Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The day after the Shabbat, pt i

This is an interesting topic, and there is a lot to cover, so this will probably extend past this one post. The Torah gives a time to start counting until Shavuot, and the definition of that time is a famous dispute. It is after the Shabbat. But is that "Shabbat" a Saturday? Or is it the day after the first day of Yom Tov of Pesach? Tzedukim, and Karaites IIUC, say Saturday, while Chazal say that the Shabbat is Pesach.

After reviewing a bit of the data, I heavily lean towards it being Pesach, as a matter of peshat. And context and theme are my primary motivators, things which do not always strike me as motivating certain classic meforshim. But there is what to argue and discuss. In this post, however, what I see that makes me lean towards Pesach, and this is what I present as an opening salvo.

As others point out, Shabbat can refer to other Jewish holidays. Thus, in Vayikra 16, about Yom Kippur:
ל כִּי-בַיּוֹם הַזֶּה יְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיכֶם, לְטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם: מִכֹּל, חַטֹּאתֵיכֶם, לִפְנֵי יְהוָה, תִּטְהָרוּ.30 For on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins shall ye be clean before the LORD.
לא שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן הִיא לָכֶם, וְעִנִּיתֶם אֶת-נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם--חֻקַּת, עוֹלָם.31 It is a sabbath of solemn rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls; it is a statute for ever.
and in the very perek under discussion in parshat Emor, perek 23, again about Yom Kippur:
לא כָּל-מְלָאכָה, לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ: חֻקַּת עוֹלָם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם, בְּכֹל מֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם.31 Ye shall do no manner of work; it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
לב שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן הוּא לָכֶם, וְעִנִּיתֶם אֶת-נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם; בְּתִשְׁעָה לַחֹדֶשׁ, בָּעֶרֶב--מֵעֶרֶב עַד-עֶרֶב, תִּשְׁבְּתוּ שַׁבַּתְּכֶם. {פ}32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of solemn rest, and ye shall afflict your souls; in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye keep your sabbath.
where Shabbatchem means "your Shabbat." A bit earlier in that same perek, about Rosh HaShanah:
כד דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֵאמֹר: בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ, יִהְיֶה לָכֶם שַׁבָּתוֹן--זִכְרוֹן תְּרוּעָה, מִקְרָא-קֹדֶשׁ.24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall be a solemn rest unto you, a memorial proclaimed with the blast of horns, a holy convocation.
כה כָּל-מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה, לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ; וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם אִשֶּׁה, לַיהוָה. {ס}25 Ye shall do no manner of servile work; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
and later in that same perek, about Succot:

לח מִלְּבַד, שַׁבְּתֹת יְהוָה; וּמִלְּבַד מַתְּנוֹתֵיכֶם, וּמִלְּבַד כָּל-נִדְרֵיכֶם וּמִלְּבַד כָּל-נִדְבֹתֵיכֶם, אֲשֶׁר תִּתְּנוּ, לַיהוָה.38 beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill-offerings, which ye give unto the LORD.
לט אַךְ בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי, בְּאָסְפְּכֶם אֶת-תְּבוּאַת הָאָרֶץ, תָּחֹגּוּ אֶת-חַג-יְהוָה, שִׁבְעַת יָמִים; בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן שַׁבָּתוֹן, וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי שַׁבָּתוֹן.39 Howbeit on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruits of the land, ye shall keep the feast of the LORD seven days; on the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest.
In terms of shemitta, in perek 25, the Torah uses Shabbat Shabbaton to discuss a period of imposed rest:
ד וּבַשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת, שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן יִהְיֶה לָאָרֶץ--שַׁבָּת, לַיהוָה: שָׂדְךָ לֹא תִזְרָע, וְכַרְמְךָ לֹא תִזְמֹר.4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath unto the LORD; thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
But that is all mere background. I believe that in the beginning of perek 23, the Torah is trying to first give a definition of the term Shabbat before using it, in such important contexts as from when to start counting. Thus, in perek 23:
א וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר.1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying:
ב דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם, מוֹעֲדֵי יְהוָה, אֲשֶׁר-תִּקְרְאוּ אֹתָם מִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ--אֵלֶּה הֵם, מוֹעֲדָי.2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: The appointed seasons of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are My appointed seasons.
ג שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים, תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה, וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן מִקְרָא-קֹדֶשׁ, כָּל-מְלָאכָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ: שַׁבָּת הִוא לַיהוָה, בְּכֹל מוֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם. {פ}3 Six days shall work be done; but on the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of work; it is a sabbath unto the LORD in all your dwellings.
Why say this? Do we not know there are festivals? Have we not heard about Shabbat?! Rather, this is done to introduce the festivals, and to connect it to the famous Shabbat Bereishit, of which everyone knows.

More than that, we are told that the seventh day of the week is a "Shabbat Shabbaton," and then we are carefully told what this entails. It is "a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of work." Why, because it is a "sabbath" unto Hashem. This is definitional. We are being told what a "Shabbat" is.

