים. And according to Menachem bar Yossi, this is the ruach of Adam haRishon and Melech HaMashiach, and we already have a maamar specifically for the creation of Adam. (In parentheses, נזה"ק.)

Yet within the text itself we see no real hint to this apparently kabbalistically oriented dispute, or that ruach elokim refers to the ruach of Adam haRishon and Melech haMashiach or not.

Furthermore, while the text does not refer explicitly to it, for bereishit, we have the pasuk in Tehillim that בדבר ה' שמים נעשו, which shows that creation of "shamayim" was done with a special "dibbur." But it would appear that we have no such pasuk to endorse the idea that "ruach Elokim" was created with a special dibbur. If so, how can Rabbi Yaakov ben Korshai advance this idea? Is such a prooftext really necessary, or is it just something the setama digmara felt necessary?

The following is just exploration. I believe that there actually is a prooftext, and would suggest that it is the same prooftext. That is, the full pasuk in Tehillim 33 is:
ו בִּדְבַר ה, שָׁמַיִם נַעֲשׂוּ; וּבְרוּחַ פִּיו, כָּל-צְבָאָם. 6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

The first part of the pasuk tells us to treat Bereishit as a separate maamar, for this is equal to the devar Hashem. But we are dealing with Biblical poetry here, which exhibits parallelism in the first and second part of the verse. Thus, the second part states that "with the breath of His mouth" -- which comes out of the mouth of Hashem, something akin to "the word of the Lord" in the first part -- were all the host of the heavens made. Perhaps this can be treated as angels.

Knowing this, when we turn back to sefer Bereishit, and see ורוח אלהים מרחפת, we can say this is the same ruach. Thus, this ruach is the equivalent of dibbur. If so, it is not the ruach which is being created, but rather the ruach which is the maamar which does the creating.

The dispute, then, would be whether in this Biblical parallelism, two things were being created, or just one. It could well be that shamayim together with all its hosts were created, and the first part is indeed the same as the second part. So there was only one maamar. On the other hand, we could say that the ruach was assigned to be its own maamar.

I do not know if this is correct, or persuasive. We would need to read it into מאמר ניתן לרוח בפני עצמה.

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