Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #126, including some on Kiddush HaChamma

  1. Bad for Shidduchim discusses her experience with a segulah, namely taking pieces of the broken plate from the tenaim. Anyone know if this segulah is of recent origin, or if it is old? The twist on getting married when you lose it seems similar to the twist on the red string, that the first guy a girl sees after it falls off it her bashert. What about the segulah of catching the bouquet?

  2. A nice upload from JNUL: A small pamphlet for Kiddush Hachamma, with a Yiddish introduction. This one was printed in 1896 in preparation for the blessing to be said in April 7, 1897. On the next page, they note the next date that Birkat Hachamma will be said, namely Erev Pesach, the 14th of Nissan, 1925. Indeed, this year it once again falls out on erev Pesach.

  3. Meanwhile, courtesy of HebrewBooks, here is Aruch Hashulchan on Birchas Hachamma. Note how he only mentions the bracha, and not any of the other elements glommed onto it. That does not mean that he is necessarily against other additions, but he does not mention it as the halacha.

    The underlined portion reads that "God-willing, it will be in the year 1897, which should come upon us in peace." That year is the same year as the pamphlet from JNUL.

    Meanwhile, here is Mishna Berura on the same.

    And an 8 page pamphlet on Kiddush HaChamma from the Chasam Sofer.

  4. A live-blogging of the Sunday night Lipa concert, The Event, with some video clips. And Blog In Dm has a whole lot about it, a nice long post, about failed attempts to manipulate gedolim. Read it.

  5. ADDeRabbi on the Ashkenazic implications of Rav Ovadiah Yosef's ruling on a woman reading megillah for men. An excerpt:
    The whole attitude of “gee, I wish an Ashkenazi posek had the guts…” is totally misguided. This is a machloket between the Mechaber and the Rema. Thinking that it has to do with contemporary agenda, while perhaps not completely inaccurate, ignores 500 years of halakhic tradition.
    See also Hirhurim for an analysis, which he cites.

  6. Joking Jewish teens legally married.


גילוי said...

Since you have taken it upon yourself to get down to the basic matters regarding Birkat HaChamah, let me point out the following: In Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer, the discussion regarding the sun is only part of a larger discussion which includes the moon, then moving on to a combined cycle which doesn't mathematically exist of 84 years. I would suggest that one shouldn't try to attach meaning to the ritual until checking out the bigger picture. The Baraita in Brachot is a very small detail of the whole picture.

joshwaxman said...

thanks for the heads up. I probably will not have the time before this Kiddush Hachamma to get down to the basic matters.

And you are correct, it is overreach to propose *the* meaning to the ritual. My suggestion, on the nigleh level, was in large part a reaction to the message that "of course there has to be a nistar, because if we only look at it on a nigleh level, it is stupid/uninspiring/superficial." To that end, I pointed out one possible reading on the nigleh level which I feel is none of the above.

You are also right that context is key, here. And especially when dealing with astronomical features, there is a possibility that there is some sort of philosophy associated with it relating to mazalot.

However, from context in Brachot, in terms of the bracha and how it is applied to this and other instances, one can guess at a reason. Thus,
"The Sages learnt {in a brayta}: He who sees the sun at its turning point {at the beginning of the season}, the moon in its power, the planets in their orbits, and the signs of the zodiac in their orderly progress, should say: Blessed be He who has wrought the work of creation."

The idea appears to be appreciating how Hashem set all this complex derech hateva on its course, and doing so when it is at its initial position.

And we should see to what other situations it applies.

In terms of Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer, this returns to the question of its date of authorship. If it is Tannaitic, from the Tanna Rabbi Eliezer, then it is giving deeper insight into the meaning of this bracha. If it was composed shortly after 833 CE, then it is post-Talmudic and it is possibly someone's imposition of meaning onto the bracha. (For example, I think that PDE reinterprets Pirkei Avos about the she-ass's mouth in a way that was not intended by the original source.) And regardless of the former or the latter, different contexts provide different meanings.

"moving on to a combined cycle which doesn't mathematically exist of 84 years"
Now that is fascinating. What do you mean it does not mathematically exist? That it does not accord with reality, or that it does not accord with our present astronomical understandings? Aruch Hashulchan and others say we don't do many of these other applications of these brachot because we are not bekiin (see above, seif 4).

I wonder at that, though. Surely we are even better bekiin nowadays. Or we could be, as the science exists to be able to know this. It seems possible that the real problem was they *they* were not bekiin. Does Pirkei Derabbi Eliezer make use of some incorrect contemporary science to arrive at this number? Perhaps our manuscripts are faulty, and he really referred to an accurate cycle. (I've edited some rather old mathematic manuscripts for calculating the figures of the Mishkan, and have encountered all sorts of errors (including in simple things like results of multiplication) introduced by copyists who were not bekiin in math, but which can be corrected by seeing the previous or next steps. Perhaps so too here.) It is not necessarily the case that because the math does not work out, they are really dealing with something which is nistar.


Anonymous said...

Another interesting news item involving a well known fellow blogger:


גילוי said...

I go in to the math at the link below... I imply answers there, but the math behind the fictitious cycles is brought here:

If you have time, read the whole thing, if not, read the chapter about the lunar cycle and the solar-lunar cycle.

Anonymous said...

By the way where is the Chasam Sofer from> is a Likut which sefer Thanks


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