Monday, October 17, 2011

Of Tree-Geese and Mandrakes

Summary: According to Rav Chaim Kanievsky, an additional reason for the repetition of the creation of bird and wild animals is that certain birds and wild animals indeed needed to be recreated for the purpose, since they could not be transported. For instance, the tree-goose, which is grows from a tree and is attached by its nose (beak?) to the tree, and the adnei hasadeh, which (as it seems is a humanoid creature attached to the ground by an umbilical cord.

Post: A pasuk and Rashi in the second perek of parashat Bereishit:

19. And the Lord God formed from the earth every beast of the field and every fowl of the heavens, and He brought [it] to man to see what he would call it, and whatever the man called each living thing, that was its name.יט. וַיִּצֶר ה אֱ־לֹהִים מִן הָאֲדָמָה כָּל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה וְאֵת כָּל עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וַיָּבֵא אֶל הָאָדָם לִרְאוֹת מַה יִּקְרָא לוֹ וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר יִקְרָא לוֹ הָאָדָם נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה הוּא שְׁמוֹ:
Rashi writes:
ויצר וגו' מן האדמה: היא יצירה היא עשייה האמורה למעלה (לעיל א כה) ויעש א-להים את חית הארץ וגו', אלא בא ופירש שהעופות מן הרקק נבראו, לפי שאמר למעלה מן המים נבראו וכאן אמר מן הארץ נבראו. ועוד למדך כאן שבשעת יצירתן מיד בו ביום הביאם אל האדם לקרות להם שם. ובדברי אגדה יצירה זו לשון רידוי וכבוש, כמו (דברים כ יט) כי תצור אל עיר, שכבשן תחת ידו של אדם:

Rashi notes that yetzira is the same as asiya, which happened in Bereishit 1:25. So why repeat an account of its creation. Rashi has his answer, that this is detailing that the birds were created from the rekak {mud}, since above we have a description of them created from water while there we have a description of them created from earth. {There is no such difference between the creation of חיה earlier to here, though.} He also gives an aggadic interpretation of יצירה as conquering.

After citing this pasuk and touching upon this Rashi, Rav Chaim Kanievsky, in Taama de-Kra, writes,

"And there is, further, to analyze why is not written here בהמה and רמש {but just חיה and עוף} as well, as is written in the very next pasuk, וַיִּקְרָא הָאָדָם שֵׁמוֹת לְכָל הַבְּהֵמָה וּלְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וּלְכֹל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה וּלְאָדָם לֹא מָצָא עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדּוֹ {which has at least בהמה, if not רמש}. And there is to say that since there is a חיה which is not able to come, such as the adnei hasadeh, which is a חיה, as we learn in the Mishnah in the eighth perek of Kelaim {and which is connected via an umbilical cord to the ground}; and there is an עוף which is not able to come, as we learn in Yoreh Deah, siman 84 seif 15, that there is a bird which is connected by its beak to the tree. Therefore, these two were needed to be created an additional time from the ground in proximity to Adam HaRishon, and therefore it is written וַיִּצֶר ... מִן הָאֲדָמָה, but by the בהמה and רמש, all of them were able to go."

It is a nice modern derash, I must admit. Except of course that there two creatures do not exist, so the pasuk would not go out of its way to discuss their creation. Further, it states וַיִּצֶר regarding all the birds and all the beasts. Perhaps instead חית השדה is an encompassing term, which includes בהמה and רמש. This might also answer up Rav Kanievsky's question / diyuk on the previous verse, where אדני השדה and the earth mouse were brought in. It is חית הארץ as opposed to עוף השמים as encompassing terms, as is evident from the very next pasuk which indeed mentions במהות. And/or, this is the difference between חית השדה and חית הארץ.

In terms of the repetition of the bird and wild animal creation, I have elsewhere suggested that it is the pluperfect, which has the same form in Biblical Hebrew as the simple past. Hashem had already created these creatures, and brought it to Adam. Alternatively, yes, it was created beforehand, but the act of creation is repeated here to show that Adam has an important role in the creation. This is not for the sake of Adam finding a mate, but rather that Hashem's role is the actual creation and Adam gives it its name, which is something fairly important. Alternatively, this means to gather.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin