Thursday, April 22, 2010

posts so far for parshat Acharei Mot

  1. Achrei Mot sources -- revamped, with over 100 meforshim on the parasha and the haftara, organized by sections, such as Rashi's supercommentators.
  2. What are 'their statutes'? Further thoughts -- Further thoughts on what was meant by the statutes we are not meant to follow, in parashat Acharei Mot. I consider the idea of mandated mariages, as well of prohibited marriages. In particular, if the places they left and they places they went also defined prohibited relations, but differently that Biblical law, one might be prone to thinking of Biblically prohibited relations as not true incest. Therefore, the instruction not to follow intheir statutes, but in our own.

  1. Acharei Mos sources -- links by aliyah and perek to an online Mikraos Gedolos, as well as a slew of meforshim on the parsha and haftara.
  2. Why mention that it was after the death of Aharon's two sons? -- and whether on a peshat level there is some connection, more than chronological proximity, between that tragic event and the instructions to the kohanim.
  3. What are "their statutes"? In plural, when the only statute seems to be Molech. Shadal suggests positive instructions regarding marrying these Torah-forbidden relatives, in situations akin to yibbum. I suggest an alternative, in which these particular set of relatives are considered fair game, and permitted, within the statutes of different societies.
  4. Did the designated man live out the year? The midrash brought down and expanded by Chizkuni, about how he did not, and how they therefore chose someone destined to die anyway that year. And some analysis of how this midrash might have formed.
  5. My theory about the runaway scapegoat, and how this could have been a Sadducee trick, year after year, in order to fulfill the Yom Kippur ritual in accordance with their own interpretation. And the text of the Yerushalmi I am basing this theory on.
  6. You can also check out DovBear's extensive blogging this year about the goat to Azazel.
  • Goral LaAzazel
    • Two issues: It looks like idolatry, and why do we push it off a cliff when the pasuk says to send it into the wilderness? Rashi, Shadal, and Aharon ben Yosef solve this in their own ways.
  1. The Goat to Azazel -- may look like syncretism, but it really is sending it off to a place. Compare with the next perek which requires bringing sacrifices to the Ohel Moed as opposed to the demons of the field. A comparison to the birds of the metzorah. And a possible Sadducee trick of "losing" the goat in the wilderness before being able to push it off the cliff.
  2. דמו בנפשו -- and how Ibn Ezra's comment on this verse is not evidence of ruach hakodesh showing knowledge of oxygenated vs. non-oxygenated blood. An excerpt:
    • He noted that this commentary by Ibn Ezra seems to recognize a modern medical fact - that there is a dual circulation , one of oxygenated blood (blood carrying oxygen, the oxygen obtained from the lungs) and unoxygenated blood. Further, as we know, the oxygenated blood is pumped out of the left side of the heart, and the unoxygenated blood comes in to the right side of the heart. Ibn Ezra thus seems to know of arteries, which carry oxygenated blood, and veins, carrying unoxygenated blood.

      This would be astounding, for Ibn Ezra was born in 1092 and passed on in 1167, and it was only in 1628 that William Harvey suggested the modern model.
      I show why this assertion is incorrect.
  3. Speak, Speak -- But say what?
    • The problem is that we have the first pasuk saying that Hashem spoke to Moshe, but we are not told what He said. The second verse says that Hashem spoke to Moshe and states the contents of Hashem's speech.
      Two midrashic explanations, and then attempts at peshat explanations.
    1. BeDibur Echad: (this includes reference to the issur Bamot in parashat Acharei Mot and a related, slightly opposing laws in sefer Devarim)
      Different accounts, different perspectives
    2. A link to an Opinion Journal article: "These United States - Will same-sex marriage lead to incest and polygamy? Let's hope so!"
    3. Nadav and Avihu vs. Korach's Edah (also see posts on parshat Shemini on this) - How the descriptions of act and death are similar, so perhaps the sin is similar. Yet the midrash directly contradicts this presumption. And how it does so.
    4. Seirim: post I, post II, post III. -- What were they and what were their role in the Israelite mind. In retrospect, I could have done these better...
        to be continued...

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