Sunday, June 26, 2011

Posts so far for parshat Chukat

  1. Chukas sources -- revamped, with more than 100 meforshim on the parasha and haftorah.
  2. What is bothering Rashi about וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ? The standard meforshei Rashi discuss what is bothering Rashi about the words וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ regarding the parah adumah and why the same words did not bother him regarding the shemen zayis. I explain why I differ from the methodologically, but then explain why indeed the instance by shemen zayis is irrelevant, in a way that I think provides the key to the entire derasha.
  3. Rashi's emendation of Onkelos on כִּי גָוַע אַהֲרֹן -- Rashi might suggest an emendation of Onkelos' translation of ki gava Aharon. And if so, Shadal takes issue with his reasoning, and establishes the unemended text as correct.
  4. Correct peshat in Rashi on Moshe's Sin -- I present what I think is a novel, consistent reading of Rashi on Moshe's sin in striking the rock. It seems at first glance that Rashi contradicts himself, but I believe he actually has a consistent reading.

    That reading is: Moshe was instructed to speak to the rock that formed Miriam's well. But when Miriam passed away, it disappeared amidst other rocks. Moshe began to search for that particular rock, the same one that had provided water in the past. The Bnei Yisrael pointed out that as it was a miracle -- perhaps, if it was a miracle -- then any rock should do. At this point, Moshe should have agreed with the Bnei Yisrael, that any rock would do. He should have chosen any rock, or accepted a rock of their choosing, spoken to it, and trusted that Hashem would have brought about the miracle. That would have created a tremendous kiddush Hashem. Instead, he castigated the Israelites and told them that not any rock would do, but only the one he had been instructed to hit, since that would be fulfilling Hashem's comment. The way he told them this was with שמעו נא המורים -- "you obstinate people who think you will teach the teachers". He told them that what they proposed was not possible, and thus missed out on an opportunity for kiddush Hashem, and that was the catastrophic sin. Then, he flubbed the followup. He thought he had the correct rock, and spoke to it, but nothing happened. Then, he hit another rock, and lucked into the correct, original rock which formed the well of Miriam in the past. But he had to hit it twice. The first time, only a few drops came out, because though it was the correct rock, he had not been commanded to hit it. But with persistence, and a second strike, the water flowed.
  5. Why does Rashi deviate from halacha in explaining וְשָׁחַט אֹתָהּ לְפָנָיו? He explains it as that a zar, that is a non-kohen, slaughtering it before Eleazar, but this is like Shmuel, while we pasken like Rav! I suggest a few reasons for this deviation.
  1. Chukat sources - links to an online Mikraos Gedolos by perek and aliyah; plus many meforshim on the parsha and haftara. New sections for Rashi and his supercommenters, Ibn Ezra and his; and Targum and Midrash.
  2. How do the ashes of the parah adumah work? And why should the kohanim interacting with it become tamei until evening?
  1. What does temimah mean?
  2. What was Moshe's sin? According to Shadal; according to David Hamelech (and Meiri); according to Radak on Tehillim; according to Ibn Ezra on Tehillim; according to Abarbanel (pt ipt iipt iiipt ivpt v)
  3. The identity of the Sefer Milchamot Hashem.
  4. Does Homeopathy have a basis in authentic Jewish mysticism and thought? Or, how people with an agenda are misinterpreting a Ramban to mean the exact opposite of what he is truly saying.
  5. Cross-listed from Masei: Did Yehoshua add the section about Arad and Chormah? And what did the king of Arad hear?
  1. Moshe as Progenitor of Rabbi Eliezer -- a midrash I take figuratively! and which I think was intended figuratively.
  2. Buying water on the road -- comparing the approaches of the marchers at Jena with the deal Moshe tried to strike with Edom. 
  1. Blog roundup -- philology, straightforward dvars, and homiletics on parshas Chukas
  1. For the Border of Ammon Was Strong? how so? Does this not contradict Devarim that they did not because of Divine decree? I suggest it means that the border was firm. Or another answer, variant text (LXX) that has יעזר rather than עז for the border, such that it is a border town by the name of עז or יעזר. And a parallel to referencing a border town in the haftara. Then I discovered Targum gives my first explanation.
  2. Who Caused the Children of Ammon To Inherit? Hashem, or Chemosh? or both, in Yiftach's mind? Or is it diplomacy?
  3. Making Sense of Parah Adumah -- that tumah is a construct, by fiat
  1. For What Sin Was Moshe Punished? perhaps not for striking the rock, but for his words. and suggesting that this was the exact same event as earlier.
  2. Yiftach BeDoro KeShmuel BeDoro (cross-listed from Shoftim) -- since Yiftach appears in the haftarah, it pays to note that he was not a total am haAretz.
      to be continued...

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