Monday, November 24, 2008

Toledot: Two Whole Goats?

There are quite a number of interesting items in Rabbenu Bachya this week, on Toledot. I'll probably split them among several posts.

He asks a great peshat-based question, which Rashi also asks. The pasuk in 27:9 reads:
ט לֶךְ-נָא, אֶל-הַצֹּאן, וְקַח-לִי מִשָּׁם שְׁנֵי גְּדָיֵי עִזִּים, טֹבִים; וְאֶעֱשֶׂה אֹתָם מַטְעַמִּים לְאָבִיךָ, כַּאֲשֶׁר אָהֵב. 9 Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury food for thy father, such as he loveth;
י וְהֵבֵאתָ לְאָבִיךָ, וְאָכָל, בַּעֲבֻר אֲשֶׁר יְבָרֶכְךָ, לִפְנֵי מוֹתוֹ. 10 and thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, so that he may bless thee before his death.'

How can a single person eat two whole goats? Even if they are small. Usually, for the korban pesach, it was one or more families which split a sheep. Rabbenu Bachya interprets it instead as relating to the two goats on Yom Kippur. See inside.

But Rashi cites Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer that it was Pesach, and one was for the korban Pesach and one was for the Chagiga, since it was Pesach. (And Targum Yonatan says the same.) And Siftei Chachamim has a cute explanation, that tzaddikim pass away on the same day they were born, and earlier Rashi put Yitzchak's birth at Pesach. And so this was why Yitzchak was now thinking that maybe he would die (now having reached the age his father did), and so perhaps it would be this year.

Perhaps on a peshat level, we could say that there would choice parts of the small goats she served. Think of the midrash that when Avraham served the three malachim, he shechted three cows, so as to serve to each one of them a cow tongue, a delivacy. Or else the recipe called for two kids, and she had a whole lot left over, a point not discussed in the Biblical text. Or perhaps she needed both goats because she needed a specific amount of goat hair to disguise Yaakov as Esav. (See Rashbam as to the selection specifically of goats.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The 2 Goats one was for SAAR LHASHEM one for SAAR LAZZAZEL and if it is Pesach one for a KORBON PESACH and one For the Chagiga- For the Mystically Inclined see "Emunas Itecha" by Reb Moshe Wolfson where he explains how it could be both.


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