Then, continuing in the perek:
ד אֵלֶּה מוֹעֲדֵי יְהוָה, מִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ, אֲשֶׁר-תִּקְרְאוּ אֹתָם, בְּמוֹעֲדָם.4 These are the appointed seasons of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their appointed season.
ה בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן, בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר לַחֹדֶשׁ--בֵּין הָעַרְבָּיִם: פֶּסַח, לַיהוָה.5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at dusk, is the LORD'S passover.
ו וּבַחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה, חַג הַמַּצּוֹת לַיהוָה: שִׁבְעַת יָמִים, מַצּוֹת תֹּאכֵלוּ.6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD; seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread.
ז בַּיּוֹם, הָרִאשׁוֹן, מִקְרָא-קֹדֶשׁ, יִהְיֶה לָכֶם; כָּל-מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה, לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ.7 In the first day ye shall have a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work.
ח וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם אִשֶּׁה לַיהוָה, שִׁבְעַת יָמִים; בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִקְרָא-קֹדֶשׁ, כָּל-מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ. {פ}8 And ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days; in the seventh day is a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work.
In pasuk 4, we are introduced to the מוֹעֲדֵי ה מִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ. These have already been defined above by the term Shabbat. Then, after giving the particular days, we hear in pasuk 7 and pasuk 8 that these days of Yom Tov are mikra kodesh, such that כָּל-מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ. That was precisely what had been defined above as a Shabbat, and it had been defined above as that for a purpose -- to introduce terminology. A Shabbat, day of rest, is one on which one does no work, as opposed to the intervening chol haMoed.

Next, we have:
ט וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר.9 And the LORD spoke unto Moses saying:
י דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם, כִּי-תָבֹאוּ אֶל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם, וּקְצַרְתֶּם אֶת-קְצִירָהּ--וַהֲבֵאתֶם אֶת-עֹמֶר רֵאשִׁית קְצִירְכֶם, אֶל-הַכֹּהֵן.10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When ye are come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring the sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest unto the priest.
יא וְהֵנִיף אֶת-הָעֹמֶר לִפְנֵי יְהוָה, לִרְצֹנְכֶם; מִמָּחֳרַת, הַשַּׁבָּת, יְנִיפֶנּוּ, הַכֹּהֵן.11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you; on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
This is after having introduced Pesach, so the context of "day of rest" is the Pesach. Perhaps the first day of Pesach, perhaps the last day. (More on my theory of the last day in a separate post.) But Shabbat has been established as a technical term.

It gets a bit more complicated a little lower, when Shabbat is used in the context of seven Shabbats:
טו וּסְפַרְתֶּם לָכֶם, מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת, מִיּוֹם הֲבִיאֲכֶם, אֶת-עֹמֶר הַתְּנוּפָה: שֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת, תְּמִימֹת תִּהְיֶינָה.15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the day of rest, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the waving; seven weeks shall there be complete;
טז עַד מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת הַשְּׁבִיעִת, תִּסְפְּרוּ חֲמִשִּׁים יוֹם; וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם מִנְחָה חֲדָשָׁה, לַיהוָה.16 even unto the morrow after the seventh week shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall present a new meal-offering unto the LORD.
Here we need to alternate between the meaning "day of rest" and "weeks." Presumably the Karaites would not need to do that, for if we start after Shabbat, we can count Saturdays, rather than weeks. But language can and does alternate like this, and I get the impression that not only is Shabbaton equivalent to Shabbat for these purposes, part of the point of the introduction in the beginning of the perek was to define Shabbat as a day in which no rest is done, as is to be learnt from Saturday.

Whether or not Chazal are correct, something certainly influenced them to adopt this understanding and reject the seemingly simpler explanation of it as Saturday. Perhaps this is simply the lunar calendar in play rather than solar calendar. Perhaps it was this introductory material defining Shabbat, as speaks to me. Or perhaps it is this pasuk in sefer Yehoshua, which some meforshim discuss and some reject. In Yehoshua 5:
י וַיַּחֲנוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, בַּגִּלְגָּל; וַיַּעֲשׂוּ אֶת-הַפֶּסַח בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחֹדֶשׁ, בָּעֶרֶב--בְּעַרְבוֹת יְרִיחוֹ.10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal; and they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.
יא וַיֹּאכְלוּ מֵעֲבוּר הָאָרֶץ, מִמָּחֳרַת הַפֶּסַח--מַצּוֹת וְקָלוּי: בְּעֶצֶם, הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה.11 And they did eat of the produce of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes and parched corn, in the selfsame day.
יב וַיִּשְׁבֹּת הַמָּן מִמָּחֳרָת, בְּאָכְלָם מֵעֲבוּר הָאָרֶץ, וְלֹא-הָיָה עוֹד לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, מָן; וַיֹּאכְלוּ, מִתְּבוּאַת אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן, בַּשָּׁנָה, הַהִיא. {ס}12 And the manna ceased on the morrow, after they had eaten of the produce of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.
No mention is made here of bringing the omer sacrifice. And see whether this is the 15th day or the 16th day. Is this the daylight following the night of the Pesach offering, or is it after the first day of Pesach? See Ibn Ezra. But still, there is an idea of eating produce of the land of Israel מִמָּחֳרַת הַפֶּסַח. And this language is highly reminiscent of the Pesach associated omer-offering making things Yashan, with the words מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת. I do not feel like this is an accident, but rather was a word choice by someone who knew the wording used in the Torah. Which makes me strongly consider it to mean the day after Pesach, from a text-internal perspective


Unknown said...

This is a very nice shiur (top one at http://www.yctorah.org/component/option,com_docman/task,cat_view/gid,82/Itemid,13/) which brings out why the term "Shabbat" is used, with a very interesting exposition of the connection to Parshas HaMan. Any relation to the speaker?


joshwaxman said...

thanks for the link to the shiur. and yes, we're related.



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