Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Torah Temimah on Esav's Five Sins

Torah Temimah
Summary: He explains the derashot in the gem
ara in Bava Batra, fixes a broken girsa in a way that turns out to correspond to manuscripts, and explains why Rashi goes to a distant location to explain an Aramaic word, rather than simply looking to Onkelos on our own pasuk. I weigh in on some of this at the end.

Post: On Bava Batra 16:
אמר רבי יוחנן חמש עבירות עבר אותו רשע באותו היום בא על נערה מאורסה והרג את הנפש וכפר בעיקר וכפר בתחיית המתים ושט את הבכורה בא על נערה מאורסה כתיב הכא (בראשית כה, כט) ויבא עשו מן השדה וכתיב התם(דברים כב, כז) כי בשדה מצאה הרג את הנפש כתיב הכא עיף וכתיב התם (ירמיהו ד, לא) אוי נא לי כי עיפה נפשי להורגים וכפר בעיקר כתיב הכא (ירמיהו ו, כ) למה זה לי וכתיב התם (שמות טו, ב) זה אלי ואנוהו וכפר בתחיית המתים דכתיב (בראשית כה, לב) הנה אנכי הולך למות ושט את הבכורה דכתיב (בראשית כה, לד) ויבז עשו את הבכורה
Or, in English:
R. Johanan said: That wicked [Esau] committed five sins on that day [27]. He dishonoured a betrothed maiden, he committed a murder, he denied God [28], he denied the resurrection of the dead, and he spurned the birthright. [We know that] he dishonoured a betrothed maiden, because it is written here, "And Esau came in from the field",  and it is written in another place [in connection with the betrothed maiden], "He found her in the field".   [We know that] he committed murder, because it is written here [that he was] faint, and it is written in another place, "Woe is me now, for my soul fainteth before the murderers".   [We know that] he denied God [30], because it is written here, "What benefit is this to me", and it is written in another place, "This is my God and I will make him an habitation".   [We know that] he denied the resurrection of the dead because he said, "Behold, I am on the way to die" [29]: also that he spurned the birthright because it is written, So Esau despised his birthright [31].
Rabbi Baruch Epstein, the Torah Temima, cites this, though reorders one of the items, as discussed below. He comments as follows:

27) And it continues and explains each detail of the sin based on a specific language in this verse. And behold, although in general one can explain this verse in accordance with its simple meaning, and these derashot are only hints and allusions, even so, it is the approach of Chazal, to attribute the negative to a negative person, as is stated in Bava Batra 109b, and as we explain this approach of Chazal, the authors of the Talmud about in parashat Lech Lecha, upon the pasuk 'and Lot lifted up his eyes [Bereishit 13:10], see there and combine it with the material here.
28) In the nusach of the gemara before us, there is earlier that he denied the fundamental belief, and afterwards, that he denied the resurrection of the dead.
And it appears that this is a scribal error, and one needs to place first the denial of resurrection of the dead, since this derasha is based on the language of 'behold I am going to die', and the denial in the fundamental belief is based upon the language of 'and what purpose is this to me'. And the language of 'behold I am...' is earlier in the pasuk than the language of 'and what purpose is this to me'. And therefore we have recorded it [in his own citation in Torah Temimah] according to the order that is written.
And after this I saw this version in a manuscript Shas, and so too in the Yalkut the girsa is as we have recorded it, and I give praise to Hashem upon the correctness of the estimation.
29) The implication of this is that he intended to deny the continuation of the eternal soul, since if not so, what is this that which he said 'behold I am going to die'? For did it enter his mind that he would live forever? And see that which I write about, item 27.
30) It appears that he is darshening the  superfluity of this word zeh, for it should have said 'and for what purpose to me is the firstborn right' [rather than 'and for what purpose to me is zeh the firstborn right']. And in general it is explained that the import of the language of zeh is that it is connoting the pointing to something with a finger to that very thing, as in Taanit 31a, 'Hashem sits in Gan Eden among the tzaddikim and each of them points to Him with a finger, as is stated [in Yeshaya 25:9], 'and 
ט  וְאָמַר בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, הִנֵּה אֱלֹהֵינוּ זֶה קִוִּינוּ לוֹ וְיוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ; זֶה ה קִוִּינוּ לוֹ, נָגִילָה וְנִשְׂמְחָה בִּישׁוּעָתוֹ.9 And it shall be said in that day: 'Lo, this is our God, for whom we waited, that He might save us; this is the LORD, for whom we waited, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.'

and in Sotah 11b upon the pasuk brought here, 'zeh [this] is my God and I will beautify Him', this says that each of them, upon the [Reed] Sea, as if it were possible, recognized Hashem and said 'this is my God'. And in Menachot 29a, 'the forms of three things were difficult to Moshe until Hashem showed it to him with a finger', and they learn there from that it is written regarding those things the language of zeh, see there. 
And in Yerushalmi Sotah, perek 1, halacha 10, they darshen upon the pasuk at the end of parashat Vaychi, [Bereshit 50:11]
יא  וַיַּרְא יוֹשֵׁב הָאָרֶץ הַכְּנַעֲנִי אֶת-הָאֵבֶל, בְּגֹרֶן הָאָטָד, וַיֹּאמְרוּ, אֵבֶל-כָּבֵד זֶה לְמִצְרָיִם; עַל-כֵּן קָרָא שְׁמָהּ, אָבֵל מִצְרַיִם, אֲשֶׁר, בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן.11 And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said: 'This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians.' Wherefore the name of it was called Abel-mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan.

