Friday, January 22, 2010

posts so far for parshat Bo`

  1. Bo sources -- over 100 meforshim on the parsha and haftara, organized by topic.

  2. Bo as "come to Pharaoh"? Does it make sense to tell someone to come to person X, instead of to go to person X? I favor Baal HaTurim's answer over that of Avi Ezer.

  3. Was Ibn Ezra's comment that וְאַחֲרָיו לֹא יִהְיֶה-כֵּן is prophecy written by an erring student? What will we say about Ramban, then? Avi Ezer thinks a fairly frum comment of Ibn Ezra is quasi-heretical, and so frumly suggests that it was really written by an erring student. But then he would end up calling Ramban an erring student; and besides, there is a ready answer to just what novelty Ibn Ezra is suggesting.

  4. The non-surprising chaser vav in Leshono -- should we darshen it? In Midrash Lekach Tov, a derasha on a chaser spelling of a word. But is it fit to make such aderasha, when this is the entirely expected spelling?

  5. The masorah regarding the spelling of mezuzot -- Since the word ha-mezuzot appears in parshat Bo, Minchas Shai discusses the issue of the spelling of mezuzot in VaEtchanan and in general. There is a Rashi in VaEtchanan which darshens the word against the masoretic spelling. And this is one example of divergence among many? How can we deal with this? Shall we harmonize it, or leave it alone? I explain why I think the text indeed diverges.

  6. Why eat maror? It is to remind of the bitterness, or from some medical reason? Can we ascribe it to practical cause against the Rabbinic tradition (which also happens to make good sense)? Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Ibn Caspi. Also, how Ibn Ezra is thus frum.

  7. Is blood on the doorposts le-dorot? Two parses of a pasuk yields the blood on the doorposts as a command for just in Egypt, and as a recurring commandment. Similar to the structure by amah ivriya. I strongly favor the traditional parse as the better parse.

  8. Spontaneous generation of frogs and lice -- Ibn Caspi, a Rishon, explains the workings of two of the plagues based on the scientific workings of spontaneous generation. This should be taken as additional evidence that Rishonim can be wrong in matters of science.

  9. How do we count the 480 yearsAssuming we take the 430 years in Egypt literally how do we reckon it? Also, how the Samaritan Torah differs, and whether this is persuasive?

  10. Is darkness a separate entity, or simply absence of light? Science vs. proofs from gemaras -- Is a question of scientific metzius as to the nature of light and dark really up for discussion, on the basis of the implications of pesukim and or gemaras?! It would seem that it indeed is, in some quarters.

  1. Bo sources -- in a mikraos gedolos, and a collection of meforshim, all online, for parshat Bo and its haftarah.

  2. Darkness as thick as a dinar? A controversial Torah Temimah, and why I think it is wrong.

  3. Is Ran an apikores, by his own definition? The first part of a three-part series. I contrast Ran's statement that anyone who disputes a midrash is an apikores with his own position regarding makkat bechorot, where he argues with both Midrash Tanchuma and the Mechilta as to the meaning of bechor.
  1. Executing Judgments Against the gods of Egypt -- What does this mean? Perhaps using their deities. But no. Perhaps they were smashed during the plague of the firstborn. A parallel to Dagan. Plus, a connection to fertility, frogs, midwives, and middah kineged middah.

  2. See that Ra is against you -- Rashi, as a star, but could we interpret it as a reference to the Egyptian deity?
    1. Everyone vs. Every House -- A lengthy, close analysis of several midrashim and pesukim about makkat bechorot. Recommended.

    2. All Quiet On The Kushite Front -- How the locust plague made peace. And how to generate every detail of this midrash.
    1. How far did Pharaoh's voice carry? According to one midrash, when calling for Moshe, all across Egypt. A textual basis for this.

    2. Yoel to Moshe: My Locusts Can Beat Up Your Locusts -- Who had meaner locusts? Two pesukim appear to contradict one another, saying that these locusts are the worst ever. How to resolve such that both are the worst? Different approaches. A humorous homiletic approach. Measuring in different vectors. Or for variety (though there is a difficulty with this approach). Rashi locally and his supercommentaries take this on. And then Rashi in sefer Yoel has a different approach (that they came in waves). Finally, my two peshat-based approaches: 1) it is an idiom used in both places, and thus there is no contradiction, and 2) Yoel's locusts are not literal locusts but rather an invading army on horseback.
      1. Pharaoh's Servants' Hearts -- Though usually we hear of Pharoah's heart hardening, etc., once Hashem says that he has hardened the hearts of the servants. What cause to mention this? How does this fit in in general. Also, the same pasuk mentions that Hashem will show his signs in his (/their) midst. How can something be in the midst of one person?

      2. How Did Moshe Know the Next Plague Would Be Locusts? If Hashem does not explicitly tell him? It was on the staff! Or from a gezera shava to Yoel. Or it was told to him but the pasuk doesn't mention this. See inside.

      3. Further thoughts on foreknowledge of plagues -- Based on the above. Doesn't Moshe see one additional letter on the staff? Thus, wouldn't he know that makkat bechorot is coming? Then how come he seems not to know?

      4. A Simple Count -- Headaches in deciding how long the Israelites were in Egypt. Constraints based on the fact that Amram married Yocheved, the (literal) daughter of Levi. A quasi-heretical solution and a midrashic solution, such that she was not literally the daughter of Levi.

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