This teaches that they pointed with their finger to Yaakov's coffin. And in Mechilta, parashat Bo, 'because of this [zeh] Hashem did for me', because of this this, I am only speaking of at the time that Matzah and Maror are placed before you upon the table. And this is that it would be possible to point them out with a finger. And they learn this from the language of 'because of zeh.' 
And behold, here, there is not to say that Esav pointed to the right of the firstborn with a finger, for behold this is something spiritual and refined, and as well, in general, the word zeh is superfluous, as I explained above. And therefore they darshened it via the path of hint and allusion based on that which is explained further in Menachot 53b, zeh -- this is Hashem, for it is written zeh Eli vaanveihu.
And so too in Zohar parashat Vaychi, 228a, the Holy Spirit is called zeh, for we always find it with him with people. {?} 
And they darshened that he [Esav] pointed with a finger Upward and said 'what is Zeh to me', and this is an extension and explanation of the language of 'and what is zeh to me the firstborn right', as if he said 'and what is Zeh to me, and also why should I need the firstborn right', one question based on two particulars. And there are found like this in Tanach, and they support this with a gezeira shava of zeh-zeh to Zeh Eli VaAnveihu, for there it is precisely the opposite of denial, for it is recognition and thanks, as I wrote. And see further that which I wrote above, item 27.
31) Rashi explained [there on the gemara in Bava Batra] as follows:
ושט את הבכורה - וביזה את העבודה שהיתה בבכורות שט תרגום של בזיון מדוע הקילתני (שמואל ב יט) תרגום יונתן אשטתני:
 He scorned the [sacrificial] service that was for the firstborns, for shat is the Aramaic translation of scorn, such as in II Shmuel 19, וּמַדּוּעַ הֱקִלֹּתַנִי, [why did you despise us], the Targum Yonatan is אשטתני.
And this that he wrote that the sacrificial service was with firstborns, its import is explained in Zevachim 112b, that until the Mishkan was erected, the firstborns would serve in bringing sacrifices in place of the Kohanim.
And this that he brought a proof to the translated meaning of shata from the pasuk in Shmuel,  וּמַדּוּעַ הֱקִלֹּתַנִי, the commentators are stirred up why he brought it from so far away the meaning of veshata, for in this pasuk itself the Targum of vayivez is veshat. And this is indeed a great and astonishing thing.
And it seems regarding this that apparently the language of the gemara is difficult, and why did it not say in the language of the pasuk, uviza et habechora. And one must say that the intent of the gemara is to magnify the evil of Esav, that it was not enough that he was bizah the firstborn rights in his heart, for such is the import of the language BZH, as is written (II Shmuel 6:16), 

טז  וְהָיָה אֲרוֹן ה, בָּא עִיר דָּוִד; וּמִיכַל בַּת-שָׁאוּל נִשְׁקְפָה בְּעַד הַחַלּוֹן, וַתֵּרֶא אֶת-הַמֶּלֶךְ דָּוִד מְפַזֵּז וּמְכַרְכֵּר לִפְנֵי יְהוָה, וַתִּבֶז לוֹ, בְּלִבָּהּ.16 And it was so, as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out at the window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.
but rather ever more so he was shata, and he made light of, actively and publicly. And upon this Rashi brings as proof that the menaing of shata is bizayon with actual action, for such is the Targum of the language  וּמַדּוּעַ הֱקִלֹּתַנִי, and there it was a making light of in similar manner to this, actively and publicly. And adds to explain what was the active scorning that he scorned the firstborn rights, and he explains that he scorned the sacrificial service that was performed by firstborns. And the matter of the scorning is explained in Midrash Rabba, that he brought in with him a group of pritzim who mocked the purchasing Yaakov made of the firstborn, see there."

End quote.

My thoughts are as follows.

#28: In terms of the variant girsa, here is one such Talmudic text that has the two denials, and their derivation, transposed:

תלמוד בבלי

Firenze, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale , II.1.8-9
בבא בתרא טז ע"ב - בבא בתרא יז ע"א

The Munich Manuscript has the same, with denial of resurrection before denial of God:

So too this one:

Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale , Suppl. Heb. 1337
בבא בתרא טז ע"ב - בבא בתרא יז ע"א

However, this manuscript has it as we have it, with denial of God first:

Vatican, Bibliotheca Apostolica , Ebr. 115
בבא בתרא טז ע"ב - בבא בתרא יז ע"א

It does make sense that it would be in order of the derasha from the pasuk, and thus on the order of the pasuk. And the repetition of the word וכפר can account for the accidental transposition.

#31: An interesting question, indeed, as to why Rashi didn't just point to Targum Onkelos on the pasuk in question. I would perhaps differ slightly from what the Torah Temimah says here. Vayivez does not need to specifically mean in one's heart or in externally. His prooftext from Michal's feelings towards David, in her heart, demonstrates that it can include such feelings in one's heart. (Targum there does not use the root of shat.) It depends on context. It could also theoretically include external scorning.

I don't know that Esav scorned externally, or that Rashi was trying to say that he scorned externally. I think that Rashi would not point to the Targum on very same pasuk to show what veShat means because Rabbi Yochanan certainly seems to be making a derivation of vayivez, and so translating veShat back to vayivez gives us absolutely zero new information. The lexical item vayivez might carry many different implications. By finding a place that it is used to translate a different Hebrew word, we get more insight into just which shade of meaning of vayivez Rabbi Yochanan was intending.

In terms of the gemara, and perhaps even in terms of Rashi, I could imagine that the scorning / despising was indeed done in his heart, and not externally. But this was not just by implication, by treating it so lightly as to sell it for a pot of beans. Rather, that the pasuk takes pains to inform us of this, Rabbi Yochanan darshens as a statement of Esav's internal mental status, that he made light of it, in his own heart.

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